MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017
Many renters occupy their properties for several seasons. Long-term leases often run for around one year, and many renters choose to extend them. Long-term occupancy of a property means a renter often becomes very familiar with their home.
As summer prepares to end, the oncoming autumn and winter may bring seasonal changes that could place stress on rental homes. Therefore, the renter and property owner should do what they can to reduce seasonal damage risks in the home. This includes examining their existing property insurance policies.
1. Review Your Renters Insurance
Once or twice per year, renters should review their renters insurance policies. These policies often cover a variety of hazards that may damage a rental property and the renter’s property within.
Should weather conditions damage the home or renter’s property, the policy may help repair damages and replace lost items. However, policies may limit the amount of money, or the weather damages they cover. For this reason, policyholders should review their policies to make sure they protect them from common seasonal hazards in their area.
2. Review Your Lease Responsibilities
Renters often share the responsibility of home maintenance with the property owner. Therefore, as the seasons change, renters should talk to the homeowner about various home maintenance tasks that may come up. A renter may be easily able to prepare the home for seasonal changes.
However, the owner may wish to handle some of the projects on their own. As the property’s owner, they have a right to make sure that modifications are done to their specifications. Therefore, when beginning seasonal maintenance, talk to the owner. A lease may stipulate which parties handle maintenance. If it does not, the parties should take legally binding steps to enumerate these expectations.
3. Preparing a Rental for Winter
Both the homeowner and the renter can take proactive steps to get the home ready for seasonal changes. Starting while the weather is still nice may help avoid hassles later on.
- Inspect the home’s roof. Extended exposure may weaken the roof, leading to collapses or other damage. Roofs generally have about a ten year lifespan. Therefore, homeowners should replace the roof as needed.
- Inspect the home’s doors, windows and ventilation systems to ensure they have proper seals. Also check the basement and attic. Sealing a home can keep pests and cold air out. It might even reduce your energy costs.
- The renter should request that the homeowner service the HVAC, chimney and electrical systems at the start of the season. Cold weather may overburden these systems, leading to breakdowns. Additionally, damaged electrical systems may increase fire risks.
As always, renters should use caution when using utility and structural systems in their home. If you notice problems in your rental, immediately notify the property owner.
Ready for Michigan renters insurance? Call Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 right now. We can help you get a fast, free policy quote.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017
The premium charged for all forms of insurance, including car insurance is based on the actual experience of a given insurance company (premiums paid in versus claims paid out) and certain risk factors of the individual policyholder that can be predictors of potential loss. The premiums that insurance companies are no longer developed by simple charts in a rate book, rather by complex algorithms and formulas that are proprietary and held closely held by each insurance company. Much of the overall experience is beyond one’s individual control.
Examples of experience factors beyond your control include:
· There are more elderly drivers on the road who have slower reaction times than a middle aged person might have.
· There are an increased number of youthful drivers on the road and, while their reaction times are amazingly fast, they may not yet have developed the experience needed to be a safe driver.
· Distractions have increased many times over. Cars are filled with more gadgets – complicated audio and video system, navigation systems, not to mention cell phones, texting, etc. There are all kinds of distractions that never existed before and can pull one’s attention away from the road.
· There are more cars on the road. Some sources say 17.6 million new cars were sold in 2016 alone – a number that has increased steadily over recent years.
· The price of gas is lower than years past making it easier for more people to travel by car and leading to more congested roadways.
· Michigan is the only state that pays for 100% of auto-related medical claims WITH NO DOLLAR LIMIT! Your own insurance company is responsible for the first $555,000 in medical expenses resulting from an auto-related injury and then they are reimbursed by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) for expenses above that amount. The fact is that very few claims exceed the $555,000 but, when they do, the sky is the limit. Most claims where an insurance company receives reimbursement from the MCCA are catastrophic in nature involving injury to the brain and/or spinal cord which results in serious and permanent disability such as paralysis, coma, and reasoning ability.1
Examples of risk factors that you can control include:
· Your driving record will affect your premium. Multiple traffic violations or accidents can be a predictor of future claims.
· A change in drivers within your household. Adding younger or older drivers can add risk. Even changing the number of drivers can affect your premium. More drivers usually mean the car is on the road more frequently.
· Have you moved to a different address recently? Insurance company experience and individual driving factors can increase substantially in densly populated areas or areas that are more or less prone to crime.
· Have you recently retired or changed jobs to where you are driving a shorter or longer distance to/from home?
· Some insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts so rates can increase if you change to just one policy.
· Insurance score. This is not the same as a financial credit score used for lending decisions; rather factors from the credit scoreto predict risk.
For further information or a quote on your auto, homeowner or business insurance, contact us at 800-220-5582 or CLICK HERE to visit us on the web today!
1 Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association
TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017
When buying an RV, new owners likely have a set of goals in mind. This might include permanent RV residency, or only using the RV during certain times of the year. The new owner will likely want to personalize the RV to meet their specifications.
Getting the appropriate RV insurance is an important part of personalizing an RV. If an RV owner makes permanent changes to the vehicle, the changes may trigger extra coverage. Insurance coverage should reflect the ways RV owners handle their vehicle.
What are Permanent Options on an RV?
Most RV owners want to use their vehicles to see a lot of the open road. They often use their vehicles as traveling homes in addition to transportation. The most sophisticated RVs can offer cooking, bathing and sleeping areas, besides many of the conveniences of the stationary home.
However, some owners may want to add additions to their RVs to further personalize them. Additions might include satellite dishes, wireless systems or even retractable awnings. Others might add items like wheelchair ramps that help address their special needs.
Should these items stay on an RV permanently, they often need special insurance consideration. Most RV policies come with personal belongings coverage. Personal belongings coverage usually provides coverage for items belonging to the owner. Sometimes, these special additions may classify as personal belongings.
However, personal belongings policies may not cover all permanent attachments. For example, some policies may not provide enough total coverage for the attachments. Other policies may not cover certain attachments at all.
If an owner modifies an RV to include permanent attachments, this may warrant seeking permanent options insurance coverage. Permanent options coverage extends protection to attachments that may be costly to replace.
Buying Permanent Options Coverage
The choice to buy permanent options coverage often varies from person to person. Since some standard RV insurance policies may not cover attachments, owners should start the search by talking to their insurance agents.
- Ask how the standard policy covers attachments. If it does not cover certain attachments, ask if adding permanent options coverage will add the appropriate protection.
- Find out requirements of the permanent options coverage. Does permanent options coverage exclude any attachments? Will the owner have to take any precautions to make sure that permanent options coverage never lapses?
With the correct attention, permanent options coverage can extend to the RVs attachments.
Call Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 right now. We can help you get a free, instant Michigan RV insurance quote.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2017
If you plan to hire anyone perform any type of work at your home or business it is wise to always obtain a certificate of insurance from the contractor to show that they have general liability insurance, workers compensation insurance, AND a business service bond.
A business service bond protects you from theft that could be committed by one or employees of the contractor who work in your home or business.
And, contractors, business service bonds are a great value for business owners who want to protect their clients from losses incurred by employees, and it is a cost-effective way to promote your company as a credible enterprise that has your customers' best interest in mind.
Common types of businesses that should have business service bonds include:
- Janitorial services
- Home health providers
- Pet sitters
- Carpet cleaning companies
- Security guards
- Pest control services
- General repair services
- Temporary employment agencies
- And the list goes on
For more information on business service bonds or a quote on a bond for your company, CLICK HERE for more information or call us at 800-220-5582.
FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2017
Drones are becoming popular among hobbyists and businesses alike. They can be fun to fly as a hobby and a valuable tool for business – especially when it comes to things like photography. But, did you ever stop to think about the risks involved with owning or operating a drone, or how your insurance would respond in the event of an accident?
We will first look at this from the standpoint of “personal use” and how a homeowner’s policy might apply to a loss. Then, we will focus on “business use” and how the commercial general liability policy might apply to a loss. In both instances, the ISO coverage forms will be used as the basis of discussion – homeowner’s form HO OO O3 (05-11) and commercial general liability form CG OO O1 (04-13). There are insurance companies that do not use these standard coverage forms, so coverage may vary from company to company.
Believe it or not, the word “aircraft” appears 12 times throughout the standard ISO HO-3 coverage form! This policy defines an aircraft as “…any contrivance used or designed for flight except model or hobby aircraft not used or designed to carry people or cargo.” So, in the case of the homeowner policy, a model airplane or drone is NOT considered an aircraft and is therefore covered – both for loss to the drone and for liability arising from its use. It is important to understand that there may be limitations or exclusions that apply depending on circumstances surrounding the specific loss. Always remember that insurance policies vary from insurance company to insurance company so it is important to understand exactly how yours works
Commercial insurance works differently. With a couple very limited exceptions, “aircraft” is excluded BOTH in the standard commercial property forms (ISO coverage form CP0001 04-13 and special causes of loss form CP1030 10-12) and in the standard commercial general liability form (ISO form CG0001 04-13). In other words, no coverage for the drone itself and no coverage for injury or damage it causes! But wait - there’s more! To clarify the insurance company’s intent that they are not providing coverage for risks arising from the use of aircraft, many policies are now being issued or renewed with ISO form CG2109, CG2110 or CG2111 that specifically exclude unmanned aircraft, or drones.
If your business uses drones you may be able to obtain coverage by asking your insurance carrier to add a form such as ISO CG2450 that can grant limited coverage for a particular unmanned aircraft and a particular project or operation.
CLICK here or call us at 800-220-5582 for more information regarding insurance for drones!