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Colorado Insurance Blog

Types of Coverage From Umbrella Insurance

When you get an umbrella insurance policy, it protects you in many different ways. It adds extra liability insurance to your existing insurance policies so that you’re far better protected.

If you want to know more about umbrella insurance, call us at Integrity First Insurance in Colorado to discuss your insurance needs, or Request a Quote today. 

Coverage for Your Home

When you have an umbrella insurance policy, it offers more liability protection on top of the liability coverage from your home insurance policy. If someone were to get injured on your property, your home insurance policy would pay first.

However, the maximum payouts for home insurance are generally lower than what you can get on an umbrella policy. That would mean that you have to come up with the rest out of pocket if your home insurance didn’t cover all of the injuries.

With umbrella insurance, it kicks in after your home insurance has paid to its maximum. That way, you are well-covered for your home liability. 

Coverage for Your Vehicle

Your umbrella insurance also adds the same liability coverage to your auto insurance. It works the same way- first, the auto policy responds, then after it maxes out, your umbrella policy comes in to pay the overage.

This is an important protection for serious auto accidents that can cost a fortune in medical and damaged property bills. Personal Injury attorneys are constantly seeking cases in Colorado and if you cause an accident there’s a good chance you could get sued beyond your auto liability limits.

The maximum payout of an umbrella policy is quite high, keeping you well-protected if the worst should happen. 

Read more about how to protect yourself from Personal Injury attorneys in our blog 3 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Attorneys.

Coverage for Other Policies

An umbrella policy can also extend over other policies you might have. If you own a boat, RV, motorcycle or snowmobile and have insurance on it, your umbrella can provide extra liability protection for those as well. 

Umbrella coverage is especially important if you own rental properties. The more property (or risks) you own, the higher the likelihood is that you will be involved in a liability claim. Additional liability protection can go a long way to protect your financial future. 

If you don’t want to come up with the overage due after your other policies max out, you need umbrella insurance to give you more liability protection. If you have a home and auto policy and want more coverage, give us a call at Integrity First Insurance in Colorado to talk to an agent about your liability needs.

Why You Need Personal Offense Coverage

How can insurance protect you from being sued for what you say on social media?

In today’s digital world, slander and libel lawsuits are more common than you may think. Comments made in haste or anger on social media can have lasting and far-reaching effects on a person’s reputation or character, so it’s easier than ever to libel, slander, or invade a person’s privacy.

Even if you apologize, you can still be sued. Due to the wide reach of social media, claim damages can be substantial, not to mention the cost of hiring an attorney and other legal fees you would incur.

What’s more, posts or other online comments made by a minor can also be subject to a lawsuit. So if you have teens or other children who use social media, you may be at risk for something they say or write online. Consider the following scenario.

Your son was crushed after being cut from the football team, so he retaliated by writing some false and unflattering comments on social media about the head coach. These comments quickly spread through the school and the community at large. The coach then sued the boy’s parents for harming his professional reputation, a claim that could cost them thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages.

Or imagine this:

You write a scathing online review of a restaurant where you had a poor experience. Though you had some legitimate gripes, you went too far by claiming they served you outdated, potentially rotten meat without offering evidence to support the accusation. In return, the restaurant filed a lawsuit against you, and you’re forced to defend yourself.

Personal offense coverage can provide protection against such situations. Plus, it’s affordable.

What Personal Offense Insurance Covers

While personal offense coverage is included with some policies, it is optional for most coverage levels.

This coverage offers you broad protection against a variety of lawsuits and damages related to a such offenses as:

  • False arrest, detention, or imprisonment
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Libel, slander, or defamation of character
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Wrongful eviction or entry

To assess your risk and to learn more about this valuable yet often overlooked coverage option, give us a call today.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash. Image cropped from original.

What Is A Coverage Review?

The best policy isn’t necessarily the cheapest one. It’s important to have a policy that protects you and your family in your current situation. Life can change quickly, and as your life changes, your insurance policy may need to change with it.

During a coverage review, your agent will ask you about any life changes, changes to your home, and suggest coverage adjustments to best suit your current needs. Your agent’s goal is to make sure your policy is updated and you have the best coverage possible.

