Personal Property Inventory

November 19, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Event Planning, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Safety Tips, Specialty Policy | Leave a comment
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Why is taking inventory of your Personal Property so important?

If your home was destroyed, or a theft occurred, could you compile a complete list of your personal property from memory?  Most people couldn’t; WHY? Maybe because they’d be too devastated by the loss itself to be able to write down all that was destroyed. Or maybe because after a lot of years, it’s hard to keep track of what one owns! Compiling a complete list is something you’d be asked to do at the time of filing your claim.

We know that putting a dollar value on possessions you’ve accumulated over many years is difficult and that only you can decide the extent of your insurance needs. However, if the unthinkable happened, would you have enough coverage for everything?  Your Personal Property Inventory serves two important functions:

  • as a valuable record of your possessions
  • as a way for you to judge the adequacy of your present coverage – do you have enough?

The inventory list should be stored somewhere safe, preferably away from your home. Our suggestion would be to take a video of each room in your home and store that video off premises – a relative’s home, safety deposit box, etc. Then if the worst happened, it would be available at the time you report your loss.

 

Benefits of a Home Inventory

Obtaining a comprehensive home inventory:

  • Ensures you have the necessary amount of insurance coverage.
  • Identifies items—such as jewelry, coins, antiques, artwork, and silverware—that have limited coverage on a home or tenant policy and helps to determine if additional insurance is needed for those items.

The decision can then be made to purchase additional coverage (known as a “rider”) so the items will be insured for their full value. This then…

  • Allows an evaluation on whether to insure your property and contents at “replacement cost” or “actual cash value.” Replacement cost is the amount it takes to replace or repair your home and possessions with materials of similar quality. Actual cash value is a lower amount that consists of replacement cost less depreciation.
  • Verifies the condition of your assets before moving or placing them in storage in case of loss or damage.

So break out your camera and say action!cinematographer marker

Don’t be caught “underinsured” and/or unable to remember what you own. Call us today to discuss your homeowners or renters insurance policy, and find out what you need to ensure you’re protected in case of loss at our toll free number: 888-850-9400.

 

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Tenant Coverage

October 29, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Regulations, Renters, Specialty Policy, tenant, tenant policy | Leave a comment
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While renting an apartment, a house or condominium, the dwelling or structure may not be your responsibility but you still have property to protect. The landlord does not carry any coverage on their property policy for you. A tenant policy is also known as HO4 policy, for the tenant who opts to buy coverage to protect their personal property and to obtain personal liability coverage. Most insurance carriers allow coverage as low as $20,000 for personal property and can be purchased for approximately $200 annually. A general guide to determine the amount of coverage needed is to multiply each full room by 10,000 and make necessary adjustments to that figure. Also keep in mind this is a property policy and makes you eligible for the account discount if you also write your auto policy with the same insurance carrier, or with an affiliated company. This policy could respond by replacing your household items, such as clothing and furniture, from loss caused by fire, theft or vandalism.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What if there is a fire in the building? Or if your apartment is vandalized or burglarized?

  • Could you afford to buy your own replacement items?
  • Could you also afford to relocate while building repairs are being made?

The police report will be on file, the fire department will extinguish the fire, but neither will replace your belongings.  If you had purchased a tenant policy in these scenarios, you would need to pay the policy deductible for a covered loss and would be eligible to replace your items up to the limit of coverage you had purchased.

Call us at (888) 850-9400 to obtain the annual rating of this valuable coverage.

Cyber Liability

September 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Home, Identity Theft, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Every day, whether you know it or not, you are at risk to becoming a victim of a cyber-attack. Educating yourself about cyber-attack prevention and security can help keep you and your loved ones protected.

Who is exposed to Cyber Liability?

  • Family members on Facebook or other Social Media sites
  • On-Line Shoppers
  • Cyber bullying

Cyber-attacks may come from terrorists, criminals, activists, external opportunists and company insiders (both intentional and unintentional). Cyber criminals attack to gain some type of political, military or economic advantage. They usually steal money or information that can eventually be monetized, such as credit card numbers, health records, personal identification information and tax returns.

Cyber risks include:

  • Identity theft as a result of security breaches where sensitive information is stolen by a hacker or inadvertently disclosed, including such data elements as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, employee identification numbers, drivers’ license numbers, birth dates and PIN numbers.
  • Introduction of malware, worms and other malicious computer code.
  • Human error leading to inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information, such as an email from an employee to unintended recipients containing sensitive business information or personal identifying information.
  • The cost of credit monitoring services for people impacted by a security breach.

These are just a few of the exposures you may have in your own home. Do you or your family members meet any of the above?

