renters insurance

What is Rental Insurance and Do College Students Need It?

It is that time of year where college students are heading back to class. For many new college students this is their first time away from home. This is an exciting time, and also a time to learn new life lessons. Now that you are officially an adult, it is the time to learn about adult responsibility. Insurance. Every adult is responsible for some type of insurance, such as health, life, auto, and homeowners or rental insurance. Many college students are unaware that they need insurance since they are renting. The truth is, they do. Let’s learn more.

What is Rental Insurance?

Rental insurance is like homeowners insurance, but for renters. It covers lost, stolen, or damaged possessions. It  covers accidents and injuries for guests at your home. It also covers additional expenses if your rental is damaged and is unlivable.  There are limits to the coverage amounts for these, so speak with your agent to learn more.

What if Your Stuff is Lost, Damaged, or Stolen?

While many students think about their college experience as being a fun experience, there are things that can go wrong. For instance, your rental could be damaged from a storm or a fire. Unfortunately, these things are common and can be devastating. Imagine how much it would cost for new clothes, a tv, a phone, furniture, and a computer. That could easily be thousands. Your rental insurance with pay for those items up to the limits of the policy.

Another very common, unfortunate event is theft. Imagine you come home to find your brand-new electronics are missing. That new expensive laptop you just got for school is gone. How will you do homework without a computer? This is where your rental insurance kicks in. They will pay out up to the limits of the policy.

What if there is an injury at your home?

Imagine you are having a party or a study session at your home and a glass is dropped and your guest gets an injury that requires stitches. Maybe a guest trips and breaks their leg. This can happen to anyone. Who is responsible for the ER trip? You very well could be. A trip to the ER can be very expensive. Your rental insurance can pay for their medical bills. If that guest decides to sue you, your insurance will help with your lawyer fees, up to the limit of your policy.

If Your Rental Is Uninhabitable, Where Will You Go?

If you can’t live in your rental even for a few days, you may have to go to a hotel. On average, a regular hotel costs about $130 per night. It won’t take long for that to pile up. Also, your food budget may increase if you don’t have a kitchen. You will be forced to eat out. Rental insurance takes care of the additional expenses that you will incur from being displaced. Again, your policy will cover up to the terms you’ve selected.

As you can see, rental insurance is very important. Without it you could be on the hook for any expenses from theft, damage, or injury which can result in a huge bill. For more information speak with your insurance agent to find the best policy for you.

trampoline covered by insurance?

Is Your Pool, Trampoline, and Playground Equipment Covered?

Summer is the perfect time to spend time outside. Memorial Day and the 4th of July are huge celebrations for Americans. They are usually spent outside grilling and playing. Are you protected by your insurance company if an accident occurs? Let’s take a look at some fun, but potentially risky toys.

Pools, trampolines, and playground equipment are staples in many backyards. During the summer, kids will spend a majority of their time playing in or on them. They may even have friends over to enjoy them. Pools, trampolines, and playgrounds are fun, but can be very dangerous. One missed landing on a trampoline can result in broken bones. One slip off the monkey bars can cause a broken arm. A mishap in a pool can be deadly. These accidents are common. What happens if this happens in your backyard? You may be surprised.

Swimming Pool Insurance Coverage

Let’s start with toughest one, the pool. Pools can be a nightmare. Besides the risk of injury, the risk to your yard and home are another aspect that make owning a pool difficult. If your pool gets a leak, it can ruin your yard. If it leaks to your home it can cause flooding in your basement, damage to your foundation, and can damage drywall. If your pool is located near your neighbors house and their home is damaged from your leaky pool, it can create a huge problem.

So, the big question if the pool is covered or not depends on your insurance company and the coverage. Many companies cover pools, but the type of pool, either above ground or in ground, changes the type of coverage. Pools are called an “attractive nuisance”. You are responsible for anyone who enters your pool even if you DID NOT GIVE PERMISSION. To avoid injury put a locked gate around your pool. Before installing a pool or buying a home with a pool, speak to your insurance agent about coverage. Adding a pool to your home can increase your policy.

