Preparing Your Spring Maintenance Check List


The sun may not be shining but the warmer weather has me dreaming of spring. I love spring for many reasons. If you drive down Jefferson Street in Paducah, Kentucky during a sunny spring day then you will see the most beautiful streets that are arrayed with blooming trees and shrubbery. The warmer weather means sandals and sundresses are coming. The springtime sun brings Vitamin D that straight up refreshes your soul after a long, dreary winter. And finally… projects. I LOVE projects (just ask my husband). This is the time of year when I start to plan out projects that I will do over the spring and summer. My idea of projects could include anything from crafting, decorating, or repairing and replacing things around our home.

My husband already owned a home when we got married last fall. It is quaint, fits within our budget and provides a roof over our heads. For that I will be eternally grateful. However, it is an old house and was not always shown the love it deserved before he purchased it.  As the wife and Chief Project Coordinator of our home (Yes, I affectionately coined that title for myself, I have taken it upon myself to create a long list of things we need to update. As a newlywed and Chief Financial Officer  of our home (My husband would definitely not approve that title!). I understand that our finances come first and it would not be smart to try and take care of every project at once. So the responsible part of me lists the projects I want to complete and then prioritizes them based on:

  • Urgency
  • Cost
  • Length of time it will take to complete

I think sharing my list might benefit the greater population, especially newlyweds and first-time home buyers. You see, I have based my list off of insurance requirements. I have worked in insurance for 5 years. I have learned the process from quoting to selling to servicing.  When you purchase a new insurance policy the company will typically send out an inspector. The inspector is looking for things that could increase your chance of having a claim. If anything is found then the company would request you repair/replace within a certain time period to keep your policy in tact. What they are typically looking for is maintenance issues as poor maintenance can lead to huge claims. My husband and I could actually save quite a bit of money by switching our insurance carrier; however, we would be subject to several requirements that we could not afford at this time.

At this point you might ask, why switch companies to save some money if you will just end up paying out more money for repairs? Stay with me! I will answer this.

 

And now for the ever elusive “list” …

 

Home Maintenance Checklist

OK so, the question above could be answered a couple of different ways. Some insurance companies do not do inspections on every new policy writtenJust because they do an inspection does not mean you will have requirements. And just because I list something here that would cause my home to have issues passing an inspection does not mean that your home would as well. Every insurance company has their own standards. I am just listing a couple of things I have seen appear many times throughout the years across the insurance carriers we represent. You know your home better than I do. I would also encourage you to do some additional research. If a topic I mention has you concerned then look to experts in that specific field.  Remember that insurance is designed to protect you from catastrophic loss. If an inspection of your home returns items that need to be addressed you really need to consider what the potential harm of ignoring the request could be. Lifting shingles and sagging gutters can lead to extensive water damage, flooding under the home, foundation problems and more. Even if you are not affected financial because your new insurance company paid a claim due to one of the issues I just listed, you still suffer the inconvenience of being out of your home or dealing with workers and loud machinery while repairs are being made.

The items listed above can lead to extensive damage if not cared for properly. While insurance is designed to protect you from catastrophic loss it is not a home maintenance policy. Our Pinterest account holds many pins that give you further information on spotting problems with your own roof, gutters, etc. My list is not things I necessarily want to do but I understand the implications these items have on not only the safety of my family and belonging but also my wallet (like we could save big if we could switch carriers!).

Can’t wait to get home to share the list with my husband. I have a feeling he will not hold the same excitement as I do!

Until next time!

 

 

Back to Basics- Auto Insurance

I was driving home Sunday night around 9 p.m. when I came upon a herd of deer in the road. It got me thinking how this time of year begins some especially perilous driving conditions. Sure, summer and spring have issues of their own but fall and winter bring deer, ice, snow and slippery roads. Last week we touched on the basics of homeowners insurance so I thought this would be a good time to do the basics of auto insurance. While auto insurance might be simpler to understand than homeowners, we still get questions from time to time that let us know not everyone gets it. And thats ok! That’s why you have a local agent! But maybe if someone were putting things out there that were foundational, you could follow along with what your agent is advising you to do a little bit more easily. Enter… me.

