Insurance

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Understanding Liability Insurance

Liability insurance can protect you in the event of serious injury, property damage or other economic liability. Thus, understanding liability insurance is an important piece of your personal financial plan.

One of the most common types of liability insurance is bodily injury and property damage for your auto coverage. It provides payment to others when you are the driver at fault in an accident. Arizona has minimum levels of coverage of $15,000 bodily-injury liability per person, $30,000 per incident (two or more people) and $10,000 for property damage ($15k/$30k/$10k). If someone has a $50,000 medical claim and you only have the minimum $15,000 in bodily injury coverage, they may pursue you for the remaining costs. More typical levels of coverage are $100k/$300k/$100k.

Another common type of liability protection is a vital component of homeowner’s insurance. Coverage typically starts at $100,000; however, to protect your family’s assets, $300,000 or more is advisable. If a guest or contractor slips and falls on your property, medical bills and lost wages can quickly add up to more than $100,000. Do you have a dog, pool or trampoline? Claims from these risks are common for pain and suffering, as well as for medical bills.

An umbrella liability policy is less common, though strongly recommended. Also known as a personal liability policy, it complements your auto and homeowner’s insurance by extending liability coverage where the underlying policies end. A car accident resulting in severe injuries can quickly exceed $500,000 in medical bills, property damage and lost wages, not to mention claims for pain and suffering. Any amount not covered by your auto policy could cause an action to be brought against you and your family for your personal assets (bank accounts, cars, home equity, wages). With a $1 million umbrella liability policy, you would have more sufficient coverage. In addition, the insurance company would pay for an attorney to represent you and negotiate with the other party.

More generous umbrella policies may also cover claims such as false arrest, libel or slander (such as a negative online review). Premiums for umbrella policies typically range from $250 to $500 per year for an additional $500,000 in liability protection.

By |July 1st, 2018|Financial Planning, Insurance|

Merits of Wedding Insurance

merits of wedding insuranceHave you ever thought about the merits of wedding insurance? According to a survey by TheKnot.com the average cost for a U.S. wedding is now more than $35,000. That’s also about the average price paid for a new car, according to 2018 figures from Kelley Blue Book. And few would argue the merits of car insurance.

What if storms shut down a major airport, causing you to postpone the wedding? Or, what if that adorable ring-bearer drops the diamond-studded bands off the pier at your beach ceremony? Wedding insurance is a type of special event insurance (also called one-day insurance) that covers injuries and venue damages. It can also cover loss or damage of things like photos, attire, gifts and rings, as well as deposits in case of cancellation.

Before you buy insurance, check with your vendors to see what sort of coverage they have for their services and facilities. You wouldn’t want to pay for overlapping coverage if, for example, the reception hall has liability coverage for accidents. Ask for copies of any vendor policies, and then sit down with your insurance professional to determine where you may benefit from additional coverage.

By |May 7th, 2018|Current Affairs, Insurance|

Protecting Your Business From Liability

protecting your business from liabilityProtecting your business from liability is critical. If you or your business provides professional services or advice, professional liability insurance can help protect your assets if you are ever sued. It covers financial losses suffered by third parties as a result of errors and omissions in your services (it is also sometimes called E&O insurance).

Attorneys and physicians consider this type of protection a necessity; in fact, legal and medical malpractice insurance is required by law in many states. Other professionals who should explore and consider professional liability insurance include accountants, software developers, real estate agents and consultants.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are two types of professional liability policies: claims-made and occurrence. Most policies are claims-made, meaning that the policy must be in effect both when the event took place and when a lawsuit is filed for a claim to be paid. An occurrence policy is less common, but will cover any claim for an event that took place during the period of coverage, even if the suit is filed after the policy has lapsed (such as after you’ve retired or changed careers).

Policies will generally have a deductible ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. The amount of professional liability insurance you will need and how much it will cost depends upon the size of your business and the level of risk it poses. Coverage does not extend to losses caused by intentional or dishonest acts. Professional liability insurance also does not cover bodily injury or property damage claims (these are typically covered by commercial general liability policies).

Consult with your financial planner or inquire with your profession’s trade association about protecting your business from liability and to determine if you might need professional liability coverage.

By |September 6th, 2017|Insurance, Small Business|

Shopping for Auto Insurance

Mike Larriva, CFP shares personal insights on shopping for auto insuranceShopping for auto insurance is something I put off for years. I was happy with my existing company, and comparing new policies and rates was a hassle I just wouldn’t prioritize. My priorities changed recently, as my teen son is getting his driver’s license soon and I know teen drivers are expensive to insure. I had to bite the bullet and do some comparison shopping. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it is to get quotes now. Most companies were able to provide online quotes, which were emailed to make it easy to compare.

Most states require minimum coverage for bodily-injury and property-damage liability, to protect others when you are the driver at fault in an accident. But it’s wise to purchase more than the minimum required.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is especially important because it protects you if another driver with minimum or no insurance causes an accident and you incur costly injuries and repairs. This happened to me in 2000. I was involved in a rollover accident. Our SUV was totaled and the young man who hit me only had minimum coverage. My underinsured coverage protected us by helping pay for a replacement vehicle and medical expenses. A typical level for this type of coverage is $100,000 or more in benefits.

There are additional coverage options to consider, as well. Collision coverage helps pay for repairs to your vehicle when involved in a collision. Medical coverage helps with medical expenses that might not be covered by bodily-liability coverage. Comprehensive coverage is for repairs not caused by collision (such as theft, vandalism or hail damage).

As you are shopping for auto insurance, be sure to ask about any discounts that may be available. When I added my son to my policy, I learned many companies offer discounts for students who get good grades (B average) and who’ve taken defensive driving classes.

Consider comparing your auto insurance rates every few years. I did and made some changes that will help reduce costs for our family.

 

By |July 31st, 2017|Financial Planning, Insurance|