Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! It’s that time again, time for fresh starts and resolutions. We want to start this year off with a new series - Brush up on your Basics. We’ve designed a four-part blog series meant to help explain some basic auto and home insurance concepts. We will start the series off with educating you on some essential auto coverages that are the framework for your policy. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage –Helps to pay for the medical expenses of another person(s) injured by an accident you caused. There are a variety of options available for this coverage. This is one of the most important coverages on an auto policy because it provides a line of defense for you and your assets. To help explain this further, we will take a look at the Colorado minimum requirement for Bodily Injury which is $25,000 per person up to $50,000 per accident – commonly seen as $25,000/$50,000. Let’s apply this to a situation so we can understand it a little better. Say you were in an accident with another vehicle you were found to be at fault and have caused injuries to the two passengers in another car. The individuals were rushed to the hospital and between their broken arms and sore necks the driver racked up a $15,000 hospital bill and the passenger racked up a $20,000 bill. Your policy as is will pay up to $25,000 per person Luckily, in this case both driver and passenger’s injuries have not exceeded our maximum. No problem, right? Well, let’s take another look. Perhaps there were four people in the car you struck. The driver has a $15,000 bill, passenger number one has a $20,000 bill and passenger three and four both have $35,000 in bills each. Now we are in trouble. For one, your policy will only pay up to $25,000 per person so passengers three and four are already $15,000 over what your policy will cover. Secondly, your policy isn’t going to pay over $50,000 overall for the whole accident. We are looking at $105,000 in bodily injury for this accident, you are now on the hook for $55,000. If you don’t have the liquid funds to cover this difference your assets are at risk. The costs for higher limits are negligible compared to the security of better coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Comparable to the bodily injury liability limits this coverage helps to pay for your injuries that were caused by the fault of another driver. This coverage kicks in when the at-fault driver either has no or insufficient coverage for the injuries they caused to you. This is also very important as it is estimated that roughly 13% of Colorado drivers are uninsured. Property Damage – This covers the cost of damage done to vehicles or other property due to an accident caused by you. The Colorado state minimum for property damage coverage is $25,000. Let’s circle back to our accident example, you caused an accident, and not only did you injure four people but now the $30,000 vehicle the other party was driving has been totaled and you somehow managed to take out a $2,000 lamppost and $10,000 fence. The maximum that your policy will cover is $25,000 white the total amount of property damage for the accident is $42,000. You are now in the hole for $17,000 of property damage which again will leave your assets at risk. This is stacking up to be a costly mistake. Medical Payments Coverage – While bodily injury liability coverage is for injuries to the other party, medical payments coverage is for injuries to you and your passengers. This coverage will pay out regardless of who is at fault. It can help cover medical or funeral expenses, ambulance fees, surgery and even x-rays.
Welcome back! In part two of our Brush Up on Your Basics series we are going to dive into some of the optional coverages you will find available on an auto insurance policy. Collision Coverage – This coverage is helps repair or replace your vehicle in the event of a collision. If you are leasing or have a loan on your vehicle it is typically required by your lender. Collision coverage is subject to a deductible of your choosing and the higher the deductible the lower the premium. The most common deductibles for collision coverage are $500 or $1000 though most of our carriers offer deductibles higher or even lower than these. The deductible will be a determining factor when considering whether to file a claim. Any damages to your vehicle that do not meet or exceed your set deductible are usually best paid for out of pocket. Comprehensive Coverage – Often referred to as “Other than Collision Coverage”, comprehensive coverage helps repair or replace your vehicle for damages caused by a variety of events. Some examples being – hail, theft of your vehicle, vandalism, fire and falling objects. Like the collision coverage, comprehensive claims are also subject to a deductible and is often also required by leasing and financing companies.
Loss of Use – This coverage is oftentimes referred to as “rental reimbursement coverage”. Say you’ve gotten into an accident, filed a claim on your insurance and now your car is in the shop. For some, this is no problem, but many people don’t have a spare vehicle at their disposal. The loss of use coverage is going to help get you in a rental car by paying a portion or all your daily rental fees. The daily coverage amount will vary depending on what you’ve chosen but may be anywhere from $25 a day to $50 and generally maxes out at 30 days. Roadside Assistance – Also called “towing and labor coverage”, roadside assistance can help get you out of trouble. With the costs being quite low, it’s an indispensible coverage that will grant you peace of mind. A flat tire fix, tow, fluid fill up or jump start is just a call away. Most of our carriers have dispatchers to send someone out to you and others offer you reimbursement for those unexpected disablements. Add it today and rest assured that your spouse, son or daughter are driving with that extra layer of protection courtesy of your insurance carrier. Gap Coverage and Loan/Lease Coverage – So you finally bought that shiny new car you’ve been longing for. Unfortunately, after yesterday’s accident you’ve totaled it. Are you now on the hook for the remainder of your auto loan or lease? Gap or loan/lease coverage can help by paying the difference between what you owe on your car and what it is worth at the time of the accident. There are some limitations to how long you must add this coverage, so we recommend doing so when you are first adding your vehicle to the policy. The cost is relatively low and sometimes cheaper than the option offered by the dealership.
We welcome you back for another installment in our Brush up on Your Basics series. For part three we are going to dive into some of the aspects that make up a home insurance policy. For our purposes we will examine some standard coverages for a single-family home since this is one of the most common types of dwellings. Dwelling coverage – The dwelling coverage is the meat and potatoes of your home insurance policy. It pays for damage to your home and any attached structures up to the dollar amount listed. Coverage is subject to your individual policy so it’s wise to read up on what perils are covered. Dwelling coverage is determined by many factors including the age of your home, age of your roof, square footage of your home and even how many bathrooms you have. The dwelling coverage will help cover the rebuild costs of your home. Do keep in mind that the dwelling coverage amount does not include the value of your land. Should a total loss occur the insurance will rebuild your home, the land that it is on will remain. Most of the companies we work with do offer special endorsements that extend your dwelling coverage by 25%, 50% or even 100%. These endorsements are normally just a couple of dollars a year and add a considerable level of coverage. Personal Liability – The liability portion of your homeowner’s policy helps protect you and your family should you be found responsible for injuring someone or damaging another person’s property. This coverage can vary in value from $100,000 to $500,000 and is directly responsible for protecting your assets. For example, should a visitor injure themselves in your home and if you are found to be responsible, the liability coverage can be called upon to protect you should they take legal action. Our agency always recommends the highest level of liability coverage possible. We can even offer an umbrella policy option which can add another million dollars’ worth of coverage to your existing homeowner’s liability coverage.
Personal property coverage – The personal property coverage protects your belongings. It helps replace your property should it be damaged or destroyed by a covered peril. Which items are covered? We like to explain it this way: if you took your home turned it upside down and shook it, anything that falls out would be your personal property. There is no set dollar amount that you must choose as far as coverage but if there was a total loss to your home, think about everything you would have to replace. From a pair of socks to your dining room table, your personal property coverage will help replace it. As your family grows and you begin to collect things, consider increasing your coverage to reflect that. Higher valued items should be scheduled on your policy to guarantee they are insured properly as there are certain limitations built into your policy. Deductible – The deductible is the amount of money you pay before filing a claim on your insurance. There are different dollar amounts you may choose from, but the typical minimum for home insurance is $1000. Deductibles for home insurance may be listed a few different ways. Depending on your carrier, they may have one single deductible called an All Perils deductible which will apply to all possible claim situations. More commonly though we find a separate Wind/Hail deductible in addition to the “All
For our final installment in our Brush Up on Your Basics blog series, we present to you some additional home insurance coverages available to you. While these coverages are optional, our agency always recommends you carry them. This is due mostly in part because of the valuable protections they provide. In keeping with the theme on our last blog post, these coverage guides will apply to a typical single-family owner-occupied home. Coverage definitions may vary for other types of dwellings including apartments, rented homes and condos. Loss of Use – This coverage on your home policy kicks in when you have suffered a loss to your home, have filed a claim and if the damage to your home is to an extent that you are forced out of the home while repairs are made. The loss of use coverage will help cover most additional living costs you might be subject to. Some examples include the cost of alternate lodgings, meals, or other comforts to maintain your standard of living while you are displaced. Most carriers allow for this coverage to be used anywhere from 12 to 24 months, depending on your policy coverage and the time it takes to restore your home. Medical Payments – The medical payments coverage on your policy will be like the coverage on your auto insurance policy with one major difference. Unlike the auto insurance policy, the medical payments coverage on your home policy is payable to individuals other than residents of the household. This means that should you or one of your family members be injured while in your home, you should not expect a claim on your home insurance to pay for your own medical bills. If, however, you have a family friend over to your home and they happen to trip on your front step and break their arm, the medical payments can help cover their medical bills. Ordinance or Law Coverage – Should you find yourself amidst a home claim that requires rebuilding your home, you might learn that some building ordinances or code laws have changed since your home was originally built. This ordinance or law coverage helps cover any increased costs that may come up while restoring the home and getting it back up to proper building code. Your insurance carrier will help cover these costs to upgrade or replace aspects of your home that are out of code and it may cover increased demolition costs.
