Posts Tagged ‘insurance policy’
Consider this real-life example where there was a gap in coverage:
An employee used his company car on a family vacation. There was a serious accident where a fatality was involved. The commercial auto policy did not cover personal use of the auto. The employee’s personal policy did not cover anything because he didn’t have the extended non-owned endorsement. The employee was sued personally by the family of the deceased.
If you drive a company car, you may want to be sure you are properly insured in the event of an accident. A Non‐Owners policy gives you personal liability and uninsured coverage which protects you individually.
Ask yourself the following:
- Do you drive a company car? If so, how does your company’s commercial auto policy respond if you are named individually in a law suit from an auto accident?
- Are you, your spouse, and/or your children allowed to use your company car for personal use?
- Let’s say you drive a company vehicle, rent a car on vacation, and you are involved in an accident. How would your company’s commercial auto policy respond if you are named in a law suit from an accident?
- Do you ever borrow a friend’s car? If so, have you thought about their liability limits? What if your friend’s insurance company does not cover you as an unlisted driver?
- oes your child at college have a friend’s car available for their “regular” use?
If the answer to any of the above questions is “Yes,” then you may need a non‐owned auto policy to provide coverage in the above situations. Other benefits of a non‐owned insurance policy include:
- If you decide to purchase a car in the future, your new carrier may choose to surcharge you at first for having no prior coverage if you are without this policy. If you carry liability on a non‐owners policy, you could avoid paying higher insurance premiums for your personal auto insurance.
- You may qualify for a discount on your homeowner’s policy if you have a Non‐Owned policy with the same insurance company.
- If you have an Umbrella policy, it will work with the Non‐Owners policy. This means you would have an additional $1,000,000 or more of protection.
If you drive a company car and your spouse drives a personally owned car, there is another solution for you. In this case, you can purchase an endorsement called “Extended Non‐Owned”. It’s fairly inexpensive and offers the same type of protection a Non‐Owned policy would give you.
Contact us at 288-9513 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see how easy it is to put a Non‐Owners policy in place or to add Extended Non‐Owned to your personal policy. The premiums are reasonable and you may even save money on your homeowner’s insurance by qualifying for an account discount.
Do terms like liability, comprehensive coverage, and underinsured seem like a foreign language to you? If so, you are not alone.
Julie Turner, wife of Ross, loves to tell the story of when Ross first reviewed her auto insurance policy back in 1989. Both were single at the time, and Julie’s insurance bill was due. Ross looked at the policy and couldn’t believe his eyes.
Julie had the minimum limits and very little coverage – on her brand new 1988 Honda Accord! When he asked her why, she said she had called an 800 number and asked for the best price. She had no idea that her policy would not have paid enough if she had been in an accident. Suffice it to say, Ross eventually became her insurance agent and her husband… and in that order!
It’s important to understand your automobile insurance coverage, even though it can seem complicated. Take a moment to review these key auto insurance terms:
Liability Insurance – Reimburses others for injury, damages or losses caused by your driving or your car. There are two types:
*Bodily Injury Liability – In a car crash where you’re at fault, bodily injury liability will provide compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and related expenses resulting from injury or death. We can help you determine the right amount of coverage, based on whether you own a home and other substantial assets that could be at risk in a lawsuit.
*Property Damage Liability – This coverage will pay to repair or replace things you damage in an accident other than your own car. Again, it’s best to consider your personal situation.
Collision Insurance – Covers the replacement or repair of your car, regardless of who is at fault in the accident, even if you are hit while parked or hit by an unknown car or object. If you have a car loan, you are required to have collision protection. On the other hand, if your older car’s value rises and falls based on the gas in its tank, you may consider dropping collision coverage.
Comprehensive Insurance – Protects against damage to your car that does not involve a collision. For example, fire, theft, hail, flood, windstorm, flying objects or animals. It’s likely required if you’re paying a car loan, but optional if you own an older car that’s not worth much.
Medical Payments Coverage – Pays for physicians, hospital bills, continuing care, funeral costs and compensation for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. If you have adequate health insurance, you may not need this optional coverage, but it can pay expenses your health insurance may not cover.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage – Covers you, and members of your household, for losses in an accident with a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has no car insurance or not enough car insurance.
