Insurance Blog
Tuesday, 08 March 2016 18:15

Women’s Guide to Insurance

March is Women’s History Month! We are taking this opportunity to focus attention on insurance issues and are happy to share this special Women’s Guide in Insurance from IIABA’s Trusted Choice website in honor the month.

The environment in which women now live, work and care for their families is much different from previous eras. Women juggle many roles: career, marriage, motherhood, caregiver to aging parents. And, even in dual income families, women still handle major responsibility for household management. Regardless of our stage in life, educational background, economic situation, marital status, or number of dependent children, women make–or strongly influence–decisions affecting our financial well-being and that of our families. Women must be prepared to act as advocates and financial decision makers for ourselves and on behalf of our spouses and families. They also must be able to plan effectively for our futures to ensure financial security.

The Women’s Guide to Insurance was created by our friends over at IIABA’s Trusted Choice® to help you plan for and achieve your financial security goals. We have provided information regarding the different types of insurance available and suggested when various forms of insurance are most appropriate. Our goal is to assist you in making sound, informed decisions to meet your specific needs. 

Baldwin / Welsh & Parker (BWP) Insurance Agency is a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agency. We belong to this special association to bring value to clients by offering the best combination of coverage, service and price. BWP represents many insurance companies and, as a result, can “shop” for policies that best meet our client needs. Because we are not tied to a specific insurer, we also serve as advocates of their clients’ interests.

Your life will most likely differ greatly from your mother’s, just as her life differed from your grandmother’s. Happily, the role of today’s women in family and business finances is broader than previous generations ever could have imagined. BWP agents are here to help you meet each new financial challenge, helping to ensure your success and your financial security.

Women continue to emerge as an increasingly powerful economic force in today’s society:

 

Why Insurance?

Whatever form, insurance addresses risks and how to effectively control your exposure to loss. Insurance is a means to an end; a way to help ensure that you have sufficient resources to survive the financial crisis that could be caused by fire, auto accident, successful lawsuit, health problem or loss of an income provider. By covering your exposure to risk, you minimize the financial damage you might suffer.

Insurance works by spreading the risks of an individual–you–among many individuals. The chances that everyone in the group would experience a crisis at the same time are statistically very small. Insurance premiums are collected from everyone in the insurance pool and paid only to those who suffer a loss. The cost of your insurance policy is determined by the likelihood that you will file a claim. That’s why, for example, an individual or family with several speeding tickets or car accidents will pay more for insurance than those with clean driving records.

To protect your financial security, independent insurance agents recommend that you carry auto, homeowners/renters, life, disability and health insurance in amounts appropriate to your situation and needs. Agents also suggest that you revisit your insurance coverage as changes in your life alter your financial security needs.

Lifestage Defines Need

Various factors significantly impact the types and comprehensiveness of insurance you and your family or business require. For example, a single woman just beginning a career may not be interested in or able to afford the broad coverage that is required by a more mature worker with dependents. Similarly, a woman approaching retirement age will have different financial security requirements.

Your marital status influences your needs. A married woman who is a full-time homemaker may rely on the insurance benefits provided by her spouse’s employer. Divorce or the death of your spouse may change the scope and nature of the health, disability and life insurance coverage you carry. Becoming a parent also impacts your insurance needs.

Employment status is another factor. If you receive adequate health and life insurance from your employer, you may not need supplemental coverage. However, if you are a full-time homemaker, self-employed or receive inadequate employee-related benefits, you may have insurance gaps. And, if you are self-employed–with a business in your home or other location–you need to secure business insurance to protect your business and yourself.

Each time your lifestage changes, it is important to reassess personal, family and business insurance needs. This evaluation can be done with the assistance of our area BWP Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent representing a wide range of insurance providers. Ultimately, your insurance choices will be determined by your individual situation and the needs of your family.

Your stage in life often determines the type of insurance and amount of coverage you need. Lifestage is defined by:

  • Age
  • Single, married, widowed or divorced
  • Parent or childless
  • Own or rent a home or other major property
  • Employed or unemployed
  • Work in traditional setting or at home
  • Own business or employed by others

Insurance Types

You essentially have three avenues to purchase personal and business insurance: telemarketing companies (who use sales people via 800 numbers), captive agent companies (who employ agents to represent only their insurance company), and independent insurance agents. For you, BWP Trusted Choice® independent agents mean access to numerous options that lead to the best combination of coverage, service and price.

