Home Warranty vs. Home Insurance

When someone buys a home, they are putting in an investment into their own or their family’s future. As a homeowner, it is important to be able to maintain this investment by protecting the house and the possessions inside. This maintenance can be accomplished through tools such as home warranty and home insurance. Understanding the dichotomy between the two and how to use each to protect your home is important if you are looking for the strongest protection of your home.

What’s the Difference?

Homeowner warranties protect home appliances and systems from breakdowns caused by the normal wear and tear they go through during the owner’s everyday life. If the garbage disposal stops working, a home warranty may cover it as long as it is covered under the policy.

On the other hand, homeowner insurance protects the house and its contents from atypical phenomenon such as flooding, fire, or storms. If the house catches fire, home insurance will help pay to replace the house and its contents. Knowing and understanding which type of policy applies to your specific situation will better enable you to protect what you own.

Why Buy a Home Warranty Policy

The most important fact to understand about home warranty is that it comes into play through the expected wear and tear of regular use of the appliance/system. It does not protect from the unusual events that are covered by insurance.

However, this means that a homeowner warranty is more universally applicable. Appliances break. Systems stop working through no direct fault of the homeowner. These types of occurrences are a part of regular life, and these are what a home warranty covers. If one day your electrical system stops working because it got worn out, your applicable home warranty can cover that. Dishwasher breaks? The warranty can cover that. Through a homeowner warranty, a homeowner is protecting themselves and their finances from the appliances and systems giving out due to regular expected use.

Why Buy a Home Insurance Policy

Home insurance policies, while only applicable in specific circumstances, give a greater amount of protection. An inch of floodwater can cause extreme damage to the house and the belongings found inside. The insurance policy is replacing all sorts of items damaged by the circumstance. Homeowner insurance protects a homeowner and their finances from the worst circumstances that could potentially cost them everything in their home.

Conclusion

Both a home warranty policy and home insurance policy are important for the maintaining of your home. Whether it be through daily use or a major peril, a combination of these policies can extend your protection to cover nearly all circumstances. Both of these types of policies are designed to protect homeowners from the unexpected.

While it is always important for each homeowner to understand the specific limitations that these types of policies have, that does not lower the value and importance that these types of policies bring. If you do not have one or both of these types of protection policies for your home, consult your local agent to figure out a policy that works best for your home.

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Top Questions to Ask About Boat Insurance

Consumers buy insurance so that many would-be out of pocket expenses are covered when the worst events happen to their material possessions or loved ones. Boats are a costly investment that should be insured as much as your homes or automobiles. Whenever you buy any kind of insurance, it is wise to have a list of questions for the insurance company so that you can better understand the benefits and limits of your policy. These are the most important questions to keep in mind when you are looking to insure your aquatic vessel.

Do I Need Boat Insurance?

Unlike car insurance where every state requires at least some amount of liability insurance, few states require boat insurance of any kind. If insurance is going to be required, it is going to be other entities such as a bank if you are using their assistance for financing or marinas if you plan on using a moore or slip.

While few states require boat insurance, it is still always a good idea to purchase a policy that works for your lifestyle and finances. Similar to auto and home insurance policies, you purchase a boat insurance policy for the unfortunate, unplanned incidents that come with life. With the amount of money that boats often sell at, having a policy to protect that investment and other expenses that come along with any incident that could cause damage such as medical or liability fees make boat insurance a viable and almost necessary option.

Agreed Value or Cash Value?

This is the most important financial question to bring up with your insurance provider. The answer to this question will dictate how much money you will receive when you file a claim for the total loss of your boat. Under agreed value, the insurer will pay out the value that you and the insurer have previously agreed upon. Cash value, meanwhile, involves the insurance company calculating how much the boat is worth after depreciation and wear and tear overtime. Understanding the differences and which your policy uses is crucial.

What other kinds of coverage does my policy cover?

Liability, property, medical, and uninsured/underinsured coverages are important options to consider when choosing a policy. These coverages can help cover other costs not in your base policy. Figuring out which types of coverage are most compatible with your lifestyle will help you come out ahead financially.

Is Emergency Assistance Included?

Most boat insurance policies do not include emergency assistance, but it can be extremely helpful in a pinch. Emergency assistance for your boat can help you when you are stuck out on the water, and some policies extend to off the water assistance. Understanding if this is included can save you the headache when these types of situations arise.

