Halloween Horrors Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance

Your homeowners insurance will protect you from Halloween home mishaps.

Halloween is one of the best nights of the year for children! Unfortunately, this playful, mischievous manner could turn into mayhem when a trick-or-treater trips or your jack-o’-lantern is knocked over.

Fortunately, you can cackle your way through this night as most homeowners insurance policies cover these nightmare situations!

  • Tricksters damage your home: Standard homeowners policies cover vandalism when repair costs exceed your deductible.
  • Candles cause a fire: Fires caused by a jack-o’-lantern candle or a string of ghost lights will be covered. If you are unable to live in your home because of damages, your homeowners insurance will also pay for your additional living expenses.
  • Trick-or-treating trauma: Injuries caused to children or their parents are covered by the homeowner liability portion of your policy.
  • Car crash: If you crash your car by to avoid hitting a trick-or-treater (it happens more than you think!), the accident would be covered by the collision portion of your auto insurance. If anyone is hurt, your liability protection will take care of that.

Luckily, with proper insurance, you will have coverage throughout all Halloween misfortunes! That being said, you can reduce the likelihood of an accident by ensuring all paths to the house are clear, double-checking that there is sufficient lighting, and not lighting any open flames.

Visit Stromsoe Insurance Agency to put the necessary insurance in California in place before Halloween night. We promise no tricks in our insurance policies!

Your Teen Drivers Need Car Insurance (Even If They Don’t Have A Car)

How to get your teen drivers the car insurance they need.

In theory, your teen becoming a licensed driver takes a lot off your plate. You don’t have to drive to school in the mornings, you’re not responsible for shuttling your teen and his or her friends to after-school activities, and you free yourself from playing weekend chauffeur.

Unfortunately, though, when your teen starts being able to drive you do have or thing or two you need to worry about. For starters, you need to focus on making sure your family’s newest driver is safe behind the wheel.

Secondly, you need to consider your insurance coverage. That’s right, even if your teen doesn’t have his or her own car you still need to insure him or her. In the state of California, all drivers on the road are required to have liability insurance. That means that if you let your teen drive without having coverage for him or her, you’re letting your teen break the law.

Fortunately, insuring your new driver is easy! Just give your insurance agent a call, and he or she will be able to add your teen as an operator on your family’s existing coverage.

Let us forewarn you: when you add a teen, your rates will go up because teen drivers are statistically some of the riskiest people on the road. The good news is you can combat this by limiting how much your teen drives, getting a good student discount if he or she gets As and Bs, and waiting to buy him or her a car.

If you have questions about the California car insurance your growing number of drivers requires, don’t wait to contact Stromsoe Insurance Agency. We know that you already have enough to worry about with your new teen driver, and are here to making getting him or her covered easy! Protect your family, your vehicles, and your liability by calling us today.

How To Lower The Cost Of Insuring Your Teen Driver

If you have a teenage driver on your hands, you know that your auto insurance premium is highly affected by adding them to your coverage. However, you don’t have to be emptying the bank account to insure your teen driver. Back to school time is the perfect opportunity to think about how you can save on your auto insurance.

As you watch your teen driver pull out of the driveway, you have a magnitude of worries crossing your mind. On top of worrying about their safety, you have to think about the costs associated with their new found freedom. The costs continue to build up as you purchase a car for them to drive, driving school, a driver’s license, and of course, their auto insurance. Many parents of new teen drivers fail to realize that they still have options to keep the costs low.

When choosing your teen driver’s first car, think about the insurance implications. Vehicles that require comprehensive and collision coverage will be more expensive to insure. If you purchase an older, yet reliable vehicle for your teen driver, you may only need to purchase liability insurance, keeping the costs down.

Additionally, you must take advantage of the discounts available to you. If your child takes additional driver’s education courses, they may be eligible to receive a discount. Is your child tired of hearing you encourage them to keep their grades up? You now have the luxury of saying that they will not be allowed to drive unless they maintain a B average. That way, they will be receiving the good student discount and your auto insurance premium will not be as high.

The insurance experts at Stromsoe Insurance Agency can answer any remaining questions you may have regarding insuring your teen driver. We can help you review your current policy and help you manage the cost of insuring your teen. Contact us today!

