Homeowners, Auto, Health, Life, Commercial. We have it all.

The Royersford Insurance Agent

My granddaughter is borrowing our car for the Prom. Am I covered?

A client called the other day and said that his granddaughter is borrowing his car to go to the prom.  Was he covered?  Was she covered?

 

Volkswagen Beetle crashed through a brick wallCreative Commons License simpleinsomnia via Compfight

 

As always, check with your agent and your carrier to verify.  But here’s how it works with mostly every insurance company that I know of.

The insurance follows the car, not the person.  So if your granddaughter, your friend, your sister, even if your sister’s friend were to drive your car and you authorized them to do so (gave them the OK) and they were to be in accident, there would be coverage for your car and any other damage that occurred as a result of the accident.

I advised my client to make sure that his granddaughter was listed as a driver on her parent’s policy.  All drivers need to be listed on an insurance policy somewhere.  If they are not then this could cause some issues.  There would most likely still be coverage but it could hold up things with the claim.  Meaning it may take a little longer for you to get your payment as the claim rep and the powers that be in the claim office review everything.

Depending on how often the person you are lending your car to drives the car, your insurance company may require you to list them as a driver.  In this example, the prom example, the granddaughter will just be borrowing the vehicle once.  But if you had someone who is borrowing the car more frequently than it is a smart idea to list them as a driver.

That’s among the first questions that a claim rep will ask a person who is an accident that is not listed on the policy, “how often do you drive the car?”  If the answer is anything other than this is my first time, they will demand the driver be listed.

Especially if they are not listed on a policy somewhere else.

Keep in mind Medical Coverage on an Insurance policy follows the person.  So, in this example, if there were to be an accident and the granddaughter were injured, her parent’s policy would pay for her Medical bills.  This, obviously, is assuming that her parents have Medical coverage on their policy.  If the granddaughter has a boyfriend that is also injured, his parent’s policy would pay for his medical bills.

Most people only have a $10,000 limit listed for their Medical coverage.  We have started to recommend you go higher, even as high as $100,000.  This will help you avoid using your Primary Health Insurance and any deductibles and co-pays that are associated with it.

One last thing to consider.  You are putting your liability on the line anytime you let someone borrow your car.  If there were to be an accident in your vehicle you are at risk for being sued.  It doesn’t mean you will get sued but the possibility is certainly there.

Here is a list of the minimum coverages that I would recommend.  You should not go below these limits.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

Does Insurance pay for a Tree that is hit by a Car?

I received a phone call from a woman earlier today.  She was a little distraught because she was getting a bill from her apartment complex for a tree that she hit with her car.  She is a slightly older woman, 87, and lives in an independent living center.

She had already had her car repaired which cost $1,700.  Now she was getting an unexpected bill for the tree as well.

Honestly, this was the first time I have been asked about a bill for a tree.  I’m sure we have had accidents in the past that involved trees but maybe our clients never asked us about it.  I had no idea as to whether or not the tree would be covered or not.

There is also a concern about whether or not it was a smart idea to file a claim.  She has a $500 deductible which means the insurance company would pay out $1200.  But our client would now have one accident on her record.  With 2 accidents on record, most insurance companies have the right to non-renew (or cancel) a policy.  With Winter weather just around the corner and accidents more common, not filing a claim was something we had to consider.

Our client then mentioned that she was going to be selling the car to her granddaughter.  Well that settled it.  She was going to be cancelling the policy anyway!  This was now a no-brainer.  File the claim.  Our client can expect to be refunded $1200 as she would only be responsible for her $500 deductible.

 

Retour d'hiver Jean-Marc Linder via Compfight

 

What about the tree?

I called a claim rep at the insurance company and asked about the tree.  Could the cost of the tree be covered under the Property Damage coverage?  I was told that yes, the tree would be covered under her Property Damage coverage.  We had nothing to worry about.

 

What is Property Damage Coverage?

Property Damage coverage is a coverage on your Auto policy that pays for damage to other people’s property that’s damaged by an accident you cause.  Cars, telephone poles, signs, and buildings are the most common.

This coverage could also extend to trees and bushes.

 

What if the tree had fallen onto the car?

