The Ohio Insurance Blog

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Frozen Pipes

Posted on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 17:02 PM

Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this?

When Kathy turned on her bathroom faucet late at night, water just trickled out. She couldn’t figure it out, so she decided to wait until morning to call a plumber. Unfortunately, she awoke to a flooded living room, unaware that her pipes had frozen and burst. 

Or how about this?

Steve turned down his home’s thermostat to save money when he left for a winter trip. Little did he know that he’d return to find his wood floors covered in water. In his absence, water froze in a pipe on an exposed wall and burst causing significant damage.

Ohio Home Insurance Frozen PipeEach winter, we get calls from clients whose property was damaged due to burst pipes. Help yourself by learning what to do to prevent or deal with frozen pipes.

  • When winter temperatures hit, keep the thermostat at the same temperature both day and night, and never set it lower than 55 degrees.
  • Make sure water pipes exposed to cold areas are insulated. Pay close attention to lines that run along exposed walls or in basements, attics or garages. Call a plumber if you know of certain pipes that are prone to freezing.
  • If water is trickling as it comes out of a faucet in your home, it’s a sign there’s ice in the pipes. Leave the faucet running to help melt the ice, and keep cabinet doors near the pipes open to circulate warmer air. You can use a hair dryer or a carefully positioned electric space heater to help thaw the pipes. Do not use open-flame appliances or tools to heat the pipes. If those measures don’t work, call a plumber.
  • Keep your garage doors closed if any water lines run through the garage. If a pipe is exposed, allow water to drip from that faucet at critical times to prevent freezing.

So what happens if your pipes do freeze and subsequently burst?

Even the best laid plan can have unintended consequences, so if you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of water spraying all over your home, condo or apartment, here’s what you need to know:
  • Standard property insurance typically covers your property when it is damaged by ice, water, heavy snow, or burst water pipes. Know your deductible, and call us to find out if there are restrictions or exclusions.
  • Renters insurance will cover the possessions in your rented property, with limitations, but will not cover the structure (your landlord should have coverage for damage to the structure).
  • Know if your insurance covers replacement cost or actual cash value.
  • Understand that flood insurance is not usually part of a standard property insurance policy. 
  • If your home sustained damage, document your losses with video or photos, take reasonable steps to avoid further damage to your home and belongings, and call us immediately to file a claim. There are time restrictions on calling to report damage. Keep detailed records about handling your claim, including who you spoke to, the date and time of the call, and what was said.  A claims adjuster will be sent by the insurance company to inspect the damage. Call us, and we’ll help you through the process.

Hopefully, by following these guidelines, you’ll never find yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with a burst pipe in your home, condo or apartment.  If you have any questions about how your insurance would respond to these types of claims, please let us know.  We’re here to help.

Topics: Insurance for Burst Pipe, Frozen Pipes,, Home Insurance for Frozen Pipe

Insuring Your Home Office or Home Based Business

Posted on Fri, Jan 09, 2015 @ 17:01 PM

As technology continues to advance, it becomes increasingly more practical to operate a home based business.  We’re also seeing numerous businesses offering their employees the option to work remotely, at least part time.  Are you working from home on a routine basis, or even occasionally?  If you are, did you ever consider whether you have the right insurance protection?

If you’re like nearly everyone we’ve talked to, you’re relying on your homeowners insurance to protect your home office in the event of a claim.  Unfortunately, the standard homeowners insurance policy could be leaving you with major gaps in your coverage.

Ohio_Home_Office_Insurance

What Is Covered (it’s not much)?

  • Most homeowners policies provide a small amount of coverage for business property (think computer, printer, tablet, telephone, desk, etc.) while it’s in your home.  The standard amount of coverage is $2,500
  • Take that business property out of your home, and coverage drops to a mere $500

What’s Not Covered?