Trampoline Insurance Coverage

A trampoline is also an “attractive nuisance”. People will flock to a trampoline. Trampoline injuries are one of the most common injuries in children. You are responsible for injuries, like pools, even if you did not give permission for a jumper to be on them. Another interesting aspect of a trampoline is that they can fly. During storms, trampolines that aren’t securely tied down are know leave the backyard. This can cause damage to neighbors homes, cars, landscaping and fences. Before your assemble one in your backyard, learn about the coverage you need and can have. You do not want to be on the hook for trampoline damage. Many policies DO NOT cover trampolines.

Playground Equipment Insurance Coverage

Playground equipment are usually much less risky to insurance companies. Most companies offer coverage for these without a huge change in policy.The sturdy wooden sets are heavy and don’t fly, as well as, a trampoline will, so damage is less likely. There isn’t water for someone to drown in and people aren’t typically jumping off them. Most sets have a slide and swings. Even though an injury can happen, it is typically less severe. Always check your policy before adding a playground to your yard.

Don’t Risk It, Call Your Agent!

Before you have family and friends over to enjoy your outdoor toys, call your insurance agent to discuss coverage and what is and isn’t covered. You don’t want your fun toys to ruin you financially if an accident occurs.

watercraft insurance

Summer Is Here, Is Your Watercraft Ready?

Summer has officially kicked off. Kids are out of school, so it’s time for a little fun. The best way to beat the heat is to hit the lake. If you plan to take your boat or jet ski out there are a few things you should know about laws and insurance.

 

Just like operating a car or truck, there are laws that you must follow on the water. Laws and regulations change often, so remember that this is just a guide. Check your state and local laws, as well as, your insurance agent before you go to the lake.

 

Most states have similar laws. Here is a list of common things you should know:

 

You must have life jackets (personal floatation device) for every passenger and it must be the right size. Children under 13 need to wear their PFD at all times

A fire extinguisher must be on board.

You must keep your watercraft below 75 decibels while in operation.

You will need a sound producing device, like a whistle, that can be heard a half mile.

From sunset to sunrise you will need to have a white, red, and green light displayed properly.

Just like in a vehicle on the road, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

 

This is just a small list. Laws are different for different types and sizes of vessels, and the age of the operator and passengers. Be sure to check the laws for your boat.

 

Now that you are aware of some of the laws, another thing to consider is having insurance on your boat. If you have a loan on your boat, you are probably require to insure it.

 

Watercraft insurance is often overlooked, but what happens if there is an accident? Did you hit something with your boat? Did it sink? Did a person get injured? Did your boat get stolen? As always, discuss your coverage and options with your insurance agent.

 

Just like your automobile insurance varies, so does your boat insurance. There are different types of coverage, like liability or full coverage boat insurance.  

 

A few options to consider are coverage for theft, physical damage, trailer coverage, motor coverage, and medical payment coverage. You will want coverage while hauling the boat to the water, as well as, operating it on the water.

 

Call your insurance agent to find the best coverage that fits your needs and your budget.

 

life insurance

What Happens When the Unthinkable Happens?

This is a tough topic. We understand that this isn’t something you want to think about, much less talk about. This is important because this affects all of your family members. Throughout your life you plan for everything. Your entire adult life you have planned for retirement. You have probably allotted money just for that time.  Before you purchase a car, you plan all of the details about the car and if you can afford the expenses. Life insurance in no different. You are making a plan for the future for your loved ones. Let’s take a deeper look into life insurance.

 

Different policies cover different things. For instance, some policies cover suicide, while others don’t. Most of the typical causes for death are covered. An automobile accident, plane crash, skiing accident, illness, heart attack, brain aneurysm, and freak accidents. There may be restrictions on activities, such as, ATVs, motorcycles, rock climbing, and other adventurous activities. Talk with your insurance agent to learn more about coverage.

 

When you set up your policy, you will be asked to choose a beneficiary. This is the person/persons who will receive the life insurance benefits. Your beneficiary can use those funds on college tuition, medical bills, mortgage, and day to day expenses. If you have small children, this will cover their expenses. The same goes for a spouse.

