What’s Under Your Roof?

 A Home Insurance Review

Have you ever stopped to think about all the things that could cause damage to your home and personal property? Probably not, but we think about your personal insurance coverage every day. Your homeowner’s insurance is designed to protect you from claims that can come from many different events. We can design a homeowner’s insurance product that fits your individual needs. Here are a few of the kinds of events that can be covered under your roof.

 

What is Not Covered Under Your Roof

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover; earthquake, flood, wear and tear, damage from animals, mold, acts of war, government actions, tenant damage, defective work, plus others.

Personal Property

Your homeowner’s insurance can also cover your personal belonging. This might include; cloths, furniture, and other items.

Do You Have A Leak In Your Roof?

Do you have coverage for additional living expenses if you are required to move out of your home while it is being repaired? If you own guns, art, or other collections, you may need additional coverage. Is your expensive jewelry cover while away from your home? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, call us today.

 

 

 

Are You Looking for Affordable Auto Insurance?

Everyone wants affordable auto insurance.  Therefore, it is wise to spend some time educating yourself to make intelligent decisions about your next auto insurance purchase.  You do not need to be an insurance expert to understand the fundamentals involved in auto insurance, but a basic understanding of common terms will definitely help you make an informed decision.  Too often people avoid all responsibility when it comes to buying their auto insurance—only to realize later that they have made a costly mistake.

An excellent way to start the auto insurance purchasing process is to look at the declarations page of your auto insurance policy.  There you will find the policy’s expiration date, premiums, coverage, and limits.  In addition, by selecting an independent insurance agent to shop the market for you, you will end up with better coverage and competitive pricing.

The Declarations Page

Policy Period – This is the specific time that the policy is valid. Some auto insurance policies have an annual renewal, while others have a six-month renewal.  Do not shop for auto insurance with a declarations page that shows that your policy period has expired.  That could cause you to be placed in a sub-standard market.  Show your agent the current declarations page.

Vehicles – Your vehicles will affect your physical damage premium. Make sure that you give the agent the correct vehicle identification number of all of your cars. This is usually found on your declarations page.

Drivers in the Household – Every resident relative with a driver’s license should be listed on the policy unless they have other insurance.

Liability Limits – These are the limits for bodily injury and property damage insurance. This is essential coverage and not a smart place to cut costs. This portion of your policy pays benefits to the party that you may have injured in an auto accident.  It also pays for the damage to their vehicle.

Physical Damage – This is your collision and comprehensive benefit. It is physical damage coverage for your automobiles. Your deductible selection will raise or lower the rate.

Ask your agent about discounts and options.  Learn all that you can, and you can help make your auto insurance more affordable.

 

Prom and Graduation Safety

This is the time of year when graduation parties and proms are in full swing. We congratulate all graduates on a job well done. High school is full of defining moments for Bay Area teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation. We want your celebration to be a happy and safe one, so here are a few tips.

Teen driving tips to keep prom and graduation safe

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:
Absolutely no alcohol
Always use seat belts
No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances

Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

You May Have More Risk Than You Think

Most Americans have risks associated with their wealth and need the right insurance to manage that risk

When we think of high net worth people, most of us tend to think of CEO’s, athletes, or celebrities.  However, what we fail to realize, is that you do not have to be a CEO to have personal risks.  In 2017, over 3 million people increased their net worth to over a million dollars.  Even if your net worth is well under a million dollars, you have considerable personal risks.  We can help you manage all your personal risks.

Do you own a boat, motorcycle, or another recreational toys? If so, you need to make sure these assets are covered correctly.  We would also recommend a personal umbrella policy to cover your increased risk of injury to third parties.

Smart technology. Almost everyone is getting smart cars or homes. This could include a smart watch, video systems in your home, the Nest thermostat and more. All these items should be insured, and you will want to talk to our team about these.

Vacation homes or condominiums. According to the National Association of Realtors, 46% of vacation homes purchased in 2015 were in the South and 25% in the West, both of these areas are hotbeds for wildfire activity.

