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R&R Insurance Blog

Insurance for Your Adult Children: College Years and Beyond

Posted by Ryan Nowicki

People silhouettes on sunset meadow having funIt’s no secret, the average age that adult children continue to rely on their parents for financial support has fluctuated greatly over the years. College has become astronomically expensive, apartments and cost of living are on the rise, and the burden of becoming financially independent forces many adult children to remain dependent on their parents well into their late 20’s and early 30’s. These complex living situations can expose coverage gaps with many personal insurance policies including Auto, Homeowners and Umbrella.

Personal Auto Policy

Exposure on the family’s Personal Auto Policy can be dependent on many factors; where the adult child lives, who a car is titled and registered to, and who is listed on the policy as a Driver, Named Insured, and Additional Named Insured.

On most traditional Personal Auto Policies, the definition of who has coverage includes "Family Members". Family members are typically limited to a “person related to you by blood, marriage or adoption who is a resident of your household”. When a specific vehicle is titled to and insured by the parents alone, but in possession of a child who is no longer a resident of the parents household, this can create a gap in coverage. If a vehicle is co-titled between the parent and child, or titled solely to the child, a gap in coverage can exist if the child isn’t properly listed as a Named Insured or Additional Insured on the parent’s policy. A gap in coverage can also exist if the child isn’t listed properly on a personal auto policy and is injured as a pedestrian or a passenger in another vehicle with inadequate insurance limits.

Homeowners Policy

Exposure on a family’s Homeowners policy can include the adult child’s personal contents and personal liability. Coverage can be dependent on where the adult child lives, their age, and their status as a part-time or full-time student. Contents can include clothing, furniture, electronics, sports equipment, and other personal belongings.

Most traditional Homeowners policies list the definition of an “insured” as “residents of your household who are your relative”, but typically extend coverage to addresses away from the primary home for “a student enrolled in school full-time, as defined by the individual school, and is under the age of…” Different companies have different age limits, but typically you can expect the limit to be somewhere between 24 and 29. This can present coverage gaps on personal contents and personal liability as many adult children are attending college and remaining dependent on their parents well into their 30’s. Part-time students living away from home can be exposed to the same coverage gaps. Additionally, most Homeowners policies have smaller defined limits for “personal contents away from the primary residence” creating a need for a separate Renters policy to adequately cover the adult child’s personal contents.

It is also becoming increasingly common for parents to provide a residence for their adult children, including renting them an apartment or purchasing them a home or condo. The parents may fund the purchase but the adult child is most typically the primary resident and coverage may not extend from the parents primary Homeowners policy. In many cases the adult child is the only name listed on the lease or deed which requires them to carry the primary insurance coverage.

Umbrella Policy

When coverage gaps exists on either Auto or Homeowners policies, these gaps can also translate to the family’s Umbrella policy on large losses creating a massive financial impact on both parents and the adult child. Even if the adult child currently has limited income or assets, courts have the ability to garnish future wages creating a long-lasting impact on the adult child’s financial future.

It is extremely important to understand coverage limitations and exclusions and discuss your unique family situations with a qualified Personal Insurance Consultant at R&R. We can explain coverage limitations, identify gaps, and present solutions to ensure that your all members of the family are properly protected. In many cases it is imperative that an adult child obtain their own Personal Auto Policy, Renters Policy, or Homeowners policy, and we can assist in finding the most affordable coverage to meet their needs.

Below are real-world examples of situations where coverage gaps may exist:

  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and they borrow a friend's vehicle to run to the store. On the way, they hit a pedestrian crossing the road. Your child was unaware that the friend had no insurance on the vehicle and has no liability coverage for the injuries to the pedestrian.
  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and rents a truck to move some furniture. They choose not to buy the insurance offered by the rental company. Again, there’s no coverage for property damage to the rented truck or bodily injury to others if there’s an accident.
  • Your adult child is not properly listed on a Personal Auto Policy and is hit by an uninsured motorist while crossing the street. There are no medical payments or uninsured motorist's coverage for their own injuries.
  • Your adult child is not properly covered on your Homeowners policy and has a fire at their rented apartment. There is no coverage for damage to their personal contents or liability for damage caused to other units in the building.
  • Your adult child is not properly covered on your Homeowners policy and badly injures another golfer on the golf course. Since they have no liability coverage, there is no coverage for injuries to the other party.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Cyber Insurance: Protecting your Personal Data

Posted by Ryan Nowicki

Shocked young business woman using laptop looking at computer screen blown away in stupor sitting outside corporate office. Human face expression, emotion, feeling, perception, body language, reaction-1As a homeowner, you are more connected than ever – your phone, computer, network, security system, even household appliances and equipment. These connections have enhanced our everyday lives, but they’ve also opened homeowners up to a wide new range of Cyber Attacks, Extortion, Fraud, and Data Breach. Adding Cyber Insurance to your Homeowners policy can help mitigate the risk created by the modern dependency on data.

