In this crime, criminals maneuver innocent drivers into car accidents, then make large claims for damage and faked injuries.

The “accidents” impact them three ways.

  1. Victims can be injured, terrorized, or killed when the “accident” goes wrong.
  2. Their auto insurance rates rise, or their policy will not be renewed.
  3. Victims spend time and money on police reports, car repairs, and lawsuits.

These are three kinds of “accidents:”

* Swoop and Squat. He pulls in front of you, jams on the brakes, and you hit him from the rear.

* Drive Down. As you merge into traffic, he slows down and waves you forward. He rams your car and blames it on you.

* Sideswipe. At an intersection with a dual left-turn lane, he sideswipes you if you drift into the outer lane while turning.

* After the incident, a stranger tries to convince you to use a certain body shop, doctor, or lawyer.

You get overpriced work, poor treatment, and bad legal advice.

Some ways to protect yourself:

  1. Don’t tailgate. Avoid the “swoop and squat” by allowing stopping distance.
  2. Get the driver’s name, address, driver’s license, car license, and insurance information. Take photos of both cars and the passengers. Watch how the people from the other car behave. If they seem OK until police come, then complain about pain, something isn’t right.
  3. Get passenger names, and identification numbers. In a scam, others may say they were in his car and were injured.
  4. Call the police even if the damage is minor. Get a police report that describes damage and gives the police officer’s name.
  5. Only use medical, car repair, and legal professionals you trust.

For more information, visit the Web site insurancefraud.org/protect_your-self_set.html.

Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation!  As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision!  If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!

 

If you’re among the many couples planning to marry in the United States this year, the average cost of your special day may be close to $24,000, according to recent information compiled by research firm, The Wedding Report. Furthermore, around 20% of that cost may come in the form of non-refundable deposits for things such as the banquet hall, catering, music, flowers, and wedding attire. Considering this, wedding insurance has become a popular way to protect your investment.

Wedding insurance is a form of special event insurance designed to provide financial protection in the event that your nuptials must be cancelled due to circumstances beyond your control. Covered events may include the death or illness of a person essential to the event, a natural disaster or severe weather conditions that prevent the event from occurring, damage to the wedding attire, theft of wedding gifts, and failure on the part of suppliers to provide contracted services for the event. One thing that is not covered, however, is a change of heart.

Before purchasing this, or any other type of insurance, you should review your existing coverage to ensure your event is not insured through credit cards, warranties, or home, auto, or liability insurance policies. For example, a standard homeowners insurance policy may provide protection for wedding gifts, and liability insurance may provide protection for the reception hall. It is also important to understand the particular circumstances of the policy before purchasing, including the cost of coverage, any deductibles involved, the amount of reimbursement available, and specific exclusions to coverage.

Special event insurance is available for more than just weddings. Additional functions that can be insured under this type of coverage may include baby showers, graduations, anniversaries, festivals, conferences, and other one-time events. To learn more about wedding insurance or other special events coverage, give us a call.

Copyright © 2016 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PCNEPINS-AS

If you don’t live in an area considered to be at high risk for flooding, you may not be aware that your home could nonetheless be vulnerable. Almost one-quarter of flood insurance claims are filed by people living in areas with minimal flood risk, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Since almost any building in the country could be damaged in a flood, FEMA recommends that all homeowners prepare in advance for the possibility that flooding could hit their communities.

Flooding is not covered under homeowners insurance, but special flood insurance policies backed by the federal government can be purchased. Homeowners living in one of nearly 20,000 communities across the country that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are eligible to purchase insurance. These communities are offered flood coverage for their residents and businesses in exchange for enforcing floodplain management ordinances intended to minimize future flood damage. Flood insurance premiums vary according to risk and coverage levels, but they are generally affordable, especially for homeowners in low-risk areas.

To discourage people from living in areas frequently hit by hurricanes, the government does not allow homeowners in certain high-risk spots to purchase insurance through the NFIB. Instead, these homeowners must buy much more expensive private insurance to protect their residences in case of flooding. You can find out whether you are eligible for NFIB coverage by entering your information at www.floodsmart.gov.

It is essential to secure insurance coverage well before disaster strikes. Because the insurance does not take effect until 30 days after a policy is purchased, you cannot afford to wait until the water is lapping at your door to obtain the necessary protection. It is also wrong to assume the federal government will foot the bill for repairing your home in case of a flood. Federal assistance is only available if a disaster has been formally declared; and then the assistance offered may come in the form of a loan tacked on to your existing mortgage.

