Why You Might Need Ordinance and Law Coverage

A little-known but very useful insurance coverage for small- to midsize-business owners is Ordinance and Law coverage.

Basically, this is Property coverage available to building owners and landlords of either residential or commercial units.

Ordinance and Law coverage fills the gap in your property coverage if you own a building that is 25 years old or older.

If you have a partial or total loss of your building, property insurance will cover only the repair or rebuild of the structure. It will not cover any upgrades that need to be done to comply with today’s building codes.

The most classic example would be a requirement to install wheelchair ramps on the rebuilt portion of the building. If the ramp wasn’t there at the time of a loss, then property coverage will not pay for it.

Ordinance and Law closes that gap in coverage. If adding a ramp is required by law, the Ordinance and Law coverage will pick up the cost of doing the work.

Building codes could require any number of changes: installing sprinkler systems; updating fire walls in

You don’t want to be caught short at the time of a loss if you need to comply with new building codes.

Ordinance and Law coverage is broken down into three sections:

Coverage A – Loss to the Undamaged Portion of the Building:

If there is a partial loss of 50% of the building, many cities and towns want you to demolish the entire building and rebuild according to today’s codes.

The coverage will pick up the cost to replace that undamaged portion of the building.

Accordingly, the limit of coverage is usually the same as the building limit listed in the Property coverage.

Coverage B – Coverage for the Cost of Demolition:

Now that you have to demolish an entire building that was only partially damaged, your expenses just skyrocketed, right? No. Coverage B will pay for bulldozing the undamaged portion of a building. This limit of coverage is usually a percentage of the building limit coverage.

Coverage C – Coverage for the Increased Costs of Construction:

This is the portion of coverage that pays for making all the changes that bring the building up to code. This limit would be determined by the amount you would need to make any changes.

This might take a bit of research of your town’s laws to see what changes you would need for your building. But it is time well spent should a loss occur.

Once changes have been made, you can adjust your building limit to include the new total value of your “up to code” building.

However, it is still wise to keep Ordinance and Law coverage, since laws are moving targets.

You don’t want to be caught short at the time of a loss if you need to comply with new building codes.

How to Get a Break When Insuring a Teen Driver

One of the most exciting times in the life of a teenager is the day he or she gets a driver’s license.

No longer does the teenager have to rely on Mom or Dad to chauffeur him or her around.

Of course, with this newfound freedom comes encounters with different driving and traffic scenarios.

Because of this, insurance premiums for parents can be sky-high.

However, there are a few ways for parents to reduce that premium when adding a teen to the auto policy.

If your teen keeps a B average or 3.0 grade point average in school, most insurance carriers are willing to give a Good Student Discount. This can result in 5% to 10% savings on the rate.

Most carriers will also give a discount for bundling all your policies with them, like your home and auto. This can result in 10% to 20% savings as well.

The type of car being driven is just as important. Some cars provide more safety features than others. For example, if your teen is driving a sports car, you can bet that you’ll pay for it.

Newer models of sedans that come equipped with the latest safety features will be a much wiser choice in this scenario.

The longer a teen keeps a clean driving record, the better it is for insurance costs.

Having no speeding tickets or parking violations for consecutive years is a great indicator of how well a teen has taken to the responsibility of having a license.

Homeowner Association Insurance 101

Property managers and boards of directors of a Homeowner Association (HOA) are charged with finding the best insurance coverage for the best price. These are also referred to as Master Policies.

The best types of Master Policies include adequate insurance to cover property and third-party liability damage.

An HOA policy will undoubtedly include Property coverage for the exterior structure and Liability coverage for third-party claims.

But there are some additional types of coverage that are just as important and need to be included on the policy as well.

They are:

Fidelity or Employee Theft Coverage:

This is to protect the HOA from loss by a person handling the association’s funds that are made up of the monthly fees. This coverage is required by law in some states.

Directors and Officers Coverage:

Since the HOA is under the auspices of a board of directors, this is an important piece of comprehensive coverage.

If unit owners are not happy with decisions of the board and feel they are being negligent regarding the best interests of the HOA, they can sue for damages. Directors and Officers coverage will respond to such claims.

Water Damage Coverage:

Since an HOA is responsible for the structure of the building, claims related to water damage fall under its responsibility.

Leaking or burst pipes could cause damage to several units. Coverage can be provided on the property policy.

However, a large number of claims can drive up the ratio of paid-out losses to premium, so the best management technique to use here is prevention. Inspection and maintenance of pipes prior to the cold weather could be a much less expensive way to prevent claims.

These are just some of the areas that your insurance agent can help you with when trying to place coverage for your HOA.

Life Insurance Options When a Marriage Ends

When the unforeseeable occurs and a couple divorces, there are many things to consider.

Life insurance may not be front of mind in such situations – but it’s an important consideration.

When negotiating a divorce settlement, it is important to specify who will own any life insurance policies you have as a couple.

Beneficiaries

Whoever owns the policy has the right to name the beneficiaries.

Typically, the custodial parent is named the owner of the policy.

How long the life-insurance policy is maintained depends on the goal of the policy.

Provisions

Most divorces will include provisions for child support or alimony, in which case it is common to include a stipulation that the supporting spouse should carry a life insurance policy so that the supported spouse and/or children will be provided for should the supporting spouse die.

Intentions

If the policy was intended to provide child support if the supporting spouse dies, it can be terminated when the child reaches the age of majority.

If the policy was intended to provide alimony in the event the supporting spouse dies, it may continue as long as the alimony payments are required.

However, it is possible to include provisions in your divorce settlement agreement that if the life insurance policy is allowed to lapse or if the beneficiary designation is changed, the supported spouse and/or children are entitled to part of the supporting spouse’s estate equal in value to the death benefit if he or she dies.

Other Issues

A number of other issues can arise concerning divorce and life insurance policies.

Therefore, it is always important to discuss your personal situation and goals with your attorney and financial advisor.

Why It’s Vital to Care for Your Child’s Eyesight

Proper vision care is essential for everyone. But for children, being able to see correctly is especially important.

It is estimated that more than 80% of what children learn in school is presented to them visually.

Therefore, good vision can have a big effect on a child’s academic performance.

Without good vision, children can easily get frustrated.

If they can’t see properly, the result can be poor grades at school.

In addition, many children become involved in sports or other activities at a relatively young age.

Here, too, the issue of poor or impaired vision can have a negative effect on how – and how well – a child is able to participate.

Having a good insurance plan that covers eye exams can help children in many ways.

Because routine eye exams can detect vision impairments such as near- and farsightedness, these problems can be treated, and possibly even corrected, early in a child’s life.

In fact, many parents may be surprised to learn that eye exams don’t detect ┬ájust common impairments, but also problems with eye movement, peripheral awareness and focusing – all of which can impact not just vision itself, but other skills such as hand-eye coordination.

Vision insurance policies will typically cover routine eye exams as well as provide discounts to policyholders on eyeglass frames, lenses and contact lenses.

These plans may also offer lower rates on certain eye-related procedures such as laser eye surgery.

There are a wide variety of vision insurance policies available in the market today.

Some of the things to look for in a vision insurance plan include the deductible and co-payment requirements, the choice of eye care providers, the discounts that are offered on certain eye-related products and services, and the policy premium.

Is a Cash Benefit Policy Right for You?

Many years ago, most long-term-care insurance policies were deemed to be “reimbursement” plans. This meant that policyholders would receive a reimbursement amount of benefit dollars – up to certain policy limits – for the actual amount that was spent on qualified covered services.

Today, however, there is a new trend in long-term-care plans – cash benefits. With these types of policies, an insured will be sent a check from an insurance company for the amount of covered monthly benefit on the policy, regardless of the actual amount that will be spent on care.

In fact, in some cases, as long as the policyholder qualifies for benefits, the cash may or may not even need to be spent on care at all. With these plans, unlike with traditional long-term-care insurance policies, there is no list of covered benefits or services, as there is no requirement that receipts be submitted to the insurance company.

It is important to note that such cash policies should not be confused with the indemnity type of long-term-care insurance. With an indemnity policy, benefits will be paid out after the costs of care are incurred. Here, the policyholder will be paid a specific amount of daily benefit. However, the payment is contingent upon proof of payment by the insured for covered long-term care-related services. Therefore, if no care is received in a given month, then the insured would not receive a check from the insurance company.

Cash benefit long-term-care policies are offering a new choice to policyholders. With these types of plans, insureds have much more flexibility in how they receive care as well as how to use their benefit dollars.