Some of the most common types of Cyber Claims include:

  • Cyber Attacks – A targeted attack or unauthorized access or use of a computer or connected home device, including viruses and malware
  • Cyber Extortion – A demand for compensation based on a credible threat to disable, damage, or deny access to your devices, systems, or data, including an offer to restore functionality in exchange for payment
  • Fraud – Unauthorized use of personal information including credit cards, checks, or account numbers. This can include accepting counterfeit currency or falling victim to criminal deception.
  • Data Breach – The theft, loss, release, or publication of personally identifiable information in your care, custody, or control.

Cyber Insurance Endorsements can include the following coverages:

  • Identity Fraud Expense Reimbursement and Recovery Assistance
  • Data Recovery and System Restoration
  • Credit Card Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Crime
  • Cyber Extortion and Cyber Bullying
  • Breach Notification Costs
  • Cyber Protection Legal Expense and Damages Reimbursement

If you haven’t discussed your individual Cyber Risk, an experienced Personal Lines Insurance Consultant from R&R can explain the various coverage options and limits that are available to you. We can help design a plan to meet your individual needs.

 

4 Real-World Claims Examples

  1. Cyber Attack An insured opened a file in an email he received that contained a virus. The virus affected their computer, requiring the need to hire an expert to reformat the hard drive, reinstall the operating system, and restore data from a backup.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $1,200

  2. Cyber Extortion An insured received a ransom email on their computer after they noticed that all files were locked. The email demanded a payment of $2,000 to obtain the decryption key. If the insured failed to pay within three days, the price would go up to $3,000. After that, the decryption key would be destroyed and any chance of accessing the files would be lost forever. After consulting with an expert and approval by the insurance company, the insured decided to pay the ransom.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $1,500

  3. Fraud An insured received an email that appeared to be from a grandson, stating that he had been in a car accident and was in trouble. He was facing criminal charges and needed payment for a lawyer. 20 minutes later the insured received another email from someone identifying himself as his grandson’s lawyer, including an accident report and the costs to cover the damage. According to the email, the injured individual agreed to accept $5,000 to cover costs. The grandfather was told that the victim would sign a release as soon as that amount was wired and the insured’s grandson would walk away with a clean record. The money was sent as instructed. The next morning, the insured called his grandson and learned that none of this actually happened; he had been defrauded.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $4,500

  4. Data Breach An insured volunteers at her children’s school and one of her responsibilities is to keep the teachers aware of students’ birthdays and lunch account balances. The lunch account information contains credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information. She keeps track of all this information on a spreadsheet stored on her personal tablet. She does not secure the tablet with a password so the critical data is unencrypted. While on a field trip, she lost the tablet. After consulting with her lawyer, the insured learns that she must notify people that their personally identifiable information was compromised.
    Paid Loss after Deductible: $4,200

 

 

 

Topics: Personal Insurance

Delivery Drivers Insurance During COVID-19 Health Emergency

Posted by the knowledge brokers

deliver driver

Personal lines automobile policies do not typically provide coverage for vehicles used for commercial purposes, like food delivery. As a result, in the absence of any other action, many of the anticipated temporary food delivery drivers would be uninsured.

However, it would be impractical and untimely for these drivers to temporarily obtain coverage for this limited purpose. Therefore, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) orders that Insurers shall not deny a claim under a personal auto policy solely because the insured was engaged in delivering food on behalf of a restaurant impacted by the restaurant closure.

This order shall apply to all personal auto policies in effect on or after March 17, 2020, and shall apply to all claims that arise from an occurrence beginning on March 17, 2020. This order shall remain in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted, in whole or in part, to permit restaurants to resume normal operations.

