liability insuranceWhen discussing and rating homeowner insurance policies, personal liability coverage is often an afterthought. Insurance companies and insurance agents don’t always take the time to explain what it is and what it covers. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking personal liability coverage isn’t important. It most certainly is!

For starters, let’s look at the types of claims that are potentially covered by this part of the homeowner insurance policy: bodily injury claims and property damage liability claims. It is quite common to see personal injury coverage added to personal liability coverage via endorsement, as well. For the sake of discussion, we will include personal injury coverage with the other liability coverages we mention.

So, what exactly does this cover? [READ MORE]

RLI Personal Umbrella Policy

Did you know that owning a dog, driving a car or inviting guests in your home could make your the target of a lawsuit, even if you are not directly responsible for the cause. Unfortunately, we live in a society where lawsuits are becoming commonplace. Most of us are unprepared for the financial consequences. Watch this video on how to add an extra layer of liability protection that goes above the coverage limits already provided by your homeowners and auto policies to protect you and your personal assets.

The Benefits of Working with an Independent Agent

insurance agentHaving worked in the insurance industry for ten years, I have received many calls, e-mails, and texts from friends and family regarding their insurance needs. I am more than happy to assist where I can, but my conversations with them seem to always end with one question, “Do you have an independent agent?” Like many not in the insurance industry, insurance can be an unknown. It’s something that you know you need to have, but don’t fully understand how it works. It’s an intangible product that you pay for every year and hope to never use. Here are three reasons I believe working with an independent agent is the best option for purchasing insurance. {Read More…}

A Quick Bite: Dog Bite Statistics

dog bite claimDog ownership is very common in the United States, and a dog is more of a family member than a pet. Dogs also pose a great liability for homeowners and an increasing amount of claims are being seen related to injuries from dog bites.

Every year, about 9,500 U.S. citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries. Each day about 1,000 U.S. citizens require some form of emergency care related to dog bites ( Below are some statistics related to dog bites in the United States. {Read More…}

Home-Based Businesses: Are You Properly Insured?

home based businessAs a general rule of thumb, if you’re engaged in a business where you earn more than $2,000 per year, you should consider obtaining a commercial general liability policy or a business owners policy (which will provide property coverage for your business property in addition to covering your business liability exposures) but the actual nature of your business may dictate otherwise so be sure to discuss with your local independent insurance agent. {Read More…}

The Great Escape: Emergency Escape Plans

home fire escape planAccording to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), roughly seven people died each day in U.S. home fires in 2013. Having a fire escape plan is quintessential and the implementation of such a plan is critical to ensuring a safe evacuation in event of a fire emergency. Here are some helpful tips to follow for preparing your home and creating and implementing a plan.
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A True Tale About Water Backup of Sewers and Drains Coverage

water damageTake a moment to review your exposures with your independent insurance agent and allow him or her to offer you the proper coverages – such as water backup of sewers and drains – that are needed to protect your home.

Here is a story about a thunderstorm rolling through an area causing power outages along with water-related issues due to the amount of rain that fell in a short period of time. Can you guess what happened?
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The Hidden Costs of Cheap Insurance – What Are You Getting for Your Money?

cheap insuranceIt’s next to impossible to watch any type of TV programming without seeing a commercial advertising how you can save money on your insurance. So should you really purchase your insurance policy based upon the cheapest price?

Before I elaborate on this, allow me to ask you a different set of questions:

  • – Would you hire an attorney based solely upon who has the cheapest hourly rates?
  • – Would you hire a financial planner or investment advisor based solely upon their fees?

If you’re like most people, you probably answered these questions with a resounding “no.” Then why should making a decision on your insurance policy be any different? {Read More}

Man’s Best Friend or a Liability?

mans best friendI am an animal lover, but dogs are my personal favorite. They are great company and it’s in their nature to seek your approval and love. Dogs are said to be “man’s best friend”, but have you ever thought about how your insurance could be affected by the type of dog you decide to own?

An insurer has the right to non-renew or even refuse to write your homeowner’s policy based on the breed of dog you own. There are specific breeds of dogs that have a negative connotation due to their aggressive reputation. Breeds such as Pit-bulls and Rottweilers have been known to attack, resulting in extensive injuries or even fatalities. In turn, hefty insurance claims are filed and paid.

Before deciding on a dog breed, check with your insurance agency to see which dogs your carrier will agree to write. There may be a surcharge based on the breed. And while choosing an eligible breed means your insurance company will write your coverage, as a dog owner you are potentially at a higher risk for a liability claim as the majority of states impose some level of strict liability if your dog were to bite or attack another person. Strict liability means that dog owners are liable for injuries their dogs inflict regardless of whether the owner was at fault, negligent, or even had any prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities. However, there are exceptions to strict liability in some states for dogs that are provoked by the victim (i.e. purposefully goaded into attack). Strict liability laws may differ by state so be sure to consult with your independent agent.

So what can you do to protect you and your family from a potential liability claim?

  1. Always keep your dog leashed when walking—it doesn’t matter how well-behaved your dog is, when walking it’s important to leash your dog and keep them close to you at all times to avoid possible exposures.
  2. Never let a stranger pet your dog—Even if your dog is friendly and loves people, what if the person makes him feel threatened? Your dog may act aggressively towards them and inflict harm.
  3. Keep your dogs leashed or fenced when letting them outside—it’s okay to give them some freedom, but what if they see a squirrel or rabbit? Most dogs have an instinct to chase other animals. In the process, they could cause a car accident by darting across the road, run into someone causing them to fall, or cause other property damage.
  4. Treat and train them properly—as a dog owner, you have an implicit responsibility to treat your dog well and train them. Dogs that are treated poorly tend to act out towards others more often. A well-cared for and well-trained dog is more likely to listen and not cause harm.
  5. Purchase a Personal Umbrella Policy—in the event of a claim caused by the actions of your dog, the financial burden could exceed your policy limits depending on the extent of the injuries. An umbrella policy may cover you above and beyond the underlying limits of your primary homeowners policy and help protect you from a large out-of-pocket expense.

Avoid barking up the wrong tree when choosing a breed of dog! Talk to your independent agent today to ensure you have the proper coverage in place.