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Colorado Insurance Blog

7 Things You Should Know About Boat Insurance

Colorado has some of the most breathtaking picturesque landscapes in the country. Even better, it’s a scintillating experience when viewing the scenery while on your boat. Whether you are on an exploration mission with your boat in the Blue Mesa Reservoir or having good times with your family on Chatfield Reservoir, having a boat in Colorado has many advantages.

When you’re taking a boat or jet ski out the last thing you want to do is worry about what would happen if you had an accident. Regrettably, accidents and calamities sometimes strike. Fortunately, you can avert huge financial losses from a day out in the lake by investing in boat insurance. Contact our agents at Integrity First Insurance to learn more about boat insurance and how it can protect your finances.

Here are 7 things you should know about boat insurance:

1. Most boat policies only provide coverage in certain areas.

Generally, anywhere within the US and up to 75 miles off the US coastline is covered. Many policies will also cover into the Pacific coastal waters of Mexico and the Canadian coastal or inland waters.

2. You may be able to choose between Actual Cash Value or Agreed Value coverage for your boat.

Actual Cash Value: Just like cars, boats depreciated in value overtime. Actual Cash Value coverage takes into account age and wear and tear and pays out a depreciated amount based on that.

Agreed Value: With Agreed Value coverage, you choose what value to insure your boat for and will be paid out that agreed amount if there is a total loss. You’re only responsible for the deductible, not any depreciation.

3. Liability insurance is important.

If you’re responsible for an accident while operating your boat, your liability coverage will pay for the injuries or damage caused. Without liability insurance, you could be sued for those costs and have to pay out of pocket or have your wages garnished.

4. You can add protection for Fuel Spill Liability and Wreckage Removal.

Many people don’t know that they are responsible for removing any wreckage and cleaning up an oil or fuel spill if their boat is involved in an accident. The cost of that can add up quickly, so adding that coverage to your boat insurance policy is a great way to protect finances.

5. Most boat policies have the option to add on-water towing coverage.

If your boat breaks down on the water, this coverage will pay to tow it and may even pay for delivery of fuel, oil, or a battery.

6. You can purchase Medical Payments coverage to protect yourself and your passengers, including water skiers and tubers.

Medical Payments coverage limits range from $500 to $10K or more, and will pay for medical costs regardless of who is at-fault for the accident.

7. Unlike auto insurance, watercraft insurance isn’t required in Colorado.

However, if you financed your water vessel, your lender may require you to carry boat insurance until you pay your outstanding loan.

If you are a boat owner, consider procuring a boat insurance policy. Insuring your watercraft protects you, your family, your boat and your financial future so you can focus on having fun. To get coverage, please contact Integrity First Insurance for an affordable quote.

Photo by Maxi am Brunnen on Unsplash

10 Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Shopping online. Visiting the doctor. Buying gas. In nearly all of the things we do from day to day, there’s the risk of identity theft.

You could unknowingly give your information to a fraudster thinking you’re shopping at a legitimate site. Your doctor’s office could experience a data breach. Or, you could come across a tampered credit card reader at the gas pump.

The risks your identity faces go on and on. So, what can you do to stop it? Unfortunately, virtually no one today can completely negate the risk of identity theft. But, we can all take some important steps to help prevent it.

Here are 10 sensible habits to adopt that will help you protect your identity:

  1. Limit what you carry in your wallet, and know what’s there in case it goes missing. First things first, don’t carry your Social Security card on a regular basis. Instead, keep it in a locked safe at home. Have a form of identification or some other card with your Social Security number (SSN) on it? Carry a photocopy of it instead of the real thing, and cut out or otherwise render your SSN unreadable. As for credit cards, only carry the ones you need. Finally, make photocopies of the front and back of the cards you always keep in your wallet and store them in your home safe. If one (or all of them) goes missing, you won’t have to search high and low for the card issuer’s contact information.
  2. Keep your computers, software and other electronics secure and up to date. This means using strong passwords or enabling passcodes – remember not to write them down. It also means installing firewall, spyware and virus protection. Keep everything up to date (and backed up) for the latest security enhancements. For your portable devices, consider installing software to remotely wipe your data or locate the device if it’s ever lost or stolen.
  3. Don’t over share. Does every entity that asks for your (or your child’s) SSN really need it? Take a moment to think instead of automatically jotting it down. At the very least, maybe only the last four digits will do. In addition, be careful what you share online. Posting your full address, phone number, license plate number or your birth date online, even if it’s in a photo, may help others piece together a full picture of your identity.
  4. Do check your credit reports throughout the year. You’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the three bureaus once a year. And, since the information on each report is oftentimes largely the same, you can stagger your requests and receive a different report once every four months. Once you receive it, check your report for accounts and other activity you don’t recognize. Even a credit check from a company you haven’t done business with could be an attempt at identity theft. To order your free credit reports, call 1-877-322-8228 or visit http://www.annualcreditreport.com/.
  5. Keep an eye on your accounts. Your account statements can alert you to identity theft sooner than your credit report, in most cases. Check regularly for unauthorized charges or withdrawals and other illicit activity, such as address changes or additional cards you didn’t request.
  6. Watch your surroundings. Whether you’re using the ATM or a portable device, you want to be sure others nearby aren’t watching as you type in your PIN or password. And, just because you don’t see anyone nearby doesn’t mean they’re not there. If you’re using a shared or public WiFi, everyone else on the same network may see the data, including passwords or account numbers, you submit. Be sure to conduct sensitive transactions on secure networks.
  7. Reduce your mail. Start by opting out of pre-approved credit card offers by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT and following the prompts. This should stay in effect for five years and help curb the risk of someone else obtaining a new credit card in your name. Next, sign up for paperless billing with your financial and service providers and/or schedule automatic payments through your bank. The less mail containing personal and account details that comes to your home, the less likely it is to fall into the wrong hands.
  8. Be skeptical when someone asks for your information. Scam artists don’t always have to steal your information. Sometimes they convince you to give it up willingly by telling you via a phone call, email, snail mail or text that you won a prize or need to verify your account. To claim the prize or account, you’ll, of course, need to supply some sensitive information. Requests like these are almost always inauthentic – what’s known as a “phishing” scam. So, stay on guard and contact the entity through a known, verified method to inquire about the matter, rather than providing personal details on the spot.
  9. Mind your garbage. If you’re throwing out account statements or other documents with personal information, you’re making it easy for dumpster divers to learn a little, perhaps a lot, about you. They may even learn enough to take over one of your accounts. So, shred your sensitive documents and then recycle them – don’t just throw them out in the garbage.
  10. Tidy up at home. Tax returns, credit cards you use infrequently, checkbooks, passports, birth certificates – these and other important documents should all be stored under lock and key. Whether it’s in a home safe or a locking desk or file cabinet is up to you. And, don’t leave the code or key in an easily discoverable place.