Property/Liability Insurance–Provides protection for your home, automobile and household or other possessions, and from claims against you for something you did or failed to do which resulted in physical or financial loss to the person filing the complaint.

Life Insurance–Pays money to the person(s) or organization(s) named as a beneficiary by the policyholder if the policyholder dies. Some life insurance policies also function as investment vehicles by accruing value as premiums are paid or by replacing estate assets depleted by inheritance taxes. Your employer may provide basic life insurance for employees during their tenure with the company. Often, employees are advised to maintain some level of separate coverage if their employer’s coverage is not adequate. A personal policy also is good insurance in the event that you are laid off and, due to health problems, would not be able to get coverage for a new life insurance policy.

Health Insurance–Covers costs related to your health and your family’s health, such as doctor visits, hospital expenses and diagnostic tests. While many employers provide some level of health insurance, you may need to supplement the coverage or, when self-employed, secure health insurance for you and your family.

Disability Insurance–Pays the individual(s) covered for income lost due to a disabling injury or illness. It enables your earning power to continue even if your earnings do not. Again, some employers offer basic disability insurance that covers extended illnesses, but you need to determine if the coverage is long or short-term to adequately meet your needs.

Long Term Care Insurance–Provides coverage for skilled and custodial care in a nursing home. Some policies also may cover home health care expenses. You can purchase coverage for yourself, your spouse and your parents to offset the costly expense of nursing home care, which most people pay out of their savings. Policy costs are determined by the age and health of the individual, type of care and other factors.

Government Benefits–The government offers several types of supplemental insurance to the elderly, retirees, disabled and disadvantaged individuals. Programs include health care, disability, and compensation to laid-off or injured workers. This insurance provides only minimal base coverage. Individuals receiving government benefits should consult their independent insurance agent to determine proper coverage to meet their needs.

Your BWP agent can offer more information regarding the limits and types of coverage required by you, your family and business.

Driving Coverage For Your Automobile

Automobile insurance protects you, your family and your vehicle in the event of injury or damage resulting from an array of occurrences. Your policy will cover the cost of repairs or replacement and furnishes protection against personal liabilities. Your BWP agent can tailor a policy that meets your needs and provides several types of insurance coverage, including:

Liability–Covers injuries and damage you cause to other people or their property while operating an automobile.

Collision–Covers damage to your vehicle in an accident.

Comprehensive–Covers damage to your vehicle from fire, break-ins, vandalism, theft and natural disasters.

Medical Payments–Covers emergency and related medical payments for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault.

Uninsured Motorists and Underinsured Motorists–Protects you and your passengers in an accident with drivers carrying insufficient or no liability coverage.

Additional Coverages–Pays for expenses such as towing, labor, “no-fault” coverage, etc.

Protecting Your Personal Property

Homeowners insurance provides coverage for damage to structures and personal property. Coverage includes protection from damage caused by:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosions
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Aircraft and other vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Freezing of plumbing, heating, air conditioning or other household system
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Falling objects

This insurance covers the repair/ replacement of your property and furnishes protection against personal liabilities. Because your home likely is your most valuable asset, it is critical to insure it properly. For example, if you live in a geographic area prone to certain weather problems–such as floods, earthquakes or hurricanes–you need special policies to protect your investment.

In addition, you should be aware of monetary limits on groups of items, including jewelry, artwork, some furnishings, etc. You can purchase additional insurance, usually by endorsement, by listing items that fall outside the limits. Based on the value of your property, the cost of the endorsement is often minimal and outweighs the risk of leaving family heirlooms, equipment and prized possessions underinsured.

You also have the option to insure your personal property for the actual cash value or the replacement cost, which determines the amount of compensation you receive. Replacement value enables you to replace property at the current market price, regardless of its age or condition; whereas, under actual cash value coverage, depreciation for age or condition is deducted from the replacement cost, reducing your compensation.

