Category Archives: Personal Insurance

Planning a Foreign Trip This Holiday? Look into K&R Insurance

Kidnapping is defined as the unlawful act of stealing, carrying off or abducting someone by force or fraud, especially for use as a hostage to extract a ransom payment. What were once canstock13916519crimes perpetrated exclusively against the affluent and influential, kidnappings, abductions, unlawful detainments, illegal arrests and ransoms are happening more and more to people from all socioeconomic levels and walks of life.

Kidnapping statistics are alarming. In the U.S., for instance, there has been a significant rise in child abductions due to parental custody disputes. Internationally, surges in human trafficking and tourist hijackings have also been reported – especially in remote and unsafe parts of the world. In 2012, the following top 10 global kidnapping hot spots were identified, prompting state and federal agencies to issue travel warnings and alerts in these zones:

  • Afghanistan
  • Somalia
  • Iraq
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Yemen
  • Venezuela
  • Mexico
  • Haiti
  • Colombia

The problems are not just isolated to the above-mentioned Nations, but are quickly spreading to more locations worldwide. Kidnapping today is big business: Extortion and ransom payments total in the multi-millions of dollars each year.

What Is Kidnap And Ransom Insurance?

Kidnap and ransom insurance provides comprehensive coverage and protection for those traveling in high-risk parts of the world. It’s designed to minimize the financial impact of these incidents on both individuals and multinational corporations.

Who’s At Risk?

Traditionally, high-profile families (famous celebrities and powerful company executives), non-government organizations and employees of corporations operating abroad are the most vulnerable, however, potentially anyone can fall victim to such crimes.

What Does Kidnap And Ransom Insurance Cover?

Kidnap and ransom insurance policies typically cover losses from monies paid for ransom, as well as reimburse the insured for other expenses related to kidnapping or extortion, such as:

  • Transit and delivery costs
  • Investigation, negotiation and recovery services
  • Accidental death or injury
  • Legal fees
  • Medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Crisis management consulting

What You Can Do To Minimize The Danger

Kidnappings, hijackings, abductions, detainments and unlawful imprisonment can happen when you least expect it. The following are some things that you can do to help lower your chances of becoming a target:

  • Avoid traveling in dangerous regions and countries
  • Be hyper-vigilant of your surroundings, both at night and during daylight hours
  • If you are living or working in hazardous areas, participate in kidnapping prevention and preparedness training.

Peace Of Mind When Traveling

Many insurance companies offer coverage to traveling employees and their families, as well as to individuals as part of a personal insurance travel package. As mentioned earlier, anyone can be vulnerable to a kidnap, ransom or extortion crime while visiting a foreign land, so it’s prudent and recommended that one be adequately protected. Discuss your particular situation with an agent or broker experienced in the kidnap and ransom insurance area so you’ll be able to enjoy peace of mind knowing you and your family are safer and more secure when far away from home.

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Travel Insurance – Should I Buy It?

travel-insuranceThe question pops up every time you buy a plane ticket.

Would you like to add travel insurance?

It’s not free, of course. Credit cards may offer you coverage for free, but add-on travel insurance is another matter. Is it a complete waste of money? Or can it truly save your trip?

There’s no easy answer. There are factors, or rather situations, that call for travel insurance and there are cases when it’s unnecessary. Most importantly, it also depends on what the insurance policy covers. So it’s really not about whether or not you should get travel insurance. Instead, it’s about knowing which kind of insurance to choose.

Here are some situations when it makes sense to buy a travel insurance policy.

An Expensive Vacation or Cruise

You’re going to gift it this season. Or you’ve beensaving up for the trip of a lifetime, which is going to be an incredibly huge investment. That around-the-world cruise vacation or African Safari will cost you $15,000, but it will create memories that are truly priceless.

Should you buy a travel insurance policy? Definitely yes. The important factor here is the price. It’s a hefty amount and you ought to protect it with trip cancellation and interruption insurance. Let’s face it, the unexpected can happen no matter how thorough you are in planning your trip.

What if you suddenly get sick? Or what if an emergency such as a crisis in the family occurs? Or the cruise line or airline goes bankrupt? In these cases, travel insurance can safeguard your well-earned money so that you can simply move your travel date, book another ticket and go on the vacation of your dreams.

Additional tip: don’t buy this insurance from the cruise ship company. You won’t get your money back if that same company goes out of business.

Trip Not Covered by Health Insurance

Most people assume that their existing health insurance covers medical expenses abroad. In almost every case, it won’t. Traveling outside the country, including on foreign-flagged cruise ships, demands caution. And one of the most important areas you should safeguard while traveling is your health.

