Is It Time For An Insurance Check-Up?

Your insurance needs change over time, so it is important to review your policies periodically to make sure they are up-to-date. Tragically, many people are not insured after devastating natural disasters. It’s never too late to do a homeowner’s insurance checkup before the next threat heads your way. This article highlights some important insurance coverage you should consider such as:

Earthquake Insurance

Flood Insurance

Wind Insurance

Steps To Help Secure The Right Coverage

Make sure your homes information is up to date. Your agent should shave to right square footage and replacement value.

Research the replacement cost for new construction in your area.

Have our agency provide you with coverage options for competitive insurance products.

Consider getting a “floater” to your home insurance policy. If you own valuable furs, jewelry, guns, collections, silverware, or artwork, a “floater” can cover the full value of those items. Consider adding building code or ordinance or law endorsement, which will help pay the higher cost of bringing plumbing, wiring, or other key systems up to current codes when rebuilding.

Why Are Your Auto Insurance Premiums Increasing?

An Auto Insurance Update

You may have noticed your auto premiums are increasing. In fact, auto rates are increasing all over the country. The reason for the increases are not what you may think. It is not because the insurance companies want to make more profit, it is due to the overwhelming number of accidents and the cost of these accidents. Most major auto insurers are paying out more in losses than they are taking in premiums.

The two contributing factors are the number of distracted driving accidents, and the cost of repairing newer, technologically sophisticated cars.
Distracted Driving

Distracted driving accidents are increasing in America due to the growing use of hand-held devices.  Too many people are interacting with their phones while driving. Phones and sophisticated dashboard technology are among some of the top activities that lead to accidents.

Driving while using a hand-held device increases the likelihood of a car accident by 400%.

Driver distractions are the leading cause of most vehicle crashes and near-crashes. According to a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction. The distraction occurred within three seconds prior to the vehicle crash!

Here is a link to a good article

Cost of Repairs Are Up Dramatically

Most new cars are designed with sophisticated technology that is expensive to repair.  Even the cost of bumpers has increased over 100% according to the Insurance Information Institute.  Today’s vehicles are equipped with expensive computers that control and monitor hundreds of features on the vehicle.  These computers are typically not repaired, but are replaced, which increases the total cost of the auto repair.

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72% of auto insurance in the United States is with just 10 companies. If you have not had us shop your auto insurance, now is the time.

We Answer Common Home Insurance Questions

Whether you are a new homeowner or have owned your home for a longer period, there’s no doubt you have any questions about homeowner’s insurance. You want to protect your home, your possessions, and your family. Below are five of the most frequently asked questions about homeowner’s insurance.

As a homeowner, am I required to have insurance? Yes, in most cases, especially if you have a lender. It’s also wise to look into insurance if you are in the process of constructing your home and even renting your home to someone else.

What types of coverage does homeowner insurance provide? Two types casually, which covers the home and contents, and liability, which covers anyone who is injured on your property. With both types, the amount of coverage depends on the policy.

Will the replacement cost be the same as the sale price of my home? No. The replacement cost will cover the amount needed to replace the structure and/or contents. Replacement cost is usually calculated based on the individual policies formula. It’s wise to take inventory and photographs of your home and contents.

Will homeowner insurance cover damage or theft outside of my home? It depends on the policy. Sometimes standard policies offer this kind of coverage, but if not, ask if purchasing the coverage at additional costs is an option.

Are home-based businesses covered under homeowner insurance? No, unless you qualify for an endorsement to your current homeowner insurance policy. Otherwise, look into getting a business owners insurance policy.

Of course, homeowners will have more questions about homeowner insurance particular to their own situations (including protection against the elements, possessions that are no longer in the home, contents of vehicles, etc.). When searching for a homeowner insurance policy, be sure to ask about coverage relevant and beneficial to your own situation.

Are Burglars Looking At Your Home?

A Personal Insurance Update

Your homeowner’s insurance may provide protection and help you recover from a loss.  However, it is very important to have the right kind of home insurance to cover these kinds of claims.  Call us for a free review.

Interesting Facts About Burglaries

Burglars do not travel far. The typical burglar lives within two miles of their victims.

Over 90 percent of burglars are male.

Dogs are not the same as a home security system.

95% of burglars are under the age of 25.

