Who Is Responsible for Damage on the Property Line?

There has just been a storm, and a tree fell right on the property line you share with your neighbor. Who pays? That depends on numerous factors. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover hauling away debris if the mess is associated with damage.

What happens first?

The first thing to do is call your insurance provider. The likelihood is they will be able to help you make the right decision without worrying too much about it. In most cases, the insurance provider will pay to restore your property and will then decide whether to get reimbursed by the other side.

Is my neighbor in the wrong?

If a tree on your neighbor’s side of your border falls on the property line, they are responsible if you can prove your neighbor was aware the tree was a hazard and refused to fix the problem. If your neighbor was indeed negligent, your insurance provider will look at reimbursement from their side.

What to do if your tree falls

It’s always a good idea to regularly maintain your trees, including regular trimming and assessing the health and sturdiness of the foliage. But if the worst were to happen and your tree falls in your neighbor’s yard, do nothing until their insurance company contacts you. If you pay someone to maintain your trees, always keep the receipts.

Before the tree falls

If you are worried about a neighbor’s tree that looks like it’s seen better days, write a letter to them outlining your concerns. The letter should include a description of the issue, photographs and a request for action. Keep a copy of the letter so that there is a paper trail if the worst were to happen.

If you’re unsure about whether your insurance covers falling foliage, get in touch. We’ll be happy to walk you through your policy.

The Ins and Outs of Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is not about covering you if you get wet. It’s a useful policy that can protect you and your home against all types of claims when homeowners insurance fails. It could protect you in the case of a lawsuit if a neighbor trips over a loose pavestone or you slip in the bathtub. Here’s a breakdown of what umbrella insurance is and if you need it.

What does umbrella insurance cover?

Umbrella insurance is there for when homeowners liability insurance can’t protect you. It offers the advantage of extending liability on your homeowners and auto policies. Umbrella insurance can cover things such as personal injury or property damage caused by you, your family or hazards on your property and personal liability for occurrences that happen off your property, such as protection against slander, libel or false arrest.

What does umbrella insurance not cover?

It’s important to note umbrella insurance isn’t a magic policy that protects you from everything. It can’t help with liability for vehicles such as jet skis or boats, damage by others to your own property or damages intended by the insured, or business activities.

Do you need umbrella insurance?

Most homeowners insurance comes with liability protection, but it’s usually capped. The best thing to do is take stock of your belongings and lifestyle and decide if you’ll need an extra policy. If you have more possessions, you may need to take out an extra policy.

Unsure whether you need umbrella policy? Call or email us today and we’ll help you decide.

Why You Should Supplement Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance

Many of us receive our life insurance through our employers, and for good reason. Buying life insurance this way is often cheaper than buying it on the open market (and is sometimes free). But there may be reasons to buy life insurance on the open market. Here are three.

Your employer may not offer enough life insurance.  If your death hurts your loved ones financially as well as emotionally, we recommend you obtain coverage. How much? Five to 10 times your annual salary is a good guide. And be sure you include any “extra” income in your calculations, such as bonuses and freelance work.

Your coverage could disappear. When you get a new employer, you typically lose your life insurance coverage as well. Your new job, if you have one, may or may not offer coverage. This lack of portability is particularly problematic as we age and we’re less likely to be healthy enough to qualify for an individual life insurance policy at an affordable price.

You don’t get to choose the insurance provider.  It’s possible that the insurance carrier your company has chosen is rated lower than you’d like and the insurance you paid for won’t be there when you need it. Your carrier’s AM Best rating will tell you whether the company is financially stable or not.

While it’s certainly wise to take advantage of free or inexpensive life insurance offered by your employer, you may want to supplement that insurance with insurance from other sources. Just be sure you purchase enough supplemental insurance to ensure that you’re covered if the worst happens and you lose your employer-sponsored insurance at a bad time, such as when your health is declining.

We can help you navigate your life insurance options and choose what is right for you given your individual financial circumstances and goals. Call or email us today.

Is It Worth It to Get Travel Insurance?

Are you looking at traveling this summer? When you begin to look at all the options and opportunities, is travel insurance something you need? Let us dive into some reasons why it might be worth including in your travel budget.

What is travel insurance? It is a very popular way to protect the investment you made in your travel plans. Imagine your trip is just around the corner, an emergency occurs, and your plans need to change or get cancelled. With travel insurance, you have support for making these changes or assistance in filing claims for reimbursement.

Are there benefits of having travel insurance? You have arrived at your destination but your luggage did not. Now what? Travel insurance can help here. You are not feeling well and have healthcare needs. Travel insurance can provide you with emergency healthcare services, which may include evacuation. When needs arise, there is customer service assistance 24 hours a day.

When should I purchase travel insurance? You have spent time researching your perfect travel destination. Your itinerary is in place and your confirmations have been received. You envision yourself sitting in the sun with a good book, but wait. We have learned from experience that plans can change in an instant. Now is the time to protect your investment by considering adding travel insurance.

Where do I go to purchase travel insurance? Do you have an insurance professional who educates you on your personal or business insurance needs? They are a good place to start. Otherwise, a travel professional may be able to review options while booking your travel. Some credit card providers also include some level of travel coverage.

If you are traveling, call or email us today. We can go over travel insurance options and information with you and help you make a decision that works best for you.

Do You Need Short-Term Health Insurance Options?

Are you between jobs or considering temporary medical coverage? When outside of enrollment periods, are you concerned about emergency coverage for those unexpected needs? Let’s look at the options available so you can make the best decision for your unique situation.

What is short-term insurance? Short-term insurance is a type of health plan. Many select these flexible policies when seeking coverage for a specific period of time. These policies can range from 30 days to 12 months.

How does a short-term policy differ from a long-term policy? You can change short-term policies as your needs change. They are approved quickly and can go into effect the day after you apply. If you have preexisting conditions, you may not be eligible for this type of coverage, though. A long-term policy normally means you are ensuring the life needs of the person. Concerns with specific network providers and keeping those relationships is very important.

Do I need to review benefits on short-term policies? It is always wise to review the benefits to ensure you know how to best utilize your plan. Short-term coverage may not offer all the benefits you are used to. Preventive visits are seldom covered, and maternity benefit needs may be a reason to be denied coverage.

If you are curious to know whether this could be an option for you to consider, call or email us today. We are always here to help you and determine what is best for your personal circumstances.

Protect Your Business with These 5 Insurance Tips

It’s always important to be prepared for what’s ahead. And for business owners, the following five tips related to insurance may be good ideas to consider.

1. Be sure you’re using the right insurance company for your needs. Businesses outgrow insurance companies. Those that are good for a startup business may not be good for a business with greater income and assets.

2. Be sure you have the right business interruption insurance. Be sure to consider the types of events that could interrupt your ability to operate, and confirm those events are included in your policy. As many business owners learned in 2020, pandemics are generally excluded from business interruption coverage.

3. Be sure you have general liability insurance. This type of coverage protects you from claims against you, your business or your employees. You may also need special coverages such as cyber liability insurance.

4. Be sure you have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insurance protects workers when they’re injured on the job, but your needs can vary. For example, if you have a mobile workforce, adequate coverage independent of location is critical.

5. Be sure you have commercial auto insurance if you need it. Depending on your business, you may or may not need commercial auto coverage. For example, contractors and realtors who drive regularly for work should have commercial auto insurance.

Proper insurance coverage is an important part of being prepared. Call or email us today to schedule some time with us to review your policies and make sure you have the right coverage.