Renters insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of your possessions when you rent a house or apartment. While your landlord may be sympathetic to a burglary you have experienced or a fire caused by your iron, destruction or loss of your possessions is not usually covered by your landlord’s insurance. Because in most cases, renters insurance covers only the value of your belongings, not the physical building, the premium is relatively inexpensive.
By purchasing renters insurance, your possessions are covered against losses from fire or smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm and water damage (not including floods). Like homeowners insurance, renters insurance also covers your responsibility to other people injured at your home or elsewhere by you, a family member or your pet and pays legal defense costs if you are taken to court.
Renters insurance covers your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your apartment because of a fire or other covered peril. Most policies will reimburse you the difference between your additional living expenses and your normal living expenses but still may set limits as to the amount they will pay.
There are two types of renters insurance policies you may purchase:
The weight of snow could damage your roof. Backed-up gutters might allow water to seep into your house. Vigilance is key during severe weather—stay ahead of the potential hazards outside your home.
In the event of a problem
Sometimes the unfortunate happens—but quick action can minimize the damage. And if you have a standard homeowners insurance policy, it’s likely you're covered for most deep freeze disasters.
It’s likely that you depend on your homeowner or residential insurance policy to handle losses connected to your hobby or activities. A homeowner (HO) policy usually includes a definition of “business.” A given policy may use a definition so broad that nearly any activity qualifies as a business. In such instances, a hobbyist or enthusiast should consider whether business insurance is necessary.
Let’s say you love photography and you take pictures at weddings and other events to finance this passion. While you consider this to be a hobby, your insurer may define your activities as a business. If your camera equipment is stolen or damaged, there may be as little as $250 protection under your HO policy. HO coverage for business property differs depending on whether it is located at or away from your residence.
Imagine the photography situation again. This time, you’re at a wedding job and have just set-up a perfect shot of the bridal party. As you are snapping a few shots, a large boom stand with hot lighting equipment tips over, injuring the maid of honor and the flower girl. A homeowner policy may exclude coverage if the injured women sue you since the injury is part of a business activity.
There are numerous types of sales and service jobs. These include cosmetics, clothing, kitchen supplies, home decorator items, computer repair, web site design, photography, music lessons, auto repair and many contractors. Each job involves some type of business property that is excluded or severely limited under the homeowner policy. Therefore, each situation may need to be covered by business insurance.
Although independent consultants are in business, too often they think their HO policy will provide coverage because they don't have special equipment or leave their home office to run their business. Office furnishings such as laptops, iPads, desks, chairs and file cabinets are subject to HO policy limitations. Without adjustments to the homeowner policy there may be little or no coverage for property used in a business.
The legal form of the business may create a need for business insurance. If a limited liability company, corporation or partnership is formed, the related activity is a business and needs business coverage. Also, most HO policies will not provide coverage for employees or for any professional liability.
What can you do? First, determine if your activities qualify as a business. Then talk to one of our insurance professionals to determine what coverage is provided by the policies you currently have and what options are available to fill-in any gaps in protection.
The Auto Dealers Coverage Form contains premises liability, products liability, automobile liability and automobile physical damage coverage. Operations that should be protected by this policy include the following:
An Auto Dealers policy may also be written to customize how coverage applies to different types of vehicles. For instance, Joe's Towing Service has a fleet of four tow trucks, as well as a sedan used by the owner. The towing service also does repairs and regularly has customer vehicles on their premises. Rather than having both liability and physical damage on all cars the services either owns or handles, Joe selects the following:
Entrepreneurs and business owners everywhere have questions about business insurance—and to answer queries about everything from business interruption to product liability and beyond, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) has released (Not So Risky) Business, the third installment of the popular I’s on Insurance series created to make insurance coverage simple to understand for consumers and business owners.
So much more goes into business insurance than getting the lowest business insurance quotes. It means understanding your business’s unique needs and the potential risks that can threaten its success, the video explains. For example, 25 percent of all businesses do not reopen after a disaster, the I.I.I. noted. Fortunately, business income insurance covers the revenue you would have earned, based on your financial records, had the disaster not occurred.
