Personal insurance coverage includes not only many everyday insurances that most people are familiar with such as auto, homeowners, renters, and flood insurance, but also includes lesser-known but often equally important insurances like motor home, watercraft, travel, and umbrella liability insurance.
Personal insurance coverages protect your most valuable assets—your home, your vehicles, and most importantly, your income.
Protect your home with flood insurance in Ashland ORFor most people, their home represents the biggest investment they’ll ever make. Homeowners insurance might sound simple, but a single oversightcan make a difference of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost claims payments if your property is damaged or destroyed.

Likewise with auto insurance—do you want to trust your coverage to an online insurer, with representatives you’ll never meet in some far-away call center? Or do you want to trust a respected local professional, one who is a member of your community and understands local risk exposures?

Many individuals take all the right steps to insure their home and vehicles from damage, but neglect to adequately estimate their liability exposures. Most lawsuits against individuals stem from accidents on their premises, auto accidents, or service on a nonprofit board. The more assets you have, the more likely you are to be sued. Some cases, such as accidents causing serious injury or death, can even result in liability that exceeds the value of your assets. Adequate personal liability coverage can protect your assets and future income from being taken in a liability lawsuit.

With the right personal insurance, you can feel at ease knowing that you have a safety net to save your assets in the event of the unexpected.

  • Personal auto insurance

There are three primary types of insurance coverage:

Liability insurance: Covers the costs associated with injuries and property damage you are responsible for if you cause an accident.

Collision: Covers the costs to repair or replace your damaged or destroyed vehicle after an accident.

Comprehensive: Formally known as "other than collision," this portion of your policy covers damage to your vehicle from causes such as auto theft and weather damage.

There are also several different types of coverage which may be available to you, including:

Medical payments: Covers the costs of injuries for you and others in your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Personal injury protection (PIP): Similar to medical payments coverage, PIP coverage can pay your medical costs after an accident, regardless of fault. But PIP offers expanded coverage that includes coverage for lost wages.

Rental reimbursement: Pays a certain amount daily for a replacement vehicle if yours is in the shop for repairs.

Towing and roadside service: Provides emergency roadside assistance and towing to help you get your vehicle back on the road or to a shop for repair.

As you consider your policy needs, it is important to keep the coverage limits in mind. The costs of a severe crash can quickly exceed the limits. If that occurs, you will have to pay for costs out of your own pocket.

  • Homeowner's insurance
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.

Most standard homeowners insurance policies include four essential types of coverage:

  • Coverage for the structure of your home
  • Coverage for your personal belongings
  • Liability protection
  • Additional living expenses if you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of an insured disaster

1. The Structure of Your House

Your homeowners policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disasters listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, remember this simple guideline: Purchase enough coverage to rebuild your home.

Most policies also cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home.

2. Your Personal Belongings

Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disasters. The coverage is generally 50 to 70 percent of the  insurance on the structure of your home. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.

Personal belongings coverage includes items stored off-premises— this means you are covered anywhere in the world. Some companies limit the amount to 10 percent of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You also have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.

Expensive items like jewelry, furs, art, collectibles and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its officially appraised value.

Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants are not covered for damage by wind or disease.

3. Liability protection

Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter or dog accidentally ruins a neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. (However, if they destroy your rug, you’re out of luck.)

The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit stated in your policy documents.

Liability limits generally start at about $100,000, however, it’s a good idea to discuss whether you should purchase a higher level of protection with your insurance professional. If you have significant assets and want more coverage than is available under your homeowners policy, consider purchasing  an umbrella or excess liability policy, which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits.

Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage, so if a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your own family or your pet.

4. Additional living expenses (ALE)

ALE pays the additional costs of living away from home if you cannot live there due to damage from a an insured disaster. It covers hotel bills, restaurant meals and other costs, over and above your usual living expenses, incurred while your home is being rebuilt.

Keep in mind that the ALE coverage in your homeowners policy has limits—and some policies include a time limitation. However, you can generally increase the amount of ALE coverage for an additional premium.

Your ALE coverage limit is separate from the amount available to rebuild or repair your home. Even if you use up your ALE your insurance company will still pay the full cost of rebuilding your home up to the policy limit.

If you rent out part of your house, ALE also covers you for the rent that you would have collected from your tenant if your home had not been destroyed.

  • Renters insurance
Renters insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of your possessions when you rent a house or apartment. While your landlord may be sympathetic to a burglary you have experienced or a fire caused by your iron, destruction or loss of your possessions is not usually covered by your landlord’s insurance. Because in most cases, renters insurance covers only the value of your belongings, not the physical building, the premium is relatively inexpensive.

By purchasing renters insurance, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.

Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses but still may set limits as to the amount they will pay.

There are two types of renters insurance policies you may purchase:

  • Actual Cash Value – pays to replace your possessions minus a deduction for depreciation up to the limit of your policy
  • Replacement Cost – pays the actual cost of replacing your possessions (no deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy
With either policy, you may want to consider purchasing a floater. A standard renters policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

  • Landlord protection insurance
A standard home insurance policy offers general coverage against a variety of physical and liability hazards, but often comes at a significant price.  A dwelling fire insurance policy offers narrower coverage more specifically tailored to property damage coverage in the event of specific hazards. As such, these policies can be more affordable for property owners.

Dwelling fire insurance offers property owners a wide variety of coverage options and flexibility to protect their assets. Contrary to what its name might suggest, dwelling fire insurance coverage is not limited to fire and smoke related damages. In fact, the covered perils are very similar to those of a standard homeowners instance policy. Dwelling fire policies often offer property owners protection against hazards like explosions, vandalism and some weather related occurrences such as wind and lightning. Unlike a typical home insurance policy, which covers everything except for listed exclusions, a dwelling fire policy will only cover named perils.

Depending on the policy, brokers can secure coverage for not only their clients’ structures, but for the contents of a dwelling as well. Policies can be written to reimburse the insured for either the cash value of your home, or for the cost of replacing it in the event of a disaster.  Dwelling Fire Insurance policies are often useful when insuring older homes and those with a prior loss claims, as well as secondary residencies or rental properties.

  • Condo insurance
Condominium owners sometimes make the mistake of thinking their condominium association covers their property. While your association probably insures your building and common areas, its coverage ends at your walls. You need your own condominium policy to cover damage to your interior walls, floors, cabinets, and fixtures.

Like a homeowners policy, a condominium policy also protects your personal property. “Contents coverage” pays for damage or loss to your personal property, whether it’s at home or off premises. The policy also provides liability protection that will help pay your attorney and court costs if you are sued for injury to another person or another person’s property.

The cost of your condominium insurance policy will depend on the type of coverage you select. The basic “named perils” policy covers you only for loss or damage caused by one of the perils named in the policy (hence its name). These generally include fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosion, and more.  A broad-form policy provides broader coverage, covering you for the named perils listed above, plus others, including damage from burglary; falling objects; freezing; electrical surges; and weight of ice, snow, or sleet.
You may also be able to purchase an “all-risk” condominium policy, which differs from a named perils policy by covering damage or loss caused by any peril, unless specifically excluded by the policy. Typical policies exclude losses due to earth movement, water damage, power failure, neglect, war, nuclear hazard, and intentional loss. “All-risk” coverage costs more, but provides more comprehensive coverage.

Another choice that will affect cost is whether you purchase actual cash value or replacement cost valuation.

  • Actual Cash Value: Your possessions are replaced minus a deduction for depreciation.
  • Replacement Cost:  Your possessions are replaced for their actual cash value with no deduction for depreciation.

Since standard condominium insurance policies do not cover, or cover for only limited amounts, valuable items such as jewelry, silver, art, musical instruments and so on, you may want to consider purchasing a personal articles floater policy for these items as well.

