Very often we get the questions, "Can I let Sally, my neighbor, drive my car if hers breaks down?" or "Do I have to list Johnny, my son, on my policy if he hardly ever drives the car?" The answer is yes, and no.
The policy language states that all licensed memebers of a household or any driver that may have regular access to a vehicle needs to be listed as an operator on the policy. The next question is to properly assign the driver as the Principal Operator of the vehicle that they are going to drive the most. Even if it is an inexperienced operator that is the Principal Operator of the third car and possibly cheaper for Mom or Dad to be listed as the Principal Operator, the inexperienced operator needs to be rated on that vehicle. The bottom line is that in the event of a loss, if the company does determine that the vehicle has been not rated properly, they could deny paying a claim. At that point, you have been paying premium for nothing. It becomes difficult to say that little Janie is not the Principal Operator of the third car when it has a High School parking sticker on it and she drives it to school every day.
If a driver in your household has their own policy they should still be listed on your policy and can then be "deferred" to their own policy. This will ensure that the operator's possible surcharges only be charged on their own policy, not on two policies. Drivers can also be "excluded" from any or all autos; this should only be done when the operator will not be covered for any optional insurance coverage. Also, payments under Parts 3 and 4 may also be limited to those amounts that the company is required by the state to sell.
Let's go back to Sally; she is your neighbor that needs to run to the grocery store in your car because hers is in the shop. Yes, she can drive your car and will be covered without being listed as an operator on your policy. However, your other neighbor, Jim, takes your car every Wednesday to Home Depot and every Saturday to the dump. He now has "regular access" to your vehicle. Jim should be listed as an operator on your policy. However, he can be "deferred" to his own if he does have his own policy. If he does not, then he needs to be listed and then rated on it as well.
If you have any questions whatsoever about if somebody should be listed, please feel free to give us a call and we would be more than happy to help you determine the best option. Keep in mind, none of us particularly like paying our insurance premiums but we do NOT want to pay premiums only to have the company deny paying a claim because a policy was not correctly rated... Where is the savings there?
You might think the idea of insurance is great, but maybe you don't want to take part in it. Many people suffer from an "invincibility complex" in which they think that certain laws and scenarios don't apply to them. For example, a man who has had a little bit to drink and then goes out driving believes that he can drive just as well when slightly drunk versus when he is completely sober. He doesn't understand his own mortality and believes himself to be free of the possible consequences of driving drunk. He considers himself separate from the statistics and probability laws that apply to everyday life.
Sorry to burst his bubble, but those laws do apply.
Statistics is a study related to both mathematics and English; it contains elements from both realms. Statistics is when data is collected, organized, analyzed, interpreted, and presented. While statistics sounds simple enough, many things are considered when doing proper statistics, such as outliers that may affect the data and a proper sample to represent the entire population. From this sample, which is representative of the entire population, people like yourself are included. So whether you're an outlier or smack dab in the middle of the ever-so-famous bellcurve, statistics apply to you. So here are some important ones:
- 1 in every 3 people will be in a car accident during his/her lifetime
- There are about 40,000 car accident related deaths per year
- Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers and young adults
- 1 in every 20 homes with home insurance file a claim each year
- 1 in every 50 homes with home insurance will file a claim each year for property damage caused by storms
- Often enough, the state minimum requirements for insurance are not enough when you need to file a claim- by trying to save money you might end up losing it- not a real statistic, but useful information nonetheless (Read our blog on why you might want to consider increasing your limits here)
Good news though! Massachusetts is the state with the lowest death rate when it comes to car crash fatalities. However, that 0.6% chance is still too high for me, and every driver should always make a conscious effort to drive as safely as possible so we can eventually reach that desired number: 0.0%
Insurance statistics are not meant to frighten you, just inform you of your likelihood of actually filing a claim and using your insurance. The numbers may seem scary, but with them there should also be a sense of comfort because you have insurance, and we will protect you from loss.
For more insurance statistics, check out these links:
If you have any other insurance questions or are interested in us shopping around for you, feel free to contact us. We'll certainly help you out with any of your insurance needs, and we hope you stay safe.
