Summer Safety: Are You Insured for Summer Fun?

Summer Safety: Are You Insured for Summer Fun?

As the summer season approaches, your plans are likely to include more entertaining, travel and outdoor excursions. Sunshine may help you relax and recharge, but before engaging in some recreational activities, you should reevaluate your insurance risks and needs. These tips from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners can help make sure you are protected while you enjoy summer fun.

Pools and Trampolines!

Before inviting friends and family over to enjoy your pool or trampoline, know that either may increase your insurance risk. Consider purchasing an umbrella policy in addition to your homeowners insurance to increase your liability coverage. However, because pools and trampolines can be dangerous, some companies may not insure your property if you own them, or there may be policy exclusions for liability for related injuries. An insurance company may also deny coverage or cancel your policy if you do not follow the policy's safety guidelines or fail to inform them when you build a pool or purchase a trampoline. Check with your insurance provider for rates, discounts and safety guidelines (such as installing a fence or locked gate). If you lease a property with a pool, discuss your insurance options with your agent or insurance company.

Boats

A boat insurance policy provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your boat. It also covers bodily injury inflicted on others and property damage to your boat. These policies may be suspended during the months your boat is not in use. Read your policy carefully and speak to your agent as some watercraft policies have minimum or fully earned premiums associated with them.

There are three types of boat insurance loss settlement provisions for damages to your boat:

  • Actual cash value (ACV) or market value: Your insurer will reimburse you for the current value of the boat, minus your deductible, if you experience a total loss. For a partial loss, the insurer will pay for the depreciated value of lost or damaged items, minus your deductible.

  • Agreed amount value: You and your insurer have agreed upon a value of your boat at the time you purchase the policy. This is the amount you will be paid if you experience a total loss, minus your deductible. Damage from a partial loss is paid on a replacement cost basis, minus your deductible. In other words, no depreciation is taken on a partial loss.

  • Replacement cost coverage: In the event of a total loss, your insurer will pay to replace your boat with one that is as similar to your boat as possible.

The personal property coverage of your homeowners policy may cover a small boat for $1,500 or less in physical damage. However, coverage for your liability risk is limited. A large boat will be excluded from your homeowners policy for property and liability coverage. Personal watercrafts, such as jet skis, often require a separate policy that may be offered by your homeowners' insurer. Alternatively, you may choose to purchase a policy from an insurer that specializes in boat insurance. Talk with your insurance agent and get quotes from other companies to understand your options.

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

ATVs are not covered by standard automobile insurance policies, but your homeowners policy may partially cover liability. Ask your agent if you have sufficient coverage on your homeowners policy. If you do not, you should consider a separate ATV policy. Ask your provider about age restrictions regarding who may operate the ATV or if the policy covers friends and family. Make sure you have the right coverage for your situation and intended use.

Traveling

Whether you're leaving home for a weekend getaway or a long road trip, be aware of what your homeowners or renter's policy will cover while you're gone. Typically, your homeowners insurance will follow you, protecting you even while you're not at home. Off-premises' coverage means your belongings are covered anywhere in the world. If you're staying at a hotel and your belongings are stolen, your homeowners policy will provide coverage but the exact coverage depends on your policy. In addition to your deductible, items will typically have a limit on things like jewelry and furs. If you're traveling with high-priced items, it's a good idea to get separate insurance coverage for these items. Contact your agent or insurance company to find out what's covered under your policy.

For More Information
Contact The Stanford Agency.  We are more than happy to answer your questions.

Portable electric heater safety tips

Paul Davis Restoration of Union & Essex Counties, a leading provider of fire and water damage clean up and restoration services, provides consumers with safety tips when using portable electric heaters also known as space heaters in cold weather months. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) estimates these types of heaters are involved in thousands of fires each year resulting in deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in property loss.

Paul Davis offers the following tips to help prevent fires from space heaters:

  • Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged: Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for possible damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions.
  • To see if your electric heater has been recalled: Visit www.cpsc.org.
  • Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.
  • Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least three feet from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.
  • Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
  • During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is hot. If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater.
  • Have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
  • Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
  • Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
  • When purchasing a heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark.
  • Never run the heater’s cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
  • To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and never touch an electric heater if you are wet. In case of fire or emergency property damage, contact a licensed, professional fire damage clean up and restoration company.