  • Flood insurance
Flood insurance may be more important to own than homeowners insurance. Every homeowners, condominium, and renters policy covers fire damage. But did you know that floods are four times more likely to occur than fires?  But these policies do not typically cover flood.Flood insurance covers damage to a building and contents due to flood, flood-related erosion, or mudslide. You can buy a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from some private insurers.Flood insurance from the  NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. It  provides replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage for your possessions. Replacement cost coverage pays to rebuild your home as it was before the damage. Actual cash value is replacement cost coverage minus depreciation, so that the older your possessions are, the less you can expect to receive if they are damaged. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other belongings stored in your basement. Flood insurance is available for renters, homeowners, and condominium owners.

You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone, but flooding can also occur in inland areas and away from major rivers. Consider buying a flood insurance policy if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or pond, or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait for a flood season warning on the evening news to buy a policy—there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect.

Excess flood insurance is also available from some private insurers for those who need additional insurance protection over and above the basic policy or for those whose community does not participate in the NFIP.  Depending on the amount of coverage purchased, an excess flood insurance policy will cover damage above the limits of the federal program on the same basis as the federal program—replacement cost for the structure and actual cash value for the contents.

  • Motorcycle insurance
Motorcycle insurance is required by state laws. At the very least, they require motorcycle owners to buy a minimum amount of liability coverage. Motorcycle owners have two choices for insuring their bikes: adding a “miscellaneous type vehicle endorsement” to their auto policy, or buying a standalone motorcycle policy.We generally recommend a standalone motorcycle insurance policy because the miscellaneous type vehicle endorsement has several limitations. Unlike your personal auto policy, it does not cover you for liability for non-owned motorcycles, so if you take a friend’s motorcycle for a spin, you won’t have coverage. It also typically covers only the actual cash value of your bike, or the original price, less depreciation. If you have a rare or collectible bike, a customized bike or one with many add-ons, the endorsement is unlikely to provide enough coverage.

For many people, specialized standalone motorcycle insurance offers the best coverage. Its liability coverage applies in more situations and it provides better coverage for the damage or theft of a valuable or customized bike. When it comes to property damage claims, with some specialized motorcycle policies, you can get “agreed value coverage,” where you and the insurer set a price for the motorcycle when you buy the policy. If it is stolen or totally damaged, the policy will pay you this agreed amount, less any depreciation of tires, batteries, and engine parts. In addition to these standard liability and property features, here are some important additional coverages found in motorcycle insurance policies:

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM/UIM):  To protect you if you’re involved in an accident and the other driver is at fault but has no insurance or is underinsured and is legally liable but can’t pay your losses, such as medical care and lost wages.
  • Medical Payments:  Pays for medical care you require after an accident regardless of who was at fault. The limits provided are usually between $5000 and $25,000 and may be available only after other insurance has been applied.
  • Customized Parts:  Some policies provide additional limits to purchase customized parts not covered in the basic insurance agreement.
  • Roadside Assistance:  If your bike breaks down, it will be towed to the nearest repair shop. The cost of necessary labor at the breakdown site is usually also covered.
We  provide insurance for many kinds of  ATVs and bikes, including cruisers, limited production cruisers, street sports, high performance, touring, sport touring, mopeds, scooters, and trikes. We even offer motorcycle insurance for older bike models.
Whatever your motorcycle insurance needs are, we can find the right policy for you.

  • Recreational vehicles
Whether you own a deluxe land yacht with all the bells and whistles or a simple folding camper, having any type of motor home or recreational vehicle represents a change in lifestyle—and insurance needs.

You can insure most motor home or recreational vehicles under your personal auto policy. However, specialized recreational vehicle or motor home policies provide better coverage. You won’t notice the difference until you need to file a claim, and then the differences become apparent.

Auto policies pay actual cash value when your vehicle is stolen or totaled, but mobile home and RV insurance companies often offer agreed value coverage. With agreed value coverage, the insurer will pay you the amount you select when you buy the policy in the event of total loss or theft. Some insurers also offer total loss replacement coverage, which will pay for a new RV like the one you own if yours is stolen or suffers a total loss in its first five years.