  • If you’re operating your home based business from a structure, such as a barn or garage, that’s not attached to your house, it’s very likely your homeowners policy does not provide any coverage for the detached structure
  • If you earn more than $2,000 per year from your home based business, chances are, your homeowners policy does not provide any liability coverage to protect your business… meaning you could be paying out of your own pocket if someone slips and falls while on your property
  • Violation of intellectual property laws, infringement of a copyright or trademark for anything on a website, and workers’ compensation are all examples of claims that would be excluded by the standard homeowners policy
  • Business Income and Extra Expenses aren’t covered by the standard homeowners policy:  would your business suffer a loss of income or incur additional expenses if you couldn’t operate out of your home as a result of a loss?  If your answer is yes, you would need Business Income and Extra Expense coverage

This list just scratches the surface on the number of exclusions found in the standard homeowners policy related to home based business, or those working remotely from their home.

If you have a home based business, your insurance needs are unique and complex.  Make sure you’re working with a professional, knowledgeable Insurance Advisor that can help you structure a comprehensive insurance plan to protect you personally, as well as your business.

Working remotely presents its own set of challenges.  What happens if a delivery person slips & falls at your home?  Your homeowners insurance company and your employers insurance company could both deny the claim… leaving you on your own.  This is why it’s so important to talk with your Insurance Advisor about your exposures when working remotely.

Schedule a Review for your home office - or - home based business

Topics: Insurance for Home Business, Homeowners Insurance for Home Business, Home Based Business Insurance

Business Owners: Don’t Forget to Insure for those Extra Expenses

Posted on Tue, Jan 06, 2015 @ 14:01 PM

No business wants to think about having a loss.  During a recent meeting with a client, I was asked the question “why should I even insure that property, I don’t care if I have a loss; in fact, I wouldn’t even rebuild if it were destroyed.” 

No doubt, the client was surprised when I responded by saying “if you’re not going to rebuild after a loss, then it’s a waste of money to insure that property.” Insurance consumers aren’t accustomed to us advising them NOT to purchase insurance in certain situations.

But, it's a fact, there’s no point purchasing insurance for anything – a house, a business, equipment, etc. – if you have no desire to replace the property if it’s damaged or destroyed.  However, for most of us, we do want to protect our assets – our house, business, equipment, etc. – so we want to know about our options for protecting all that’s important to us. 

Ohio Business Income InsuranceIn my opinion, one of the most important coverage options business owners should consider is business income and extra expense coverage. Think of this coverage as a pile of money your insurance company will hand you to help you continue operations after a loss occurs.  Maybe it’s used to cover payroll while your income is down.  Maybe it’s used to advertise your temporary location so that your customers know you’re not out of business.

Business Income and Extra Expense coverage, like most insurance options available, won’t be necessary for every business.

If your business suffers a major disaster that interrupts normal business operations, what effect will it have on your operations over the long term? Will you be able to retain customers? Will you lose valuable employees? Alternatively, does your business allow you the flexibility to operate from a different location with equipment that is easily acquired? The answers to these questions allow a business owner to determine whether business income coverage, extra expense insurance or a combination of both, are needed.

Businesses, especially those offering a service that can easily be replaced by another business, may face permanent loss of customers if business is interrupted for an extended period of time.

Businesses whose operations depend more on employees than on location may not have a serious threat of income loss, since they can continue operating from a temporary location preserving income flow. However, operating from a temporary location and expediting delivery of replacement supplies and equipment can add up to a considerable extra expense. Additional advertising may also be necessary to let people know you aren’t out of business.

In many cases, a business may need both business income coverage and extra expense coverage.

The promise of extra expense coverage is to pay the actual and necessary extra expenses needed to continue operations, which would not have been incurred if there had not been a direct physical loss to the business. The period of restoration begins on the date of loss and ends when the property should be repaired, if reasonable speed is applied while returning the property to its pre-loss condition.

Interference by building ordinance, zoning law or environmental protection law does not extend the period of time when extra expenses are payable. The period of restoration is based on the period of time during which repairs should be completed. The expiration of the policy has no bearing on this period of time.