I don’t have a catchy song for you today because the auto policy doesn’t really have ABC’s. Auto insurance can really be broken down into three categories: liability coverage for damage I cause to others, physical damage coverage for my own vehicle, coverage for people riding in my vehicle. When you’re looking at your auto declarations page, the liability coverages are named:

Bodily Injury Liability Per Person

Bodily Injury Liability Each Accident

Property Damage Liability

Medical Payments

 

Physical damage coverage would fall under names:

Collision

Other Than Collision (or Comprehensive)

 

Coverage for riders in your vehicle falls under:

Personal Injury Protection

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Per Person

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Per Accident

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Per Person

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Per Accident

 

You have probably had a phone call with your agent who starts throwing out industry lingo and asking if you think 100|300|100 is sufficient coverage and you’re like What|In|The|World|?? Before you have a panic attack, forgive your agent. When you do insurance all day er’day it’s hard to stop and talk in english. But we do recognize the need to take a walk in your shoes and explain ourselves. Starting with liability, when your agent says 100|300|100 they are referring to:

Bodily Injury Liability Per Person  $100K

Bodily Injury Liability Each Accident    $300K

Property Damage Liability $100K

 

Try it again but in sentence form. If I have the limits listed above and am involved in an auto accident where I am the at fault party ( I ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle) then my insurance would pay bodily injury damages to the other party up to $100K per person but no more than $300K per accident. My insurance carrier would pay for property damage I am responsible for up to $100K. If the coverages listed above were the only coverages that were listed on my declarations page then my insurance carrier would not pay a dime toward bodily injury for people in my vehicle or property damage for my vehicle.

So now, let’s take this example one step further and add on what agents commonly refer to as “Full Coverage.” (Full coverage does not mean that you have coverage for your vehicle if aliens drop down from space, smear neon green paint-eating slime on your car, and then launch it threw the air till it crashes back into the earth (actually it could mean that. Check your policy, ha!)  But the point that I am trying to get across is that just because your agent mentions or uses the term “full coverage” does not mean that you have coverage for literally anything and everything that could ever happen. More on that when we get into other coverages later on.) In the insurance industry we typically use this term to refer to adding coverage for your vehicle.  So now, on my declarations page I’ve got 100|300|100 (Don’t gasp. you know what this means now, remember?) AND I have Collision with a $500 deductible listed and also Other Than Collision with a $500 Deductible listed. With these coverages added on, my insurance carrier would pay for repairs to my vehicle for any cost above my portion (the $500 Collision deductible).

One step further. The other party I did damage to is taken care of by my liability limits. My vehicle is taken care of because I purchased Comprehensive and Collision coverage. What about the people I had riding with me and their injuries? Kentucky is a No Fault State. On a Kentucky Auto Policy we have the option for Personal Injury Protection (A.K.A. PIP or No Fault Coverage). PIP operates the very much the same as Medical Payments listed above and really, takes the place of Medical Payments in Kentucky. PIP provides coverage for medical payments and some additional benefits to the people in your vehicle up to $10K per person. You have the option to purchase more if needed. The reason it is called No Fault is because your policy pays it regardless of whether or not you are at fault. The purpose of this is really to protect the insured by making sure you get taken care of in an emergency situation and that your medical bills do get paid. It then leaves the insurance carriers to deal with “who owes who” after the fact. An insured can technically waive their right to PIP when they purchase an auto policy; however, at Bradshaw & Weil, Inc. we do not advise our clients to do so.

Hopefully now you can see the different categories of coverage under an auto policy and how your insurance carrier would respond in an accident based on the coverage you have listed on your declarations page. In this example I did not mention Uninsured and Underinsured Bodily Injury. Really quickly: both of these cover bodily injury expenses for passengers in your vehicle when you are NOT the at fault party. So someone else ran the stop sign and hit your car but they don’t have insurance (uninsured bodily injury coverage) or they do not have enough insurance to cover your bodily injury expenses (underinsured).

 

Remember to comment and let me know if you have additional questions or a specific topic you want to hear about! Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I plan to enjoy it with my family in Alabama this year so I will probably take a week off from the blog! Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to you and your kin!

 

The ABC’s of Insurance

ABCs of Insurance

A B C, It’s easy as 1 2 3, (Go ahead… Sing it… You know you want to… )As simple as Do Re Me, A B C, 123 Baby, you and me girl! The Jackson 5 would be so proud of you right now.  Now that I’ve got you jamming out in your head and completely off of topic, let’s talk about insurance! We find that many people don’t appreciate insurance because they don’t understand it.  If you think you fit under that stereotype then this blog post is for you! Education on any product is important. It can be overwhelming to receive ALL of that information when you are ready to make a purchase. We will be doing a series of blog posts that will help the average consumer better understand the insurance product. I mean, we are talking BA-SIC. If you have follow up questions about any of the topics or would like to see a specific topic discussed please do not hesitate to comment on the blog or shoot me an email at mcherry@bradshawweil.com.

A little snippet to let you get to know me- My name is Monica Cherry. I am a licensed insurance agent and have a background in personal lines insurance since I began at Bradshaw & Weil, Inc. in 2013. My husband, Matt, and I live in Paducah, Kentucky, but neither of us are from here originally! He has a husky named Julie, whom I inherited when we got married. She is definitely his dog and makes me very aware of that on a daily basis. She is a celebrity around downtown Paducah and we are her minions. Matt is a Manager at Hooper’s Outdoor Center in Downtown Paducah. Here we are!

Matt, Monica & Julie Cherry

In order to provide you with the best and most accurate information possible, I will be consulting with other agents in our office that are directly involved in the sales process and have been in the industry much longer than I have. Stephanie Ludovissie is our Small Commercial and Personal Lines Agent. She has completed multiple educational courses above what was required to receive her Insurance License and is our in-house coverage expert! Be on the lookout for her as I am sure she will be a guest blogger fairly often.

I chose the title “The ABC’s of Insurance” because it sounds educational (obviously) and also because today we really are going to look into the ABC(D E & F’s) of your homeowner’s policy. When you pull out your policy declaration page (Note: Declarations means section of an insurance contract that shows who is insured, what property or risk is covered, when and where the coverage is effective and how much coverage applies) you will notice the following:

Part I

A- Dwelling

B- Additional Structures (or Other Structures)

C- Personal Property

D- Additional Expenses (or Loss of Use)

 

Part II

E- Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability

F- Medical Payments to Others

 

Part I is coverage for things you own (property) while Part II is coverage for what you do to someone else (liability). We see a lot of confusion and disconnect among our clientele regarding the dollar amount assigned by the insurance company to A, B and C verses their idea of the actual value of those line items. More often than not we hear, “They’ve got my house listed as (example) $350,000! It would never sell for that much.” We hear you and we get it. To bridge that gap, we need to understand how the insurance carrier is looking at the policy.

The consumer thinks “sellable value” while the insurance policy is typically “replacement.”  Maybe you have an old house out in the country. The house and the land it is sitting on has been in your family for many, many years. The house is cute but not in an increasingly desirable area so to sell it would only ring in around $150,000 or so. The house is a decent size with ornate crown molding and built-in custom cabinetry. You recently had it redone and put in Brazilian walnut flooring (it sounded expensive, OK?). You installed granite counter tops in the kitchen. Did I mention you have a ton of counter space? You were OK with investing all of this money because well, you obviously have super expensive taste but mostly because your children plan to inherit it from you one day and continue the tradition.  The insurance carrier takes in the square footage, the ornate crown moldings, framing and exterior wall material, custom cabinetry etc. and determines that if your home had a total loss then the cost to rebuild with like kind and quality materials and size of home would be $350,000. Therefore, Coverage A on your policy named ‘Dwelling’ would be $350,000. The “sellable value” may (keyword being MAY) save you a small amount of premium but would not treat you fairly in the scenario above if you had a total loss. We can go further down this rabbit hole in another discussion. I think, for now, you have a good understanding of how Coverage A- the replacement cost of your dwelling– is calculated and what that means for the home owner.  I will quickly wrap up Part I by advising that Coverage B, C, & D are automatically calculated percentages of Coverage A. They can usually be increased but not decreased. Coverage B-Additional Structures refers to structures on the premises that are separated from the dwelling by clear space (think detached garage, in some cases a fence, etc.). Coverage C- Personal Property refers to personal belongings such as clothing or furniture. Coverage D- Additional Expenses refers to expenses related to maintaining the insured’s normal standard of living when their home has become uninhabitable due to a covered loss.

Part II, again, is liability or coverage for what you might do to someone else. Coverage E- Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability is sold in high limits like $100K, $300K or $500K.  You will notice that Coverage F-Medical Payments to Others (which sounds a lot like Bodily Injury?) is only sold in lower limits like $1K, $3K, or sometimes $10K. What’s that about? The easiest way to put it is: typically for someone to collect payment under Coverage E, the insured would have been negligent  (at fault is a similar idea. Not the same. Similar.) and is legally obligated to pay damages for bodily harm, sickness, disease, or physical injury to or destruction of tangible property. Coverage F pays only necessary medical expenses that caused bodily injury. The insured does not have to have been negligent.

That’s a wrap! Thanks for sticking with me guys! Is your head bobbing yet? I hope you learned something of value and will follow our blog for similar posts in the future!