Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 3

In this part we discuss a different hazard of the winter season.

Fireplace, winter hazardFiring Up A Hearty Loss

Do you own a fireplace, wood-burning stove or portable heater? What about a gas or an electric furnace? If so, you need to take steps to make sure that they are safe and used properly. This should be done well before the arrival of the heating season.

Have your furnace inspected to make sure that it will operate properly in cold weather. Clean filters and vents will go a long way to keep your furnace a source or warmth rather than a cause of a fire loss. An inspection should also make certain that your furnace is not a creating a dangerous carbon monoxide buildup.

Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves should also be inspected and, if necessary, thoroughly cleaned. Creosote, a tar-like byproduct of burning wood, builds up in chimney and stove flues very quickly. Even a single wood-burning season could produce enough buildup to create a fire or severe smoke hazard. Don’t do the inspection yourself. It’s worth the cost to have a professional inspect and clean your fireplace or stove. Also, make sure that you don’t burn softwood or paper. Using anything other than hardwoods exposes your fireplace or stove to quicker creosote buildup (softwood) or more intense heat (paper), which could clog or contribute to cracking a flue or liner.Home fire risk increase in winter

Be very careful with the use of portable heaters. Depending upon the type, they can be prone to malfunction or could be a hazardous source of burns, especially for children. Further, many types can be easily tipped with the combination of heat source and fuels, creating a serious fire hazard.

Finally, make sure you have fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors properly installed and in good working order. Test them and put in new batteries. Small expense, big payoff.

As always, insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and two of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

            Return to Section 1                                                           Return to Section 2

 

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 2

In this part we discuss an important legal responsibility created for homeowners by the winter season.

Creating A Clear LiabilityAvoid this insurance claim. Slipping on Sidewalk

Snow doesn’t show favoritism. Instead of conveniently falling onto unused areas, it covers homes, sidewalks, and driveways. As a responsible homeowner, you should arrange to make travel across your property safe. This calls for clearing your walkways of snow and ice. It is also important to clear your property of items such as rakes, shovels, tools, toys and similar items. Remember that it takes only a small amount of snow to hide items that, during clear conditions, are easily seen and avoided. So take time to move such property and make repairs to uneven or cracked pavement.

Keep in mind that clearing walkways (including stairs) is an invitation for pedestrians to use the path. So, once you clear an area, it has to be kept clear and safe, especially from ice. Also, avoid creating piles of snow that can block either a driver’s or a pedestrian’s view. Finally, be sure that your property is safe for children who are enjoying winter. Don’t allow children to slide around without being aware of pedestrians or motorized traffic and don’t let anyone throw snow or ice balls at cars (you could be sued for any accident caused by careless play) related from the use of your property or premises.

Don’t forget the inside of your home. Visitors should be kept safe from harm. Be sure to keep interior stairs and floors clear of the watery remains of melted snow. Keep things dry and consider using mats that provide good traction and an area where folks can clear snow and ice from their shoes or boots.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts one and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

                          Return to Section 1                                               Advance to Section 3

 

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.

Need help finding a good insurance agent?

 If you’re looking for a great insurance agent, it may be wise to take a step back. Before starting your search and ask yourself, what is an InsuranceClosing insurance gaps agent?

Most consumers consider anyone that sells insurance to be an agent. To some degree that is true. But if you look a little closer, you will see that there is a clear distinction. Insurance sales professionals fall into two defined buckets. Insurance salespeople are either agents or brokers. Understanding the differences should be the starting point for insurance consumers.

Classifying agents is based on their relationship to the insurance company. In the strictest sense, to be considered an insurance agent, one must be an employee of the company. These individuals are also referred to as captive agents or exclusive agents. As employees of the insurance company, agents tend to have increased authority.

