Important Response Tips After An Accident

Very few people are prepared to face a traffic accident; however, many people will be involved in one at some point during their lives. While some are minor, others are severe and require appropriate action. Even the most careful drivers may experience an accident due to the poor driving skills of others. The best way to be prepared is to know how to respond at the scene. People who know what to do can save lives. In addition to this, preparedness makes the claims process simpler.

If an accident happens, take the following steps:

  • Stop the car immediately, and check to see if anyone involved is injured. Do not move any injured individuals.
  • Call the highway patrol or police immediately. Be sure to tell them how many people are involved, how many people are hurt and what types of injuries have been noted. The police will then notify an emergency response team.
  • Find a blanket, sweater or anything available to cover injured people with. It is very important to try to keep them warm.
  • Set up flares or other bright objects around the scene of the accident. This is especially important at night, and the objects will help other motorists steer clear of the scene.
  • When an involved vehicle is parked in the middle of the road, pull it to the shoulder. If possible, it is important to avoid congesting the road.
  • Ask the responding law enforcement officer where to obtain a police report copy. As a rule, it is beneficial to have one before submitting an insurance claim.
  • If necessary, call a towing company to pick up the damaged vehicle. Avoid giving permission for repair work. The insurance adjuster will need to see the vehicle and assess it prior to the repair process.

 

When the accident occurs, it is important to obtain some information from the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident. If they are upset, try to calm them down. Write down the following bits of information:

  • Names and addresses of every driver or passenger involved.
  • Names and addresses of all witnesses at the scene.
  • The make and model of every car involved.
  • Insurance identification information for each party.
  • License plate numbers of each car involved.
  • Drivers license numbers of each individual.

 

Not all other parties may be willing to cooperate. If they do not have insurance, they might try to offer a settlement at the scene of the accident. They might also prefer not to involve the police or highway patrol. Since there are many things that could go wrong in such a scenario, always notify law enforcement immediately. Be sure to write down the law enforcement officer’s badge number and name. If any emergency personnel are involved, write down their names. After an accident, always contact a personal insurance agent.

In some cases, people hit an unattended vehicle. It might be impossible to find the owner or wait for that individual to return. In such a case, the person who hit the vehicle should leave a note with their name, address and phone number. Write down the details of the accident, and call an insurance agent immediately.

Homeowners Insurance Policies & Jewelry

After receiving valuable jewelry, it’s important to contact your insurance agent immediately. It’s important to keep in mind that most Homeowners policies place limitations on coverage for personal valuable items. This means that owners of these valuable items might not receive the full value if any of the items are stolen or lost. As a general rule, most Homeowners policies provide coverage for possessions up to 50% of the total coverage amount chosen. This means that a person who has a $600,000 policy would enjoy coverage as much as $300,000.

However, most policies place limitations on certain types of personal belongings. For example, a policy provider may offer to cover $1,500 or more for all jewelry if theft occurs or the jewelry is damaged. There are several other categories of personal belongings that have limited reimbursement terms. Firearms, stamps, furs, coins and silverware are examples of such items. Homeowners should be sure to read the section of their Homeowners policies regarding contents and additional coverage. It’s important to remember that accidental loss is not usually covered. This means that a woman who loses her engagement ring will not receive payment from the Homeowners insurance company.

Homeowners who want to raise their coverage limit to ensure protection for loss and theft cases should contact an agent immediately. It’s best to ask the agent to schedule the particular jewelry item or add a special rider to an existing policy. In some cases, a written appraisal may be required, so it’s best to ask an agent if this will be necessary. Usually a detailed receipt is sufficient proof for the value of the item. After a value schedule is assigned to the item, the owner has full protection for the total amount if the item is lost, destroyed or stolen. This makes the claims experience simpler since there isn’t a need for an investigation about the item’s value. In addition to this, there is no deductible assigned to the items.

Since additional coverage is so affordable, it’s best for all homeowners who have valuable jewelry or other special items to speak with their agent. Agents are able to make an assessment of what should be insured and provide valuable advice. As a general rule, Homeowners policies don’t assign specific limits on electronic devices aside from the overall limit for possessions. It’s best for homeowners to insure their valuable items in such a way as to ensure that replacement-value coverage is in place. To learn more about the various types of riders and affordable coverage options, contact the Insurance Doc Today!

Here are 4 Easy Ways to Reach Us:

  1. Call 877-994-6787, that’s 877-99-INSURE
  2. Fax 951-677-6265
  3. Email – insure@siaonline.com
  4. Visit – www.siaonline.com 24/7

Homeowners Insurance & Social Gatherings

Many homeowners enjoy throwing parties for holidays or special events. If a party is in the near future, be sure that individual Homeowners coverage is adequate. Guests who are injured might need to file an injury claim if their vehicle is damaged, if they fall down or if a pet bites them.

