Archive for November 2020

What is a Declarations Page?

A Declarations Page is the portion of an insurance policy that lists your detailed information.  For instance, a Homeowners insurance policy declaration page will list your name, home address, policy number, the effective and expiration dates of your policy, the premium for the coverage you have acquired, and the limits of each coverage.

The following are terms that you may find on your Declarations Page:

  • Named Insured:  This is the individual or business that is identified as the insured party.
  • Additional Insured:  This is someone listed on your policy because certain coverages on the policy can be afforded to them.  For instance, if you lease a car, the leasing company may require to be listed as an additional insured.  The leasing company is still the owner of the car; therefore, they can be held accountable for damages caused by the car.  Being listed as an additional insured on your policy will trigger your policy to afford some coverage to the leasing company in the event they are subjected to a suit involving the car.
  • Endorsements: There can be situations where changes need to be made to the standard policy language.  Instead of rewriting the entire policy, the insurance company includes endorsements to the policy.  They are basically adjustments made to the insurance contract that can change the coverage or terms of the policy.  Your Declarations Page will list which endorsements apply to your policy.

To learn more about what is on a declarations page and to have any questions answered, give us a call at 305-270-2100.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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Rental Car Insurance In Miami

Making sure that a rental car is properly insured may not be an easy decision for some people.  It does not help that a lot of people arrive at the rental company before thinking about it.  Not being prepared can cause renters to get coverage they do not need or gaps in coverage.  Before renting, it is recommended that you speak with your car insurance agent and, if you pay with a credit card, your credit card company.

1. Your auto insurance agent

You need to know what coverage you have on any vehicles you own.  Many times, your coverage in your car insurance policy goes with you when you rent.  If you use the rental for business, though, that may not be the case.

If you have removed one or both of two coverages (comprehensive and collision) to help lower your auto insurance premium, then your car insurance policy will not be able to offer you any coverage if someone steals your rental or if it becomes involved in an accident.

You may also want to find out if your car insurance company helps you pay for towing charges, loss of use and/or administrative fees.  There are companies that have insurance riders available to their insureds to help them cover some of those expenses, and it can be cheaper than acquiring coverage via the rental company.  However, a lot of insurers do not cover diminished value, which happens after a vehicle is damaged in an accident and then repaired.

2. Your credit card company

Which bank you have your credit card with and/or your credit card company effect which insurance benefits are available to you.  Even your credit card level may be a factor.  A platinum level card may come with better insurance coverage than a card with a silver or gold level.

Typically, credit cards only provide coverage if a rented vehicle is lost or damaged.  There may not be any coverage available for possessions, other cars or items that belong to others.  The credit card may also lack coverage for any liability in the event that anybody gets hurt or dies.  It is possible that there could be some coverage for having your rental towed, but it is unlikely that you would have any coverage in regards to administrative fees or if the car has a diminished value.  Knowing what coverage you have through your credit card is important so that you do not accidentally assume you have more or less coverage than you actually do.

Credit cards have a toll-free number on the back that you can use to inquire about what you are covered for and how much coverage you have.  If you are thinking of depending on what you have through your credit card, it would be wise to request that they send you a printed copy of their coverage information.  Usually, any benefits available to you through your credit card would be secondary to your car insurance policy or any insurance you purchase from the rental company.

If you happen to have multiple credit cards, you could call each to find out which one offers you the best level of protection.

3. At the rental company

Insurance is regulated on a state level so your coverage and how much it costs may vary.  Renters, though, usually have the following coverages to choose from:

a. Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
Technically, this is not insurance.  It does, though, help “waive” all or some of the financial responsibility if the rental is stolen or becomes damaged.  In a lot of cases, there is coverage for “loss of use”, which is when the renter is charged by the rental company for time a damaged car cannot be used.  There also might be coverage for administrative fees and towing.