For the typical insurance consumers, the lines between agents and brokers aren’t clear. Today we often refer to insurance brokers as independent insurance agents. This group represents insurance companies per specific contractual guidelines. As a result, the employee agent is able to write new business with less red tape than the broker.Insurance

The term non-captive agent is often used when referring to insurance brokers. Relative to his captive counterpart, the broker has options.

But, beware. Brokers come in varying degrees of captivity. Some derive a significant amount of their income from one insurance company. In some cases, this occurs because it is a requirement of the insurance company. In these cases, it is not uncommon to see 70 to 80% of the non-captive agents premium with one company. The numbers might go even higher. Some carriers demand exclusivity. If their company has a product that will fit, then the agent cannot show anything else. Under these circumstances, the agent has more in common with the captive agent than the non-captive.

 Other non-captive agents must meet specific goals as required by the carrier. Annual new business requirements, yearly predefined premium targets and more. While a step in the right direction, it will still be challenging to provide trusted advise.

Brokers, independent agents, and non-captive agents, each have the potential to offer options. Regardless of what they are called finding a good Return to TruePoint Home Pageinsurance agent for you is a personal decision. For me the answer is simple. I seek the services of a trusted advisor that can present me with multiple options. While some will laud the benefits of free markets, I insist that it is the number of options and not free markets that truly protect consumers.

Is Your Home Winter Ready? – Part 1

If you live in a climate that includes cold winters, you know the season creates special challenges for homeowners. In this article, we discuss an icy situation.

Ice Damsice dams, winter peril

An ice dam refers to ice that has formed along a roof’s edge. The dam of ice blocks additional water and the pooling water backs up and finds pathways into a home’s interior. This water may cause deterioration and decay to interior wood and plaster, drywall or other insulation materials. Once an ice dam has forced paths into a home, the roof becomes more susceptible to future ice dams and water damage.

Too much heat rising from the home to warm the roof is the most frequent cause of ice dams. The process occurs unevenly with the warmer area at the higher part of the roof melting the snow and then the cooler, lower area, particularly the roof edge, permitting the water to refreeze and then accumulate. Inadequate insulation lets too much heat escape into the attic and this creates a warmer roof. Improper ventilation creates moisture and heat buildup due to the lack of air movement.

How To Detect A Problem

Compare the way the snow is melting from the living area of your home with how snow appears on the roof over an unheated area such as a garage or shed. How does any snow coverage on your roof compare with your neighbors’ homes? Check for icicles. They can be pretty, but heavy icicle buildup means that interior heat is melting a lot of snow and may contribute to ice dams.

How To Prevent Ice Dams

There are a number of ways to help prevent ice dams:

  • Clear excess snow from the roof. However, in order to minimize damage to the roof and roofing, hire a professional to remove the snow.
  • Add rubberized or special roofing adhesives to help prevent pooled water on the roof from finding entry into the home’s interior.
  • Inspect the attic and roof for cracks, holes, or joints that permit warm air to escape to the roof, and seal or repair these areas.
  • Add the recommended amount of insulation to the attic and exterior walls of your home to minimize escaping heat (this also reduces your heating costs).
  • Reduce your home’s thermostat and throw on warmer clothing during extended cold spells.
  • Clear your gutters and downspouts so that water is properly shed off your roof.

As always, an insurance professional is a valuable source of safety and insurance information. Don’t hesitate to contact an agent to discuss your questions. If you haven’t had the chance, please be sure to read parts two and three of “Is Your Home Winter Ready” which discusses other winter concerns.

 

Continue to Section 2

 

COPYRIGHT: Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc. 2017

All rights reserved. Production or distribution, whether in whole or in part, in any form of media or language; and no matter what country, state or territory, is expressly forbidden without written consent of Insurance Publishing Plus, Inc.I

Insurance Broker

Insurance TerminologyInsurance sales professionals come in many forms. They go by various names and have different strengths and weaknesses. Agents can be classified by their relationship with the insurance company, the customer or both.

The term insurance agent is used widely by the public. But, the term agent is most often used when referring to an employee of the insurance company.

