You May Not Need These

board-413157_1920We will be the first to say that certain insurance may not always be best for your needs. We believe each client is unique and therefore requires unique insurance solutions.

Here are some examples of insurance products you most likely do not need to buy.

  • Universal life – Typically term life insurance is going to be a better fit for you. Term life costs less, and you can take the premium difference and invest it yourself.
  • Extended warranty plans – These are never a good idea. The warranty premiums are mostly commissions paid to the salesperson. Some credit card companies offer this protection if you make the purchase with their cards.
  • Pet Insurance – Pet insurance usually is very limited in coverage and very costly.
  • Collision insurance on older vehicles – If your vehicle has little or no value, it is better to pocket the premium and place it into a fund for future losses.
  • Insurance on outstanding credit card balances – This type of insurance can be costly, and there are a lot of loopholes to go through before any benefit is paid.
  • Mini Storage Insurance – As long as you have homeowner’s or renters insurance you don’t need to buy special insurance. Most policies have automatic coverage for property away from your primary premises. Call us for details and limitations.
  • Mortgage life insurance – This protects the bank, not you. If you were to die, the payout goes to the bank, not your family. You are better off buying term life insurance.
  • Flight Insurance – This is completely unnecessary, as airline accidents are rare and your life insurance policy should already provide the coverage in the event of a catastrophe.

Insurance is designed for the accidents and unexpected events in life that are too costly to pay on your own. Call us for more information.

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Stay Dry While Boating… Take A Boating Safety Course

luxury-yacht-2431471_1920Boating is a great adventure on any type of boat and is being enjoyed by many on a daily basis, but with that comes a great responsibility. It is not mandatory to do a boating course at this time, but there are some excellent reasons to get your self-informed about the rules of the road.

  • You will learn about safety equipment and what you are required to have on your boat before you undertake any boating excursion. This is very important because what you don’t have with you could make the difference between being able to handle a situation or not.
  • You will learn that driving a boat is vastly different from driving a car. You are dealing with air and water currents. If you have never docked a boat you may think that it is easy until that is, the current is pulling you in the opposite direction that you want to go.
  • Knowing how to work with lines and tying knots is part of boating. You have to be able to secure a boat properly. If your boat gets away, it is amazing how quickly the current will take it out of your reach, and you will probably require the assistance of another boater to help you get to it.
  • You will learn what the channel markers mean. We learned the hard way the first time we went out on a boat and ran aground outside the markers. We also had no clue what the red and green markers meant on the poles. This you also learn on the course.
  • There are speed limits on certain water ways, but unlike the roads, they may or may not be posted. Ignorance may not be enough to get you out of a ticket.
  • Using charts for coastal navigation can be a lifesaver. It’s your roadmap that helps you stay away from the shallows and shows where all the markers and bridges are, and by using measurements, you can calculate the distance and time it will take to get somewhere.
  • Just like on the roads, there is the right of way. On a boating course, you will learn who has the right of way and why.
  • Every boat should have a horn. You may hear one long toot or 2 short toot and so on, and you’ll learn what they mean.
  • There are boating regulations and laws that must be followed by all boaters, for example, (and I have seen this rule broken so many times) you are not allowed to sit on the bow of the boat with your feet hanging overboard.
  • Anchoring a boat is not just a matter of plopping it down to the sand. There is a mathematical technique applied to anchoring that has to do with the size and length of your boat. Knowing how to do this correctly will give you that extra insurance of knowing your boat is going nowhere until you want to move it.

 

What Is Ahead For Insurane?

fowey-268656_6402018 2017 was a year in which many entire communities were destroyed by storms and wildfires, 20 million or more people experienced an identity theft, and a number of women come forward describing their sexual harassment.

Here is a list of the top risk issues for 2017

  • Wildfires in California and Oregon – over $4 billion in damage
  • Storms in Texas, Florida, and the Northeast
  • Flooding in Texas, Oregon, and most of the Midwest
  • Identity theft and cyber breaches
  • An increase in sexual harassment claims
  • The continued evolution of driverless vehicles
  • The regulation of drones
  • Advances in home technology
  • Retention of key employees
  • The ability to attract quality workers
  • Terrorism
  • Random shootings

Over the next few months we will try to help you develop a clear plan on how to manage these risks. Please contact our office and we will be happy to help you identify what is important to you and then put together a plan to help you manage you risks most effetely.  Here are just two.

Identity Theft and Cyber Breaches

Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports.  This type of insurance will help you with certain kinds of expenses to aid you in restoring your credit. Cyber policies cover the liability arising from website media content as well as breach related property losses such as: (a) business interruption, (b) data loss/destruction, (c) computer fraud, (d) funds transfer loss, and (e) cyber extortion.  It can also provide notification and other services for a covered loss.

Harassment Claims

Your business must address this issue head on.  First, you need to secure employment practices liability insurance.  This insurance will offer defense and indemnification coverage should you be involved in an employment litigation.  Second, your business needs to have a clear anti-discrimination policy.  The policy should include reporting procedures and anti-whistleblower provisions.

