Five Things You Should Know About Condo Association Insurance

A condominium unit owner usually has their own insurance policy that covers for loss of personal belongings, parts of the building that the condominium agreement makes individual owners responsible for insuring, the additional cost of living elsewhere after a fire damages a unit, and legal liability for injuries or damages suffered by others. In turn, the condominium association has its own policy, which might cause some unit owners to wonder why they have to buy separate insurance. Doesn’t the association’s insurance cover the same things? Depending on the property at issue, the answer is maybe yes and maybe no. Insurance companies designed the two types of policies to complement each other in some cases and to overlap in others. Here are five things unit owners should know about their associations’ insurance.

The association’s policy covers the building. Depending on the wording in the contract between the association and the unit owner, the word “building” may mean several different things. If the contract requires the association to insure them, “building” can include fixtures, improvements and alterations that are part of the building and that are within a unit. For example, if a unit owner installs new track lighting or an attached island in the kitchen, the association’s insurance would cover the cost of repairing or replacing them after a loss. Also if the contract requires, the association’s insurance will cover various appliances such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers.

The association’s policy covers personal property “owned indivisibly by all unit owners.” Furniture in the building’s lobby, hand carts and other moving devices, and exercise equipment in an exercise room available to all residents are examples of the types of property that the association’s policy insures.

The association’s policy does not cover the unit owner’s personal property. A unit owner must buy their own insurance to cover furniture, electronics, clothing and other belongings. Assume, for example, that the condominium contract requires the association to insure appliances. If fire damages a unit owner’s space, the association’s insurance will cover the refrigerator but not the sofa. The unit owner’s policy will cover the sofa. The association’s policy also does not cover an individual unit owner’s legal liability for injuries or damages suffered by others. The unit owner needs their own insurance to provide for legal defense and to pay any judgments.

It is possible that both policies may apply to the same item of property. In the above example, both the association’s and unit owner’s policies may cover the refrigerator. In that situation, the association’s policy will apply first; if it does not completely pay for the repair or replacement, the unit owner’s policy will cover the balance. For example, if the cost of replacing the refrigerator is $5,000, and for some reason the association’s policy covers only $4,000, the unit owner’s policy will pay the other $1,000 (the example doesn’t include deductibles that may apply).

The association’s insurance company will not try to get its money back from a unit owner. Suppose a unit owner left a candle burning overnight and the unwatched candle caused a fire that damaged part of the building. Many types of insurance policies would allow the insurance company to pay its customer for the damage, then try to recover its payment from the person who caused the damage. However, a condominium association policy specifically states that the company waives its right to recover from a unit owner. It still has the right to seek recovery from a person who is not a unit owner and is responsible for the damage.

Although comprehensive, the association’s policy is no substitute for a unit owner’s own insurance. Work with our professional insurance agents to ensure that you have the proper coverage.

If you have any question regarding this article or if you would like to discuss your insurance program, CALL 877-994-6787, that’s 877-99-INSURE and speak with any one of our knowledgeable Protection Coaches Today!

Here are 4 EASY WAYS to Reach Us:

  1. Call 877-994-6787 or 951-600-5751
  2. Fax 951-677-6265
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2011 Murrieta Chamber Golf Classic

The Insurance Doc was thrilled at the opportunity to participate in the 2011 Murrieta Chamber Golf Classic last Friday, August 19th. We would like to say congratulations to our drawing winner Alex Braicovich! Alex won $50 CA$H, PLUS $50 to his charity of choice, the Boys & Girls Club of SW County. Thanks to all that participated in our efforts to give back.

Here are just a few snap shots and bloopers of the day – Enjoy:

Overall, it was a fabulous day – Great People, Great Weather and way too much FUN!!!

Just Because You’re A Renter Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Have Insurance Needs

Many renters mistakenly believe that they don’t need Renter’s insurance or view it as an expensive luxury. However, insurance needs aren’t negated just because one happens to be renting their home.

For those not familiar with Renter’s insurance, it’s an insurance coverage that protects the renter from property losses from damages like water and fire. It also provides protection for liability risks, such as lawsuits brought by the landlord of the property, pet attacks, falls and slips, and guest accidents. This type of coverage is available in most areas and has an average $20 monthly premium rate for around $500,000 dollars worth of liability coverage and $20,000 dollars worth of property coverage.

Trusted Choice, a network of financial and insurance service firms, recently found in a survey that almost 25 million American home renters didn’t have any insurance coverage to protect themselves from losses and that most renters have limited, if any, knowledge of Renter’s insurance.

