Love Bites-Get Umbrella Coverage
In today's economy, everyone is pinching pennies. So why worry about umbrella coverage? Shouldn't a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?
Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits. Large damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive and have long-term financial impact. Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.
Take Herschel for instance. Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.
Herschel watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids. The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel's house and broke his leg. He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.
Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel's owner, suing for $220,000 in damages. He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary.
But Herschel's owner was lucky--a jury vindicated Herschel. However, lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner's policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder. An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.
Our furry friends can put your assets at risk in other ways as well. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with half of those occurring on the owner's property. Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner's insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.
Protect what you love. Call us to talk about your umbrella options.
Seven Shopping Strategies for New Car Buyers
New car shopping can be a lot of fun, especially if you're a car enthusiast. But others can find the experience stressful and tedious. Either way, there's a lot to think about. According to a survey of car shoppers, overall purchase price is the most important factor when shopping for a new car (46 percent), followed by make and model (31 percent).
Safety and performance come in a distant third, tied at seven percent. But whether you're turned on or turned off by the dizzying array of car choices, trim options, "expert" reviews, incentives and other deals, it definitely pays to approach car buying strategically.
So if you're in the market for a new vehicle and you find yourself having trouble keeping a clear head, just keep these strategies in mind:
1. Decide how much money you can spend and what type of vehicle best suits your needs. Just looking for the basic transport capability of a small or medium sedan? Or do you need the hauling capacity of a van or SUV? Something practical? Something sporty? Something in between?
2. Research crash tests and accident data available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
3. Shop around for financing. If you can, apply for and get approval for a loan from a bank, credit union or other financier before you even visit the dealership. Being a "cash buyer" gives you an advantage when you do finally meet with the dealership's financing person.
4. Test drive the car. Try to drive in conditions that will be similar to those under which you'll drive every day.
5. Check pricing for your desired make and model at two or three dealerships and use that information to help you negotiate the best deal.
6. Get a firm quote, in writing. This should include not only the cost of the car, but any fees and the sales tax.
7. Inspect your new car carefully before driving off the lot. Make sure all the options you've ordered are included and that the body and paint are free of scratches or dents.
Finally, it's important to consider the cost of auto insurance, although it seems that few people realize that what they pay for insurance can add significantly to the vehicle's total cost.
The States With the Rudest Drivers
According to a survey by Insure.com
2. Washington D.C.
3. New York