As with nearly all insurance policies, the coverage options are highly customizable, which is why it’s critically important to review your exposure to loss with us.  Once we know how your business would respond after a loss, we can structure the policy to meet your specific needs.

Topics: Business Income, Insurance for Business Income, Business Income and Extra Expense

When Sharing a Ride Can Cost You

Posted on Tue, Dec 09, 2014 @ 18:12 PM

Ridesharing has come to Ohio: make sure you're prepared!
Public transportation has become personal in Ohio, with the recent arrival of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft in Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo.

Ridesharing allows vehicle owners to transport passengers in their own cars for a "donation."  Drivers sign up with a service that charges a fee to connect passengers with drivers via a website or smartphone app. Passengers arrange rides and pay with a credit card using the app.

Vehicle sharing lets car owners rent their vehicles to others when the owner is not using the vehicle.

Both are enticing prospects to those looking for extra money and flexible hours, but there are insurance implications that could cause potentially significant financial problems.

Ridesharing

Consumer Warning!

Ridesharing and vehicle sharing have potentially significant insurance implications for drivers unaware of the whole story.  Learn the facts and examine your car insurance coverage so you can decide whether you want to participate.  Here's the fine print:

  1. Risks to passengers
    Passengers should be aware of two issues.  First, rideshare drivers aren't currently subject to the regulations that taxi and livery services follow.  That means drivers aren't required to have city-regulated vehicle inspections or background checks, a public safety concern to many cities.

    Second, if a rideshare vehicle driver has no insurance, the passenger may be forced to hire an attorney and file a suit for injuries sustained because of the driver.  These suits can be costly, and there's no guarantee the settlement will be enforceable.  In addition, the passenger may need to file a claim under his or her own auto insurance policy's medical payments or uninsured motorists coverage.

  2. Drivers may not be covered
    Ridesharing and vehicle sharing services are not covered by traditional personal auto insurance policies.  Most policies have exclusions that apply when using a vehicle to transport people or property for a fee.  Some insurance companies have added an additional endorsement to clarify that someone using a vehicle for ridesharing or renting is also excluded from coverage.  Other insurance companies will simply refuse to renew your auto policy when they find out your car is involved in ridesharing.

    Ride share drivers need additional protection, so find out if your insurance company is willing to provide this coverage for you.

  3. The insurance provided by the rideshare service is not enough
    Some rideshare services offer supplemental liability insurance to their drivers for coverage while they are operating as a rideshare driver.  However, coverage is not provided for expenses incurred to repair damages to the vehicle.  It also fails to cover other expenses that can result from an accident, such as medical bills.  Ask the rideshare service for details about their insurance coverage.

  4. What can go wrong?
    A recent case illustrates that the stakes are high.  A six-year-old girl was killed in a collision with a rideshare car in San Francisco.  The driver said he was awaiting a fare at the time of the accident. Because the driver wasn't transporting a passenger when the accident occurred, the rideshare company said he wasn't covered by their policy - leaving the driver financially responsible.  The case is still in litigation, but it's estimated that damages could go as high as $20 million.

We can help

Ridesharing is a complex issue, and the story unfolds daily.  Call us to review your personal auto policy and even your rideshare service's policy.  We can help identify gaps in coverage and tell you what options your insurance company offers.

Topics: Car Insurance, Ridesharing, Ohio Ridesharing and Insurance, Ohio Ridesharing

Tony Fink Earns Prestigious CIC Designation

Posted on Fri, Oct 03, 2014 @ 09:10 AM

Tony Fink, CICOctober 3, 2014 – Hill & Hamilton Insurance is pleased to announce that Tony Fink, Account Executive with the agency, has successfully completed over 100 classroom hours of formal insurance training and passed the five rigorous exams necessary to earn his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.  This announcement was made by Dr. William T. Hold, President of the Society of CIC, who conferred the designation on Mr. Fink today.

