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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: trusted choice

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At the mention of umbrellas, you likely think of protection from falling water drops. As your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent, INSURANCE PLANNING SERVICE would like to remind you the proper “insurance umbrella” could also protect you from a “rain” of lawsuits. Personal liability claims against homeowners and drivers are increasing in frequency and severity. The question is simple: Are your current limits of liability on your homeowners, boat, and personal auto policies adequate?
 
And accidentally injuring a single person who then receives a major jury award is not your only risk. Whether an accident occurs on the road, at a home party, or during an outing on the boat, it can result in injuries to multiple people, creating multiple threats of lawsuit or risks of property damage. For example, a personal auto policy liability limit for damage to property of others in an amount of $50,000 may seem adequate if you strike a single vehicle, but what if you are found liable for a multi-car pileup? Suddenly that $50,000 may seem more like a down payment than total protection.
 
Far too many people are still relying on outdated liability protection limits. Food, gasoline and medical care aren’t the only items that cost more today than yesterday. In 2009 alone, according to the National Law Journal, premises liability awards increased 16.4%, and motor vehicle awards jumped almost 40%.
 
One solution is to raise your current policy limits as high as possible for your auto, home, apartment, or boat. But another option is a personal excess liability policy or personal “umbrella.”
 
Personal umbrella policies are cost-effective methods of significantly increasing limits of personal liability. Be careful, when considering this option, that you understand the difference between a true personal umbrella and the often less-expensive alternative known as an “excess liability policy.” If the excess policy is less expensive, it is often because such policies are designed simply to provide higher limits exclusively to a limited number of exposures, such as auto. It is far preferable to consider a personal umbrella, which is designed with broader coverages that extend protection over all of your personal exposures, often even beyond your auto, watercraft, and homeowners coverage. Since personal umbrella coverage can vary in both breadth of coverage, pricing and availability for your personal exposures, Your Trusted Choice® agent always stands ready to offer advice and a comprehensive review of your current insurance coverages and needs.
 
Schedule a review today. Call us at 800-220-5582 or contact us via the web to learn how a personal umbrella liability policy could become a key to your overall insurance program. Because when it comes to umbrellas, it’s better for you to get caught in the rain than to find your vital financial protection is “all wet.”

Source: http://www.trustedchoice.com/Content/Articles/Pledge-Of-Performance.aspx

Trusted ChoiceTrusted Choice ® agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy.

As a Trusted Choice ® agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person - not a policy.  This commitment means we shall:

  1. Work with you to identify the insurance and financial services that are right for you, your family or your business and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products. 
  2. Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
  3. Help you solve problems related to your coverage or account.
  4. Explain the coverages and options available to you through our agency, at your request.
  5. Return your phone calls and e-mails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  6. Provide 24/7 services for our customers, offering any or all of the following: emergency phone numbers, Internet account access, e-mail and call center services.
  7. Use our experience and multiple company relationships to customize your coverage as needed.
  8. Commit our staff to continuing education so they may be more knowledgeable in serving you.
  9. Treat you with respect and courtesy.
  10. Conduct our business in an ethical manner.

We pledge this to you, our clients, and ask that you let us know if we fail to meet our commitment, so we may take corrective action.  Call us at 1-800-220-5582 or contact us online today!


Unmarried CoupleAccording to statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth, over the past 30 years more and more people live with someone with whom they have a relationship with prior to or instead of getting married- including about half of all men and women under 44 in the most recently available data. No matter the reason, living with your partner when you aren’t married can present some unique (but not impossible!) challenges to making sure you both have the right insurance coverage to protect your belongings and your liability.

Do you both own your home/condo?
If you purchase your home together, it makes the most sense to obtain a single insurance policy with both you and your partner as “named insureds” on it, since you both have a financial/legal interest in the home. 

Did one of you move into a home owned by the other?
In cases like this it probably makes the most sense to each maintain a separate policy. If one of you doesn’t have financial or legal interest in the home, most insurance companies won’t allow that person to be added to the existing policy as “Named Insured.” One possible alternative would be to add the person to the policy using a tool known as an endorsement, but even using the Additional Insured endorsement, the person who is added may not have all of their property and contents covered. Therefore, if only one of you owns the home, the best option to make sure each partner has coverage is to obtain separate policies.

What about our cars? We each own our own and have our own auto insurance policies?
While you’ll have coverage for using each other’s cars the one potential gap in coverage would be if you maintained different coverage limits. Some personal auto policies may exclude some coverage for vehicles you drive that you don’t own but are “furnished or available for your regular use,” a description that would most likely fit your partners vehicle.