This coverage is not required to be afforded to drivers who otherwise have coverage for deliveries through their personal policy or another policy. This coverage also does not apply to drivers working for a transportation network company or similar delivery company. This coverage is only afforded to delivery drivers who do not have such coverage and this coverage does not stack with any coverage that is currently afforded.

Hired and Non-owned Auto Coverage

It is common for restaurants who employ delivery drivers who use their own car to obtain hired and non-owned auto coverage for liability incurred by those drivers. This is often offered as a rider to a commercial general liability policy. Since many of the restaurants who may begin delivery services did not anticipate the need for this coverage, it is likely that their commercial general liability policy will not include a hired and non-owned auto coverage rider. OCI further believes that it would be impractical and untimely for these restaurants to shop for coverage that includes coverage for non-owned autos.

For these reasons, all insurers who provide commercial general liability coverage to a restaurant to notify their restaurant insureds that hired and non-owned auto coverage is available if requested. If the insured restaurant requests hired and non-owned auto coverage, the insurer shall, either through a rider or stand-alone policy, provide this coverage to any insured restaurant.

This order shall apply to all commercial general liability policies in effect on or after March 17, 2020. The coverage afforded shall be effective upon the date it is requested. Insurers who offer retroactive coverage may request that the insured certify that they have not incurred any potential claims in the period of retroactive coverage. This order shall remain in effect until the public health emergency order is lifted, in whole or in part, to permit restaurants to resume normal operations.

Have questions?  Talk to your agent or contact a KnowledgeBroker.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Most Common, and Preventable, Home Claim | Tree Damage

Posted by the knowledge brokers

Tree damage claim

 

One of the most common, and usually preventable claims, we see year round is tree damage to homes and cars.  Occasionally, poorly maintained trees can cause injury to people or pets. And lets not forget when a poorly maintained tree on your property falls onto your neighbors house ... it makes those neighborhood block parties a little “interesting”! 

These claims can be not only dangerous, but also costly.  Preventative tree care should be part of your overall home maintenance program. 

  1. Landscape care in the Fall
    • Prune unruly branches (leave the larger ones to the professionals!)
    • Inspect trees for dying limbs, insect damage, or signs of disease
    • Nourish trees with water and mulch
    • Plant new trees in the Fall
  2. Do not build new structures near or around a tree - it can damage tree roots and growth space
  3. Monitor and observe trees over time
    • Get a guide for identifying types of trees and potential disease 
    • Have an ISA-Certified arborist visit your property for an assessment on the health of your trees
  4. Choose the right trees for your property
    • How tall and wide will the tree become?
    • How fast will the tree grow?
    • Does it lose leaves in the winter?

In Fall, it is also important watch for leaves that fall on your driveway or street - wet leaves become a slip and/or driving hazard.

Enjoy the beauty that nature offers with a well landscaped yard.  It also keeps you, and your neighbors, safe!

Topics: Personal Insurance

Summer Boat Rental: What You Need to Know

Posted by Jenna Moehrke

iStock-951416356Have you thought about renting a boat on a hot summer day? Do you own a boat and want to make some extra money by renting it out? If the answer is “yes,” there are a few things you need to know first.

I recently came across a website for boat rentals where you can either rent a boat, or rent out your boat for a fee. Being an insurance agent, it had me thinking about coverage for these types of situations and I did some further investigating. My concerns were right—I found the statement from the boat rental company explaining that they do not offer any insurance coverage.

If you are renting a boat…

  • Each insurance company has its own restrictions on the type, size and horsepower of boats that they provide coverage to. Depending on the type and size of the boat, there may be no coverage at all from your insurance policy if something were to happen.
  • Check with your agent before renting the boat to make sure the boat fits within their guidelines

If you’re planning on renting out or chartering your boat for a fee…

  • Renting out a boat or chartering it for a fee is typically excluded from your homeowners or watercraft insurance policy.
  • You would need a special policy to cover the risk, because it’s considered a business exposure since you’re receiving compensation for it. Without one, there may be no coverage in an accident.
  • It’s best to talk with your agent before you decide to rent or charter it. They can help you get the type of policy you would need for this exposure.

More and more websites and apps are popping up every day for vacation home and boat rentals. They can be an inexpensive and fun way to spend your summer, but you want to make sure you’re not opening yourself up to a potential coverage gap. If you’re planning on providing any type of service or rental for a fee, make sure to contact your agent to get the right policy put in place.