The Certified Insurance Counselors Program has been the insurance industry’s premier, proven source for practical, real-world education since 1969.  It has been nationally recognized for its hands-on approach to learning, and is one of the most highly respected, professional education designation programs in the insurance industry.  Only those Insurance Advisors that are most dedicated to their clients, and their profession, embark on the challenging path to earning their CIC designation.

“We are thrilled that Tony made this commitment to his professional development, but even more excited about the benefit our clients will receive,” said Matt Simon, CIC, CPCU, Vice President of Hill & Hamilton.  “With the increased knowledge Tony acquired over his three year journey to earning his CIC designation, he is strongly positioned to bring unique solutions to our clients that help fulfill our mission of providing the advice and guidance our clients depend on to protect all that’s important to them.”

To maintain his CIC designation, a continuing annual update of insurance training is required.  With the update Tony receives each year, clients can be assured he is current in the insurance industry and best prepared to help them with their individual needs.

“Earning my CIC designation furthers the tradition at Hill & Hamilton of providing clients with critically important advice on their insurance policies to help protect them from a tragic financial loss,” said Fink.  “In today’s world, consumers are continuously bombarded with low-price offers on their insurance policies as if the only difference is the price.  Because of the intense CIC training, I’m better equipped to help our clients truly understand the numerous and potentially catastrophic differences in the various policies available.”

Education is the foundation for success at Hill & Hamilton Insurance, where Advisors are relentlessly committed to preventing catastrophic loss to innocent people who are sold a stripped down insurance policy because of cute advertising, or a low price.  As long-time insurance educator John Eubank, CPCU, ARM says, “The bitterness of no coverage is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has been forgotten.”  Tony’s continued education through the CIC program empowers him to help educate clients on their insurance protection, in an effort to avoid ‘the bitterness of no coverage.’

Topics: Tony Fink CIC, Tony Fink Certified Insurance Counselor, Anthony Fink CIC

How to Deal With an Insurance Claims Adjuster

Posted on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

Every day, people make claims on their insurance policies. For most of us, it's bound to happen at some point in our lives. And in many cases, it simply means completing and returning a claims form and maybe speaking to your insurance company. But quite often, especially with higher-value claims and incidents like storm damage, you may have to deal with an adjuster – an expert working on behalf of your insurance company who assesses the value and accuracy of your claim.

Ohio Insurance ClaimsThere are about 300,000 adjusters in the United States. They may be employed by the insurer or work for an independent adjusting company, and you may have to deal with more than one, even for a single claim.  Why you ask?  Because many adjusters are specialists for particular aspects of a claim.

Understandably, many people are quite suspicious of adjusters. They may be regarded as attempting to reduce the amount you receive for your claim. And while there certainly are a handful of unscrupulous adjusters looking to keep the amount you receive for your claim as low as possible, the real aim should be to arrive at a negotiated settlement that works fairly for both sides. You can help yourself and smooth the process of dealing with a claims adjuster by following these steps:

  • File your claim as promptly as possible, providing as much information as possible. When you call us to report your claim, ask for our advice if you have any questions regarding this process
  • Be honest about the nature of the incident and the value of lost or damaged property or other costs.
  • Prepare an inventory of affected items and don’t dispose of them (if you still have them). Gather any receipts or other evidence that establish the value of the items.
  • If you don’t have records, spend time writing down what you can remember.
  • Take photos of damaged items and get your own contractor or other repair/replacement information.  We always recommend you deal with someone you trust to be honest and up-front with you about your damage and the expected cost to repair or replace.
  • If you're seeking compensation for an injury, take time to consider the importance of consulting with a professional and obtaining their opinion.
  • Keep meticulous, written records of all dealings with adjusters, including phone calls. You can record conversations as long as you inform the adjuster that you're doing so.
  • Don’t accept any offer without carefully weighing your options and seeking expert advice if appropriate.

If you deal with a claims adjuster, you almost certainly won't get the chance to change your mind if you accept an offer. But, if you later discover further loss or damage that wasn't in your original claim, you can likely make a claim for that within the period specified in your policy.

