February 05 2020
You’re driving to work when your favorite podcast suddenly stops playing. You know you shouldn’t look at your phone, but you hate sitting in silence during your commute. What do you do?
Do you glance around for cops, then tap around on your phone until the story starts up again? A lot of us do this — but it isn’t the safest choice.
Beyond breaking the bad habit of distracted driving, here are four more behind-the-wheel behaviors to leave behind.
1. Don’t rely too much on fancy technology. If we let ourselves become less engaged drivers because we’re expecting blind-spot notifications and attention assist to save us when we’re tired or preoccupied, we aren’t really any safer. Continue your same careful driving habits and let these innovations give you an extra boost.
2. Don’t assume other drivers are paying attention, well rested or sober. Learn to spot the signs of impairment: wandering out of their lane, swerving, erratic braking, inconsistent speed and getting too close to other cars or objects. Keep a safe distance from these potentially dangerous drivers.
3. Don’t let your insurance make you complacent. Even if your collision deductible is low, don’t let your guard down. Dealing with car repairs and the other driver after an accident — not to mention the injury risk — probably isn’t worth it.
4. Don’t neglect routine maintenance. Overheating, breaking down or blowing a tire can be terrifying and dangerous. Fortunately, these problems can often be prevented with regular maintenance. Check your tire pressure and fluids monthly and have a trusted mechanic inspect your car thoroughly once or twice a year.
Have questions about your auto coverage? Reach out today to discuss your policy.
Meteor fallout? Check. Gravestone destruction? Check. Read on for more unexpected items a standard policy insures
Your daughter’s drone nosedives at a playground and injures another child. The $150 in cash you got for some vintage James Brown singles turns out to be counterfeit. A SpaceX rocket part falls to earth and creams your three-car garage.
Don’t fret! Your homeowners insurance probably has you covered.
You may not know it, but your homeowners (or renters) policy may very well pick up all or part of the tab for your losses or related expenses. It will pay for medical treatment for the child hurt by the drone and reimburse you for the counterfeit cash. And it will help make you whole from that freak attack from outer space.
“Most people don’t know they have coverage for a drone and even for damage caused by meteors,” says Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization. Indeed, she says homeowners insurance protects you from a lot of risks and perils beyond the fire, property theft, and weather damage it’s best known for covering.
Below are six of the most surprising hazards and situations that a standard policy typically covers. Check the fine print in your own policy or talk with your agent for specific details regarding your own policy.
Your policy may cover damage or injury caused by drones used by members of your household, whether it happens on or off your property, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
What if your drone inadvertently photographs someone who then sues you for invasion of privacy? Your policy may cover your defense in that case as well.
And like any property covered by your policy, if your drone is stolen, homeowners insurance will pay for its replacement, subject to a deductible. Of course, it only makes sense to file a claim if the price of your drone is more than your deductible, so be sure to do the math first.
Just remember: A homeowners policy covers only noncommercial drone use.
2. Your Kid’s Dorm Décor
Your homeowners insurance covers items stolen from your home and protects household property when it’s outside the home. That includes stuff in your kid’s dorm room. It also includes property stolen from your car or boat; those losses aren’t covered by your auto or boat insurance. The dollar limit of this coverage is usually 10 percent of the total coverage on all of your personal property.
Just remember: “If the child is spending a semester in an off-campus apartment that’s not college housing, they may not be covered under the parents’ off-premises portion of the homeowners policy,” Worters says. So consider purchasing a renters policy if your child is in this situation. It covers theft and liability—say, someone trips in your child’s residence, gets injured, and sues— and damage from fire, smoke, and other hazards.
3. Space Debris and Other Falling Objects
Damage to your home, outbuildings, and personal property from meteors, asteroids, aircraft, rockets, satellites and other falling objects is insured under a typical homeowners policy. If a celestial object hits your car, however, you’ll have to make a claim with your car insurer.
Just remember: With damage from fallen trees or tree limbs—less exotic but far more likely than space junk—you should file the claim with your insurer regardless of whether the tree belongs to you or your neighbor.
4. Unauthorized Use of Your ATM, Credit, or Debit Cards
As with counterfeit cash, a homeowners or renters policy typically reimburses up to $500 in losses per incident if someone uses any of these cards to steal money from you or buy items in your name. The same goes for forged checks you unwittingly cash, and for losses you suffer due to someone forging your signature on a check.
“This is an example in which your policy deductible doesn’t apply,” Worters says. In other words, you don’t have to meet your deductible before the insurance kicks in; you’ll simply get paid your losses up to $500.
Just remember: Even though your homeowners policy will cover you, report the loss to the card issuer first, and make a homeowners insurance claim your backup option. Credit and debit card companies are required to reimburse or reverse the charges on all but $50 of unauthorized charges or withdrawals as long as you report the incident within 48 hour of discovering it, notes Christina Tetreault, a senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports. The same goes for prepaid cards.
If you miss the 48-hour window, the card issuer is responsible only for returning sums in excess of $500. In these instances, make a claim with your homeowners insurance company to get fully reimbursed.
5. Graveyard Smash
If a headstone, burial vault, or other property on a cemetery plot you own is damaged or stolen, your insurance will reimburse you. You’re covered for the same perils as with other types of property. That could include, for instance, damage by fire or a falling object, vandalism, and theft of a gravestone or statuary.
Just remember: The coverage limit is typically up to $5,000, says Worters.
6. Dog Bites and Other Pet Damage
If Nessie nips your neighbor—on your property or elsewhere—the resulting medical bills are covered by your homeowners insurance. You’re also covered if she scratches the finish on your neighbor’s new Audi or does other property damage.
Just remember: This coverage applies only to harm your pet does to other people and their property, not your own. And certain breeds—pit bulls, Dobermans and chow chows, for instance—usually aren’t covered. Check your policy for your insurer’s guidelines.
A big factor in determining the premium of a personal auto policy has nothing to do with a per-son’s driving record—it’s his or her credit record. According to Conning and Company, more than 90 percent of insurers use an applicant’s credit history—his or her insurance risk score—to slot him or her into a certain program.
When a person applies for auto insurance, the insurance company asks for permission to pull his or her credit information. The insurer then secures a credit report from one or more of the credit bureaus—TransUnion; Experian; or Equifax. For more information on credit reports or to secure a copy of your own report, go to http://www.credit.com.
Credit scores range from 300 to 850. If your score is below 650, you may have trouble getting insurance or you may have to pay a higher premium. In order to improve your credit score, keep in mind the following factors that influence the score.
● Payment history—The largest factor is credit and loan account payment history. A steady record of on-time payments going back several years shows responsibility.
● Debts owed—The number of accounts you currently have, including type and balance. Try to have just a few active accounts with low balances.
● Length of credit history—The longer your credit history, the better.
● New accounts—Every time you apply for a new account, a record of that application ap-pears on your credit report and drops your score. Limit the number of applications you submit.
● Balance of accounts—It is best to have between two and six open credit cards and one or two loans.
● Negative records—Collections, judgments, and bankruptcy filings will drop your score.
The Importance of Mental Toughness
One of the most important things your small business can do is hire top-performing salespeople. After all, your business would not exist if it weren’t for your sales. In fact, 82% of businesses fail due to cash flow problems. In order to push your business to success, you must be able to hire and develop mentally tough sales professionals who can be effective even under the stressful, high-stake conditions of a small business.
What is Mental Toughness?
Mental toughness refers to the unique quality found in many professional athletes that allows them to maintain fortitude under stressful conditions. While sales don’t require physical athletic ability, it does require a tough mindset to stay motivated and successfully sell your product or service.
The specific personality traits that contribute to mental toughness are:
- Stress tolerance
That’s not to say that there’s no hope for those on your small business team who don’t exhibit mental toughness. By surrounding your employees with uplifting, supportive coaches, these traits can be trained in your sales professionals and their performance will drastically improve.
– it’s what separates specialty insurers from everyday insurers covering more commonplace commuter cars.
“A stated value policy does not guarantee what you will receive – an adjuster will review comparable models in the market to determine a fair value,” Brian Rusniak, a Hagerty underwriting lead, said. “This could be less than what you think your vehicle is worth.”
An agreed value policy, on the other hand, starts both insurer and insured on the same page. Because collector vehicles may change in value over time, values can be adjusted accordingly. Value-enhancing modifications are also taken into account. Hagerty refers to agreed value as Guaranteed Value®, so customers will know that the value both parties agree to will be honored in case of a covered loss.
“Having Guaranteed Value policy guarantees you will receive the full insured amount agreed upon at the inception of coverage, less any applicable deductible,” Rusniak said.
The most important distinction between classic and collectible vehicles and commuter cars is also what makes different insurance necessary – people don’t drive them every day, so the risk for damage or injury is lower.
“Even though a Guaranteed Value policy provides better coverage, premiums may be lower as these policies are designed for collectable vehicles,” Rusniak said. “Such vehicles typically don’t get used as often as daily drivers, which generally leads to a lower risk and accordingly a lower premium.”
Salem Insurance, 701 US 281 N, Ste C, Marble Falls, TX 78654
Ask 10 people what standard homeowners insurance covers and you’ll probably get 10 different answers.
Some people think their policy only covers their physical dwelling, when in fact most property insurance goes further than that. Additional structures, personal belongings and even liability protection might also be included.
Then, there are the myths suggesting that homeowners insurance covers situations it actually doesn’t.
Contact Salem Insurance today to find out more.
Are your high-value items covered?
What do your grandma’s engagement ring, Mickey Mantle’s rookie baseball card and the painting your wealthy uncle bought at a Christie’s auction have in common? They’re all rare and valuable, and that means they need to be insured.
Homeowners and renters insurance cover your personal property. But even if your policy’s overall limit covers everything you own, it might have sublimits that don’t fully cover specific, high-value items.
So what should you do?
Call Salem Insurance today! 830-693-4343 http://www.saleminsurance.com
Often the bigger companies with huge budgets and high quality in house attorneys lead the way in risk management. But smaller, Mom and Pop sized businesses can learn something from these larger companies if they have the information to do so. Today’s blog is designed to share some of what the big boys already know regarding certificates of insurance.
Most small contractor companies understand the need for certificates of insurance to prove that their subcontractors have insurance protection. But what gets lost in the process often is a clear understanding of why you need that certificate and what it means to your company’s risk management process.
If I were to randomly sample a dozen small contractors who call our office requesting a certificate of insurance for one of our clients, and ask them why they need this certificate, I willing to bet that most would answer that they need it for their insurance company at audit. And while this is the most pressing issue – you don’t want to have to pay for insurance on your subcontractors if you don’t have to – it leaves out the risk management side of this process. No, the real reason you want a certificate of insurance is so that you feel comfortable knowing that if your subcontractor causes a large loss on your job site, your company will not have to pay those damages. With all of the time and care and money that you have spent on your own insurance policies, why would you let an uninsured subcontractor put all of that in jeopardy?
Focusing on the need to know that your subcontractor is adequately insured before he or she sets foot on your job site, we now want to take a closer look at the certificate of insurance to make sure that it is as reliable as you might be assuming it to be. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind regarding certificates of insurance.
Get them from the insurance agent, not the subcontractor. Several years ago it was discovered that people were purchasing blank and fraudulently completed certificates of insurance from unscrupulous dealers on ebay. Let’s face it, if you want to find a way to fake a certificate of insurance, it is not going to take a rocket scientist to pull it off. So, the best plan is to ask your subcontractor for the name and number of his insurance agent and contact them directly to request the certificate.
Review the certificate for dates and limits. When you receive a requested certificate of insurance, don’t just file it away without looking at it. Take a minute to check the names of the insurance companies that are providing the coverage. Do they look legitimate? Are they known names in your business? Next check the dates. If a policy is within days of expiring, or if it is going to expire before your subcontractor leaves your job site, then you will need to get another certificate proving that coverage was renewed. Last of all, check the limits of coverage listed for each policy. Make sure that your sub has high enough limits to keep your insurance from having to respond to a large loss – you don’t want to have to muddy up the claim with two insurance companies involved in the same loss and you really don’t want to have to trigger your insurance protection for a loss caused by one of your subs.
The Certificate of Insurance is just a snapshot. Keep in mind that any insurance certificate is just a snapshot of the coverage in place on the day that it was issued. If your sub doesn’t pay his next bill then he could be working on your job site with cancelled coverage and that could cost you big money if that sub causes a large loss. While many certificate forms state that the insurance company will endeavor to notify you if any of the policies are cancelled, the truth is that most insurance companies do not even want to see copies of certificates issued by their agents and they have no intention of letting you know if a policy is cancelled. In fact, they couldn’t do it even if they wanted to as they have no copy or record of the certificate in their files.
Consider the Additional Insured option. This is a trend with larger contractors and one that the smaller contractor should consider. Instead of asking for a certificate of insurance, consider asking that your company be added as an additional insured on the subcontractor’s policies. There may be a charge for this endorsement but generally the charge will be pretty minimal. Once you are added as an additional insured, you will now receive an endorsement to the policy from the insurance company, so you know that they know about you and issued the endorsement. This also solves the snapshot problem as you are now an integral part of their policy and you will receive cancellation notices or notices of nonrenewal should any of those be triggered.
Often, when insurance policies are a contractual or legal requirement, people only focus on satisfying that requirement, rather than keeping their focus on the purpose of the insurance protection itself. Don’t let your certificate of insurance procedures become a simple rule following process, make sure that your company is getting the protection that it needs from the risks of uninsured subcontractors