Contact a KnowledgeBroker for more information!

Topics: Personal Insurance

A Review of Online Reviews

Posted by Tammy Cross

IiStock-1128818327 don’t know how many of you like online reviews—I know I do. A huge benefit of the internet is having so many businesses available to research and review with just the click of a mouse. Everything from contractors and restaurants, to vacation destinations and new cars. You name it…you can find it. Years ago, the only thing you could rely on was word of mouth or a good referral from a friend or relative. 

At R&R Insurance, we’re proud to say our best source of new business clients still comes from our customer referrals.  We can’t thank you enough for those, and want to you know that we take pride in assisting everyone that we work with.

Recently, we had prospective clients question why we would place them with a certain insurance company. (For those of you who don’t know, R&R Insurance is an independent agency. This means, unlike companies like State Farm, American Family, Allstate, etc., we represent many insurance companies. It’s not a one size fits all proposition.) The family was concerned that with the hundreds of reviews on this particular insurance company, not 100% of them were positive. I’ve always felt that negative reviews on an insurance company were a reflection on not only the insurance company, but the insurance agent and yes, the client. Let me explain why I say all three.

The insurance company should absolutely be at the top of the list here. Whatever scenario occurs (positive or negative), if a client feels compelled enough to tell the world about it, it’s important and should be addressed accordingly by the company. However, insurance by its very nature is a legal contract between the insured and the insurance company.  Not every claim that transpires, or every billing transaction that is processed can be guaranteed to go the way a client hopes.

Second, the insurance agent / agency needs to be held accountable as well. As an agent, they should be communicating to their insured on a very regular basis to minimize the possibility of surprises or unknowns. For example, we follow-up on all of our home & auto claims within 48 hours just to make sure things are going the way we think they should.  And if something is not covered, we try our best to be direct with our clients from the very beginning – explaining the situation, talking through possible outcomes, and providing solutions.

Lastly, are clients. While R&R and our carrier partners value being held to high standards, there are instances when clients have an expectation that is unfortunately unrealistic. And as many of us know from experience, accidents with our personal property can be incredibly emotional and cause a heightened sense of both positive and negative feelings. However, even in those cases, a great agency should be able to clearly explain what happened so their client feels more comfortable with the end result.

So, quite honestly online reviews are awesome!  And we live in world where they are readily available and should assist us in the decision making process.  But, if you do read an unfavorable review, please take a moment to consider if you have all the information needed to make the very best decision for you and your family.  And before you pull the trigger to make a change, make sure you are comfortable with the business you are working with. If you feel like the relationship is strong and they listen to your needs, then you will be off to a great start.  

Topics: Personal Insurance

10 Tips to Avoid Chimney Fires

Posted by the knowledge brokers

house on fireWhether we're ready for it or not, winter weather is upon us. And with colder temps comes an obvious increase in the use of fireplaces. For many of us, our fireplaces/chimneys haven't been touched in months. However, chimneys account for 75% of home heating fires - meaning homeowners should actively maintain and follow the necessary upkeep.

Property Casualty 360 provides the following tips to prevent chimney fires in your home.

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a professional, and more than that if creosote builds up on the chimney walls more rapidly.
  2. Consider installing a stainless steel liner that will withstand even the highest temperatures and will keep the embers contained.
  3. Watch out for soot buildup. Soot is softer than creosote, but is also flammable and should be cleaned up regularly. 
  4. Between the professional inspections / cleanings, be sure to check and monitor your wood-burning fireplace for signs of buildup or other problems.
  5. Clean the interior of your fireplace, including the floor, regularly. Sweep or vacuum up cold ashes.
  6. Your chimney has a cap on the top of it with open sides (usually covered in mesh to keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris out). Make sure this cap is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary.
  7. Check the interior of your fireplace for creosote buildup. It is flammable, therefore too much buildup is a fire hazard and should be cleaned away with a creosote remover as soon as possible. 
  8. Anytime there is smoke indoors from your fireplace, troubleshoot and immediately correct any problems you find. Possible causes are a dirty chimney, soot or creosote buildup, other debris, a sample that isn't open or fully opened, or wood not building completely.
  9. To improve your fireplace's efficiency, you should also consider installing heat-proof glass doors to protect against heat loss and a fan or blower to direct heat into the room.
  10. If possible, burn hardwoods like oak, maple, ash, and birch. These woods burn hot and long, are cleaner to handle, and have less pitched sap. They also tend to leave less creosote buildup but can be more expensive.

