Tag Archives: Liability

Insurance Explained: Types of Auto Coverage


The Insurance Information Institute created a great infographic to help you understand which auto insurance coverage you are required to have, which coverage is optional, and it also explains each coverage in words that you will understand.


III_infographic_auto coverage explained


Make a New Year’s Resolution to Save Money on Your Auto and Homeowners Insurance in 2014


Five tips to cut your insurance costs, without being dangerously underinsured


Trimming ongoing expenses is a popular New Year’s resolution for many people. While there are smart ways to save on homeowners and auto insurance, making the wrong choices can result in being dangerously underinsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).


“There are simple steps you can take to cut the cost of your home and auto insurance while continuing to be financially protected against a catastrophe,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.


Following are five insurance mistakes that consumers should avoid, along with practical suggestions for ways to save money:


1. Insuring a home for its real estate value not rebuilding cost. 

Image courtesy of Supertrooper | Freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Supertrooper | Freedigitalphotos.net

The amount for which you can buy or sell a home can fluctuate for many reasons. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home, not the sale price. Make sure you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace all your belongings in the event of a disaster.




A better way to save on homeowners premiums:

Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your annual premium. And don’t forget to ask your insurer about all available discounts.



2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone.

You want an insurance company that offers the type of policy and coverage that you are looking for; it should also be financially sound and provide excellent customer service.


A savvier way to pick an insurer:

Ask friends and family for recommendations. Get the names of local agents and/or insurance companies that provided helpful information and a satisfactory claims filing experience.



3. Dropping flood insurance. 

Image courtesy of FEMA photographer Bob McMillan
Image courtesy of FEMA photographer Bob McMillan

Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Even though the cost of flood insurance is rising, don’t be tempted to drop this coverage. Ninety percent of all natural disasters involve some form of flooding. Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies.


A smarter way to lower flood insurance costs:

Before purchasing a home check with the NFIP to see whether the house is located in a flood zone. If so, consider buying a home in a less risky area. If you already own a home and it’s in a flood zone, you still have some options: increasing your deductible; and elevating the structure. There may be grants available to help you with the cost of elevation–to find out more, talk to your community officials. You may also want to talk to your community officials about joining or improving their status in the Community Rating System. This is a FEMA program that offers flood discounts to communities that adopt standards that are higher than those required to join the National Flood Insurance Program.



4. Purchasing only the legally required amount of liability for your vehicle. 

Image courtesy of suphakit73 | Freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of suphakit73 | Freedigitalphotos.net

In today’s litigious society, buying only the minimum amount of liability means you are likely to pay more out-of-pocket if you are sued–and those costs may be steep. The insurance industry and consumer groups generally recommend a minimum of $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident on auto insurance.


A less risky way to cut auto insurance costs:

Consider taking a defensive driver class that would offer a discount on insurance cost. You can also raise the deductible on comprehensive and collision coverage. If you are driving an older vehicle (worth less than $1,000) you may want to think about dropping one or both of these coverages.


5. Neglecting to buy renters insurance. 

Image courtesy of FEMA photographer Earl Armstrong
Image courtesy of FEMA photographer Earl Armstrong


The average renters insurance policy is less than $200 per year ($187 dollars a year) or about $22 per month. For the price of a couple fancy coffees a week, you can insure the contents of your apartment, as well as get liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue. Lastly, renters insurance policies also provide coverage for additional living expenses–so if you can’t live in your home because of a fire or other disaster, you would get the money to live elsewhere temporarily.


A good way to cut the cost of renters insurance:

Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto and/or life insurance, will generally provide savings.


This article was provided by the Insurance Information Institute.


Swimming Pools and Trampolines Increase Your Liability Risk


If you are one of the many American homes that own a swimming pool or trampoline, your house is probably one of the favorite hang out spots for the neighborhood kids. That being said, you also increase the likelihood that you will have to file a claim due to injuries sustained from swimming pools and/or trampolines, especially if they lack necessary safety precautions.


It’s important to notify your insurance agent if you have added a swimming pool or trampoline to your property. Failing to do so allows the insurance company the right to deny claims you submit resulting from these items because they were not informed of them in the first place.


If you add a swimming pool to your property, insurance companies shouldn’t cancel your policy or raise your rate, but they will want to see that safety precautions are in place, such as a fence, a locking gate, or an alarm.


Some insurance carriers will not insure you if you have a trampoline on your property. So if you are looking to purchase a trampoline, check with your agent first to see if this will cause an issue with your insurance company. You may be asked to add safety precautions to meet the company’s requirements, or you may need to change insurance companies altogether.


To reduce your liability risk if you own a swimming pool, you should:


–       Add an outdoor swimming pool barrier. This is a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa so that access to the water is limited. A successful barrier prevents a child from getting over, under or through it to gain access to the pool or spa. Barriers commonly include a fence, wall or gate.

**Fence gates should open out from the pool and should be self-closing and self-latching. The gate should have no opening greater than ½ inch within 18 inches of the latch release mechanism. This prevents a young child from reaching through the gate and releasing the latch.

–       Add an alarm to doors, gates, windows and pools or spas to alert adults when unsupervised children enter the area of the pool or spa. Make sure the alarm sound is unique from other sounds in the house, such as the telephone, doorbell and smoke alarms.

–       Add a pool or spa safety cover. This is a manual or motorized barrier that can be placed over the water’s surface, and is easily opened or closed. A cover should withstand the weight of two adults and a child to allow a rescue if an individual falls onto the cover.


To reduce your liability risk if you own a trampoline, you should:

–       Discuss the importance of trampoline safety with your kids, and tell them about the risks of not using it properly.

–       Keep an eye on children and inexperienced jumpers while they are on the trampoline.

–       Instruct jumpers on how to safely enter and exit the trampoline.

–       Do not allow children or pets underneath the trampoline while someone is jumping.

–       Keep the trampoline free from foreign objects and pets. Any new object introduced to the trampoline is another potential hazard that can result in injury.

–       Do not allow roughhousing or flips as this behavior can result in injury.

–       For maximum safety, only allow one jumper at a time.

–       Do not allow children under the age of 6 years to use a full-size trampoline.

–       Use padding that completely covers the springs, hooks and the frame. Or, purchase a spring-less trampoline.

–       Use trampoline net enclosures to prevent injuries from falling off the trampoline.

–       Do not use a ladder with the trampoline. This encourages small children to use the trampoline unsupervised.


The Reno Agency recommends anyone who owns a swimming pool or trampoline to purchase a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy (PLUP). This policy will extend additional liability protection to you in the event a claim exceeds your liability limits on your homeowners insurance.


Not only do PLUP’s extend coverage to your homeowners insurance, but also to your auto insurance, boatowners insurance, rental dwelling insurance, etc. Depending on your insurance company, adding this valuable coverage may provide you with a discount on your other insurance policies.


PLUP’s are purchased in increments of $1 million, so talk with your agent, or call the Reno Agency at 269.792.2232, to determine what amount is appropriate for you.