 

Just like homeowner’s and health insurance, there are different rates for different policies, based on the insurance companies level of risk. A life insurance quote considers your life expectancy, age, gender, and health. Before a policy is issued, you will be asked about your health history, as well as, family history, if known. The insurance company may request health records from your doctor and even a medical exam from a doctor of their choice.

 

When you are speaking with your agent about starting a policy, they will ask you questions about the needs of your family and how much you would like to be insured for. The amount that you choose will be factored in with your information about health, medical, and life expectancy before a policy is issued.

 

There are different types of life insurance: term and whole. Term is for a set amount of time. Your policy may be a year, two years, or other terms. Whole life insurance covers your whole life. Your policy isn’t based on a set amount of time, rather your entire life.

 

No matter what your age is, life insurance is a must. Car wrecks, fires, and other accidents happen all of the time. If you have loved ones that rely on you, planning for their future is so important. Call your agent today to discuss options today.

home insurance

5 Tips for Saving Money on Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Home insurance is a must. If you need to reduce your policy without downgrading coverage, there are a few ways to do this. Many of these improvements will reduce your risk and the cost of the policy.

Before you make any upgrades or changes, it is always a good idea to speak with your insurance agent so that you fully understand how the change may impact your premiums.

 

1.Remove older structures

Homeowner’s policies cover all structures on the property. If you have an old shed or building that is not being used and is in bad shape, remove it. Older, dilapidated structures are a safety risk. Removing it decreases the risk. After it is removed, be sure to let your agent know so that they can review your policy for savings. If you can’t remove it, make repairs.

 

2.Home alarms

Smoke detectors are a must. Many insurance companies won’t even insure a home without having working smoke detectors. Another alarm is for burglaries. Many insurance companies will give a discount for having a burglar alarm. This will decrease the risk of a large theft claim.  

 

3.Trampolines and Pools

Trampolines and pools can get expensive. They are responsible for a high number of accidents and claims every year. Most companies will want to know that you have a fence around them, while others may not cover accidents related to those items. It may be best to remove them. If you want to keep them, call your agent for tips regarding insuring them.

 

4.New roof

One of the most expensive aspects of your home is the roof. A poorly built roof can cause so much damage from leaking. A leaky roof can cause damage to walls, electronics, furniture, and so much more. It can even cause mold. Having mold in your home can cause a huge problem and claim. A new roof, while very expensive, can protect your home while saving on your insurance policy.

Obviously, if your roof is leaking you should get it repaired even if it doesn’t lower your insurance premiums!

 

5.New electric

If you have a dated electrical system, it may be time to upgrade. Thousands of house fires every year are caused by faulty electrical systems. GFCI outlets are recommended to add protection. They will kick off; saving you from shock and fire.

Before doing any home improvements to lower your bill, call your agent to see if those improvements will save you money. Not every improvement will get you a discount.

You should also consider the cost of savings vs the cost of updating your home. As tax season is in full swing, you should also talk with your tax advisor to see if any potential home updates can be written off on your taxes, so that you save more than once.

 

Aside from your homeowner’s policy, there are likely ways you could be saving on all of your insurance plans. The best way to know is to consult with your local agent so that they understand your needs, situation, and can uncover ways to help you save.

full coverage insurance

Full Coverage Insurance: What does it mean?

You’ve probably heard the term “full coverage auto insurance”. If you have financed a vehicle, the finance company will require you to have full coverage insurance. What exactly does that mean? You may be surprised to hear that there isn’t exactly a full coverage policy. Full coverage is a combination of solid protection coverage for you and your vehicle. When you tell your insurance agent that you need full coverage, there are a few things that they will put together for you. Let’s take a look at what it all means.

 

Your state requires that you have a minimum of liability coverage. This is to protect both parties. The two types of liability coverage are bodily injury and property damage.

 

Bodily injury will covers medical expenses for another person, if you cause the accident. This will also protect you, if you are sued.

