We recently asked our fans to tell us the most common questions about insurance that they have or that they hear from others. Here are some simple answers for those questions.
• Why did my premium go up when I haven’t had any claims?
Premiums may have gone up for all insureds in your class. Insurance involves a lot of people sharing the losses of a few people. When, overall, losses go up, your share (in the form of your insurance premium) goes up.
• Why did the amount of coverage on my house go up when the value has gone down?
That depends on how you define “value.” If you’re talking about market values which have declined in the current real estate market in the past couple of years, the resale value of your home may be depressed. However, insurance covers the cost to rebuild or replace your home or property. The real estate market has little to do with that. If construction costs rise, your policy limits should increase accordingly.
• Do I need to buy the coverage when I rent a car?
We suggest that you purchase the loss damage waiver in case the vehicle is damaged. While most auto insurance extends to rental cars, your policy probably has exclusions that aren’t in the loss damage waiver. Likewise, there are things the loss damage waiver doesn’t cover that your insurance does. Having both makes it less likely that you will have an uncovered loss.
• Why did my business liability insurance after 18 years and never had a claim go from $17,000 a year to almost $30,000 a year?
Premiums may have gone up for all insureds in your class. Insurance involves a lot of people sharing the losses of a few people. When, overall, losses go up, your share (in the form of your insurance premium) goes up. In addition, your premium may be based on payroll, sales, or some other factor that has increased substantially. If your business is growing rapidly, your exposure to loss probably is too. Your insurance premium may be reflecting that growth.
• Is it true a red sports car costs more to insure than a black sports car (same year, make & model)?
Nope. The color of your car has absolutely nothing to do with the cost of insurance. This myth may be based on the premise that a red sports car is flashier than a black one and might attract the attention of local law enforcement if you’re driving a bit too fast. Getting speeding tickets almost certainly will increase your insurance costs.
• Why does my car insurance go up when my car keeps getting older?
The component of your premium that pays for physical damage claims to your car usually goes down with age. However, other coverages like liability might go up. In addition, experience for that model car or for all insured cars in general may be going up so your increase is similar to that being experienced by others insured by your insurance company.
• What’s my credit got to do with my insurance?
Statistical studies have demonstrated that loss experience is directly proportional to an insured’s credit score. For that reason, some insurance companies use that as a factor in establishing rates if permitted by law in your state.
Courtesy: The Trusted Choice
Winter is fast approaching and it’s time to think about steps you can take to prevent a burst pipe. Did you know that an average claim for a burst pipe is $35,000? And that doesn’t take into account all of the variable costs of your time and resources.
When water freezes, it expands. That’s why a can of soda explodes if it’s put into a freezer to chill quickly and forgotten. It’s the same for water in a pipe. If it expands enough, the pipe will burst, causing water to escape and resulting in serious damage. An eighth-inch (three millimeter) crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day. By taking a few simple precautions, you can save yourself the mess, money and aggravation that frozen pipes cause.
Before the Cold Hits
When the Temperature Drops
Before you Go Away (do you shut down a program location and/or your operations?)
If Your Pipes Freeze
Don’t take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If you detect that your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the structure; leave the water faucets turned on. [Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame.]
If you would like to make sure you are adequately insured for damage resulting from frozen pipes, please contact Jon Jepsen of SentryWest Insurance.
Courtesy: Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance
As Thanksgiving approaches, many people will celebrate the holiday by giving back to their community. Volunteering time or services to a company or non-profit organization may be a selfless act of generosity, but these acts of goodwill can also expose volunteers to possible lawsuits if they are making decisions on behalf of the organizations or company. Fortunately, there is a way to mitigate the exposure to lawsuits and continue lending a hand.
A directors and officers (D&O) insurance policy protects directors and officers from liability risks associated with working or volunteering on the board of an organization or company. These risks can include negligent acts or omissions, antitrust violations, wrongful termination, libel and slander, and misleading statements that result in a lawsuit against the company. Whether you’re working or volunteering as a director or officer, it’s important to make sure you’re protected from these risks with a D&O policy.
Directors and officers can be sued by the company or organization they work or volunteer for or by other current or former directors and officers, employees, shareholders, investors, lenders, vendors, customers, competitors, various government officials, such as state attorney generals, the IRS and state and federal labor departments, consumer groups and numerous other third parties.
While the entities that can sue a board member are numerous, the situations in which lawsuits can be filed are limitless. Here are just a few examples of real D&O claims from the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America:
There are several types of D&O insurance that can protect individuals from these situations. These coverages include corporate reimbursement coverage, which protects directors and officers of a company or organization; side-A coverage for directors and officers who are not indemnified by a firm; and entity coverage for protection against claims made against a company.
D&O policies can also be written to include coverage for employment practices liability for protection against lawsuits for wrongfully terminating an employee or sexual harassment.
Before you start working or volunteering in a director or officer capacity, you should check with the company or organization to make sure it has a D&O insurance policy in place. If you’re serving on a board and you’re unsure about whether you’re protected, Jon Jepsen at SentryWest Insurance (a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent) can answer any questions you have about coverage and risk exposure.
Jonny Jepsen, CIC