If your policy has ever been canceled for non-payment, then you most likely have completed and signed a No-Loss letter in order to reinstate your policy.
Simply put, a no-loss letter is a statement, signed by you, stating that there have been no known losses or claims from the time your policy canceled until the current date.
Why does the insurance company request this?
You have asked the insurance company to reinstate your policy (rather than rewriting a new application, with a new policy effective date). A condition of reinstatement is that you have no losses or claims during the time that you were uninsured. The insurance company would not want to reinstate your policy if there were a claim they had to cover during the uninsured period.
An important word of caution! Insurance companies are not obligated to or may not choose to reinstate your policy. There may be a number of reasons for this but the most obvious is that you've had too many cancellation warnings in the past. Therefore, you should never allow your policy to cancel with the assumption that it can be reinstated.
Here is a sample No-Loss Letter:
This letter confirms that there have been no losses whatsoever from (the date of cancellation) until (the date you sign the statement) that may result in any claim of any kind against its subsidiaries or related companies.
I understand that the reinstatement of my insurance is conditioned upon this statement and any misstatements make the reinstatement null and void.
Signed on this date, shown below:
If you have any additional questions about No-Loss Letters, contact us in the office at anytime.
Financial advisors play a key role in ensuring that their clients wealth is protected. Property and casualty insurance- protection for homes, jewelry, cars, fine art, liability and yachts- is a critical part of personal wealth management. If your client has net worth in excess of $2 million, they need an insurance agent and insurance carrier equipped to address the clients complex risk management needs. It is important to enlist a knowledgeable insurance agent with access to private client and specialty insurance markets.
Here are some important considerations to keep in mind to protect successful individuals and families:
How often does your client’s personal insurance agent conduct an in-depth review of the client’s lifestyle and insurance portfolio? If the answer is less than an annual review, there may be gaps in coverage. Going through a checklist with an agent specializing in high net worth clients assures that all of your client’s exposures are properly addressed. Reviewing the needs of your client should be completed every year.
- Are your clients protected by adequate personal excess liability coverage? If their net worth exceeds liability coverage limits then assets are at risk. Private client insurers offer up to $100 million on a single policy. This can address claims for property damage and personal injury caused by your client. In addition, these policies also provide legal defense even for cases that may seem frivolous.
- Is the client's insurance program complicated? Does the client have policies split among several agents and insurers? For example, the primary home and autos are insured with one agent. A summer home is insured with a different agent and so forth. When coverage is fragmented, it almost always is more expensive and difficult to manage. Most importantly, if not handled by the same agent then there is a higher risk of an exposure going unprotected.
- Is the home properly insured and protected? If your clients had to rebuild their homes in today’s market, would they have enough homeowners’ insurance to sufficiently cover the cost to rebuild? If the home has been extensively remodeled and the home insurance was not properly updated, the property may be greatly underinsured. A home replacement cost analysis or inspection can be arranged as part of the client’s annual review.
- What type of hobbies or activities does the client enjoy? Many private client insurers offer specialized Collection coverage to protect your clients favorite pastimes. For example, these insurers offer the services of art collection management experts to ensure that each collection is properly valued, adequately insured and protected in the event of an everyday mishap or a catastrophic disaster.
- What is the makeup of the family? The exposure to liability claims is greater when there are youthful drivers in the household. Umbrella liability coverage can address the increased exposure associated with teen drivers. Some families may want to consider kidnap and ransom coverage available from private client insurers.
- Does the client travel frequently? Private client carriers offer worldwide travel protection plans to respond to circumstances beyond the client’s control that cause a cancelled trip, emergency medical treatment or an early return home.
- Are the clients insurance policies in sync with their estate plans? It is not unusual for successful clients to structure their property ownership using trusts, LLPs and LLCs. Not all insurers allow their policies to reflect these ownership structures. This can result in reduced protection or complicate the claim settlement at the time of a loss. Having an agent and insurer that is knowledgeable of property ownership structures is paramount to assuring your client is properly covered.
