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Colorado Insurance Blog

How to Create a Home Inventory

We all hope we’ll never have to file an insurance claim on our home, but the recent fire in Superior and Louisville was a reminder that bad things can happen in an instant. If you’re prepared with a home inventory, it can help make things go more smoothly if disaster strikes and you have to replace everything.

One simple way to create an inventory of your belongings is to do a video walk through of your home. Press record on your cell phone or camera and walk from room to room panning over your belongings. You can narrate what you’re looking at and open any cupboards or drawers where valuables might be kept. Once you have a video of your possessions, be sure to upload it to cloud storage or email it to yourself or someone you trust to ensure you can still access it if something happens to your phone or camera.

Another option is to fill out a Home Inventory Checklist. If you want a more itemized list that you can easily add and remove items from, you can download an app to help you create an inventory. Some options include Home Contents or Everspruce. Both apps have a free version, or you can elect to pay a fee to unlock additional features.

Here are some tips from the Insurance Information Institute for creating a list of your belongings:

  • Pick an easy spot to start – A contained area—like your small kitchen appliance cabinet, your sporting equipment closet or your handbag shelf—is a great place to get started.
  • List recent purchases – Another way to start is with recent purchases—get into the inventory habit and then go back tackle your older possessions.
  • Include the basic information – In general, describe each item you record, and note where you bought it, the make and model, what you paid and any other detail that might help in the event you need to make a claim.
  • Count clothing by general category – For example, “5 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of sneakers…” Make note of any items that are especially valuable.
  • Record serial numbers – Usually found on the back or bottom of major appliances and electronic equipment, serial numbers are a useful reference.
  • Check coverage on big ticket items – Jewelry, art and collectibles may have increased in value and may need special coverage separate from your standard homeowners insurance policy. While you’re making your home inventory list, check with your agent to make sure you have adequate insurance for these items before there is a loss.
  • Don’t forget off-site items – Your belongings kept in a self-storage facility are covered by your homeowners insurance, too. Make sure you include them in your inventory.
  • Keep proof of value – Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals with your list.
  • Add significant new purchases to your list – Make it a habit to add the item information and receipts to your inventory while the details are fresh in your mind.
  • Store a copy of your paper inventory outside the home – Keep it—along with applicable receipts and appraisals—in a safe deposit box or at a friend’s or relative’s home. Make at least one backup copy of your inventory document and store it separately. An easy way to make digital backup copies of your paper list is to take pictures of it on your smartphone.

Sources:

How to create a home inventory. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory

Home Insurance: What It Does and Doesn’t Cover

When you are on the search for your first home in Colorado, you also need to take into consideration the protection for that home. Homeowners insurance is imperative to protect your family, personal belongings, and the home itself. However, you need to ensure you choose the right policy, and this will depend greatly on what is and is not covered. Therefore, before you commit to a particular policy, make sure to speak to us at Integrity First Insurance.

What Is Typically Covered by Home Insurance?

The great thing about home insurance is that it offers you peace of mind, but it does so much more than that. Homeowner’s insurance typically provides protection for the structure from vehicular accidents, fires, and weather-related damage. In addition, it offers protection for the home against theft or vandalism, as well as personal liability protection from potential lawsuits in the event someone suffers an injury while at your home.

What Is Usually Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

There are some things that home insurance simply will not cover. For instance, if a natural disaster like a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or landslide causes power failure or damage to your home, your standard policy won’t provide coverage. Neglect, pet damage, and the like also won’t be covered.

If you are concerned about sewage backup, leaks, flooding, or other water-related damage, you will want to consider a separate flood insurance policy.

While homeowners insurance is not typically required by the state, it is often required by a lender if you are financing your home. Further, it is a wise investment to protect the roof over your head. If you need help securing homeowners insurance for your Colorado home, reach out to the team at Integrity First Insurance to explore the options available to you.

Stay Safe on (and off) the Road This Winter With These Items for Your Car

You keep your home stocked with supplies to use in case of emergency. (Right?)

What about your car?

During winter, extreme weather and road conditions can lead to all kinds of trouble when you’re traveling — crashes, getting stuck, getting lost. And cold temperatures make those situations even more dangerous than usual.
So keep a stockpile of emergency items in your car, just like your house. In the best-case scenarios, you’ll never have to use them, or they’ll just help keep you comfortable for an hour or so while you wait for a tow truck. But if you’re ever caught in a truly sticky situation, you might need them to do something more — like keep you alive.

