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Insurance Blog

Do You Need Home Insurance As A Renter?

Think home insurance is just for homeowners?  Protecting your personal property and ensuring costs are covered should fire or flood destroy your rental property is not only smart, but in most cases your legal responsibility.  So what kind of insurance do you need as a rental tenant and what should you be sure you have covered to protect your belongings?

What Does Renter’s Insurance Cover?

Depending on where you purchase your renter’s insurance, the types of claims that will be covered can vary.  In general, renter’s Insurance coverage is similar to that of homeowner’s insurance in that it covers natural disaster and acts of nature, vandalism and theft, and fire.  In most cases this also includes personal liability, meaning that you are covered even if you are the cause of the damage, and it usually includes not only the property itself, but the contents as well.  The extent of the coverage can vary from minimum legal coverage to comprehensive coverage, depending on your personal situation and needs.  Since the minimum coverage required in each state or area can vary, you will need to contact your insurance agent to learn the situation in your area.  They can also help you find a policy that is right for your situation and budget.

What Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?

Like most insurance policies, the more comprehensive the policy, the most costly it will be, but overall, renter’s insurance is usually a very affordable type of insurance.  In most cases it will cost you less than $50 a month.  One option that will always make homeowner’s or renter’s insurance more affordable is to combine it with another type of insurance, usually car insurance.  Most insurance companies have these types of combined policies available, and since these are two types of insurance that you are required to have anyway, combining them to save money is a great idea for making insurance more affordable.

Contact an insurance agent to get more information!

Force-Placed Homeowner’s Insurance And How To Avoid It

Unless you are very lucky, you probably have a mortgage on your home.  Your mortgage company, also known as a lienholder, has a vested interest in the protection of your home.  If you fail to carry acceptable homeowner’s insurance and a loss occurs, their monetary loss will be much greater than yours.  For this reason, lienholders require that you carry homeowner’s insurance.  You won’t be able to close on a purchase without it, and if it lapses, your lienholder will step in.

What Is Force-Placed Insurance?

Force-Placed insurance is a policy that your lienholder takes out on your home when your policy has lapsed or you have not provided them with proof of a policy that is acceptable to them.  In order to protect their interest in the property, your mortgage company will obtain a policy and attach the payments on this policy to your mortgage.  This insurance will remain in place until you provide proof of an alternate insurance policy.

Why You Don’t Want It

It doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to let the mortgage company handle placing insurance on your home.  The problem is that this type of policy exists only to protect the mortgage company’s interests-not yours.  There is no coverage for your personal property, and in the case of a claim you will get nothing-only the mortgage company will receive payment.  In return for this limited coverage, force-placed insurance is very expensive-much more so than traditional homeowner’s insurance.

How Can I Avoid It?

First of all, make sure your homeowner’s insurance coverage doesn’t lapse!  Make your payments on time.  If you have trouble remembering, consider rolling the insurance in with your mortgage payment, or having it automatically withdrawn.  Another important consideration is to make sure that the insurance company has accurate information regarding your lienholder, including their address.  This will ensure the insurance company provides proof of insurance to the correct lienholder and there is no question that you already have insurance in place.

Force-placed insurance isn’t what the mortgage company wants, nor is it the best choice for your interests.  Be sure your homeowner’s insurance stays in force and proof is provided so that your interests, as well as those of the mortgage company, are protected.

Choosing Liability Coverage For Your Business

No matter what type of business you run, you need to protect your interests with the right insurance policy.  Every company needs a variety of different types of insurance; some of these policies are the same no matter what kind of business you have, while others might be specific to your industry.  One of the coverage’s that remains the same across the board is general liability coverage.

What General Liability Is For

There are a number of different types of liability policies you can purchase to protect yourself from potential financial responsibility.  General liability is one of the less specific forms of coverage and provides a generalized, overall coverage for liability claims resulting from a wide array of possible incidents.  While it will not protect you from everything, a good general liability policy provides you with a solid foundation.

A general liability policy gives you coverage for defense from lawsuits and to pay out financial claims when negligence on your part can be proven.  It prevents your company from facing potentially serious financial damage due to property damage, injuries, or any other claim that can be proven to be a result of your company’s actions or products.

Choose Your Policy Carefully

When you select a liability policy for your company, you should first make certain that the policy covers you from all angles.  If you have specific risks that are not covered by general liability, you may want to purchase additional policies to provide that coverage.  It is important to understand what is covered by your general liability policy and what is not; waiting until a claim occurs is not the best time to discover the exclusions in your policy!

Be certain that a few basics are being covered by your general liability policy.  You want to be sure that you have good public liability coverage-meaning that members of the general public who might sustain injury or loss as a result of negligence on your company’s part can be compensated.  You also need to be sure that you have enough coverage to protect yourself properly.

