Byrne Insurance Agency – Auto Home Commercial Insurance & Bonds Natchez, MS - Compare and Save on all your personal and professional insurance needs. Click or Call 601-442-2511 to start saving today in Mississippi. Thu, 16 Nov 2017 02:51:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Christmas Safety Reminder for Home or Office Thu, 16 Nov 2017 02:51:00 +0000

For many of us, the holiday season is a time of joy, celebration and tradition. We look forward to hosting or attending festive gatherings or concerts. We travel near and far to share in the spirit of the season with family, friends and co-workers. We cook more, shop more and decorate more.

However, all that extra cooking, traveling, shopping, celebrating and decorating we do can post potentially serious hazards at home, in the office and on the road. Reports from leading safety organizations indicate that the time from Thanksgiving through the New Year is also one of the most dangerous for homeowners.

Whether you are planning or participating in the festivities, knowing the risks and how to help avoid injury, theft and damage to property through the holiday season are important however you choose to celebrate.

Fire Hazards
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires and home fire deaths peak between December and February.* Cooking is the leading cause of home fires year round, and the increased use of stovetops and ovens for preparing holiday meals can increase the risk. Holiday decorations and the open flames of fireplaces and candles used during the holidays can also pose a threat.

To help reduce the risk of fire, consider using non-flammable or flame-retardant decorations. If you decorate a Christmas tree this time of year, select a quality artificial tree and decorate with only UL-listed lights. If you choose to have a fresh tree, be sure to keep water in the stand at all times. According to the NFPA, even a well-watered fresh tree should be taken down after four weeks. If you celebrate using a menorah, consider lighting using dripless candles. Remember to keep decorations and trees away from candles, fireplaces and heaters. Never leave an open flame or stove unattended.

Decorative Displays
Decorating the home, office or yard is a popular way to get into the spirit of the season. Planning your displays carefully is important to help reduce the risk of fire, electrical shock, trips and falls, and property damage. If a ladder is to be used always use a fiberglass or wooden ladder as they do not conduct electricity should the ladder come in contact with an open power source. Be diligent about everything you do while decorating to help keep your family and friends safe when putting up, playing around or packing away your festive displays.

Winter Driving Safety
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, shopping malls and holiday parties we go — all increasing our risk of having to drive in sometimes hazardous winter conditions.

Always check the weather before going out, and avoid driving in snowy, icy or other severe conditions if possible. Take a vehicle survival kit stocked with cold weather essentials on every trip, and try to keep your gas tank from getting far below the half empty level. Following your common sense and basic winter driving tips can help ensure you and your passengers reach your holiday destinations safely.

Consumer Protection Safety Commission,; Electrical Safety Foundation International,

Insuring Your College Student Fri, 23 Jun 2017 19:39:00 +0000 When your child leaves for college, it is a big event. One thing that you should think about is your insurance coverage and how it could change with your son or daughter away at school.

Protecting Your Student’s Belongings

Many homeowners policies consider a dorm room as an extension of your home, so items your child keeps there may be covered to some extent. However, if your child has expensive electronic equipment or furniture, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage.

If your child lives off campus, his or her possessions may not be covered by your homeowners policy. In that case, you may want to consider renter’s insurance, which typically costs as little as a few dollars per month. Renter’s insurance will cover possessions in your child’s off-campus apartment or house as well as provide liability coverage if anyone is injured in the residence.

Changing Auto Coverage

If your son or daughter moves more than 100 miles away from home to attend school and does not keep a vehicle there, your car insurance premiums could decrease by as much as 30 percent.

Keeping Your Child Healthy While on Campus

Since 2014, children up to age 26 can stay on their parent’s employer plan even if they have another offer of coverage through an employer. This rule applies to all plans in the individual market and to new employer plans. It also applies to existing employer plans unless the adult child has another offer of employer-based coverage.

