Friday, August 2, 2013

Renting a House for the Summer? Rest Easy Knowing You Have the Right Coverage

The I.I.I. Provides Three Insurance Tips for Renting a Vacation Home

Whether you’re renting a share in The Hamptons, a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains or a cottage on Cape Cod, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) can help you understand how to protect your personal possessions while you are away.

If you are renting a vacation home during the summer, any personal possessions you take with you are covered under your homeowners or renters insurance policy. Belongings are protected against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods) anywhere in the world, minus your deductible. But keep in mind that some policies may limit the amount of off-premises coverage to 10 percent of the total coverage for personal possessions. For example, if you have $100,000 worth of personal possessions insurance for your primary residence, only $10,000 would be applicable to possessions you bring with you to your vacation home.

Your personal belongings are not only covered at your vacation rental, but also in the event they are stolen from your car.

If you have expensive jewelry, musical instruments or sports equipment, you may want to consider purchasing a floater (also known as an endorsement) to your home or renters policy. This provides a higher amount of insurance and broader coverage. Most floaters, for instance, include additional coverage for “mysterious disappearance,” meaning you are generally protected even if you lose the item. Having a floater or endorsement provides additional coverage not just while you are on vacation but also throughout the year.

When choosing your homeowners or renters insurance, there are two types of policies to consider. Actual Cash Value pays to replace your possessions up to the limit of your policy, minus a deduction for depreciation. Replacement Cost pays the current cost of replacing your belongings (regardless of depreciation), also up to the limit of your policy.

Before heading on vacation, the I.I.I. recommends taking the following steps:
  1. Contact your insurance professional. Ask about the insurance implications of renting a summer home and whether you may need supplemental insurance. If you have any questions, the time to ask is before you have a loss.
  2. Create a “vacation inventory”. The I.I.I.’s Know Your Stuff® ? Home Inventory tool can help you create an inventory conveniently and easily. Enter information and photos of belongings either through the app or through our free, Web-based software and your data will automatically synchronize between the two. And the secure online storage gives you access to your inventory anywhere, any time. Be sure to note specific high-value items such as a computer, camera or musical instrument and scan receipts into the system in order to document their retail value.
  3. Leave expensive jewelry at home. Unless you plan to attend a fancy event, it may make sense to leave expensive jewelry at home or store it in a safe deposit box. You may save money on the cost of insuring your jewelry as some companies offer “in vault” coverage. If you wear the jewelry for a special occasion, many insurers will offer the option of purchasing additional coverage for the time it is out of the bank. You do, of course, have to notify your insurer in advance.


 Strong  and Secure - Your Shield of Security.
JW Hoban & Associates

blogged by: jerry usher

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Common Questions, Honest Answers
The lowdown on your high-frequency insurance questions

I’m buying a car. Do I have coverage?

You’ll have automatic coverage for a newly acquired car if you already have a similar vehicle (in this case, a
car) on your policy, the same company insures all your other cars and the new car you buy is titled to the named insured on your existing policy. This applies whether the car you buy replaces an old car or is an additional vehicle. However, if you’re adding something different (for instance, a motorcycle when you only insure a car), that might not apply. The takeaway? Always ask your Agent about coverage before you make
a purchase.

My son lives with me and has a driver’s
license, but he never drives my car. Do I have
to add him to my auto insurance policy?

Technically, yes. Emergencies happen, and it’s hard to guarantee that he’ll never need to drive the car. To
keep you and your family protected, all licensed drivers in your household should have their own policy or be
added to yours. If you swear that Junior will never drive your car, your Agent or an underwriter may require you to specifically exclude your child from your auto policy. Always check with your Agent, as not all states
offer driver exclusion options.

My homeowners claim wasn’t covered when my roof
sprang a leak. Why?

Since policies differ too much to give a blanket answer, your Agent should always be the first person you
call about these kinds of matters. One thing that’s not covered: routine wear-and-tear. For example, if your
roof springs a leak simply because it’s old, you can’t expect your policy to kick in like it would for damage
caused by a peril like lightning. If you do file a valid claim, you’ll be glad to have Guaranteed Replacement Cost. This coverage guarantees that you’ll be able to rebuild your home after a major loss without worrying about depreciation, policy limits or construction costs. Some companies automatically include it as a part of many of its homeowners policies*—and you can purchase an affordable endorsement for the policies that don’t include it.

