Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Auto Insurance Basics

Back to Basics-Car insurance

    Have you tried to read your insurance policy and just given up? It can be very confusing! But I am going to try to simplify it for you. Over the next several weeks I will attempt to simplify each type of insurance, begining with Car insurance:

    Every policy should have a Declarations Page
This page “declares” who you are, what cars you have insured, your coverage choices and how much you are paying for this policy period.

    There are 2 types of coverage on your auto policy: Coverage that protects the other party and coverage that protects you.

Coverage that protects the other party:

Bodily Injury Liability: protects you from having to pay medical costs, lost income and funeral expenses of other people involved in an accident that is your fault.
Property Damage Liability: protects you from paying for the repair or replacement of the other person’s car.

            There is no deductible for liability coverage. You have many amount options for this coverage. The state minimum in Texas is $30,000/$60,000/$30,000. This means you are covered for $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident and $30,000 for property damage. I would suggest higher liability limits than the state minimum. If you cause an accident and the liability claim is 75,000, and you have state minimum coverage, you will pay the additional $15,000 out of pocket. It is not expensive to increase your liability limits. Ask your agent to explain your options.

Coverage that protects you:

Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury: covers your injuries (or death) in case the responsible party has little or no insurance. It also covers those riding in your car.

Uninsured/Underinsured Damage: covers damage to your car or property in case the responsible party has little or no insurance.  There is a state mandated $250 deductible in Texas for Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage.

Medical payments: covers medical or funeral expenses if you or anyone in your vehicle are injured in an accident.

Personal Injury payments: covers medical or funeral expenses and possible lost wages if you or anyone in your vehicle are injured in an accident.

Collision Coverage: pays for damage to your car if you hit another car or something else (like a tree or a building).  You must pay a deductible. Deductible amounts determine the cost of this coverage. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

Comprehensive Coverage: (also called Other than Collision) pays for damage to your car if something other than a collision occurs. This could be fire, theft, hit by an
Animal (yes, the animal hit your car!) The same type of deductible rules apply to Comprehensive as they do to Collision. They are two different deductibles though.

Optional Coverages that protect your car:

 Towing: pays for towing and some basic roadside assistance, depending on the carrier and towing option you choose.

 Rental Reimbursement: pays for the cost of renting a car while yours is being repaired after an accident.
Loan/Lease Gap Insurance: pays the difference between what you owe and the total value of your car if it is totaled in a claim. This is only valid if you have a new car (less than 3 years old).

So there you go. There are many options to consider in Auto insurance, but they don't have to overwhelm you. If you have any questions, please contact your agent. That is what they are there for. If they cannot answer your questions, please contact us. 

Have other questions? Need a quote?
    * Call us  877-987-8683  

    * Visit brockmanpremierins.com 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Home Insurance Basics

Back to Basics-Homeowners Insurance

   Have you tried to read your insurance policy and just given up? It can be very confusing! Our goal is to help you understand your insurance policy.
    Every policy (regardless of type) should have a Declarations Page, commonly referred to as the “Dec Page”. This page “declares” who you are, what property you have insured, your coverage choices and how much you are paying for this policy period. You will get a new one for each policy period.

There are 2 basic types of coverage on your Home insurance policy: Coverage that protects you and coverage that protects the other party.

Coverage that protects you:

Coverage A- Dwelling Value:  The dwelling value is set at or above the estimated replacement cost of the home. This includes the cost to haul away debris, the materials and contractor’s overhead & profits. This coverage can be written at Actual Cash Value (the value to rebuild the home minus depreciation based on the age of the home) or at Replacement Cost (value to rebuild the home at today’s quality and price). I suggest Replacement Cost policies. Many people ask us to match the coverage to what they bought the house for. Remember- Insurance is meant to make you whole again after a loss. The Dwelling Value isn't isn't based on how much it would cost to buy your home again. It is based on what your carrier is willing to pay out if you had to build your house from the ground up.

Coverage B- Other Structures: This covers buildings SEPARATE from the house, such as a pool, fence, storage shed, detached garage, etc. This usually defaults at 10% dwelling value. It can be lowered to save money or raised to increase coverage.