Jewelry, guns, and other collections. If you have a gun collection or expensive jewelry, you will need to have these insured separately.

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.

 

 

Your Personal Assets Are At risk

Uber, Airbnb and VRBO may increase your personal liability risk

We live in a digital world that now allows us to share everything from our car, bike, boat, apartment and even our home with total strangers. Smart phones, and the applications that can be added, offer many useful tools, but some of these things create new and increased liability for you. Before you decide to jump into the sharing economy consider the following:

Do these sharing sites have the ability to protect your confidential information? Many times you are giving your credit card information to companies that may not have the ability to protect it.

If you use Airbnb to sublease your apartment, you might check your lease. Many lease agreements have “no sublease” clauses that do not allow for this kind of activity. Also, some big cities are now actually considering outlawing the Airbnb services as it reduces hotel/motel taxes.

Uber offers a taxi service where individuals can offer rides to those who subscribe. Are you confident that these individuals have had proper background checks? Are they experienced drivers? Do they have the correct insurance? Remember, even in states that have mandatory auto insurance laws, over 25% of drivers don’t have insurance.

Personal auto insurance issues should be considered if using your car for hire. There is a big difference in the auto insurance world between a car pool for work and being paid to deliver people.

If you rent your primary home to others, it may limit your personal insurance coverage. Call out office for a review.

The use of the new sharing economy will most likely continue and may be a good way to make money. However, if you have an uninsured claim, the cost may be much greater.  Be aware that using these services may increase your risk of loss.

 

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.

 

How Cloud Computing Changes Cyber Risk Exposures

Cyber risk and cloud computing is a topic that keeps evolving. In a recent study 40% of companies thought they did not need cyber liability insurance. Many thought cyber liability was covered under their business insurance policy. And others thought that if they used the cloud to store client’s information that they had no risk.

A recent example has been the Anthem Health data breach; here over 80 million people may have had their personal data compromised. If a large company like Anthem Health can have a cyber-breach, so can your company. See More Here

How Cloud Computing Will Change The Cyber Risk Landscape

There is no question that cloud computing changes the cyber risk landscape. But using the cloud does not reduce your risk. In fact, using the cloud may increase your risk. As more firms use the cloud, cyber criminals will increase their efforts to brake in, as there is more information for them to steel. Your risk will vary depending on the platform your firm uses. One benefit is that your business may require less in house technology which will reduce operating costs.

Cyber Risks Are Growing

Russian hackers recently stole over 2 billion online names and passwords. Home Depot had millions of customer credit cards stolen. A local restaurant recently had 1200 customer credit card numbers stolen, and finally a medical clinic had a lap top stolen that contained 5,000 patient’s names and confidential information. Every company is at risk for cyber theft and loss.

Cyber Insurance

We can provide your firm with the right combination of pricing and coverage. Cyber risk    insurance is available at very reasonable premiums. Many of our companies offer coverage to help protect your business from loss.

 

How To Reduce Slip And Fall Accidents At Your Business

Business Safety

Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common accidents you can have as a business owner. Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. You have customers, clients, vendors, employees, and family members on your premises every day.  “Slip and fall” is a term used for a personal injury case in which a person slips or trips and is injured on someone else’s property. These cases usually fall under the broader category of cases known as “premises liability” claims.  Slip and fall accidents usually occur on property owned or maintained by someone else, and the property owner may be held legally responsible.

In order to recover damages for a slip and fall injury sustained on another’s property, there must be a responsible party whose negligence caused the injury. However, most business insurance policies have premises liability coverage which allows for claim payment without the need to prove liability.

Slip And Fall Prevention At Your Business

Maintain all walkways and common areas.

Use anti-skid adhesive tape in high traffic areas.

Display wet floor signs when appropriate.

Keep all work areas, passageways, storerooms, and service areas clean and orderly.

Have proper lighting in parking lots and entrances.

Keep walk ways free of ice, snow, or other items that might cause someone to slip.

Have a procedure to deal with spills and ensure spills are reported and cleaned up immediately.