And remember, we love questions! We are happy to walk through and explain your policy at any time.
|The holidays are a popular time of year to travel – whether it’s to visit family and friends, relax on the beach, or hit the slopes – but taking a vacation during this time of year often means hauling a lot of extra luggage, such as skis, golf clubs, and holiday gifts. The chance of your luggage getting lost or stolen isn’t high – less than one percent of travelers reported mishandled luggage, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2009 Air Travel Consumer Report. Yet baggage-handling accidents and thefts do happen, which is why it’s important to have the proper insurance in place before your depart for your destination.
Fortunately, if you already have a homeowner’s renter’s insurance policy in place, you’re probably covered if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during travel. Most homeowner’s (and renter’s) insurance policies cover any property you own anywhere in the world. While most policies offer protection for your belongings regardless of your location, you may need to purchase additional coverage in the form of a floater or endorsement to your policy if you’re taking valuables, such as jewelry, gifts, or sporting equipment, that may have limited coverage under your policy. If you’re unsure about your policy limits, The Turner Agency or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can determine if you have the right coverage to protect your luggage and provide you with additional coverage options if needed.
If the worst-case scenario happens and your luggage is lost or damaged, most domestic flights do have a baggage reimbursement limit of $3,300 per person. (The limit varies for international flights based on your destination.) You may need to submit proof, such as receipts, photos, or electronic records, of the current value for the lost items in order to get reimbursed by the airline. It’s also important to remember that the airline will only pay you for the current value of a lost item, not the original price you paid for the item. Many airlines do offer “excess value” protection if your luggage is worth more than the limits, however, you probably don’t need the coverage if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers your bags.
Another important consideration is that most airlines have a list of items they will not cover if lost or stolen, such as money and jewelry. So, if you’re worried about something of high monetary or sentimental value going MIA during a trip, it’s probably best to leave it at home or stow it in your carry-on.
If you’re unsure of what your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers, don’t hesitate to contactus or your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent who will be happy to review your policy and answer any of your questions. Safe travels!
In the midst of the festive and hectic holiday atmosphere, it is easy to forget the serious responsibility involved with hosting a party at your home or business. In many states, individuals and employers hosting holiday parties can be held liable in cases where a guest or third party is injured in an accident related to alcohol consumption at your event. Hosts have been held responsible for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work, and even wrongful death.
Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents such as The Turner Agency recommend that those planning to host holiday parties this year review their homeowners, renter’s or comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policy and ensure they have adequate liability coverage if sued and found liable for the actions of a guest who drank at their home or business. While all holiday partygoers and hosts alike should be responsible and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be eliminated entirely. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense.
Liability Coverage Tips:
• If hosting a holiday party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to provide them protection if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank at their home.
• Employers need to make sure that their comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy provides them coverage for third-party liquor liability policy before hosting that holiday office party.
• Charging employees for alcoholic beverages in the home or office may not always be the best solution for business parties. It is important for businesses to remember that once they charge a fee for alcohol, they have technically entered the alcohol sales business, even if only for one night. That carries with it requirements for a liquor license and an array of special liability protection needs. It by no means lets these employers off the hook.”
• Purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy—that can provide $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit offered by a standard homeowners or renters policy—may be a prudent move for the frequent party host. This type of coverage can cost as little as $125 a year.
Party Host Safety Tips:
• Limit guest list to those you know.
• Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
• Schedule activities or entertainment not involving alcohol. If the party centers around drinking, it is likely that guests will drink more.
• Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home.
• Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end.
• Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
• Review your insurance policy with us or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent before the event to ensure proper liability coverage.
• Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discretely monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
• Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many people will celebrate the holiday by giving back to their community. Volunteering time or services to a company or non-profit organization may be a selfless act of generosity, but these acts of goodwill can also expose volunteers to possible lawsuits if they are making decisions on behalf of the organizations or company. Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate the exposure to lawsuits and continue lending a hand.
A directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy protects directors and officers from liability risks associated with working or volunteering on the board of an organization or company. These risks can include negligent acts or omissions, antitrust violations, wrongful termination, libel and slander, and misleading statements that result in a lawsuit against the company. Whether you’re working or volunteering as a director or officer, it’s important to make sure you’re protected from these risks with a D&O policy.