Eight percent of the respondents without Renter’s insurance had never heard about Renter’s insurance before. Meanwhile, 17% said they weren’t aware that they needed Renter’s insurance and 26% percent felt that Renter’s insurance was too costly.

According to the study, some renters also mistakenly believed that their insurance needs were covered under the insurance policy held by their landlord. In reality, landlords don’t typically insure anything other than the building and infrastructural elements like HVAC systems and elevators. Other losses incurred will be directly on the renter’s shoulders. Even negligent actions caused by one tenant, such as a fire, that affects other innocent tenants in the building aren’t typically covered by the landlord’s insurance.

Other key findings of the study included:

  • Fifty percent of the surveyed renters owned pets. Thirty-two percent of the non-pet owners had Renter’s insurance. Although renters that own pets have a higher liability exposure than renters without pets, a mere 26% of the pet owners had Renter’s insurance.
  • Eighty-nine percent of the surveyed renters owned at least one expensive electronic device, such as a computer, camera, digital recorder, or home theater system. This group was more likely to have a Renter’s insurance policy than those that didn’t own such devices.
  • Fifty-three percent of the surveyed renters owned at least one form of exercise or sports equipment, such as a skis, bicycles, or a home gym system. This group was more likely to own Renter’s insurance than those that didn’t own such equipment.
  • Only thirty-one percent of the renters operating a home business from their apartment, condo, or other type of rental unit had Renter’s insurance.

Call 877-994-6787 for your FREE price-comparison Renters Insurance Quote Today, that’s 877-99-INSURE!!!

Here are 4 Easy Ways to Reach Us:

  1. Call 877-994-6787 or 951-600-5751
  2. Fax 951-677-6265
  3. Email – insure@siaonline.com
  4. Visit – www.siaonline.com 24/7

Back to School Bus Safety Tips

Most of you probably have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews going back to school soon. We came across some bus safety tips we wanted to share with you. It might be a good idea to print these out and go over them with your loved ones.

For some 25 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with a trip on a school bus. Unfortunately, each year many children are injured and several are killed in school bus incidents.

Rules for getting on and off the school bus:

Getting on the school bus
• When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private property.
• Line up a safe distance away from the street or road as the school bus approaches.
• Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.
• Use the handrail when stepping onto the bus.

Behavior on the bus
• When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and is not allowed.
• Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
• Keep aisles clear – books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency.
• Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.
• At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat, then walk to the front door and exit, using the handrail.

Getting off the school bus
• If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road until you can turn around and see the driver.
• Make sure that the driver can see you.
• Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
• When the driver signals, walk across the road keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
• Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin walking.
• Stay away from the rear wheels of the bus at all times.

Correct way to cross the street
• Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
• They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.
• If a student’s vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles — then stop, and look left-right-and left again.

We hope you find these safety tips useful. Please pass them along to those you care about. If you have any questions or comments, please post in the comment section below or you may contact our office at 877-994-6787.

Children, Adults and Pets Enclosed in Parked Vehicles Are at Great Risk

Each year children die from hyperthermia as a result of being left in parked vehicles. Hyperthermia is an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. Hyperthermia can occur even on a mild day. Studies have shown that the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, adults and pets. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate than adults.

Shown below is a time lapse photo of a thermometer reading in a car over a period of less than an hour. As the photograph shows, in just over 2 minutes the call went from a safe temperature to 94.3 degree F. These photos demonstrate just how quickly a vehicle can become a death trap for a child.

Hyperthermia deaths aren’t confined to summer months. They also happen during the spring and fall. Below are some examples.

  • Honolulu, HI, March 07, 2007: A 3-year-old girl died when the father left her in a child seat for an 1.5 hours while he visited friends in a Makiki apartment building. The outside temperature was only 81 degrees.
  • North Augusta, SC, April 2006: A mother left her 15 month old son in a car. He was in a car for 9 hours while his mom went to work. She is now serving a 20-year prison sentence.
  • Denver, CO, August 2008: Two kids that died in an overheated car may have been on their own for more than 3 hours as their mother slept after working a night shift. The kids died in a closed but unlocked car. Investigators believe the temperature in the car may have reached 123 degrees F.

Adults are in danger too. On July 12, 2001, a man died of heatstroke after falling asleep in his car with the windows rolled up in the parking lot of a supermarket in Hinds County, MS.

How Fast Can the Sun Heat A Car?