Does Companies offer a good student
driver discount?

The discount doesn't always go by that name, but many do offer the Youthful Driver Discount that can save eligible licensed drivers ages 20 and under up to 20 percent on their car insurance. Plus, drivers under age 21 who complete an accredited driver’s education course may also be eligible for discounts. Check with your Agent to see if your young driver qualifies.  For extra savings, consider a policy that has rate locks.  This policy endorsement freezes your auto premium year after year even if you file a claim. Your rate only changes when you add or remove a vehicle or a driver from your policy or change the location where your car is garaged.

Is there such a thing as a diminishing deductible?

Yes, some companies have a diminishing deductibles. As an example - for each consecutive policy year in which you don’t file a claim, your deductible will be reduced by $100, up to a maximum amount of $500. Eligibility varies by state, so check with your Agent to see if you qualify.

Can you send me a new insurance card?

We can—but it’s also good to know that most insurance companies these days give access to you so you can print out a card simply by logging onto your account on your insurance companies main website.  Often times, you can see your policies limits, and pay your bill online as well.

I turned 29 shortly after my policy went into
effect. Can you give me the adult rate?

Most companies offer drivers the lower adult rate at a certain age, say 29. Unfortunately, your policy is based on your age at the time the policy was written or renewed, so we can’t prorate it during the policy period. But know you’ll get the adult rate at your next renewal!


 Strong  and Secure - Your Shield of Security.
JW Hoban & Associates

blogged by: jerry usher

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Some Cycling Tips to Keep You and Your Loved Ones Safe

Are you an avid biker like me and my family is?  With the "warm" weather here (at least it's not snowing anymore, right?) we have began to think about all those outdoor activities that we love and biking came to mind.  There are millions of Americans who ride bikes and those numbers are increasing all the time. With more and more riders on the trails and roads, these tips for beginner cyclists will help you ride better and safer.

  1.  Protect your head. Head injuries are the cause of 60 percent of all cycling deaths in the U. S. every year. Many of these deaths could be avoided if everyone wore a helmet while cycling. Always wear a helmet when riding and make sure your kids do as well. 
  2. Get a proper bike fit. Having your bike set up to fit your body will make riding much easier, more efficient and cause you much less pain and soreness during and after the ride.
  3. Get the right saddle. Getting the right saddle will make a huge difference when riding. Don't think the thickest padding will give you the most comfortable ride. A longer seat with a cutout will generally be the best type of saddle. Read reviews online and find out what others like, then test ride a few.
  4. Don't ride with headphones on. It can be extremely dangerous if you don't hear an emergency vehicle or other commotions behind you or off to the side. If you have to have music, get a small clip-on radio with a speaker that you can attach to your jersey. 
  5. Keep your head up. Look out in front far enough ahead so you can react to any obstacles in the road or on the shoulder in front of you. Things like storm drain grates are very bad for skinny road bike tires. If you follow these tips you will have a better, safer and more enjoyable time on your bike.


If you are in the market for a bike or any bicycle equipment be sure to visit a great local business called Valley Cycles.  Dave would be happy to help you and can explain how to find the right ride in much more detail than we can.  Visit him at: or call 570.822.2056

 Strong  and Secure - Your Shield of Security.
JW Hoban & Associates

blogged by: jerry usher

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Let's Play Risk!

Risk is one of my favorite childhood games - although I was really never very good at it.  I often found most of  my pieces being easily captured and the few that I had left were not powerful enough to capture my enemy.  So you can say I was pretty much a 'loser' at this virtual game of war.

But when dealing with Insurance and the decisions of whether to purchase it, how much is needed or to bypass coverage altogether - it is important to think about this game of Risk.  Here are some ways to become a 'winner' at this very real game of insurance coverage.

