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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

How to Protect Yourself in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver

It is a requirement in most states for anyone who owns a vehicle to have at least liability insurance on their vehicle. Many people work to get around this requirement. In many cases, people will purchase insurance for their vehicle and maintain it long enough to have their vehicle legally registered. Once this is done, they will cancel the insurance policy. In a bad economy, the number of people driving without insurance increases significantly.

Uninsured Driver Study

A study conducted by the Insurance Research Council shows that approximately one out of every seven drivers on the road does not have insurance on their vehicle. On a national scale, this represents 14 percent of drivers operating vehicles without insurance. The state with the highest number of uninsured drivers is Mississippi and next is Tennessee and then Florida. The states with the lowest rate of uninsured drivers are New York, Maine, and Massachusetts.

Minimize Financial Impact

There are things a driver can do to minimize their financial losses after being in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. It is possible to purchase insurance coverage designed to protect against accidents with an uninsured or underinsured driver. This insurance will provide protection if a driver is in an accident with someone who has no insurance or too little insurance. It can also protect against a driver who is a hit-and-run driver and leaves the scene of an accident.


When a vehicle owner purchases uninsured coverage, it will cover the driver as well as relatives residing in the driver’s home. It will also apply to passengers in their vehicle at the time of an accident. It will provide compensation for any of these individuals who are injured when in an accident with an uninsured driver as well as a hit and run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage will cover the driver as well as relatives residing in the driver’s home. It will also apply to passengers in their vehicle at the time of an accident. This provides protection against being in an accident with a driver who does not have sufficient coverage to pay an accident claim. Uninsured and underinsured coverage will not pay for any property damage caused by the accident.

Suing Uninsured Or Underinsured Driver

When a person is in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is possible to sue them for losses resulting from a vehicle accident. The only way this is effective is if the driver who is uninsured or underinsured has enough personal assets to reimburse an accident victim’s for their loss. In most situations, a driver who is uninsured or underinsured won’t have financial assets sufficient to compensate an accident victim. This means litigation may not be a viable way to obtain compensation for losses from this type of vehicle accident.

Won’t Exceed Primary Coverage

It is important for people to realize that uninsured and underinsured coverage won’t be more than the amount of a person’s primary coverage. Should someone have $150,000 in coverage for any vehicle accident they may cause, then their uninsured and underinsured coverage cannot exceed $150,000. With most vehicle insurance policies, this coverage is reasonable when compared to minimum liability coverage. It is better than dealing with not having coverage.

Filing A Claim

When a person is in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, they should contact their insurance company as soon as possible. It’s important to let them know they intend to file a claim. Many insurance companies have strict deadlines when it comes to filing an uninsured or underinsured claim. Often insurance companies require a claim to be submitted within 30 days after the accident. It’s important to tell the insurance company the other driver did not have insurance or refused to provide their insurance information. These claims usually require a little longer to settle.

An uninsured and underinsured insurance claim will follow the same process as any other vehicle accident claims. In this case, it will be the accident victim’s insurance company that will pay the claim. There will be an investigation, review of various records, police reports, depositions of witnesses as well as a review of medical records and more. It will often provide compensation in situations where there would not be any type of payment without this coverage.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Is Flood Damage Covered by My Home Insurance?

If your home suffers damage in a flood, don’t count on homeowners insurance being enough to protect you. A standard home insurance policy does not cover flooding that originates outside your home, although some types of water damage may be covered. To get coverage against flooding, you will need a separate flood insurance policy. Here’s what you should understand.

Homeowners Insurance and Flooding

Regular homeowners insurance won’t cover flooding, which is defined as flooding that originates outside of your home. This means your policy generally won’t cover flood damage due to:

  • Spring thaw flooding
  • Hurricane-related flooding
  • Overflowing and surging ponds, lakes, and rivers
  • Over-saturated ground
  • Flash floods
  • Backed-up sewers
  • Generalized flooding

Your homeowners insurance policy will help cover other types of water damage that are accidental and sudden, however. This can include a burst pipe, a leaking water heater, or a broken washing machine, for example, which can all flood your home with water. The distinction is these sources of water come from inside your home — not outside. Your policy still won’t cover the damage if it’s a result of poor maintenance such as failing to repair a leaking pipe.

