How to Handle Homeowners Policy Exclusions

Car-less But Still Need to Drive? Only have a business auto policy?

Paying for one’s own vehicle in addition to gas and insurance is just too costly for many Americans today, according to Matt Moore, vice-president of the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

As a result, the number of people who are using other methods of getting from place to place – such as car shares or rentals – is on the rise.

But if you don’t own your own vehicle, you don’t need auto insurance – right? Wrong. In some states, you aren’t allowed to drive anyone else’s vehicle without your own insurance. But fortunately, “named non-owners insurance” is available for those who don’t own vehicles, but may rent or drive others’ cars.

Named non-owners insurance provides bodily injury and property damage coverage, and is attached not to a vehicle, but to the “named” policyholder. It covers you in any vehicle you drive. Without it, you could be sued if you cause an accident driving someone else’s vehicle. For example, you borrow your friend’s car and cause an accident. If he or she has minimum liability on the car, and the liability coverage maxes out, your named non-owner policy will kick in to cover what’s left.

This coverage works for those who regularly rent cars or drive others’ vehicles, car-share participants, and those who are required to file an SR-22. Generally, named non-owners insurance is a great option for many people.

If you have a business auto insurance policy and no personal auto insurance you may have a signficant uncovered exposure.  In this situaiton you will need to have “drive other car” coverage.  Without this endorsement on your policy you are only covered on company vehicles.  Check with you insurance professional for more details on this vital coverage

You Can Stop Time From Flying By…

TimeWhen we were kids, time seemed to crawl. The months between seasons, holidays, and birthdays just dragged and dragged. But in adulthood, time seems to fly by. And apparently, it’s not just our imagination.

One of the explanations for “time flying” is Habituation Hypothesis – a psychologists’ term that explains the differentiating details we don’t tend to notice when we go about our lives on autopilot. According to psychologists, we tend to notice fewer and fewer of the details that make each day unique; time seems to pass more quickly. Children, however, are always having new experiences and so notice more.

Dopamine may also affect how we experience time. According to an article in the New York Times, the neurotransmitter, when stimulated by ADHD drugs such as Ritalin, increases its function in the brain and seems to speed up the perception of time. Those drugs that block dopamine receptors slow the perception of time.

As for you…if you want to stop time from flying, skip the drugs and start noticing those details that make your day special.

Take a New Look at Love This Valentine’s Day

LoveApril is supposed to be the cruelest month, as penned by poet T.S. Eliot in “The Waste Land.”

Maybe so, but many of us would nominate February for the cruelest month title, both for its calendar position (just after New Year’s) and its weather (gray and cold). But February has an ace in the hole: Valentine’s Day.

What could be warmer, brighter and, well, lovelier, than a day devoted to love? But is it always about Eros – romantic love – as we tend to define it now?

Maybe the ancient Greeks had something when they used four – not one – words to connote different types of love: Eros, of course; agape, which is a deeper, selfless type of love; philia, meaning friendship; and storge, the affection parents have for their children.

These days we tend to get caught up in the trappings of Valentine’s Day – shopping for gifts, planning date nights, and buying chocolate everything. Why not look beyond the traditional and consider those other kinds of love?

For example: Make a point of telling your friends how much they mean to you. Or try agape and make a charitable contribution in the name of love to people in need. You frequently tell your kids and spouse how much you love them (if not, you should), but storge can also mean telling your parents how much you love them.

Valentine’s Day can be special, not just another buying opportunity. This year, why not make like the ancient Greeks and spread your love around?

How to Handle Homeowners Policy Exclusions

Insurance is for the unexpected, but what if the unexpected is one of the exclusions on your homeowners insurance? Does that leave you up a creek without coverage? You may be able to protect yourself from these situations. Here are three scenarios based on typical homeowners insurance exclusions:

Floods: If you live by any body of water, you may be in at risk. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover losses due to “rising surface” water. It also excludes coverage for water issues caused by things like blocked gutters. Your agent can find out if you live in a high-risk flood zone. You can also view local flood maps, which are available from city or county governments.

What to Do: Buy flood insurance; it’s issued only through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but most agents can write the policy for you. The maximum coverage is $250,000 for the home and $100,000 for personal contents.

“Wear and Tear”: What happens if your large appliances or home electronics start to wear down unexpectedly, or if kitchen tiles crack, the foundation settles or wood floors bow? Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover these eventualities. Is there something you can do?