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Learn more about how insurance really works.
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Most fires are devastating. Besides the emotional impact, the physical damage to your home can be significant. If you lost your home to fire, do you have adequate insurance to replace your home and its contents? Remember, inflation rates on building materials and construction costs rarely track with real estate values. As a result, rebuilding a home can often cost significantly more than expected.
Make sure your homeowners policy contains replacement cost coverage with no cap. This protects you if the cost to reconstruct your home is higher than your current limit of coverage. And, be sure that your insurance includes rebuilding your home to code. Very often, local ordinances and building codes change over time, which may require additional costs.
When your home suffers damage due to an unexpected event, your personal property is also at risk. Furniture, appliances, clothing, electronics, and other personal items can also be damaged or destroyed.
Your homeowners insurance policy typically covers personal property, including the contents of your home and other personal items owned by you or family members who live with you. Make sure your homeowners policy includes replacement cost coverage for personal property so that you always receive the full cost to replace whatever item is damaged.
When there is substantial damage to your home due to unexpected events such as lightning, fire, or a storm, you may not be able to live in your home until it can be repaired or rebuilt–potentially incurring additional living expenses for lodging, food, and other daily needs.
Ensure that your homeowners insurance policy provides additional living expense or loss of use coverage to compensate you for the additional costs you incur for reasonable housing and living expenses if a covered event makes your house temporarily uninhabitable while it's being repaired or rebuilt.
Typically, there is a sublimit on homeowner insurance policies for valuable possessions, such as jewelry, furs, fine arts, and other collectibles.
Obtain a personal floater or schedule your valuable possessions to ensure you’ll have the money to replace them.
If a guest is injured while on your property, even when it’s due to a friendly game of baseball, you may be required to pay any medical expenses associated with their injury.
Your homeowners policy should include medical expenses coverage to take care of injuries and treatment - generally not of a serious nature. In the event a person is injured on your property and requires medical attention, you would be able to submit the injury-related medical expenses to your insurance carrier. Medical expenses are usually paid without a liability claim being filed against you.
In the unfortunate event that someone slips and falls while on your property, you and your family may be held liable for any injuries that result.
Your homeowners policy includes personal liability coverage to respond to incidents where injuries or damages occur to a third party where you may be deemed negligent. However, you should consider purchasing a personal umbrella or excess liability policy to provide additional coverage limits to protect your assets in case a lawsuit is brought against you.
The fun that comes with having a trampoline in your backyard can also be accompanied by serious risks, which may not be covered under your standard homeowners insurance policy since coverage varies from state to state and between insurance companies.
You should make sure your homeowners insurance policy covers your trampoline, as many insurance providers refuse to take on trampoline liability and exclude the item from coverage.
Young people are usually very active online. However, using social media and other sites can increase the possibility of them directly or indirectly damaging someone's reputation and exposing you, the parent, to a lawsuit.
Your homeowners insurance policy includes liability coverage for property damage caused by any member in the family, but likely does not cover rumors or statements that damage a reputation. You may need to seek additional coverage to include liability protection that covers personal injury or defamation.
You invite guests over for a pool party and one of your guests dives into the shallow end of the pool and is permanently injured. They hire a lawyer to represent them and after a long legal battle, you and your family are left financially responsible for their injuries. Do you have enough money in savings to cover your legal responsibilities as well as the legal defense costs?
An umbrella or excess liability policy increases your personal liability limits by adding protection over and above your current auto, boat, or homeowners policies-providing real financial value, as well as priceless peace of mind. Excess liability insurance is available either by an endorsement to your homeowners policy or available as separate coverage.
You do not have to live near a body of water to suffer loss due to flooding. With the changing weather patterns and more damaging storms occurring around the globe, flood losses are becoming more common in places that are not normally prone to flood damage. Your homeowners policy does not cover damage from flood. Could your home be at risk?
Purchase a flood insurance policy to protect your home and covered contents from certain types of flood losses as designated by the National Flood Insurance Program. A flood policy is purchased as a separate policy through the federal program (NFIP) or through a servicing carrier known as a write your own carrier.
Owning a secondary home has the potential of increasing your liability exposures.
Be certain that you extend the liability coverage under your homeowners policy to include your secondary home. You should also consider including the secondary home under an excess liability or umbrella policy to provide for additional liability limits.
Collector or classic vehicles often have significant value and require special documentation and unique insurance coverage to ensure they are adequately protected. Even if stored on your property, they are typically not covered under your homeowners insurance.
Insure your collector cars with a specialized insurance company that focuses on and understands the unique nature of collector or classic cars and other vehicles.
If you are a connoisseur of wine, you know that it is susceptible to outside environmental exposures that can ruin it. If the collection is damaged, coverage from your homeowners policy is a possible recourse. However, the damage is only insurable if it is a covered cause of loss as outlined in your homeowners policy. A deductible would also apply.
If you have a sizable wine collection, you may want to consider scheduling the collection on your homeowners policy. Doing so expands your coverage and eliminates the deductible in case of a loss. You can also consider unique coverages for wine, such as for spoilage.
Whether entering from outside your home from a flood or from within your home’s plumbing system, water damage is the most common cause of loss to a home. Many policies exclude losses caused by backup of sewers and drains, and all unendorsed homeowner policies exclude damage caused by a flood.