The Importance of Flood Insurance

To cover your home against flooding, you will need to buy a flood insurance policy separate from your home insurance. Don’t assume that you don’t need flood insurance just because your home has never flooded, you don’t live near a body of water, or you aren’t in a flood zone. After all, floods don’t pay any attention to flood zones and they can occur anywhere. Hurricane Harvey left widespread flood damage in 2017 yet a whopping 70-80% of homeowners did not have flood insurance.

Don’t rely on flood zones alone when deciding whether you should buy flood insurance. Twenty percent of all claims to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) occur outside flood zones and people in these areas receive one-third of flood-related federal disaster assistance. The average flood damage claim is more than $62,000. Just five inches of water may cause at least $11,000 in damage to your home, according to FEMA. This is certainly not a cost you want to face out-of-pocket after a disaster. Flood maps in many areas are outdated and too conservative, especially in areas with significant new construction.

Flood insurance is required in high-risk designated flood zones but you have the option to purchase it even if you do not live in a flood zone.

Federal vs Private Flood Insurance

Flood insurance comes in two forms: you can buy a policy directly through NFIP, a federal program, or you can buy a private flood insurance policy through an insurance agent. A NFIP policy offers coverage up to $250,000 for your home and $100,000 for the home’s contents. It’s important to note that the NFIP only provides replacement cost coverage for your home itself. This means an NFIP policy will cover the amount needed to rebuild your home. Only actual cash value coverage is offered for your belongings. This means you only get the current value of your belongings, not the cost to replace the items.

A private policy can give you a higher coverage limit to supplement a federal policy or as a standalone policy. If you are outside of a designated flood zone or a federal policy would be too expensive, you can likely save a substantial amount with a private policy. Private flood insurance also offers more coverage for belongings with the option to schedule personal property like collectibles and high-value belongings.

If you are considering buying a flood insurance policy, don’t delay. Flood policies have a 30-day waiting period which means you won’t be covered if you buy coverage shortly before a disaster. If you live in an area that’s considered a low to moderate risk for flooding, you can qualify for very low premiums for flood coverage that can protect you if the unthinkable happens.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

You Will Benefit From Reading Your Home Insurance Policy

Most people will sign their home insurance policy, put them away and start living in their home feeling safe they are protected from danger. It is important for a homeowner to know exactly what is in their policy. If they have made improvements to their home, the value of their property has increased or any similar thing has occurred that could change the coverage needed for a property, it could result in a homeowner to being underinsured. Insurance companies estimate over 59 percent of homes in the United States are underinsured. Each policy provides details of what is covered as well as what is excluded.

Declaration Page

It is important to look at the declaration page of an insurance policy to make certain all the personal information it contains is correct. Check to make sure the coverage levels listed are correct and make certain any riders previously added are listed.

Property Coverage

This section will help a homeowner understand the details of the property they have that is covered. This part is divided into sections because each category will have a different coverage limit based on losses.

  • Dwelling. This covers a home used as a primary residence and any structures that are attached to it. This could be a deck, attached garage and more.
  • Personal Property. This will provide descriptions and limits for a homeowner’s personal belongings. This protection extends to any location in the world for covered items. Other people’s personal property may be covered when it is in a policyholder’s home. It could also cover the personal property of an employee or guest and more.
  • Loss Of Use. This describes the expense involved with repairing or rebuilding the property when it is damaged. This includes payment if a homeowner must stay in another place while their house is being repaired or rebuilt. A certain amount of money could also be provided for living expenses. If a property owner lives in a multi-unit building, and a unit in this building is damaged, the owner could be reimbursed for the fair market rental value of the damaged unit.

Liability Coverage

This section will cover all the costs associated with damage to people and property not listed in the policy. This could cover someone accidentally slipping and falling on a homeowner’s property and more.

Personal Liability

In this part of the policy, the insurance company states the circumstances in which it will defend the policyholder against claims as well as pay the claims if the policyholder is found at fault for a person’s injuries on their property.

Medical Payments

This covers medical payments to others. It will cover in detail the limits and types of expenses the insurance company will cover for people not covered by the policy. This could involve such things as surgical expenses, ambulance, hospital stays and more. It will list payments to individuals even if the insured is not at fault for an accident involving their property. If a neighbor breaks a leg during a party at a policyholder’s home, this would provide reimbursement for medical expenses up to the limit stated in the policy.


It’s also important for a policyholder to review any and all riders they have attached to their policy. They may have some additional items they want to add or some they may want to remove. Insurance riders can cover many different things.

  • Underground Service Line. All homes depend on many different underground service lines. This includes everything from water, heat, cable, internet and more. A homeowner is responsible for maintaining them. This will provide coverage should problems occur with underground service lines.
  • Sewer and Drain Back Ups. A situation could occur that provides a huge coverage gap for many homeowners. This will provide coverage for repairing or replacing a homeowner’s basement if the damage is caused by a sewer or drain backup.
  • Identity Theft Protection. Cybersecurity experts estimate in the United States someone becomes the victim of identity theft every three seconds. This will make it possible for a homeowner to get professional help in restoring their identity. This will involve preparing a case file for creditors and credit bureaus. All necessary information will be provided to law enforcement and more.
  • High-Value Items. Collectibles, jewelry, artwork are often worth more than money to some homeowners. This will cover a high-value item getting stolen or damaged. This will provide compensation.

It is always important to know what is in your home’s insurance policy. An occasional review and update are important. A homeowner’s life never stays the same after initially purchasing their property. They benefit when their home insurance reflects all those changes.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

What To Expect During A Premium Audit

All business owners probably understand that it is crucial to insure their business against all sorts of eventualities. The issue comes when they have to pick the right coverage products to cover all their liabilities. This is why most coverage companies will conduct a premium probe. A premium probe is done to calculate the current needs of your business and make sure that you are paying for the appropriate insurance coverage. It is important to have a premium audit conducted when your policy expires or is canceled as this helps to figure out if your business needs have changed.

Why you need an audit

When an insurance company is offering coverage for the first time, they look into an estimated exposure basis and multiply it by a rate. This is just a general estimate of how much risk your business carries and is in no way accurate. When the premium probe is done, the right classification and codes will be used to determine your final premium and this way, you will be paying the amount that you should for the coverage that you need. Besides, the process of carrying out a premium probe also gives you some important information about the operations of your business. Normally, your insurer contacts you about getting a premium probe just before the term expires or before it is canceled.

Getting ready for the audit

When the auditor contacts you, they will give you a form to complete and also indicate the date that they will be coming around for the audit. There are some policies that are audited every year while others are audited less frequently. For instance, a worker’s compensation policy will most likely be audited annually, but general liability policies will be audited less frequently. When the auditor is coming around for the audit, make sure that you have the following records ready for them:

  • Payroll reports
  • 941s
  • Quarterly state unemployment filings
  • Income statements and sales journals
  • Disbursement ledgers such as check registers and others
  • Coverage certificates

The auditor will most likely have given you a checklist of items that you should fulfill before the actual visit and you should make sure that you do before they get to the business.

Understanding the results of the audit

After they have conducted the audit, they will leave and go create an audit report that will be mailed to you. The report will give details about how your policy and premium will change if it will change. There are two things that can happen after an audit. The first is that you could end up owing the coverage company some credit, which will mean that you have to pay them some more. On the other hand, you may end up with some credit, meaning that you have been paying the insurer more than what was needed. It is, therefore advisable to be ready for both scenarios.

