All About Rental Insurance

Carseat Safety: What Every Parent Needs To Know

Posted by on 8-08-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Carseat Safety: What Every Parent Needs To Know

It’s the law to have your young children safely buckled in a car seat when you’re driving. The proper use of car seats has reduced infant deaths by 71% during car accidents. However, parents can make some basic mistakes when it comes to proper seat use and installation that reduces their overall effectiveness. Unfortunately, these errors can sometimes affect your insurance coverage. Here are some common mistakes that parents make when it comes to carseat safety and what they can do to make sure that their children stay safe. Using an expired seat. Just like nearly every other consumer product, carseats come with an expiration date. Many parents feel that if a seat has been taken care of and hasn’t been in an accident, it should continue to work well. However, car seats do need to be replaced after they expire. The foam padding that supports the child begins to break down. The extreme heat and cold inside a car at different parts of the year begins to make the plastic components brittle and more easily damaged. Safety designs are constantly improving, so older models are not as advanced. In an accident, an expired seat will not perform as well as one that is newer. Because of the safety risk posed by expired seats, many car insurance companies encourage their customers to replace them as needed by restricting coverage for seats that are expired. Your child might not be covered in a car accident if riding in an expired seat, simply because the risk of injury is greater. Be sure you are aware of your insurance company’s policy and your carseat expiration date.  Using a seat that has been damaged in a previous accident. Even if a seat looks undamaged after a car accident, most of the time the seat needs to be replaced. Accidents can place stress on the seat and reduce its effectiveness in future crashes. Using a seat that has been in a previous accident can also void your insurance coverage with some companies. Seats are only safe to use after a minor collision, meaning that no one was injured, the car was able to drive away from the accident, the child’s side door was not damaged, and the air bags did not deploy. If any of these things do not apply to your accident, the car seat must be replaced. Remember that most insurance companies pay for car seat replacement following an accident.  Using the wrong seat type or configuration for your child’s age. The American Academy of Pediatrics changed the age recommendation for forward facing car seats. Before 2011, it was recommended that children under one remain rear facing, but now the recommendation is to wait until children are at least two before facing them forward. It does not matter if your child is exceptionally tall or long for his or her age — they are still safer facing the rear as long as they are below the height and weight limit of the rear-facing seat. The reason why this position is safer even for toddlers is because the spinal cord is still developing. The forward momentum of a crash can actually sever the spinal cord at the neck in forward facing children.  Using the right seat type and configuration for your child’s age is an...

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The Responsibilities and Risks of an Insurance Company That Issues SR-22 Coverage

Posted by on 4-04-16 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Responsibilities and Risks of an Insurance Company That Issues SR-22 Coverage

A lot of high-risk drivers are required to carry a special type of auto insurance coverage called SR-22 insurance. This coverage is not available from all insurance companies, and one reason for this is that an insurance company takes on extra responsibilities and risks when issuing an SR-22 policy. Here are three of the duties an insurance company assumes when they offer SR-22 insurance coverage to drivers. Completing the SR-22 Form SR-22 insurance is not really insurance itself, but a form that proves a person has insurance coverage. If you have been charged with a DUI, for instance, you will often have to purchase an SR-22 policy in order to keep your driver’s license. When an insurance company agrees to offer you SR-22 insurance, their first responsibility is to create the SR-22 form for you. This is an additional step they must take for SR-22 policies that is not needed with regular auto insurance policies. They will either mail this form to you or email it, and you will be responsible for bringing it to the DMV by the date listed on the notification letter you received in the mail. Once you get your policy in place, you must make sure you pay all your bills to prevent the policy from lapsing. Monitoring the Policy The second responsibility the insurance company assumes is monitoring this policy. When you need SR-22 coverage, it will be for a certain length of time, which is usually three years. If you fail to pay the bill for the insurance, the policy will lapse, and this will create problems. As soon as the policy lapses, the insurance company is legally required to inform the DMV of the policy lapse.  If this occurs, the insurance company must fill out an SR-26 form to mail to the DMV. This form simply states that the SR-22 policy has lapsed. The insurance company will also use this particular form once you have completed the timing requirements for the coverage. In this situation, the SR-26 form lets the DMV know that you have completed the term they had requested. The DMV will then remove this condition from your record, and you will no longer need to have the coverage.  One important thing to realize is that if your policy lapses before your term is complete, you may be required to start the entire term from the beginning. In addition, the DMV also has the right to revoke or suspend your driving privileges if there is a lapse in coverage. Insuring a High-Risk Driver SR-22 insurance coverage is needed only for high-risk drivers, and because of this, insurance companies charge more for this type of coverage. Drivers that are in high-risk categories are more likely to get in accidents and receive traffic violations. If the high-risk driver causes an accident, the insurance company will have to pay for it. According to Value Penguin, if SR-22 coverage is ordered after a person gets speeding tickets, this person can expect to pay 32% more for their car insurance. If the coverage is needed for something more severe, such as a DUI, the coverage may cost 135% more for the person. This can be a big increase from what you are used to paying, but there is no way around it. If you want...