Renters insurance provides coverage for your personal property when you pay to live in a building owned by someone else. Personal property includes all of your household possessions. You are protected from disaster by a policy tailored to meet your needs and based on the value of your belongings. Similar to homeowners insurance, there are monetary limits on groups of items, coverage can be supplemented with endorsements and you have compensation options.

Whether you own or rent your home, your policy should include liability coverage. This important coverage protects you against claims of bodily injury or property damage that result from your negligence and may prompt a lawsuit. These claims can be caused by any non-auto incident that occurs on or off your premises, such as a dog bite or slippery sidewalk. Coverage also includes medical payments for the injured person, such as first aid or emergency room treatment. You need to consider a limit of liability sufficient to protect you for the cost of a lawsuit and today’s high medical bills.

Backing Your Business

Commercial or business insurance offers property and liability coverage whether you operate from your home or another location. While homeowners insurance may cover business property within specified limits, it typically is insufficient and does not protect against lawsuits related to your business activities. Selecting the right insurance is just as important as the choices you make for company stationery, equipment or services. Your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can help you review your options and tailor coverage that best meets your needs.

Ensure Your Financial Protection

Insurance is an important component of your financial planning. It is the safeguard to protect you, your family, your home and other possessions, and your business from financial disaster in the event of a catastrophe. As your life changes, so do your insurance needs. A BWP agent can assist you in matching insurance protection to your specific situation. Personal service–based on an understanding of your needs and your goals–is the hallmark of our BWP Trusted Choice® independent agents. For you, it means protection and peace of mind.

Various factors significantly impact the types and comprehensiveness of insurance you and your family or business require. –Pays money to the person(s) or organization(s) named as a beneficiary by the policyholder if the policyholder dies. Some life insurance policies also function as investment vehicles by accruing value as premiums are paid or by replacing estate assets depleted by inheritance taxes. Your employer may provide basic life insurance for employees during their tenure with the company. Often, employees are advised to maintain some level of separate coverage if their employer’s coverage is not adequate. A personal policy also is good insurance in the event that you are laid off and, due to health problems, would not be able to get coverage for a new life insurance policy. –Covers costs related to your health and your family’s health, such as doctor visits, hospital expenses and diagnostic tests. While many employers provide some level of health insurance, you may need to supplement the coverage or, when self-employed, secure health insurance for you and your family. –Pays the individual(s) covered for income lost due to a disabling injury or illness. It enables your earning power to continue even if your earnings do not. Again, some employers offer basic disability insurance that covers extended illnesses, but you need to determine if the coverage is long or short-term to adequately meet your needs. –Provides coverage for skilled and custodial care in a nursing home. Some policies also may cover home health care expenses. You can purchase coverage for yourself, your spouse and your parents to offset the costly expense of nursing home care, which most people pay out of their savings. Policy costs are determined by the age and health of the individual, type of care and other factors. –The government offers several types of supplemental insurance to the elderly, retirees, disabled and disadvantaged individuals. Programs include health care, disability, and compensation to laid-off or injured workers. This insurance provides only minimal base coverage. Individuals receiving government benefits should consult their independent insurance agent to determine proper coverage to meet their needs. –Covers injuries and damage you cause to other people or their property while operating an automobile; –Covers damage to your vehicle in an accident; –Covers damage to your vehicle from fire, break-ins, vandalism, theft and natural disasters; –Covers emergency and related medical payments for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault; –Protects you and your passengers in an accident with drivers carrying insufficient or no liability coverage; and –Pays for expenses such as towing, labor, “no-fault” coverage, etc.

Call us for your consultation. We are here to help and have four offices to serve you and provide personalized service!  Click here for our phone numbers.

Tuesday, 01 March 2016 18:40

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrellas

From IIABA’s Trusted Choice website

Umbrella Insurance Policies Provide Extra Protection

A rain umbrella protects you from getting wet, but doesn’t stop the raindrops from falling. Umbrella liability insurance is similar in that it cannot prevent accidents or mishaps, but can make those things less devastating financially.

Your primary insurance coverage, like your homeowners and auto policies, includes liability coverage up to a certain limit. Liability is your legal responsibility to pay for damage to a person or to a person’s property. An umbrella policy increases your liability coverage substantially—more types of claims are covered and at a higher limit.

To get all the information you need about umbrella liability insurance, contact one of our Baldwin or Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® agents. We are here in your area and ready to discuss your needs.