What is my Coastline Average?

Many policies don’t include open-ocean coverage, so knowing how far off the coast your policy covers is an important fact to know. If your policy only covers 100 miles outside the American coast, staying within that boundary will ensure your policy applies and keep your finances stable.

Discounts?

In order to save money, this is always a good question to ask that you can only benefit from. Most insurance companies will offer a discount if you hold another type of policy with them, but these may not be the only discounts you are eligible for. Sometimes taking extra steps such as taking boat safety courses can have the insurance companies offer a lower rate.

Conclusion

Insurance is bought for when the worst happens. Boats are a costly investment, so it is always better to be prepared with an insurance policy tailored to your lifestyle. By asking these questions, you become a more informed consumer that is better able to make intelligent decisions attached to your policy.

Workers Compensation Case Study: Injury Sustained at a Work Function Away from Work

If an employee sustains an injury at a voluntary team building work function, can the employer be held responsible for workers compensation? The case study of Stephen Gordon examines this question.

Stephen Gordon worked for a sales organization that was holding an event at a local go-karting facility. The event was completely voluntary. Stephen suggested that the purpose of the event was to build rapport and boost morale amongst employees. It was intended to reward employees for their hard work and success.

During the event, Stephen Gordon and other employees participated in go-kart races that were incentivized by prizes awarded to the fastest times. During Stephen’s race, he lost control of the go-kart and collided with the railing, forcing him from his go-kart. Following the injury, Stephen felt okay and continued to participate in the rest of the event (though he could not finish the race).

In the following weeks Stephen visited the hospital multiple times and eventually had to undergo surgery to remove fluid from a punctured lung that was the result of a rib fracture. This injury required Stephen to miss time from work for which he was compensated.

Stephen later filed for workers compensation and was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ). Stephen argued that while the work event was not mandatory, there was some pressure to attend the event and to demonstrate your commitment to the team. He further argued that while racing was not mandated, it was encouraged and further incentivized by prizes.

The ALJ found that Stephen’s injuries arose during the course of his work day and further agreed that while the event was not mandatory, there was some pressure to attend the event and also to participate in activities at the event.

The employer appealed the case, however, the appealit judge upheld the original ruling and agreed that there was substantial evidence to support the finding that while the event was not mandatory, employees were encouraged to attend the event and incentivized to race at the event.

Ultimately the courts sided with Stephen and he was awarded a 15% disability. It’s important that businesses and employees recognize that the company can be held responsible for injuries sustained to employees while on the clock. It does not matter whether or not the employee is at a voluntary event or not. If the employee is being paid and a judge can rule that there was some pressure for the employee to attend the event, then the company will be held liable for any injuries sustained during that time.

Why Flood Insurance is Important

When it rains, it pours. Often times life can find ways to push us down when we least expect it. Because of this, we often have to take preventative measures in order to maintain control when events go awry. Flood insurance is one of those preventative measures that can keep you afloat when life sends its worst at you.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

Every home is vulnerable to flooding. Just an inch of water can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. Some are more susceptible than others, but no home is flood-proof. Nearly one fourth of the claims made to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) come from outside high-flood risk areas and receive a third of flood-related federal disaster assistance. Given this, everyone should consider purchasing flood insurance for their home, even if it is not required for their mortgage.

Cost

According to the NFIP, one foot of water could cause $27,150 of damage to a 1,000-square-foot home with the average claim being higher than $38,000. Without flood insurance, this cost crashing down all at once will greatly damage a family’s finances. With so many homes being susceptible to flooding, including those in moderate to low-risk zones, flood insurance is worth the investment.

The average annual cost of flood insurance is about $700. Policies for homeowners in moderate to low-risk areas usually cost less than $500 a year. This makes the decision of purchasing flood insurance a weighing of two costs. Given that the average claim for flood insurance is higher than $38,000, this covers over 50 years of the average flood insurance premium. With this put together, if you feel there is any risk at all of your home being flooded, flood insurance is a wise investment to make.

What does Flood Insurance Cover?

While every policy will vary with different coverages and premiums, the NFIP gives a strong standard of what the typical flood insurance policy looks like. If you would like a full list of what is covered under a typical flood insurance policy, refer to this NFIP fact sheet.