Your general liability policy is one of the most important you will select as a business owner; it takes only a quick look at the news to see the array of claims consumers have made against companies in recent years.  Many of these lawsuits ended in favor of the claimant.  Without good liability coverage, your company could wind up paying these claims out of pocket.  Take the time to make sure you have selected liability coverage that meets all of your needs and potential risks

Keeping Your Commercial Auto Policy Affordable

Insurance is one of the big expenses of running a business.  Between coverage for your premises and products, liability and worker’s comp, and the other coverage you might need specific to your company, it can add up fast.  Commercial auto can be a big expense for a company with a large fleet of vehicles and drivers.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to keep your commercial auto policy affordable.  First, take a look at what insurance companies consider when determining the rates.  Much as with a personal auto policy, a commercial policy is rated based on several factors such as the type of vehicle being insured, the type and amount of use that vehicle gets, and the location where the vehicle is garaged.  In addition to these factors is the driving record of the person who is being insured to drive the vehicle.

Consider what happens when you add a teenage driver to a personal auto policy:  the rates go up because there is now a high risk driver using that car.  When it comes to your commercial auto policy, you can keep rates under control by ensuring that your employees have good driving records-and keep them that way.  Careful hiring practices for drivers in your company can avoid surprises on your insurance bill!

When you select vehicles as company cars, take into account things like the value of the vehicle, safety features, and the likelihood of theft.  Cars with a high safety rating and low theft statistics will save you big on premiums.  Choose vehicles that serve your needs without going overboard; luxury cars are a nice perk, but not a great choice for insurance costs.

Think about where you garage the vehicles.  A safer area with a low crime rate can reduce your rates.  You should also be sure to keep the vehicles secured with features like a fence or a garage if possible.  The more effort you take to ensure the safety of the vehicles in your fleet, the lower your insurance rates will be.  Your insurance company will be taking on a lower risk, and thus charge you less.

If your commercial auto rates are too high, it might be time to shop around for a new policy.  Just as with your personal auto policy, you need to compare rates to find the best deal for your company.  Smart choices combined with smart policy shopping can mean much better rates.

Do You Need A Commercial Auto Insurance Policy?

If you run a business that requires the use of vehicles for company activities, you need a commercial auto insurance policy. Commercial insurance policies are designed to protect you against the wide variety of liability issues you face when you have employees on the road using your vehicles.

Without a commercial auto policy, if an accident were to occur, you and your company will be held accountable for property damage and injuries. Only a commercial policy can protect you and your business from financial disaster.

Whether your company has one car or a hundred delivery vans, there is a commercial policy that will suit your needs. You can obtain individual commercial policies for each vehicle used by the company, or choose a fleet policy if you have more than a few cars.

You have other insurance policies in place to protect your company from liability, fire, theft, and other potentially ruinous events. Commercial auto is the policy that will protect your company when you or your employees are on the road.

Understanding The Different Types Of Life Insurance Policies

The number and different types of life insurance policies available on the market can be overwhelming and confusing to choose from, especially if you have never purchased a life insurance policy before. Understanding what types of policies are available to you and what they can offer, even before beginning the search, can make it easier and less time consuming. Here is some basic information about the types of life insurance policies that you can purchase, and how to select the one that is right for you.

Types Of Policies

There are two general categories of life insurance policies: temporary and permanent. They both include coverage in the form of a payout to your chosen beneficiary in the event of your death, but the additional benefits these policies can offer you differ, namely from their investment possibilities to providing coverage for an inexpensive premium.

Temporary Life Insurance

The most common type of temporary life insurance policy is more commonly known as term life insurance. This type of insurance offers you death benefit protection for the term of the policy, typically 10 or 25 years. At the time the term expires, so does the policy, though many offer renewal options at an increased premium. The benefit of term life insurance is that it offers maximum payout for the lowest premiums. This is especially true the younger you are.

Permanent Life Insurance

Whereas there is really only one type of temporary insurance policy, there are a number of different options in the permanent life insurance market.

Whole Life Coverage-This includes guaranteed death benefits, guaranteed cash values, and the security of a fixed annual premium.

Universal Life Coverage-This option provides you with greater flexibility in both premiums and potential return. It still offers both a payout in the form of life insurance coverage and the potential of a cash value to increase with the term of the policy.

Limited Pay-This is basically permanent and term life insurance combined in that you only pay premiums for a specific term; however, you still receive the death benefit after the term expires, though usually at a reduced rate.

Endowment-This type of policy, which is similar to annuities, acts more as an investment than does traditional life insurance. The principal is protected and a payout is guaranteed, but the premiums are much higher than those of other types of life insurance.

Life Insurance And Major Life Changes

While life insurance can seem like a once-in-a -lifetime decision, there are a number of life events that should cause you to take another look at your life insurance policy to see if it is still right for you and your family.  So what should your life insurance policy do for you and your loved ones, and what life events should make you re-evaluate whether your life insurance policy is still right for you?

Do You Need Life Insurance Now?