Who Can Benefit from Umbrella Insurance?

  • Anyone with assets to protect
  • Everyone who drives a vehicle, including a car, motorcycle, boat or ATV
  • Everyone who owns or rents a home

In our litigious society, we must protect our assets from lawsuits. The primary reason for carrying umbrella insurance is that you never know what you may be responsible for. Accidents happen, and when they do, you may be held legally responsible for resulting bodily injury and property damage as well as legal fees, all of which can quickly escalate to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you cause an accident, the legal system makes a judgment that, between you and the injured person, you should be the one to shoulder the financial repercussions. The person who suffered damage is then entitled to collect what is owed by claiming insurance proceeds. If the money provided by the insurance company is inadequate, a claim may be made on your income, assets and savings.

Adequate liability insurance protects you from these financial consequences. Pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and property damage are some of the items you may be sued for that are covered by umbrella liability insurance.


What Does Umbrella Insurance Cover?

A personal umbrella insurance policy provides additional protection by increasing coverage for liability in two ways:

  • Increases the dollar limit of liability coverage for primary policies
    Example: Assume the coverage limit on the liability portion of your auto insurance totals $300,000. If you purchase an umbrella policy of $1 million, and you cause an accident that exceeds your the $300,000 limit on your auto policy, your umbrella insurance can cover the remainder, up to $1 million dollars (a total of $1.3 million total liability coverage, in this case)
  • Covers claims excluded by primary policies
    Example: Typical liability policies may not cover damage claims resulting from false arrest, libel, slander, or defamation of character. If you are held liable for damages caused by these types of claims, the umbrella policy can help you cover costs.

The $300,000 liability limit in the prior examples may seem like a lot of coverage in the abstract, but can easily be exceeded in serious accidents.


How Much Umbrella Insurance Do You Need?

The right amount of liability insurance for any individual, family or business depends upon a number of factors. These include the risks you face and the assets you want to protect. For example, if you have a passion for speed boating, you have an increased risk over someone who only takes a dinghy out on the occasional fishing excursion. And if you have a high income, you are more likely to be sued in the event that you are at fault for injury to others.

Some professionals recommend that you add up all of your assets and then double that figure to determine the amount of liability coverage needed. Others look to the costs of medical payments and legal fees, which can vary considerably by region.

To figure out the right amount of liability insurance for you, talk to a knowledgeable agent. Independent agents in the Trusted Choice network will discuss what kind and amount of liability coverage you should purchase. These agents work with multiple insurance companies and they advocate for you, the consumer, not any one company. They can compare rates and options on your behalf.


Umbrella Liability Claim Examples:

  • Accident: Despite your careful driving and best intentions, you cause a serious accident. Your umbrella policy kicks in when the property damage exceeds the $300,000 liability coverage limit on your auto policy.
  • Dog Bites: Your dog escapes the yard and attacks a neighbor, resulting in extensive medical costs. The umbrella policy covers the excess costs of hospitalization, care and rehabilitation after your homeowners liability coverage is used up.
  • Trampoline: Your son’s school buddies are playing on the trampoline in your yard and one of the boys flies off, suffering a spinal cord injury. Your umbrella liability manages the excess costs after you you exceed the limits on your homeowners or renters liability policy.

You hope these situations never occur, but statistically they sometimes do. You can limit the consequences with an umbrella insurance policy.


Do You Need More Liability Coverage?

You may want to give special consideration to an investment in umbrella insurance in the following circumstances:

  • You are at greater risk for liability if you own a pool or trampoline or ride a powerful motorcycle. Statistics indicate that these activities and others are more likely to lead to expensive liability claims.
  • If you have assets at risk, including retirement savings, business income, college funds, and other assets with total values that exceed the liability maximum on your home or auto policy.
  • One of the best reasons to own an umbrella policy is the attractive price for peace of mind. The premium you pay for the maximum claim payout tends to be low. In other words, relative to the protection afforded, umbrella insurance can be a great deal.

Get a free quotefrom an one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker independent Trusted Choice member agents and get all of your questions answered. Your agent can give you information on the kinds of liability risks and costs associated with your particular situation. Contact us today for an umbrella insurance quote.

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