If you find your child does not have adequate coverage under your plan, you have a few options. Most universities have their own health plans, but some policies have low deductibles and low coverage maximums. It may be better to consider an individual policy for your student depending on his or her needs.

Count on Us

If you are sending a child off to college and haven’t looked at adjusting your coverage, contact us today to learn more. You could save money on your policies and protect your child from expensive incidents while away from home.

Boat Insurance for Smooth Sailing Thu, 22 Jun 2017 20:05:00 +0000 You can insure just about any kind of vessel, whether you have a yacht, speed boat or personal watercraft like a JetSki. Every type of boat has the potential to be stolen or damaged, and can be involved in an incident that results in harm to another person or their property. Even if your boat is docked or stored in your garage, it can potentially be vandalized, damaged in a fire or storm, or stolen.

Many owners of small watercraft such as canoes, rafts and kayaks assume they will be covered under a homeowners or renters policy. This may be the case, up to a specified limit in your home policy. However, when it’s time to make a claim, you don’t want to be surprised to find out that this limit is not adequate to cover the value of your investment.

Be sure to consider the amount of coverage you would need to repair or replace each of your boats and recreational vehicles if damaged or stolen and ask your agent to help you get the right coverage for those items.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

The exact boat coverage you need depends on multiple factors. Small boat insurance is very different from yacht insurance, for example. However, for most types of boats, the three kinds of coverage in a basic boat insurance policy include:

  • Bodily injury liability for expenses related to the injury of another person
  • Property damage liability for expenses related to harming another person’s property
  • Physical damage for damage to your own property, including your boat and trailer.

You also may want to add additional types of coverage to your boat insurance policy in order to fully protect yourself and your property. Here are some examples of additional coverage:

  • Property coverage for equipment such as tools, life preservers, anchors and oars
  • Insurance for fishing equipment like your rods, lures, nets and tackle
  • Towing coverage when your boat becomes disabled and needs servicing
  • Medical payments coverage for hospital and funeral expenses for you or your passengers
  • Uninsured/underinsured boaters coverage if you have an accident with another boater whose insurance is not sufficient to cover damages

As with all insurance, the amount of benefit or reimbursement you have in the event of an incident is set at the time you buy your policy.

Grilling Safety Reminders For Your Summer BBQ Wed, 21 Jun 2017 02:36:00 +0000 Though grilling is an extremely popular way to prepare food in the summer, it can also be dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, gas and charcoal grills account for an average of 10 deaths and 100 injuries annually. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association reports that an average of 8,900 home fires are caused by grilling each year.

This year, keep the following safety suggestions in mind when you go to fire up your grill:

  • Make sure your grill is at least 3 feet away from other objects including your house, trees and outdoor seating.
  • Remember that starter fluid should only be used with charcoal grills and never with gas grills.
  • If you suspect that your gas grill is leaking, turn off the gas and get the unit fixed before lighting.
  • Do not bring your grill into an unventilated or enclosed space such as the garage or inside of your home.
  • Do not let children and pets play near the grilling area when cooking until the grill is completely cool.
  • Allow time for your grill to completely cool down before storing or covering it after grilling.

Grill Your Food Thoroughly

Prevent food-borne illnesses by grilling your meat to the proper internal temperatures.

  • Steaks, Roasts and Chops – 145°F
  • Poultry – 165°F
  • Groud Poultry – 165°F
  • Ground Meats – 160°F
Summer Water Safety Refresher Thu, 01 Jun 2017 02:37:00 +0000 Summer Water Safety Refresher