Looking for additional safety tips for your home? Contact a KnowledgeBroker at R&R Insurance.

Topics: Personal Insurance

Small Tips to Prevent Large Claims: Dryer Sheets for Winterizing Vehicles

Posted by Tammy Cross

Small Tips to Prevent Large Claims: Dryer Sheets for Winterizing Vehicles

iStock-541268154With Labor Day behind us and cooler temps in the future, it's time to think about storing those summer toys. From convertibles and boats, to motorcycles and jet-skis, unfortunately certain vehicles just aren't suited for Wisconsin winters. Below is a small tip for winterizing your car that can save you from a big claim next summer.

Believe it or not, dryer sheets and/or moth balls can prevent major rodent damage in your vacant vehicle. A garage will keep your car dry and relatively warm, but will also make your car attractive to rodents. By placing dryer sheets inside the vehicle and engine compartment, you'll combat any rodents that plan to chew their way through wires to make a new home.

REMINDER: It's important to make note of the dryer sheets prior to driving your vehicle! Hang a reminder on your rear-view mirror or on the dashboard so you don't forget!

Topics: Personal Insurance

College Students Need Insurance Too!

Posted by the knowledge brokers

iStock_000048840808_FullInsurance needs are often overlooked for college kids in the hustle and bustle of preparing for college. It's not uncommon for college kids to have thousands of dollars of electronic equipment and a closet bursting with clothes in the dorm rooms, as well as bicycles and instruments.

 

Students living on-campus:
Generally, this coverage is part of the parents’ existing policy and will cover up to 10% of the policy personal property limits for when a student is enrolled on a full-time basis.

Students living off-campus:

Generally, if a student maintains their parents’ address as their primary address and is enrolled as a full-time student, they will continue to be eligible for coverage under their parents’ policy. Students who have established their permanent primary address off-campus and no longer maintain their parent’s address as their primary address, and students who are enrolled only on a part-time basis, will need a separate renters policy to cover their personal belongings. Make sure that your student living off-campus is protected with this low-cost policy.

What about car insurance for the student who is away at college?
If your student is more than 100 miles away from home and does not take a car with them, you will get a discount on your car insurance rate because your vehicles are not being driven by your college student when the student is away at school.

Good Student Discounts:
Students who maintain a grade point average of a 3.0 / "B" or better will qualify with most companies for a "good student discount".

Wisconsin residents interested in a free insurance analysis for their personal insurance, please contact a knowledgebroker.

Topics: Personal Insurance, insurance for college students, renters insurance, collge kids, Students living off campus, student living on campus, college insurance, dorm room

Water Leaks: The Number One Loss When Going on Vacation

Posted by the knowledge brokers

house180% of Homeowners Overlook Costly Water Leak Exposure When Heading on Vacation

A study by Chubb Insurance shows that while on vacation, just 19% of homeowners view internal water leak damage as the most concerning threat to their home, despite the fact that water leaks are a more frequent risk than fire and theft. Homeowners are particularly vulnerable during summer travel season.

According to Chubb, "the time between when a leak occurs and when it is discovered is the single greatest factor in determining the amount of damage. As a result, leaks that occur while you're away result in greater amounts of damage in terms of both cost and severity."

Water damage claims have been rising over the last few years as well. In the last 10 years, the frequency of pipe bursts has nearly doubled. In addition to the increase in leaks, 90% of homeowners rate themselves as "vigilant" at preventative home maintenance, yet only 22% shut off the water main before heading out of town.

Before leaving on your next vacation, here are quick steps to properly protect your property:

  1. Be sure all appliances and hoses are in good working condition
  2. Inspect your sump pump 
  3. Have your gutters cleared of debris
  4. Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house
  5. Install a water leak detection device
  6. Add a yellow tag to your water main shut off valve in case of a water emergency. Click here to receive free tags from us!

To learn more about water leak damage and protecting your home, view the following infographic, "Don't Get Water Logged" or contact a KnowledgeBroker.

Topics: Personal Insurance, Personal Lines, water damage