Business Insurance (12)

Questions regarding a bill that you receive from the insurance company should be directed to the customer service / billing department of your insurance company (click here for a listing). They will be able to quickly and accurately answer questions about payments received, outstanding balances, payment options, etc.

You may request changes to your policy by either calling our office (410-377-2111) during normal business hours or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through email (click here for contacts). Please note that for a change to be effective, we MUST confirm the information with you in writing or over the phone. No coverage can be bound, changed or cancelled by leaving a voicemail, email or fax message. We will process your request within 24 business hours and send you a confirmation of the change.

Fire legal liability coverage provides coverage to for you if you rent a business space and are held responsible for fire damages to that rented space. It does not apply to all business risks.

Replacement Cost is the current cost to replace property with materials of like and kind quality. Actual Cash Value is the replacement cost less depreciation. Neither of these is the Selling price, purchase value or mortgage amount.

Insurance companies require that you insure at least 80% of the property’s value in order to collect the full amount of a partial loss. The rates are based on insuring to full value. If you underinsure, you may not be paid the entire value of your partial loss.

Other people may drive your vehicle with your permission. It is important that they be listed on your policy if they are regular drivers of the vehicle.

At the end of the policy term, the insurance company will review the policy and either charge or credit the policyholder based upon an audit of estimated figures provided at the start of the policy. Examples of estimated auditable items include sales and payroll. Audits can be performed onsite by an auditor or via mail, email or telephone.

An audit may require you to show proof that sub-contractors had their own insurance coverage. The sub-contractors’ certificates of insurance will prevent you from being charged for their exposure. Aside from the hard costs, it is always a good idea to have sub-contractors provide you with evidence of insurance coverage as well as “Additional Insured” status when it applies. Call us for details on putting a good sub-contractor risk management process in place.

General Liability provides coverage if you are liable for damages to other individuals arising from your premises, general operations (ongoing and after completion) and products manufactured or sold. Sometimes called “Public Liability” it responds to covered Bodily Injury and Property Damage claims involving third parties.

Products/Completed Operations refers to the liability coverage for damages caused by your operation or products after the point at which you no longer have control of them.

Business Interruption/Extra Expense coverage provides protection for income loss and the additional expenses (e.g. establishing a temporary site during repairs) due to damages related to a fire or compensable loss.

Named Insureds are those listed by name in the relevant section of the policy’s declaration pages  (front pages of the policy with specific information). Although the named insured is commonly one person, partnership, corporation or other entity with insurable interests, multiple named insureds may be included.

First Named Insured is the first “named insured” listed on the policy declarations. This insured acts as the legal agent for all named insureds in initiating cancellation, requesting policy changes or accepting any return premiums. The first named insured is also responsible for payment of the premiums.

Additional Insured is an entity to which a policy’s coverage is extended. An additional insured must be added to the policy prior to a claim being paid. There must be a relationship between the additional insured and named insured. Being an additional insured on another’s policy does not eliminate the need for someone to have his/her own Commercial General Liability policy.

Personal Insurance (2)

Questions regarding a bill that you receive from the insurance company should be directed to the customer service / billing department of your insurance company (click here for a listing). They will be able to quickly and accurately answer questions about payments received, outstanding balances, payment options, etc.

It is always helpful if you contact us after letting your insurance company know about your accident (click here for a listing). We like to make sure your claim is being handled quickly and have the contact information should you have any issues. Our personal and commercial risk managers (PRM’s and CRM’s) can advise you on how the claims process works.

Automobile (4)

Remember to remain calm, courteous, and consistent at the site of an accident. First, call for medical help if there are any injured parties. We offer an accident report guide that you may keep in your glove compartment along with your registration and other important documents (click here to let us know you need one). Document the license and registration information for all other parties involved in the accident including any witnesses. It is always helpful if you have pictures of the accident. Often, it is easier to take a picture of the drivers licenses than to write down all the information. Report your claim to our office as soon as possible or to the 24 hour claim department for the company that insures your (click here for a listing) vehicle if the accident occurs after normal business hours.

When you loan your car to a friend or an associate, he or she will be covered under your automobile insurance policy. This also means that should he or she be involved in an accident in your car your insurance responds and you may be saddled with a chargeable accident surcharge or you may lose any available loss-free discount.

Collision is the loss you incur when your automobile collides with another vehicle or object like a telephone pole. It is damage to your vehicle.

Comprehensive provides coverage for direct physical damage losses you could incur to your car from something like a stone flying up from the road and chipping your windshield or an engine fire.

Life (3)

A rough “rules of thumb” suggest an amount of life insurance equal to 6 to 8 times your annual earnings. However, many factors should be taken into account in determining a more precise estimate of the amount of life insurance needed.

Important factors include:

  • Income sources (and amounts) other than salary/earnings
  • Whether or not the individual is married and, if so, what is the spouse’s earning capacity
  • The number of individuals who are financially dependent on the insured
  • The amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and from an employer sponsored life insurance plan
  • Whether any special life insurance needs exist (e.g., mortgage repayment, education fund, estate planning need), etc.

For a program that calculates all the above for you, give us a call or drop us an email.  We always recommend that you also talk to an insurance advisor for a precise calculation of how much life insurance you need.  Give us a call or call our Financial Services Partners – Brooks Financial.

In certain circumstances, it may be advisable to purchase life insurance on children; generally, however, such purchases should not be made in lieu of purchasing appropriate amounts of life insurance on the family breadwinner(s). It is of utmost importance that the income earning capacity of the primary breadwinner be fully protected, if possible, through the purchase of the required amount of life insurance before contemplating the purchase of life insurance on children or on a non-wage earning spouse. In a dual-earning household, it is important to protect the income earning capacity of both spouses. Life insurance on a non-wage earning spouse is often recommended for the purpose of paying for household services lost at this individual’s death.

Although a difficult question–one whose answer will vary depending on circumstances–several principles should be followed in addressing this issue.

First recognize that in any life insurance purchasing decision, there are at least two basic questions that must be answered:

  • “How much life insurance should I buy?” and
  • “What type of life insurance policy should I buy?”

The question contained in (1) involves an “insurance” decision and the question contained in (2) requires a “financial” decision.

The “insurance” question should always be resolved first. For example, the amount of life insurance that you need may be so large that the only way in which this needed amount of insurance can be afforded is through the purchase of term insurance with its lower premium.

If your ability (and willingness) to pay life insurance premiums is such that you can afford the desired amount of life insurance under either type of policy, it is then appropriate to consider the “financial” decision–which type of policy to buy. Important factors affecting the “financial” decision include your income tax bracket, whether the need for life insurance is short-term or long-term (e.g., 20 years or longer), and the rate of return on alternative investments possessing similar risk.

Home (7)

Homeowners insurance is a form of personal insurance. The typical homeowners policy covers the property of the insured and provides personal liability coverage to the insured.

Get the amount and type of insurance that you need which may or may not be the amount(s) that the mortgage company is requiring (property).  You will also need to determine the right amount of personal property (your stuff) insurance and personal liability coverage that you need.

Finally, there are a number of additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. For example, you will want the personal property replacement cost endorsement and sewer and drain backup coverage.

When “actual cash value” is used in a policy, a policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property.

When “replacement cost” coverage is used in a policy, a policy owner is reimbursed an amount necessary to replace the article with one of similar type and quality at current prices.

Coverage C of a homeowners policy provides “named perils” coverage.  Which means there is coverage for a listing of things that can happen.  “open perils” is broader protection and responds to “any” peril and then lists exclusions. This applies to all your personal property except property that is specifically excluded.

Direct damages due to earthquakes are not covered under the standard homeowners insurance policy. You may want to consider adding an earthquake endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. This endorsement will cover damages due to earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and other earth movements.

Damages due to flood and rising water are not covered under the standard homeowners insurance policy.  The National Flood Service says that 25% of all flood losses are nowhere near a large body of water.  You may want to consider adding a flood policy to your protection plan.