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UM: Benefits Beyond Medical Bills   Leave a comment

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At the break in a class I overheard a student say, “My husband is in the military, so we don’t need uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.” The same comment could be said by someone who had PIP coverage, auto medical payments coverage, health insurance, disability insurance, Medicare, or even workers’ compensation coverage.

Clearly, the benefits provided by the military, PIP, auto medical payments, disability insurance, and workers’ compensation can be substantial. Even as good as those benefits are, however, there are expenses not covered under those policies that would be covered by UM. Remember, UM pays what the insured is legally entitled to recover from the at-fault party. Often, monetary damages awarded by a court include things that none of the earlier referenced policies (or military benefits) will cover.

Let’s take a look at this issue by way of example and see what the benefits of UM coverage are, beyond just reimbursement for medical bills.

Suppose Bill is involved in a hit-and-run auto accident and is seriously hurt by the at-fault party. He is protected by a personal auto policy (PAP) with $50,000 of PIP (he increased the $10,000 basic limit to this higher amount after seeing the small additional premium charge) and $5,000 of auto medical payments coverage. His auto policy includes $250,000 of UM coverage and his personal umbrella includes $1 million of UM. Bill has no disability income policy. Additionally, he is covered by a health insurance policy provided by his employer.

As a result of the accident the following expenses and losses were incurred by Bill:

  • $75,000 for prior medical bills.
  • $175,000 for future medical bills.
  • $20,000 for prior lost wages.
  • $300,000 for future lost wages.
  • $1,000 for a wheelchair since Bill is unable to walk now.
  • $10,000 for future wheelchairs.
  • $30,000 for a special van to transport Bill and his wheel chair.
  • $90,000 for future vans.
  • $20,000 to retrofit the house to accommodate the wheel chair.
  • $25,000 for a yard service for Bill’s remaining life expectancy, since he is unable to cut the yard now.
  • $100,000 for future pain and suffering.
  • $100,000 for the loss of “family comfort” with his wife.
  • $100,000 for the loss of the ability to coach youth softball.
  • $200,000 for future loss of the enjoyment of life.

Looking at the insurance that Bill has (disregarding the UM for now) what is seen is that the PIP and auto medical payments coverage are quickly exhausted. Bill can fall back on his health insurance, but keep in mind that he will likely incur a deductible plus a co-pay each year. Once Bill’s PIP is exhausted, his wage-loss protection is gone and with no disability income policy he is “up the creek.”

Suppose, however, that the accident happened to be work related and thus covered by worker’s compensation. In such case, Bill’s medical expenses would be fully covered, subject to the provisions of the workers’ compensation law. Bill’s lost wages would be paid, typically (in Florida) at 66.67 percent of his wages. The time period for which workers’ compensation will respond for lost wages varies from two years to a lifetime, depending on the type of disability. Remember, too, wage loss benefits are subject to a maximum per week, which in Florida is around $850 per week. The wage loss benefits paid to Bill by workers’ compensation would not fully replace his salary.

With or without workers’ compensation coverage, consider the monies awarded to Bill for which he has no coverage, except under UM. The excess medical expenses, lost wages, wheelchair, van, house modifications, yard service, pain and suffering, loss of family comfort, and all the other damages listed above would be covered by UM.

Of course UM isn’t always an inexpensive coverage, but when the cost is compared to what most folks spend on cable TV, cellular service, a country club membership, or eating out for dinner twice a month, the cost for UM is probably the lowest listed.

Even if someone is in the military, is retired, and/or has “a lot of other insurance,” the protection provided by uninsured motorist coverage is very valuable. Don’t be so quick to reject this valuable coverage.

” Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverage will vary. Please contact your agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Courtesy of FAIA, Authored by David Thompson, CPCU, AAI, API 

Crash Statistics 2013   Leave a comment

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Annual Global Road Crash Statistics

  • Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
  • An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
  • More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
  • Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
  • Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
  • Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
  • Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
  • Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
  • Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
  • Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

 

Annual United States Road Crash Statistics

  • Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year
  • An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled
  • Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year
  • Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20
  • Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person
  • Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad

” Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverage will vary. Please contact your agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Courtesy of ASIRT

Renters Insurance 101   Leave a comment

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Before you embark upon finding renters insurance, you’ll want to have a solid grasp on what it is and why you need it in the first place. Here we’ll give a brief explanation of renters insurance, explain why you need it, and tell you what it covers.

Why Have Renters Insurance

A lot of people have the misconception that, because they rent their home, they are exempt from needing insurance protection. This could not be further from the truth. Insurance is not just for homeowners, and here is why.

  • Liability protection. Lawsuits abound in today’s society, and, if one were brought against you, it could mean financial ruin. Accidents happen all the time, and you don’t want to end up financially devastated because of a mistake you made. Liability protection covers inadvertent damage to property or bodily injury that you case. For example, if a fire starts in your apartment because of your negligence, the other tenants could potentially bring legal action against you. Accidental occurrences, like someone tripping over something and hurting themselves in your apartment, are likewise covered.
  • Landlord policies do not cover personal belongings. Remember that the average renter has over $20,000 in personal property that a landlord’s policy would not cover. In the event that the items inside your residence were ever damaged, stolen, or vandalized, renters insurance would reimburse you for your losses.
  • Renters insurance is Inexpensive. When you compare the cost of renters insurance with what you stand to lose if you don’t have it, it underscores how inexpensive coverage is. There is no one who rents that should not have renters insurance.

What Renters Insurance Covers

Renters insurance policies will specifically state the events against which you are insured. Typically, the major events include:

  • Smoke damage
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • Lightning damage
  • Wind damage
  • Theft
  • Vehicle/aircraft damage
  • Water-related damages

Aside from the aforementioned perils, your renters insurance will also include liability protection, which means you are covered in the event that you cause unintentional property damage or personal injury to another person. Usually, the policy will even cover your legal fees, if necessary. Renters insurance typically also includes medical payments coverage, which covers the medical expenses of a person who does not live at the insured property.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Auto Insurance Coverage for Teen Drivers with Divorced Parents   Leave a comment

When a teenager receives her driver’s license, she often will be added to her parent’s auto insurance policy. But if her parents are divorced, teen car insurance could become a bit confusing.

A father teaching his teenage daughter how to drive.

 

Insurance companies and states have different requirements regarding coverage of additional drivers on an insurance policy, but here are some tips to review if you have a teenage driver with divorced parents:

If your teen has access to driving vehicles at both parents’ houses, then both parents might need to add him or her to their individual policies. Some companies may require that the parent with custody add the teenage driver to their policy. Divorced parents may want to contact their insurance companies to find out what is required in their situation.

Every state requires licensed drivers to have auto insurance coverage, which includes teen drivers, even those with a permit, when driving. If you have a teenager in your household who may be on your former spouse’s insurance, it may be a good idea to find out if your insurance would cover your teen while driving your car.

Safe driving techniques can help all family members save money on car insurance. Teaming up with your former spouse to encourage, educate and even monitor your teen might help to make him or her a better driver. Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

No matter which parent carries their teenager’s insurance, both can set rules for the use of the car. Here are some suggestions:

  • Prohibit cell use and texting when in the car.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car when your teen is driving.
  • Establish a boundary of where your daughter can take the car.
  • Encourage your son to call you at any time for a ride if he feels he, or another driver, isn’t fit to drive—no matter what the situation is.
  • Require everyone—drivers and passengers—to wear seat belts.

Having a teenage driver in the family is always an exciting time for everyone. If you have a change in your family situation, contact your insurance agent to determine if any changes are needed for your policy.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Courtesy of Allstate

You’re moving out of state — do you need new car insurance?   Leave a comment

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You’re moving out of state; it’s time to pack your bags, get your affairs in order and head off for new horizons. An additional consideration, one that sometimes isn’t top-of-mind, is car insurance. Specifically: do you need to get new car insurance when moving to a new state?

The answer is almost always “yes,” but with a major caveat.

When you move to a new state you usually have between 30-90 days to register your vehicle. Use those months to get your car insurance situation straightened out; do not do it before you move.

That is the major caveat: do not cancel your old car insurance policy before setting up your new one. Do not cancel your policy in one state and then move to another state before getting a new one. You should never drive — especially across state lines — without a car insurance policy. It is illegal, and potentially very costly if you get into an accident.

Indeed, your policy may change after you relocate even if you stay with the same provider. Your new state may have different laws and policies than your old one does, thereby adding or subtracting a few dollars from your monthly bill. You might also be commuting more (or less), which would also affect your premium. In your move you may have also acquired some new assets, including a new vehicle. Additionally, your car insurance provider might not be able to sell insurance in your new state — so it’s definitely best to check in.

When you register your vehicle in the new state must show proof of insurance. And the states must match; if you’ve moved to Florida, when you register your vehicle there you must have valid car insurance in Florida as well. Do not go to register your car without first getting your car insurance set after the move.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Thanksgiving Waiver   Leave a comment

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While this is intended as fun and games you may actually have exclusions on your homeowners or renters policy that you are not aware of. Please give a call to discuss ways to properly protect yourself against Uncle Ralph when he chokes on the cranberry sauce or other possible crazy liability claims.

Click the Image above and print for everyone who will be eating at your house this Thanksgiving.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Fire Pit Safety   Leave a comment

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A backyard fire pit is great for family gatherings or parties with friends. It is imperative that you safely build and maintain a fire pit to avoid dangers from sparks. At the same time, every homeowner must have liability insurance to assist with payments for personal injuries. Contact your local fire department to determine if fire pits are permitted on private property. If your geographic region allows the building of fire pits, then ask about particular regulations required to comply with the law. Failure to follow your local government’s restrictions could lead to fines.

Look for a place in your backyard that is away from structures such as fences, decks and outbuildings. Choose a location away from shrubs, trees and gardens that can catch on fire due to hot sparks. Do not place a fire pit near utility lines, telephone poles or a neighbor’s property. In addition, you must build the pit in an area that is unaffected by windy weather. Concrete blocks or bricks are a standard support system for a backyard fire pit built on bare dirt or other nonflammable surface. While building the fire pit ring, make sure the support system is attached firmly to hold the metal bowl used to hold logs.

Allow the fire pit ring to sit for a few days to ensure it is safe to use before starting a fire. Begin layering logs in the metal bowl stabilized by the fire pit ring. Carefully light a match to set the starter log burning. As the fire begins, you can place a screen over the flames. It is important to keep clothing and hands away from the flames to avoid burn injuries. Wearing long oven mitts or using tongs while preparing the fire is an excellent method to avoid injury. Always have a bucket of water nearby to douse flames in an emergency such as high winds and flying sparks.

Courtesy of Wiseman Insurance Agency

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted November 7, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

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Dangers of Deep Fried Turkey   1 comment

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Lured in by the promise of moist, sweet turkey meat, the deep fryer has become an increasingly popular way to make Thanksgiving dinner.  But cooking up a Tom the Turkey in a vat of boiling oil does come with its dangers.  

In fact, the dangers could amount to a national security risk — or at least that is what Department of Homeland Security thinks. Check out the video below “How dangerous can turkey fryers be?”

(We particularly like the cool looking gear that could come in handy if exploding turkeys ever raised the threat risk to red.) 

In all seriousness, every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes, and more than $15-million in property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 

We tried our own experiments too. As you can see in our video, dropping frozen turkeys into the boiling oil of deep fryers brings on giant flames of fire shooting up 10 feet in the air. Indoors these grease flames can easily catch homes on fire, cause severe burns, and, if nothing else, will ruing your Thanksgiving turkey. 

We spoke to Tommy Steen, a 28-year veteran firefighter with the Rankin County Emergency Operations Center in Brandon, Mississippi, to find out the most dangerous mistakes first-time turkey fryers commonly make. Steen, a strong advocate of the deep-fried turkey’s delicious taste, emphasizes you don’t need to be scared of frying if you know what you’re doing. “99.9% of the time you can pull this off without a problem, as long as you do it right.” 

Here are Steen’s top four “Do Not Do’s” for deep-frying turkeys. 

Don’t Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey Frozen turkeys are full of moisture, and we all know how water and hot oil don’t mix well, so make sure your turkey is completely thawed out before trying to fry it. “Depending on the size of the turkey it could take up to 3 or 4 days in your refrigerator from solid frozen to ready to go in fryer,” Steen suggests. 

Don’t Let Oil Get Too Hot When oil gets around 400-425-degrees it can catch on fire by itself. Steen says to make sure you have a thermometer and are watching the temperature very carefully. “If you see your oil smoking, it’s too hot, you need to back off, back off the heat,” Steen says. Most oils should stay around 350-degrees, but you can check the label to see what the exact temperature limit is for your oil. 

Don’t Use Too Much Oil A common, and potentially disastrous mistake people make is putting too much cooking oil in their pot. “If you overfill your pot with oil and you drop the turkey in, it’s going to spill over, and that can be almost as catastrophic as having a frozen turkey go in because you’re going to get spillage, the oil is going to run down next to the flame on the burner, which could result in a catastrophic fire,” Steen warns. To figure out how much oil you’ll need, Steen suggests putting your turkey in the empty cooking pot, filling it up with enough water to cover it, take the turkey out, and then mark the top of the water line to know how much oil your turkey will need. 

Don’t Deep-Fry Indoors If something does go wrong, the inside of your home is the last place you want flames shooting up in the air. “Don’t do this in your garage, don’t do this on your wooden deck. If you’re going to do it, do it out in your yard away from anything that’s flammable that could catch on fire. And by all means do not attempt to deep-fry a turkey with this type of cooker inside your house,” Steen pleads.

Courtesy of Foxnews.com

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Pumpkin Safety   Leave a comment

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Safety is key when you’re pumpkin carving with the kids for Halloween. These tips from Pumpkin Masters will help!
When you’re carving pumpkins, having fun is key — but the most important thing to remember is safety, especially with kids. After all, you want to carve the pumpkin, not yourself!
Here are five safety tips to ensure a safe — and fun — pumpkin-carving session with the little ones.

1. Create a safe workspace.
Set out your carving materials on a well-lit, dry surface. Make sure everyone has the tools they need right in front them, and that kids can reach the space easily.

2. Choose the right tools.
Using household kitchen knives can be dangerous, especially for children, so we recommend carving tools specifically designed for kids, which has a larger handle that makes it easier for little hands to grip and maintain control.

3. Point the blade away.
No matter which carving tool you’re using, point the blade away from you as you carve. If your hand slips, you’re less likely to get hurt.

4. Saw, don’t slice.
Instead of using a sweeping movement, like slicing, try gently sawing through the pumpkin as you carve. Go as slowly as you need to avoid slipping.

5. Watch your hands — and others’!
Be mindful of where everyone’s free hands are when carving. Whether you’re carving yourself or you’re holding a pumpkin for someone else, keep one hand on top of the pumpkin instead of on the side. That way it’s within sight, which will decrease the risk of poking or slicing through the pumpkin — and into someone’s hand.

6. Illumination:
Small battery powered LED lights are much safer than traditional candles. They won’t burn you or your pumpkin.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”

Posted October 17, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in General Info

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I had an accident but I didn’t get a ticket so the other guy is at fault, Right?   Leave a comment

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Florida is a “Comparative negligence” State

Florida uses a form of comparative negligence (or your percentage of fault compared to the other party’s). This allows you to seek compensation even if you’re deemed only partially at fault. Since Florida uses comparative negligence, you can seek damages in proportion to your degree of responsibility for the crash.

For example, if a speeding driver rear-ends you after you suddenly changed lanes, it may be determined that both of you bear a degree of fault. If the other driver is found to be 60 percent responsible and you’re held 40 percent responsible, you may seek up to 60 percent of the settlement from the other driver’s insurer.

What “At Fault” Means 

It should come as no surprise that “at fault” literally means the person that caused the accident, or the one whose fault it is. Basically a person that is considered the catalyst for the accident is most likely to be considered “at fault”. There are other classifications of accidents, such as “no fault” and “partial fault”. Often times it can be difficult to ascertain who is at fault, and liability will be assessed to both drivers. In most cases, the person considered at fault will be the one that has performed an illegal, reckless, careless or irresponsible action while driving their vehicle, thus causing other vehicles to react to their actions, resulting in an accident.

What are the Ramifications of “At Fault”? 

Drivers that are considered at fault will find their insurance rates will increase, especially if there has been considerable damage to other vehicles. In addition, some insurance providers will drop drivers if they have too many at fault accidents. Furthermore, negligent drivers may be forced to pay for medical expenses, adding even more cost to their insurance companies. This can be particularly devastating if several cars, and multiple people, are involved. Property damage can also be tacked on to this as well. Insurance rates are not the only ramification of being at fault for an auto accident. Florida will assign points for every incident on driver’s licenses if you get into too many accidents, which in turn can further raise insurance rates.

What to do after an accident.

Get information from all of the vehicles involved. Get the other drivers names, addresses, and telephone numbers. Record the makes and models of the other vehicles, their insurance company information, and their vehicle identification number. The more information that you can get the better but, the mentioned information is a must. Do not ever try to handle the accident without your insurance company. In other words, do not ever let another driver talk you into handling the situation amongst yourselves. Even if they admit guilt of the accident and tell you that they would rather not have insurance companies involved for fear of future insurance rates going up, don’t go for it. Even if the person seems like the nicest person in the world, don’t make this mistake. There have been many cases where this has happened, then a few days later the innocent driver who was not at fault is informed that the other driver is suing them. Suddenly that other driver does not believe that the accident was their fault anymore and reported the accident to their insurance company. This kind of situation will leave you in a bad situation so do not fall for something like this no matter what! 

You will then want to contact your insurance company right away and let them know what happened. Give them all the details of the accident and let them know that the accident was not your fault. If you can call them while the police are present it may be even better as the police may be able to give them information that you can’t.

“Our blogs are for general education and information only and may not represent your unique needs. Coverages will vary. Please contact your insurance agent to verify your specific policy terms and conditions.”