Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Boat or Jet Ski? Here are some tips to get it insured

Summer is almost among us...If you got a new boat or jet ski you probably have thought about all the ways you can use it during the year, but have you thought about insurance?

When insuring your boat and jet skis, there are many lengthy questions that you may not know, unless you know a lot about boats.  Almost all boat insurance policies will cover the cost of replacing the vessel, engine and the boat trailer but Actual Cash Value boat insurance plans only pay for replacement less any vessel depreciation from the point of loss. When the craft is a complete insurance right-off then the second hand value of the boat is used to estimate its market value. Optional insurance usually includes coverage for reasonable repairs, emergency services to your boat, motor, or boat trailer, and wreck removal. Where there has only been limited damage to the vessel, partial damage repairs include the restoration less any items that can be deducted.

Agreed amount value insurance policies mean that the owner of the boat and the insurance company have decided on the cost of the boat, and in the aftermath of a total loss the owner will be compensated with that amount. Agreed amount value policies also replace old objects with new ones, exclusive of any assumption for depreciation. The majority of agreed amount value boat insurance policies necessitate actual cash value on specific destroyed assets like sails, protective covers, batteries, dinghies, trailers and aged outboard motors, lower drive units etc.

Almost all states make the standard boat insurance a requirement so it is important to abide by the law and obtain boat insurance as soon as you become a boat owner. Strangely, in the eyes of the Marine Industry, a houseboat is in the same category as pleasure boats like sailboats, jet boats and cabin cruises for instance. A speedboat for instance, is capable of high speeds requires a much different type of insurance than a small fishing vessel would because of the potential liability for the insurance company that comes with a speedboat compared to a fishing boat.

If you are a new boat owner, you would also need to know the boating laws and regulations. Make sure you look into those laws by your state. It’s important to remember that boat insurance isn’t that much different from car insurance, and that the laws that govern the water are just as important as those that apply on land. Reducing claims, fines and violations will not only save you money and insure that you obtain coverage, but can also keep you and your loved ones safe.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vacant house? You still need coverage!

What is a vacant house? A vacant home is a home with no contents that is either unoccupied or up for sale. These types of homes can be targets for theft and vandalism, and not to mention the homeless. Also with a vacant home, it is more susceptible to a burst pipe, or plumbing issues.

If you have a current homeowner policy, it will only cover your vacant home for about 30-60 days after you move out. At that time, if the home will be vacant for an extended period of time, you may want to look into purchasing a vacancy policy. Vacant house insurance is generally more expensive than regular homeowners insurance because there's no one living in the house to watch and protect it. You may be able to reduce your premium slightly by arranging for someone to check on your home regularly. The price of a policy also depends on whether the home has a central alarm system, deadbolt locks and smoke detectors. Insurers also may assess whether a policyholder has winterized the home to protect plumbing fixtures from freezing and can factor in how long the house will be vacant. A vacancy type of policy will cover the vacant house, and will protect against fire, vandalism, theft, malicious mischief, glass, and accidental discharge of water. These types of policies can be 3, 6, or 12 months.

 There may be a less expensive option to buying vacancy insurance. You could consider renting out your home while you're away. You will have to buy a landlord policy, or a rental dwelling policy which generally costs about 25% more than a standard homeowners policy, according to the insurance institute.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

9 Effective ways to protect your home against burglary

Did you know that american homes are burglarized about every 15 seconds, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The typical homeowner suffers a loss of nearly $2,000 in stolen goods or property damage.

Here are 9 effective ways to protect your home from being burglarized.

Prune your shrubs-
Bushes, shrubs and trees can offer an intruder places to hide and camouflage signs of a break-in. Trim back any overgrown vegetation so that your home's windows, porches and doors are visible to neighbors and passersby.

Cover your windows-
Use shades, drapes and other window treatments to keep potentially tempting household items out of view. Burglary is sometimes a crime of opportunity and "window-shopping" is one way criminals choose potential targets. It would be a good idea to also make sure your windows are locked and secured while leaving the property for long periods of time.

Don't advertise new purchases-
 Be sure not to draw any unwanted attention by leaving large tv, appliance, or electronic boxes on the curb. Make sure that these boxes are flattened or ripped up, so that you are not showing a potential burglar what is in your home.

Buy Motion Sensors-
 One of the most effective theft deterrent systems is the lighted motion sensors.  It provides a bright light if someone is walking around your home, but also alerts you and possible neighbors that someone is on your property. It makes it harder for a burglar to go unseen.

Buy indoor timers-
You can usally buy these types of timers for christmas lights. These are good to set up at least 30 minutes before dusk, and turns on lights and a radio or television as to resemble someone being at home. Burglars usually do not like to attempt theft on a home if someone is present. They basically want to get in and get out without being seen.

Reinforce your doors-
 All entry doors should be solid wood or steel-wrapped core doors. Hollow doors and wood panel doors don't offer much protection if being kicked in.

Sheild windows near doors-
For existing doors with windows, it is a good idea to cover those windows with a sheet of plexiglass. 
it can prevent the burglar from breaking the window and either opening the door's lock from the inside. Also with that added protection, burglars won't want to take the time to remove it, and have the chance of getting caught or being seen.

Install Deadbolt locks-
Deadbolts should be installed on every exterior door.
Consult city building codes before buying new double cylinder deadbolt locks, though. Some communities don't allow their use due to safety concerns: They can impede a speedy exit from a home in case of fire. And when upgrading any entry door lockset, make sure that the strike plate is properly secured with strong 3-inch screws into the home's structural framing (studs).

Use Common Sense-
 With the economy these days, you have to protect what is yours. Use your head. Make sure that all doors and windows are locked when you leave the house. Make sure all fences are secure and locked.  Also it might be a good idea to get a dog, or just post "beware of dog" signs to alert potential thieves that they may get hurt.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Renter's Insurance-Protect your belongings

You just started renting an apartment and you have accumulated some nice things to make your apartment more homely. However, while at work, someone breaks into your apartment and steals your most valuable items. Now what do you do?

You can file a police report, and hope that they find your stuff, or you can purchase a renter's policy for future break ins. Renter's insurance is surprisingly affordable, and covers your belongings from most perils. Below is a list of what most common renter's policies cover. 

What is covered
  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircraft
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling objects
  12. Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system
  15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)
What is excluded on this list is flood. If you live in a flood prone area, flood insurance would be a separate policy, and the rates are mandated by National Flood Insurance Program, based on where you live. 

Take inventory
To ensure you’re compensated for any belongings you lose from a fire, storm or other catastrophe, you should inventory all of your personal belongings. List each item, its value and serial number. Photograph or videotape each room, including closets, open drawers, storage buildings and your garage. Keep receipts for major items in a fireproof place. To make things easier, the Insurance Information Institute has free inventory software that helps you create a room-by-room inventory of your personal possessions. For more information, go to

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Business Insurance: Protecting you and your clients

In today's economy, people are starting their own business or thinking of starting one. One essential part of owning your own company is business insurance. Consider Murphy's Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Even small businesses can be sued.

Business insurance consists of two parts. Insuring your business location (property), and insuring the business itself (operations). If you operate a small- to medium-sized, low-risk business, you may be eligible for commercial liability insurance coverage through an affordable property and general liability package policy called a Business Owner's Policy, or BOP. 

A BOP insurance package for small businesses is a single commercial insurance policy that combines property insurance with commercial general liability insurance  coverage. For many small but expanding companies, buying a BOP to secure general liability insurance coverage is an affordable way to secure small business commercial liability insurance coverage. 

Commercial general liability insurance is a comprehensive policy that companies buy to protect themselves in case of debilitating events, such as an illness or injury suffered by an employee or damage to property. Purchasing this policy is the first step businesses take to protect their assets. This safety net is critical in a society in which the number of lawsuits and the value of judgment awards have increased over the years.

By having a general liability package, companies can relax knowing that they can conduct business without having to worry unduly if an allegation is brought against them. If a claim is filed against an insured business, their insurance company will conduct a thorough investigation to eliminate any claims that are proven to be unjust. Legal fees, including court costs, are covered under the policy. If the business is found liable and the incident is covered under the policy, their insurance company would pay the award amount up to the coverage limit purchased by the insured.

Not having comprehensive coverage, like commercial liability insurance, leaves a company unprotected if an incident like an accident or injury occurs. It is wise to research the sufficient amount of coverage for the industry to gauge how much coverage is needed to avoid paying with funds from the company. With the amount awarded in lawsuits skyrocketing in recent years, a judgment against you can be catastrophic to your business.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The 411 on Bonds

The name's Bond. James Bond. No, not that type of bond. We are talking about surety bonds. What is a surety bond?
A surety bond is a contract among at least three parties:
  • The obligee - the party who is the recipient of an obligation,
  • The principal - the primary party who will be performing the contractual obligation,
  • The surety - who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task
A key term in nearly every surety bond is the penal sum. This is a specified amount of money which is the maximum amount that the surety will be required to pay in the event of the principal's default. This allows the surety to assess the risk involved in giving the bond; the premium charged is determined accordingly.

There are different types of surety bonds. Contract bonds are used in the construction industry, nd are a guarantee from a Surety to a project's owner (Obligee) that a general contractor (Principal)
will adhere to the provisions of a contract. Included in this category are:
bid bonds, performance bonds and maintenance bonds.

Commercial bonds represent the broad range of bond types that do not fit the classification of contract. They are generally divided into four sub-types: license and permit, court, public official, and miscellaneous.

License and permit bonds are required by certain federal, state, or municipal governments as prerequisites to receiving a license or permit to engage in certain business activities.
Specific examples include:
  • Contractor’s license bonds, which assure that a contractor (such as a plumber, electrician, or general contractor) complies with local laws relating to his field.
  • Customs bonds, including importer entry bonds, which assure compliance with all relevant laws, as well as payment of import duties and taxes.
  • Tax bonds, which assure that a business owner will comply with laws relating to the remittance of sales or other taxes.
  • Reclamation and environmental protection bonds
  • Broker’s bonds, including Insurance, Mortgage, and Title Agency bonds
  • ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) bonds
  • Motor vehicle dealer bonds
  • Money transmitter bonds
  • Health spa bonds, which assure that a health spa will comply with local laws relating to their field, as well as refund dues for any prepaid services in the event the spa closes.
 Court bonds are those bonds prescribed by statue and relate to the courts. Examples of judicial bonds include appeal bonds, supersedeas bonds, attachment bonds, replevin bonds, injunction bonds, Mechanic's lien bonds, and bail bonds. Examples of fiduciary bonds include administrator, guardian, and trustee bonds.

Public official bonds guarantee the honesty and faithful performance of those people who are elected or appointed to positions in government. Examples of officials sometimes requiring bonds include: notaries public, treasurers, commissioners, judges, town clerks, and law enforcement officers.

Miscellaneous bonds are those that do not fit well under the other commercial surety bond classifications. They often support private relationships and unique business needs. Examples of significant miscellaneous bonds include: lost securities bonds, hazardous waste removal bonds, credit enhancement financial guarantee bonds, self–insured workers compensation guarantee bonds, and wage and welfare/fringe benefit (Union) bonds.

Fidelity bonds, also known as employee dishonesty coverage, cover theft of an employer's property by its own employees. Though referred to as bonds, fidelity coverage functions as a traditional insurance policy rather than a surety bond.

The earliest known record of a contract of suretyship is a Mesopotamian tablet written around 2750 BC. There is evidence of Individual Surety Bonds in the Code of Hammurabi and in Babylon, Persia, Assyria, Rome, Carthage, the ancient Hebrews and later England.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homeowners: Basic and Broad Coverages Explained

You found the house of your dreams, and you start the process of buying your home.  There are some things that are important and you want to look for. First, if the home is an older home, then you want to make sure that the electrical wiring and plumbing have been updated. Most insurance companies will not insure a home that has not been updated. Second, you want to make sure the septic and well are in good condition, as well as the roof and siding. A home inspection from a reputable company is a wise decision, but make sure they check everything thoroughly.

If the inspection comes back good, then you will start looking into homeowners insurance. Basically a homeowners can be a basic policy, also called an HOA; or a broad policy, also called an HOB.

An HOA (or HO2 policy) is a homeowners policy that covers the home on a "named perils" basis. That means that there are 11 perils that will be named in the policy and everything else is not covered. Most of the HOA policies give you a limit on theft coverage, and accidental discharge of water. Sometimes these type of policies will only cover your home for actual cash value, and not what the home would cost to be replaced. It may also only provide actual cash value against your personal contents of the home. The benefit of this type of policy is that it is cheaper, but also is less coverage.

An HOB (or HO3 policy) is a more broad form of coverage that would cover 16 perils unless otherwise excluded. This is a more common homeowner policy, because it gives more coverage than a standard policy, and provides coverage based on what the home would cost to replace it if there was a total loss. These type of policies include coverages like accidental discharge of water up to the coverage amount on the dwelling, glass coverage, replacement cost on detached structures (ie sheds, garages), and replacement cost on personal contents. This type of policy also offers coverage for loss of use, (also called additional living expense). This is an additional amount on the policy that can be given if the home is deemed uninhabitable after a loss.

Here are the coverage parts of a homeowner policy.
  • Coverage A (Dwelling) covers the physical structure of your residence and any attachments--such as attached garages--but doesn't cover outlying structures, like sheds or fences.
  • Coverage B (Other Structures) covers structures on your property not attached to your residence, including detached garages, sheds and guest homes.
  • Coverage C (Personal Property) covers the contents of your home. Special limits are placed on valuables like cash or jewelry, which require additional, separate coverage.
  • Coverage D (Additional Living Expenses) covers living expenses such as housing, meals and utilities, incurred due to loss from Coverage A, B, and C.
  • Coverage E (Liability) covers injury and property damage incurred at your home and other covered locations.
  • Coverage F (Medical Payments) covers medical payments for guests injured in your home and on your property.

The best way to find out what kind of coverage you need is to talk to a local agent that knows the location of where your home is. For example, if your home is located near a beach, you want to find an agent that knows the area, and knows what companies will take a home that is near a body of water.  There may also be certain requirements that the company has for the home to be insured properly.