The folks at Wisconsin’s Emergency Management agency are quite familiar with the perils of winter travel, as you can imagine. So don’t just take our word for it — here are some of the things they recommend you keep in your car to help keep you safe should you run into trouble on the roads in the snow and ice.

  • A shovel, tire chains, tow rope and sand or cat litter: All of these can help you get your car unstuck.
  • A windshield scraper: Preferably one with a brush attached.
  • Blankets, sleeping bags and extra clothing: Staying warm is crucial while you wait for help — especially if you don’t know how long you’ll be waiting.
  • Bottled water and snack food, such as energy bars, peanut butter and raisins: If it could be hours before you get moving again, you’ll need to stay hydrated and nourished.
  • A first-aid kit: Keep one in your car no matter what time of year.
  • A battery-powered radio: So you can get weather updates, information on emergency response efforts, etc. – and conserve your car’s battery.
  • Emergency flares, reflectors and a battery-powered flashlight: All of these will help you attract attention — and help other vehicles avoid you.
  • Matches and candles: Even a small heat source can be an effective one.

Your kit doesn’t have to be limited to the list above, of course. Feel free to add items that suit your needs. But most important, keep the kit in your car at all times — and then keep these additional safety tips in mind:

  • Keep your vehicle well maintained (and gassed up).
  • Create a trip plan and share it with friends of family.
  • Stay in your car if you get stuck. Walking to find help is an easy way to get lost and separate from others in your party.
  • To reduce battery drain, only use your emergency flashers if you hear vehicles approaching. You can keep your dome light on to remain visible.

Remember, even the best drivers can end up in a bad situation when the weather gets bad. It doesn’t take much time or money to prepare an emergency kit — but the potential cost of not having one is enormous.

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

Top image by Flickr user orion.

Exploring The Benefits Of Workers Compensation

Integrity First Insurance is an independent insurance agency. We sit down with Colorado residents and help them find policies that cover their assets. We want to make it easier for our clients to navigate life’s risks.

Exploring The Benefits Of Workers Compensation

Commercial insurance is essential to the success of Colorado businesses. Commercial insurance covers you if your property is damaged or stolen. While this is a major inconvenience, commercial insurance ensures that you will be able to bounce back. Liability coverage is also significant, as your business is protected if a customer is injured on your property, or they allege that your products caused them harm. Worker’s compensation is an important part of the policy as well. You rely on your employees to make sure that things function properly. An issue in the workplace has the potential to derail everything. Worker’s compensation covers your employees if there is an injury or serious issue happening. Here’s a look at some other benefits of worker’s compensation.

Staying In Compliance

Having a strong workers’ compensation plan helps your business stay in compliance with local regulations. This can help improve your customer retention rate and help you attract new talent. Staying in compliance with the regulations is a sign to customers that your business is worth investing in.

Recruiting Tool

A good workers’ compensation plan acts as a recruiting tool. You have the ability to take care of your employees if they become injured or disabled. This is a sign to top talent that they should consider working for your business because you’ll value their contributions.

Integrity First Insurance Will Help You Find The Coverage You Need

Visit our website to learn more information on commercial insurance.

Keep Your Pets Safe in a Disaster

A safe home, a regular routine, a soft bed – the things that bring you comfort bring your pet comfort, too. It’s so important to give some advance thought to how you’d handle your pet responsibilities during and after a disastrous storm or other event.

Your family emergency plan should include considerations for Fluffy or Fido. Not just so they’re comfortable, but so they’re safe, too.