There are some ways to protect you from these exposures. Most property insurance carriers offer some type of coverage under your home, condo, tenant or dwelling fire (non-owner occupied) policies. Some of the coverages we mention may be added as a separate endorsement to your policy or may be available in package endorsements as well. These include, but may not be limited to, Personal Injury Protection, Identity Fraud coverage and Personal Umbrella coverage.

Contact us at 888-850-9400 to discuss your options and insure you have the right coverages in place.

Personal Auto vs. Commercial Auto when Snow Plowing

November 5, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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The first snowfall of the year has arrived! If you plow during the winter months with your personal vehicle, it is time to get the plowing gear ready. The following information, regarding your Personal Auto policy, may help you determine when you should consider obtaining a Commercial Auto policy:

Under a personal auto policy:

  • If you are plowing for a fee, your personal auto policy should be endorsed to Business Use to avoid issues at the time of a claim due to business use exclusions. The cost to add this endorsement is relatively small.
  • You should provide a receipt or documentation stating the value of the plow and hitching equipment so the policy can include it in the Physical Damage coverage. Otherwise, the cost of the plowing equipment would not be included in a claim should you report a loss.
  • A personal auto policy does NOT offer any Completed Operations coverage. This coverage responds in cases where someone files a claim from an incident (i.e. slip and fall injuries) after hired snow removal is completed.

When you need a commercial auto policy:

  • When you are required to carry Combined Single Limits.
  • When you are required to list an Additional Named Insured on the policy.
  • When you are required to produce a Federal Motor Carrier Service Association Filing.
  • When you need Completed Operations coverage. We suggest that if you are plowing for others you always carry Completed Operations coverage.

Call us at 888.850.9400 ~ we can help you protect your business investment to the fullest extent possible.

New Optional Insurance Coverages for Homeowners

October 22, 2014 at 10:12 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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Many insurance companies are starting to offer additional coverage options to their insureds that are not included in a standard homeowner insurance policy. The following are examples are a few of the valuable coverages that can be added to your policy for an additional cost:

Equipment Breakdown – provides coverage for damage to major equipment (i.e. heating systems, coolant systems, electrical equipment, and major appliances) in the home caused by mechanical, electrical, or pressure system breakdown.

Assisted Living Care Coverage – provides coverage for insured with relatives residing in an assisted living care facility or nursing home. Protection includes personal property, personal liability, and additional living expenses.

Service Line Coverage – provides coverage for loss or damage resulting from a service line failure. Service line consists of underground piping and wiring that is located at the residence and provides a service such as delivering water or power to the dwelling or other structure from a utility or private water supply.

If you are interested, and want to discuss which additional options best fit your needs, call us at 888.850.9400 to review your homeowners policy.

Furnace “Puff Back” Q&A

October 15, 2014 at 1:03 PM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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What is a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” is an explosion in the burner chamber of a furnace or boiler. If you have forced hot air you have a furnace, and if you have forced hot water you have a boiler. These explosions are usually small and confined to the burner chamber but they can cause quite a bit of damage to the heating system. Most “Puff Backs” occur in oil-fired heating systems. In a system fueled with gas, the explosion is usually bigger and more damaging.

What causes a “Puff Back”?
A “Puff Back” may have many causes but is always traced to a lack of maintenance or a failure to make needed repairs. Having your heating system cleaned and inspected annually to help you avoid problems.

What damage can a “Puff Back” cause?
A “Puff Back” can result in major damage by sending soot and smoke throughout the house. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture, and curtains become coated with a fine film of soot and smoke. The damage is usually worse with a forced hot air heating system or central air conditioning because the duct work provides a path through the house allowing the soot and smoke to reach more areas.

What do I do if this happens to me?
If you have a “Puff Back”, report it to your insurance agent and contact a professional cleaning company to begin clean up. Soot and smoke can create quite a mess and be very hard to clean up. Special techniques and materials are usually required to avoid leaving greasy smears. In severe cases, furniture and carpeting may need to be replaced.

Am I covered under my homeowner policy?
Your homeowner policy will usually cover damage to your home and contents caused by a puff back. If a puff back occurs, we recommend that you do not attempt to clean it yourself. Using standard cleaning products could cause further damage and may not get rid of the oil residue and odors. The cost of hiring a professional cleaning company would be covered as part of the claim.

If you have any questions on puff backs or how your policy will respond, call us at 888-850-9400.

Schedule your furnace to be cleaned before the cold weather takes hold to avoid the chances of a “Puff Back” in your home.