  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible.
  • Always brief babysitters on water safety, emphasizing the need for constant supervision.
  • Appoint a “designated watcher” to monitor children during social gatherings at or near pools.
  • Equip doors and windows that exit to a pool area with alarms.
  • Install a poolside phone, preferably a cordless model, with emergency numbers programmed into speed-dial.
  • Post CPR instructions and learn the procedures.
  • Keep rescue equipment poolside. Don’t wait for the paramedics to arrive because you will lose valuable life-saving seconds. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause permanent brain damage or death.
  • Keep a first aid kit at poolside.
  • Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least five feet high, equipped with self-closing and self-latching gates, that completely surrounds the pool and prevents direct access from the house and yard.
  • Maintain constant visual contact with children in a pool or pool area. If a child is missing, check the pool first; seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Don’t use flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. Never allow a young child in a pool without an adult.
  • Don’t leave objects such as toys that might attract a child in the pool and pool area.
  • Never prop the gate to a pool area open.
  • Don’t rely on swimming lessons, life preservers, or other equipment to make a child “water safe.”
  • Never assume someone else is watching a child in a pool area.
  • Don’t leave chairs or other items of furniture where a child could use them to climb into a fenced pool area.
  • Don’t think you’ll hear a child who’s in trouble in the water; child drowning is a silent death, with no splashing to alert anyone that the child is in trouble
Facts About Flash Floods Fri, 17 Mar 2017 03:05:00 +0000 Flash floods occur as a result of heavy rainfall, rapid snow thaw, city drains overflowing or dam/levee failures. They occur quickly and unexpectedly, within 6 hours of the events that caused them. Here are more facts to give you an idea of how dangerous flash floods can be:

  • Every region in the United States can be affected by flash floods, especially low-lying areas: near river beds and coastlines.
  • Cities are more likely to be affected by flash floods due to the predominant impermeable surfaces, such as asphalt, and the lack of natural drainage systems.
  • The water from flash floods can reach a height of 20 feet, which can severely damage anything in its path.
  • Just 2 feet of floodwater moving at 9 feet per second (standard speed of flash floods) is enough to sweep vehicles away, move 100 pound rocks, uproot trees or level buildings.
  • Just 6 inches of rapidly moving floodwater can sweep someone off their feet.
  • Between 2004 and 2013, an average of 75 people have died from flash floods in the United States per year.
  • Nearly all who perished during flash floods tried to outrun the waters rather than going to a higher area.
  • Two thirds of the deaths claimed by flash floods occur in vehicles, when the drivers try to pass through the floodwater.
  • Flash floods can cause extensive structural damage: 12” of floodwater on a 2,000 square foot building can cause $50,000 worth of damage or more.
  • Flash flood warnings are issued by the National Weather Service when a flash flood is imminent.
It’s Tax Season. It’s Also IRS Phone Scam Season. Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:40:00 +0000 Prepare Yourself for IRS Phone Scams

Your phone rings. When you check, the caller ID shows it’s the IRS calling. (Three letters that can give you a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.) But you think to yourself: I don’t believe I owe any taxes. And I haven’t even submitted this year’s return. Why are they calling me? But it says it’s the IRS, so it must be them… right?


For a number of years scammers have been calling people across the country, spoofing the caller ID, claiming to be IRS officials, and demanding immediate payment of fines or back taxes. Their goal is to trick you into giving them personal information and/or get you to send cash.

So the REAL IRS has assembled a number of tips to help you understand what the criminals are doing and how to avoid becoming a victim of one of their scams:

  • Scammers try to scare you. Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully you into paying a bogus tax bill, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may even threaten to arrest, deport, or revoke your license if they don’t get the money. (If they don’t get through to you, they may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via phishing email.)
  • Scams use caller ID spoofing. Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use your name, address and other personal information (even your Social Security Number) to make the call sound official.
  • Cons try new tricks all the time. Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where they tell you to mail a receipt for the payment you make. Others use emails that contain a fake IRS document with a phone number or an email address for a reply. These scams often use official-looking IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail that they send you. They try these ploys to make the ruse look official.
  • Scams cost victims over $23 million. You probably think “I’ve heard this before; they won’t fool me.” But the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has received reports of about 736,000 scam contacts between October 2013 and November 2015. Nearly 4,550 victims have collectively paid over $23 million as a result of the scam. The crooks get more sophisticated every year. The communications look and sound more real all the time too. And we’ll bet that a certain number of those 4,550 victims thought they wouldn’t be scammed either.