Directors and officers can be sued by the company or organization they work or volunteer for or by other current or former directors and officers, employees, shareholders, investors, lenders, vendors, customers, competitors, various government officials, such as state attorney generals, the IRS and state and federal labor departments, consumer groups and numerous other third parties. While the entities that can sue a board member are numerous, the situations in which lawsuits can be filed are limitless. Here are just a few examples of real D&O claims from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America:
* A minority shareholder in a family-owned electrical contracting business sued the two major shareholders on behalf of the company, claiming they breached their fiduciary duties. The minority shareholder claimed that the majority shareholders, by drawing excessively large salaries and bonuses, caused the company to lose money. The court ruled in favor of the majority shareholders, but the defense costs amounted to six figures.
* A mid-sized manufacturing firm hired an employee away from one of its competitors, bringing the person on as an officer. A year later, that new officer’s ex-employer sued the officer and his new firm, alleging that the officer misappropriated trade secrets and violated certain provisions of his termination agreement.
*The plaintiff filed a complaint against their competitor alleging that a former employee, now working at the competition, engaged in unauthorized use of confidential and proprietary information and committed other acts of unfair competition. As a result, the plaintiff alleged it has suffered irreparable and immediate injury. In addition, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant has possession of its confidential information and intellectual property.
There are several types of D&O insurance that can protect individuals from these situations. These coverages include corporate reimbursement coverage, which protects directors and officers of a company or organization; side-A coverage for directors and officers who are not indemnified by a firm; and entity coverage for protection against claims made against a company.
D&O policies can also be written to include coverage for employment practices liability for protection against lawsuits for wrongfully terminating an employee or sexual harassment.
Before you start working or volunteering in a director or officer capacity, you should check with the company or organization to make sure it has a D&O insurance policy in place. If you’re serving on a board and you’re unsure about whether you’re protected, contact us or a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to answer any questions you have about coverage and risk exposure.www.turneragencyinc.com
Independent insurance agents like The Turner Agency not only advise clients about insurance, but they’re disaster readiness consultants. We recommend meeting with a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent who can consult with you in assessing your risks and ensuring that you, your family and your home are prepared in the event of a disaster.
A good way to begin your planning process is to gather as much information as you can. There are numerous resources available to guide you through the process of getting your household prepared to deal with a disaster. Here are some disaster-specific readiness and recovery tips for consumers to get started:
on all your other insurance coverages.
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From The Personal Lines Team
Sixty years ago, when the 1950 census data was released, it showed that 8 in 10 households were occupied by married couples. Fifty years later, the 2000 census data showed that number had declined to just over 50%, signifying a change in the typical American household. Almost half of households were occupied by a single individual, roommates or unmarried couples (the 2010 census data is still in the process of being made public).
If you are in the “living together but not married” category, you should pay close attention to the language in your home and auto insurance policies that specifies which individuals are covered—in insurance terms, the “insureds.”
Most standard home insurance policies restrict coverage to a “named insured”—the individual person(s) named on the policy and his or her resident spouse. The policy then extends coverage to “resident relatives,” a term referring to individuals related to the named insured by blood, marriage or adoption (or someone under 21 in your care, such as a foster child) who are residents of the named insured’s household.
This means that a home insurance company has no obligation to cover a non-insured’s liability or to defend that person in a lawsuit alleging liability.
Consider this scenario: A girlfriend and her teenage son move in with the woman’s boyfriend. The son seriously injures another child in a tackle football game at the park down the street. That child’s parents file a suit against the mother/girlfriend.
Unless she has her own separate insurance policy (such as a “renters” insurance policy) or has been added as a named insured on the home insurance policy (which most insurance companies won’t do if she isn’t a relative), she has no coverage.
The problem doesn’t stop with liability. Chances are the girlfriend and her son will also move some of their personal property in with them, but clothes, electronics, school supplies and whatever else belongs to them may not be covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy either. Most policies exclude coverage for personal property that is owned by roomers, boarders or tenants. This personal property exclusion is another reason why a renter’s insurance policy is essential for non-insured roommates.
The auto policy also has a “named insured” which includes the individual listed on the policy and his or her spouse. The insured on an auto policy varies depending on the coverage. For example, liability, medical payments, and uninsured motorist coverage each have their own definitions of “insured.”
Say an adult boyfriend and girlfriend each have a car and their own personal auto insurance policies. One has high limits of liability on their policy, maybe $100,000, and the other has lower limits, like $25,000.
Let’s look at liability coverage in this scenario. This section of the policy covers the “named insured” and “family members” for liability arising out of the use of any auto. It also considers any other person an “insured” while that person is occupying a car (with permission) that is insured under your policy.