A large percent of burglars use an open door or window to enter your home.

Homes that have a security system are not as attractive to burglars.

What Can a Homeowner Do to Prevent Burglaries?

While nothing is 100% guaranteed there are measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of being a victim of a burglary.

Leave lights on when gone.

Have timers on outside lights.

Get a security system.

Never leave a door or window unlocked.

When traveling, do not post vacation pictures or information on social media until you return home.

Reduce landscaping around doors and windows.

Tell your neighbors to watch your home while you are on vacation.

Our agents have access to more carriers and more plans, and that means that they have more options – including multiple policy discounts and preferred premium pricing – to create the best possible combination of coverage to protect your family while lowering your costs.

Holiday Shopping Safety

Holiday Shopping Safety

Personal Insurance and Safety Update

Halloween is over and that means we are in the middle of the holiday season.  During the next 60 days, we will all be busy shopping, eating out, and traveling.  Thieves know that the police are overloaded during the holiday season, and they take full advantage it.  Burglars know that there are many expensive items in homes and cars during the holidays.

Your home or renter’s insurance will provide coverage for theft or loss if you have the coverage. Now would be a good time to call us for a free personal insurance review. Whether you are holiday shopping at the mall, online, or a little of both, keeping yourself and your personal information safe is important.  Here are a few holiday shopping safety tips:

Holiday Shopping Safety

Always be aware of your surroundings.

Lock your shopping bags in your trunk.

Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.

Never leave car doors unlocked or windows open.

Always park in lighted areas. DO NOT park in remote areas.

Shop with a friend.

Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

Keep receipts in your wallet or purse.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

As you return to your car, make sure to keep your car key in your hand.

 

Little Known Home Hazards

A Homeowners Insurance Update

We all know how to keep our home safe from fires, burglars and other major homeowner’s risks. Your homeowner’s insurance covers many different kinds of losses. Cooking, candles, and smoking are the biggest causes of house fires in the United States. However, there are a few hazards around the home that many of us don’t think about.

9volt Batteries

9volt batteries can create fire when exposed to many kinds of metal. Keep 9volt batteries stored in a plastic container.

Smoke Alarms That Are Not Working

A large percentage of homes fires go un-noticed because of smoke alarms that don’t work. A working smoke alarm can be your best defense to notify you of a fire.

Dryers

Over 20% of home fires start as a result of poorly vented or dust filled dryer vents. Check your dryer vent every time you use your dryer.

Candles

Candles left unattended are also a major cause of home fires. If you use candles, make sure they are kept away from flammable items and blow out before you leave the room.

There Are Proven Ways To Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto Insurance

When it comes to purchasing auto insurance, having options can be a very important way to save money. Putting money back in your pocket is one of our primary goals.  We know and understand the auto insurance market.  This allows us to provide you with the best possible combination of pricing, coverage and service.

Auto insurance rates differ from company to company, so it really pays to have us shop your insurance. Some markets offer better rates for trucks, RV and campers, while others can offer better rates for motorcycles.

How to reduce your auto premium

There are many things you can do to keep your auto rates at the lowest level possible.

Review your deductibles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your Collision and Comprehensive costs by 15 to 20 percent.

Encourage your student driver to get the best grades possible. Most major insurance companies offer a discount for students in good academic standing.

Select a safe car. Check out which cars are popular with thieves and avoid them. Also, the more expensive the car, the higher the premiums.

Be a safe driver. The more accidents and tickets you have, the higher the premiums will be.

Purchase a car with an alarm or LoJack. LoJack® Stolen Vehicle Recovery System provides car owners with peace of mind knowing that if their vehicle is stolen, they have the best chance of getting it back.

Be loyal. Many auto insurance companies offer loyalty discounts if you stay with them over time.

Check for other auto insurance discounts. These might include taking safe driver courses, senior discounts and more.

You might be able to pay less for your car insurance premium and not even know it. So it pays to connect with us to review your insurance needs.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

You’ve worked hard to earn your lifestyle. Consider adding additional liability protection to your Texas Auto, Home, Renters or Condo policy. Personal Umbrella Liability coverage added to your other policies can protect you, your spouse and any relatives living in your home. Let the staff at Heaton Bennett Insurance show you the value of an umbrella liability policy.