One thing to keep in mind, whenever dealing with risk, is to never Risk more than you can afford to lose.  I know that is not the first time you have heard this saying.  I try to remember it while playing another favorite game of mine - Poker.  You should never bet more chips than you are comfortable losing.  Easy to comprehend, right?  Well, when making decisions about insurance - you need to keep the same frame of mind.
 If your house gets blown away in a tornado - would you be comfortable having to build a new one from your savings?  If the answer is yes - then don't purchase homeowners insurance.  If you don't have enough in savings and investments to build a new home, then homeowners insurance is a wonderful idea!

If your ten year old car is only worth $1000 and you have an accident, would you be financially alright to purchase a different vehicle?  This would be after your insurance company totals your vehicle, subtracts your $500 deductible and sends you a check in the mail for the remaining 500 bucks.  Keep in mind that your collusion premium might cost a couple hundred dollars just for the coverage.  Is the Risk of losing your car worth more than the annual premium you have to pay - probably not, so drop the collision.

How about Liability insurance?  This type of insurance offers a set limit to offset the amount a lawsuit may require you to pay because you were negligent in some way and caused a physical or mental loss to another.
Is the Risk of possible paying hundred of thousands better than a hundred or two for coverage with 1 million dollar limits?  I'm guessing here, it's probably not.

A pretty scary statistic out there is the average amount of liability insurance  U.S. consumers purchase with their auto coverage is $100,000.  But we all know with today's medical bills that $100,000 will not last very long when it's up against bills for x-rays, life flights, surgeries, scans, medications and intensive care units.  Once your limit is paid - you become financially responsible for the rest.  But the common consumer also does not know that by simply adjusting your deductibles to the next level can find enough savings in your premium to add the next level or two of liability insurance.  Seriously - I know it's hard to believe but it is true!

Talk to Your Agent today or better yet - give us a call or visit us online to find out more ways we can keep your insurance shield stronger than ever while relaxing the burden it takes onto your wallet!

 Strong  and Secure - Your Shield of Security.
JW Hoban & Associates

blogged by: jerry usher

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

An EASY Tip for Any Property Owner

     Managing your risk and purchasing insurance is difficult enough without having to make things more complicated - especially during those unexpected dramatic events that occur in life which lead us in having to use our insurance.

         For those of us that have a typical homeowners or business policy - following a major fire or theft, a common practice that the insurance companies ask is that the insured fill out an inventory form and list everything that was damaged or stolen.  In addition, they'll ask for you to turn in any receipts or canceled checks on those items.

          Now try to imagine the trauma of coming home from work one day to find the charred remains of your home and possessions or opening your business one morning only to find that someone had broken in the night before and have taken it upon themselves to steal your merchandise, computers, printers, and other property that you use to conduct your business.  OK, can you see yourself standing there in the midst of this tragic event?  Now, I'd like you to picture your agent telling you that the first thing you need to do is compile that list of EVERYTHING that was taken or destroyed.  Sound like a nightmare?? Well, it will be.

          Instead, wouldn't it have been easier create that list beforehand?  ( I know what you're thinking:  Jerry, when am I going to find the time to create this list?  And who really wants to spend countless hours on a Saturday night documenting all our cherished possessions??)

         I hear you loud and clear.  But in today's technological world - it doesn't have to be like that.  Staples would jump in here and say, "Use the EASY button!"  And here's how:

        Take your smart phone and use it to document your home or business digitally.  Take photos of each room and of all your personal business property.  Or easier yet, just use the video feature on your phone and walk around taping all of your stuff.  Next, either leave it on your phone for future use or upload it to your home computer.  A lot of Internet service providers now offer backup space - which is often included in their service for you - to save your personal documents and photos.  Here's a perfect place to store your video.  And if you have a great agent, bring in a copy to their office.

          I ask all my clients that have their homeowners, renters or business policies through me, to document their personal inventory using their smart phones.  This way, if the unexpected happens, I don't have to burden them any further by asking them to rack their brains after such a terrible tragedy and try to remember everything that they lost.  Instead, we just pull out those photos or video and start the documentation process from there.

          A great time to update these photos or video is upon your renewal.  If you happen to be my client, this is a tip that you can count on me to remind you to do each year.  It only takes a few minutes and saves additional headaches during the claim process - only the best service for our insureds and their families.

Fast.   Easy.    Building a Strong Shield of Security.

blogged by: jerry usher

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