So to protect yourself, remember the following:

  • The IRS will NOT call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • The IRS will NOT demand that you pay taxes and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • The IRS will NOT require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For instance, require that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • The IRS will NOT ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • The IRS will NOT threaten to bring in police or other agencies to arrest you for not paying.

 Phone scams first tried to sting older people, new immigrants to the U.S. and those who speak English as a second language. But it has become such a profitable enterprise, the crooks now try to swindle just about anyone. And they’ve ripped-off people in every state in the nation. Stay alert. Don’t let the next victim be you!

Have New Jewelry in the House? Protect it! Tue, 17 Jan 2017 02:00:00 +0000

The Holiday’s may be over and Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while it may be cold outside love is still in the air. Well, love and a few other things perhaps, such as new jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one – or to give it as a gift. Not to mention it’s romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your home, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: Insurance.

Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. We think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them – so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

  • The first thing to consider is that you may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry but only up to set amounts as stated in the policy. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. You can simply check your policy or give us a call.
  • You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.
  • Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.
  • What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, like here at home, or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement.
  • Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.
  • Should I go with a company that specializes in jewelry insurance? There are companies that specialize in jewelry insurance. Whether you choose one of these, or a company that we represent, you’ll want to know they are reputable and stable.
  • Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please, talk to us at before making that decision. That’s what we’re here for.
  • Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

    Here’s hoping your special days are full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

    Personal Umbrella – The Ultimate Armor for Today’s World Tue, 17 Jan 2017 01:57:00 +0000 Image

    A personal umbrella policy is sometimes misunderstood. That’s unfortunate because the personal umbrella is an insurance “best buy”. It is inexpensive and does its job well. Let’s take a look at just what this policy does, determine if you need one, and decide if it’s worth it to purchase a policy for yourself. We’ll look at factors that set the cost of a personal umbrella. And finally, give you a few tips to keep in mind when personal umbrella shopping.

    What is a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy?

    The personal umbrella is a form of liability insurance. A great deal of confusion is eliminated if the word “liability” is inserted between the words “personal” and “umbrella”. That means it protects you from bodily injury and property damage for which you are legally liable.

    I will use the term personal umbrella. But just remember it is a form of liability insurance. Some consumers believe it is a catch all policy that insures property. Not so!

    A personal umbrella “floats” over your other liability policies. For example, let’s suppose your automobile insurance limits are $300,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident /$300,000 property damage. If you invest in $1,000,000 personal umbrella policy you will have increased your auto liability protection by $1,000,000. So now you have auto liability protection of $1,300,000.

    A key benefit is it gives you an extra layer of protection over all your policies with liability coverage. Your homeowners, renters, auto, boats, motorcycles, second home, etc. will now have an extra layer of suit protection. That is why it is called an “umbrella” policy.

    The most common personal umbrella limit is $1,000,000. However, more families are deciding that a $1,000,000 limit is not enough protection in today’s litigious society. So consumers are buying personal umbrella policies with higher limits. Limits up to $10,000,000 are available.

    Do I need an umbrella policy?

    When I hear that question from clients, my answer is, “Probably”. You can determine if you need an umbrella policy by answering three questions:

    • Do you earn a pay check?
    • Do you own anything?
    • Do you want to keep what you own and your full pay check?

    These questions may sound a bit silly, but I am being very frank. You see, when an attorney is seeking damages, he will take what he can get for his client. That means your personal assets and your future earnings are on the line when you are sued. If you have no assets, once an attorney gets a judgment, he will use a garnishment to get to your future earnings.

    So the question you must decide is can I get rid of this risk? A personal umbrella is a giant step in eliminating the risk of attorney fees and a large judgment against you.

    Is an umbrella policy worth it?