Dig deeper, however, and you’ll see that the policy excludes coverage while the “named insured” or “family member” is operating a vehicle that is furnished or available for regular use.
If the girlfriend is driving the boyfriend’s car and gets into an accident causing injuries, his auto insurer would pay up to the policy limits—in this case, $25,000. Unfortunately this may not be enough money to cover the full liability if the injuries are severe, and the liability policy with $100,000 limit might not be available as a fallback, even though it covers the driver for the use of any auto. That’s because the driver’s insurer can argue that this car is available for the driver’s regular use since the car owner and driver live together and that, under that circumstance, coverage is excluded by the policy language.
The good news is that these scenarios have solutions that we are ready to discuss with you. Call us today!
by Ross Turner
If you live in a home in a developed area or subdivision, there’s a reasonable chance that you are a member of a homeowner’s association. The same is true if your pad is a condominium.
Association membership has its benefits. In return, members of the association are sometimes asked to contribute funds to help maintain the integrity/value of the common elements. Those common elements—a garage or clubhouse, for example—are those items of property commonly owned by all members. “Asked” may be too soft a word—such contributions usually are collected through mandatory assessments.
What are some things for which you as an association member can receive an assessment? Good question. The answer is typically found in association bylaws. In some states, laws will have something to say about the extent an assessment can be charged and for what it can be charged. However, such statutes do not exist everywhere.
Here’s another question: If you receive an assessment from your home or condo association, will your home or condo insurance policy help you pay for it?
The answer, well, depends.
Most home and condo insurance policies have very similar language in how they address coverage for loss assessment. There are a few things you will need to know before coverage can be determined.
What Caused the Assessment?
The home or condo policy only will kick in to pay an assessment that is charged to you for a reason that would be covered by your insurance. For example, if the assessment were charged to help cover the cost of damage to the clubhouse caused by a fire, your policy would pay due to the fact that fire is a covered loss under your policy. However, if earth movement damaged the same building, your policy would not pay if earth movement is not a covered loss under your policy.
If an assessment is charged to cover the cost of painting the exterior of the clubhouse simply because the association decided it was time to paint, your coverage would not kick in due to the fact that there has been no covered loss.
Assessments are not only charged to cover claims of damage to common elements. Members also may be assessed for claims of bodily injury or property damage against the association’s master policy. For example:
A guest suffers a permanent head injury after slipping on a damaged walkway. The bodily injury claim against the association is $1.5 million. The association’s policy will cover the injury up to its policy limit of $1 million. The association assesses its members to cover the remaining $500,000.
In this example, your insurance policy would kick in to help pay the assessment. Why? Bodily injury is covered by your policy.
Which Policy Covers the Assessment?
Your home/condo policy says that it will only pay the cost of assessments that are charged during the policy period. This is important to note because it’s possible that the actual assessment may not be charged until months after the loss causing the damage occurred. For example, say the hurricane happens in August, when Company X insures you. In September, you switch your coverage to Company Y. The assessment for the portion of the hurricane damage that isn’t covered by the association’s master policy arrives in October. Company Y’s policy would kick in as it was in effect when the assessment was charged.
How Much Will My Home or Condo Policy Pay?
Most policies are issued with a limit of $1,000 to cover loss assessments. This limit is the most your policy will pay for a single loss, regardless of how many assessments are charged for it. For example, if the clubhouse is damaged by a hurricane, it’s possible that members may be assessed first to cover the cost of the association master policy’s deductible—and again to cover the cost of the repair that exceeds that policy’s limit of insurance. Since both assessments are charged due to the same hurricane, the total paid by your insurance would not exceed $1,000.
That $1,000 Seems Too Low. Can I Increase My Assessment Coverage?
Yes. Most home and condo insurance companies offer you the opportunity to add more coverage for loss assessments. It’s important to know that while the dollar amount may be increased, the terms of the policy still apply (i.e. you will still need the assessment to be charged due to a covered loss).
If you choose to purchase additional assessment coverage, proceed with caution. Most loss assessment endorsements will still only allow you a maximum limit of $1,000 if the purpose of the assessment is to cover the master policy’s deductible.
Loss assessments can be expensive. Having the right home or condo insurance policy to help cover some of the cost could save you big bucks. For more information, call The Turner Agency today at 288-9513.