In this case, because your current health insurance policy most likely doesn’t cover medical expenses abroad, you should definitely get a travel medical insurance policy.

Most travel insurance policies of this type will fly you to the doctor of your choice but you should thoroughly read the fine print to understand what you’re getting. In case you get sick or require urgent medical attention abroad, the insurance should cover your initial treatment, free and quick transport to a hospital or medical facility of your choice and other adequate medical resources.

What about getting sick in a developing country? This is another situation where getting a good travel medical insurance policy makes sense. Not only will the policy pay for your care. The insurance company can also help to ensure you won’t get overcharged.

Extreme Sports Travel

Do you love mountaineering? Ice or rock climbing? White water rafting? Adventure racing? Frozen lake kite winging? The list goes on. What all of these activities share in common is this – they’re all extreme and put a traveler’s life at risk.

If you’re the adventurous type who loves taking part in extreme sports abroad, then you should definitely get insurance. A basic travel insurance policy may cover “some” specific adventure travel, but the company will usually ask you how high the mountain is or how deep will you scuba dive. If the basic package doesn’t cover your adventure and extreme sports, be sure to purchase additional coverage. It’s more expensive, of course, but it can save your life. In fact, most people buy it for the peace of mind it affords.

There are many other situations when travel insurance is necessary. Understand your travel needs and research your options so that you can spend your trip relaxing rather than worrying out insurance coverage.

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Traveling? Renting a Car? Should You Buy the Insurance? So Many Questions!

Car_Rental_Insurance_JusRenting a car can be a confusing process. The additional fees and services offered by car rental companies are often tacked on the bill followed by paragraphs of legalese. Supplemental liability insurance is one of these extra fees. While the name implies importance, it may be an unnecessary fee when renting a car. To determine whether you need supplemental liability insurance on your next car rental, start by assessing your current coverage.

What is Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLP)? 

Most states require that rental car companies provide drivers with minimum levels of liability insurance during the rental period. Supplemental insurance provides additional coverage above the state minimums, up to $1 million in liability protection.

For some drivers, this additional coverage is a great deal that can cover additional costs associated with an accident. For other drivers, this coverage is already included in other areas and duplicating this service through the rental company is a waste of money.

Using a Credit Card? 

Many credit card companies offer bonuses that customers are not using. Charge backs and reward points are often scrutinized and compared when searching for a new credit card but many cards also offer secondary rental insurance which consumers fail to use.

The best way to determine whether your credit cards offer rental insurance is to read the terms of use or speak to customer service. Determine how long after an accident you have to file the claim. Most credit card companies offer drivers a 45 day window. If your credit card offers SLP, buying coverage from the rental car company is unnecessary.

Did You Call Your Insurer? 

Most drivers do not need supplemental liability insurance for the simple reason that they already have coverage under their current auto insurance. In addition to covering the driver while driving other people’s cars, rental cars are covered by basic auto insurance for the same deductible.

Don’t Want to File a Claim?

Even drivers who have primary automobile insurance may opt to use SLP to prevent their insurance rates from rising in the event of a rental car accident. Rental cars are notorious for being driven recklessly and drivers with a lead foot or those that are particularly harsh on rentals may not want rising rates over a couple of scratches. In this case, SLP is a good way to prevent extravagant bills for car damage without effecting insurance rates.

Don’t Own a Car? 

While insured drivers may already carry supplemental liability insurance, drivers who do not own a car may find value in getting additional coverage during their rental period. Without the secondary coverage available from auto insurance, customers with expensive rental cars or valuable assets can protect their money by accepting the nominal daily charge for supplemental liability insurance.

If you’re a non-car owner that travels frequently, the fees associated with SLP can add up fast. Consider contacting an auto insurance company to ask about liability coverage for drivers who do not own a car. Most policies cost less than $300 a year and will provide adequate coverage in case of accident without the additional cost of supplemental liability insurance.

Supplemental liability insurance may not be a great deal, but for drivers with the right prerequisites, it can be a valuable addition to rental insurance. Being underinsured in an accident can have serious consequences. Make sure you understand your coverage before turning down supplemental insurance while renting a car.

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How Long Do I Have to Purchase Car Insurance After Buying a Car?

Car insurance can be complicated if a person does not have a good agent to help them through the process. How much do you need?  When do you need to buy it?   Can it be added to an existing policy? This article won’t answer all your questions.  It will, however, help answer the question of how soon you need to buy insurance after you purchase a car.  The answer can depend on where you purchase your car, your state laws and the existence of any other car insurance policies you may have.

Driving off the lot
Many car lots will not even allow you to drive off the lot with a car until you have insurance.  This is more to protect them than protect you. They want to make sure the car is covered until it is paid in full. There is also likely to be a requirement as to how much insurance you need.

From a private owner
A private owner will most likely not care whether you have insurance or not since you will be taking title of the car right away.  In this case, you may have two weeks or so, depending on when the temporary tags expire.  It is then likely that you will be required to show proof of insurance before you will be issued permanent tags. This is definitely the case in states that require all drivers be covered under some kind of car insurance.

Existing policies
Car owners who have existing insurance policies will need to talk to their insurance agent. Some policies have a grace period during which the new car is covered under the existing policy. These grace periods vary in terms of their duration, so it is important to carefully review your policy. Other policies do not allow this at all. Your insurance agent can help you determine whether you are covered or not and how long you have before you need to get the additional car covered.

State laws
Most states have some type of car insurance regulations in place and they may differ from the requirements of the dealer where you purchase your car. In all cases, it is better to check in advance with your state Department of Motor Vehicles to find out their requirements. Once you know the State’s requirements, you will be in a better position to comply with them. Unless the dealer requires insurance before allowing you to take possession, state law is the standard, and that will likely mean you need to secure car insurance before you can be issued permanent tags for your car.

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A Casual Look at Property & Casualty Insurance

While shopping for insurance, whether for your home or business, you may have heard the term “property and casualty insurance” used by your agent or insurance representative. When looking at your quote or reviewing your issued policy, you will see lists of coverages such as “personal property” or “general liability”. These coverages fall under either Casualty or Property and make up the essential parts of your policy. Without these, there would be no coverage and no protection for your assets.

But, “what is property and casualty insurance and do I need it?”

Property Coverage

You may find Property coverage more straightforward than its counterpart, Casualty. If you carry any insurance for your building, equipment, furnishings, or your home, car, or personal belongings, then you already have property coverage built into your policy. This coverage protects you against direct damages to your property by covering causes like fire, lightening, and wind.

Property coverage can also apply to loss of income generating ability, as you would find in Business Income coverage. This applies specifically to your ability to generate income in the event of a covered accident or damage that prevents your business from operating. A few days or several weeks could cripple your business and result in closing without this type of property coverage.

Casualty Coverage

Casualty can be difficult to define but it typically refers to the liability coverage found in business and personal policies. The term casualty is not applied to Life, Health or Property policies where liability is not a factor. You will probably hear most often that casualty is insurance covering injury or property damage to others “for which you are legally liable”.  In simpler terms, it is coverage for damages caused by you due to your negligence.

Accidents happen both at home and on the job all the time which can result in injuries.  A friend visiting your house could be seriously hurt because the deck you built collapsed.  Or, a customer at your salon might slip-and-fall because of an unsecured mat and suffer serious fractures. These types of accidents are not anticipated but because of our potentially negligent acts, could result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and legal fees.

Why Do I Need It?

If you own anything of value that you could not replace out-of-pocket in the unfortunate event of disaster, then chances are that you need Property and Casualty insurance.

If you have ever been careless while driving, at home, or at your place of business, you need Property and Casualty insurance.

For all the savings you may have or for all the planning you’ve done, nothing can prepare you for an unexpected event like a fire. The cost to repair and replace your belongings and cleanup the damage in the aftermath could total in the thousands. The best and most effective plan for protecting yourself and your family from financial crisis is insurance.

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Consider Risk Management Strategies When Buying a Home

houseReal estate markets in many parts of the country are heating up, with prices rising at a good clip. In many areas, it is a true seller’s market. So buyers should take heed of the various risks inherent in buying a home and should use sound risk management strategies before taking the plunge on an asset of such size. Here are some risk management and insurance tips to consider for your clients who are shopping for a home.

  • Consider the financial risks by not overextending yourself when buying a home. A good rule of thumb is not to buy a home that costs over 2.5 times your annual salary. Many online calculators can assist you in determining the maximum price for a home you can afford.
  • Consider the property and casualty risks. What are the key loss exposures to the home? For example, is the home in a flood zone? How far is it from the nearest fire department? Is it in an earthquake seismic zone 3 or 4?
  • What is the condition of the home? If it is apparent the home has not been properly cared for by viewing surface level deficiencies, there is a good chance that deeper problems may eventually manifest themselves. Thus, the value of a good home inspector cannot be overemphasized. If it is an older home, when were the various systems upgraded?
  • What types of losses have appeared on the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report during the past 5 years? For example, a pattern of water losses may be a warning sign.
  • What type of loss control features does the home have? For example, is there a central station burglar and fire alarm system or a sprinkler system? If the home is in a hurricane-prone area, what windstorm protection devices are in place,
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4 Tips for Purchasing a New Vehicle

Changing your car can seem like a daunting process with so many factors to take into account and countless options to consider before you find what’s right for you. While it may seem like a tricky task, a new addition to the family and the need for an extra seat or the unwelcome sound of a rattling engine can ensure it is a necessary change to make. MC900440349

It’s important to know how to approach the whole car change process, particularly from an auto insurance point of view, as insurance can often become the deciding factor in any deal. Whether you’ve been through it before or you’re buying your first car, here are 4 tips that can help you ensure a pain-free car change:

1) Requirements: – The first question you need to ask yourself when setting out to change your car is: “What do I need?” It might seem like a simple question, but there’s plenty of answers.

Consider the location where you’re most likely to use your car. If you’re going to spend most of your driving time in the city, then there’s probably no need for a large 4×4 for off-road travel. Similarly, if you’re going to be doing a lot of country driving, a 1.2l hatchback may not be the mopst suitable choice of vehicle.

Location can determine a lot but knowing how long you’ll need the car for, how many days a week you’ll need it, the average daily/weekly distance you’ll be travelling and the number of passengers you’ll have to carry are all determining factors that should get you thinking before you take a trip to the local dealership.

2) Budget: – Everything we own depends on our budget. From the size of our house to the shoes on our feet, spending depends on budget and changing your car or buying your first car is no different. Before you start browsing, be sure to know how much you can afford to spend on a new car – or if you can’t afford a new car, why not consider a second-hand car?

Once you’ve settled on your budget, you can begin to consider your options, however the cost won’t end there. How much will your car insurance coverage cost? How many people will your car insurance cover? How much will it cost you to tax the vehicle? What about maintenance costs? The price of petrol/diesel? These are all financial factors you have to consider before you commit to a new car. It may require thinking ahead but it will be worth it in the long run.

3) Dependability: – Once you know what you need and what you can afford, you can start to look at reasonable options. Consult your local dealership or if your considering online car trade, source highly-rated classified ads sites and start from there. There will be thousands of options of both new and old cars that may fit your requirements and suit your budget, but there is one other factor to consider which can help whittle the mass down to a number of frontrunners.

Dependability is something we all look for when making an investment. It’s a crucial part of the risk management process that helps you to assess the potential value of a decision. If you’re setting out to invest in a new car, you have to think about its dependability and how well the model serves both your requirements and your budget. If you’re after a car for country driving and long-distance travel, think about the mileage and how dependable your car will be after 6 months on the road. If you’re looking for something for recreational travel that you won’t use that often, why spend more than you need to on a car with low mileage? Other comparative factors such as handling, appearance and the motor condition of the car can help you narrow down your options.

4) Trade-in Vale: – The final thing to consider before you sign on the dotted line is the trade-in value of the car. This comes back to assessing your requirements and what you need. How long are you planning to use the care for? 3 years? longer? Determining the potential use of the car can go a long way in helping you equate its trade-in value. If you want to buy a car that offers good trade-in value then the newer the model and the lower the mileage the better. Whereas, if you have little or no intention of trading the car and and maybe intend on passing it on to a friend or another family member or even selling it privately, trade-in potential shouldn’t be your biggest worry.

While buying a new car can seem like quite a demanding venture, a comprehensive risk management strategy taking into consideration your requirements, budget, car dependability and its trade-in value can greatly help you make the right decision. Once you’re happy and you’ve settled on your chosen vehicle, you’ll have to think about car insurance and what sort of plan best suits you.

If you’re considering upgrading your car and have a question about your car insurance policy, ask an expert for free.

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Know What Your Home Insurance Plan DOESN’T Cover

Home Insurance is something we are all encouraged to purchase, regardless of things like house size or location. Whether you’re building a house or have recently bought one, Home Insurance should be your number one priority so that you can ensure you and your family are protected ahead of all possible eventualities. Standard policies are readily available across what is considered a large market but finding the right policy that best suits you and your budget can often be a difficult task. The biggest demand is ensuring your policy covers everything you need. In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of some of the commonly excluded items that you might expect to appear on the Standard Home Insurance policy. Knowing what’s not covered will help you figure out what you should be looking for.images

Flood coverage

Flood Insurance is something you’d imagine would be high up the list when it comes to provisions of the standard Home Insurance plan, however, Flood Insurance is often omitted and offered separately altogether.

Depending on where you live – if your house is built next to a creek, river, lake or beside the shore – Flood Insurance may be an ‘absolute must’ or a ‘just in case’ element of your Home Insurance plan. For example, if you live in a flood plain (an areas at high risk for floods) you will be able to purchase Flood Insurance separately through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The maximum cost of Flood Insurance is $250k for your home and a further $100k for the contents within the home. While Insurers encourage tenants living in areas of high Flood Risk to make Flood Insurance a priority, it is also worth considering Flood Insurance if you live in urban areas, where weather can greatly increase Flood Risk potential.

Pests

Most Insurance plans do not cover pest-infestations or the resulting damage. It is generally considered to be a part of Home Maintenance as opposed to a component of the Risk Management Strategy. Again, pest damage insurance might be considered a variant by insurers depending on house location, but the potential damage that infestation may do to the contents of your home makes it an important consideration of your overall Home Insurance plan.Insurance companies generally see these types of things as the homeowners’ responsibility to maintain, and don’t cover them in most cases.

Pets

Most Home Insurance policies come with some liability protection for pet owners such as: if your dog were to bite someone and they decided to sue you as a result, you may be covered under your Home Insurance plan. However, if your pets were to do damage in the home, it is generally considered a maintenance issue and typically speaking, will be excluded from your Home Insurance coverage.

Power Surge

While most standard Home Insurance policies will cover losses for Fire and weather risks such as Earthquake or Storm damage, lightening and powers surges are often excluded from your standard policy. If a power surge in your neighbourhood were to cause damage to any expensive appliances or electronics, you may find that you don’t have the coverage that you thought you did to replace or repair them.

Finding the right kind of Home Insurance Policy may seem like an arduous process, but it is certainly worth while doing the research and knowing what your options are before committing to any one plan. Understanding what is not covered on your plan is an important part of the compare and contrast process. So whether you’ve just built a house or are planning to move, it is important to consult your Insurance provider and approach buying Home Insurance with a clear head.

If you find yourself trembling at the thought of purchasing Home Insurance, talk to one of our experts who can give you the advice you need on what’s best for you and your family.

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Protect Your Valuables with Renters’ Insurance

Whether you call “home, sweet home” a rented house, condo or apartment, you can avoid financial hardship by protecting your belongings with renters insurance. Renters insurance provides protection against both property loss and liability (if that you cause injury or property damage).

Renters insurance covers your possessions against damage from disasters such as fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft and water damage (but not flooding). It also extends beyond on-premise theft and hazards, covering property that is stolen from your car or lost or damaged anywhere you happen to be.

In addition to protecting your personal property, renters insurance also protects you in the event that you are responsible for injury or property damage to others. That means you will likely be protected if someone slips and sprains his or her ankle at your annual birthday bash.

There are two personal property coverage options to choose from: replacement cost value or actual cash value. Check out the “In the Know” article to the right to find out more about these coverage options.

If you have valuables such as expensive jewelry or collectibles, an endorsement to a renters insurance policy can add to the policy’s provisions. This means that in the event of a covered loss, the amount of insurance is enough to cover the repair, replacement or cash reimbursement of the item. That also means that your expensive camera equipment or wedding ring can be covered, too.

Renters insurance is surprisingly affordable, too! For about the same cost as going to the movies once a month, you can gain peace of mind…regardless of life’s unexpected mishaps.

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Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

Disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes can strike with little or no warning. To ensure that you and your family are prepared, there’s no time like the present to create emergency kits: one to use if you need to evacuate your home and one if you get trapped in your home for several days. Get the entire family involved in creating these emergency kits so that your kids understand the importance of being prepared.

Evacuation Kits

To help you evacuate quickly, keep the following items in an emergency backpack so you can grab it and go:

  • A gallon of water per family member and nonperishable foods
  • Can opener, plastic cups and eating utensils
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Change of clothing for each family member
  • Contact information for your family and a relative or friend out of state
  • First aid kit
  • Personal identification cards for each family member
  • Personal hygiene items and hand sanitizer
  • Medications that are needed regularly

Homebound Kits

Just as important as an evacuation kit, homebound kits are filled with important items necessary when you cannot leave your home for several days due to a crisis. Place the following items in an area of your home to be ready for an emergency:

  • Three gallons of water per family member
  • Canned food for at least three days
  • Pet foods and supplies for three days
  • Toilet paper
  • Extra personal hygiene items
  • Unscented bleach
  • Blankets
  • Books, games and other forms of entertainment
  • Paper and pencils
  • Battery-operated radio and television
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
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