Despite your best efforts, you may still discover that your identity has been stolen, If so, take immediate action to:

  • Fill out the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Take your affidavit to the police and file a report. Be sure to get a copy for your records. It will come in handy if you need to close fraudulent accounts, straighten out your credit report and more.
  • Call your financial providers to request new account numbers and, if needed, cards.
    Contact one of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert, which will encourage creditors to contact you before opening new lines of credit, on your credit report. The bureau you contact will share it with the other two.
    Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    Transunion: 1-800-680-7289

And, if you’re involved in a data breach and offered free credit monitoring, be sure to take advantage of it.

In today’s world of hyper connectivity and speed, it’s easy for your information to end up in the wrong hands. But, by being cautious with how you use and share your information, and checking for misuse, you can help keep your identity secure.

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

Wedding Insurance: Say “Yes” to Peace of Mind

You’ve fallen in love and plan to say, “I do.” Now your every waking moment is filled with visions of the dress, the rings, the flowers, the honeymoon and more. But, have you thought about insurance?

No, it’s not romantic, but it is a practical way to gain some peace of mind. After all, what would happen if something went wrong with the venue or your rings got stolen? Insurance can help you plan for these and other scenarios – find out how below.

The Big Day

According to TheKnot.com, the average cost of a wedding now exceeds $25,000. When you make an investment of that size, it’s a good idea to protect it. What if the caterer cancels the morning of your wedding? Hiring a replacement the day-of might cost you four times as much. What if the reception site floods a few days beforehand and you have to change venues? What if the groom gets sick and must be hospitalized? Event insurance typically covers unforeseen and sudden issues like these related to the reception site, inclement weather, vendor no-shows and illness or injury.

So, where to start with purchasing a policy? Talk with your venue and vendors about their liability insurance to help determine where you might need additional coverage. Then, work with an independent insurance agent to purchase event insurance for your wedding.

The Bling

Engagement and wedding rings can represent a sizeable investment in and of themselves. You’ll want to update your renters insurance, condo insurance or homeowners insurance – as well as your home inventory – to reflect their value. Is there an opportune time to do so? Yes: as soon as possible. Don’t put it off until after you’ve settled in to a regular routine following the honeymoon. As soon as you purchase the rings, call your independent agent to protect them.

The Presents

We’ve all heard the horror stories of wedding gifts being stolen. You can always purchase an extra policy to cover yourself from potential loss – whether the gifts are stolen off your front porch or lifted from the gift table at your reception. Policies typically cover a pre-defined period of time before or after the wedding and require you to file a police report if something does go missing.

After the wedding, you’ll want to add your new household goods to your home inventory in case of a personal property claim on your renters, condo or homeowners policy. You can check with your independent agent whether you need to purchase more personal property coverage to protect your new belongings, especially items such as china, silver, collectibles and family heirlooms. These and other items that appreciate over time may need separate coverage. Create a list of these items and discuss them with your independent agent.

The Honeymoon

Finally, it’s time to relax after months of sweating over pulling off the perfect day. But, the honeymoon isn’t exempt from unforeseen circumstances, which is where travel insurance comes into play. Polices often address trip cancellation, trip delay, medical insurance and more. The travel experts at Frommer’s say a policy should cost about 3 to 8 percent of your trip’s value. If you’re interested in protecting your trip, talk to us about the policy that’s right for you.

Your wedding day and your honeymoon should be some of the happiest times of your life. Putting a little extra effort into insuring your investment will put you on the path to living happily ever after. Best wishes and congratulations!

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®

Top image by UnSplash user Jeremy Wong Weddings

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