Sewer and Water Backup – In broad terms, this coverage helps when water backs up through or overflows from a sewer, drain or sump pump and causes damage to your home or personal property. This does not cover damage caused by flood, surface water or water below the surface of the ground that leaks through a home’s foundation. Should you suffer a loss related to sewer and water backup, your coverage will likely help with the removal of the water, restoration of the home and replacement of your personal property. We hope that this series has helped breakdown your policy coverages to be easily understood. If you have questions on other coverages for your home or auto policy give us a call. Our fully staffed service team is here for you. If you want to explore adding or increasing your coverages you can reach us by phone at 720-283-1722 or by e-mail at email@example.com .
Now that things are heating up here in Colorado, it’s likely that you are breaking out your recreational trailers and vehicles. As you clean and prepare your home away from home, don’t forget another facet of preparation – insurance. You may be asking yourself, “What type of insurance should I get”? Well, RV’s or motorhomes that have motors and are not towed behind a vehicle require coverage just like a car would. The policy itself will have elements like a standard auto policy, including bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and deductibles. Oftentimes, there will be the option for roadside assistance or even glass or windshield coverage. Most carriers we work with offer optional coverages such as emergency vacation expense, which provides you with alternate lodging and transportation if your RV is damaged during a trip, as well as special coverage for your personal belongings while they are in your RV.
What about travel trailers, toy haulers and fifth wheels? With these pull-behind recreational trailers you will typically find that the liability coverage will extend from whichever vehicle is towing it. While it may be covered liability-wise that doesn’t mean that there will be any coverage for repairing damage. Should you get in an accident or suffer a loss from a hail storm, an insurance policy will help take care of the costs associated with repairing your trailer. Comparable to RV policies, you will have options to add comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, roadside assistance, glass and vacation liability. Utility trailers are also eligible for coverage, like travel trailers, liability coverage will extend from the vehicle pulling the trailer. If you would like physical damage coverage for your utility trailer, you can insure it as well, and for a nominal fee for the year.