Umbrella Insurance Protection

Umbrella Insurance provides extra protection or limits above the liability insurance you currently have. Just as an umbrella protects you from heavy rain, an umbrella insurance policy protects you from losing the entirety of your wealth and assets in the event of a claim. Umbrella insurance can provide limits above your business insurance, personal auto and home policies.

Umbrella insurance provides broad insurance beyond traditional insurance. It provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your primary insurance policies. It can also provide coverage for claims that may be excluded by the primary policies

It is true that personal umbrella insurance may not be for business or individual, but if you are a business, wanting to protect your company’s resources, building financial resources for your future, are a professional, own your home, boat or recreation vehicle, you should consider an umbrella insurance policy.  Having the added protection of an umbrella insurance policy is coverage no one should go without. Call us today, for a free review.

High Net Worth Individuals

Do you own a boat, second home or have other expensive toys? Often high net worth individuals need higher liability limits to protect personal assets. A simple rule is, the more you own the greater risk you may have of losing it. The nice thing about an umbrella policy is that it is competitively priced. Usually, it costs about $300 per year for each $1,000,000 increment of insurance that you buy, and it can bring you great piece of mind.

 

2017 Was A Tough Year For Many Insurance Companies

2018 is here, and 2017 is in the rear view mirror.  Last year we saw and experienced many hardships and disasters, but also hand many successes.  We hope 2018 brings you much happiness and success.  2017 was a year in which many entire communities were destroyed by storms and wildfires, 20 million or more people experienced an identity theft, and a number of women come forward describing their sexual harassment.

Here is a list of the top risk issues for 2017

Wildfires in California and Oregon – over $4 billion in damage

Storms in Texas, Florida, and the Northeast

Flooding in Texas, Oregon, and most of the Midwest

Identity theft and cyber breaches

An increase in sexual harassment claims

The continued evolution of driverless vehicles

The regulation of drones

Advances in home technology

Retention of key employees

The ability to attract quality workers

Terrorism

Random shootings

Over the next few months we will try to help you develop a clear plan on how to manage these risks. Please contact our office and we will be happy to help you identify what is important to you and then put together a plan to help you manage you risks most effetely.  Here are just two.

Identity Theft and Cyber Breaches

Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports.  This type of insurance will help you with certain kinds of expenses to aid you in restoring your credit. Cyber policies cover the liability arising from website media content as well as breach related property losses such as: (a) business interruption, (b) data loss/destruction, (c) computer fraud, (d) funds transfer loss, and (e) cyber extortion.  It can also provide notification and other services for a covered loss.

Harassment Claims

Your business must address this issue head on.  First, you need to secure employment practices liability insurance.  This insurance will offer defense and indemnification coverage should you be involved in an employment litigation.  Second, your business needs to have a clear anti-discrimination policy.  The policy should include reporting procedures and anti-whistleblower provisions.

 

 

Why Should Businesses Consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance?

If you have employees, you are exposed to potential employment liability claims. Employees know their rights, and it is time for all employers to be more informed about how to protect their companies. There are many reasons why you need to make Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) part of your commercial insurance program.

EPLI covers the company and board

An EPLI policy covers claims made against directors, officers, employees, the company, and its subsidiaries. The policy can cover a long list of claims including wrongful dismissal/termination, sexual/racial/disability harassment, sexual/racial/disability/religious discrimination, employment related libel, slander, defamation and invasion of privacy, wrongful failure to employ or promote, and retaliation

Increased claims

It’s becoming harder to ignore the “me culture” which continues to gather momentum. Small and medium sized businesses saw the largest increase in employment practice liability claims in 2013; up 33% according to human resources experts. The average claim cost is over $150,000 and is growing yearly.

Company reputation

A company’s reputation in the marketplace can be severely damaged by employment practice claims. The negative publicity may be followed by potential reluctance of your clients and/or suppliers to trade with your company.

Free legal help

Most EPLI policies provide free legal resources for firms to use. You can call an attorney to help you through a tough issue.

Cost is very competitive

EPLI premiums are not as high as you might think. Premiums can run much less than the cost of defending just one occurrence.

We can design a specialized package according to your property, liability, and casualty needs. We are also proactive in identifying any factors that may increase your premiums or change your risk, and provide consulting and risk management options to protect your business. We are ready to help you better understand your risks. Please call our office today.