Suppose you have higher limits on your car than your partner does on theirs. While you would have some coverage under your partner’s policy when driving their car, it would be for those lower limits of coverage than you might have on your own car. If you each have your own cars and policies, you could consider maintaining the same liability limits on both vehicles.

What if I own a car and my partner doesn’t?
In this scenario your partner could drive your car and have coverage, but if you were to rent a car on a vacation, your partner wouldn’t have coverage if they were to drive it, unless they purchased separate rental car coverage. Another option would be for your partner to obtain a “Named Non-Owner” insurance policy that would allow them to drive your vehicle with their own coverage.

What about the car we own together?
If you own a car together but aren’t married the easiest thing to do is make sure that you obtain a “Joint Ownership Coverage” endorsement.

Good thing you have another partner…
Discuss your situation with a Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent. While being married resolves many of these issues in a more direct way, the great thing about having a Trusted Choice agent is that they have the ability to represent different insurance companies, so that they can work with you to obtain the insurance coverage that fit your needs and your lifestyle now and into the future as life changes.

INSURANCE PLANNING SERVICE is your Trusted Choice agent!  Our staff can help with these and other questions you may have about your insurance.  Call us at 800-220-5582 or contact us online today! 

Source:    TrustedChoice.com


Spring CleaningTemperatures are getting warmer and now that it’s spring, it’s time for spring cleaning and making spring time repairs around the house. Taking care of our homes is important, so take a moment to understand how taking care of things around the house can impact your insurance with these spring time tips:
 
Spring cleaning inside the house
Time to dust, sweep, vacuum and scrub! For many of us, this can also mean cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, where we might find ourselves using chemical based cleaning agents. Make sure that if you’re using these using chemical cleaners you properly ventilate the room you’re in, because sometimes the fumes from these products can be quite powerful. It can be as simple as opening windows and make sure you keep interior doors open to allow air to flow throughout the house. These simple steps can help you prevent getting too dizzy, or potentially passing out if you breathe in too many fumes. It’s also critical to keep and store these products safely- keep them in a cool dry place that isn’t accessible to small children or pets, and always follow the instructions on chemical cleaning products.
 
You should follow similar rules for ventilation and storage when working with paint or wood stains. In addition to fumes, paint also poses separate risks to hardwood floors, carpets and furniture, so whether you’re just touching up a window frame or redoing the whole room, make sure you use drop cloths to protect floors and furniture. In fact, if you can, move all furniture and area rugs out of the room when painting, but if you cannot, make sure they’re clear of the walls and covered. The last thing you want is a paint stain on your carpets, hardwoods or your furniture.
 
Never dispose of paint or chemical cleaners down your sink- if you want to get rid of extra or expired cleaning products and paint, contact your local municipality about how and where you can dispose of these items safely. Many communities will designate certain days when they will collect these items so that they can be disposed of appropriately. If you were to improperly dispose of these items you could be found liable for any property or environmental damage they may cause, including clean-up costs and fines from local, state and federal authorities, and under a standard homeowners policy you would not have coverage if you dumped the chemicals, and those costs would come out of pocket.
 
Checking for Unwanted Guests 
 
No, not the in-laws, but wild animals. During the winter months when temperatures drop, humans aren’t the only ones looking to get in out of the cold. If animals get into your home they have the potential to cause damage to the house, your belongings and they may leave a mess. Certain types of damage by animals may not be covered by your insurance policy, but if you discover damage that appears to be the work of an animal, notify your Trusted Choice® insurance agent and take appropriate steps to remove the animals, and consider hiring a professional pest control firm if you aren’t comfortable doing so yourself.
 
Reduce your risk of a fire loss
 
While you’re cleaning the house, take a few moments to check fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. As you go through the house replace all of the batteries in your smoke detectors and test to make sure they work. If you own a fire extinguisher- check its pressure. Most municipalities have inspection requirements for fire extinguishers in public or commercial buildings, but not for private homes, so it’s important you check on at least an annual basis. While extinguishers have a longer shelf life than most products, over time they may lose pressure and the last thing you want to have happen when facing a kitchen fire is to have the extinguisher fail to actually extinguish a fire. When purchasing a fire extinguisher for your home, see that it’s classified for A, B and C fires. These classifications refer to different types of fires- ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids/gases and electrical fires. You want to make sure that your extinguisher is capable of handling these different types of fires.
Dust off the insurance policy
 
Finally, spring is a great time to review the “whole picture” of your homeowners or renters insurance. Trusted Choice agents have the ability to write insurance with multiple insurance companies, because, like the seasons, your insurance needs change. Insurance Planning Service is a Trusted Choice agent and we can work with you to make sure your coverage fits you and your family’s needs.  Call us today at 800-220-5582 or contact us via the web.

Article source: Trusted Choice

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake