A Beginner’s Guide to Personal Liability Insurance

personal liability insuranceAs a homeowner, you want to ensure that you are insured in case of an accident. This is why it is so important to file a homeowner’s insurance claim for major damage as soon as possible, preferably within a 14-day reporting window. While traditional homeowner’s insurance is legally required, you never know what’s going to happen on your property. In our overly litigious world, how can you protect yourself from legal risks at all times?

In addition to traditional homeowners insurance, it is crucial that you look into the other insurance options available to you. This includes personal liability insurance, which will provide coverage in case of bodily injury or property damage.

If you’re interested in learning more about this popular supplement to homeowner’s insurance, here is everything a homeowner should know about investing in a personal liability policy.

What exactly is a personal liability insurance?

This is an important component of a regular homeowner’s insurance policy. Simply put, it covers the damages sustained after an accident occurs on your property that results in bodily injury or property damage. It will provide protection if you are found to be legally responsible for the accident, and your policy will help to cover some out of pocket costs.

What is an example of a situation I would need a personal liability policy?

Say your teenage neighbor walks into your backyard and is bitten by your dog. He sustained a broken wrist, and his parents sue you to cover his medical bills and trauma. Or, for example, your nosy neighbor walks into your garage and is hit in the head by a falling ladder. If they sue you for damages, personal liability coverage can pay the cost of the medical bills along with the cost of your legal defense team.

While these specific scenarios may seem far fetched, you can’t predict life’s little accidents. Remember: No one ever expects horrible accidents to occur to them.

What is included with a personal liability policy?

While each insurance option differs, the typical personal liability policy includes:

  • Any lawsuits you may face because of an accident.
  • Bodily injury to an individual.
  • Property damage that is a direct result of your negligence./li>

What isn’t covered by this type of policy?

Liability insurance doesn’t cover everything. Some types of accidents that won’t be covered include:

  • Automotive accidents
  • Bodily injury caused intentionally by a member of your home.
  • Business claims related to your profession.
  • Injuries sustained by you or your family members.

However, there are plenty of other insurance options that can cover these accidents if you so choose. In combination with homeowner’s insurance, you can rest easy knowing that your family is protected from the unexpected.

Personal liability insurance is a great fail-safe option that no homeowner should be without. If you have any questions about the coverage you will receive with this insurance product, don’t hesitate to contact our insurance specialists today with any and all questions!

Brier Grieves September 15, 2017 No Comments

A Beginner’s Guide to Hurricane Homeowners Insurance

Hurricane season is here. In light of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, it’s important for all homeowners to do the best they can to protect their homes from extensive damage. So it goes without saying that all Floridians should weigh their need for hurricane insurance as they are right in the path of these destructive storms.

However, not many homeowners know exactly what hurricane home insurance entails. Here we have broken down the basics of this broad homeowners insurance option.

Make sure to check your current insurance
There are plenty of different types of homeowners insurance, so you may already be covered in some shape or form. Make sure to check to check your policy for any limitations on wind, water, or flooding damage, and if your policy doesn’t exclude any additional hurricane-related damages. But, considering that 73% of homeowners report that they don’t have a specific flood insurance policy that is separate from their standard homeowners coverage, chances are your home could use a bit more protection.

Know that you need coverage for both property and contents
Even though they may be a part of the same plan, coverage for property and contents are two separate options and must be bought separately. Here’s what you can expect for both:

Property insurance: Property insurance relates to your actual home. This will cover the expenses of damages to the building and its structure.

Contents insurance: This relates to what is in your home rather than the building itself. If you opt for this option, you will be reimbursed the cost to replaced the damaged and/or lost property incurred by the storm.

What doesn’t hurricane insurance cover?
While it does differ depending on your insurance agency, typical hurricane and flood insurance doesn’t cover the following:

    • Water that comes from inside your home. This means that if you have an overflowing pipe or a toilet malfunction, it will not be covered. The water in question must have come from outside your home.
    • Landscaping, including your pool area.
    • Living expenses, such as having to live in a hotel while your home gets fixed.

There are plenty of different types of homeowners insurance available, but if you are living in Florida is pays to stay protected from hurricanes and invest in hurricane and flood insurance. You never know what is going to happen, and if you protect yourself today, you will thank yourself after the storm hits.

Brier Grieves September 13, 2017 No Comments

Mythbusters: Common Misconceptions About Auto Insurance

For any car owner, buying automobile insurance is essential. Having this protection will keep you from entering financial hardship following an accident. Unfortunatly, there are plenty of myths floating around about car insurance options and insurance companies. This guide will debunk some of the most common car insurance misconceptions.

Myth: Owning a red car will hike up your insurance rates.

Fact: The simply truth is that color will not effect your car insurance rates. Perhaps perpetuated by the speedy sports car stereotype, this myth is especially common among young drivers. Insurance companies are more likely to consider the make, model, and age of your car.

Myth: Older drivers have higher insurance rates.

Fact: The opposite is actually true. Older drivers may qualify for reduced insurance rates, particularly if they are over 55. Talk to your insurance agent to see if you qualify for this type of program.

Myth: You can escape premium hikes if you don’t report your accident.

Fact: About 6 million car accidents occur in the United States each year. If you happen to be in one of them, you may think that you can hide it from your insurance company. The truth is, however, that the company will likely find out when the other driver files a claim. So, it’s best to report it in the first place.

Myth: If your car is broken into, insurance will cover the lost property.

Fact: Not necessarily. This depends on the specifics of your automobile insurance policy. Lost property due to car break-ins are often covered under homeowners insurance, so check this policy as well. And of course, take measures to protect your car against break-ins.

Myth: Your financial history will not impact your insurance.