Here are some emergency planning tips for families with pets:

Prepare Now so You and Your Pet Are Ready Later

  • Make sure your pet has ID. Always have your home address and/or phone number on a tag attached to your pet’s collar – or printed on the collar itself. You might also consider having a microchip implanted in case those tags fall off.
  • Keep a current photo of your pet handy. This is important for identification purposes in the event there’s no microchip or tags. If you really want to be prepared, create a “Lost Pet” flyer and keep a few printouts in your emergency kit.
  • Identify shelters or hotels that accept pets. Keep a list of their phone numbers and addresses, and include your local boarding facility’s number in case you need to drop off your pet. You could also create list of friends or family outside the area who can host you and your pets.
  • Think security. It’s a good idea to have a secure carrier or harness so pets can’t escape if they panic.
  • Create a separate pet emergency kit. You should have emergency supplies for you and your family – don’t forget your animal friends! Canned or moist food is best for them, as it can reduce their need for water. Other things to include: blankets, bottled water, pet first-aid supplies, vet records, extra collar and leash, food dishes and other supplies specific to pet type (such as cat litter, etc.).
  • Consider a buddy system. Talk with friends and neighbors and create a plan where you can help each other care for pets during emergencies. If one of you isn’t home when disaster strikes, the other agrees to see to the animals’ needs for care or evacuation. Be sure to discuss where to meet after an evacuation.

See to Your Pet’s Needs During a Disaster

  • Don’t leave pets outside or tied up. They may become frightened and escape. And, remaining outside can put them at greater risk of harm.
  • Separate dogs, cats and other animals. Even if they normally get along, stressful situations can lead to irrational behavior.
  • Have more unique pets, such as birds? Talk to your veterinarian about their specific needs in emergencies.
  • Keep a supply of newspapers. If your pets cannot go outside, you’ll need to create space indoors for them to … well, you know. Protect those areas with newspapers, towels or other items.
  • If at all possible, do not leave your pets behind if you need to evacuate. If you must, however, confine them to a safe area inside your home with access to plenty of food and water. Even leave the toilet seat up in case their other water runs out. And, it’s a good idea to leave an easily seen sign detailing how many pets are in the house, and how you can be reached.

Continue to Be Cautious Once It’s Over

  • Watch your pets closely. They may still be frightened, even days after a disaster. And, even familiar areas may have changed, so keep them on leash and stay close. Remember, there may be downed power lines or other hazards still present.
  • Re-evaluate how things went. Could your emergency plan have been better? Are there things you wish you had included in your pet’s disaster kit? Do you need to research more shelters and other facilities that will accept pets? Now’s the time to do it – before the next emergency.

If you’re like most people, you consider your pets part of the family. Including them in your plans, and taking steps before a disaster strikes, will make it easier to keep the whole family together.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®

Top image by Flickr user Lottie

Classic Car Insurance: FAQs

When you have a rare, classic vehicle, insurance is an absolute must. Insurance helps to protect valuable vehicles in the event of an accident or other hazard. Due to the fact that classic cars are far more specialized and valuable than the typical automobile, here are a few frequently asked vehicles that Colorado residents often ask us here at Integrity First Insurance.

What Exactly Is a Collector or Classic Car?

Every insurance company will have its own individual definition of a classic vehicle, but generally, vehicles that are a minimum of 10 years old are considered classic and vehicles that are a minimum of 25 years old are considered collectors. In addition, antique vehicles are usually those that are 50 years or older.

What Does It Cost to Insure Classic Vehicles?

Believe it or not, these insurance policies are quite affordable. The reason for this is due to the fact that they aren’t driven often. Because of this, there is less of a risk that they’ll be involved in an accident. As a result, this leads to a less expensive premium.

What Type of Obligations Do You Have as an Owner?

Your auto insurance company may limit the number of miles that you can drive throughout the year. In addition, you may need to provide your insurer with proof that your vehicle is consistently stored in a garage, that you have a daily driver, and that you have a solid driving record.

Do Classic Cars Need to Be Appraised?

In order for your vehicle to be valued accurately, it is recommended to be appraised by a professional. This ensures that you and your insurance company agree on a value prior to entering into a contract for insurance. When classic and collector vehicles are well maintained, depreciation is generally not something that needs to be taken into consideration, as these vehicles will instead increase in value over a period of time.

When you need insurance for your classic car in Colorado, reach out to the professional insurance agents at Integrity First Insurance who have the experience and expertise to protect your precious assets.

10 Things You Should Know About Insurance In Colorado

1. Extreme weather impacts insurance rates in Colorado.

Hail and heavy rains can cause damage to cars, homes, boats, motorcycles, etc. Many claims are filed when there’s a big storm, which leads to the average insurance rates to increase.

2. Car insurance is more expensive in Colorado than in many other states.

The average car insurance rates have increased by more than 50% in the past 10 years. There are plenty of reasons that car insurance is increasing across the country, and more specifically in Colorado.

