Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage Caused By Potholes?

Does My Auto Insurance Cover Damage Caused By Potholes?

Auto Insurance
The good news is, yes, pothole damage is usually covered—providing you have collision coverage. Collision coverage, an optional portion of a standard auto insurance policy, covers damage to a car resulting from a collision with an object (e.g., a pothole, lamp post or guard rail), another car or as the result of flipping over. However, it does not cover wear and tear to a car or its tires due to bad road conditions.
Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible.
Collision insurance is different from comprehensive insurance, which is also an optional coverage. Comprehensive coverage reimburses drivers for theft, vandalism, flooding and damage from fallen objects, such as trees.
A driver who hits another car, or a pedestrian, due to a pothole also will be covered by liability insurance, which is required to drive legally in every U.S. state except New Hampshire. Liability coverage applies to injuries that you, the policyholder or designated driver, cause to someone else.
Facts and Figures
Most motorists carry collision coverage on their vehicles. Indeed, 71 percent of U.S. drivers had collision coverage as of 2011, the most recent year for which the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has data.
The NAIC found that 76 percent of all drivers had comprehensive coverage in 2011. Read More…

Saving Money on Insurance In 2014

       Insurance Savings

Saving Money on Insurance In 2014

Five Tips to Cut Your Insurance Costs, Without Being Dangerously Underinsured

Trimming ongoing expenses is a popular New Year’s resolution for many people. While there are smart ways to save on homeowners and auto insurance, making the wrong choices can result in being dangerously underinsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“There are simple steps you can take to cut the cost of your home and auto insurance while continuing to be financially protected against a catastrophe,” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
Following are five insurance mistakes that consumers should avoid, along with practical suggestions for ways to save money:
1. Insuring a home for its real estate value not rebuilding cost. The amount for which you can buy or sell a home can fluctuate for many reasons. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding your home, not the sale price. Make sure you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace all your belongings in the event of a disaster.
A better way to save on homeowners premiums: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your annual premium. And don’t forget to ask your insurer about all available discounts.
2. Selecting an insurance company by price alone. You want an insurance company that offers the type of policy and coverage that you are looking for; it should also be financially sound and provide excellent customer service.
A savvier way to pick an insurer: Ask friends and family for recommendations. Get the names of local agents and/or insurance companies that provided helpful information and a satisfactory claims filing experience.
3. Dropping flood insurance. Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Even though the cost of flood insurance is rising, don’t be tempted to drop this coverage. Ninety percent of all natural disasters involve some form of flooding. Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies.
A smarter way to lower flood insurance costs: Before purchasing a home check with the NFIP to see whether the house is located in a flood zone. If so, consider buying a home in a less risky area. If you already own a home and it is in a flood zone, you still have some options: increasing your deductible; and elevating the structure. There may be grants available to help you with the costs of elevation—to find out more, talk to your community officials. You may also want to talk to your community officials about joining or improving their status in the Community Rating System. This is a FEMA program that offers flood discounts to communities that adopt standards that are higher than those required to join the National Flood Insurance Program.
4. Purchasing only the legally required amount of liability for your vehicle. In today’s litigious society, buying only the minimum amount of liability means you are likely to pay more out-of-pocket if you are sued—and those costs may be steep. The insurance industry and consumer groups generally recommend a minimum of $100,000 of bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident.
A less risky way to cut auto insurance costs: Consider taking a defensive driver class that would offer a discount on insurance cost. You can also raise the deductible on comprehensive and collision coverage. If you are driving an older vehicle (worth less than $1,000) you may want to think about dropping one or both of these coverages.
5. Neglecting to buy renters insurance. The average renters insurance policy is less than $200 per year ($187 dollars a year) or about $22 per month. For the price of a couple of fancy coffees a week, you can insure the contents of your apartment, as well as get liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue. Lastly, renters insurance policies also provide coverage for additional living expenses—so if you can’t live in your home because of a fire or other disaster, you would get the money to live elsewhere temporarily.
A good way to cut the cost of renters insurance: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto and/or life insurance, will generally provide savings. Read More…

Tips for Surviving Severe Cold Weather

  

Tips for Surviving Severe Cold Weather

Much of the country periodically experiences severe and sustained cold weather, with snowfalls interspersed with periods of melting and freezing. This can inflict considerable damage on homes.

Here are some tips and steps you can take to keep your home safe and make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather. 

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
  • If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.
  • If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
  • Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.
  • If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.
  • If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.

A Worst-Case Scenario

  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
  • Make a list of the damaged articles.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Standard homeowners policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.

However, most policies do not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood damage, which can also happen in winter. To be covered for flooding, you need a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, while coverage for sewers and drains is generally offered as an endorsement to a standard homeowners insurance policy.

If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold can not survive without moisture.

Check with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers. Read More…