So you want to be a Hot Shot – let us cover your auto, GL and cargo

The Lambert Agency is your source for Hot Shot insurance.  We can get your DOT filings done quickly and set your business up with General Liability, Cargo and coverage for your truck.  Don’t forget options like for Rental with Downtime Loss of Income.  If you are pulling someone else’s trailer or a reffer – we are your agency!

Being an independent For-Hire Transportation person is a great opportunity.  Make sure you partner with business experts to keep you on track.  We are the friendly local agency to help you work with the huge impersonal insurance carrier.  Let us get and keep you rollin.

Looking for a vehicle for your teen? Start with this link – Looking for great auto rates for your teen? Call us 205-871-9101!

Choosing the best vehicle for your teen

IIHS is known for its ratings of new vehicles, but for many families, a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ isn’t in the budget for a teen’s vehicle. In a national phone survey conducted for IIHS of parents of teen drivers, 83 percent of those who bought a vehicle for their teenagers said they bought it used (see background research).

With that reality in mind, the Institute has compiled a list of affordable used vehicles that meet important safety criteria for teen drivers. There are two tiers of recommended vehicles: BEST CHOICES and GOOD CHOICES. Prices range from less than $5,000 to nearly $20,000, so parents can buy the most safety for their money, whatever their budget.

Restaurant Insurance

There is something about a restaurant owner that makes being their insurance agent fun.  From fine dining to sandwich shops there is one thing the same in a restaurateur – they love hosting and feeding people.  From they diverge into enterprise quality team management all they way down to Mom and Pop (or just Pop) feeding their friends.  Whatever the management style we can help with the risk management.  From new ventures to established community gathering spots we have a market and advice on where they need coverage.  Call us to review your current coverage as we serve you, a free second opinion – 205-871-9101.

From Utility Service Interruption to Equipment Breakdown not being able to open the door to a regular crowd can be a financial nightmare.  Spoiled food, unpaid waitstaff  and lost revenue – don’t go without the correct coverage to protect your cash flow.


I need a Workers Comp certificate but I have no employees

Do you need a Workers Comp Policy to land a certain job or contract? It is not uncommon. The definition of an employee is so gray many companies will only hire someone that has workers comp. <– PERIOD  They police this by requiring a workers comp certificate. If you are small company  or even a sole proprietor you may not  be required to have workers comp by law.  In comes the “GHOST” policy.  You buy workers comp, probably exclude yourself and get your certificate.  Sounds cheap but the policy minimums you will find are not minimal.  The average Ghost policy I write is $900 a year.  It is a cost of doing business so be sure to price that into your bid.

Driving on a closed road – read your contract

During the Dusting of 2014, Snowpocolipse , Gridlock of 2014 or whatever it will be remembered as I kept hearing the phrase “Your insurance will not cover you on a closed road”  Some people stating this as fact were in places of prominence.  The truth of the matter is I have never seen such a clause.  Insurance is a written contract – read it.  The fearless leader at Nationwide – Mark Pizzi – is preaching simpler language so non-industry people can read and understand the contracts.  I applaud him. As technology gives more and more people the opportunity to choose their own coverage, it must be accompanied with knowledge.  I look forward to the progress of insurance simplification.  If we nationalize it – I hope it is done by the industry and not the government.

Learning from frozen pipes

We saw some of the coldest temperatures in Alabama last week and we stayed below freezing for several days.  This type of event will test your plumbing system and expose areas that are not protected.  As a kid, I can remember coming home from school to an indoor fountain blasting through the sheetrock in our living room.  The second time it happened it was just like the first.  Same pipe different year.  I think dad had the pipe insulated better the second time but I can also guarantee when it gets cold that pipe has a steady stream of water running not just a drip.

Most plumbing should be run in “conditioned” space so just maintaining heat in the home will keep the pipes above freezing.  Opening cabinet doors to allow more heat to the pipes inside helps.  Most of the frozen pipes we are seeing this year are in exterior walls and a few attics.  The attics are a strange place to have plumbing as they are not “conditioned”.  I spoke to a water mitigation professional yesterday and he said in some of the new construction they are running “pex” pipe in attic space and then connecting it back to copper for the final fixture connection.  These areas are allowing air from the attic into the wall right where the copper connection is made.  This air is freezing the pipe and causing major damage when they thaw.  The Pex pipe will expand with the freezing water so it is less susceptible to rupture but it seems the change in practice needs some fine tuning.

Plumbing in exterior walls is typically run to a faucet outside.  Getting heat to this pipe can be a challenge.  You can try wrapping the faucet or buy some insulating type device to protect it from the cold.  The other option is to let it drip or run just a bit.  Some home are built with a shut off for the exterior pipes so that can be drained for the winter.