The Real Value of a Renters Policy

October 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM | Posted in Home, Renters | Leave a comment
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Winter is coming quick and if you rent, you can’t afford to be without Renters insurance. A renters policy costs as little as $4.00 a week and the benefits of the policy far outweigh this cost. A renters policy includes the following valuable coverage in the event of a loss such as fire, theft, vandalism or water damage:

Contents Coverage: Not only will a renters policy replace your belongings but it will provide you with an immediate relief check after a major loss to replace essential items and restore family basics (i.e. clothing, identification cards, keys etc…) so you can return to your work or school routines quickly. Without a renters policy in place you would have to seek help from friends, family and government organizations.

Loss of Use Coverage: It pays for the increased expenses to temporarily relocate while repairs are made to the space you rent.

Liability Protection: If you are responsible for someone’s injuries, the liability portion would pay for your legal defense in a lawsuit as well as any judgment made against you up to the limit you choose.

If you are renting, lack of maintenance by your landlord or irresponsible actions by other Tenants in your building can cause you to suffer a loss. You can take control and secure your piece of mind by obtaining a renters policy today!

Auto Discounts for Students

September 3, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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Now that school is back in session, it is a good time to remind you of two important school related discounts that most insurance companies offer on auto insurance:

  1. Good Student discounts: A full-time high school or college student with a 3.0 or B grade point average may be eligible for up to a 10% discount on the vehicle they are rated on.
  2. Students Away at School discounts: A full-time student that resides at an accredited school at least 100 miles away from home may be eligible for an additional discount up to 15% on the vehicle they are rated on.

If you have a child in school, these discounts could save you money. Check with your agent to see if your child is eligible.

Protecting Yourself from Tree Damage

August 13, 2014 at 9:24 AM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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These mild summer days are actually the best time to prepare for the coming storm seasons. If you have trees on your property, you may want to be aware that falling trees and limbs are very common causes of property damage, personal injury, and sometimes death. Windstorms, ice storms, and snow storms can bring even the healthiest tree crashing down. Heavy rains can saturate the ground causing trees to uproot and fall. In addition, trees with large roots can damage septic systems, foundations, utility lines, and sidewalks.

The following signs may require special attention:

  • Trees that are hollow or have cracks in the trunk and major limbs
  • Trees that are decaying or have mushrooms growing from the bark
  • Branches hanging over a roof or that directly contact a roof, siding, or power lines
  • Trees with V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped forks may be more likely to split

Most homeowners are able to attend to these conditions by pruning or removing trees themselves, however, it is always best to consult with a licensed tree care specialist.

Not all homeowner insurance policies automatically provide coverage for tree damage and removal of fallen trees. Contact your agent to see what coverage options are available to you before a loss occurs.

College-Bound Coverage

August 6, 2014 at 9:01 AM | Posted in Home, Reminders | Leave a comment
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Sending your child off to college can be a very emotional experience, making it difficult to remember everything that needs to be thought of while worrying about them leaving home. Insurance coverage is one topic that is often forgotten, although it is one of the most important topics. The proper insurance coverage not only protects the student but protects you, the parent as well. If your child is under the age of 24, is a full-time student, and was a resident of your household before moving out to school, some of your home and auto coverage may follow them if they will be living in the dorm.

Covering a student’s actions:
Your homeowner policy provides coverage for bodily injury or property damage that is caused by your child accidentally. Intentional acts are not covered. This only applies if they are in the dorm. This may be a good time to consider an umbrella policy to obtain additional liability coverage.

Covering a student’s belongings:
Your homeowner policy provides coverage up to 10% of your contents coverage for their belongings while away from your premises. This may NOT apply if they are living in an off campus apartment or fraternity or sorority house.  When it comes to electronic devices such as laptops and computers, you may want to specifically schedule these items.

If your child will be living off campus, they would want to purchase a tenant policy to protect their personal items and receive liability coverage. Some landlords are now requiring that they be listed on a tenant policy so they will be notified if it cancels during the year.

Covering student autos or driving liability: When your child takes a car to school, be sure they are listed as the primary operator and that you have notified your insurance agent of the town the vehicle will be garaged during the school year. Make sure your child knows not to let anyone else drive the vehicle, as this would negate any available coverage in the event of a loss.

If your student is not taking a car to school and there is a chance they may drive someone else’s vehicle, make sure you leave them on your policy as a rated operator. Should they be in an accident, your auto policy will provide them some coverage if the owner of the other vehicle did not carry enough liability coverage. There may also be discounts available to students away at school.

There are so many issues to consider as you help your child leave for college. Call us at 888-850-9400 and we can help you arrange for any insurance coverage needed before they go.

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