RV policies can also provide unique coverages designed to prevent your vacation from turning into a nightmare. Your homeowners policy provides only limited coverage for your personal property away from home, and puts strict limits on coverage for jewelry, electronics, and other valuables. Most mobile home and RV insurance policies offer better coverage for your personal property carried in the RV, along with coverage for attached accessories, such as satellite dishes and other valuable equipment. However, like regular homeowners insurance, flood is not generally covered, so be sure to find out whether you are in a flood zone and can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Additional features of mobile home and RV insurance include:

  • Vacation Liability: Coverage to protect you from claims if someone is injured at your campsite or in your RV.
  • Towing and Emergency Assistance: You will need more than the kind of coverage on your auto policy. Consider that it costs a lot more to tow a Winnebago than a Mini Cooper, and RV servicers are fewer and farther between than auto mechanics.
  • Additional Expenses: Some policies will even cover your temporary housing or travel expenses to help you get home if your RV is damaged while you are traveling.

To supplement the liability limit on your mobile home and RV insurance, you may want to consider purchasing  an umbrella policy, which will supplement your liability limits for your homeowners, auto, boat, and other policies as well.

  • Watercraft insurance
Boat insurance is a specific coverage you will need if you own any kind of boat or watercraft. Whether you operate a jet ski or a deluxe cabin cruiser, you need more coverage than your homeowners policy can provide. The typical homeowners policy provides only limited coverage for your liability due to operating any type of watercraft. It also limits coverage for loss or damage to your watercraft to $1,000 including trailers, furnishings, and motors. And coverage for watercraft applies only on your premises, rather than where theft or damage is most likely to occur—in transit or on the water.Boat insurance policies are nonstandard policies, so boat and watercraft insurance terms, conditions, and limits vary widely. At a minimum, however, you will want a policy that provides:

Property damage coverage: Look for coverage due to theft—no matter where located—and physical damage due to fire, theft, windstorm, lightning, or vandalism. All policies cover the hull and machinery;  look for a boat insurance policy that covers your trailer, permanently installed equipment, and personal property required for the boat’s operation, such as tools, GPS, etc.

Liability coverage: Limits usually range from $100,000 to $1 million. The more assets you have to protect, the higher the limits you need.  You may also wish to consider buying an umbrella policy to provide more liability protection. One million dollars in extra coverage often costs less than $500 a year and would extend to your home and auto insurance policies as well.

Typical boat insurance policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft, and $1,000 for medical payments, although these may vary from company to company.

Most boat insurance policies also include water sports liability, which covers risks associated with activities such as waterskiing.
Some boat insurance carriers offer additional coverages, such as towing and assistance coverage, uninsured boaters coverage, medical payments coverage for someone injured on or while boarding/leaving the boat, and fishing tackle coverage. Other coverages that are usually available include:

  • Newly acquired watercraft:  Some policies will give you an extended period of coverage before requiring you to report the acquisition of a new boat to the company.
  • Reasonable repairs: Coverage for repairs made  to your boat to prevent further damage.
  • Emergency service:  Carriers may pay a small amount, often $500, for reasonable costs incurred because of  emergency service to your boat, motor, or boat trailer.
  • Wreck removal:  Reasonable expenses are paid for attempted or actual raising, removal or destruction of the wreck of your boat when damage is caused by an insured loss and removal, or destruction is required by law.
If you have several personal watercraft, you may qualify for a multi-boat discount on your boat insurance. Additional coverage can also be purchased for trailers and other accessories.

We can help you find the policy that covers your boating needs.

