Some Common Questions From Our Clients
At CARLSON & CARLSON, INCORPORATED, we are dedicated to helping individuals and businesses protect their assets and minimize their exposure to risk. We will look at your current insurance coverage and make recommendations on the best possible protection moving forward. Please contact us today; we will provide you with the information and answers you need to make well-informed decisions.
Many factors other than cost should be considered when making any insurance related decisions. You should never purchase less protection than you actually need solely based on pricing.
You purchase a work of art today for $1,000 and insure it under your homeowners policy. Five years later, the artist passes away. You take the same piece of art to an appraiser and learn it is now worth $50,000. You immediately call your insurance broker and increase your coverage to reflect your assetís increased value.
Unfortunately, this happy ending is a relatively uncommon occurrence. Why? Itís hard to assess the value of art simply because it is a work of art. And, human nature being what it is, people forget or donít include Valuable Articles** coverage in their insurance policies. They donít get regular appraisals or properly document and itemize their fine art collections.
** Fine arts fall under the ďValuable ArticlesĒ coverage, often referred to as a Personal Articles Floater (PAF), Collections or Inland Marine, depending on the insurance carrierís definition. Valuables typically include jewelry, furs, silverware, fine arts, antiques, musical instruments or collectibles such as coins, stamps and wine.
In 2010, FEMA remapped the United States coastline, changing many flood zones and impacting millions of people. In insurance coverage, Ďfloodí has a specific definition based on such specifics as whether your home is located on a waterfront, is surrounded by water, the number of houses involved, and if there is rising water.
Donít wait until flood waters are rising or pipes have burst to find out the important distinctions and specifications regarding what your policy may, or may not, cover.
A typical General Liability policy does not include coverage for the rendering of your Professional Services. Professional Liability policies, sometimes referred to as Errors & Omissions, must be purchased separately. The primary role served by a Professional Liability policy is to cover damages that are not based upon bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury. The Professional Liability exposure addresses claims for economic damages that are a result of the improper rendering of professional services, errors in judgment or omissions.
Itís best to have clarity about interior and other owner responsibilities before you sign a condo or co-op contract or before any work or repairs are initiated. Read the association bylaws: they should specify responsibility or Ďownershipí of care, maintenance, repair and damage to the inside walls and other interior structural features.
Some agreements are unclear or are open to interpretation. If the answers are not clearly stated or understandable in your agreement, you may be held liable beyond your limits of insurance coverage. Be proactive, rather than reactive: it is important to discuss and confirm responsibility with your attorney before closing.
Excess Liability (and/or Umbrella Liability) insurance protects against those claims that exceed the limits of liability provided by the primary personal or business policies. It provides additional liability protection over and above your Automobile, Homeowners, Boat, Business and Workers Compensation policies.
Letís say you have an automobile policy with $300,000 of liability protection and you hit a pedestrian with your car. If the victim suffers from traumatic brain injury and is permanently disabled for life, is $300,000 enough coverage? Likely not. Itís possible that your wages may be attached to this claim for the rest of your life. Excess Liability is inexpensive and will help to protect your assets in the event of a suit.
Exposure is another relevant issue. If you are a policyholder with two young drivers included on your policy, if you own a vicious dog that bites a neighbor, or if you have a pool, your exposure is greater than someone without those special circumstances.
If you use your car for business, the vehicle itself is covered by your personal automotive insurance policy. However, if you use your car for business as many people commonly do, and an accident occurs, your business assets may be vulnerable.
This coverage gap can be alleviated by purchasing Hired and Non-Owned Automobile Liability Insurance for your business.
Jewelry is often covered under a basic homeowners policy, usually within common limits of $5,000, $2,000, or $1,000. But unique or highly sentimental pieces of jewelry, like works of art, collectibles and other valuable possessions, should be appraised and specifically covered if you want to receive their full value in the event of theft, fire or other loss.
Itís advisable to periodically get appraisals of engagement rings, heirloom jewelry, works of art, silver, collectibles and other high-value possessions. If you lose a refrigerator in a house fire, the make and model of your appliance serves as a benchmark standard value. But itís difficult to attach a specific monetary value to an engagement ring without an appraisal that refers to distinctive details such as the gemstones, carats, color, clarity and setting.
If someone else is injured or suffers damages as a result of your actions, you should always submit a claim.
However, if itís your own property or bodily injury in question, a range of variables and options must be assessed to determine the advisability of filing a claim. The first consideration is the amount of your policy deductible. From there, you must take several factors into account, including, but not limited to, the size of the claim, its closeness to the total amount allowed under your deductible, and whether youíve filed previous and/or frequent claims.
One key consideration is the possibility that filing the claim may result in increased rates or even policy cancellation, necessitating higher costs to purchase a new policy. Insurance is designed to protect you from large losses; itís important to weigh all options before making a decision.