Summarizing Summerizing: Preparing Your Vacation Rental Property for the Busy Summer Months



Mild spring weather makes most people start thinking about summer. To prepare for summer, you might need to focus on getting your vacation rental property ready for your summer guests. To help you plan ahead, consider a few pre-season tips that can keep you and your guests cool-headed when the weather gets hot.

Tips to Prepare Your Vacation Rental for the Summer

You’re likely to enjoy faster service and better deals if you invest in these vacation property preparations before the busy season. Besides, you can avoid the hassles of having to arrange last-minute or emergency repairs.

These are some tasks you may want to get started on as early as possible:

  • Get the AC serviced: Nothing can sour your guest’s attitude faster than a broken air conditioner on a hot day. Besides, your investment in spring AC services should reward you with lower energy costs, a longer lifespan for your equipment, and less risk of paying more for emergency repair fees. You could get a local HVAC company to send out a technician to service your unit and warn you of potential problems.
  • Make safety preparations: Have landscaping work done to reduce fire hazards and check smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and other safety devices. If you don’t have a home security system installed, you might consider the benefits it can provide for early detection and reduced risk of all sorts of threats. Some of these systems can even help you monitor and control your property remotely.
  • Invest in deep cleaning: Even if your property has been vacant since the last time you had it cleaned, it’s a good idea to freshen it up again. You can use this opportunity to touch up paint, make sure you stocked promised supplies, and replace worn linens and towels.
  • Check appliances and extras: It only makes sense to make certain that the pool, stove, BBQ, and refrigerator function well for your guests. These kinds of annoyances are much easier to handle before guests arrive, and prompt attention to details can keep your guests renting from you season after season.
  • Post rules in a visible place: Even though you know your guests are paying customers, it’s fine to set boundaries. You can communicate the house rules with a visible and friendly sign on the door. Some reasonable rules might include restricting tobacco use to outdoors and supervising young children.  You can also post your contact information and emergency instructions on the same sign.

Do You Need a Spring Insurance Checkup for your Vacation Rental Property?

At Overbay Insurance Services, here in Waynesville, NC, we enjoy working with rental property owners. We want to help you protect your property with sensible safety tips and affordable vacation rental property insurance. Contact us before the busy season starts to make sure you have the right protection. We want to help you enjoy a profitable and stress-free summer.


Home Buying Tips


When you’re ready to buy a home, expect to experience a combination of exhilaration and some exhaustion. You’ve got a lot of information to gather and important choices to make. On the other hand, you’re about to make an investment in your future security and lifestyle. Your careful consideration of your own preferences, financial situation, and professional services can help ensure your choices will satisfy you for many years in the future.

Home Buying Tips

In order to minimize frustration and maximize your opportunity, consider some home buying tips from seasoned professionals.

  1. Figure Out What Kind of Home You Can Afford

Unless you’re one of the few home buyers who can write a check for the sales price, you will have to qualify for a mortgage before you can close on a house. Certainly, mortgage brokers will help; however, you should check your credit scores and set a budget for monthly payments first.

Besides simply making mortgage payments for principal and interest, you’ll also need to pay for homeowners insurance, property taxes, upkeep, and other potential expenses. An honest assessment of your financial situation will keep you on track and allow mortgage and real estate professionals to serve you better.

You can also ask lenders for preapproval letters because these can help with negotiations and help you understand how expensive of a home that you can afford. Just understand that a preapproval differs from a final approval because lenders may also factor their valuation of the home in their decision.

  1. Shop Around for Professional Help

During the process of buying a home, you will probably need to rely upon real estate professionals for guidance. You might ask your friends, coworkers, and family for referrals for real estate agents and loan brokers. If you’re new to town, you might begin interviewing professionals without committing to the first ones that you meet.

As soon as you find a likely house, you should engage a home inspector to make sure the home you want doesn’t hide any unpleasant surprises. According to Chase, home buyers should seek this inspection as early in the process as possible because they may have to negotiate to get some problems corrected or to have the sales price adjusted. In some cases, serious problems can make deals go sour, so a prompt inspection can help save time.

  1. Decide What’s Most Important to You

You should savor the excitement of shopping for a new home. At the same time, you should try to keep yourself from making quick and emotional decisions that you may regret later. Besides knowing your budget, you could also list and rank other important factors, like neighborhood schools, access to transportation, and pleasant neighbors. Use that list as a guide to help make a logical choice.

Protect Your New Home With Homeowners Insurance

While you’re out looking for real estate professionals, don’t forget that you’ll need a good homeowners insurance agent. As soon as you find a likely new home, you can contact us for competitive quotes and advice about the kind of coverage you may need.


How Well Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Jewelry?



Did you unwrap your Valentine’s Day present to find jewelry inside? Many people enjoy receiving gemstones and precious metals as a symbol of love, friendship, or appreciation. While you appreciate your lovely gift, make sure you understand how your homeowner’s insurance protects your most valuable possessions.

How Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fine Jewelry?