Coverage C- Personal Property:  Covers your contents of the home. This can also be written at ACV or Replacement cost coverage. If you have a total loss to the home, the carrier will write you a check for the total personal property, regardless of whether you have RC or ACV coverage. If you have a partial loss such as a small fire or theft, they will only give you the coverage you have paid for; meaning if you have ACV coverage, your 8 year old TV will only be covered for the value of an 8 year old TV. If you have Replacement Cost, your coverage will cover the cost of a new TV.

Loss of Use:  This provides reimbursement for reasonable increases in living expenses (such as a hotel room or apt) due to a covered loss, if your home is uninhabitable. There is usually a set amount as well as a set time period. Once the home is inhabitable again, you are expected to move back in (Regardless of how much you are enjoying the hotel!)

Deductibles:  This is the amount you pay out of pocket when you file a claim for a covered loss. There are 2 main types of deductibles;

            Wind/Hail Deductible: This covers your home in the case of high winds or hails, usually seen during severe storms. 

            All Other Perils Deductible: This covers your home for the remaining perils listed in your policy, such as fire or theft. Keep in mind, home insurance policies do not cover floods. You will have to buy a separate policy for flood insurance.

Coverage that protects the other party:

Personal Liability: This covers you if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence.  It can help pay for their injuries and any legal costs. We had a neighbors dog bite a visiting child once. The child is fine, but there were some medical costs and their Liability on their Home Insurance policy paid it in full.

Medical Payments: This will provide reasonable and necessary medical expenses to a guest on your property injured in an accident. If the UPS guy trips and falls and needs medical attention, this would cover minor needs, like ER and stitches.

Insurance coverage can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be!

Have other questions? Need a quote?
    * Call us  877-987-8683  

    * Visit brockmanpremierins.com

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Cyber Safety

Are You Shopping Online Safely?

Chances are you shop online. Studies show 79% of Americans shop online. Nearly 25% of online buying occurs between Nov. 1 and Dec 31. People who have traditionally shopped "Black Friday" deals are waiting to shop "Cyber Monday" deals at home. (Dec 2 this year!) I worked in retail for 15 years, so I would rather shop online than ever go into another store! It is convenient to shop online, but risks can outweigh the convenience if you do not shop safely! 

Beware of online Hazards

Hidden fees
Many retailers will claim free shipping, then tell you it is only after your spend a specific dollar amount.  Or they add in "extras" like the software to run the laptop. 
Counterfeit items
It is rather easy to put items for sale online now. Everyone is doing it! Just because you see it on the internet does not mean it is real. Remember if the price seems too good to be true- it probably is! Shop for specific brands on their own site.
Shipping issues
One time my sister in law ordered my niece's entire Christmas online and nothing showed up before Christmas! I ordered a laptop one time that just never came in. (after 3 phone calls they finally refunded my money!)
                                                          Identity theft (This is very common these days!)
Did you know if someone steals your debit card number, they can empty your bank account in record time? I have had people open credit cards in my name, take loans out in my name. These scams can be hard to fight (and prove!).
Fake reviews
If a site has all 5 Star reviews, be wary. No one has a perfect score when it comes to public opinion. Even the best of sites has upset some customer at some point. If it looks perfect- I would guess they are padding their reviews.   

What can you do to protect yourself and still shop from home? 

* Shop at websites you know and trust- check to see if it is a secure website. If it is secure the URL will begin with https, not http. (The "s" stands for secure!)
* Avoid using public wi-fi (identity theft!)
* Create strong passwords - many sites will tell you if your password is strong. Do not use obvious passwords like your birthday, your child's name or your pet's name. You might want to see if a Password Manager is something that would work for you.
* Beware of sites with deals that look too good to be true.
* Be wary of third party sites. 
* Pay by credit card online- not by debit card.
* Check out a company's social media to see if it is real, engaging and what customers have to say. (One of the perks of social media today)
* Research the company before you buy from it. Make sure it's real, and well respected by previous shoppers.
* Keep/print receipts. Pay attention to your statements. Verify all of the charges on a timely basis so you can dispute fraudulent charges quickly.

Shop smart- if you do not feel good about a site, move onto another site. Ask family and friends who may have ordered from a site you are looking at about their experience. Online shopping is convenient, until it's not. Be careful and pay attention to the possible risks!

Have other questions? Need a quote?
    * Call us  877-987-8683  

    * Visit brockmanpremierins.com