Vacation House Insurance Coverage

If you happen to have a part in a share in The Hamptons, renting a vacation house in Cape Cod or a log cabin in The Smoky Mountains, any possessions you take with you are protected while you are on vacation.

If you take a vacation and rent a house during your stay, any of your belongings that you brought with you are covered under a renters or Miami homeowners insurance policy.  Possessions have protection from losses caused by lightning, theft, windstorm, fire or smoke, vandalism, explosion, and water damage (not including water from a flood) anywhere on the planet, minus your deductible.  But, be aware that there are policies that may limit you to 10% of your total coverage for your possessions when you take any of your belongings off-premises (away from home).  For example, if the renters or home insurance policy for your primary residence has $100,000 of coverage for your possessions, you would only have $10,000 of coverage for anything you take with you to your rented vacation home.

On top of being protected while inside your rented home, you will also have protection should anybody steal something that was inside your vehicle.

You may want to purchase a floater (a.k.a. an endorsement), though, if you own items such as musical instruments, sports equipment and/or expensive jewelry.  Doing so would give you a greater amount of insurance and broader coverage.  Many floaters, for example, come with extra coverage for “mysterious disappearance” which means that you should be covered if you lose a covered possession.  On top of that, a floater will cover you throughout the year and not just while you are on vacation.

When looking for a renters or home insurance policy, you have two policy types to consider.  The first is a policy with Actual Cash Value, which will reimburse you the amount of your lost possessions up to your policy limit minus any depreciation.  The second is a policy with Replacement Cost, which will reimburse you the amount of your lost possessions up to your policy limit but there is no deduction for any depreciation.

Before heading out the door for your next vacation, there are some recommended steps to take:

1. Contact your insurance agent.  Ask them about any possible implications there may be when renting a home while on vacation and if you will need any supplemental insurance.  It is much better to ask questions when they come to you than after experiencing a loss.

2.  Create a list of belongings, including photos, to show what you will be taking with you on vacation.  If possible, include a copy of a receipt for any higher-value items such as cameras and computers to have proof of what they cost.

3.  Unless you plan to attend a formal event, it is better to leave your expensive jewelry at home or in a safe deposit box.  In fact, you could spend less when insuring jewelry with “in vault” coverage.  Assuming you only wear it for special occasions, a lot of insurers offer additional coverage when you take your items out of the bank.  Before you do, you are required to inform your insurer in advance.

If or when going on vacation there is always something that we will be taking with us and it may not always be possible or make sense to take any or all of those items with you when you leave the rented house.  Sometimes the best that we can do is to know what is covered and how much coverage we have while on vacation and to not take any more with you than what is necessary.

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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Basic Car Insurance Policy Coverage

Insurance.com recently conducted a survey that was completed by 500 drivers.  The survey was comprised of ten multiple-choice questions about coverages offered in car insurance policies.  Results showed that, on average, each respondent was only able to answer three questions correctly.

Based on the results it is highly likely that drivers are making mistakes when deciding how much coverage they want when purchasing an auto insurance policy.  Especially if they opt for policies online (which are increasing in popularity) as they may not be getting needed guidance from a miami auto insurance agent.

When they compared answers given by men and women, women answered 35% of the questions correctly while the men only answered 27% correctly.  Respondents that claimed to have read their entire policy got a score of 28% while those that say they have never read it had an average of 35%.  The lowest average score came from drivers claiming to have excellent car insurance while the highest average score of 39% came from 40+ drivers.

Two questions asked were ‘What does comprehensive coverage pay for? (check all that apply)’ and ‘What does collision coverage pay for (check all that apply)’?  Both questions had the same options to choose from for their answer:
a. Damage to my car if I crash it
b. Damage to my car if an object falls on it, like a tree
c. Damage to my car if I hit an animal, like a deer
d. Damage to my car from a flood
e. Property damage to others if I cause a crash
f. Injuries to passengers in my own car
g. Theft of my car

Only 2% answered the comprehensive coverage question correctly by answering with options b, c, d, and g.  On average, deductibles for comprehensive were $100 in 2003 and increased to an average of $126.40 in 2010, according to a study done by Mitchell International.  They have a theory that drivers may prefer to pay a little bit more for possible comprehensive claims than they would for claims filed for collision damage, which had a deductible increase of $100 to $110.25 from 2003 to 2010.

