How do You Prepare for an Earthquake?

Earthquakes are the release of energy as tectonic plates shift, causing waves through the earth’s crust and resulting in the shaking that we feel. While technology has gotten more advanced, there is not exact way to predict when an Earthquake will hit and how strong it will be. They can happen at anytime, so to protect ourselves and our loved ones, we prepare. Here is how you can prepare your home, your family and your community in case of a quake.

Prepare Your Home

  • Do not hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, near beds, couches and anywhere people sleep or sit
  • Anchor top-heavy, tall and freestanding furniture such as bookcases or china cabinets to wall studs to keep these from toppling over
  • Check your fire extinguisher and replace it when it is nearing it’s expiration date
  • Call your insurance agent and cover your home with Earthquake Insurance, this is excluded from your Homeowners Insurance, but can be added easily
  • Know how to turn off your gas, water and electricity and keep tools nearby to do so
  • Keep a flashlight, slippers and gloves next to beds

Prepare Your Family

  • Make an Emergency Kit for you home and car
  • Practice drop, cover and hold on with your family members
  • Practice an Evacuation Plan
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • In case of an evacuation, have a plan for your family pets
  • Make a Pet Emergency Kit
  • Check with your workplace and your children’s schools and day care centers to learn about their earthquake emergency plans
  • Pick safe places in each room of your home, workplace and/or school (this could be under a piece of furniture or against an interior wall away from windows)

Prepare Your Community

  • Keep a sheet of local shelters and emergency locations and phone numbers you can share with your neighbors in an emergency
  • Get to know your neighbors and gather contact information to stay in communication during or after a natural disaster
  • Get certified in First Aid and CPR so you can help others in your community should they need it

 

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877.994.6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from one client that trust Stromsoe Insurance Agency:
“I have been dealing with Erica Gates for almost 8 years now. She has helped me with my house insurance, car insurance adding my wedding ring to my home owners insurance and now with my earthquake insurance. Erica does what she says she’s going to do, whether it’s check on something for you or return your phone calls. She has been OUTSTANDING since day one. You just don’t find people like Erica everyday. Her customer service has been above and beyond. A real keeper. Thanks Erica for all that you do.”          Norma Gold – Winchester, CA 92596 – client since 2010

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

Let Stromsoe Insurance Find YOU a Deductible That Fits Your Budget!

Nearly every insurance policy comes with a deductible, but how much is the right deductible for your budget?

Having a higher deductible may help lower your premium – but in the unfortunate event you have to utilize your deductible, coming up with a large sum of money during a difficult period can be uneasy. You’ll be surprised to find out that lowering deductibles isn’t as costly as you may think. Let our team of protection coaches find you the deductible that fits your budget!

We are so grateful for the opportunity to serve and protect you, your loved ones and everything you work so hard for! What more can we do for you?

 

Questions? Want to learn more? Here’s 4 easy ways to reach us:

Phone: 877.994.6787
Email: insure@siaonline.com
Text: 951-482-8144
Web: www.siaonline.com

PS Here’s a few words from people that trust Stromsoe Insurance Agency:
“SIA has helped my husband and I find the lowest rates for our car, home and business insurance. We are very happy with the service that SIA provides us. We would like to thank Cherie Wachel, but specially Shauna Smith who is always very helpful and very nice, she always has the perfect answer for all of our questions. Thanks.”
Luz Ma Silver – Silver Cleaning – Client since 2005

PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!

Can I be sued and lose my house over an auto accident?

If you are not properly insured, you can lose your house over an auto accident. Lawsuits over auto accidents can become extremely expensive, especially if they involve multi-car pile-ups or fatalities. If you are deemed responsible for such an accident, then all of your assets, including your house, may need to be sold to compensate others for their losses.

Be Properly Insured

On the other hand, if you are adequately insured, then the likelihood of losing your house on account of an accident greatly diminishes. Although the reparations may be the same amount, your insurance company would pay them, rather than yourself.

There are two keys to being properly insured against a major auto accident. First, you should have a generous auto insurance policy. Second, you may want to complement this policy with a personal umbrella insurance policy, which offers additional protection in $1 million increments.

Find Insurance

If you would like to go over your current protection or look for additional coverage, contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency. Licensed in 18 states, they can help you protect all of your assets, including your home.

Bailee Insurance, Anyone?

Let’s face it, we live in a “service economy,” more and more businesses (such as auto body shops, dry cleaners, and parking lot owners) are taking temporary responsibility for property or equipment owned by others. Any damage or loss to any property under the care, custody, or control of your firm could cost thousands of dollars — unless you have Bailee insurance.

This Inland Marine policy covers the liability of a business (the “bailee”) for the property of customers under its care, custody, or control. Most Property policies don’t provide coverage for this type of exposure, unless it’s included specifically. You can also purchase Bailee insurance on a no-fault basis to protect customers’ property against any loss or damage and subsequent liability, regardless of negligence.

You should buy enough coverage to pay for the total value of other’s property that might be in your control at any one time. Many types of Bailee insurance are tailored to the specialized needs of a particular type of business (Jewelers Block policies, Furriers Block policies, etc.).

