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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 

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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

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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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.”

Swimming Pool Safety   Leave a comment

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Whether you have a luxury in-ground pool, or plan to blow up an inflatable kiddie pool, it is important to consider the safety implications. 

There are an estimated 7.4 million swimming pools and five million hot tubs in residential or public use in the United States, according to theCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Furthermore, there are over 3,400 fatal unintentional drownings in the United States each year, with more than one out of five drowning victims being a child 14 years old or younger, according to the CDC.

The I.I.I. suggests taking the following steps if you own or are considering purchasing a pool or spa:
  • Contact your town or municipality
    Each town will have its own definition of what constitutes a “pool”, often based on its size and the depth of the water. If the pool you are planning to buy meets the definition, then you must comply with local safety standards and building codes. This may include installing a fence of a certain size, locks, decks and pool safety equipment.
  • Call your insurance agent or company representative
    Let your insurance company know that you have a pool, since it will increase your liability risk. Pools are considered an “attractive nuisance” and it may be advisable to purchase additional liability insurance. Most homeowners policies include a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability protection. Pool owners, however, may want to consider increasing the amount to at least $300,000 or $500,000. You may also want to talk to your agent or company representative about purchasing an umbrella liability policy. For an additional premium of about $200 to $300 a year, you can get $1 million of liability protection over and above what you have on your home. If the pool itself is expensive, you should also have enough insurance protection to replace it in the event it is destroyed by a storm or other disaster. And, don’t forget to include the chairs, tables or other furniture around the pool deck.

If you have a pool, the I.I.I.  recommends taking the following safety precautions:

 
  1. Install a four-sided barrier such as a fence with self closing gates to completely surround the pool. If the house forms the fourth side of the barrier, install alarms on doors leading to the pool area to prevent children from wandering into the pool or spa unsupervised. In addition to the fences or other barriers required by many towns, consider creating several “layers of protection” around the pool, in other words setting up as many barriers (door alarms, locks and safety covers) as possible to the pool area when not in use.
  2. Never leave small children unsupervised—even for a few seconds. And never leave toys or floats in the pool when not in use as they may prove to be a deadly temptation for toddlers trying to reach them who might then fall into the pool.
  3. Keep children away from pool filters and other mechanical devices as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing. In case of an emergency, know how to shut off these devices and clearly post this information so others can do so too.
  4. Ask if pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer. If you have children, have them take swimming lessons as early as possible. And, do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  5. Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards. Also, keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
  6. Limit alcohol use around the pool, as drinking alcoholic beverages negatively impacts balance, coordination and judgment—and its effects are further heightened by sun exposure and heat. The CDC reports that alcohol use is involved in up to half of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.
  7. Clearly post emergency numbers on the phone, in the event of an accident. Keep a first aid kit, ring buoys and reaching poles near the pool. You may also want to consider learning basic water rescue skills, including first aid and CPR training. For additional information, contact the American Red Cross.

“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 August 12, 2013 by leecountyinsurance in Uncategorized

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