The atmosphere and the windows of a car are relatively “transparent” to the sun’s shortwave radiation (yellow in figure below) and are warmed little. This shortwave energy, however, does heat objects it strikes. For example, a dark dashboard or seat can easily reach temperatures in the range of 180 to more than 200 degrees F.

These objects (e.g., dashboard, steering wheel, childseat) heat the adjacent air by conduction and convection and also give off longwave radiation (red) which is very efficient at warming the air trapped inside a vehicle.

Objects Heated by the Sun Warm Vehicle’s Air

Heat Safety Tips –

For Children:

  • Make sure your child’s safety seat and safety belt buckles aren’t too hot before securing your child in a safety restraint system, especially when your car has been parked in the heat.
  • Never leave your child unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows down.
  • Teach children not to play in, on or around cars.
  • Always lock car doors and trunks–even at home–and keep keys out of children’s reach.
  • Always make sure all children have left the car when you reach your destination. Don’t leave sleeping infants in the car ever!

For Adults:

  • Slow down. Reduce, eliminate or rescheduled strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, senior and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods, like meat and other proteins that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol or decaffeinated fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, are on fluid restrictive diets or have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages and limited caffeinated beverages.
  • During excess heat period, spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, go to a library, store or other location with air conditioning for part of the day.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn reduced your body’s ability to dissipate heat.
  • Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

If you are interested in more heat wave safety tips to keep your loved ones safe this summer, contact our Total Protection Team at 877-994-6787 or Email insure@siaonline.com.

July Referral Program Drawing (LIVE)

Congratulations to Andy Davies of Davies Financial Services in Murrieta!!! Not only did Andy’s favorite charity, Advocates for Faith & Freedom win, Andy won dinner and a movie for two and he is entered to WIN ANY or ALL of the Grand Prizes!

Stay tuned… we still have 4 Grand Prizes, just waiting to be claimed. Are You the Next WINNER? Simply tell your friends, family members and business associates about Stromsoe Insurance Agency. When they contact our office at 877-994-6787, and mention Your Name, YOU Automatically WIN! PLUS, you win a donation to Your Favorite Charity Too 🙂

Here are 4 Easy Ways to Reach Us:

  1. Call 877-994-6787 or 951-600-5751
  2. Fax 951-677-6265
  3. Email – insure@siaonline.com
  4. Visit www.siaonline.com – 24/7

What Parents Can Do to Keep Kids Safe at School

Source:  National Crime Prevention Council

For most of the year, children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home. At school, children need a secure, positive, and comfortable environment to help them learn.

Overall, schools are one of the safest places children can be. However, some schools have problems, such as bullying and theft, which make them less secure. These problems make students and educators feel less safe, and it makes it harder for students to learn and for teachers to do their jobs.

But there are specific ways that parents can make going to school a safer and more valuable learning experience for their children.

In the Classroom

Kids need a safe and comfortable environment to learn to the best of their capabilities. This means they have to feel safe in their school and be able to positively interact with their teachers and classmates. By doing the following, parents and other adults can help make sure children have a positive school experience.

  • Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children won’t tell you right away if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
  • Teach children to resolve problems without fighting. Explain that fighting could lead to them getting hurt, hurting someone else, or earning a reputation as a bully. Talk to them about other ways they can work out a problem, such as talking it out, walking away, sticking with friends, or telling a trusted adult.
  • Keep an eye on your children’s Internet use. Many elementary schools have computers with Internet access. Ask your children’s school if students are monitored when they use the Internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites. Talk to your children about what they do online – what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Let them know they can talk to you if anything they see online makes them uncomfortable, whether it’s an explicit website or a classmate bullying them or someone else through email, chat, or websites.
  • Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your children’s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for?

Traveling To and From School

  • Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there aren’t many people.
  • Teach children to follow traffic signals and rules when walking or biking. Stress that they should cross the street at crosswalks or intersections with crossing guards when they can.
  • Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops with other children.
  • Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.
  • Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.

On the bus

  • Have your children arrive at the bus stop at least five minutes before the bus is scheduled to pick them up.
  • Make sure children know to stand on the sidewalk or on the grass while waiting for the bus.
  • Teach children to make sure they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them before crossing in front of the bus. Tell them to never walk behind the bus.
  • Be aware that often bullying takes place on the school bus. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they can talk to you, the bus driver, or another trusted adult.

If you’d like to work towards making your children’s schools safer on a larger scale, consider implementing Be Safe and Sound. This campaign provides a model for how parents, students, and school staff can work together to make schools safer and more secure.

We hope this provides you with some meaningful and useful information on how to keep your kids safe at school and provide them with the greatest opportunity for success.