In addition to buying insurance, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage to your home if flooding should occur. Sump pumps with back-up power should be installed in the basement. If possible, ensure that the electric fuse box, as well as all electric outlets, light sockets, baseboard heaters and wiring, are all located at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation for your home. Furnaces, water heaters, and major appliances should be similarly placed. To prevent sewage from backing up and entering your home in a flood, have a plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve. If the risk of your home being flooded is high, you may want to consider sealing any openings around the base of the house, installing a drainage system, constructing floodwalls, or improving exterior walls. Move your most valuable items, especially important documents and family photographs, to the upper floors of the house.

It is also useful to prepare a plan that you and your family can put into action in the event that a flood alert is issued. Make a list of tasks for individual family members, such as collecting water for drinking in case the tap water becomes contaminated, moving furniture from the basement to the first or second floor, taking outdoor furniture and other items from the yard indoors, and shutting down electrical, gas, and water utilities before leaving the house.

Finally, practice a flood evacuation with your family, reminding them to stay safe by avoiding flowing water and downed power lines. Floods can be both dangerous and destructive, but even a small amount of preparation can go a long way toward protecting your family and your property even in major disasters.

Copyright © 2016 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PCFLINSD-AS

As a business owner, from time to time, you may enter into relationships with businesses, government agencies, other entities, or individuals. These relationships may expose you to risk, such as liability arising from another party’s negligence or faulty/hazardous products. “Hold harmless” agreements—provisions where one party assumes liability by indemnifying the first party—are a popular way to protect your company against potential liability; however, in many situations, it may be best if you are also covered as an additional insured by an insurance policy owned by that party.

For example, suppose you are doing business as Murray’s Contracting Company, a general contractor, and you enter into a contract with Homestead Development, a high-end building development company, to build 15 new homes. You hire J.J. Electrical Company, a subcontractor, to provide the necessary wiring and other electrical work for the project. To protect you from any claims that may arise from J.J. Electrical Co.’s negligence while working for you, you may want to require J.J. Electrical Co. to list you as the additional insured on its insurance policy.

Remember that your original contract is with Homestead Development. If negligent wiring by J.J. Electrical Co. results in a home fire, Homestead Development would most likely turn to you for compensation. You may possibly be protected from this claim if you are the additional insured under the policy of J.J. Electrical Co., the named insured.

Potential Concerns

As the additional insured under J.J. Electrical Co.’s insurance policy, you may want to be aware of the following four potential concerns:

1. Policy Cancellation. J.J. Electrical Co., or its insurance company, can cancel, adversely change, or refuse to renew the insurance policy at any time without notice to you as the additional insured. To ensure you are properly notified of these types of events, consider requesting an insurance certificate that provides a notice period—generally 30 days. If such notice will not be granted, it makes sense to request that a new certificate is presented periodically until the project or contract is complete.

2. Inadequate Liability Coverage. J.J. Electrical Co.’s liability limits may be insufficient to protect your exposure as the additional insured. Consider requesting limits that will help safeguard your interests. In addition, review your own insurance policy to ensure you have adequate liability coverage. Your status as an additional insured on another’s policy is an extra level of protection; it should not be considered a substitute for the protection you have arranged with your own insurance provider.

3. Excess Policy. An insurance company may deem your coverage as the additional insured under J.J. Electrical Co.’s policy to be in excess of the coverage under your own insurance policy. Thus, your insurance policy would be considered the primary policy for settling claims, and J.J. Electrical Co.’s policy would take effect only after your own policy limits have been exhausted. To limit your exposure, consider requesting an insurance certificate that specifically states J.J. Electrical Co.’s policy is primary with respect to your status as the additional insured.

4. Other Exclusions. Coverage for hazards, such as underground construction, landfill operations, or explosives, may be excluded from J.J. Electrical Co.’s policy and could therefore negate your coverage as the additional insured. To help ensure your interests are properly safeguarded, consider reviewing J.J. Electrical Co.’s policy for inclusion of this type of coverage.

Naming you or your business as the additional insured on another party’s insurance policy can help shield you from liability due to negligence or faulty products. However, it may not necessarily provide you with all the coverage you need. So, if you are listed as the additional insured on another party’s insurance policy, confer with an insurance professional to evaluate your risks and to familiarize yourself with how the policy will respond under various scenarios. Please contact our office with any questions you may have.

Copyright © 2016 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PCADD01-AS