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Deciding Whether Or Not You Need Comprehensive Auto Insurance

Posted by on 12-12-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Deciding Whether Or Not You Need Comprehensive Auto Insurance

There are numerous things that you should take into consideration before purchasing auto insurance. A lot of people don’t know how much coverage is legally required and what kind of extra coverage is available to them. Among these things that you should take into consideration is whether or not you need comprehensive auto insurance. Read on and decide whether or not you actually need comprehensive auto insurance. What Is Comprehensive Auto Insurance? Essentially, comprehensive coverage is the next step of coverage for your car or other auto beyond standard PLPD coverage. There are a number of things that comprehensive auto insurance covers that standard coverage does not take into account. It can cover windshields, hail accidents, deer accidents, fire damage, vandalism, flood damage, stolen cars, or a tree falling on your car (among other things not listed here; this list is not comprehensive). Remember that you will still pay the deductible that you wish to pay for comprehensive auto insurance, much like standard insurance. Many insurance companies offer a $0 deductible, but the monthly price of your insurance bill will be considerably larger. Is Comprehensive Coverage Required By State Law? There are no states where comprehensive coverage is necessarily required by state law. All states do require that if you own an auto and want to drive it, you must have PLPD coverage, however. This does not mean that comprehensive coverage is something you do not want to invest in, it just means it is something of which you are not legally required to invest in. Comprehensive Claims and Risk Level What is your level of risk if you so decide on spending a bit extra on comprehensive claims? It depends. Are you the sort of person who bowls down country roads at night, despite the fact that plenty of deer are out this season? Are you the kind of person who parks their car under a dying tree? All of these things (and more) put you at a high risk for a comprehensive claim. It is best to evaluate for yourself whether or not a comprehensive claim is really for you. If you live in the city and rarely see a deer or if you park in a garage at night or a parking ramp during the day and you live nowhere near Tornado Alley, well, the chances are, a comprehensive claim is not exactly something you necessarily need. If you have a low risk for a claim, it might be best to simply forego comprehensive coverage altogether. How Much Will You Pay? The good news when it comes to comprehensive coverage is the fact that is, generally speaking, very reasonably priced. As long as you are a person who is not a high risk driver, chances are, this is something you do not necessarily have to deal with. Even an older vehicle with not much of a resale value can benefit from a comprehensive claim if it needs something such as a replacement windshield. It is best to consult with your insurance agent regarding the aggregate cost of a comprehensive auto insurance buyout. What Is The Value Of Your Vehicle? The value of your vehicle can also play into whether or not you should hunker and down and wind up paying for comprehensive auto insurance. Consult a...

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Homeowner’s Insurance Levels: How Much Coverage Is Enough?

Posted by on 9-09-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Homeowner’s Insurance Levels: How Much Coverage Is Enough?

Due to the sheer amount of advertising and marketing targeted at consumers for auto insurance policies, people have become more aware of their auto insurance coverage and cost. Homeowner’s insurance, on the other hand, is another matter entirely. These premiums are often seen as a necessity–embedded in your mortgage and escrow payments to the point where you aren’t really aware of what your coverage gives you. That makes it difficult to determine whether your coverage is correct or not.  To better understand where your insurance premium goes–and how to determine if you’re paying too much–you’ll need to understand the four areas that homeowner’s insurance covers. These areas include: The cost to repair/rebuild your home’s structure in the event of a disaster Replacement costs for your personal belongings Liability coverage for injuries on your property Living expenses if you find yourself relocated while repairs are made Repair/Rebuild Cost This is commonly misunderstood portion of your homeowner’s policy, and a point where people often choose too little coverage. What’s important to know about this is that the cost you should look at is the cost to rebuild–not purchase–your home. Too many people consider the cost they paid for their home and start from there. Others make an ever larger mistake and consider their home’s current market value. Even though certain factors, such as land costs, won’t need to be repeated in the event of a rebuilding, labor for clearing debris and inspecting the foundation should be added into the mix. These costs are extensive, and often drive the cost of rebuilding much higher than market value. This is a prime reason why experts suggest that 64% of homeowners are lacking adequate coverage. You’ll also need to consider whether or not your policy has an extended replacement percentage. In the event of a major disaster, labor and materials costs can skyrocket due to increased demand. Your policy might have something built-in to deal with that. If it doesn’t, however, you’ll need to consider adding coverage on top of the normal rebuild cost as well. Personal Belongings This area is much more straightforward. The first step is to just tally up the cost of all of the belongings in your home. That said, there are two important things to consider when determining these values. First, you likely bought items like clothes at a discount. If you were to lose all of them in one shot, you’d need to replace them immediately–eliminating the option of shopping for a reasonable price. Also, technology items might not even have a current model that acts as a suitable replacement. You’ll want to use the cost to replace them with current options–not the choices you made 5 years ago or more. Liability Coverage Medical costs continue to rise. It’s difficult for a layperson to estimate what the cost would be if a person slipped and broke their hip, or if an on-site injury required a trip to the hospital. What is easy to see is that these costs aren’t minor–and your coverage should be set with that in mind. You should likely take the advice of your insurance agent here, and when in doubt, aim high. Living Expenses During Repairs Your living expenses during a repair or rebuild could differ wildly from someone else. For example, if you...

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Insurance Hike After A Tough Massachusetts Winter? What Can You Do?

Posted by on 9-09-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Insurance Hike After A Tough Massachusetts Winter? What Can You Do?

If you’re a Massachusetts homeowner, you may have been taken aback at your most recent homeowners insurance bill, noticing a dramatic increase over last year’s premium. And if you’ve not yet received your bill for next year, you can likely expect between a 6 to 9 percent increase if your homeowners insurance is carried through one of the state’s biggest providers. Is there anything you can do to lower your insurance rates or otherwise diminish the effect of this increase on your pocketbook? Read on to learn more about what is causing insurance rates to rise and what you can do to prevent a potential hit to your finances. Why are Massachusetts insurance rates rising so significantly this year? Although nearly everyone in the Northeast is accustomed to long, cold winters, the winter of 2014-2015 was a particularly damaging one — both for homeowners and insurers. Damage caused by snow and ice buildup on roofs was compounded when this snow melted, seeping water through cracks and causing expensive structural problems with the roofs and underlying beams. In an effort to recover some of the costs paid out in claims during this tough winter, at least 13 Massachusetts insurance providers have submitted requests to the Division of Insurance to permit these insurers to impose across-the-board premium increases for customers.  However, some consumer advocates are arguing against these rate increases, stating that they were approved without proper investigation and that insurance rates over the last few years have been more than sufficient to offset last year’s unforeseen expenses. While it seems unlikely that the Division of Insurance will revoke its approval for these rate increases, it may take steps to minimize further increases or to require extensive documentation of the necessity of a rate increase for the providers who have substantially raised their rates this year. Is there anything you can do to reduce your insurance costs in the wake of rising premiums?  If you’re facing higher insurance rates, there are a few things you can do to lower your overall premium, even if your company’s rate increase remains in place. First, you’ll want to shop around for quotes from other local insurance providers. Although many Massachusetts insurers did raise their rates, others did not — and a few even lowered rates for all customers. If it’s been a few years since you’ve received a rate quote from another company, you could be pleasantly surprised at the discounts available. If your homeowners and auto insurance policies are with different providers, you could also receive a discount by bundling this coverage. While you’re searching for a better rate, you may also need to take a good look at the coverage you have. If your home’s resale value is much higher than the cost to rebuild, you may need to be insured only for the latter amount. In other cases, you could receive a significant discount by raising your deductible, or the amount you’ll need to pay toward repairs before your insurance coverage kicks in. Finally, you’ll want to take active measures to reduce your risk of ever filing an insurance claim. Most insurance companies provide a variety of discounts and rate reductions for responsible homeowners. Taking steps like installing heating coils on your roof to melt winter snow buildup, purchasing an in-home fire...