Insurance broker, independent agent and non-captive insurance agent are often used interchangeably.  Each of these classifications describes insurance sales professionals that represent multiple companies.  The level of autonomy varies significantly between agencies.  The same is true regarding the options that they can present to clients.

Insurance Logically, more options are better.  But your search for a top insurance agent needs to go a few steps further.  In your quest to find the best insurance agent for you, consider the benefits associated with an unbiased agent.  To reveal an insurance agents biases, it might be wise to understand how much of the agency’s premium is placed with their top insurance company.  How about the top three?

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Insurance Agent

Insurance Terminology

 

Insurance professionals come in many forms. They go by various names and have different strengths and weaknesses. Agents can be classified by their relationship with the insurance company, the customer or both.

The term insurance agent is used widely by the public. But, the term agent is most often used when referring to an employee of the insurance company.

Insurance agents are sometimes referred to as exclusive agents or captive agents. These terms stem from the fact that the agents are employees of the insurance company. As a result, they can only sell the products of their employer.

InsuranceWith limited options, captive agents can find themselves at a disadvantage. While independent agents can to other insurance professionals. There is, however, a positive to be captive. As employees of the insurance company, captive or exclusive agents have more authority.

If you are searching for the best insurance agent for your needs be sure to consider the benefits associated with each type.  Or even better, take a little extra time and try both a captive and an independent agent.

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Innkeepers Legal Liability Insurance

Motel Insurance

Innkeepers Legal Liability

At times most of us leave personal belongs under the temporary control or custody of others. These individuals or entities are referred to as a Bailee. Cleaners, jewelers, and parking valets are good examples of Bailees.

Hotel insurance needs in some ways are similar to most other businesses. Commercial Property, Business Auto, Commercial General Liability and Workers Compensation coverages are likely to be somewhat comparable to most others.Hotel Insurance

Insurance for motels and hotels must also address some more unique exposures. When traveling, we may leave property in the care, custody, and control of lodging or other hospitality-related organizations. Hotels, motels, and B&B’s are required by law to have in place coverage for customer belongs. Insurance for the lodging guest can be acquired via an Innkeepers Legal Liability or similar coverage.

Who will require me to have condo insurance?

When you are looking to make a good investment in your future, one great decision you can make would be to purchase a home. For those that do not want to have all of the maintenance requirements and responsibilities that come with a single-family home, another option would be to purchase a Fisherville, KY area condo. When you own a condo, you undoubtedly will need to have a reliable condo insurance policy on your home. There are several situations in which you will be required to carry condo insurance.

Loan Outstanding

The first situation in which you will need to have condo insurance is when you have any loans outstanding on your home. Since it can be an expensive investment, you likely will have to take out a mortgage to finance it. Whenever you have a mortgage outstanding, the lender will likely require that you grow your monthly insurance payments. This will help to ensure that their collateral is properly protected.

Home Association Requirements

If you do not have a loan outstanding on your condo, you still might be required to have a condo insurance policy in place at all times. Most people that live in a condo also live in a condo association. These associations are typically governed by a variety of different rules and regulations. One of the most common regulations is a regulation that will require that you have insurance on your condo. This insurance will not only have to protect the actual property but will also have to provide liability coverage. 

If you are looking for a condo insurance policy in the Fisherville, KY area, you should contact TruePoint Insurance. The TruePoint Insurance company will help you to identify your condo insurance needs and get you into a great policy. 

Kentucky Car Insurance; state auto insurance requirements

Closing insurance gaps

Kentucky Minimum Car Insurance Limits   

 

If you own and operate a car in Kentucky, you are required to meet certain financial standards. State mandated requirements protect other drivers using Kentucky’s roads and highways..
For almost all of us, this means that we must have an auto insurance policy. Kentucky and all other states require car owners to meet or exceeds certain limits.
When considering car insurance, the first thought of many is how to replace or repair their car in the event of an accident. For this, you would need to have collision or comprehensive coverage in place. While this coverage is important, it is not the insurance coverage mandated by the state.
 