Hail season is upon us. Whether you’ve been lucky in the past or suffered hail damage yourself, we are all keeping an eye on the skies. Weather can be pretty unpredictable here in Colorado. This time last year, many of us were left reeling when one of the largest and costliest hail storms in Colorado history swept through the state. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) estimates that the damage caused by the storm cost approximately 2.3 billion dollars1. As we brace ourselves for another hail season, we’d like to share with you some tips for how to deal with the aftermath. Whether you are dealing with damage to your home, rental home, travel trailer, RV or car, it can be daunting to figure out where to start and what to do after a storm. Hail itself can be particularly damaging because you are oftentimes dealing with a two-part problem, damage caused by the hail hitting, and water damage caused by the accompanying storm or melting hail. Hail damage can range anywhere from pockmarks on cars and siding to broken windows and water-logged carpets. Damage to your vehicle will likely be cosmetic in nature with the exception of broken windows which should be mitigated to reduce further damage to the car. After the storm, we recommend bringing your vehicle to your local trusted auto body shop. They should be able to provide you with an estimate for the cost of the damages to your car. That will help you determine whether it is cost effective to file a claim or not. Damage caused by the hail will be subject to your comprehensive coverage so, if you have collision only coverage or liability only coverage on your vehicle, you should expect to pay for any repairs out of pocket. Hail damage to your home is usually a more pressing issue to address
Dented roofs and broken windows can cause even more trouble if another storm passes through. Make sure that you are mitigating the damage early on. Cover broken windows to avoid leaking water, set up fans to dry any water that may have gotten into your home and consider putting a tarp on your roof if you found that it has developed leaks. Once you’ve mitigated the damage, we recommend you call a restoration, roofing or home repair company to come out and provide you with an estimate for the repairs. If you feel that you may need to file a claim, we recommend that you consider your home deductible. This may be expressed as an “all perils” deductible or “wind/hail” deductible on your home insurance depending on how it is written. If the estimate of the damages exceeds your deductible you may want to continue to file the claim. If the estimate of the damages does not meet or exceed your deductible you are likely better suited to pay for the repairs out of pocket. If you do need to file a claim, we will refer you directly to your insurance carrier and their department of licensed claims adjusters and specialists.
Summer is heating up here in Colorado and, with an unusually dry winter, the risk for wildfire is at an all time high. There have already been several substantial wildfires so far this year. With some pre-planning you can help reduce the risk of loss and danger to your property and home. The first steps towards decreasing risk of damage from Wildfire start in and around your home. Sprinklers installed in and outside of your home can help stop or reduce the damage of a fire. These will offer protection for wildfires and general home fires. Create a 30-foot defensible space around your home. Clear brush from around your home and rake and remove dead leaves and grass clippings. Trim bushes and trees that are near or touching your home and remove any dead plants or trees from your property. These are especially dangerous as they easily catch fire. Woodpiles, wooden playground equipment and other combustible objects should also be placed away from the home. Fire resistant roofing material can help protect your home from errant sparks or embers. The next time you replace your roof, or if you are building a home in a wildfire prone area, opt for fire-resistant materials such as tile or metal. Keeping your roof clear of debris such as dead pine needles or leaves which tend to pile up in valleys and gutters can also help deter fire.
We are living in a tech-based world and every day new advances make life a little easier. It was only a matter of time before we saw this bleed into the world of auto insurance. In a state of high insurance rates, everyone is searching for a way to reduce their costs. While our agency is at the forefront offering 12 different carriers and a yearly reshop of your rate, you may be looking for an even quicker fix. Maybe the answer lies in telematics. From Safeco to Progressive and Nationwide, more and more of our carriers are offering telematic devices to monitor your driving and reward those who drive with care. The process is simple, you are given a small device to plug into your vehicle. With variations depending on your carrier, the device typically tracks the time of day or night that you drive, the number of miles you drive, hard breaking and rapid acceleration. All you need to do is leave the device installed in your vehicle for the predetermined time (typically 60 – 90 days) and drive as you normally would, or even better. Over time, the device will collect and relay this information to the carrier who will then rate your driving based on this information and determine the level of discount you qualify for. You may see a discount ranging from 1% up to 30% of your policy premium. Overall, the program helps to nurture good driving habits and mindfulness. Less careful drivers may be shocked to see how much room there is for improvement and cautious drivers may rejoice. There is a reward for good driving, all you have to do is plug in and go.