Deciding whether or not you need life insurance depends largely on your age and your personal situation.  If you have children or a spouse, having life insurance, no matter what your age, is important to ensure that they are cared for should anything happen to you.  If, however, you are not married or do not have children, do you still need life insurance?  One thing to consider is whether or not you have any family or other people who rely on you financially, such as your parents.  Another consideration is your age.  It is considerably cheaper to purchase life insurance at a younger age, so if you plan on having a family in the future it may be wise to give yourself the best protection at the lowest rate.

Balancing Protection And Investments

Life insurance can certainly be more than just a financial security blanket for your family; it can also be a wise investment opportunity.  In selecting life insurance there are, in general, two different types to consider-term and permanent.  Term life insurance is a good choice if you are young and have a family.  It can offer you the maximum protection for the lowest premium but, as the name suggests, the insurance is only valid for the term of the policy, at which point it expires. Permanent life insurance, on the other hand, offers you protection for life and usually gives you a return on your investment in the form of a cash value on the policy.  While the premiums on a permanent life insurance policy will be higher than a term policy, it may be a better choice for long-term protection.

Retirement and Life Insurance

Retirement is a time when we experience a number of changes in both our day-to-day lives and our financial and family lives.  This is also an important time to re-evaluate your life insurance policy, and in most cases make some changes in the type of coverage you have.  At retirement you and your spouse’s financial situation is likely very different than when you first got married.  Your family has also changed, and your children are likely not in need of the same financial security through you that they once did.  This is a time when choosing a more affordable life insurance that can offer you a cash value may in your best interest.

An insurance agent can help you find the policy that works best for you at any point in your life.

Understanding How Auto Insurance Premiums Work

Car insurance rates are dependent on a number of variables, and understanding what your rate is based upon can help you determine whether you are getting the best deal possible.  Here are some of the criteria your car insurance rate is based upon; this will give you a better idea of the factors determining your rate and what you can do to get the best rate possible.

Experience And Age-These two factors can have the biggest influence on the rates you will be paying for your auto insurance.  It had been shown that young drivers are involved in more accidents than more mature drivers.  Experience has also been shown to be a factor in accident rates.  In most cases, however, an older person who is a new driver will have lower rates than a younger new driver.

Location-Where you live also has an effect on the auto insurance rates you will pay.  Areas with more traffic, higher accident rates, and more dangerous weather conditions are seen as bigger risks, and as a result the drivers in these locations are forced to pay higher rates.

Type Of Vehicle You Drive-Several factors related to the type of vehicle you drive will influence your auto insurance rates.  Newer cars cost more to repair and replace and therefore you will pay higher rates to insurance a newer vehicle.  The make and model or your car, and even the color, can affect your premiums.

Credit Rating-While it may not seem obvious or even fair that those with lower credit scores should be seen as higher risk drivers, your credit score does affect your insurance rates.

If you are concerned with the rates you are paying for your auto insurance, it is always a good idea to shop around, even if you’re not due to renew for a while.  It will give you a better idea of whether the rates you are paying are fair, and help you find an insurance company that can offer you a better deal once your renewal date has come up.

Do you Really Need an Agent?

Do You Need An Auto Insurance Agent?

Many insurance companies today don’t sell their policies through agents, but directly from the company either online or over the phone.  It might seem that having an agent to help you purchase auto insurance is a thing of the past, but don’t discount the insurance agent just yet.  There are some very good reasons to consider using an insurance agent for your auto policy purchase.

Agents Know Their Products

Many of the customer service representatives who handle the phones at large insurance companies know the basics of auto insurance policies, enough to help you select and purchase one.  But insurance agents, especially those who have been around for a while, understand a lot more about coverage and policy limits.  They can share with you a wealth of knowledge that will ensure you not only get the right policy, but the best rate and a good understanding of what you are paying for.  An agent will help you select the best possible coverage limits to fit your needs.

Agents Are On Your Side

If the day comes when you need to file a claim, it’s always good to have someone who is truly on your side.  Especially in a complicated claim, your agent can walk you through the process and be there to answer all your questions.  An agent is also there to step in when there are disagreements with the adjuster or other involved parties at the insurance company.  Because your agent knows all about the policy and how the claims process works, they will better be able to negotiate and discuss claims issues with your adjuster.

Agents Keep Your Policy Accurate

A good agent will take the time to review your policy regularly and make sure that everything is accurate and you are still carrying the coverage you need.  An agent knows when changes in your life might affect your insurance coverage needs, such as a marriage or a child reaching driving age.  Large insurance companies simply can’t provide that level of personal attention.

Are Agents More Expensive?

There is a general view that an insurance policy purchased through an agent will cost more than one purchased directly.  That isn’t necessarily true.  The best rate for you may well be one from an agency, so don’t discount quotes from agents when you are shopping for car insurance.  You might get the best rate along with the service an agent can provide.

You might not feel that you need an agent for your auto insurance, but there are certainly some very good reasons to take the time to meet with a few and see if it turns out to be right for you.

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