Because we live in a no-fault state, Kentucky car owner’s are required to maintain two coverage’s :
 
• Auto Liability Insurance
• No-Fault Car Insurance
 
Liability Insurance
 
If you are involved in an accident and found to be at fault, you can legally be held financially responsible. This is why you buy car insurance! Your auto liability policy protects other drivers. Specifcally it provides coverage for bodily injury and/or property damage that results from your actions.
While you may be held reasonable for the full cost of damages, insurance companies will only pay up to the limits declared in the policy.
What does that mean?
It means that we need to ask what will happen if the cost of damages exceeds our auto liability policy limits. Answering that goes well beyond the abilities of an insurance agent or even a claims adjuster. But it seems logical that an inadequately insured auto owner has opened the door to many potential headaches. Including the possibility of significant financial exposure.
Counting calories? Then ordering the minimum size soda and fry at McDonald’s is a wise decision. Using the same logic with your insurance agent may put you on a course for disaster. Before buying insurance, it is essential that you know the state’s requirements.
Kentucky Auto InsuranceKentucky minimum auto liability insurance requirements are as follows:
• Kentucky motor vehicle liability coverage minimum for bodily injury is unchanged.
     o $25,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per person
     o $50,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per accident
• Kentucky motor vehicle liability coverage minimum for property damages increased 150%.
     o Before 1/1/18, the minimum requirement for auto liability property damage was $10,000
     o Kentucky auto owners are now required to carry at least $25,000 for claims made against them as        result of damaging the property of others
 
 
For years Kentucky Insurance minimums for motor vehicles as:
 25/50/10 
…or…
$25,000 Bodily Injury (BI) per person / $50,000 BI per accident / $10,000 Property Damage (PD)
 

Today, Kentucky Car Insurance state-mandated minimums are:

25/50/25 …or… $25,000 (BI) per person / $50,000 BI per accident / $25,000 (PD)

WARNING! Many sites continue to post Kentucky’s minimum required auto insurance limits that were in effect prior to January 1st, 2018.
 
Before asking an insurance agent for the “Cheapest Car Insurance, you got,” consider the following:
• Cheap car insurance more than likely means you are getting the state-mandated minimums.
• How far will those dollars go if you are the cause of a severe auto accident?
• Settlement cost seldom equal medical cost. Why? For one, pain and suffering. If you want an estimate for total settlement cost, a good rule of thumb is to multiple medical bills by 3. If your negligence was the cause of a car crash and the other party sustained $10,000 in medical expenses you are looking at $30,000 to settle the claim. $5,000 higher than the state minimum!
• How far will $10,000 go in an emergency room today?
• How far will the $50,000 per accident limit go if you hit a car with multiple passengers? What if you are the cause of a multiple car collision or if the other vehicle isn’t a car but rather a bus?
• Kentucky has done a great job by raising the required minimum coverages for property damage. But have you priced a new car lately? Better yet, a new truck? What if you cause damage to property other than an automobile? You may someday depend on your auto insurance to cover damages to a building, utilities, infrastructure, or some other non-auto related properties.
Cheap car insurance can cost you in more ways than you realize. Ever wonder how insurance companies come up with an auto insurance premium for you and your car?
Your premium is the result of a number of factors. Every car insurance companies has their own unique formula. Each aimed at helping them attract clients and make a buck too. What you may find surprising is that many companies will penalize you if your current insurance limits are the state minimums. Never buy the state mandated minimum without first considering the cost of better coverage. It’s likely to be less than you think and it will save you in the long run.
In the end, cheap auto insurance may wind up costing you more than you bargained for. Even if you never have an accident! Consider your options, prepare for the worst and be sure that you find an insurance agent the is willing to spend the time to help you through the process.

