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
coverages protect your most valuable assets—your home, your
vehicles, and most importantly, your income.
your home with
flood insurance in Ashland ORFor most people, their home represents the
biggest investment they’ll ever make. Homeowners insurance
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.
insurance—do you want to trust your coverage to an online
insurer, with representatives you’ll never meet in some
call center? Or do you want to trust a respected local professional,
one who is a member of your community and understands local risk
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
insurance, you can feel at ease knowing that you have a safety net to
save your assets in the event of the unexpected.
There are three primary types
of insurance coverage:
Covers the costs associated with injuries and property damage you are
responsible for if you cause an accident.
Covers the costs to repair or replace your damaged or destroyed vehicle
after an accident.
Formally known as "other than collision," this portion of your policy
covers damage to your vehicle from causes such as auto theft and
also several different types of coverage which may be available to you,
Covers the costs of injuries for you and others in your vehicle after
an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
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.
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.
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.
insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard
policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.
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.
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.
standard homeowners insurance policies include four essential types of
for the structure of your home
for your personal belongings
living expenses if you are temporarily unable to live in your home
because of an insured disaster
Structure of Your House
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.
cover detached structures such as a garage, tool shed or
gazebo—generally for about 10 percent of the amount of
you have on the structure of your home.
Your Personal Belongings
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
the structure of your home. The best way to determine if this is enough
coverage is to conduct a home inventory.
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.
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.
shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners
insurance—generally for about $500 per item. Trees and plants
not covered for damage by wind or disease.
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.)
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.
generally start at about $100,000, however, it’s a good idea
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
broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander,
as well as higher liability limits.
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.
Additional living expenses (ALE)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
cases, renters insurance covers only the value of your belongings, not
the physical building, the premium is relatively inexpensive.
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.
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.
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
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.
- Replacement Cost
– pays the actual cost of replacing your possessions (no
deduction for depreciation) up to the limit of your policy
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.
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.
policy, brokers can secure coverage for not only their
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
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.
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.
homeowners policy, a condominium policy also protects your personal
property. “Contents coverage” pays for damage or
your personal property, whether it’s at home or off premises.
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.
cost of your
condominium insurance policy will depend on the type of coverage you
select. The basic “named perils” policy covers you
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
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.
also be able to
purchase an “all-risk” condominium policy, which
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
choice that will affect cost is whether you purchase actual cash value
or replacement cost valuation.
Cash Value: Your possessions are replaced minus a deduction for
Cost: Your possessions are replaced for their actual cash
value with no deduction for depreciation.
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.
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
for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for
personal possessions. It provides replacement cost coverage
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
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
a policy—there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage
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.
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
and actual cash value for the contents.
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
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
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.
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
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:
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.
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
Parts: Some policies provide additional limits to purchase
customized parts not covered in the basic insurance agreement.
insurance for many kinds of ATVs and bikes, including
limited production cruisers, street sports, high performance, touring,
sport touring, mopeds, scooters, and trikes. We even offer motorcycle
insurance for older bike models.
your motorcycle insurance needs are, we can find the right policy for
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.
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.
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
you need to file a claim, and then the differences become apparent.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
- Additional Expenses: Some policies will even
your temporary housing or travel expenses to help you get home if your
RV is damaged while you are traveling.
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
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:
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.
coverage: Limits usually range from $100,000 to $1 million. The more
assets you have to protect, the higher the limits you need.
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.
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.
insurance policies also include water sports liability, which covers
risks associated with activities such as waterskiing.
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:
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.
repairs: Coverage for repairs made to your boat to prevent
service: Carriers may pay a small amount, often $500, for
reasonable costs incurred because of emergency service to
boat, motor, or boat trailer.
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.
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
can help you find the policy that covers your boating needs.
accidents happen. And when they do, the victim usually tries to blame
someone else. If there’s a lot of money involved, the
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,
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
provides from $10,000 to $500,000 in liability coverage, while your
auto policy might provide $500,000. Enter the umbrella
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.
more benefits to umbrella insurance than just adding additional limits
to your underlying auto, homeowners, and other policies.
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.
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.
Dream vacation or a nightmare?
insurance can make the difference!
Cancellation/Trip Interruption Coverage
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
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
also get reimbursed if you must cancel the trip due to sickness, a
death in the family, or another calamity listed in the policy.
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.
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
a $5000 vacation, provide a very limited set of cancellation
triggers. They must be purchased when you buy your tickets
usually won’t cover you before departure or when
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
Insurance or Personal Effect Coverage
insurance provides coverage if your personal belongings are lost or
stolen or damaged during a trip.
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
comprehensive coverage you are better off purchasing baggage
insurance under your homeowners policy as personal effects coverage,
than from a travel insurance provider.
Medical/Medical Evacuation Insurance
Medicare provides limited coverage for your hospital or medical costs
outside the United States? Many private health insurance
also do not provide coverage overseas.
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.
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.
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?
can help you determine whether your existing health policy provides the
medical coverage you need.