However, any waiver may be voided if speeding, driving on non-paved roads or drinking while driving led to an accident.  If your car insurance policy has coverage for comprehensive and collision, call your insurance agent to ensure you do not pay for something you already have.  LDWs tend to cost somewhere from $9 to $19 per day.

b. Liability Insurance
Rental companies are required by law to provide at least the minimum amount of insurance set by the state.  But, that amount tends to be low and provide little protection.  If your car insurance policy has a better level of protection, then you could go without.  The extra insurance may cost $7 to $14 per day.

What could be more cost-effective is an umbrella liability policy.  This coverage sits on top of your insurance for your car and/or home and provides extra protection, like when you have an accident in your car or in a rental.  This policy may cost $200 – $300 for one year of $1,000,000 of coverage.  Additional coverage is added in million dollar increments and could cost $50 to $100 for each additional million.

For anybody that does not own a car yet frequently rents vehicles could look into getting a non-owner liability policy.  It provides liability protection when renting a vehicle or when driving a borrowed car.

c. Personal Accident Insurance
In the event of an accident and injuries occur, this offers coverage to you and any passengers for medical bills and costs for an ambulance.  Per day this could cost about $1 – $5, but if you have good health insurance or you have personal injury protection through a personal car insurance policy, you may not need it.

d. Personal Effects Coverage
This comes into play if anything you own is stolen from the rental.  This may not be needed if you have off-premises theft coverage on a home insurance policy or a renters policy that would cover costs minus your deductible.  Otherwise, this coverage could be $1 to $4 per day.

If you are a frequent traveler and take expensive items with you, look into getting a personal articles floater under the insurance policy for your home.  This floater protects valuables while at home or while traveling anywhere in the world.

4. Other things to consider

Age matters.  States have age requirements and rental companies have their own age requirement which may differ from the state.  Some rental companies may also look into your driving and/or credit history so check with them before arriving to pick up the vehicle.

If you will be leaving the country, call your car insurance agent and a travel agent (if used) to see what you need to do if not already adequately insured.  For example, rising crime rates in Mexico are a concern for rental car companies and it might be difficult to rent a car to get there.  The minimum insurance requirement for Mexico is civil liability insurance in case you cause damage or become injured.  Our liability insurance is invalid in Mexico when it comes to bodily injury, although some policies may cover physical damage.  But, do put in a call to your Miami insurance agent to confirm what coverages do and do not go with you to Mexico.  Some towns near the border offer Mexican rental car insurance in case you want to be as protected as possible.

Note: If traveling abroad and want to rent a car, some countries may require an international driver’s license.

Vehicles are rented every day whether it be for business or personal use.  When it comes to being protected, not everything may be affordable but it is important to do what you can.  In most cases the majority of people that rent a vehicle may not have any accidents, cause any property damage or have their vehicle stolen but the future is always an unknown and it is better to have insurance coverage and not need it than to need insurance coverage and not have it.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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Top 10 Items Thieves Are Looking For

Adding collectibles, valuables and family heirlooms to your home insurance policy could be more important now than it has been in the past.  Don’t assume that just because you have an insurance policy on your home that everything is automatically and fully covered.  A typical policy may fall short of what you need to fully cover your high valued possessions so you need to make sure that your policy is such that should anything be stolen, your policy allows for you to get paid the full value of what was taken.  But, a homeowners’ policy does not cover flood damage (you need a separate flood policy) and most likely does not protect against earthquakes and accidental damage. It is important to know the top 10 items thieves are looking for.

Some people may not feel as if they are at risk of being robbed, but if you have ever watched movies or television shows depicting thieves as interested in only cars and cold hard cash then Hollywood either chooses to not reflect reality or they are unaware of the new trend.  Many of the FBI’s files are filled with cases of people having reported stolen items such as militaria, moon rocks and stolen art collections so its important that you know the top 10 items thieves are looking for.

Earlier this year in March, a Manhattan man had charges filed against him by the FBI.  He allegedly planned and executed the removal of historical documents from multiple museums and then sold them to make a profit.  Unfortunately, he is not alone in his efforts.  The FBI says that burglary has become a huge problem.  In fact, there was an estimated $4.6 billion in stolen property in 2010 alone.

