Erie Auto Insurance "Xtras"

By: Nicole Vattimo

Erie insurance is a terrific company that is constantly receiving industry recognition for its claims and customer satisfaction. But, we at Forbes Insurance wanted to take a minute to shout-out Erie for the ways it helps clients through superior coverage offerings. The following coverages are standard in Erie personal auto policies, while not all are automatically offered by other carriers.

Check out Erie's blog, "Understanding Auto Insurance: ERIE 'Xtras,'" for more on the below included coverages:

  1. Road Trip Coverage - Erie offers up to $75 per passenger in the vehicle for travel expenses if you don’t reach your destination and aren’t close to home.
     
  2. Pet Protection - If your pet is hurt in a covered accident while riding in your car, Erie will help cover the vet treatment costs up to $500 per pet (up to two pets, with a total limit of $1,000).
     
  3. Locksmith - If you lock your keys in your car and carry comprehensive or collision coverage, Erie will reimburse you up to $75 for the cost of locksmith services on your insured car.
     
  4. New Car Addition - Erie gives you 7 days to add a new vehicle to your policy, so if you forget initially, it's okay. Just be sure to contact your agent within 7 days so you have the proper coverage.
     
  5. Personal Items - If personal items are damaged in a car accident, Erie gives you up to $350 toward your personal items not covered by other insurance.

For any questions about your exact coverages, always feel free to contact your Erie agent.

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/underst...

What To Do If You Have A Cracked Windshield

By: Nicole Vattimo

With the increased activity on roads today, it's inevitable that at some point you'll likely have to deal with a chipped or cracked windshield. The good news is, most insurance companies will cover your windshield if you are carrying comprehensive coverage. 

Below are a couple key things to remember regarding windshield damage and claims:

1. Get your windshield repaired as quickly as possible. Getting the windshield looked at and repaired by a professional shortly after the incident is important for two reasons. Firstly, some insurance companies (including Erie) will waive your deductible if the windshield can be repaired, rather than replaced. That means a repair is free. However, if you wait around and let a small chip turn into a larger crack, you may have to replace the windshield entirely - meaning you will likely be subject to your comprehensive deductible. Secondly, a damaged windshield is less strong and therefore provides less protection for the vehicle's occupants. This matters if you are involved in an accident.

2. Take your car to a certified auto-glass installation technician. Make sure the professional you work with to repair your windshield is certified. You want to be sure the windshield is installed properly to avoid future issues with its functionality. Additionally, many cars have front-facing cameras mounted in the windshield, and most automakers specify that these cameras need to be recaliberated after a windshield replacement. You want to be sure the technician working on your car knows how to do this properly. 

Erie makes it super easy for customers to get their windshields repaired properly through the company's partnership with Safelite® Solutions. Call your Erie agent to get contact information for Erie's dedicated Safelite line.  

For more information about getting a windshield repaired or replaced, check out Erie's blog: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/handle-windshield-repair.

Who Insures Interior Improvements In Your Rented Office Space

By: Nicole Vattimo

If you lease a building or office for your business, did you know it is your responsibility to insure interior improvements and alterations? If you are renovating the interior of your rented office space, talk to your insurance agent about insuring things like: flooring, light fixtures, wall coverings, wiring, plumbing, cabinets, shelving, or anything else that is attached to the ceiling, walls, or floors.

It is not usually your landlord's responsibility to insure these types of items. And, if you don't add them to your business policy, you may be underinsured.

For more on this topic, check out ErieSensehttps://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/business-betterment-general-business?utm_source=businessbuzz&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Agent_June_BusinessSense_27062017_141234&utm_content=22957579&utm_term=_141234_141241.

Commercial Auto Policies: Hired and Non-Owned Coverage

By: William Forbes

This is a great article from ErieSense on commercial auto policies and some of the coverages they offer (link here). I wanted to specifically highlight something called "hired and non-owned" coverage.

This coverage protects you, the business owner, when your employees are driving their personal vehicles for work use. And, also, when your employees rent vehicles for business use. It provides liability coverage if you are sued following an accident.

It's important to remember that coverage is not automatically extended to an employee's personal vehicle, when he/she is driving it for work use. To get this protection, you must have hired and non-owned coverage on your business auto policy.

If you are a business owner with a commercial auto policy, talk to your agent to verify your coverages.

(Full link to article: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/business-auto-coverage)

What To Do With Your Home Insurance If You Plan to Rent Out Your House

By: William Forbes

We've seen an increase in the number of our clients who have decided to rent their houses out, rather than sell them. If you plan to do this, it's important to adjust your home insurance policy to be sure you are properly protected.