Speaking of collision damage, the question asking what does your policy pay for when it comes to collision damage, 23% answered correctly by choosing option a.  Even if there are drivers that have never been involved in an accident, nobody is immune… including our favorite celebrities, with some of them seeming to be almost accident prone.

A third question was ‘What are the typical discounts auto insurance companies will offer if you qualify? (check all that apply)’.  The options that they had to choose from were:
a. Low mileage
b. Using garage for vehicle
c. Anti-lock brakes
d. Anti-theft devices
e. “Good student” discount for a grade point average of 3.0 or higher
f.  Lane-departure warning system
g. “Mature driver” (over 55) defensive driving course

7% of the respondents answered correctly with options a, c, d, e, and g.  These are good discounts to have but there could be others.  Aside from these typical discounts, car insurance companies may have discounts you have never heard of and non-typical discounts might differ depending on your car insurance company.

A fourth question was ‘What factors can car insurance companies typically use when setting rates for full coverage? (check all that apply)’.  The options that they had to choose from were:
a. Your age
b. Your gender
c. Your address
d. The length of your daily commute
e. Your occupation
f.  Your credit history
g. Your past accidents
h. Tickets you have received
i.  The model of your car
j.  The year of your car
k. The color of your car

8% answered correctly with options a – j.  Like it or not, it seems that everything but the color of your car is taken into account when an auto insurance policy is being compiled.  On a happier note, with discounts based on car models, the 2013 Ford Edge SE was ranked by Insure.com as the cheapest vehicle to insure.  Other more affordable cars to insure are Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo, Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium, Kia Sportage, and Jeep Patriot Sport.

A fifth question was ‘What does uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pay for? (check all that apply)’.  The options given for this question were:
a. Claims you make even if you have been late paying your premium
b. Car damage to someone you hit who does not have insurance
c. Bodily injury to you and your passenger(s) if your car is hit by someone without insurance
d. Bodily injury to you and your passenger(s) if your car is hit by a hit-and-run driver

14% answered this question correctly with options c and d.  Some might want to choose option b but if the uninsured or underinsured driver is not found to be at fault for the accident, then the UM coverage does not apply.  When considering how much UM coverage to have make sure that you understand the use of that coverage.  Also, do not let the agent tell you how much coverage they think you should have as they could specify a number lower or higher than you may need.

The remaining five questions, their multiple-choice options, the answers (italicized), and the percentage of how many answered correctly are below.

6. What does auto liability insurance pay for? (check all that apply) – 26% answered correctly
a. Damage to my car if I crash it
b. Damage to my car if an object falls on it, like a tree
c. Damage to my car if I hit an animal, like a deer
d. Damage to my car from a flood
e. Property damage to others if I cause a crash
f.  Injuries to passengers in my own car
g. Theft of my car

7. What does Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments coverage pay for? (check all that apply) – 41% answered correctly
a. Damage to my car if I crash it
b. Damage to my car if an object falls on it, like a tree
c. Damage to my car if I hit an animal, like a deer
d. Damage to my car from a flood
e. Property damage to others if I cause a crash
f.  Injuries to passengers in my own car
g. Theft of my car

8. If your car is totaled, what does gap insurance pay for? (Select One) – 55% answered correctly
a. The difference between the “actual cash value” of the vehicle and the amount owed on a car loan
b. The difference between the “actual cash value” of the vehicle and the amount you paid for the car
c. The difference between the amount owed on a car loan and the amount you paid for the car

9. If a friend told you she has liability limits of 25/50/40, what does that mean? (Select One) – 69% answered correctly
a. $25,000 for damage to her own car, $50,000 for damage to someone else’s car, $40,000 for bodily injury payments
b. $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in an accident, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, $40,000 for property damage
c. $25,000 if someone else’s car is totaled, $50,000 if her car is totaled, $40,000 for injury payments
d. $25,000 for bodily injury to her own passengers, $50,000 for damage to her car, $40,000 for damage to someone else’s car

10. If a friend borrows your car and crashes it, whose insurance pays? (Select One) – 71% answered correctly
a. Your friend’s insurance
b. Your own insurance

It is unknown how many people opt for car insurance purely because it is illegal to drive without it and do not pay enough attention to what they are, or are not, actually covered for.  The more you know about your car insurance policy, the better off you are in your ability to make decisions regarding how much coverage you have.  If you have any questions about what was asked in the survey or about your own car insurance, feel free to 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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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.

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