Your role during a coverage review is to be open and honest, and to ask questions to help understand your policies.

What will be discussed in a coverage review?

  • Contact info- It’s important to make sure all contact info on file is accurate. You may be asked to confirm your phone number, address, and email address.
  • Household members- Most insurance policies have specific definitions for who is covered by a policy. Knowing who lives in the household can help your agent make sure everyone has the coverage they need.
  • New toys- You’ll likely be asked if you’ve recently purchased anything that needs to be insured, like a boat, motorcycle, camper, or ATV.
  • Updates to your home- Your agent should go over a Replacement Cost Estimator with you to ensure your policy accounts for any unique features in your home. If you’ve recently made any updates or improvements, that may result in an increase to your Dwelling Coverage.
  • Education or job changes- If you’ve changed careers, that could warrant some changes to your insurance. Additional education can also result in an extra discount or lower rate, so your agent may ask about education or job changes during a coverage review.
  • Discount review- If anything has changed in your life, you may be eligible for additional discounts. Perhaps your commute is shorter and now you qualify for a low mileage discount. A discount review can help ensure you’re getting the best price for the coverages you need.
  • Review policy coverages options– Overtime, your insurance carrier may offer new coverages or limits. During a coverage review, your agent should go over the coverages you have and recommend any coverages you may be missing that could be beneficial for your protection.

How often do you need an insurance review?

It’s generally a good idea to review your insurance policies before each renewal. A quick check-in to make sure your coverages are still adequate can go a long way.

If you haven’t had any big changes, a simple call to your agent to ask about any new coverage recommendations or discount opportunities should be sufficient. Anytime you make a big change or an update in your home, you should call your agent and request a more in-depth coverage review. An extensive review should be done at least every 3 years to ensure your coverages are growing with your family and your needs.

The Insurance Information Institute recommends asking the following questions each time your policy renews:

  • Has the company made any changes in coverage since last year?
  • Does my policy now include a separate deductible for risks like hurricane or hail?
  • Should I raise the deductible to save money?
  • Am I taking advantage of all available discounts?
  • Do I need to raise the amount of coverage for liability, personal possessions or the structure?
  • Should I comparison shop for a cheaper rate?
  • Do I need flood, earthquake or an umbrella policy?

If you haven’t had a coverage review within the past couple of years, or if you’ve made any changes that could impact your insurance, give us a call or request a quote today. We’re happy to review your current policies and look for ways to improve your coverage at a price that is right for you.

Do Porch Lights Deter Burglars?

Are lights effective for burglary protection?

It seems like a no-brainer to leave the lights on outside your home to deter burglars while you’re away (or even while you’re asleep). But, does that really work? Or, is it just a waste of electricity?

Those answers can differ depending on a number of factors. However, one thing is clear: it takes more than flipping a switch to prevent property crime.

If you are relying on lights as part of your home security routine, be sure to put some thought into how you’re using them. Here are recommendations about when to light things up — and some instances where it may be better to go dark. Contact your local law enforcement if you’re curious about recommendations specific to your area.

When to Keep Your Lights On

There are plenty of instances where it makes sense to leave your porch light on:

  • When you’re home (and awake). This doesn’t simply alert people to the fact that someone is home; it allows you to see anyone approaching or prowling around outside. Having a variety of interior lights on, of course, also shows that the home is occupied and not the best target.
  • When you go out at night. You’ll be able to get to the door easier and unlock it more quickly when you get home — which is nice, but also important if someone happens to be lurking nearby.
  • If possible, combine a porch light with other lights. If you have lighting in your back yard, for example, or by the garage, use those in conjunction with the one by your front door and interior lights. This can add to the appearance that someone is home.

When to Keep Your Lights Off

Despite what many people think, having your lights on all the time isn’t helpful. In fact, it may actually attract burglars. Here’s when you should think about leaving them off:

  • When it’s light out. Exterior lights left on all day can give the impression that nobody is home. After all, wouldn’t someone turn them off during the daytime?
  • When you’re on vacation. The same principle applies here — if a burglar notices lights on for several days at a time, that’s a pretty clear sign that you’re gone.
  • When you go to sleep. This seems counterintuitive, but most residential crime happens during daylight hours, according to SecurAmerica, a firm providing security personnel for businesses, schools and residential communities. So, that porch light at 3 a.m. might not make much of a difference.