Careful review is essential to protect your home and belongings from all sources of water damage. We recommend coverage solutions from insurance companies that include backup of sewers and drains. Also, identify cost efficient solutions to address the risk of flood damage in the first place.
Surprisingly, standard auto insurance does not cover personal property or contents stolen from your car.
Most homeowners policies offer an option to include off-premises theft coverage as an endorsement, which covers you for theft of your personal property away from your residence.
It’s easy to get distracted while driving. All it takes is an incoming text message, a fussy baby, or changing the radio station and your eyes are off the road long enough to crash into the slowing vehicle in front of you. As an owner/operator of the vehicle, you may be held financially responsible for any bodily injuries caused as a result of the accident.
Bodily injury liability covers your legal liability for a covered accident that involves injury to another person, up to the limit of liability you select. Purchase enough coverage to protect your assets should a claim be brought against you or if you are sued. You should also consider purchasing an excess liability policy which may provide additional limits of liability.
When involved in an auto accident, you and your family may be financially responsible for any damage caused by your vehicle to someone else's property. The amount required, if any, can vary by state.
The property damage portion of your auto insurance policy protects you if your car damages someone else's property, such as another car, a fence, or a building. In some instances, you may be able to choose your coverage limit, or it may be a standard amount dictated by the insurer or local laws.
Depending on the severity of the injuries suffered in an automobile accident, whether caused by you or by the other vehicle, it's not uncommon for healthcare costs to run into the thousands of dollars, with a large portion being out-of-pocket expenses not covered by your health plan.
Medical payments coverage or Personal Injury Protection, depending on where you live, can help cover some medical expenses and funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident. The exact requirements, limits, and coverage can vary by state, so it's important to understand what's required where you live.
What happens when the driver who hit you doesn't have enough liability coverage? Or, even worse, they take off? Research has shown that this happens more than you might expect. If you’re in a collision with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, you can be left to pay out-of-pocket for damages and medical expenses not covered by the other driver.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist damage coverage may compensate you for bodily injury and lost wages caused by an uninsured motorist, a hit-and-run driver, a driver whose automobile insurance company is insolvent, or a driver who has not purchased enough coverage to pay for damages.
Your automobile can be a fairly costly investment – one that is exposed to many potential losses caused by weather related events, theft, and other circumstances that may be out of your control.
Physical damage coverage can protect your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident (collision coverage), is damaged by something other than a collision (comprehensive coverage) with a vehicle or object or if your vehicle is stolen. This coverage is optional if your vehicle is paid in full, but it is coverage you should consider if you want to fully protect your vehicle.
When your vehicle is being repaired or replaced due to a covered loss, you may have to rent a vehicle to get you to and from your daily responsibilities without any interruption. Vehicle rental can get expensive, especially over an extended period of time.
Rental coverage/ loss of use is an inexpensive option you can add to your auto insurance policy to pay for the cost to rent a temporary replacement vehicle or the cost of public or private transportation if your vehicle is ever in an accident. This coverage is available in a variety of daily limits.
Condo and co-op associations may face severe financial consequences from property loss due to fire, wind, or other causes.
Commercial property insurance should provide coverage for damage to the building, personal property owned by the association, and income lost due to a covered cause of loss.
Condo and co-op associations are susceptible to many risks, such as claims due to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and more. The association could also face lawsuits from claims associated with common areas such as hallways, stairwells, swimming pools, and parking areas.
General liability insurance is an absolute necessity for any association. It provides coverage for legal fees and judgments when the association is named in a covered lawsuit.
Crime and fidelity bond insurance is designed to provide coverage to cooperative and condominium associations to protect them from theft of funds or association-owned personal property by an employee, board member and in some cases, the property management firm.
Crime and fidelity coverage is designed to provide coverage for employee dishonesty, forgery and alteration, computer fraud, counterfeiting, and more.
With technology performing many tasks in today's world, a breakdown can cause a significant financial burden, including the cost to repair the equipment and any resulting lost income or extra expenses.
Comprehensive coverage provides protection against equipment mechanical breakdown for machinery such as heating and cooling equipment and elevator motors.
Directors and officers (such as board members) can be held accountable for decisions they make in the performance of their duties. Any resulting lawsuits are typically expensive to defend and can result in potentially large settlements.
Directors and officers liability insurance provides coverage for the legal costs to defend a covered lawsuit and may also provide the money necessary for any resulting judgments.
What happens when your condo or co-op building faces a large liability loss that exceeds the basic limit of your standard policy?
A commercial umbrella policy will provide extra coverage over and above general liability, directors and officers liability, auto liability, and employers liability policies. Limits start at $1,000,000 and go as high as $200,000,000.
Technology has spun a whole new web of liability exposures including the need for protection of privacy, data, and financial information for your association residents. Breach of their data can result in costly fees and lawsuits for the association if held liable.
Cyber liability coverage covers fees and lawsuits resulting from the breach of personal data, assuming that the association is liable.
Pollutant clean-up is generally excluded from the basic policies. Leaking of a fuel tank can be very costly to remediate.
Environmental insurance provides coverage for clean-up costs and third party lawsuits as a result of a leak from the tank or related pipes.
Typically the policies for the association exclude coverage for the sponsor or holder of unsold shares for the interior of the units they own.
A policy should be maintained to provide coverage for what you are responsible for within the unit, as well as any lost income and lawsuits resulting from acts within the unit.