As an alternative to Bailee insurance, you can obtain coverage as part of a comprehensive Property policy that includes a “property of others” clause.

We’d be happy to help you evaluate your needs and find a solution to insuring property under your care, custody, and control. Just give us a call. 877-994-6787

Social Media as a Hiring Tool – Employer Beware!

Social media has revolutionized not only the way we stay connected in our personal lives, but also how we conduct business. However, this asset can quickly turn into a liability if misused – for example, in recruiting your company’s most valuable asset – its employees.

Many employers begin the hiring process by using social-media outlets to screen applicants. LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a wealth of information about applicants’ education, their friends, and their personal behavior. Some companies reject candidates based on the content of their social-media pages. This might include anything from inappropriate photos or comments, discriminatory or slanderous statements, and references to alcohol and substance abuse, to sharing confidential information about their previous employers(s), displaying poor communication skills, or exaggerating their qualifications.

Although all of these indicators raise red flags, you could be risking a costly and annoying discrimination lawsuit if you access social-media sites which contain protected class information that’s not privileged in the normal hiring process.

To minimize this risk, it makes sense to:

    1. When hiring, use outside third parties such as background-verification companies and/or recruiters who document content from social-media sites in selecting candidates.

 

    1. Develop and enforce a comprehensive social-media usage policy.

 

  1. Purchase an Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy

For more information, please feel free to get in touch with our agency (877)994-6787

Protect Yourself With Uninsured Motorist Coverage

The  primary purpose of Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance is to provide Bodily Injury coverage for medical bills and loss of income (in some states, UM also covers physical damage to your car). UM offers valuable protection under both your Business and Personal Auto policies.

Here’s how UM works: Say you’re injured in an auto accident, and the other driver is at fault. Normally, you’d collect your bodily injury bills from the other party’s Auto insurance. However, it turns out that he doesn’t have Auto coverage — or enough coverage, if he is an underinsured motorist (UIM). This would leave your medical bills unpaid, even though you were the innocent victim.

When you have UM coverage, your insurer will step in and provide the same benefits you would have received from the at-fault driver’s policy. Although limits vary by state, in general, you’ll receive compensation for injury-related losses.

Even though you might have Medical Insurance and/or Disability Income insurance that would also pay for your injuries in a UM or UIM situation, carrying this coverage on your Auto policy often offers a better deal. Coverage might be broader (for example, your Health insurance won’t cover pain and suffering), and there are usually no deductibles or coinsurance provisions.

Call us today about UM and UIM options for your Business Auto coverage. We’ll be glad to review your options for you.

Protect Your Business From Fire

A recent report describes the fire-protection systems in many of the nation’s assisted living facilities are dismal. Many are missing basic safeguards such as smoke alarms and sprinklers. As a result, these facilities have suffered an average of one fatal fire per month during the past five years. In an industry this large, and with deep emotional implications, this matter will continue to receive nationwide press coverage.

This media attention should help businesses in all industries understand the importance of adequate fire protection. The cost of updating these systems pales in comparison to the huge emotional, physical, and economic damages that a single fire can cause.

As a business owner, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your structure capable of withstanding a blaze?
  • Is your staff aware of safety measures to both prevent and combat a fire?
  • What about your surroundings? Are the businesses near or next to you prepared?
  • If the worst were to happen, how long would it take your business to bounce back?

Although it might take intensive effort to protect your building against fire, carrying the proper insurance is one decision you can make immediately. Invest in comprehensive Property and Business Income coverages today!

Contact us for more information on how these policies can help your business bounce back after a fire or other disaster. Our team of knowledgeable business insurance experts for your free insurance quote at 877-994-6787, that’s 877-99-INSURE!

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

Emergency Preparedness Plans are Crucial When Disaster Strikes

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were a wake-up call to the kinds of dangers that still face America, including American businesses. In the months and years following the attacks, companies nationwide took steps to ratchet up security and emergency preparedness, in the event that they might someday be impacted directly by an attack or other major disaster.

For instance, an often-cited survey conducted by the Hartford Financial Services Group found that security measures instituted or improved on by companies resulted in a drastic drop in the number of unauthorized visitors entering workplaces. However, the same survey concluded that, as time passed, companies relaxed their newfound post-attack security consciousness. Emergency preparedness gaps are particularly apparent in smaller businesses.

A terrorist attack, of course, is not the only type of emergency a company might face. Natural disasters (hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards), fires, and power outages all can endanger employee security and stymie business operations. The extent to which a company is prepared for such events can mean the difference between being able to continue operations, and shutting down. According to the American Red Cross, as many as 40% of small businesses do not reopen after a major disaster.

According to the Hartford survey, the top workplace safety threat continues to be that posed by unauthorized entries into a business. Employers can take a number of actions to reduce the number of unauthorized entries. For example, they can: check that all entry doors have working locks; reduce the number of entry points, and have all of them set up so that individuals coming in through them must pass by a receptionist or other staffed workstation; implement photo IDs for employees; require that visitors sign in and wear visitor badges; and establish procedures that receptionists can use to inconspicuously signal that they need help (such as a call button).