An Even Better Option: Automate Your Lights

The goal of lighting, at least from a security standpoint, is to make burglars think someone is home. The most effective way to do that is through lights, both inside and out, that turn on and off at varying times. You can accomplish this through systems that automatically turn lights on after sundown, or even new options that allow you to control lights from your phone or other mobile device.

And, don’t forget motion-sensing lights. They’re affordable, and they can startle burglars and even impair their vision in the moments after they illuminate.

Other Things to Consider

However you use your lights, it might not matter if you don’t take other security measures. For example, are your trees and shrubs trimmed, or do they instead provide cover for someone casing your home? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors? Will they notice if someone suspicious is outside? Do they even know when you’re going out of town?

Remember, turning on your lights may only be truly effective as part of an overall strategy to keep your home secure.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.

Top image by Flickr user webhamster.

Thinking About a Side Hustle? Check Your Insurance Policy First!

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, need some extra money in addition to your other income, or just want more flexibility in your life, you might be able to find a side hustle to make money in your spare time. There are tons of options out there to make some extra cash.

Before jumping in with both feet, you should consider talking to your insurance agent or reviewing your policies to ensure you have the coverage you need.

Renting out your house

Whether you have a second home or just a room or floor in your primary home that you plan to rent out, it’s important to make sure you have the correct coverage on your home insurance policy. Even if it’s only rented a few times a year, you may still need specialized coverage.

Most insurance companies consider short-term rentals a business venture.  Home insurance doesn’t often cover business activities, so a standard policy might not suit your needs.

Each insurance carrier has their own way of covering a vacation rental, so talking to a licensed agent is the best way to ensure you have the correct coverage on your policy.

Read more about insurance for vacation rentals in our blog Vacation Rental Property Insurance: What You Need to Know

Rideshare

Another popular way to make some extra money is to drive for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft. Most rideshare companies require that you have your own car insurance, and some provide extra coverage once you have connected with a passenger.

There is an additional risk when you’re driving for a rideshare company, so insurance carriers exclude coverage for driving for hire. Luckily, many insurance companies offer a Rideshare endorsement that you can add to the policy.

In most cases, Rideshare coverage is inexpensive, and it covers a gap that would otherwise leave you exposed. If you don’t have the proper coverage you could be left without coverage if you get in an accident. Your personal auto policy may also be cancelled for violating the terms and conditions.

The best way to find out if your policy offers Rideshare coverage is to call your agent and ask.

Check out our blog, What Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know About Insurance for more information about Rideshare coverage.

Freelancing from home

If you have a special set of skills, freelancing may be a great opportunity to make some money in your free time. Being able to work wherever you are is a huge plus to freelancing. You can write a blog on the beach, teach a class from your living room, or build a website from your bedroom.

One important thing to consider when working from home is safety. Make sure you don’t have cords laying in high traffic areas that could cause someone to trip. If you’re going to be working quite a few hours, you may want to invest in an ergonomic work area. Good posture, a solid office chair and a workspace that is the appropriate height can go a long way to prevent injury.

Another aspect to consider is your homeowners or renters insurance. If you have expensive equipment, you may need to increase your coverage limits. Your policy may also have certain guidelines or limitations regarding foot traffic in your home, so if you have people coming in and out of your house for business purposes, talk to your agent.

Our blog Working From Home: Safety and Insurance Risks provides more information about working from home safely.

DIY, Crafts, Upcycling, Selling Products (like essential oils, clothing, or makeup)

Making and selling items is a fun way to express your creativity while earning some cash. If you have products in your home, you may need to look over your insurance policy to make sure you have coverage for those items.

Most home or renters policies don’t automatically cover property related to a business. You can often add an endorsement to your policy to extend the coverage that you need. If your policy doesn’t have enough coverage for your situation, you can also consider a commercial property policy.

If you have any questions about what coverage your insurance policy offers in relation to your side hustle, give us a call. We’re happy to review your coverages and find a policy that will fit your unique needs!

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