Read more about the increasing rates in Colorado in our blog 5 Reasons Insurance Rates Keep Increasing in Colorado

3. Population increases lead to rate increases.

The rapidly increasing population and crowded roads in Colorado has led to more accidents and higher car insurance rates.

4. The minimum liability limits to legally drive in Colorado are $25K/$50K/$15K.

Although you can legally drive with the minimum limits, they aren’t enough to protect your family and your future. Higher limits can save you a lot of money in the long run.

3 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Attorneys

5. Homeowners in Colorado are more likely to file a roof claim than those in most other states.

Between 2017-2019, Colorado had the second most hail claims in the US. The only state with more in that span was Texas. With such severe hail storms in Colorado, most residents will file a roof claim in their lifetime.

6. As of 2019, 16.3% of drivers in Colorado are driving without insurance.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the national average in 2019 was 12.6%. Colorado is well over the national average, which is why our Uninsured Motorist coverage rates are on the rise.

Want to know more about the importance of Uninsured Motorist coverage? Check out our blog Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

7. Wildfires have a big impact on insurance in Colorado.

Homes in wildfire-prone areas are difficult to insure and come with a big price tag.

Here’s more information about the impact of wildfires on insurance in Colorado: What You Should Know About Wildfires and Insurance

8. Even though Colorado is a landlocked state, there is still risk of flooding.

Flooding doesn’t only happen near large bodies of water. Rapid rainfall or runoff from areas previously damaged by wildfire can cause severe flooding. You can add a flood endorsement on some home policies in Colorado, or buy a separate policy to cover your risk.

Read about flood insurance here: Flood Insurance 101 

9. Vacation rentals, like AirBnb and VRBO are becoming more popular in Colorado.

Colorado is an ideal vacation destination for many in both the summer and the winter. That means the demand for vacation rentals is skyrocketing. Renting out a second home or even a room in your current home is a great way to bring in some extra income. Luckily, there are plenty of options available for insuring homes used as a vacation rental, but it’s important to get the right coverage.

Vacation Rental Property Insurance: What You Need to Know

10. Rental car rates often skyrocket during hail season.

After a big hail storm, many people need a rental car while their car is getting fixed. With a limited inventory, most rental car companies sell out and the rates become inflated. Check your car insurance policy to make sure you have enough rental car coverage to account for higher costs associated with hail season.

What Is Recreational Insurance?

If you love the outdoors, chances are that you’ve been interested in different types of recreational vehicles. These vehicles are often campers and other large vehicles along with off-road vehicles. If you have any kind of vehicle used for recreation, give us a call today at Integrity First Insurance in Colorado to get your recreational insurance. 

Why Get Recreational Insurance?

Your recreational vehicle or off-road vehicle may not be your usual vehicle, but it should be covered. Even if you don’t use your RV very often, it is still vulnerable to damage and other issues. You need coverage so that the right repairs, or a replacement, can be made. If you live in your RV full-time, it’s especially important to have this coverage. In this case, your RV would have much more time around other vehicles, giving it more risk. Without RV insurance, not only would you be in a terrible financial bind if there were an accident, but you would also face legal ramifications for not having the needed insurance policy. 

Recreational Insurance Choices

Because an RV is so unique, it needs a unique insurance policy that reflects your lifestyle as well as the vehicle itself. It is generally required for most RVs to have liability coverage for both property damage liability and bodily injury liability. These types of coverage will pay for someone else’s bills after an accident that you cause. If you cause the accident, it does not include anything to pay for your own property damage or to replace your RV. That’s where collision coverage comes in. It helps you to pay for the needed repairs, or replacement, after an accident. Comprehensive insurance covers a wide range of risks that happen off the road. 

Get Recreational Insurance

If you’re ready for a recreational insurance policy, call us at Integrity First Insurance in Colorado.

What is “Broad Form” Auto Insurance and Why is it Risky?

What is Broad Form Auto Insurance?

Broad Form auto insurance is very basic liability insurance that covers only one driver. Only the driver named on the policy is covered, so if anyone else ever drives their vehicle(s), for any reason, they would have no coverage. Essentially; instead of covering most drivers that aren’t excluded by the policy like regular auto policies, Broad Form policies exclude every single driver that’s not listed on the policy.

Since it only covers the one driver, it rates for the person rather that the vehicle(s). You’d pay the same amount regardless of how many vehicles you own and it extends to any vehicle the policyholder operates.

Unlike traditional auto insurance, Broad Form policies don’t cover an entire household. You can’t get a policy with your spouse and your kids, you can only get a policy for one individual driver.

What is NOT covered by Broad Form insurance?

  • Damages to your own vehicle
    • That means you can’t get Comprehensive or Collision coverage for your car, so you’d have no coverage to repair your car from an accident, hail damage, theft, or any other cause of loss
  • Your own medical payments
    • There’s no option to add Uninsured Motorist coverage or Medical Payments coverage
    • You wouldn’t have any coverage for your injuries even if you were involved in a hit-and-run or an accident with an uninsured driver
  • Injuries to your passengers
    • Like with your own medical bills, your passengers wouldn’t have any coverage for their injuries in an accident either
  • Liability payments if someone else drives your car and causes an accident
    • A Broad Form policy only covers the driver listed, so if your spouse, child, friend, co-worker, or anyone else drives your car, they’d have zero coverage
  • Roadside Assistance, Loss of Use (Rental Car Coverage), Gap Coverage, etc.

Who does Broad Form coverage make sense for?

Some people consider Broad Form coverage a good option if they have older cars that they don’t want physical damage coverage on and only need liability insurance. Personally, I disagree. In my opinion, the most glaring coverage gap between a Broad Form policy and a normal auto policy isn’t to coverage for your vehicle, it’s the Uninsured Motorist and Medical Payments coverage.

Those are the coverages that will help pay for your bills if you get injured in an accident. Hospital bills can pile up very quickly and paying those expenses out-of-pocket can cause financial ruin.

Read more in our blogs, What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage? and Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

I would only recommend Broad Form coverage to someone who has enough funds built up to handle those expenses on their own. While Broad Form coverage does provide basic liability insurance and meets the minimum limits required by the state, it’s almost like choosing to “self-insure.” It’s a way to pay the least amount of money, but have the least amount of security in the event of a loss.

Facts About Broad Form Insurance:

Broad Form coverage is so limited it doesn’t meet the insurance requirements for most states

Only 11 states accept Broad Form insurance:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

Most reputable insurance companies don’t offer Broad Form auto insurance

Since Broad Form policies leave large gaps in coverage and aren’t considered good policies, most insurance carriers won’t even offer that type of policy.

10 Things to do to Prepare Your Home for Fall

Fall is a wonderful time — if your home is ready for it. So enjoy the last few weeks of warmer weather, but do a little preventative maintenance while you’re at it. You’ll fix small problems before they become big, and big ones before they become catastrophes.

Here are 10 tips to help:

  1. Look up. Examine your roof closely. Moss should be removed and debris cleared from gutters and downspouts. Repairing damage is crucial before fall weather is in full swing.
  2. Look down. Check for signs of animals and insects around your home and garage, including the basement and crawlspace. If you need help getting unwanted guests out, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional.
  3. Keep things warm. Heat escapes through leaks around windows and doors, so seal up any drafty areas. Outside, put covers over faucets before temperatures drop.
  4. Keep things dry. Drain outdoor hoses, faucets and irrigation systems. Look in the basement and crawlspace for wet spots. And make sure your water heater or boiler aren’t leaking.
  5. Clear the air (or vents and filters, at least). When’s the last time you checked your dryer vent? You should take a look at attic vents and exhaust ducts as well. And change that furnace filter, too!
  6. Take a walk. Cracks in your driveway or walkways will only get bigger, so get them fixed soon. If your deck has signs of wear, make repairs while the weather is still good.
  7. Get a tune-up. You or a professional should clean and tune your furnace, boiler and/or water heater, as well as your oven and range.
  8. Don’t play with fire. Before building your first fire of the season, check for soot or creosote build-up.
  9. Don’t play with fire extinguishers, either. But check them to ensure they still have pressure. Don’t have fire extinguishers? Put them on your shopping list, ideally one for each floor.
  10. Don’t forget those smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors. Replace batteries when needed, and test regularly that alarms are working.

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

Top image by Flickr user Lali Masriera.

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