 

Property damage covers damage to someone else’s property, if you cause the accident. This coverage takes care of another vehicle if you cause the accident. This does not cover your vehicle, collision covers that.  

 

Some states require uninsured or underinsured coverage which covers cover your medical expenses. Medical payment coverage and personal injury coverage covers yours and your passengers medical payments up to the maximum limit.

 

Collision coverage is required, by the finance company, if you have financed your vehicle. Why? Because this is what covers your vehicle if damaged. This coverage pays for repair or replacement. Again, there are limitations.

 

Comprehensive is another type of coverage that finance companies require. Imagine a deer jumps in front of your vehicle and you hit it. There isn’t anyone else in that situation that can pay for the expenses, except for you and your insurance company. Damage from hitting a deer can be expensive. You comprehensive insurance will cover this. Also, under this coverage is vandalism, theft, and weather related damage, like hail.

 

Rental vehicle reimbursement pays up to a limit per day, for you to have a rental vehicle, while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced.

 

Having coverage does not mean that your insurance company will cover all of the cost associated with the accident. There are maximum limits that your insurance will cover. This is important to speak with your insurance agent to go over what your maximum limits are. Remember, your state requires minimum coverage, you may want to increase that coverage.

 

These have deductible which you have to pay. Common deductible are $500 or $1000, meaning you pay that portion and the insurance company pays the rest, based on the limits of your policy.

 

Speak to your agent about what type of coverage you can have with your budget. You may be able to play around with the deductible to get the coverage you want with the budget that you have.

jewelry

Lost Jewelry: Does Your Homeowners Policy Cover That?

A homeowner’s insurance policy usually covers fires and storm damage, but does it cover lost or stolen jewelry. What happens if you come home and find that your home has been robbed? What if your rings slips off while swimming in the lake? Are you covered? Let’s take a look at common coverage.

Remember, all policies are different. Be sure to check with your local agent to see what is covered and what is not. This is a good time to increase your coverage, if possible.

Damage & Theft

There are many restrictions that can cause your claim to be denied. Common reasons that jewelry could be lost or damaged, but is most likely covered includes: fire, storms, and damage from a vehicle.  Most homeowners policies only cover jewelry for $1,000-$2,000. That means that if theft occurs and your $30,000 wedding ring is stolen, you will only receive $1,000-$2,000. That is an industry standard. The same goes for fire and storm damage.

Loss

Losing a ring, necklace, or watch is very common. Imagine this, you’ve just got back from a trip and realize that your necklace is gone. You don’t know where you lost it, but it is gone. It could be at the hotel, beach, or the airport.  Say you were swimming in the lake, and you feel your watch slip off. You frantically try to grab it, but it’s gone. What now? In most cases your homeowner’s policy will not cover this.

How to cover lost jewelry or expensive jewelry

Insurance companies usually offer inland marine policies or endorsements you can add for extra coverage. If you’ve lost your engagement ring or your valuable watch, this policy will have it covered. You will need to talk with your agent for the specific details of this policy. For the insurance company to approve this coverage, you will mostly like need an appraisal. If you say you have a $15,000 watch, they will want proof that it is valued at $15,000. This policy also covers theft. As we discussed earlier, if your $30,000 wedding ring is stolen, your homeowner’s policy will only reimburse you $1,000-$2,000. This added policy or endorsement will cover the actual value of the ring, not capping you at $1,000-$2,000.

If you have jewelry that is valued higher than $2,000, it is time to talk to your agent. Tell your agent what jewelry you have and learn what coverage you have. This is the time to talk about theft and lost jewelry. Your agent will be able to give you options. You may need a new policy or an extra endorsement. Find out the criteria you will need for this coverage to start, such as, an appraisal. Loss and theft are very common, so act quickly to get your jewelry adequately covered.

Is Your Home Insured And Ready For The Harsh Winter Months?

There is a chance of snow in the forecast for Marion, IL. Snow can be so beautiful, and oh so damaging. While this round of snow may not be destructive, we are still mid-winter and another round of ice or snow can be damaging. We have already seen freezing temperatures that can cause water lines to freeze. What happens if your pipes do freeze or if next month we have an ice storm? Are you covered?