The items on this sheet refer to building and personal properties, among those being the electrical and plumbing systems, furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators, foundation walls, well water tanks, clothing, furniture, electronic equipment, portable appliances, clothes washers and dryers, and certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs.

Conclusion

In conclusion, flood insurance is a valuable safety net for nearly everyone. Your policy has the ability to save you thousands of dollars out of pocket and covers a wide assortment of items. If you do not have flood insurance, consider getting an estimate from the NFIP or a private insurance agency. It may just save you when life sends its worst.

10 Things to do Immediately Following an Accident

10 Things to do Immediately Following an Accident

There are millions of car accidents every year and while only 20% of car accidents lead to fatal injuries, there is still physical and financial risk involved if certain actions aren’t taken immediately following the car accident.

The following is a list of immediate actions to be taken should you find yourself in an accident:

 

  • Stop and Park your Vehicle if Possible.

 

You can be held legally and financially responsible should you flee the scene of an accident. So the very first action that you should take is to stop and park your vehicle.

 

  • Signal to Other Drivers that there’s been an Accident

 

If you keep flares handy, now is the time to use them. Setting up flares is the ideal way to signal to other drivers that there’s been an accident if it’s dark. If you don’t keep flares handy, you can signal to other drivers that you’ve been in an accident by turning on your hazards or, worst case scenario, by setting up a flashlight or two.

 

  • Call the Police

 

Regardless of whether or not there’s been any physical harm involved in the accident, it’s important to call the police. Most insurance companies will require a police report in order to allow you to file a damage claim.

 

  • Be Sure to Give an Accurate Report to the Police Officer

 

It’s imperative that you give the police accurate information in your report. It’s okay to say that you’re not sure if you can’t recall a specific piece of information. If you aren’t sure if you’ve been injured in an accident, then make sure to express that rather than saying no. You’ll also want to make sure that the other party involved in the accident is giving accurate information to police officers.

 

  • Take Photos

 

You want to document, for yourself, the scene of the accident. You’ll want to take pictures of damage to vehicles following the accident and you’ll also want to take pictures of any injuries that were sustained following the accident.

 

  • Exchange Pertinent Information

 

It’s important to obtain the information of all of the people involved in the accident including drivers as well as passengers. The information that you should look to obtain includes names, phone numbers and insurance information.

 

  • Notify your Insurance Company

 

Most insurance companies require you to report accidents immediately in order to submit a damage claim. If you were injured in the accident and you have medpay, you’ll need to send your medical bills to the insurance company.

 

  • Seek Medical Attention

 

Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s still important to see a doctor. Sometimes physical damages caused by an accident are not immediately apparent. These injuries could include head trauma that, if left untreated, can cause serious complications later on.

 

  • Organize all of your Records

 

You want to make sure that you keep all of the information and evidence that you’ve gathered organized in a specific file. You may need those documents for an insurance claim or for a legal dispute down the line.

 

  • Contact your Attorney

 

It’s important to notify your attorney that you’ve been in an accident so that your attorney can make you aware of your rights and help protect valuable evidence from being destroyed. Your attorney can also offer legal advice to protect you legally following an accident.

Should you find yourself in an accident you need to make sure that you follow each of these steps that I’ve outlined. Regardless of whether or not there were any injuries involved in the accident or whether or not there appears to be any physical damage to either vehicle, following these steps will protect you immediately and into the future.

The Benefits of Bundling Your Insurance Policies

Insurance helps us cover costs when negative unforeseen circumstances come up. To answer the question of whether or not you should bundle your insurance policies, the answer is almost always yes. With most insurance providers offering more than one type of insurance, there are benefits to bundling your insurance and buying it from a single company.

Price

Most large insurance agencies offer substantial discounts to those who bundle their insurance policies. While this varies on the specifics of your circumstances, this can be as large as 20% for home and auto and up to 25% for home, auto, and life insurance policies. This substantial discount keeps more money in your pocket.

As far as the economics are concerned, a client bundling their insurance is win-win for everyone involved. The client receives a discount on their premiums, allowing them to reallocate that money to other expenses or savings. The insurance agency wins because a bundled policy equals more total business and more confidence that their client is going to stay associated with them.

Convenience

The more policies you bundle, the fewer insurance companies and, often, fewer individual bills you have to deal with. This means that your insurance policies are easier to manage and consumes less of your valuable time. Should a hail storm damage both your car and your home, only dealing with one company for the same issues can save time and money. Only dealing with one company also grants you greater ability to familiarize yourself with that company. Customer satisfaction has been found to be higher with clients that choose to bundle their policies because of the increased convenience.