A standard home policy will cover your possessions in the case of theft or damage because of a covered hazard. Typically, your maximum coverage for the contents of your home is a percentage of the total coverage for your entire home. If you have your home covered for $300,000 and your home contents covered at 50 percent, you may have up to $150,000 in protection for most of the things in your house.

You should know that your policy limits for jewelry, antiques, artwork, and other luxuries could be much lower than the limits for other items in your house. You should take time to read the details of your own insurance contract because it may limit coverage for jewelry to as little as $1,500 to $2,500. In some cases, it may impose lower limits to jewelry lost because of theft than for jewelry damaged in a fire or windstorm.

How to Ensure Adequate Coverage for Jewelry

According to the Insurance Information Institute, you have two options to increase insurance protection for jewelry and other luxury items:

  • Increase policy limits: If you just need to increase your limits slightly over your standard policy, you can contact your insurance company. For example, you might be able to pay a bit more to increase your limits from $2,500 to $5,000. You should certainly keep photos and documents of your valuables organized in a home inventory to make sure you can prove your losses to the insurance company if you need to make a claim.
  • Add a floater policy: If you have a lot of value tied up in high-end watches, expensive jewelry, and other valuables, you may choose to purchase a floater policy. This kind of coverage will increase your protection and even cover certain incidents that your basic home policy may exclude. For instance, these policies can reimburse you if you accidentally leave your wedding ring in a hotel or drop a diamond stud down the drain. Before you buy a floater policy, you should ask your insurance agent to help you find a reputable appraiser.

We Can Help You Protect Your Valuables

Here at Overbay Insurance in Waynesfield, NC, we want to help you find the best solutions to protect all of your possessions. We can suggest the best kinds of coverage, acceptable appraisers, and affordable insurance companies. We will also suggest ways to gather and store documentation about your valuables to help make the claims process quick and satisfying.  Contact us today to let us know what you need.

Using Financial Wellness Month to Improve Your Small Business



The U.S. Census just issued a press release to remind Americans to celebrate Financial Wellness Month in January. As the press release mentioned, this unofficial holiday has been timed to land right after people tend to make resolutions after New Year’s Eve.  This celebration isn’t just intended for individuals and families, so many small business owners can also resolve to improve their financial stability over the coming year.

How Can Your Small Business Make the Most of Financial Wellness Month?

For many small businesses, January offers a mild lull between the busy holiday season and preparation for tax time. If so, Financial Awareness Month might be the perfect time to consider making some improvements that will help manage cash flow and reduce stress through this year and for many years to come.

Improve Your Accounting System

Few small businesses every regretted keeping too many records. The right information can help you make good decisions, apply for funding, and satisfy the tax authorities. At the same time, most small business owners lack the time or knowledge to keep really good accounting records.

Small business accounting software saves time and helps enforce good accounting practices. You can find small business accounting software that has been created for use by people without an accounting background too.

Manage Computer Security Better

Your small business is as vulnerable to computer attacks and accidents as large corporations are. You can use this time to make sure your networks and computers are secure, that you can easily restore your systems from backups, and to follow other small business computer security tips presented by the SBA.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to secure your computers and networks, you might consider investing in security consulting or third-party security management.

Control Your Risks

As a small business owner, you have probably succeeded by learning to plan for as many risks as possible. However, you can’t plan for everything, so you purchase commercial insurance to protect you against unexpected hazards. For instance, think about how devastating it would be if you had to close your doors for several days because of a storm or cyber attack.

With business interruption insurance, you can be certain you’ll receive income to help you stay in business while problems get addressed. You might buy business interruption insurance packaged in a business owner policy, or you may purchase it as a stand-alone policy.

Call Upon Us for Help

At Overbay Insurance in Waynesville, N.C., we not only run a small business, we work with many small business owners to help them assure their financial security. As independent commercial insurance agents, we will suggest the best, affordable insurance for your needs. In addition, we can offer many tips to help you manage risks better, so you lower your risk of making claims in the first place.


Travel and Home Safety During the Holiday Season



We wish you all a meaningful and fun holiday season. At the same time, we know that many of our clients face additional risks when they decide to travel or stay home for the holidays. Just a few precautions can prevent a lot of stress and possible financial losses.

Travel and Home Safety Tips for the Holidays

We’d like to offer you a few home safety tips that will help you enjoy the holidays without having to regret any bad experiences:

Fire Safety

Sadly, the holiday season is also the home-fire season, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Cooking, electric lights, drying Christmas trees, and candles pose the main risks. You might take a moment to browse some holiday fire-safety tips to make sure that you’re managing these risks well.

Keep Your Home Safe When Traveling

If you plan to travel to visit friends and relatives, you might consider a few suggestions to keep your home safe while you’re away:

  • If you’ve decorated your home for the holidays, unplug decorative electric lights when you’re gone.
  • Don’t post travel plans on social media because burglars scout these platforms to find unoccupied homes.
  • If you haven’t already, this is a good time to invest in a home security system that can automatically call for help in case of a fire, intruder, or other hazard.
  • If you live where there is any potential for a hard freeze, you might consider insulating vulnerable pipes or even keeping a few faucets dripping while you’re gone.