First, call your agent. All homeowner’s policies are different. It’s important to understand what your policy covers and what it does not. You may find that you need to change your policy to better fit your needs.

Here are a few things that are typically covered (Be sure to check your policy).

  • Roof collapse
    • A roof can collapse because of the weight of ice or snow.
  • Damage to walls and ceiling due to ice damming
    • Ice damming causes damage to walls and ceilings because the water from melting snow or ice cant drain off the roof and leaks into the home.
  • Damaged shingles
    • Just like storms in the Spring and Summer, winds from a Winter storm can damage shingles also.
  • Frozen pipes
    • Burst pipes is a very common claim. When the pipes freeze, it can cause them to burst.

Although these are commonly covered, there are some stipulations that can result in denial

Negligence is a good reason to get your claim denied. Here are a few scenarios that could cause a claim to be denied.

  • Not having trimmed tree limbs
  • Not acting reasonably to protect your property from an impending storm. Leaving windows and doors open and allowing the elements in, either intentionally or unintentionally, could be grounds for denial.
  • Intentionally turning the heat off or too low which caused pipes to freeze and burst
  • Things like not making repairs to a leaky roof, not trimming trees, not removing snow from sidewalks, and not insulating pipes are all things that can result in denial of a claim.

Winter weather comes with many challenges. The best thing you can do is have a conversation with your insurance agent. Your agent can educate you on your coverage and maintenance that needs to be done to keep you from getting a denial. Being prepared is important. During your discussion with your agent, it is good to talk about coverage you have during Spring and Summer. Those seasons are full of nasty, damaging storms. Now is the time to increase coverage if you are not adequately covered.

car

Four Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding to Repair or Replace Your Windshield

There’s a sound that occurs when a rock or pebble hits your windshield that is unique among most sounds. Most people, if they were asked to close their eyes and listen, would be able to pick out the sound easily. It’s a mix of a smack, whack, and splintery sound that makes anyone cringe. We all know it’s going to need to be either repaired or replaced. To help you decide, here are four questions to ask yourself as you consider whether to repair or replace your cracked windshield.

How deep is the damage?

Modern windshields are made of two layers of tempered glass with a plastic resin sandwiched between them. Auto glass manufacturers developed this type of glass specifically for the front windshield of cars. The side windows are made of tempered glass that is thicker and will shatter into a thousand glittering pieces when hit with something hard. This is not the case with household window glass. It is made of strong, clear glass that breaks into long slivers and could easily skewer an adult or child. Neither of these types of glass will last long at the front of your vehicle while you are driving at speed. Even tiny pebbles would create instant havoc to the front driver and passenger.

Because of this three layered construction, the damage can be shallow and barely dent the first layer of tempered glass. It can be slightly deeper and go into the plastic resin middle layer. Or it can go completely through all three layers leaving a whistling hole in your windshield.

If the crack is only through to the first or second layer, it’s likely you can repair it yourself or have it repaired. If it’s the final case and you can push a toothpick through to the inside and feel it’s poke on your finger, then you’ll likely want to have an auto glass repair guru go through it to see if it needs to be repaired or replaced. Most likely it will require replacement.

How close is the crack to the edge of the frame?

Cracks that touch the windshield frame or that are within a few inches of it are not very good candidates for repair. Todays auto manufacturers have engineered the windshield to be part of the structure that keeps the roof from collapsing when the car is in a rollover accident. Cracks that touch the frame are extremely difficult to repair and are unlikely to stay repaired. This is also true for those close the edge. This type of damage directly affects the integrity of the frame support and could cause a roof to collapse onto the passengers inside, severely hurting them or worse, killing someone. The risk is too high to take. It’s best to just have the windshield replaced.

How big is the chip or crack?

Most cracks less than an inch and a half in diameter and only exposing the plastic resin can be easily fixed with a home windshield repair kit. These are easy to do and normally take only a half a day to accomplish. You can find them online at Amazon.com or you can go to your local Walmart or Sears for a kit. You can also purchase them at Autozone or another auto parts store in your area.