- Are the clients involved with charities or foundations? Not for profit organizations typically operate on tight budgets and carry a minimal amount of liability insurance. Many private client insurers offer up to $1 million of liability protection in addition to the coverage provided by the board.
- Should the client increase deductibles to save premium? Many private client carriers offer a range of deductibles from $1000 to $50,000. These carriers also offer a waiver of deductible for a loss over $50,000 if the deductible is under $20,000. Increasing the deductible saves premium so it may make sense for your client to take a higher deductible.
- Does your client employ private staff? It’s not uncommon for housekeepers, nannies, gardeners and others to take their employer to court. Employment Practices Liability Insurance responds to allegations of sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and more. In addition, private client insurers May offer complimentary background checks on private staff. This helps to ensure only the most qualified and trustworthy individuals are taking care of the client’s family and property.
Offering complete solutions for successful individuals and families can be ensured with a well-informed insurance agent with access to private client markets. Our agency www.agordon.com and I can assist clients with a complete review of their account and risk management solution recommendations for clients.
More likely than not, your home is your most valuable asset and should be protected by a homeowner policy. This is a package policy that gives coverage for the structure itself and also includes coverage at no additional cost for other structures on site, (such as a detached garage, sheds, inground pools, fences, etc.), for contents (personal belongings), and for loss of use (for alternative housing and living costs such as meals, laundry, etc.) while you are displaced following a covered loss.
If you have particular items of value, such as jewelry, furs, fine arts, silverware, etc., these may need to be individually scheduled. The homeowners policy provides limited coverage for these items, but always with a stated limit. The most common examples of stated limits are $1,500 for theft of jewelry and furs and $2,500 for silverware. Adding specific "schedules" coverage for your personal items can be done at a low with a recent appraisal or detailed receipt. By scheduling the items, they will not be lumped in with all of the general contents which are subject to a deductible compared to no deductible being applied for a loss to a scheduled item.
Other valuable articles is that the standard policy provides only limited coverage for loss by theft for cash, bank notes, securities, deeds, firearms, gold ware, watercraft, trailers, and business property etc. that are not individually scheduled.
An additional benefit is that scheduled items enjoy broader coverage than that provided under a traditional homeowners policy. The standard HO-3 provides "named perils" coverage; scheduled items get "open perils" coverage. For more about named perils vs open perils, click here.
We recommend that you have appraisals updated every 3–5 years to maintain adequate values. We have seen significant increases in value, especially for jewelry.
If you have any other questions about insurance and other sorts of coverage, do not hesitate to contact us. One of our staff will be happy to discuss policies with you.
Some of the best insurance is policy-free.
A lot of the time, insurance is about the money. Yes, yes, we understand. We pay bills too; we know what it's like to deal with insurance. Car insurance, home insurance, life insurance- it just seems to add up WAY to quickly for comfort. There are other ways to be comfortable too.
What am I talking about now?
I'm talking about things like seatbelts and helmets. These things are available to you, and definitely worth it. Have you ever bought a car without a seat belt? (The answer should, hopefully, be "no".) The seatbelt is there for you. What if you ever got into an accident? What if another driver's car simply SMASHES yours? That tiny little belt, strapped across your waist and over your shoulder, could be the very thing that saves your life. There could never be a price put on that.
Helmets are the same way. For a one-time fee to buy the helmet, you get super extra head protection. Falling off a bike, skiing into a tree- there are just so many FUN things that can be so RISKY. So why not just wear the helmet? Again, what's the value of the helmet versus the value of your brain, or even, your life? That thirty dollar helmet doesn't seem so expensive now.
These items that are made available for safety are truly only there to: KEEP. YOU. SAFE.
If you look closely, you can see that there is insurance underlying everything. Insurance ensures minimal loss. Ensure your children from drowning by taking them to swim lessons, ensure your feet from the cold by purchasing and wearing warm wool socks, ensure your knees and elbows with pads when you first learn how to rollerskate. The ways to ensure yourself from loss never seem to end. And what is insurance, after all?