Research shows that about 75% of adult homeowners who plan social gatherings in their homes do not have a personal umbrella policy. This makes them more vulnerable to lawsuits stemming from guests who suffer injuries. The same research study showed that the remainder of the homeowners surveyed did not know what type of coverage they had. This means it is likely that the percentage of homeowners who do not have adequate coverage is more than 75%. However, they should have this extra coverage to protect themselves from lawsuits. Although dog bites and falls are common, alcohol is one liability issue that is often overlooked but is very risky.

Alcoholic drinks are viewed as a way to relax and enjoy socializing. However, there is one sobering fact that many homeowners who plan to serve these drinks should know. In 30 states, homeowners might be responsible for damages arising from any auto accidents caused by their intoxicated guests who choose to drive home. In a research survey, more than 50% of homeowners said they agreed that party hosts should be responsible for their guests’ safety. However, very few took any steps to obtain adequate insurance coverage. The research study concluded that most people avoid purchasing a Personal Umbrella policy because they are under the impression that their regular Homeowners coverage provides adequate protection for such matters. Since many lawsuits include large awards and medical costs, it is easy for one incident to exceed the homeowners liability limits.

Homeowners must take two steps to ensure they are protected. First, it is imperative for them to contact a personal agent to discuss Umbrella policy options. It is also important to take the agent’s advice to avoid facing a costly lawsuit.

The second step homeowners must take is to read the following suggestions, which are designed to reduce their risk of lawsuits from intoxicated party guests:

  • Instead of having the party at a personal residence, reserve space in a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license.
  • Ensure that there are filling food options and non-alcoholic beverage choices available.
  • To avoid trouble from party-crashing strangers, limit invitations to friends or familiar people.
  • For guests who appear drunk, provide transportation or overnight accommodations.
  • Avoid serving alcohol to guests who appear intoxicated.
  • Plan activities that draw attention away from drinking alcohol.
  • If several guests are expected at a home party, consider hiring an off-duty police officer to handle problems and discreetly monitor guests’ alcohol consumption.
  • Take away all alcoholic drinks at least one hour before the party is supposed to end.

 

If you have questions about your homeowners insurance policy or a personal umbrella policy, please give our knowledgeable Protection Coaches® a call at 877-994-6787, that’s 877-99-INSURE!

On behalf of the Insurance Doc™ and the entire Stromsoe Insurance Total Protection Team, have a SAFE and Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

Do You Really Need Full Replacement Insurance On Your Current Building?

The owners of a new company found a building on the market for an affordable price, so they bought it. Built in the 1940s to manufacture aircraft for the war effort, the metal structure had a large open space. The company occupying this space was in the software development business and the building was much larger than it needed, but the price made it seem like a sensible move. However, the owners got a surprise from their insurance agent about property coverage. Insurance companies base limits of insurance on the cost of replacing a building exactly as it was before the loss. The cost of reconstructing this old building was much higher than both its purchase price and that of other suitable properties. The company did not need that much insurance, and paying the higher premium for it would have been wasteful, so the owners asked the agent for alternatives. What if, they asked, we don’t rebuild our building as it was?

After a fire or some other catastrophe destroys a building, its owners may decide not to rebuild or replace with a similar structure for a number of reasons.

  • As was the case with the software company, the current building’s design may be impractical. The company bought the building because of a good price, not because of its large open space. A software developer ordinarily does not need that much space; if it were to rebuild, it would almost certainly choose a smaller building with a different layout. Also, very old buildings often include materials that builders do not commonly use today, such as plaster and lathe. Reconstruction with these materials is expensive and often unnecessary for the continued operation of the business.
  • The company may decide to consolidate the operations of two locations into one. The second location may have the capacity to absorb the first one’s operations, and management may feel that it will gain efficiencies by consolidating.
  • Depending on the building’s age, it may not meet current building codes. The local government may require any new buildings to meet expensive new codes.

The standard Business Property insurance policy states that the insurance company will pay “actual cash value” — the cost of replacing the property minus an amount for depreciation. However, it offers the option of valuing a loss at replacement cost without deduction for depreciation. A business that chooses this option will need to purchase the amount of insurance equal to the cost of replacing the building “as is.” The company will pay the difference between the actual cash value and the replacement cost only if the property owner actually rebuilds or replaces the property, and then only if he does so as soon as reasonably possible after the loss. The policy also provides a small amount of additional insurance (typically the lesser of 5% of the insurance on the building or $10,000) to cover the increased cost of construction resulting from changes in building codes.

Businesses like the software company, who do not need an exact replacement of their current buildings, should ask their agent about adding a “functional building valuation” endorsement to their policies. It establishes a limit of insurance somewhere between actual cash value and full replacement cost and allows the property owner to replace the building with one that fulfills the same function as the old one at a lesser cost. The discussion with the agent should also include increased “ordinance or law” coverage to provide additional insurance for increased costs from new building codes.

With the right attention to detail, a business can get the property insurance it needs without having to waste money on unnecessary coverage. Call our team of knowledgeable business insurance experts for your free insurance quote at 877-994-6787, that’s 877-99-INSURE!

Here are 4 Easy Ways to reach us:

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