Keep in mind, the advisors at Hill & Hamilton have over 100 years of combined insurance experience.  We’ve handled thousands of claims so if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with anything you’ve been told by your adjuster or your insurance company, calls us.  We can help guide you through the process to ensure your claim is settled fairly.

If Your Business is Destroyed, Will Your Income Continue?

Posted on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 @ 14:08 PM

No business wants to think about having a loss.  In fact, in a recent client meeting, I was asked the question “why should I even insure that property, I don’t care if I have a loss; in fact, I wouldn’t even rebuild if it were destroyed.”  No doubt, the client was surprised when I responded by saying “if you’re not going to rebuild after a loss, then it’s a waste of money to insure the property.”

The fact is, there’s no point purchasing insurance for anything – a house, a business, equipment, etc. – if you have no desire to replace the property if it’s damaged or destroyed.  But for most of us, we do want to protect our assets – our house, business, equipment, etc. – so we want to know about our options for protecting all that’s important to us.  In my opinion, one of the most important coverage options business owners should consider is business income and extra expense coverage.  But this coverage, like most insurance options available, won’t be necessary for every business. 

Ohio Business Income InsuranceIf your business suffers a major disaster that interrupts normal business operations, what effect will it have on your business over the long term? Will you be able to retain customers? Will you lose valuable employees? Alternatively, does your business allow you the flexibility to operate from a different location with equipment that is easily acquired? The answers to these questions allow a business owner to determine whether business income coverage, extra expense insurance or a combination of both, are needed.

Businesses, especially those offering a service that can easily be replaced by another business, may face permanent loss of customers if business is interrupted for an extended period of time.

Businesses whose operations depend more on employees than on location may not have a serious threat of income loss, since they can continue operating from a temporary location preserving income flow. However, operating from a temporary location and expediting delivery of replacement supplies and equipment can add up to a considerable extra expense. Additional advertising may also be necessary to let people know you aren’t out of business. In many cases, a business may need both business income coverage and extra expense coverage.

The promise of extra expense coverage is to pay the actual and necessary extra expenses needed to continue operations, which would not have been incurred if there had not been a direct physical loss to the business. The period of restoration begins on the date of loss and ends when the property should be repaired, if reasonable speed is applied while returning the property to its pre-loss condition. Interference by building ordinance, zoning law or environmental protection law does not extend the period of time when extra expenses are payable. The period of restoration is based on the period of time during which repairs should be completed. The expiration of the policy has no bearing on this period of time.

Like nearly all insurance options, business income and extra expense coverage is not a one-size-fits-all item.  A business must first determine whether they have an exposure and if so, what limit of coverage is appropriate to best protect the income for their business.  Make sure you’re having this conversation with your insurance advisor… assuming you want to protect the income your business earns.

Topics: Business Income, Extra Expense, Business Income & Extra Expense Insurance

4 Insurance Myths… Demystified

Posted on Thu, Jul 03, 2014 @ 13:07 PM

Think about this, how much time and effort do you spend researching different vehicles when you’re in the market for a new car?  If you’re like me, it’s probably quite a few hours over the course of several days or even weeks.  After all, a new car is a major decision and not just financially, but also from a safety perspective. Ohio Insurance Agency

Now consider how much time and attention you devote to reviewing your insurance protection.  It’s probably not a process that lasts for weeks… or days… or if we’re being honest, it might not even take a few hours of your time, right?  It’s scary when you think about how much time we spend considering all the various options on a vehicle we’re looking to purchase, but we don’t even spend a fraction of that amount of time to ensure we’re protected from a financial catastrophe such as a lawsuit.

Why, you ask?  There are numerous reasons we’ve heard over the years, but in my opinion, it’s because insurance is just plain confusing.  The fact is, insurance policies are legal contracts.  They’re drafted by teams of lawyers and are often left to the lawyers to interpret when a questionable claim occurs.  So who wants to dive head first into this world of technical, legal language?  Answer:  WE DO!  Because we care, deeply, about our clients and protecting all that’s important to them.

In addition to helping clients understand why certain policies and coverage options might be vitally important to their family, we also want to help clients understand the "why" behind our recommendations.  To that end, we’ve identified four of the most common insurance myths:

Myth #1: All insurance policies and companies are basically the same.

Truth: While many insurance policies contain similar coverages, each company provides unique coverages and limitations.  Policies that look alike can be changed by a single exclusion or endorsement.

Insurance companies also vary in the financial strength that backs your policy, which is a rating on their ability to meet their obligations – essentially, it represents their ability to pay claims for which they’ve promised in their contract.  This is precisely why you need to look for an insurance company that is financially strong.

Myth #2: No one cares if I understand my insurance or if I get value from it.

Don’t feel forced to choose large, impersonal or unresponsive companies simply because they are spending billions (yes, I said billions) on their advertising campaigns.  Independent insurance agents make a living by knowing which companies act responsibly and which policies are best for your needs. 

Being an independent agency, we feel that each client is unique, and has individual needs and desires.  We believe it’s our responsibility to structure a policy that meets your specific needs and desires, versus requiring you to accept the limitations of the standard policy offered by a huge, heavily advertised national insurance company.

Ohio Insurance AgencyMyth #3: I’m just going to have to jump through hoops and fight when I have a claim.

The State Department of Insurance can tell you which companies have the fewest complaints, and which companies resolve those complaints effectively.  Some companies specialize in excellent claim service.  They might not be the companies you see constantly advertising because they’re more focused on providing this excellent claim service to their policyholders.  Again, another reason to work with an independent agent because we can help you choose the company that offers the right mix of a fair premium, quality products and excellent claim service.

Myth #4: I have no control over my premiums.

In today’s insurance world, nearly all companies have hundreds of factors used to determine the premium you pay.  Some of these factors you can control (deductible, packaging your policies, eliminating duplicate coverage), some you can’t (your age, gender, the number of claims in your geographic area).

When you work with an independent agent, we can help you pinpoint these areas where you have control and advise you on how minor changes to your policies or even your lifestyle can help you better control your insurance costs.

Hopefully dispelling these common myths will help you with your future insurance decisions.  The licensed advisors at Hill & Hamilton stand ready to help you with these important decisions to protect yourself, your family and your business.

Topics: Insurance Myths, Insurance Claims Questions, Insurance Company Financial Strength

YOU Are in a Flood Zone!

Posted on Fri, Mar 07, 2014 @ 10:03 AM

Ohio Flood InsuranceDo you think a flood could never happen to you?  Are you saying to yourself “I don’t live in a flood zone”?  Guess what?  Everyone lives in a flood zone.  It’s just a question of whether you live in a low-risk area or a high-risk area.  And consider this:  while flood insurance is required for those living in a high-risk area, people outside of high-risk areas file over 20% of flood claims.

Here are the most common myths we hear when discussing flood insurance with our clients:

I already have homeowners insurance so I’m covered.
Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by a flood.  However, it does cover fires.  Now consider this, in a high-risk area, your home is more than twice as likely to be damaged by a flood as by a fire.

Why pay for flood insurance when disaster assistance is offered after a flood?
Not necessarily the case.  Disaster assistance is available only when the president declares a disaster, and even then, disaster assistance is usually a loan that you repaywith interest!  For a $50,000 loan at 4% interest, your payment would be around $2,880 per year for 30 years, IN ADDITION to your mortgage loan that you still owe on the damaged property.  PLUS, you would need to buy and maintain flood insurance for the life of the loan.

I live on a hill so I’m not at risk.
If you live on a hill or in an area that has never been flooded, your risk may be significantly reduced, but it’s not eliminated.  Aside from major storms, flooding can be caused by heavy rains, melting snow, and inadequate or clogged drainage systems.

Ohio Flood InsuranceFlood insurance is too expensive.
The average flood insurance premium is about $600 per year – $50 a month.  If you live in a low-risk area, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy with a premium starting at $129 per year.  Considering that even a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage, the annual premium can be well worth the financial protection it provides.