What Types of Business Insurance Are Available

If you own your own business, there are quite a few insurance products you can use to protect yourself against possible loss and damage. A comprehensive insurance plan will include all of these insurance policies, and there may be discounts available for bundling multiple insurance options together.

Workers’ compensation insurance is required by most states for full-time employees. It will protect you against claims if your employees are injured on the job. Life and disability insurance and health insurance are additional employee benefits that are often offered. Health insurance will become mandatory for many employees starting January 1, 2014.

Commercial auto insurance is a necessity for those that require their employees to drive while on the job, and general liability insurance can protect businesses from injuries that happen on their premises or due to the negligence of their staff. Product liability insurance is vital for those that manufacture products such as consumer goods.

Property and casualty insurance is one of the most common types of insurance and will protect against property damage, while business interruption insurance will insure your company against the potential of lost revenue due to unforeseen events.

For more information about business insurance and your insurance needs contact the commercial insurance experts at Stromsoe Insurance Agency.

Auto Liability Insurance: How Much is Enough?

Do you know what the three numbers that are usually written like this xx/yy/zz on your Auto Liability insurance?

The first number refers to the maximum amount of Bodily Injury Liability (BI) for an individual injured in an auto accident; the second is BI per coverage per accident; while the third covers Property Damage Liability (PD) per vehicle. For example a policy with 30/60/15 Liability coverage would pay up to $30,000 in BI per individual, $60,000 worth of BI per vehicle, and $15,000 in PD per vehicle.

Every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of Liability coverage under their Auto policy. Limits by state vary from 10/20/10 in Florida to 80/100/25 in Maine. These numbers have remained fairly stable for a number of years.

However, because a car accident can cost far more than the Liability minimums that most states require, people usually carry more coverage. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that you have at least $100,000 of BI protection per person and $300,000 per accident (known as 100/300).

If you hold the minimum coverage required by your state and you’re involved in an accident in another state that requires higher minimum coverage, the chances are that your policy limits will increase automatically to meet the other state’s minimum requirements.

We’d be happy to make sure that this feature applies under your Auto insurance– and to discuss the most cost-effective ways of protect yourself and your family from liability for accidents behind the wheel (such as increasing your Liability coverage or choosing higher deductibles).

For a complimentary review of your policy, just give us a call. 877-994-6787

What is a “Separation of Insureds” Clause?

Did you know when signing a contract to do business with another entity, you are agreeing to add them as an insured under your Liability insurance? Several months later, an accident may arise from the contracted job, and the other party sues you for damages. Can you file a claim for this suit under the policy that covers both of you? If so, isn’t this like the party suing itself, because the same policy that covers them as an insured is the one under which they’re now attempting to collect damages?

The answer to the first question is “yes, you can file that claim.” A standard Liability policy will cover a suit by one of its insureds against another unless there’s a specific endorsement prohibiting such coverage. Under such a “separation of insureds” clause, all policy provisions apply “separately to each insured against whom a claim is made or suit is brought.” So, from the policy perspective, the key issue is whether an insured is being sued — not who’s bringing the suit. As with any other claim, whether the policy pays for the damages will depend on a determination of liability and applicable coverage limitations and exclusions.

Although the insured party is attempting to collect under a policy that covers them, legally they aren’t suing themselves, but another insured; and the “separation of insureds” clause allows coverage for such situations.

Protection for “insured vs. insured” claims provides a valuable benefit under your liability coverage. However, bear in mind that any damages for such claims will drain your coverage limits. So, be careful about which and how many additional insureds you allow to be covered by — and yet still sue you and collect under — the policy you purchased just to protect yourself!

If you’d like more information, please feel free to get in touch with our Business insurance professionals. We’re here to serve you. 877-994-6787

Guns, Homeowners, and Insurance

When it comes to insuring firearms, Homeowners coverage offers some clear guidelines. We understand gun control remains a controversial issue, but we are here to help.

If you have rifles and pistols in your home, your policy will insure them against fire damage or theft, usually up to $2,500. Although a Homeowners application might not ask specifically about firearms, the higher liability risk that guns present means that failing to inform your agent or insurance company in advance about them could result in denial of a claim for loss or damage to them.

Because of this greater liability exposure, your insurer might require you to show that you’ve taken such sensible precautions as installing trigger locks, securing firearms properly in locked gun cases, and keeping them away from children. If you have a collection of guns that’s particularly valuable (for example, antique sidearms), you might need to buy a policy rider that ensures their replacement or reimbursement — much as with other big-ticket items, such as jewelry and fine art.

If you shoot someone else or yourself accidentally while in the home, your policy might pay for some or all of the damages, (medical bills, property damage, liability claims, and so forth), depending on the amount of coverage. However, to guarantee full protection, you would need additional policy riders, such as “Sporting Firearm insurance,” “Collector’s Firearm insurance,” or “Gun Club Liability insurance.”

To learn more about firearms coverage in your home, please give your Protection Coach a call 877-994-6787.

Mobile Devices Pose Data Breach Threats

With the ever growing use of tablets and smartphones in the workplace the risk of exposing more and more businesses to liability for sensitive data being compromised if these devices are lost, stolen, or hacked. How can your company protect itself against this threat – and how much authority do you have over an employee’s personal device if it’s also used for work-related activities?

What’s more, because these gizmos are small and portable, it’s easy to misplace them. (The federal Transportation Safety Administration recently leased a warehouse just to store those misplaced or left behind at airports.)

Another emerging risk linked to these devices is a “bring your own” policy that many companies have adopted as a way to save costs by having employees spend their own money on smartphones and tablets that are constantly evolving and updated. This approach raises questions about separating company data from personal information on the device. For example, when an employee leaves, does a business have the authority to wipe the information from his or her smartphone? According to some authorities, if an employee connects a personal device to a company network, the company has inherited responsibility for the data stored on it.

To deal with this risk, you need to provide every employee who uses these devices with training, updated annually, on how to respond in case of loss or theft. To minimize potential liability for lawsuits by customers and clients, make sure that the individual responsible for the mishap informs management immediately. The compromised information might include everything from sensitive data (financial or medical) contacts, photos, call history, personal notes – you name it.

You can also use insurance to protect yourself against losses from data breaches. A policy will provide Liability coverage that deals with legal costs and third-party expertise (such as forensics firms to analyze a breach and call centers to provide information and public relations. Coverage might also include services such as access to tools to estimate costs, a checklist for your planned response to a data breach, and access to experts who can answer questions and review your company’s policies and procedures.

For more information, feel free to 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

State Minimum Auto Liability Coverage: Is It Enough?

State minimum insurance requirements are minimal. Most states demand less than $100,000 for bodily injuries and $50,000 for property damage. Some states require only $10,000 for property damage coverage.

How many cars valued at greater than $10,000 travel the highways? How many trucks carrying cargo are worth more than $10,000? $50,000? $100,000?

According to the 2010 census, the median family net worth exceeded $200,000. That amount includes houses, cars, savings, retirement funds, cash in the bank, college savings, and furniture and personal effects. Half the families are worth more, half have assets less than $200,000; all of it is hard earned.

If the family is underinsured for liability, their net worth is vulnerable to be seized in a lawsuit based on injuries or property damage caused by any family member driving a vehicle. The car owner and the car driver become parties to the suit.

Bodily injuries sustained in car wrecks devastate lives. People unable to work, the high cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, and the pain and suffering can only be compensated with money. The money comes from the insurance company or the liable party’s personal wealth.

Not convinced you need higher limits? Not all liabilities are released in bankruptcy. Many states have specific legislation disallowing debt reduction for certain accidents, most notably driving while intoxicated. Wage plans reduce take home pay by as much as 33%. Many employers do not tolerate either bankruptcy or wage garnishments.

Still not convinced? How about a selfish motivation?

Other drivers are either uninsured or underinsured. Most insurance companies will not provide uninsured motorist coverage in limits greater than the liability limits of the policy.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage from your policy pays on behalf of the driver who hits you if they are poorly insured. In a classic exercise of the golden rule, insurance companies only sell limits commensurate with the protection you offer others.

Proper limits of liability allow you to protect yourself from the improper coverage other people maintain.

So how much coverage is enough? What are reasonable limits of liability?

Call our knowledgeable Protection Team to get the right answers to your questions. And consider this:

Your assets are your excess insurance coverage. This means that when the limits of your policy are reached, your assets are at risk. Excess insurance – Umbrella policies, for example – is available in $1 million layers over your Automobile and Homeowners liability limits if those limits qualify – are high enough. Protect yourself against underinsured drivers by increasing your uninsured motorist coverage.

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