Companies also must be prepared for emergencies that confine employees inside the building, such as a blizzard, or a situation involving outside release of a chemical or biological agent. Among the items businesses should ensure they have on hand are a supply of bottled water and nonperishable food; flashlights and batteries; a battery-powered radio; a landline phone that can operate without electricity; and first-aid supplies. Detailed lists of suggested “in case of an emergency” items for businesses can be found on the Web site of the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org).

Other steps businesses should take to prepare for disaster situations include:

  • Establish emergency evacuation routes and conduct regular emergency evacuation drills.
  • Copy or back up important, valuable, or irreplaceable documents, and store these off site.
  • Keep an up-to-date list of contact information for employees, customers, suppliers, distributors, and professional service providers (e.g., insurance agent, accountant, lawyer), and store this list off site.
  • Establish procedures for handling suspicious mail.
  • If the nature of the business permits, formulate a plan for continuing operations from an alternate site.
  • Make sure that the insurance coverages held by the business are appropriate and adequate, and store a copy of the policies off site.

Depending on a company’s location and the nature of its business, it might be more or less susceptible to certain risks than others. Our Total Protection Team is an excellent source for help in evaluating your company’s risk profile and for learning about business safety and emergency preparedness programs.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.  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 our website – www.siaonline.com

Renters Insurance – A Small Price to Pay for Financial Security

If you’re currently renting a house or apartment, you should strongly consider an investment in Renters insurance. No one likes to think about the possibility of a fire or a burglary, but these are real possibilities. Burglars can break in while you’re away and steal your computer, entertainment system, jewelry, and other valuable items. Without Renters insurance, you will have thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs to replace the stolen items. By contrast, if you have Renters insurance, you will promptly receive a check that covers either the replacement costs for the stolen items or the current value of the items — depending on which type of insurance policy you’ve purchased.

Maybe you believe there is little risk of a burglary in your geographic area, but what about the risk of fire? Fires strike randomly and can begin in electrical wiring over which you have no control. It’s unpleasant to contemplate, but you could come home to find that everything you own has been destroyed. With Renters insurance, you would have a check in hand quite soon to begin refurnishing your life. Yet another scenario for which Renters insurance can be of enormous benefit is personal liability. If a visitor is injured in your home, for example, by falling down the steps, you could be liable for her medical bills. Renters insurance would cover this liability. Some renters are under the impression that their possessions are covered by their landlord’s insurance. This is rarely true. Typically, the landlord’s insurance covers loss or damage to his property, not yours. Your landlord’s insurance also covers his liability in case anyone is injured on the property, though not always injuries inside your apartment.

Most renters can get comprehensive coverage for a few hundred dollars per year, depending on where they live. Considering the risks covered by Renters policies, this is a low cost for the potential benefits. Look around your house or apartment and take an inventory of items you would need to replace in the event of a catastrophe. Take note of high value or difficult to replace items such as antiques, furs, jewelry, or expensive art. Before you get a policy or immediately thereafter, you should record information on all your high value items, including details about the make, model, serial number, age, and costs (both purchase and current replacement). It might also help to have photos of these items for identification purposes.

A basic policy usually pays only for the actual cash value of your items at the time they were lost. In other words, they would be valued not at what you paid for them originally or what it would cost to replace them, but at their actual value as used items. So a 3-year-old computer would be covered for its initial cost minus depreciation. Since computers depreciate quickly, yours might be worth little by the time it’s 3 years old, so your insurance proceeds will be limited.

If you have expensive items like electronics that are subject to depreciation, you should consider replacement cost coverage. With this type of policy, you would be reimbursed for the current cost of buying a new equivalent item. Thus, in our example of the $2,000 computer at 3 years old, you would receive a check that would enable you to buy a new computer. Of course, replacement cost coverage is more expensive. It’s up to you to decide which type of coverage — actual value or replacement cost — best fits your needs and budget. Like most other insurance policies, your Renters policy will have deductibles. A deductible is an amount of loss you will have to absorb yourself before receiving any money from the insurance company. For example, let’s say you have a policy with a $500 deductible. You have cameras you bought for $2,000 several years ago. If you have replacement cost coverage and the cameras are lost in a fire, you would receive a check for $1,500 from the insurance company. Of course, you can lower your insurance premium by accepting a higher deductible, but this means if there is a loss, you must absorb more of it from your own pocket.

Renters insurance usually does not cover damage from floods or earthquakes, but you might be able to get endorsements for these and other “acts of God.” An endorsement extends the perils covered by your policy. Obviously, you must pay an extra premium for the extra coverage. Be sure to discuss any special high value items, such as antiques, furs, and jewelry with our protection coaches®, since you might need extra coverage for these. As mentioned, a basic Renters policy includes liability coverage should someone be injured in your rented home or apartment. As with Auto insurance, there is a per-incident limit on this coverage, and you should make sure this is high enough to protect your assets.

Give us a call today for your free insurance quote at 951-600-5751 or email us at insure@siaonline.com.