Maybe you are new to the renting game or you’ve been renting for some time now… either way you’ve heard about it - Renters Insurance. You’ve probably got some questions; Do you need a policy? What does it cover? How much will it cost? Luckily, we are here with the answers. Renters insurance is often touted as being optional, because unlike a homeowner’s insurance policy, you don’t own your apartment. However, renter’s insurance offers crucial protection not only for your belongings, but also for your assets. You may think that with renter’s insurance you are only receiving personal property coverage for the items you own and keep in your rented space. Your belongings will be covered; however, you will also be gaining liability coverage. Liability coverage offers protection for you and your assets should you be found legally responsible for damage to other people and their property. This is crucial to protecting yourself and your family. In addition to the coverages mentioned above, your renter’s policy can provide you extra protection for your valuables. For high valued items such as rings, jewelry or furs you can schedule them on your policy and take advantage of the benefits of elevated coverage. This includes protections for mysterious disappearance and settlement at agreed or replacement value. Most of our carriers also offer identity theft coverage, a huge benefit in this age of information. Coverage for water back-up is strongly recommended to help replace your personal property that may be damaged by water backing up or overflowing from a sewer, drain, sump or sump pump. So, how much does a renter’s policy cost? It depends on a variety of factors including the location of the property you are renting and the level of coverage you need. Typically, we see renter’s insurance priced at $10 - $20 a month. Cheaper than your daily coffee habit. It’s easy to see that the benefits outweigh the cost when it comes to renter’s insurance. We highly recommend you carry this coverage to protect yourself and your family. Don’t forget renter’s insurance isn’t just for apartments, if you rent a condo or a home we’ll cover those too! Get some peace of mind today, call or e-mail if you would like to get a quote! Phone: 720-283-1722 E-mail: Service@cissinsurance.com
In the wake of the recent hurricane disaster on the East Coast, our hearts go out to the families and people affected by the damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. The photos and videos on the news show how truly devastating a natural disaster can be. Whether you live in a flood, fire, tornado or hail prone area or not, it seems that these large-scale disasters are becoming more frequent. Do you and your family have a plan in place should the worst happen? There is no time like the present when it comes to planning and making sure your family is prepared in the event of a disaster.
One of the basic aspects of an emergency preparedness plan is creating an emergency toolkit. The emergency toolkit you create should be tailored to fit your family. Do you live by yourself, or do you have a pet, small children or an elderly person living in your home? The toolkit should have everything from emergency rations, first aid supplies, bottled water, flashlights, batteries, a radio and blankets. If you have a pet be sure to stock appropriate food. If you live with a senior, be sure that you have everything to support their health and well-being including spare medication or medical supplies.
Keep and maintain all important files, documents and data in a weather proof, fire proof and tamper proof box. Knowing where all your vital paperwork is stored will save you from running around during a storm, fire or other impending disaster and struggling to locate these significant items. Additionally, consider making backups of important computer files and storing the backups on a cloud-based server or on a physical backup drive that is also stored in the disaster proof box.
Developing an escape plan for your home is a simple way to prepare. The plan can be applied to many situations and it could mean the difference between a safe exit and death or injury. At its most basic, it should establish room specific primary and secondary escape routes, assign responsibility to individuals for children, elders or pets and establish a safe meeting location outside of the home. Additionally, the escape plan should be practiced once a year at minimum. The National Fire Protection Agency advises that “while 71% of Americans have an escape plan … only 47% have practiced it” *. Put your plan into action and make sure that you are well practiced for when it counts. If you need guidance, there are many resources available online to help you formulate the best plan for your family.
You may not always be at home when disaster strikes, so being prepared on the go is just as important. Put together an emergency toolkit for your car. You can include many of the same items you have in your home emergency toolkit and add some extra’s including an emergency tire pump, a shovel in case of snow, emergency flares, jumper cables and rope or chain in case a tow is necessary. At work, be sure to familiarize yourself with all available exit options, where fire extinguishers may be located and memorize a few different routes that will get you home safely should your normal route be compromised.