We remind ourselves that insurance is protection against loss, a guarantee of safety and security. We do these things everyday, whether unconsciously or consciously. That's why we do things like taking swimming lessons- to reduce our risk of having fun with something enjoyable.
It only makes sense, right? We want to enjoy our lives with the least possible amount of risk involved. As a result, we do things that prevent injury and other forms of pain- such as financial pain. Sometimes the financial pain clouds our vision. Sometimes other things, such as being lazy, also cloud our vision. It takes not even a second to buckle a seatbelt, so why not do it? Why not buy the helmet and prevent the brain damage?
Take advantage of some of these risk reducers from the get-go. You'll never know when disaster will strike, and being prepared sooner rather than later is best because sometimes, later is too late.
If you have any questions on reducing your risk, or about insurance in general, feel free to contact us by clicking the button below.
Ice storms, snow storms, tornadoes, hurricanes- oh my! These were just a few of the catastrophic weather events that Massachusetts homeowners faced over the past few years.
What does this have to do with your home insurance premium rising?
Throughout the insurance industry, these weather happenings resulted in record setting property damage and home insurance claims. Across the board, insurers evaluated the adequacy of their home insurance pricing after catastrophic events slammed insurers balance sheets in recent years.
What is the net result?
Home insurers will be charging more to cover expected claims and the rising cost of reinsurance- the insurance on their insurance. Many insurers rate increases are in the 10% range. In addition, stricter underwriting guidelines are being used to determine eligibility including distance to the coast and timely premium payments. The net result is the home insurance market is tightening for Massachusetts consumers.
If you were one of the lucky ones not impacted by weather events and or did not file a claim, a premium increase is a particularly tough pill to swallow. Or if you did file a claim, a premium increase is still hard to understand particularly if this was the first time that you ever filed a home insurance claim.
How can I get the best price?
Our agency www.agordon.com reviews home insurance renewals for customers to make sure the best priced option and coverage is provided to our clients. An example, over the past few months, I reviewed several home insurance renewals for four customers. The rates increased in the 10% range for each of these homeowners. None had filed a claim and all were taking advantage of discounts including account credits for bundling auto and home insurance together. We went to work and compared pricing with more than a dozen companies for each customer. The analysis showed for each of these customers that their current home insurance program was still the best priced option even with the premium increase.
For each of these customers, we made other suggestions to save premium. Three of the customers opted for higher deductibles and the other decided to self insure some scheduled jewelry listed on the policy. The net result was all four customers were able to reduce their premium back to the price they were paying the previous year.
If you are looking out the window at the moderate temperatures on the thermometer and dry pavements, record setting meteorological events may be a mere memory. It’s not quite the same recall for home insurers as they tally their balance sheets and continue to adjust rates. You can be assured that our agency www.agordon.com strives to assure the best priced option and coverage is afforded to all new and renewing customers.
Imagine a world where everytime something bad happened, someone was there for you. Your car could crash into a house, fall into a ditch, and explode into a million pieces all within the same second, and you would still be covered. Your house could be hit by a named storm, catch on fire, and have all the remaining valuables stolen, and you would still be covered. The sky could fall, it could rain cats and dogs, and zombies could rise and eat your flesh. Still covered? You bet.
This ideal world is known as Insurance Planet. But is Insurance Planet truly ideal?
On Insurance Planet, Murphy's law applies in the worst ways. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That's why every Insurance Planet citizen has insurance. Insurance dominates everyday activites because everything keeps going wrong. It's truly an awful lifestyle. Thank goodness we live on Earth.
On Earth, Murphy's law is applicable some of time- not all of time. However, when things do go wrong, it's nice that us Earthlings have insurance available. It's not everyday that we're going to crash our car, experience a hurricane, or have our identity stolen. (It's like that on Insurance Planet. Something goes wrong EVERY SINGLE DAY.)
The one disadvantage earthlings have when compared to the citizens of Insurance Planet is that, generally, we don't entirely understand all of our policies. We have experts here and there, but most of us don't work in the insurance business.