  • Umrella/Excess liability insurance
Unfortunately, accidents happen. And when they do, the victim usually tries to blame someone else. If there’s a lot of money involved, the liability limits under your homeowners and auto policies may be exhausted. Under the U.S. system of tort liability, courts can hold injurers liable for many different types of torts, such as bodily injury, trespass, and “personal injuries,” such as invasion of privacy, slander, libel, or damage to reputation. Your homeowners policy covers both the costs of your legal defense and any court awards for this type of claim, while your auto policy covers you for liability resulting from accidents you’re involved in.  The typical homeowners policy provides from $10,000 to $500,000 in liability coverage, while your auto policy might provide $500,000.  Enter the umbrella insurance policy.If you are found liable for causing serious injury, the sky-high cost of medical treatment and other claims, such as negligence, could quickly exhaust the coverage limits on these policies. Once your policy pays its limits, any remaining liability costs become your responsibility. That’s where umbrella coverage kicks in.

But there are more benefits to umbrella insurance than just adding additional limits to your underlying auto, homeowners, and other policies.  Umbrella policies also drop down to cover you for things that your other policies may not cover, such as false arrest, libel, slander, and invasion of privacy.  For example, your homeowners policy will cover you if a guest sues you. But if a live-in resident, such as a nanny or even a non-immediate family member, sues you, that claim will may be denied by your homeowners insurer. Your umbrella policy, however, will likely cover the claim.

The typical umbrella liability policy can provide an extra $1-2 million in additional liability protection for only hundreds of dollars a year. You can buy policies with higher limits if needed; generally, the more assets you have to protect, the more coverage you need.

  • Travel insurance
Dream vacation or a nightmare?
Travel insurance can make the difference!

Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Coverage

Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance can cover a number of contingencies. Political instability can make planning an overseas vacation a hit-or-miss proposition these days. Even if you’re traveling to a relatively stable country, bad weather, natural disaster, or strikes can affect your transportation and accommodations. Trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance will reimburse you for all or a portion of your costs if your trip is cancelled or cut short due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, airline strike and more.  You can also get reimbursed if you must cancel the trip due to sickness, a death in the family, or another calamity listed in the policy.
The cost of trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance is usually about five to seven percent of the cost of the trip. So the premium on a $5000 vacation would roughly $250 to $350.

You should note that trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance is very different from a cancellation waiver sold by many cruise and tour operators. Waivers,  though they are relatively inexpensive at $40 to $60 for a $5000 vacation, provide a very limited set of cancellation triggers.  They must be purchased when you buy your tickets and usually won’t cover you before departure or when it’s underway. In addition, cancellation waivers are not regulated by departments of insurance, so if an operator gets into financial difficulty and cannot pay, you may have trouble collecting on your claim.

Baggage Insurance or Personal Effect Coverage

Baggage insurance provides coverage if your personal belongings are lost or stolen or damaged during a trip.

If you travel with expensive electronic equipment, sporting equipment, or jewelry, baggage insurance may be a good idea.  Your homeowners policy provides some coverage for off-premises theft.  However, for more comprehensive coverage  you are better off purchasing baggage insurance under your homeowners policy as personal effects coverage, than from a travel insurance provider.

Travel Medical/Medical Evacuation Insurance

Did you know that Medicare provides limited coverage for your hospital or medical costs outside the United States?  Many private health insurance plans also do not provide coverage overseas.

Insurers that do provide coverage for overseas medical treatment might provide coverage on a reimbursement basis only, leaving you to pay the bills, file a claim, and wait for reimbursement. And they might not pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States, which can easily cost $10,000 and more, depending on your location and medical condition. Travel medical insurance can cover your expenses for emergency or urgent medical care you need while overseas.

A comprehensive policy might provide additional travel assistance benefits, such as access to a 24/7 telephone hotline that provides services such as lists of English-speaking doctors, directions to nearby medical facilities, and lists of specialists.
As with all insurance policies, travel policies have limitations. Before buying coverage, make sure it provides emergency evacuation services. Does it exclude injuries you sustain while doing high-risk activities such as parasailing, mountain climbing, or scuba diving? Does it cover you for pre-existing conditions? Do you need to obtain preauthorization or a second opinion before emergency treatment can begin?

We can help you determine whether your existing health policy provides the medical coverage you need.

© Ashland Insurance, Inc