Downsides

While bundling is usually the way to go when buying insurance, there are some downsides. When you bundle insurance, you want to make sure that you are not losing individual aspects of coverage for the cheaper price. You should also compare buying your policies individually to the bundled price. While bundling is usually the more beneficial and cheaper option, it isn’t 100% of the time, so you should investigate what works best for your situation.

Conclusion

While the downsides of bundling insurance do exist, the benefits of saving and convenience usually far outweigh them. While one should always look for the best pricing for their desired coverage, bundling insurance policies is a great means to accomplish that goal.

When it comes time to renew your policy, look at the benefits of bundling your insurance policies with a company you currently associate with or a new company that better suits your needs. You may just find yourself saving valuable time and money.

11 Car Insurance Questions You Should Ask your Agent

Car insurance is important because it covers many of the large expenses that come up in the event of a car accident. Since 1988, it has been required by law that motorists be at least insured against their liability to other people. But sometimes not understanding your policy can lead to the unpleasant circumstance of more money coming out of your own pocket. These are some questions that will help you better understand your plan in order to save you money.

 

  • What does my insurance cover?

 

This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s often the one that often trips people up. Asking this will hopefully result in the agent giving you a brief run-down of what is covered by your insurance.

The insurance that you are required by law to have is minimum liability.  This varies from state to state and is another topic you can bring up with your agent.

 

  • What is my premium? What are the offered payment plans?

 

The premium is how much you pay to the insurance company. Your payment plan will dictate how often you pay them. These two go hand in hand in your budgeting for your insurance. Knowing how much you pay how often is essential for being a smart consumer.

 

  • What’s my deductible?

 

Your deductible is how much you have to pay in order for your insurance company to start paying out. Accidents happen, so knowing how much you need to shell out in a moment’s notice is good to know. Knowing your deductible can also be helpful in knowing when NOT to have insurance pay. If the cost is going to be under or equal to, you should just pay out of pocket. Even if it is just over, saving yourself the hassle of having to deal with the insurance company and your premiums going up could be worth the bit more out of pocket.

 

  • Do you offer discounts?

 

This almost seems like a silly question, but it is worth asking. Some companies offer things such as safe driver discounts. You may not know what discounts you qualify for. The potential to save your money is worth asking a simple question.

 

  • Does your state offer no-fault insurance?

 

Some states require it, some states give it as an option, and some just don’t have it. No fault insurance covers your own health and property damage rather than it being paid out by the other person regardless of whose fault the accident is. Some states like Florida rely on this type of system, so it is good to know if your state offers it.

 

  • Am I covered from uninsured or underinsured motorists?

 

Sometimes you get into a situation where the person that crashed into you is uninsured or lacks enough insurance. This option allows protection and could be valuable if the scenario happens to you. Without it, that money is coming out of your pocket.

 

  • Who is covered to drive my vehicle? Am I covered to drive someone else’s vehicle?

 

Depending on your state, only certain drivers may be covered to drive your car. Say you are teaching your 15-year-old son or daughter how to drive, you’d want that to fall under your coverage. It is also worth asking if insurance would step in if you wrecked a vehicle not under your name.

 

  • Do you offer accident forgiveness?

 

Typically if your policy has accident forgiveness, your driving record and premiums will not be affected by your first at fault accident. Getting into a car accident is already a huge inconvenience, so it’s nice that the possibility of it not affecting your rates exists.

 

  • Average time to process a claim?

 

As said in the previous question, accidents are already incredibly inconvenient. Knowing how long it typically takes for your insurance company to process your claim keeps you from getting frustrated while you wait.

 

  • Does insurance cover costs of a rental car? How long will they cover it?

 

In the event that you get into an accident, you’re still going to need a means of transportation. For many, this means acquiring a rental car. Knowing if your insurance covers the cost and for how long can be a great asset to keeping your money in your pocket.

 

  • Is roadside assistance included?

 

Having roadside assistance on your policy will grant you the opportunity to get a service professional to make minor repairs and adjustments in cases such as your car won’t start or you’ve blown out a tire. It can even be used in the dreadful circumstances you run out of fuel or need to be towed.