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Contractor’s E&O Insurance

Closing insurance gapsIf your business has never had to turn in an insurance claim many will tell you to consider yourself lucky. Others may tell you to give yourself a pat on the back. At TruePoint, we will tell you that it is highly likely that both are true.
No one enjoys turning in an insurance claim. Once we get past the fact that no one is injured, an explosion of thoughts race through our minds. How much is this going to cost? What’s my deductible? How much will my insurance premium go up? Will I get canceled?
The one thought that is seldom considered is, “will my insurance company deny the claim?” Most small businesses seldom consider needing anything more than a General Liability policy. If you are a contractor that has had a past claim denied, then you most likely know where we are headed.
General Liability Insurance or GL covers a boatload. Even if you are not liable, it will pay claims made against you by a third party. Most legal fees, settlement costs, damages to property, bodily injury and more are covered. Your general liability policy should also pay claims related to slander or libel. It will also pay for some construction-related claims as long as they fall under the completed products coverage.
Most claims not covered by the general liability coverage policy are logical. First off we can exclude every claim not related to damages that we’ve caused to others. Buildings and other property must be covered by a property form. Some liability related losses are not covered by the commercial general liability (CGL) policy. The following are some of the most obvious examples:
•      Property Damage and Body Injury resulting while operating a vehicle Commercial Auto         Policy
•      Injuries to employees while at work Workers Compensation
•      Liability coverage for Doctors, Lawyers, etc. Professional Liability
Professional liability insurance is sometimes referred to as errors and omissions insurance or E&O. Warning to the wise, take care to review all policies. Professional Liability and Errors & Omission coverages differ. While E&O is more applicable to most contractors, it’s crucial that you make sure that the product you are buying provides the coverages you need.
Why is it that certain professions need E&O insurance and other need General Liability?
First of all, I don’t think this is a simple as flipping a switch. Up for GL and down for E&O. The two are entirely different and independent coverages, and many businesses are apt to need both to be adequately insured.
We mentioned earlier that General Liability insurance doesn’t cover certain losses. We already identified a couple of the more obvious types. You should also be aware that negligence, failure to offer a service, failure to act in good faith, misrepresentation are a few additional examples of exposures not covered by a CGL policy.
Do the gaps in General Liability coverages mean that contractors and other construction-related industries need Errors and Omission coverage? Possibly, each case is different. But if you’re not considering it, then you may need to find an agent that will work through the issues and provide enough insight into the question for you to make the right decision.
Most contractors have enough exposure that they could benefit by adding E&O coverage to their existing policy. The approach TruePoint takes in exploring whether Errors and Omissions should be added is no different than the way we treat any other coverage that is required. We start defining the types of risk that are being considered. In the case of contractors E&O we would ask questions similar to those below:
1.      Does your General Liability insurance protect you against claims for faulty work?
o      You’re correct if you answered NO! Advance to #2.
o      General Liability does not provide coverage for defective work. Call (502) 410-5089 or go to www.insuringky.com to learn more if you answered question 1 in the affirmative.
2.      Does your General Liability cover your work and products?
o      Again you are correct if you answered NO! Advance to #3.
o      General Liability does not cover your work or products. If you answered YES visit our site www.insuringky.com to learn more about TruePoint Insurance.
Contractors can have significant gaps in coverage that can be eliminated or reduced by adding Contractors’ E&O. The next step that we advise is to determine your exposure. We begin by developing a risk profile which at a very basic level answers the following:
•      your potential loss exposure (both a median or average potential loss as well as a max loss)
•      the expected frequency of the type loss being considered
The final step is to help you decide if the cost of the added coverage is reasonable relative to the reduced exposure:
•      We determine the cost to transfer the risk (in this case, how much will you pay for the E&O Policy)
•      And we then compare the cost to insure versus the exposures identified in the risk profile.
TruePoint works with commercial accounts in Kentucky and Southern Indiana to help them better understand their business insurance needs. Our focus is on how we can help you to most effectively develop and execute a strategy for your commercial insurance needs.