 

In fact, the greatest expense could very well be not having flood insurance when you need it.

 

My area has never flooded so I’m sure a flood won’t affect me.
The fact that a flood has not occurred recently doesn’t mean one has not happened in the past or that one will not happen in the future.  Flood history is just one element used in determining flood risk.  Other factors include rainfall data, topography, wind velocity and building development in your area.

Flood insurance does not cover contents in my basement.
Contrary to what many believe, flood insurance does provide limited basement coverage.  Though it does not cover finished walls, floors or ceilings, or personal belongings, it does cover structural elements, essential equipment and other basic items normally located in basements.  Imagine the costs associated with replacing the items listed below:

  • Furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners and heat pumps
  • Electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes and required utility connections
  • Unpainted drywalls and drywall ceilings, including fiberglass insulation
  • Foundation elements and structural support equipment
  • Sump pumps
  • Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns, and the water in them
  • Oil tanks and the oil in them, and natural gas tanks and the gas in them
  • Pumps and tanks used in conjunction with solar energy
  • Stairways and staircases
  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Freezers & food contained in them

Adding flood insurance to your protection portfolio is simple, just give us a call or submit your information here.  It’s important to remember though, flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period from the time you apply and pay for your policy so if you’re thinking of waiting until the storm is approaching to buy your policy, it’s likely too late!  Don’t wait until after the storm warnings to buy flood insurance.

Source: NFIP

Topics: Flood Insurance, Ohio Flood Insurance, What Flood Insurance Covers

If You Can’t Prevent Identity Theft, Protect Yourself with Insurance

Posted on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 @ 09:01 AM

Consulting firm Javelin Strategies and Research reports more than 11 million people are affected by identity theft each year, at a cost of $54 billion to the victims. In trying to deal with this threat, the insurance industry has developed products to help a policyholder recover from this kind of loss.

The monetary loss is not the only issue with identity theft. A victim can spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to clean up credit records due to the thief using personal information to obtain credit with no intention of repayment, thus destroying the victim’s financial reputation. Identity theft insurance protection is designed to help you with this problem by covering expenses and sometimes professional services that will help the victim recover from this type of loss.

Even with coverage provided, following simple steps can help protect you from this threat:

Ohio Identity Theft InsuranceShredding documents. Anything that contains sensitive information absolutely must be destroyed. There are specific documents that must always find their way to the shredder.

  • Old Tax Returns. Unless the IRS suspects you of fraud in your tax filings, you are usually only exposed to the threat of an audit for three years at a time. The National Endowment for Financial Education advises you to keep three to four years of tax returns, and shred anything older. Your tax return contains sensitive information, primarily social security numbers.
  • Bank Statements. Anything with bank account numbers should be shredded, including paper bank statements.
  • Credit Card Offers. These offers should go from the mailbox directly to the shredder, unless you are actually going to take the bank up on its offer. A lot of identity theft happens within families, so don’t leave these offers laying around.
  • Old Photo IDs. These IDs contain information, which by itself is probably not enough to be damaging, but used with other information could help perpetrate a fraud.
  • Pay Stubs. Absolutely shred your pay stubs. Some financial institutions will ask you (or the identity thief) the amount of your last deposit to use as a validation. A past pay stub can give that information.
  • Credit Card Convenience Checks. The most dangerous things you can receive in your mailbox are convenience checks often sent with your credit card bill. These represent a live loan to whoever holds this check. Shred these immediately.
  • Canceled Checks. Canceled checks contain not only your account and routing numbers, but also your address and possibly your phone number. People often include their full account or credit card number in the memo section when paying with a check. Do your duplicate checks display your account and routing numbers? Don’t overlook those carbon copies.

Prevention of identity theft is the obvious goal, but if you desire that extra peace-of-mind, let us know and we’ll make sure Identity Theft Coverage is included on your policy.

Topics: Identity Theft Coverage, Stop Identity Theft, Identity Theft Insurance

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