Assuming payments are made on time, it does happen from time to time that a home insurance provider chooses to drop one of their clients. This isn’t common, but is possible. Luckily, it's not that hard to stay in good standing with your insurer. Here are the most common causes for being dropped by a provider:
Too Many Claims
The average homeowner only files a claim around once a decade. That doesn't mean that filing twice in ten years will see you being dropped, but if you're filing on an annual basis, that's going to raise some red flags with your provider. Insurance is best reserved for severe damages that cannot easily be handled out of pocket.
Failing to Make Necessary Repairs
Your insurer may ask you to do some critical maintenance in order to remain covered. More times than not, this means the roof. An old roof can lead to cumulative water damage, and many insurers feel that someone who won't replace an old roof is too big of a risk to cover.
Your new pet is probably not going to have you looking for a new insurer, but some insurers will make exceptions for certain dog breeds and high-risk pets. And insurers will almost certainly drop you if multiple dog-bite liability claims have been filed. It's simply a legal risk that many insurers feel is not worth it.
If you're lucky, you might never need to make a major home repair. Cars, on the other hand, will eventually need some parts replaced. Tires don't last forever, and neither do spark plugs, brake pads or timing belts. So, it's worth asking whether auto insurance will cover those replacements when they need to be made.
The answer is no. Car insurance will not cover normal wear and tear. In fact, if you are in an accident because you failed to maintain your car, such as driving on bare brake pads, your auto insurance provider might not approve your claim.
The reasoning is simple: Car insurance is designed to cover unexpected damages and losses. A smashed windshield, a stolen car, liability costs. Wear and tear damages are losses that we can plan for.
You can generally expect your provider to cover damages and losses relating to the following causes:
Further, insurers do expect you to take good care of whatever it is that you are insuring. A homeowner who discovers a leaky pipe and simply leaves it to drip will likely see their claim rejected when they file for the damages they've suffered as a result. The same goes for your car. If you want to make sure that you are covered in the event of an accident, make sure that anything that needs to be replaced is replaced. Also remember to take the vehicle in for regular maintenance.
What is unclaimed property?
Unclaimed property (sometimes referred to as abandoned) refers to accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for one year or a longer period. Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, traveler's checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.
What happens to these accounts that have no activity?
Acting in the best interest of consumers, each state has enacted an unclaimed property statute that protects your funds from reverting back to the company if you have lost contact with them. These laws instruct companies to turn forgotten funds over to a state official who will then make a diligent effort to find you or your heirs. Most states hold lost funds until you are found, returning them to you at no cost or for a nominal handling fee upon filing a claim form and verification of your identity. Since it is impossible to store and maintain all of the contents that are turned over from safe deposit boxes, most states hold periodic auctions and hold the funds obtained from the sale of the items for the owner. Some states also sell stocks and bonds and return the proceeds to the owner in the same manner.
How do states try to return this money?
The state treasurers and other officials who administer the unclaimed property programs have developed many powerful and effective methods to locate owners including the use of websites, cross-checking public data, staging thousands of awareness events at state fairs and even shopping malls, and developing a national database, MissingMoney.com. The methods work as tens of millions of potential lost owners inquire annually resulting in this vital consumer protection program returning money to people at a rate approaching two billion dollars annually.
How do I begin my free search?
Companies are required by law to send funds from lost accounts to the state of the owner's last known address. That means you could potentially have unclaimed property in every state that you have resided. You might want to begin your search on Missing Money, a Web site officially endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) containing the official collective records from most state unclaimed property programs. NAUPA will link you to every state unclaimed property program Web site where you can search. Both sites are free.
Red-light cameras may seem technologically cut-and dry, but that's far from reality. They've saved lives, but they've also stirred up more controversy than most other traffic control devices on the roads to date. See how knowledgeable you are about some of the more picayune and esoteric aspects of this growing debate.
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