While you can’t plan for everything, be sure to put a few safeguards in place for your family and for your peace of mind. For more resources on disaster preparedness we recommend checking out https://www.ready.gov/ , it is an excellent resource with tons of disaster specific information. *Source: https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/EscapePlanningTips.pdf *Source: https://www.ready.gov/
We are now in the full throes of winter. As you bundle up to stay warm, you might be overlooking the need to bundle up your pipes! We’ve all heard the horror stories; a frozen pipe burst, and the resulting water damaged both home and belongings. Be proactive this year and take some precautionary steps to ensure that you don’t suffer too! Once the temperature dips below freezing there is a risk of frozen pipes. One simple way to reduce that risk is to insulate them. You can purchase rubber or foam insulation to cover exposed pipes. Both options are quick and easy to install and last for years. Outside insulation is important too, install an insulation cover for your outdoor faucets to reduce the possibility of freezing and caulk and fill any gaps around the pipes entrances and exits to the home. One method to reduce the possibility of your pipes freezing, is to run a small amount of water from your sink’s faucet. This should be done on very cold days and especially windy days. Turning on the faucet will help relieve any pressure should a pipe begin to freeze. It’s recommended that you run both cold and hot water simultaneously. You don’t need to have a full flow of water, simply running it at a drip will be enough to ward off bursting pipes.
Be sure to program your home’s thermostat to maintain a minimum temperature through the day. It can be tempting to turn off your heat to save money while you are gone during the day or while you are traveling out of town, however, doing increases the risk of freezing and can cause your furnace to work overtime to heat back up when you return. Check with your energy or gas provider to see what they recommend you keep the minimum temperature at when you are away. If you suspect your pipes are frozen or on the verge of freezing, shut off the water and set up a space heater in the area or use a hairdryer to heat up the pipes. Check on the heater periodically to avoid damage or fire. If you are dealing with a burst pipe be sure to act quickly. Turn off the main water valve and mitigate any further damage. Mop up excess water and run fans and dehumidifiers to dry up the moisture, stop further water damage and to deter the growth of mold. Contact a plumber or restoration service to help with the repairs and if the damage is extensive, be sure to call your insurance carrier right away.
We know you want to be sure you are taking the right measurements to protect your home. Last year alone there were over 841,000 home burglaries₁ in the United States₁. Of those burglaries, the average value of stolen goods was about $2,368₂. Is there more you could be doing to deter theft? We have some recommendations for ensuring you don’t become a victim. Consider the outside of your home. Does your home hinder or help potential burglars? Perhaps your landscaping actually provides burglar’s protection from prying eyes. If the trees and shrubs surrounding or touching your home are overgrown, you may be giving thieves an opportunity. Take precautionary measures and be sure to trim and cut back any foliage that might be offering places to hide. How about lighting? Make certain that your exterior lights are outfitted with the brightest bulbs possible and that the area surrounding your home is well lit. Outdoor security lighting can be extra effective as it pairs the benefit of a flood light with motion sensing capabilities. These are readily available at your local hardware store, run anywhere from $20 to an upwards of $100, and can be installed in just a couple of hours. These motion detecting lights would draw unwanted attention to any potential thieves, thereby curbing theft.
The best methods to deter theft involve making access to your home more difficult. Be sure to lock your doors and windows every time you leave your home and install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors since they are more difficult to bypass. Reconsider storing a spare key outside, you might be providing a criminal easy access to your home and belongings. Instead, keep a spare key in your wallet or purse or with friends or family that may live close to you. A call to a locksmith is cheaper than a theft which could amount to losing thousands of dollars. Traveling? Take some precautions before you leave. An overflowing mailbox may be a sure sign that a family is away from home. Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail regularly while you are away or arrange a hold with your local postal service. These holds can be placed on your mail for up to 30 days and can be arranged up to a month in advance₂ . Be sure to keep your travel plans private. Sharing travel information on social media could be risky. It wouldn’t be difficult for a thief to figure out that you aren’t home, making you an easy target. Installing light timers around your house can also throw them off the scent. If lights are turning off an on around your home periodically, it will give the impression that someone is inside. If you have put all of these tips into practice and would still like another layer of protection, we recommend installing a security system. With today’s technology, home security can be easily and seamlessly integrated into your life. From video cameras to window sensors and video doorbells, advances are constantly being made. Having a security system that reports to a central monitoring station may even provide a discount on your home insurance. Feel free to use any and all of our tips above. Our goal is to help protect you every step of the way!
We hope that you were able to learn a little bit more about the auto policy coverage options available to you. We’re here to help! If you are interested in adding or discussing these coverages call our Service Team at 720-283-1722.
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