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Paul Davis is a leading provider of fire, water and mold damage restoration and reconstruction services for residential and commercial properties. Local office owners nationwide are properly licensed individuals with certifications from leading industry organizations like The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Founded in 1966, Paul Davis has restoration, remodeling and emergency services franchise office locations throughout the US and Canada. Visit the local office website at http://union-and-essex-counties.pauldavis.com.

Do you use your property as an AirBnB? If so you need to read this!

The home and condo rental market is booming, and peer-to-peer leasing is leading the charge.

With the rise of the home sharing economy and online services such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and FlipKey, it is easier than ever for home and condo owners to earn rental income and for "guests" to land accommodations that fit their needs and budgets.   

While home (and room) sharing can be lucrative for homeowners, it exacerbates the typical homeowners risks. Recognizing this, Lexington Insurance Company has introduced the latest in its series of enhancements to their LexElite® Homeowners Insurance: LexShareSM HOME Rental Coverage (LexShare HOME).  This is explicitly designed to respond as the sharing economy reshapes the home and condo rental market. LexShare HOME extends homeowners protection expressly where short- and long-term landlords need it - providing coverage certainty with an expanded definition of "residence premises" and raising the roof on protection for losses from property damage, theft, and more.   


Here are some of the things we can offer you: 

• A broad definition of "residence premises" that eliminates any grey areas in coverage for primary and secondary rental properties, and expressly encompasses both short- and long-term rentals regardless of whether they are secured through online peer-to-peer websites or traditional real estate brokers. 

• Protection for rental of other structures on the "residence premises," such as a converted garage apartment. 

• Increased coverage for damage to landlord's furnishings, including appliances, carpeting, and other household furnishings, in each apartment on a "residence premises."  

• Enhanced protection for personal property, tripling - or more - the standard Special Limits of Liability in key areas. For example, LexShare HOME provides limits of $10,000 on watercraft of varying types; $5,000 for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, precious, and semiprecious stones; $7,500 for loss by theft of silverware, goldware, platinumware, and firearms; $7,500 on property used primarily for "business" purposes; and $4,500 on trailers or semitrailers as well as $4,500 on certain electronic apparatus and accessories. 

• Coverage for theft of personal property from that part of a "residence premises" rented to others. 

• $100,000 Watercraft Liability coverage for certain watercraft rented to others, such as jet skis, small sailboats and powerboats, canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. Standard homeowners policies provide no coverage whatsoever for watercraft rented to others. 

• Express coverage for tenant-caused damage to trees, shrubs, plants or lawns on primary and secondary rental properties. 

Contact our office for more information and to obtain a quote.  There is nothing worse than being told that your loss could have been covered if you had purchased the proper coverage. Consult your agent today to find out what you need. 


 

Why You Should Work With An Independent Insurance Agent

 

Choosing an insurance policy that fits your budget and your needs isn't usually an easy task. Those big, corporate insurance companies use public records to find out when your lease is ending or when you'll be in the market for a new auto, home or life insurance policy and the ads start rolling in like crazy. All offering specials that seem too good to be true - because they normally are. However, working with an independent insurance agent gives you a sense of freedom and individualism. Trusted Choice independent insurance agents have access to insurance rates from many different companies. They can shop around for you, after taking the time to discuss your needs and your budget, and find the right policy options for you. Here are just a few of the reasons you should work with an independent insurance agent. And at Stanford Agency, we have one of New Jersey's best to help make the search for insurance an easy one.

  1. They will provide you with one-stop shopping to find the right policy
  2. You'll feel like a person, not just a number
  3. Policy options based on your needs and requirements
  4. They are easy to reach and very helpful
  5. They'll take the time to listen and communicate
  6. They are knowledgeable and become a source of consultation
  7. They’re centrally located and right around the corner for your convenience
  8. They are insurance experts
  9. They can handle all of your insurance needs
  10. Independent insurance agents work towards a long-term relationship with their clients

If you're tired of online shopping through multiple insurance sites and sick of trying to calling for quotes and getting nowhere, contact your local independent insurance agent today. Scott, of the Stanford Agency, is a licensed professional with over 30 years of experience that will help you find the best policy, whether you're in need of auto, home, business, or health insurance. Contact the Stanford Agency today at 732-924-6999