Getting your data ready

The audit process will be smooth if you can offer accurate figures related to your coverage. Before you engage an insurer, make sure that you have an exact premium rate so that when the audit is taking place, you do not have to keep using rough estimates. In most cases, when the underwriters are not getting accurate information, they might end up charging you a higher premium than you should pay to cover the uncertainty.

Different requirements for different audits

As stated, there are some policies that will attract audits more frequently than others. For instance:

  • Workers Compensation coverage premiums are based on payroll data, which means that regular payroll audits will have to be conducted by the insurer.
  • Commercial liability audits normally depend on sales levels. Audits will be conducted when you expand floor space and will be based on payroll data.
  • Liquor liability premium audits are calculated as a ratio between the alcoholic beverage and non-alcoholic beverage sales.

All these are the important tips to have in mind when going into a premium audit. On the day of the audit, make sure that you have all the records ready for the company and also have a responsible person or yourself on site. Your presence ensures that any questions which the auditor may have are correctly answered.

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2 months ago · by · 0 comments

Insurance Terms 101: Speak Like an Insurance Agent!

The terminology used by an insurance agent can be daunting. Most of us have heard the terms numerous times, but cannot explain what they really mean. Not fully comprehending these terms can be problematic for the average consumer. These terms indicate the type of coverage the policy issues. If you choose the wrong one based on ignorance, your entire future could be at stake. The good news is that you don’t have to stay in the dark. Learn the parlance of an insurance agent to get the best policy for yourself.

In the World of Auto Insurance

The first car insurance distinction to know is the difference between insurer and insured. Although this seems fairly intuitive, it is easy to confuse. The insurer is the insurance agency that issues the policy. The insured is the named party on the policy. It can also refer to other parties that the policy covers.

Another often used, but misunderstood term is deductible. In insurance-talk, the deductible is a sum of money the insured will pay to activate the policy coverage. For example, when you are in an accident, you’ll pay a deductible before the policy will pick up the rest of the tab. The deductible is set in the insurance contract. When you sign up for a new policy, you will likely have the choice of several deductible options. The of the deductible will affect your monthly insurance payment.

Since we mentioned monthly payments we should discuss the premium. This term is just a fancy word for the money you must pay monthly or annually to maintain the policy. Premiums differ from agency to agency, and according to the type of coverage.

The term coverage can refer to a few different things. What the coverage means depends on which word it is paired with. Collision coverage means that the policy covers damage to your vehicle following an accident. Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your vehicle that occurs outside of a car accident.

There are other uses of coverage that are immediately recognizable. Medical payments coverage takes care of any health care bills or funeral costs. This coverage usually applies even if the accident is your fault. Bodily injury coverage is triggered when you are at fault. It covers the medical expenses of other parties. Finally, uninsured motorist coverage pays for the injuries of your vehicle’s occupants when an uninsured driver is at fault.

Learning About Life Insurance

One final area of insurance with confusing terminology is life insurance. This area is rife with unintelligible terms. The face amount is what is payable at death. This is usually the first number people look at when shopping policies.

When it comes to coverage, you may be confronted with term life or whole life terminology. With term life, coverage is effective for a predetermined period of time. If the insured dies within this time, his or her beneficiaries will be entitled to the policy funds. Whole life coverage continues throughout the insured’s lifetime. However, the premiums need to be satisfied to keep the policy active.

Traversing Health Insurance

Health insurance shares some general insurance terms with other types of coverage. When looking at health insurance plans, you’ll see the same references to deductibles and premiums. However, there are a couple of terms that are unique to this field of insurance.

You’ll need to have a good understanding of the co-payment. This is a small payment you’ll make for each visit to the doctor. You should also be aware of the meaning of co-insurance. This term will dictate how much you pay after the deductible is met. Typically policies will require you to pay 20% to 40% of the total medical bill.

Using the Jargon

Now that you understand some of the most commonly used insurance terms, you should have no problem choosing a policy. You can also feel confident speaking to an insurance agent without missing a beat. Knowing the jargon helps you comprehend what you are getting into. It also can help you to customize a policy that meets all of your needs.

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