Much of what is being taken are stolen collectibles.  From the burglaries that are reported, almost 74% occur on residential properties.  The top items they look for include jewelry, collectibles, electronics, antiques, rare items, and art.

The list of the top 10 thieves look for.

1. Antiques: These make the top of the list because they can be very hard to trace yet easy to turn around and sell.  And, some thieves will go to great lengths.  One thief stole an antique weather vane, worth over $10,000, from a couple’s roof and left a tin reproduction in its place.

2. Sports Cards: Cards from baseball and football collections are targeted very much like antiques.  Cards that are hardest to sell without attracting attention are very rare cards owned by active collectors that attend shows and/or regularly communicate with other collectors.

3. Coin Collections: These are relatively easy to steal and can be easy to sell.  Part of their appeal is the rise in the price of gold and silver.  But, some won’t know the value of what they stole.  A collection worth several thousand dollars was stolen (most of it eventually returned to the owner) but the thieves put the coins into a coin counter and only got $450.

4. Crystal and Glass: This would include items like stained glass items, crystal goblets and depression glass.

5. Die-cast Models: There is a big market for model cars and thieves have been taking notice.

6. Dolls, Stuffed Animals and Doll Houses: It may sound surprising but something like a collection of Barbie dolls could be at risk.  One victim, a collector of 5,000 Barbies, had a value of $1,000,000 in 1992 when the collection was taken.  They were lucky and their collection was returned but that was maybe due to the large number of Barbies.

7. Entertainment, Media, Movie, and Record Collections: In March of this year, CBS had posters stolen from them and their declared value was $450,000.

8. Figurines: These can be pretty as well as valuable.  One woman was sentenced to a full year in jail for having stolen Steuben Crystal glass figurines from a local residence.  The value of the items was more than $15,000.

9. Guns and Fishing Gear: Thieves will go after guns.  One example is a dealer of firearms that was on his way home after a gun show.  He had more than $200,000 of merchandise in his truck which was stolen from him while he was inside a restaurant.

10. Military Gear and Historic Collections: Anything that has historic significance can be at risk.  One case is the 1997 theft of the Civil War flag from the Indiana War Memorial Museum.  It took ten years but the flag was eventually returned.  A dealer in antiquities happened to visit a liquidation sale, saw the $50,000 flag and notified the FBI.

It’s likely that a burglar may still take your car and/or any readily available cash but please be aware that they could be looking for more than just that.  Please call us at 305-270-2100 and speak with one of our underwriters to find out your options for protecting your high valued possessions.  When it comes to your valuables, it’s never too soon to make sure that you’re protected from a potential loss.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

Check our Facebook page for home, auto, and business insurance in Miami, FloridaLike us on Facebook!

Reasons to Buy Car Insurance

Buying your first car is always a happy occasion. But if you thought that your job is done after buying the car, you are quite wrong. Immediately after buying a car, you must think of getting auto insurance. There are many reasons to buy car insurance. Car insurance is your car’s protection against any financial loss. It is an agreement between you and the insurance company that while you pay the premiums on time, they pay for all your losses, as mentioned in the policy.

Though getting car insurance should be on any car owner’s do-to-list, unfortunately not many find it important. If you are still wondering why your car needs to be insured, here are a few reasons to buy car insurance.

In case your car meets with an accident or it gets stolen, the car insurance coverage gives you all the money you need to repair or fix it.

If during an accident, you or any of the passengers gets injured, the insurance covers the medical costs for you. It must be remembered that medical costs tend to get very expensive.

Not only is an insurance a prudent financial decision, but it is also mandatory in several states.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

Check our Facebook page for home, auto, and business insurance in Miami, FloridaLike us on Facebook!

Renting Out Your Home: Issues

If you rent out your home for a few days or part of your home permanently, the majority of your Miami home insurance policy is most likely intact.  But what if you move out, keep the house and rent it out?  In that scenario it’s extremely likely you no longer have any liability coverage, but if the house burns down… is there still coverage?