If you notice any pipes not flowing or frozen it is time to act.  Do not wait for the ice to thaw and water to erupt.  Make sure you turn your water off and contact a plumber.  It is also a good time to investigate the cause and find a solution for the next time mother nature send down some arctic air.

Hard Freeze Warning for the South!

Frozen Pipes! It is going to be cold down south – drip / drain your outside faucets or whatever you do to protect them from freezing and busting. You do not want to come home Wednesday after the thaw and find water flooding your home.

Vacant Homes? Is your old house vacant and for sale – did Aunt Sally will you her house on the lake – pool house? guest house? in any case, is the heat on? You need heat to protect the plumbing and most home policies don’t cover damage from frozen pipes if the place is vacant you did not attempt to keep it warm.

Managing Homeowner Rate Increases

Insurers still struggle to make a profit with home insurance in Alabama.  This year we are seeing another round of rate increases similar to the one we had in 2006.  These sometimes dramatic hikes are because carriers are increasing future expected losses based on the trend in claims payments.  Are the storms worse or has the cost of repairs risen significantly?  Either case, all carriers are dealing with claims payments higher than their projections.

What should you do?  Contact your agent and make sure your coverage is in line with your reconstruction cost and that all discounts you qualify for are included.  Here is a quick list we are using with policyholders.21nationwideinsurancediscounts-300x290

Alarm discount – the maximum credit is for a monitored alarm.  Be sure to send in proof of the alarm to keep the max discount.  We will also give you a discount for having a local or non-monitored alarm.  We have seen several cases where a thief fled the scene just because of the local alarm siren.

Home and Car discount – this one is a 25% no brainer.  Many carriers will not accept new home risks without the auto premium and the discounts are substantial.

Home and Life discount – these are fairly new but becoming a favorite of the industry.  If you have not reviewed your life insurance needs now is a good time

Higher deductibles – Some carriers are using a minimum 1% of dwelling coverage deductible.  We are still offering a flat deductible but have added more options.  We now have $1,000, $1,500, $2,500, $5,000 and $10,000.  This is the new trend.  Many of the losses carriers are absorbing are due to poor or needed maintenance.  With higher deductibles the incentive to file a maintenance claim is greatly reduced.  As carriers see the benefits from these higher deductibles we hope to see the discount increase even more.

Do not forget the importance of having the right coverage.   If you have added new high value items, purchased ATV or a boat/PWC we need to increase your coverage.  Have you reviewed the scheduled items on your policy?  Jewelry has been going up in value and your limits need to follow the replacement cost.

We are here to help.  Give us a call, stop by or text/chat/IM.  However you prefer to communicate we are on your side!

10 Flood Insurance facts you need to know

TOP TEN FACTS every consumer needs to know about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

1. Everyone lives in a flood zone.
You do not need to live near water to be flooded.  Floods are caused by storms, melting snow, hurricanes, water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, as well as broken water mains.

2. Flood damage is not covered by homeowners policies.
You can protect your home, business, and belongings with flood insurance from the NFIP.  You can insure your home with flood insurance up to $250,000 for the building and $100,000 for its contents.

3. You can buy flood insurance no matter your flood risk.
It does not matter whether your flood risk is high or low. Anyone in a community that participates in the NFIP can buy building and/or contents coverage, with very few exceptions. Some Costal Barrier System (CBRS) areas, Otherwise Protected Areas (OPAs) and buildings principally below ground or entirely over water are not eligible for National Flood Insurance.  It is a good idea to buy even in lower risk areas because 25 to 30 percent of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

4. The low-cost Preferred Risk Policy is ideal for homes and businesses in low-to-moderate-risk areas.
Homeowners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $119 per year.  Business owners can insure buildings and contents for as little as $550 per year.  Residential renters can insure contents for as little as $39 per year.

5. Flood insurance is affordable.
About 90 private insurance companies nationally offer affordable flood insurance backed by the federal government. Contact your local agent.  Policies are available to homeowners, condo owners, apartment owners, renters, and
business owners alike.

6. Flood insurance is easy to get.
You can buy flood insurance from private insurance companies and independent insurance agents; call yours today! You can purchase flood insurance with a credit card.

7. Contents coverage is separate, so renters can also insure their belongings.
Up to $100,000 contents coverage is available for homeowners and renters.  Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your insurance agent about contents coverage. It is not automatically included with the building coverage (except under the Preferred Risk Policy).

8. Up to a total of $1 million in flood insurance coverage is available for non-residential buildings and contents.
Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for non-residential buildings.  Up to $500,000 of coverage is available for the contents of non-residential buildings.

9. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.
Plan ahead so you are not caught without insurance when a flood threatens your home or business.

10.Federal disaster assistance is not the answer.
Federal disaster assistance is only available if the President declares a disaster.  Flood insurance pays even if a disaster is not declared.