Get Travel Ready

The beginning of winter usually signals the time to have your car serviced. Your mechanic might suggest a check-up for your tires, windshield wipers, battery, and antifreeze. Some folks say it’s also a good idea to wax and buff headlights and taillights. Consider packing an emergency kit with an insulated blanket inside the vehicle.

If you plan to fly, you should also plan to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Other holiday travelers and winter roads can slow you down, and you won’t want to miss your flight.

In either case, you should make sure your phones have a strong charge before you leave home. You can also buy a handy power source for a few dollars at any department or discount store. These slim batteries fit in your pocket, purse, or keychain, and they can give you an extra charge or two in case you need it.

We Can Offer You More Peace of Mind During the Hectic Holiday Season

You can do a lot to manage risks during the holiday season; however, nobody can anticipate everything. Contact us at Overbay Insurance to make certain that you have updated your home and auto policies. If you need new coverage, we can also look for competitive rates that may help give you even more peace of mind with lower bills next year.

Four Tips For a Safer Thanksgiving Celebration



Thanksgiving is one of the happiest days of the year for many families across the United States, but it’s also a time for unique and often overlooked dangers. The same activities that bring you and your loved ones so much joy, can also start fires or even injure your loved ones. Make sure you all have the best possible holiday this year by following this four safety tips.

Don’t Deep Fry Your Own Turkey

Deep fried turkeys are a great recent innovation in Thanksgiving dining, but they’re not the safest thing to try to cook at home. With so many grocery stores, restaurants, and other outlets offering pre-cooked turkeys in any flavor you like, there’s no reason to risk the very real and very dangerous fire that can start. Just check out any of the hundreds of Youtube videos showing deep fryer explosions and uncontrollable oil fires if you’re still considering a DIY fried turkey.

Watch Out for Candles

Candles, especially scented ones, are considered an absolute must-have for holiday decorating by many. However, swapping the real flames for LED ones is a good alternative. Avoid multi-wicked candles if you must burn real flames since they can start a large cone of flame when left unattended for even a moment.

Use Portable Timers

Kitchen fires remain the bulk of the emergencies reported on Thanksgiving, and letting the turkey get a little too crisp does more than just ruin dinner. On average, homeowners spent around $20,000 to repair their homes after a kitchen fire. If you’re the kind of person who carries their phone around at all times, don’t break this habit for the holiday. Setting a timer that rings and buzzes is a great way to prevent fires, and you’ll know it’s time to take that pie out even when you’re far from the kitchen and unable to hear the usual oven timer.

Install Fire Alarms

Finally, make sure you have fire alarms installed in the kitchen, the dining room, and outside of every bedroom in the home. In over 50% of Thanksgiving Day fires, the homes were found to have no alarms installed anywhere near where the fire started. Current US building codes mandate quite a number of fire alarms in the average house, and a single one in the kitchen isn’t good enough to protect you and your family. Of course, check the batteries before the holidays as well, since some fire alarms can run down a set of batteries in as little as three to six months.

Take the Scare out of Halloween With These Trick-or-Treat Safety Tips



For kids across the U.S., the end of October is a time of anticipation — the one time of the year when dressing up in disguise and begging door-to-door for candy and other goodies is actually encouraged. As exciting as Halloween is for kids, it can be kind of nerve-wracking for parents who worry about their kids staying safe while they’re out and about – and even once they’re home. If your kids are planning a trick-or-treat extravaganza, here are a few simple safety tips to help ease your mind:

  • If your kids are going to trick-or-treat on their own, establish a route ahead of time and make them promise to stick to it. Stick to your own neighborhood and avoid unfamiliar areas.
  • Never send your child out alone — they should always go out with at least one other friend. A group is even better. Have a list of names and numbers for all the kids in the group, just in case.
  • Make sure your children’s cell phones are fully charged and easily accessible while they’re wearing their costumes.
  • Invest in a roll of reflective tape and place some on your child’s costume to make it easier for cars to see them.
  • Make sure costumes don’t impede walking or make it easy to trip. If your child is wearing a mask, have them try it on ahead of time and show them how to secure it so it doesn’t block their vision. Even better, get creative with face makeup.
  • If your child’s costume is loose or flowing, make sure they know to look out for jack-o-lantern flames when approaching neighbors’ porches.
  • Give each child a glow stick or flashlight and make sure they understand the importance of carrying them at all times.
  • Tell kids not to eat any treats before they get home. Giving them supper or a filling snack before they head out will reduce their urge to snack. For young ones, carry their treat bags for them so they’re not tempted.
  • Once your kids are home, carefully inspect all their candy and other trick-or-treat goodies before they indulge. Look for any packages that appear to have been opened, poked with a pin, or otherwise tampered with and throw them away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Halloween comes but once a year, and as a parent, you don’t want to turn a fun event into a safety lecture. By planning ahead of time and discussing safety issues casually, you can help your child enjoy the evening while still enjoying your own peace of mind.