First, you will want a renters policy, which will protect your home's structure and the small amount of personal property (furniture, decor, etc.) you may have inside the home. You'll also receive liability coverage, in the event that someone is injured on the property.

But, almost more importantly, carrying a renters policy as a landlord will provide protection if there is a home claim that prevents your renter from living on the property for a time. In this case, your renters policy would provide up to 12 months of fair rental value. This means during the time the house is out of commission, you will not lose the rental income that typically comes from your renter.

Once you become a landlord, it is also important to talk to your renter about carrying his/her own renters policy. This protects a renter's personal property, and provides important liability coverage to your tenant. It might also be beneficial to be listed as an additional insured on your tenant's policy, which provides you an important line of sight to his/her policy and coverages.

Give us a call if you have questions about renters or tenant policies.

Product Spotlight: Erie's New Auto Security

By: William Forbes

What is it?

New Auto Security is an endorsement you can add to your Erie auto policy. It provides new vehicle replacement for a vehicle under two years old, in the event of a total loss. This means if you total your new car, Erie will pay to replace your vehicle with the latest model year (minus your deductible). If your new vehicle is involved in an accident and is not a total loss, Erie will pay to repair your car without a deduction for depreciation. This coverage could be a huge financial help if you have a new car that's involved in an accident, as cars depreciate the most during the first five years you own them.

But, the endorsement is not only for new cars. If you've had your car for more than two years and you're involved in a total-loss accident, Erie will pay the cost to replace the car with a model that’s two years newer.

Benefits:

  1. New vehicle replacement - in the event of a total loss, Erie will pay to replace your new car (under two years old) with the latest model year.
  2. Repair coverage - Erie will pay to repair your new car without a deduction for depreciation.
  3. Gap coverage - Erie will provide coverage for the difference between the actual cash value of the car and the amount due on the lease/loan.
  4. Better vehicle replacement - For cars older than two years, in the event of a total loss, Erie will pay to replace your car with a model two years newer.
  5. The endorsement can be added to your policy at any time, not just with the purchase of a new vehicle.

Please get in touch with us if you have questions about New Auto Security.

Seattle Times Article on Insurance Blind Spots

By: William Forbes

I wanted to share this article in The Seattle Times, titled, "Insurance blind spots: 5 coverage gaps that could cost you" (link here). It highlights several important insurance coverages that aren't necessarily provided in a traditional homeowners policy. Pay special attention to #3; my last blog post hit on this item with the discussion of Erie's product: Service Line Coverage.

If you have any questions about what your homeowners policy covers, please reach out to your agent.

Full link to article: http://www.seattletimes.com/business/insurance-blind-spots-5-coverage-gaps-that-could-cost-you/  

Insurance Coverage on your Rental Car

By: William Forbes

I wanted to note this Huffington Post article (link here), titled: "No, Car Rental Insurance Is Not Mandatory," as this is a confusing topic for many of my insureds. When you rent a car from a company like Avis, for example, the insurance you carry on your personal vehicle will cover you on your rental car.

Though this is true, there still can be benefits to purchasing an additional insurance plan through the rental company.

It's also important to note that if an accident occurs involving the rental vehicle, you would be subject to current deductibles on your personal auto insurance.

Here are a few reasons why you may want to purchase additional rental insurance:

  1.  If you're involved in an accident, the rental company may waive your deductible.
  2. If you are traveling outside the United States, purchase additional insurance, as your personal policy will not afford coverage overseas. Canada is the only other country where your personal coverages will transfer.
  3. The rental company may provide coverage for "loss of use" incurred on one of its vehicles. Loss of use covers you If you're in an accident involving the rental company's vehicle and it is unable to rent that car out to other customers until the damage is repaired. Without this coverage, you would be required to pay the rental company a specified amount based on how many days the vehicle is out of commission.

One other thing to remember, when purchasing a rental, the company may require you to provide proof of insurance when you pick up your rental car. Therefore, it's a good idea to bring your insurance declarations page with you to the rental counter when you pick up your vehicle in order to avoid any hassles.

Check out the Huffington Post article for more information on this topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/no-car-rental-insurance-is-not-mandatory_us_5842c25de4b0cf3f64558a1a.

Insurance Concept of the Week: Comprehensive Coverage/Open Perils

Each week we will post and define an industry term or concept for our readers.

Home insurance policies cover different causes of loss (i.e. hail, fire, windstorm, etc.). An insurance policy that covers all causes of loss, except those specifically listed as an exclusion, provide what is called comprehensive or open perils coverage. Policies may be written in different ways and with different loss coverage. It's best to speak with your agent if you have questions about your specific policy and what it protects against.

Insurance Concept of the Week: Bodily Injury Liability

Each week we will post and define an industry term or concept for our readers.