    Your appetite for risk will determine if a personal umbrella is worth the peace of mind it provides. Let’s explore this question a little more. A journalist, who claims to be a financial planner, recently wrote that since only a small percentage of lawsuits were over a $1,000,000 dollars she did not think it was necessary for the average family to consider an umbrella liability policy.

    It is true that most lawsuits are under $1,000,000. However, the number of large lawsuits is growing. And if you happen to be the unfortunate one to be sued for a large amount, the financial and emotional impact is devastating. Think of it this way… the number of policemen shot on duty is small, but does that justify a policeman not wearing their bullet proof vest?

    The other issue is attorney fees. Recently, a client suffered a judgment of $500,000 but the attorney’s fees were $300,000. Excessive? Not when you consider the client was sued for $3,000,000 and the defense was complicated and involved numerous specialists. A personal umbrella will pay the judgment and attorney costs.

    Most professional financial planners advise you to pass the risk of a large personal loss to an insurance company. So they recommend purchasing a personal liability umbrella. They say it’s worth it.

    The personal liability umbrella is a good risk management technique for most of my clients. Personal umbrellas provide high limits of protection for an inexpensive price.

    How much does it cost?

    Cost is an important consideration when shopping for a personal umbrella policy. The price varies depending on the exposure to risks. For example, if you have a home with a pool, two cars, young drivers, a boat, a motorcycle and vacation home, you have more exposure to lawsuits than a family with a home, and two cars. So the family with more toys will pay more for a personal liability umbrella policy. It is really that simple.

    Prices for a personal umbrella insurance policy are amazingly affordable. The family with two cars and a home will likely pay between $200 and $300 a year for a $1,000,000 policy.

    What else do I need to know when shopping for a Personal Liability Umbrella policy?

    • You cannot pick and choose what exposures you want covered. For example, if you own a boat you cannot exclude it from coverage under a personal umbrella policy.
    • The company issuing your personal umbrella policy may require you to raise the underlying liability limits on some of your policies, if those limits are too low.
    • Some companies will write a personal umbrella policy even if they do not write your underlying policies.
    • Most personal umbrellas do not cover business risks of any kind.

    The personal umbrella policy is widely available and is an inexpensive risk management tool. It allows you to manage your risk in our changing world.

    Protect Your Family From the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Thu, 01 Dec 2016 18:13:00 +0000

    With winter weather affecting us all in our attempts to remain comfortable, it’s also the time of year which presents the greatest risk for an invisible threat. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas that results when certain fuels do not burn completely. And it can be deadly. That’s why it’s important to know how to prevent it, detect it, and protect yourself and your family from its effects. In the home, carbon monoxide is most commonly formed by flames and heaters, as well as vehicles or generators that are running in an attached garage. As temperatures drop and more people are cranking the heat and hovering over the stove inside and warming up the car’s engine before hitting the road, it’s especially critical to ensure your family’s safety against this lethal gas. Since carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it is essential to install and maintain one or more detectors in your home.

    Detector Tips For Safeguarding Your Household

    • The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door, and there should be one near or over any attached garage.
    • Each detector should be replaced every five to six years.
    • Battery-only carbon monoxide detectors tend to go through batteries more frequently than expected. Plug-in detectors with a battery backup (for use if power is interrupted) provide less battery-changing maintenance.
    • Thoroughly read the installation manual that comes with the individual detector you purchase. Manufacturers’ recommendations differ to a certain degree based on research conducted with detectors for specific brands.
    • Remember that carbon monoxide detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. You can, however, purchase a dual smoke/carbon monoxide detector that can perform both functions.
    • Do not install carbon monoxide detectors next to fuel-burning appliances, as these appliances may emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon startup.

    In Case Of Exposure We hope you never have to use the following tips from the Mayo Clinic, but please read on for good information that could help save a life. If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to carbon monoxide, check for the following symptoms:

    • Dull Headache
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Shortness of Breath
    • confusion
    • Loss of Consciousness

    If any of the symptoms exist, move the individual into fresh air and seek emergency medical care immediately.