Your local auto repair shops can also easily repair damaged windshields up to three inches in diameter. If the damage is larger than that, most auto repair shops will tell you to replace your windshield. There are some specialty repair shops who are willing to repair a crack up to 12 inches long, but they are quite expensive and it might be more cost effective to have it replaced.

What does my insurance cover?

Most insurances today are required to cover repairs of small cracks done by an auto repair shop and you won’t have to pay anything. However, there is legislature in Arizona being backed by some insurance companies to remove that requirement. So things could drastically change in the near future. Especially if the insurance companies are successful in their lobbying to have the requirement removed. So check with your insurance to see what they cover, how much it will cost you, and if you have a say in who repairs or replaces your windshield. Some insurance companies have specific requirements regarding whether to repair or replace a windshield, so you’ll want to know ahead of time what they are so you’re not incurring costs you don’t need to.

 

Deciding whether to repair or replace a windshield is an important decision for the safety of yourself, your family, and those who ride with you. Don’t wait to decide what to do because the longer you wait, the more chance the damage will spread. Using your windshield wipers, having the sun beat down on the crack, or allowing water to stay and freeze in the crack are just a few ways the crack can continue to grow, so decide quickly then act just as quickly to repair the damage so you can go back to smiling through your clean clear front windshield.

Car Insurance Premiums Vary For a Wide Variety of Reasons

Choosing a vehicle isn’t just about the look or speed. You may find a beautiful vehicle that is fast and is perfect for you, until you check with your insurance company. Yikes! The premium could be a deal breaker.

 

Car Insurance premiums widely vary between vehicles. There are many factors that come into play when determining the premium both personally and for the vehicle.

 

Personal factors include:

  • AGE
  • SEX
  • MARTIAL SATAUS
  • CREDIT HISTORY
  • WHERE YOU LIVE
  • DRIVING RECORD

 

For the vehicle

  • SAFETY TESTS
  • ACCIDENT RATES
  • LIKELIHOOD OF THEFT
  • COST OF REPAIRS
  • THE ENGINE SIZE

 

 

Luckily, we’ve chosen the top five cars with the cheapest premiums among the most popular vehicles and the most expensive.

 

BONUS: Check the bottom for the best brand for insurance premiums.

 

 

Vehicles with the lowest premiums

 

Honda Odyssey LX

Annual Insurance Premium: $1112

 

Jeep Renegade Sport

Average Annual Insurance Premium: $1,138

 

Jeep Wrangler Black Bear Average

Annual Insurance Premium: $1,148

 

Honda CR-V SUV

Average Annual Insurance Premium: $1170

 

Jeep Compass

Average Annual Insurance Premium: $1183

 

 

Vehicles with the highest premiums

 

Mercedes S65 AMG (Convertible)

Annual Insurance Premium: $3835

 

Dodge GTS Viper

Annual Insurance Premium: $3779

 

Mercedes S63 AMG 4Matic (Convertible)

Annual Insurance Premium: $3624

 

Maserati Quattroporte GTS

Annual Insurance Premium: $3547

 

Mercedes S550 (Convertible)

Annual Insurance Premium: $3502

 

Every insurance policy is going to be different. There are different rates and coverage with different deductibles. Before purchasing a new vehicle, speak with your insurance agent about what type of vehicle would work best for you. Your personal details, including what coverage and deducible you can afford, should be discussed with your agent. Save yourself the heartache of finding a vehicle you love, only to learn you can’t afford it plus the insurance.

 

When you are shopping for vehicles be sure to ask about its safety rating and safety features. Some vehicles will have back-up cameras, rear cross traffic alerts, lane departure alerts, and blind spot monitoring. These features may help your insurance rates, but are really useful while you’re driving.

 

BONUS:

The best brand for lowest insurance premium goes to JEEP. Jeep has several vehicles that consistently have lower premiums. The Jeep Wrangler SUV, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Compass, and Jeep Renegade have some of the best insurance rates.