When a homeowner uses a building on their property, other than the home, for business there is no direct property damage coverage yet the same is not true if the business is run out of the home.  There isn’t any liability coverage but there is coverage for direct property damage.  If that’s the case, then could the same thing be applied to renting out your home?

And what about those that temporarily rent their home while trying to sell it?  Certain losses, such as frozen/bursting pipes and glass breakage, may not be covered in homes considered vacant or unoccupied.

One example involves an agent concerned for an insured.  They had written an HO-3 (a type of homeowner’s) policy and later the insured moved but permanently rented out the house.  The agent was unsure if claims were covered under their policy and wondered what could have happened to the insured if this information had not been shared with him.

The answer is that there is no liability coverage.  Their policy only offers liability coverage for renting out your home occasionally (ex: once per year during the Daytona 500 weekend) and partial rentals, such as one room of your home.  But, when it came to direct property damage, the agent had doubts that there was any coverage for it for several reasons.
1. Perils Insured Against’s grant of coverage says “We cover risk of direct loss to property in Coverage A…”
2. The policy defined Coverage A as “We cover the dwelling on the ‘residence premises’…” [I added emphasis]
3. The policy’s Definitions section has “residence premises” defined as “The one family dwelling… where ‘you’ reside [added emphasis] and which is shown as the residence premises in the declarations…”  ‘You’ refers to the individual(s) listed as a named insured on the policy.
4. So, with the insured out of the house, the rented home isn’t a “residence premises” and the dwelling isn’t on a “residence premises” so coverage does not exist.

It is somewhat unknown if this is what the policy intends or if it is just the result of a literal reading of the policy.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the definition of the word “residence” includes “Personal presence at some place of abode with no present intention of definite and early removal and with purpose to remain for an undetermined period, not infrequently, but not necessarily combined with design to stay permanently. Residence implies something more than mere physical presence and something less than domicile”.

Where it says “no present intention of definite and early removal”, does that mean residence ends when you decide you want to move?  Of course not.  But, in this example, the home is no longer the domicile and, therefore, no longer the residence.

Black’s Law Dictionary also contains a definition for “reside” (the word the policy uses) which is “Live, dwell, abide, sojourn, stay, remain, lodge… to dwell permanently or continuously…”  Things are not so in this particular situation.

When it comes to cases brought to court, the decisions don’t all go the same way.  Some cases that made a decision based on a literal reading of the policy are: Bryan v. United States Fire Ins. Co. (Texas, 1970); Allstate Ins. Co. v. Goldwater (Michigan, 1987); Shepard v. Keystone (Maryland, 1990); and Georgia Farm Bureau Mutual Ins. Co. v. Kephart (Georgia, 1993).

The Georgia Farm case was interesting.  The wife was the named insured but there was a divorce and she moved out.  The divorce was finalized and the ex-husband continued to live in the dwelling.  But under the policy’s terms, “you” was no longer residing there because the man is no longer a resident spouse of his ex-wife who is the named insured.

On the flip side, cases that did not go by the literal reading but ruled that there was coverage are: O’Neil v. Buffalo Fire Ins. Co. (New York, 1849); German Ins. Co. v. Russell (Kansas, 1902); Reid v. Hardware Mutual Ins. Co. (South Carolina, 1969); and Farmers Ins. Co. v. Trutanick (Oregon, 1993).  In this second group of cases, it was decided that there was coverage because phrases like “where you reside” are more of a description instead of a continuing warranty of occupancy.

In the end, it would seem that this issue is not resolved and could go either way should something unforeseen happen to the dwelling or its inhabitants.  If somebody decides to move out of their home and rent it to another, the best move may be to switch the policy from a home insurance policy to a dwelling fire policy.

If you have any questions about switching policies or what coverage you may or may not have if you permanently rent out the dwelling listed on your homeowner’s policy, please give us a call at 305-270-2100.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers.  Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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