SR-22-What you need to know

SR-22 form details vary by jurisdiction. But put generally, an SR-22 is a certification  that is required by many states as a way of proving that an individual has current auto insurance coverage. These documents are often required for drivers who are considered high risk due to having had a DUI/DWI, being cited for driving without insurance, or having been involved in a traffic accident while not covered by insurance. The SR-22 allows you to provide proof of minimum Liability Coverage to law enforcement officials, if necessary.

SR-22 does not replace insurance

It’s important to understand that even though you may hear it referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 is not auto insurance and is not a substitute for auto insurance. Instead, it is simply certification that your auto insurer provides to your state that proves you have auto liability policy coverage that meets the state’s minimum requirements.

Who needs an SR-22?

If you need an SR-22, it will likely be because of a court order. High-risk drivers may have to obtain an SR-22 with respect to incidents including, but not limited to:

  • DUI or DWI
  • Repeated reckless driving
  • Multiple at-fault accidents or infractions
  • Driving or being involved in an accident without insurance

A court will determine if you should be allowed to have your license reinstated and under what restrictions. As a part of this, an SR-22 may be required. In certain circumstances, the SR-22 allows drivers to continue to drive legally, although they will have a restricted license.

How long to expect to have an SR-22

The duration of an SR-22 obligation varies by state and the nature of the underlying traffic offense(s).  In some states, this duration may be as short as one year or as long as five.  Generally speaking, a typical SR-22 period lasts from 2-3 years.

Information about Renters Insurance

Renters Insurance, do you need it?

You’ve finally moved in to your first apartment. You’ve properly furnished your new home with everyday essentials and are eager to begin living on your own for the very first time.

Renters insurance can help protect you from fire, smoke, vandalism, and theft-related losses. It also provides liability protection in the case that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage. There are two types of renters insurance: actual cash value and replacement cost. Although replacement cost policies are a bit more expensive than actual cash policies, they help reimburse you for the full cost of replacing your belongings — that is, the policy does not take depreciation into account.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 31% of renters have renters insurance. This low percentage is likely caused by the common misconception that landlord’s insurance covers damage to personal possessions. The truth is, your landlord’s policy probably covers only damage to the building.

Renters insurance is a smart idea if you’re a college student living away from home or a recent graduate, as you may not be fully covered by your parents’ homeowners policy. This not only differs by policy, but also by carrier. To be on the safe side, double-check with your agent about specific policy details.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you look into renters insurance:

  • Make sure to keep a record of items that may need to be replaced, such as a video or photo inventory. Make sure to store this in a safe place separate from your apartment.
  • If you are living with a nonrelative, your roommate may not be covered by your policy. Be sure to check with your agent.
  • Lastly, take the extra step and personalize your policy with additional coverage options that suit your lifestyle.

While this may seem obvious, renters insurance policies often differ by insurance carriers. Contact one of our agents at www.tagins.net/find-agent our qualified insurance agents will help  you find a policy that fits your needs, you’ll finally be ready to begin living in your new apartment — with a lot more peace of mind. Best of luck!

 

When Do You Need Boat Insurance?

If you’re only on the water for a few months, is year-round boat insurance necessary?

With warmer temperatures arriving earlier than usual, water season is well underway. Whether you’re out on your boat every day or just on weekends, boat insurance should be top of mind during the summer months — and even beyond.

Even after boating season is over, you may think canceling your boat insurance is a good idea to save some money. Here are a few reasons why you may want to keep your boat insurance year-round.

Boat Insurance on the Water

Naturally, you want to protect you’re boat while you’re using it. When you choose a boat insurance policy from a company that specializes in boat insurance, such as Progressive, you’ll receive protection designed specifically for your boat.

Choose from standard and specialized coverages, including:

  • Liability, which protects other people and property if you’re responsible for an accident
  • Comprehensive, for incidents such as vandalism, flooding, and fires that may happen to your boat
  • Collision, for instances in which you hit another object and damage your boat
  • Fishing Equipment, which protects your gear on board or while it’s being transported on or off your insured boat
  • Uninsured Boater, which protects you in case an uninsured boat collides with yours.

Boat Insurance off the Water

Protecting your boat while it’s on the water is an easy decision, but what about when it’s not on the water? What about when it’s sitting in a slip or even in your yard? You may think canceling your boat insurance to save a few dollars during the off season is a good idea, but a lot can happen while your boat isn’t in use.

In fact, nearly two out of every 10  boat claims in northern states are filed between Labor Day and Memorial Day — when boating isn’t at its peak. Most of these claims are filed due to vandalism, theft, fire, or flooding, which can happen at any time, not just during warmer months.

And what about injuries? You’re most likely responsible if someone gets hurt on your boat, but did you know you could be responsible for injuries around your boat, too? If you bypass boat insurance, you won’t have liability coverage to protect you in cases that involve injury, which means you may be responsible for paying someone’s medical bills whether you’re using your boat or it’s sitting unattended.

Whether you store your boat in a marina or in your yard, you may want to rethink any decisions to cancel your boat insurance while it’s not being used.

Year-Round Boat Insurance Could Save You Money

You may actually save some cash if you keep your boat policy all year. With Progressive’s disappearing deductibles, your Comprehensive and Collision deductibles are reduced by 25 percent for every claim-free policy period. If you go four policies in a row without a claim, you won’t pay a deductible if you file one after that.

Canceling your policy means you’ll most likely be paying the entire amount to repair damage to your boat since you won’t have any coverage. However, if you keep your policy, you may qualify for a $0 deductible after four claim-free years, which means you could save $500 or even $1,000 (depending on the deductibles you selected) when you do file a claim.

What to Consider before You Buy Boat Insurance

Before you make any changes, be sure to check your policy and review it with your agent to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

Remember to look at what you have, then purchase boat insurance that covers your way of life. If you own a home, cars, a business, etc., you may want to consider a higher level of boat insurance coverage or an umbrella policy to protect your assets.

Understanding Business Owners Insurance

What is a Business Owners Policies (BOPs)

A Business Owners Policy—can protect your small business against today’s most common risks. Fire, burglary, liability and business interruption losses are all covered under a BOP.

Since a BOP is prepackaged, there is only one policy to review and it can be more cost effective than purchasing separate policies. Additional coverage can be added in the form of endorsements or riders.

Since a BOP insurance policy is specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses, the type of business can influence eligibility. Normally, companies with 100 employees or fewer and revenues of up to about $5 million or less are candidates for a BOP. Some types of businesses, such as restaurants, may be ineligible for a BOP because of the specific risks inherent in the business and may need to consider buying the individual coverages separately.

Combining Three Insurance Policies into One Business Owners Insurance Package

In a single, convenient package, a BOP provides the core insurance that most small businesses need, including:

  • Property Insurance—Protection for your building or office space, as well as property owned by your business, such as equipment and inventory.
  • Liability Insurance—Coverage for costs that arise if someone is injured at your business or by using your products or services.
  • Business Interruption Insurance—Also known as Business Income insurance, this coverage replaces lost revenues in the event that your business has to shut down due to fire, wind damage or other covered losses.

You Can Also Tailor a BOP to Meet Your Needs

It’s important to understand that a BOP doesn’t cover all risks associated with running a small business and the coverage limits are usually lower. If you have employees, you may be required to carry workers compensation insurance, depending on your state. If you have a business-owned vehicle, you’ll need coverage beyond your personal car insurance. You might also consider insurance for relatively new risks such as computer system break-in or business identity theft.

There are unique risks associated with your small business; an insurance professional can help you find the business owners insurance policy that is right for you. Here are some other types of insurance to explore and ask about:

  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Employee Practices Liability Insurance
  • Business Vehicle Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Health and Disability
  • Flood and Sewer Back-up
  • Cybersecurity Insurance
  • Terrorism Insurance

For additional information on Business Owners Insurance, visit us at www.tagins.net for more information.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella Insurance

While its easy to assume that only a rich person could need that much insurance coverage, you’d be surprised at how important an umbrella insurance policy can be for an average member of the middle class. For example, if you have a car insurance policy with liability coverage, you may think you have enough protection in case of an accident. But a lawsuit could quickly exceed the $100,000 or $300,000 insurance payout.

An umbrella insurance policy provides an additional layer of insurance, typically $1 million or $2 million, above your auto insurance and your home insurance liability coverage. Consider the following scenarios where an umbrella policy would have been helpful:

  • A $1.2 million settlement in New Jersey where an underinsured driver hit a policeman who was completing paperwork at a traffic stop. The driver had to pay legal fees for his defense as well as the settlement.
  • $1.76 million was awarded to a mother and her 8-year-old child in Florida after a wave runner accident injured both of them. The mother needed corrective surgery after the initial injuries were treated.

Although 85 percent of umbrella insurance claims are related to car accidents, the policies offer protection against accidents that occur at your home, too — for example, in case someone falls down your stairs and sues you, or your balcony collapses during a party. Many people opt for an umbrella policy because they have a pool or a trampoline on their property and fear the consequences of a child getting injured.

Then there’s coverage for incidents you may not have even considered, such as accidents while you’re driving in another country, or while you’re on vacation and have rented a boat or Jet Ski.

Another important feature of these policies is protection in a lawsuit against you for slander or defamation of character, or for decisions you might have made as a volunteer member of a nonprofit board. If you regularly blog about controversial topics or rant on Facebook, an umbrella policy just might be a good idea to protect your assets from a litigious individual who believes you’ve damaged their reputation.

That may sound unlikely, but it’s not unheard of. In 2009, a high school student sued four other students and their families for $3 million because of derogatory comments the other students made about her on Facebook. While the lawsuit was eventually dismissed, reaching that verdict took two years and required considerable expenditures by the families. An umbrella policy can cover expenses related to such lawsuits.

You Have More to Protect Than You Think

You may be assuming that if you don’t have $1 million to lose, you don’t need an umbrella policy. Unfortunately, if you are sued by someone who falls down the stairs at your home or whom you injure in a car accident, you can be sued for more than just what you have in the bank.

Your retirement funds, investments, savings and even your future earnings are at risk if a judge allows someone to garnish your wages to pay off a settlement. In some states, the equity in your home can be part of the judgment and you would be forced to sell your home to pay someone who sues you.

If you own a house and have a retirement account or other investments, an umbrella policy of $1 million or more should be part of your financial plan. Most insurance companies offer these plans in increments up to $5 million, and some go up to $10 million.

Insurance companies require specific levels of liability coverage on your auto and home insurance policies before they will approve an umbrella policy, typically:

  • $300,000 per occurrence for personal liability, bodily injury, and property damage liability on your homeowners insurance policy
  • $250,000 per person for bodily injury and $500,000 per accident on your car insurance policy
  • $100,000 per accident for property damage on your car insurance policy

The average cost for a $1 million policy is $200 annually — which you might find a relatively low price for the peace of mind and security it offers

Auto Insurance Discounts

Auto Insurance Discounts

As independent insurance agents, we have access to a large number of insurance carriers.  These insurance companies offer a variety of discounts that can have a dramatic effect upon your premiums.  The following list of auto insurance discounts is not comprehensive, but it should hopefully give you an idea of the discounts that are available:

Vehicle Equipment

Air Bag

You could save up to 25% for driver-side air bags or 40% for full-front seat air bags. These discounts apply to the medical payments or personal injury portion of your car insurance premium.

Anti-Lock Brake System

Does your car have a factory installed anti-lock braking system?  You could receive a 5% discount on the collision portion of your premium.

Anti-Theft System

Cars with a built-in anti-theft system could earn you a discount of up to 25% on the comprehensive portion of your premium.

Daytime Running Lights

Vehicles equipped with Daytime Running Lights as standard equipment could earn you a 3% discount on certain car insurance coverages.

Driving History & Habits

Five-Year Accident-Free Good Driver

Got a squeaky clean driving record? It could translate into serious auto insurance discounts. If you’ve been accident-free for five years, you may be able to save up to 26% on most coverages.

Seat Belt Use

Buckle up and drive down your rate. If you and your passengers always wear seat belts, you could receive a discount of up to 15% off the medical payments or personal injury protection portion of your premium.

Driver’s Education

Defensive Driving Discounts

If you’ve completed a defensive driving course, you may be able to save even more on your premium.

Driver’s Education

If a young driver in your family has completed a driver’s education course, you may earn a discount on most coverages.

Good Student

Full time students with a good academic record could be eligible for up to a 15% discount on certain coverages. (In most states, policyholders between the ages of 16 and 25, who are full-time students with a “B” average or better, are eligible for this discount.)

Customer Loyalty

Multi-Car

Insure more than one car with the same insurance company and you could get a discount of up to 25% on most of your car insurance coverages.

Multi-Policy / Multi-Line Discount

When you insure your car through the same insurance and have a Homeowners, Renters, Condo or Mobile Home policy, you could get a discount on your car insurance.

To find out more about the insurance discounts you may qualify for, please give us a call.

Homeowners Insurance Reviews

Did you know there are specific times when we highly recommend a homeowners insurance review?  There may be changes in your life or to your home that leave your current coverage or policy inadequate for your protection needs.  Please remember that as your agent, we are here to provide assistance and guidance in assessing your policy.  If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to our office.

1. Policy Renewal
When your policy comes up for renewal each, we recommend a homeowners insurance review for any changes to the coverages or premiums.   Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has the company made any changes in coverage since last year?
  • Does my policy now include a separate deductible for risks like hail?
  • Should I raise the deductible to save money?
  • Am I taking advantage of all available discounts?
  • Do I need to raise the amount of coverage for liability, personal possessions or the structure?
  • If I don’t have one, do I need flood, earthquake or an umbrella policy?

2. Major Improvements

If you have made any major improvements, make sure you have the proper limits to cover the improvements.  Also, if you have make any large personal purchases for items like jewelry or high-priced electronics, you may also want to consider adding a personal floater to your policy.  A personal floater will provide more coverage and higher limits for those types of items.

If you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, enclosing a porch or expanding a kitchen or bathroom, you risk being underinsured if you don’t report the increase in square footage to your insurance company. Don’t forget about new structures outside of your home. If you have built a gazebo, a new shed for your tools or installed a pool or hot tub, you should notify your insurance company as well.

3. You have made your home safer
If you have installed a state-of-the art fire/burglar alarm system or upgraded your heating, plumbing or electrical system, make sure that your insurance company knows about these improvements. You may qualify for additional discounts.

4. Major lifestyle changes
Marriage, divorce, or adult children who move back into the family home, can all affect your homeowners insurance. When people move in or move out, they take their belongings with them. And you may need additional coverage if there is a sizable increase in the value of the belongings in your home.

Starting a home-based business can also trigger changes in your coverage. You will need to get additional coverage for business liability and equipment. If the business is your primary source of income, you may need a Businessowners Package Policy (BOP).  You can find out more about insuring a home-based business here.