This is an entirely different issue.  Your comprehensive coverage would pay for this damage.  I have written extensively about trees and comprehensive coverage on this site.  Please feel free to view any of those prior posts for more information.

 

As always, please reach out to me if I can help you with any insurance related question.  

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

 

 

Local Woman’s Car is Crushed by Fallen Tree. Who Pays?

Marshmallow man

 

Imagine you are sitting at a red light waiting patiently for the light to turn green.  Maybe fiddling with the radio, probably messing with your phone.  Definitely NOT playing Pokemon!!

BOOM!!!!!  A tree crashes onto your car and destroys your windshield.

 

SB_2012_002 6 x 9 = 42 via Compfight

 

Who Pays?

This happened to an unlucky local driver earlier this week.  The tree fell due to an error by the homeowner as he was cutting the tree down.  The tree was supposed to go one way but instead went another.  Luckily no one was injured.

In this case the homeowners liability coverage on his Homeowners Policy will provide coverage for the accident.  There is no deductible involved by either party.  Just a payment to be made by the Homeowners insurance carrier.  The driver does have the option of going through her Auto policy.  This would be a comprehensive claim.  Her auto insurance carrier would then subrogate against the Homeowners insurance carrier for reimbursement.

 

What if the Homeowners did not have Insurance?

This is very uncommon.  Most homeowners have insurance.  But if this was the case then the auto driver would need to go through their auto insurance.  As a reminder, keep your comprehensive deductible low!  Comp coverage is very inexpensive, there is no need to have a high deductible.

I recommend $100.  Some companies, like Travelers, are now offering special $50 Glass deductibles in the event that a stone (or tree) hits your windshield and cracks it.  Also, as long as you have comprehensive coverage, there is no deductible if the windshield crack can be repaired.

 

What if the tree fell on the car due to wind?

The only reason the Homeowners liability coverage would pay for this claim is because the homeowner was at fault for the tree falling.  Had the tree fallen due to high winds than the driver would NOT be able to go through the homeowner’s policy.  She would need to go through her auto policy.

This is why it’s important to keep comprehensive coverage on your car even if you remove collision.  Again, it’s inexpensive and it provides coverage for vandalism, damage caused by animals as well as damage due to fallen trees.

Also on trees, if your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, your Homeowners policy will pay for the damage.  If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, their policy will pay for the damages.  The only way around this is if you see their tree is dead and at risk of falling and you send them a certified letter expressing your concern.

If you can prove that they are negligent (with proof of a certified letter) it’s possible their Homeowners liability coverage would pay for damages to your house as a result of a dead fallen tree.

You can read more about trees on this post.

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

Coverage for cars caused by wind blown shingles and trees.

We have had some epic windstorms the last week here in PA.  Probably the same type weather in the entire region.  It was crazy! 

Today we received a phone call from one of our insureds.  Apparently their neighbor has scratches to their cars due to shingles that blew off our insured’s roof.  The neighbors are hoping our insured’s insurance company will pay to repair the damage.

 

Nocturna [Explore #133] Pedro Javier Jiménez via Compfight

 

What does my Homeowners Insurance policy pay for?

 

There are two sections to your Homeowners policy.  Section 1 provides coverage for the following things.

 

  • Dwelling.  
    • Roof, shingles, walls, floors, etc.
  • Personal Property.
    • Whatever you would take with you if you were to move.
  • Other Structures.
    • Sheds, detached garages, pools, fences….
  • Loss of Use.
    • If you were to have a covered claim and could not stay in the house due to the damage, your policy would pay for alternative living arrangements as well as excess cost of food.

Section 2 provides coverage for Liability.  If someone were to slip and fall at your house and sued you.  Also, if someone were to get injured at your house and needed medical treatment.  Your policy provides funds for medical treatment to others.

 

Your policy does not provide coverage for property that is not owned by you.

 

The most common example of this is when a tree that stands on your property falls and lands on a neighbors house or car.  Often, the neighbor would want you to pay for their damage.  Whether or not you pay for that damage is up to you.  But your insurance company is under no obligation to pay.

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company.  You agree to pay the premium and they agree to pay for damage to property owned by you.

 

Who pays for the damage to the car?

 

The neighbor should contact their auto insurance company and report a comprehensive claim.  Often comp deductibles are lower than collision.  I recommend a $100 deductible at the most?  Also, the price of comprehensive coverage is typically much less than the cost of collision coverage.

 

Will my neighbors auto insurance rate increase due to a comp claim?

 

I can’t say for sure.  We represent several carriers, Travelers, Encompass, Safeco, and Progressive just to name a few.  A comp claim would not cause a rate increase from any of those carriers.

There could be a potential affect on the rate if you were to try and rewrite the policy with a different carrier or even with the same carrier.  We have seen quotes increase by about a hundred dollars or so after we indicate that the driver had a comprehensive claim.

So there is typically no increase in price on a policy renewal due to a comp claim but the cost of a re-written policy is typically more than it would have been if the claim was never filed.  This post provides more information on comprehensive and collision coverage.

 

Are you in a situation where you have damage due to a neighbor’s falled property?  Is a neighbor asking you to help pay for damage to their property due to something that blew off your property?

 

My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

Understanding Your PA Auto Insurance Policy – Bodily Injury

Marshmallow man

 

For the next 2 weeks this site will be focusing on understanding the Pennsylvania Auto Insurance policy.  What your coverage options are, what is recommended, how you can save money and much, much more.

This isn’t exactly the most exciting of topics but it is important to know.  And it could save you money and a lot of headaches.  Especially if you are under insured.

The first coverage we will cover is the Bodily Injury Coverage

 

Bodily Injury (BI)

What does BI cover?

Bodily Injury, or BI, is a coverage on your Auto policy that pays for damages for bodily injury for which any Insured (the policyholder) becomes legally responsible because of an auto accident.

This coverage pays for the injuries of other drivers or passengers due to an accident in which you are at fault.

 

Is BI optional?

No, Bodily Injury coverage is a mandatory coverage.  The state limit, as of this writing, is $15,000/$30,000.

 

What is the Risk if you don’t have enough BI coverage?

If you have the state minimum coverage and you are involved in an at-fault accident that causes injuries to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle or vehicles, than you are at risk of being sued.  If you hit a person with the Full Tort option on their Auto policy and they are injured as a result of the accident than there is a good chance a lawsuit will be filed.

 

The coverage is shown on your policy in one of two ways.

  • Split Limits

    • A common example is $100,00/$300,000.
  • Combined Single Limit

    • A common example is $300,000

 

Split Limit Option

Using the example for Split Limit coverage above, $100,000/$300,000, the policy would provide coverage up to $100,000 per passenger and $300,000 per accident.  So if you are in an accident and three people are injured, your policy would pay up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 in total for the accident.  If the accident caused injuries to 4 people, the policy would still only pay $100,000 per person and $300,000 in total for the accident.

 

Combined Single Limit

This coverage option provides up to a limit that you select and combines the Bodily Injury coverage with the Property Damage coverage.  We will discuss Property Damage in the next post but I’ll provide a quick summary here.  The Property Damage coverage provides funds for damage to property that is damaged as a result of an accident caused by you.

Say you are in an accident that causes damage to a vehicle valued at $50,000 and cause injuries to 4 people.  If you have a Combined Single Limit of $300,000, the most your policy would pay for the injuries sustained and the property damage to the vehicle is $300,000.

 

What is the recommended Limit?

I would suggest not going lower than $100,000/$300,000.  If you own a home or if you have assets that are at risk if you were to be sued, then I would suggest the max, $500,000/$500,000 or a Combined Limit of $500,000.  You should also consider a Personal Umbrella Policy which provides an additional $1 Million or more worth of coverage.

Liability coverage is relatively inexpensive.  We do not think you can ever have too much especially if you have a lot to lose in the event of a lawsuit.

 

What you should do now.

Contact your agent and review your Bodily Injury coverage.  Is it advisable to increase it?  What would the additional cost be if you did?

 

 
My name is Keith Laskey. My goal is to educate the everyday consumer and to help them make intelligent decisions with their insurance policies. Please contact me at my office, 610-948-4830 or Email Me for any insurance related questions or concerns. You can also visit the Ron Black Agency website or like us on Facebook! Thank you for stopping by, have a great day!

%d bloggers like this: