Take the “What the Flood” quiz


How much do you know about flood insurance? Probably very little, unless you’ve had an experience with flooding or your insurance agent has discussed it with you. Check it out – take this quick What the Flood interactive quiz to see if you understand the insurance protection that would apply should common water damage scenarios occur. The quiz is promoted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), who offer great info on Understanding Flood Insurance.

Here are a few common flood insurance myths

  • Myth: I don’t need flood insurance because I already have homeowners insurance.

Reality. Homeowners insurance rarely covers flood damage – talk to your agent.

  • Myth: I don’t need flood insurance because I don’t live in a high-risk flood zone.

Reality: More than 20% of the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) claims come from outside high-risk flood areas.

  • Myth: It’s already hurricane season so I am too late to buy flood insurance this year.

Reality. You can purchase flood insurance any time, but it generally takes effect 30 days after purchase for coverage to take place.

Here’s a handy NAIC infographic that shows homeowners vs flood insurance coverage:

Why not have a chat with your insurance agent to find out if flood insurance makes sense for you? Here are some great questions that NAIC offers as discussion points when you talk to your insurance agent about flood insurance.

Motorcycle Mania: Your spring guide to insurance, safety, training, laws and more


Despite the good news that motorcycle fatalities are trending down in recent years, motorcycle riders still represent a disproportionate share of traffic fatalities. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a good time for riders and those who share the road with motorcyclists to double down on safety as we all get ready for the warmer weather and summer road trips. Here’s a guide to important information that you need to be prepared and to ride safely, as well as to comply with licensing, insurance and other legal requirements. .

Motorcycle Laws

If you operate your motorcycle on public roads, you must register it with your appropriate state authority and must be licensed to drive it.

AAA Digest of State Motor Laws – Motorcycles

State-by-State Guide to Motorcycle Laws – helmets, headlights, passengers, noise restrictions and more

III: State Motorcycle Helmet Use Laws (chart form)

State Highway Offices

Motorcycle insurance

Most states require that you carry at least a minimum insurance coverage – Florida, Montana and Washington are exceptions. Those states that do require insurance vary as to coverage requirements; most require a minimum of liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage.

Whether required or not, we think it’s pretty risky to go without coverage. Should an accident occur resulting in an injury or property damage, without insurance, you are on the hook. In fact, it is generally worth looking into expanding your coverage beyond the minimum. Options to consider are comprehensive and collision, which would cover other potential losses, such as replacement if your bike were stolen or damaged.. In some states, uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage is required; in others, you may be required to have specific coverage for passengers.

Motorcycle owners sometimes ask if they can cancel insurance in the winter when they aren’t riding but that can be risky and leave you exposed if the bike is stolen. Some insurers offer winter lay-up insurance options.

Talk to your independent insurance agent, who will be able to recommend the best coverage for your local requirements and your particular circumstances. Be sure to ask if there are any discounts that you may qualify for, such as for bundling multiple policies, for being a safe driver, for having participated in training, or any other circumstances.

For more, see the Insurance Information Institute (III): Find the right coverage for your bike

Motorcycle Safety

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is a valuable resource. It is a not-for-profit resource, internationally recognized for comprehensive, research-based, Rider Education and Training System (RETS), which promotes lifelong-learning for motorcyclists and continuous professional development for certified coaches and trainers. MSF also actively participates in government relations, safety research and public awareness campaigns.

Check for available trainings and download their popular guide, You and Your Motorcycle: Riding Tips. Check out their other guides for three-wheelers, scooters, off-highway riding and more.

III: Background on: Motorcycle crashes

NHTSA: Motorcycle Safety

Choose the right helmet – how to find the right fit for safety

Helmet safety ratings – Make sure your helmet has the DOT symbol on the outside back; this means it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218.

Motorcycle Industry Council Tire Guide

NHTSA: Safety Issues and Recalls – search by VIN

Additional Resources

How to Prepare your Motorcycle for Spring

Consumer Reports: Motorcycle Buying Guide & Ratings

Motorcycle Club Listings

Boat Safety Week in two words: Wear It!


illustration of people wering life jackets for Safe Boating Week

It’s National Safe Boating Week May 18-24, a good reminder to all boat owners and boat lovers to review boat safety best practices and to take the “Wear It” Life Jacket Pledge. And if your boat represents a serious investment, it’s also a good time to think about insurance.

Why are life jackets important? In 2017, the Coast Guard counted 4,291 accidents that involved 658 deaths, 2,629 injuries and approximately $46 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.

Life jackets may not protect you against property damage, but they will help to save lives. But simply having life jackets on board is not enough – accidents happen too fast to access them. Being a good swimmer isn’t enough – an injury or water-logged clothes can interfere with even the strongest swimmer’s abilities. Another big objection is that jackets are too hot, too restrictive, or don’t look “cool,” but new, lightweight jackets are slimmer, cooler and less restrictive. Plus, as for the coolness factor – bicycle helmets didn’t look cool at one time, until they became a sporting fashion statement. Do your part to make life jackets cool.

The U.S. Coast Guard life jacket requirements for recreational vessels:

  • A wearable life jacket for each person must be aboard
  • Life jackets must be U. S. Coast Guard approved
  • Jackets must be proper size for the intended wearer
  • In good and serviceable condition
  • Properly stowed (readily accessible)

The Coast Guard puts out a brochure that talks about the different types of life jackets and how to ensure a good fit.

Before you take put any boats int he water, make sure you know the federal laws as well as any state laws that might apply. The US Coast Guard offers links and resources on boat regulations and laws, including federal and state laws, navigation rules, and more.

Talk to your independent agent about Boating Insurance

Do you need boat insurance? Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover canoes and small sailboats or powerboats, but larger boats require a separate policy. Talk to your independent agent about the coverage you do have and whether it applies to any boats that you have. Typically, liability coverage would need to be added as an endorsement to a homeowners policy. The Insurance Information Institute offers a good overview of boat and watercraft insurance, as well as safety best practices.

 

Do you need smartphone insurance?


cracked smartphone screen

Smartphones are more and more essential to daily life, but as the features and technology improve, the costs continue rising. While there are some decent bargain phones for under $300 on the market, so-called flagship models range from $800 to $1000 – and even more with some add-ons and options. When you buy a pricey new phone or replace an old one, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is if you want a coverage plan. It pays to research these things in advance and to understand the pros and cons so you don’t wind up making a quick decision on the spot. You want to weigh the cost of your phone and potential repairs against the cost of coverage. That entails checking with your insurance agent to see what coverage you have on existing policies and what the limits are. Once you know that, research coverage available from the phone manufacturer and your phone provider.

Does your homeowners insurance cover a smart phone?

One question that many people have is “doesn’t my homeowners policy already cover me if my phone is stolen or damaged?” That depends. If your phone is stolen or if it destroyed by a fire or some other covered peril, your homeowners or renters policy would generally cover that – check with your insurance agent to be sure. If it isn’t covered on your existing policy, you could probably have the phone and any other electronics added to your coverage for a small fee. Of course, any claim would be subject to a deductible.

Learn what the coverage limits are. Most homeowners or renters policies will not cover mishaps like screen breaks, technology failures or lost phones. If you feel you need coverage for those types of problems, there are plans available from phone manufacturers and providers so check in advance to see what coverage plans they offer, what they cover and what the cost is.

Here’s a handy article that offers some guidance to help you think things through: Consumer Reports: is insurance for your smartphone a smart idea?

A Consumer Reports survey found that over the last two years, half those who were surveyed reported a major incident with a phone in their household. The incidence rose to 81% if there were kids in the house. Cracked screens are the most common problem reported. The article notes that repairs for a cracked screen can range from $145 on an Apple iPhone 8 to $277 on a Samsung Galaxy S8+. AppleCare+ currently costs $129 for a 2-year plan; Samsung Premium Care is $11.99 a month. Other phone models can have different pricing.  Many describe the manufacturers’ plans as more extended warranties than insurance. Major phone service providers also offer plans that offer various coverage options. Some plans include repairs, loss and theft. With any plan, find out about what the plans do and don’t cover, what the deductibles are for any claims and what the coverage limits are.

So should you get a smartphone insurance plan?

First, check with your agent to learn what insurance coverage, if any, you already have. Learn the limits to your coverage, such as repairs or screen breaks. Then, weigh the cost of your phone and the cost or repairs/replacement with any available plans. You might want to factor in your past experience with phones. Have you had expensive repairs or frequent screen breaks with prior phones? Consumer Reports offers this rule of thumb: if you feel like within a two year period you’re likely to have two or more incidents occur to your phone, you may want to get a coverage plan.

Prepping your RV for summer travel & camping


It’s almost time to hit the road! Before you pack up the family into the RV for a spring camping vacation, take the time to get your winterized RV ready for the warm weather. A thorough once-over will keep your RV running smoothly and give you peace of mind on those long drives.

Have you talked to your independent insurance agent about insurance coverage for your RV? Depending on the type of RV and whether or not it is financed, you may or may not need separate insurance coverage from your auto. But even if you are not required by law or by your financing company, it’s  a big investment so it makes sense to talk over coverage options and to know your choices.

Below are a few checklists to help you get your vehicle ready for adventure. They cover everything from preventative maintenance to tips for packing safely and efficiently. Don’t forget the fishing poles!


Source: Fix.com Blog