Fact: Some aspects of your money management history may impact your rates. Insurance companies often have the right to look at your credit score in particular. If you are worried about having high premiums due to a poor credit score, consider working with a financial planner to talk through your options.

Purchasing car insurance is an essential part of owning a car. And by understanding the facts behind different insurance plans, you can make a well informed decision. Remember that the best way to understand your options is to talk to an insurance professional directly.

Brier Grieves September 12, 2017 No Comments

Donating to Disasters and Avoiding Scams

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma were two of the strongest storms to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004. News of the damage they have caused to southeastern Texas and South Florida is prompting people to help in whatever ways they can. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people who prey upon people’s good intentions, creating fake charity campaigns to exploit victims and take advantage of those who want to help.

How to Avoid Scams

Despite the sense of urgency to help when disaster strikes, it is important to do some research before donating. Consider the following best practices to ensure that your resources go to a legitimate charity with experience in disaster relief:

  • Never wire money to someone who claims to be a charity. Legitimate charities do not ask for wire transfers. Once you wire the money, you’ll probably never get it back.
  • Be cautious about bloggers and social media posts that provide charity suggestions. Don’t assume that the person recommending the charity has fully researched the organization’s credibility.
  • Only donate through a charity’s official website, never through emails. Scammers have a knack for creating fake email accounts that seem legitimate.
  • Ensure that the charity explains on its website how your money will be used.
  • Be wary of charities that claim to give 100 percent of donations to victims. That is often a false claim, as well-structured organizations need to use some of their donations to cover administrative costs.
  • Never offer unnecessary personal information, such as your Social Security number or a copy of your driver’s license. However, it is common for legitimate charities to ask for your mailing address, and it is safe for you to provide it.

How to Choose a Charity

Even legitimate charities need to be considered with care. The Federal Trade Commission suggests avoiding new charities because, despite their legitimacy, they may not have the resources needed to get your money to its intended recipients.

Donors looking for a worthy charity can access an unbiased, objective list on a website called Charity Navigator. The site receives a Form 990 for all of its charities directly from the IRS, so it knows exactly how the charities spend their money and use their donations. It also rates charities based on their location, tax status, length of operation, accountability, transparency and public support.

Gaining popularity for charitable donations is a crowdfunding website called GoFundMe, which allows people to raise money for a wide variety of circumstances. Despite its popularity, visitors to the site should be cautious about the campaigns to which they donate. Visitors can report suspicious campaigns directly to GoFundMe via its official website or to their state’s consumer protection hotline.

National Organizations

The following national organizations have long-standing reputations for providing disaster relief and accepting donations:

  • The American Red Cross provides shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to people affected by disasters.
  • AmeriCares takes medicine and supplies to survivors.
  • Catholic Charities USA supports disaster response and recovery efforts that include direct assistance, rebuilding and health care services.
  • The Salvation Army provides shelter and emergency services to displaced individuals.

Remember that there are other ways to provide disaster relief that don’t involve monetary donations, especially if you live near the affected area. Local food banks and blood centers commonly ask for donations during relief efforts.

Brier Grieves August 22, 2017 No Comments

Company Car Insurance Tip: Avoid Negligent Entrustment

Automobile accidents are an expensive liability for companies that rely on the use of vehicles for their business. That risk has increased in recent years, mainly due to distracted driving and a legal concept called negligent entrustment.

Negligent entrustment occurs when an employer is held liable for negligence in choosing an employee to operate a dangerous instrument, usually a vehicle. An employer can be found negligent if both of the following situations occur:

  1. A driver becomes injured while driving for company business, causes injury to a third party or damages physical property.
  2. The employer knew, or should have known, not to trust the vehicle to the driver or that the vehicle was unsafe.

If a driver is working within the scope of his or her job duties and has permission to use a company vehicle, it is presumed that the employer has trusted the driver with the vehicle. The following can be used to prove a finding of negligence:

  • An investigation of the accident scene
  • Interviews with the drivers and witnesses
  • Other applicable evidence that includes citations issued to the drivers

Companies must be able to show that they took all possible precautions to prevent accidents. If not, the actions they did or did not take might be construed as negligent entrustment.

Liability Coverage is Not Sufficient

General liability policies do not offer coverage for incidents of negligent entrustment. Although business auto policies do not exclude negligent entrustment, coverage may not be sufficient if an employee is involved in a harmful accident. Juries often award the plaintiff punitive damages in excess of any compensatory damages resulting from negligent entrustment.

How to Avoid Negligent Entrustment

Reduce exposure to negligent entrustment lawsuits by adhering to the following best practices:

  • Prescreen all individuals granted permission to drive for company business. Review their driving records annually.
  • Provide regularly scheduled driver reviews and comprehensive training sessions.
  • Maintain company vehicles to ensure that they meet strict safety standards.
  • Provide post-accident reviews and training on how the accident could have been avoided.
  • Put clear safety policies in writing to minimize risks. Follow all OSHA guidelines as well as guidelines specific to your business.
  • Define your permission policy. Anyone with permission to drive a vehicle for company business is classified as an insured on a company policy. That is why it is important to define your permission policy in a way that ensures flexibility but isn’t too broad.
  • Regularly enforce drug and alcohol policies.
  • Enforce a zero tolerance policy for driver misconduct.

By taking the aforementioned precautions, you’ll minimize the risk of your employees creating a situation in which your company is found liable. Although commercial auto insurance can minimize some liability risks, more advanced business and umbrella policies can protect against additional risks.

Brier Grieves Insurance can help you choose an auto insurance policy that is best for your business. Contact us for more information on how you can reduce your risk of negligent entrustment liability.