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Voluntary Benefits: Why Employers Offer Them And The Benefits They Offer Employees

Posted by on 9-09-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Voluntary Benefits: Why Employers Offer Them And The Benefits They Offer Employees

If you work for a company that offers health insurance to you as a benefit, they may begin offering other types of benefits too. These other benefits are referred to as voluntary benefits, and they are optional, just like the health insurance the company offers. Here are two things you should know about voluntary benefits before you opt in. Why Companies Offer Them Benefits of any kind are considered an added bonus to employees. When you are considering accepting a job position, you will probably think about the salary, location, and commitment required of the position, but you may also think about the additional benefits it offers. Here are three of the most common reasons employers offer these to their employees: To retain them – Decreasing employee turnover rate is vital for a business’s success, and one way companies achieve this is by offering competitive salary packages. This includes a fair salary amount and benefits. Employees might be more likely to stay at a job when they feel they are treated fairly, and receiving benefits is a great way for employers to make employees feel valued. To keep them healthy – Benefits offered to employees can encourage them to stay healthier. If employees have free well-visits to doctors through their health insurance, they might be more likely to follow through with them. In addition, employers can offer voluntary benefits designed for wellness purposes. Healthy employees may work harder and call off less often. To improve productivity – According to Forbes, employees perform better when they are happy with their jobs. There are many ways to make your employees happy, and offering a variety of useful benefits to them is one option. If your employees are happy with their jobs, you may see your company’s profitability increase. If your employer calls a meeting to discuss new voluntary benefits, you can be certain he or she is doing this for these reasons. Offering benefits does not only help the company, but it also offers advantages for you. The Advantages It Offers You When you have the option of opting into voluntary benefits, you may reap numerous benefits from this. The first benefit is access to products or services at a discounted rate. If your company offers a group policy for vision insurance, you will be able to purchase a policy for a cheaper rate than you would be able to on your own. If you have never had vision insurance before, this might be wonderful news for you, especially if you have a family member that wears glasses. A second advantage this offers is access to services that might be very useful for you. For example, if the company offers a wellness program, you might be able to receive: Free health screenings at your workplace Access to an exercise room and personal trainer Information from a dietician about what foods to eat and which you should avoid These services might be exactly what you need to get healthier, and they might be available right at your job, which would make them extremely convenient. Your company can choose from a variety of different voluntary benefits to offer, but these are some of the popular options right now: Disability insurance Financial counseling services ID theft protection Life insurance The benefits your company offers...

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4 Problems That Can Raise Your Auto Insurance (And Their Solutions)

Posted by on 9-09-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Problems That Can Raise Your Auto Insurance (And Their Solutions)