Insurance can be just a tricky thing. Some people know that you can file a claim for spoiled food, but forget to ask themselves if it would be worth it. Weirder claims than spoiled food have been made. And insurance has so much paperwork! "What is the difference between the HO-3 and the HO-5 forms?!?" you might ask, "It's just a number, right?!?"
Although we aren't aliens from Insurance Planet, we at Andrew G. Gordon, Inc. do our best to meet all of your insurance needs. Whether it's finding a quote, helping you prepare for natural disasters, or just explaining what your insurance policy will do for you, we are here to help!
So if you ever find yourself experiencing a day that's simply filled with events that stem from Murphy's law, just find a desk and chair and look us up. Feel free to contact us at anytime, ask us your questions, and be happy that you live on Earth instead of the dreaded Planet Insurance!
It’s almost the holiday season and that can mean only one thing- presents. With high school seniors eagerly waiting acceptance letters and college kids returning for the break, technology is going to be a "must-have." Students flock to Best Buy, the Apple Store, and the internet for the best deal on the best computer. Many people choose different sides of the argument as if they are picking team Jacob or Edward (ok, maybe it’s more like Coke vs. Pepsi). You’re either a Mac or a PC person (remember that ad a few years back?) So, what’s the big fuss about?
Windows operating systems have been a staple in home and business computers for decades. No one can deny the plentitude of options and variations allows for a custom computer how you want it. Most programs and institutions have their base in PCs, meaning if you have one, you’re probably already compatible. The operating system for Windows is not the issue. Windows 7 is a fine tool and excellent to work with. Now with the launch of Windows 8, there are more options for everyone. However, the most common problem for PCs are the hardware. Dell, Acer, Lenovo, etc. all make the computers that run windows, and most of the problems come with design flaws and issues within these machines.
Don’t go based on looks. These computers perform very well at a lot of tasks. Options and configurations aren’t as plentiful as the PC counterpart; however, the two have been coming together in the compatible programs and documents department. No doubt, technology is moving to the cloud. Apple utilizes this feature and has made their products integrated with the web base storage and sharing options. Not to mention the ease of use that is associated with Macs. Apple utilizes a vertical integration business model; meaning they own or operate all aspects of the computer build process, meaning if there is a problem, Apple can be held responsible to fix the issue. A major advantage of Mac computers is they can run a windows operating system like Windows at the same time as OS X, so you can literally get the best of both worlds.
For more on the great debate: visit Intel’s, APC's, Popular Mechanic's, and Apple's pitch for the products. I use both PCs and Macs frequently; my personal preference is Mac for the reliability, speed, and overall appeal.
There are pros and cons to both models of computer, and inherent risks to owning one. Computers are an investment, no matter which way you roll. Protect your investment and make sure that your new laptop is covered under the parent’s homeowner personal property coverage on the homeowner policy or sometimes there is a computer or electronics endorsement. If the student resides in an off-campus apartment, they may need to buy a renter’s policy as most insurers do not extend coverage to a rented apt from the parent policy. Take photographs and save the receipt of purchase in a safe place.
See our previous blog about preventing theft in college for a comprehensive list of crime deterrent tips. What about those pictures from last year’s vacation and your sister’s wedding? Back up your files on an external hard drive, or send it to the cloud where even fire, flood, and theft can’t access it.
So which one are you, blog reader? Are you subscribing to us on a Mac or a PC? Leave a comment below with your opinion.
In Massachusetts in 1999, over 42% of 16 year old drivers had an accident resulting in over $1,000 of reported damage before turning age 17 (this was 47% in 1997, before the Junior Operator’s Law took effect) ! 23% of 17 year olds had a reported accident; for 18 year olds, the rate dropped to 18%. Experience matters. So does observance of the Junior Operators Law.
One of the steps you can take towards safety is to sign this “New Driver-Parent Contract” along with your new driver. The contract outlines responsible driving practices and parent actions. See the contract here, or load a copy to print out.
||Click to Download the New Driver-Parent Contract
Safety is always a vital aspect of life for us at A. G. Gordon, Inc., and we encourage you to check out some of our features at our website, or get a web quote.