 

 

Don’t Buy A Used Motorcycle Helmet

motor-bike-1847779_1920Don’t Buy A Used Motorcycle Helmet

A motorcycle helmet is one of those essentials that will help save your life should you have an accident while riding your bike. This will protect your head from a damaging and even potentially fatal head injury. Motorcycle helmets are so important that state lawmakers have even included a directive in the state laws that orders all people riding the motorcycle to wear helmets.

Some people though do not understand the importance of this accessory. In fact, some people do not even like wearing it because it is too heavy and too suffocating. Others find it a killjoy not to be able to feel the wind on their faces when riding a motorbike.

Motorcycle helmets are not really that expensive, but they are also not cheap. Some who are not that well-informed will probably save all their money for the motorcycle leaving a really small budget for safety gears like the helmet. Some even buy used helmets instead of new ones. This, however, is one practice that should not be encouraged.

Using used helmets is extremely dangerous and impractical. Used helmets are actually worthless, and what is more, you cannot really tell whether they are damaged or not. You won’t even be able to tell if they are relatively new ones or not. This is because the helmet is made from a hard outer shell that envelops a layer of expanded polystyrene. You will never be able to tell if the expanded polystyrene is already compressed or not unless you cut the outer shell. An already compressed polystyrene layer will not protect you from an accident.

Another thing that you should consider is the fact that polystyrene becomes brittle as it ages. This is the reason why old helmets should be exchanged for new ones in a couple of years as it may not be able to absorb much of the impact when an accident does happen. The polystyrene layer is also easily damaged by the sun and by chemicals such as gas vapors.

Motorbikers who always place their helmet near the gas tank will also unknowingly damage the lining of the helmet. It is also not a good idea to always let the helmet sit under the heat of the sun. If you can, try to park your motorbike in areas that are shaded. Pointed objects may also compromise the lifespan of the helmet by piercing through the polystyrene layer inside.

Equifax Breach Creates the Need for Identity Theft Insurance

bigstockOver 143 million Americans had their personal information exposed and stolen because of the recent Equifax breach.

The credit reporting industry exists to take raw numbers, run them through mysterious algorithms, and then spit out credit report cards and scores.   These scores become final, generally unappeasable judgments that dictate the interest rates that consumers pay on mortgages, car loans, and anything else that requires borrowing.1      Therefore, it is imperative to protect your personal identity and credit.    

There are different kinds of identity coverage that you may want to consider.  Your personal insurance may or may not cover some level of identity theft.  Call our office to get a free personal insurance review.  We can offer identity theft coverage.

Identify Theft Insurance – Identity theft insurance provides reimbursement to crime victims for the cost of restoring their identity and repairing credit reports.  This type of insurance will help you with certain kinds of expenses to aid you in restoring your credit.

There are other programs like Lifelock, which go beyond identity theft insurance and monitor your credit as well as actually do the legwork necessary to restore your credit.  These kinds of services are offered for a fee, and do some or all of the following.

  • Identity restoration
  • Monitoring services
  • Reimbursement for lost funds
  • Alerts if personal information has been breached
  • Child identity protection

Here are a few ways to reduce your chances of having your identity stolen.

  • Keep your computer software up-to-date.
  • Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
  • Use the latest security software.
  • Keep all important documents under lock and key.
  • Do not over-share your activity on social media.
  • Check your credit report annually.
  • Always take credit card or ATM receipts.
  • Never use your computer on an open network.
  • Reduce your junk email by opting out of offers you do not need.
  • Never open an email from a source you do not know.
  • Always destroy your paper mail before you place it in the garbage.
  • Never give your personal information to a phone solicitor.

Equifax set up www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, a website to help people determine whether they had been affected by the breach.

1 NYTimes; Ron Lieber- September 2017

Prom and Graduation Safety

msfree gradThis is the time of year when graduation parties and proms are in full swing. We congratulate all graduates on a job well done. High school is full of defining moments for Bay Area teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation. We want your celebration to be a happy and safe one, so here are a few tips.

Teen driving tips to keep prom and graduation safe

 However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:

Absolutely no alcohol

Always use seat belts

No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances

 Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

We Know And Understand Insurance

11604929_xlThe leading trends in insurance today

We live in a new age, and that means insurance professionals need to be prepared to meet the new demands of the insurance buyer.  Home and auto insurance buyers have changed the way they select insurance companies and their agents. One thing that has not changed is that everyone needs home and auto insurance, and business owners need commercial insurance.

We know and understand your needs

Here is what our clients are telling us they need from us in order to meet their changing needs.

  • We offer coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers.
  • Our home insurance products can be designed to include coverage if you rent your home to third parties, or if you own a vacation rental.
  • Our web page is constantly being updated to reflect the buying habits of all generations.
  • For the environmentally conscious buyers we offer insurance products that include premium discounts for homes that meet stringent efficiency and sustainability standards, discounts for using eco-friendly building materials, and even unique “pay as you go” auto policies so you only pay for the miles you drive.
  • Filing a claim has never been easier. Most of our insurers have online reporting, but we are always here to help manage your claim if needed.
  • We understand how the technology of a “connected home” works and the importance of proper homeowner’s coverage.
  • There is new technology that can be added to your vehicle that monitors your driving and provides discounts for safe drivers.
  • You want, and deserve, more choices and personalization concerning your insurance program. Our friendly team is always ready to serve you.