Nobody wants to spend more on auto insurance than necessary — and yet, many do simply because they’ve made some error or other that caused their premiums to spike. Fortunately, most problems have solutions, and auto insurance problems are no exception. Here are four issues that can boost your auto insurance, along with smart strategies for counteracting them. 1. Type of Car The problem: The more an insurance company has to pay to replace a car, or the more likely such a replacement is, the more you’ll pay to the insurance company in the form of higher premiums. Buying a $100,000 sports car would be sufficient to spike your insurance rates for this reason alone — but it’s far from the only reason. That expensive sports car probably has an enormously powerful engine under the hood as well. People don’t buy such cars for leisurely jaunts to the grocery store; they buy them to go full throttle on the highway, making them a significantly higher accident risk. To the insurance company, this constitutes Strike Two. Strike Three comes from the fact that fancier cars are more desirable to thieves. The solution: Buy a modest, used family car. Even a barely-driven used car has already depreciated significantly enough to reduce its replacement value. Models commonly purchased to transport kids, such as minivans and wagons, are more likely to be driven safely and responsibly in the eyes of your insurer. You may not be thrilled by the driving experience, but you’ll be a lot happier when it comes time to pay the bills. 2. Time Spent Driving The problem: Most people have to commute to work five days a week, but some commutes are longer than others. If you live many miles from your workplace, you may experience higher auto insurance premiums because you’re on the the road that much longer than someone who only has to drive a mile or two, increasing your accident risk. If you use your car to make a living as a delivery driver or other such position, your rates may be especially high because you’re driving all day long. The solution: If you can take public transportation to work and leave the car at home most days, tell your insurance provider and you might receive a lower rate. You may also enjoy lower premiums if you can show that your commute keeps you on sleepy neighborhood streets most of the time instead of forcing you onto dangerous, densely-packed highways. 3. Credit Score The problem: Believe it or not, bad credit can lead to a bad deal on your auto insurance rates. Insurers associate a poor credit score with irresponsible behavior. An irresponsible driver is more expensive to insure because he’s more likely to get into a wreck or park his car where it can get stolen. However unfair it may seem, you’ll pay higher premiums if your credit score is interpreted in terms of poor decision making and/or lack of trustworthiness. The solution: The only fix for this problem is to rehabilitate your credit score. Pay down large credit card balances, pay off any outstanding debts, and refrain from taking out unnecessary loans. Check your credit score to see whether there are any bogus demerits you can contest; you may be able to get them...

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How Can You Financially Protect Your College-Bound Student?

Posted by on 8-08-15 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Can You Financially Protect Your College-Bound Student?

If your child is preparing to head off to college, you may be feeling a mixture of emotions — pride, excitement, and concern. In most cases, this will be your child’s first time living on his or her own (even if a Residential Advisor is just down the hall). You may wonder about your child’s ability to deal with sticky or difficult situations, including theft, bullying, or a severe injury or illness. Read on to learn more about what you can do to protect your college-bound student’s health, safety, and personal belongings. Health insurance for doctor visits and emergencies Although your college student is likely a legal adult, he or she should still be able to be covered on your health insurance policy until his or her 26th birthday. However, because insurance policies and coverage can vary widely, you’ll want to check your policy’s list of network physicians to ensure that your child will be able to obtain less expensive in-network treatment while at college. If you have a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flex Spending Account (FSA) and would like your child to have access to these funds while at college for help in paying co-pays or purchasing prescriptions, you may want to order an extra card for your child’s use. Be sure your child has this card and a health insurance policy card upon arrival at college, so that he or she will be able to receive immediate treatment if involved in an accident or suffering a severe illness that requires hospital admission. Homeowners insurance to protect personal belongings Your homeowners insurance coverage may also come into play when your child leaves for college. In most cases, as long as your child is still a legal dependent (that is, you declare him or her as a dependent on your income taxes, carry his or her health insurance coverage, or provide financial support or college tuition), any personal belongings he or she takes to college will be covered under your existing policy. You’ll still want to contact your insurance agent to confirm this coverage and go over your limits. If your child has recently purchased an expensive laptop, pricey textbooks, or other items that may be targeted for theft, you could add these on a separate rider to ensure that you receive the full replacement cost if damaged or stolen.  Auto insurance to protect against crashes and theft Finally, you’ll need to check your policy with your auto insurance company. If your child isn’t planning to take a car to college, you may be able to reduce your insurance premiums by listing your child as only an occasional driver, or even dropping the policy on his or her vehicle (if it will remain parked during this time). If your child is attending college in another state, your policy may offer reciprocal coverage, depending upon your child’s residency status. You’ll need to go through the various scenarios with your insurance agent to determine whether it makes more sense for your child to purchase a policy in his or her new state or keep the current one.  If your college student remains covered on your auto insurance policy, you may also want to check to see if your policy offers personal property coverage that will help replace your child’s laptop, cell...

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