Our article on the passing of Daniel's Law earlier in the week (link here) looked at new legislation that will provide stricter penalties in PA for accidents that are the result of texting while driving. Bodily injury liability is a required coverage in PA, and relates to the aforementioned blog post.

Bodily injury liability pays others when an insured is responsible for causing injuries; these can include medical, rehabilitation expenses, and non-economic damages. The state-required minimums for this coverage are $15,000 per person and $30,000 in aggregate. However, when possible, we always recommend our clients carry more than the state minimum. This is one of the most important coverages you carry to protect you and your family's personal assets.

Don't Ignore Insurance in your Financial Planning

By: William Forbes

October is National Financial Planning Month – a time to be sure your family finances are organized and you have a plan in place to meet your financial goals. Although it is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, insurance is an important part of your financial plan. The very reason for insurance is to transfer your risk of financial liability to an insurer. To put it more plainly, insurance protects you and your family from a financial loss due to the loss of life or property.

Just as you might sit down with a financial advisor annually, or outline your family budget and savings, you should evaluate your insurance policy each year as part of your financial planning (Click to Tweet!). Below are some items to bear in mind when it comes to considering whether your insurance policy is still an accurate reflection of your needs.

1.       Have you moved or made any significant changes to your home?

Beyond just meeting the minimum requirement of notifying your insurance agent of a change of address, it’s important to discuss with your agent what a new home could mean for your overall financial picture. Are you taking a step up in terms of the mortgage and/or size of the home? Are you the primary earner for your household? Are the coverage amounts still appropriate for the new home, or for your current home after a structural change has been made? In looking at your finances, are the deductibles still appropriate?

The answers to these questions can dictate important financial decisions for you and your family. They also help to bring into focus your full financial picture, and can lead to other important financial decisions. Take, for example, the first two questions: (1) Are you taking a step up in terms of the mortgage? (2) Are you the primary earner for your household? If you’ve answered yes to both of these, then it may be important for you to look at your life-insurance coverages, in addition to your homeowner’s policy.

It’s not just about reporting new purchases and changes in your living arrangements to your agent to be sure they are covered (though that's certainly part of it); it’s also critical to understand what these changes mean to you and your family’s overall financial health.

2.       Have you had a major life event – marriage, a new child, health changes?

If you’ve recently had a major life event, it’s probably a good time to see if you have the right insurance policies in place for those who depend on you (Click to Tweet!). There are many different life-insurance products on the market, which address a variety of financial needs and time horizons.

Maybe just as important as life insurance, is disability insurance. While most Americans depend on company-sponsored disability programs for issues that keep someone from working, often these programs do not sufficiently cover income loss. Particularly in a one-income family, replacing the breadwinner’s earnings is crucial to the family’s financial well being.

Your agent can walk you through the different products out there and which would be most affordable and beneficial for your family.

3.       Are you planning any large purchases in the coming year – a car, boat, art?

This question is similar in nature to item number one. First, it’s important to discuss these types of purchases to be sure you have the correct insurance products and coverages in place. But, it’s also important to understand how large purchases affect your entire financial picture. As your lifestyle changes, it’s essential to have the proper insurance in place to protect you and your family, and to be sure your loved ones can maintain the lifestyle in the unfortunate event that something happens to you.

4.       Have you had any business changes?

Are you changing your job or company? Are you planning to be self-employed? Are you nearing retirement? These types of business-related changes not only affect your finances, but also affect the types of insurance you should carry. Whether you are getting insurance through a company, or are purchasing a policy individually, you should understand the policy’s coverages and limits. There are so many things to consider in terms of insurance, when it comes to a change of employment. I couldn’t possibly cover everything here. However, I wanted to include this item as a reminder that if you will be making career changes, set a meeting with your agent to discuss your plans and how to address your insurance needs smartly. (Click to Tweet!)

5.       Do you need to consider long-term health care for yourself or a loved one?

Long-term health care policies pay daily benefits to help offset the cost of nursing and home care for certain illnesses not normally covered by health insurance and Medicare.  It’s hard to think about, but for my insureds over the age of 50 (or those with an elderly relative), I recommend understanding what this type of policy can offer you and your family. A long-term health policy could provide money to help pay for skilled care of a loved one, including: (1) respite care, (2) home care, and (3) adult day care. Keeping up with the costs of nursing care can be financially crippling, but there are insurance products that can help.

6.       Are you planning to travel more?

If you are planning on jet setting, whether you have dependents or not, talk to your agent about what insurance products could be helpful in your travels. From travel health insurance to cover injuries or illness while you are on the road, to rental car coverage, to property insurance to cover your valuables, there are lots of options your agent can offer you. All of these options can impact your finances, should you experience a loss while traveling.