Your Insurance and Renting Out Your Home

Your Insurance and Renting Out Your Home

Home sharing has become more and more popular over the past few years with companies like Airbnb and Homeway.  But before renting out a room or the whole house, it’s always best to consult with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage.  Below is a blog that gives a some information to consider before you begin home sharing.

 

Educating homeowners about home-sharing insurance coverage

Home-sharing continues to grow in popularity as owners use their homes for income generation, and travelers look for unique experiences. If fact, experts are predicting vacation home rentals will increase 25% this year – up from a 19% jump last year – and it’s expected this growth trend will continue for some time.

 

Movie Claim Monday- Beauty and the Beast

Movie Claim Monday Beauty and the Beast

Movie Claim Monday: where our insurance minds speculate whether certain incidents in the cinematic universe would in fact be considered a covered claim.*

This week’s movie claim Monday is on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast** (the new one), simply because the writer of this blog has a two year old and that is the only movie we have been watching for the past month.  Disregarding the fact that this is taking place in revolution-era France, there are a few parts in this movie that the insurance agent in me kept noting:

-During the Gaston song, Gaston uses his gun and shoots the ceiling.  Would the business insurance cover that?  Maybe—it could be considered vandalism.  But if he owns the tavern, as it seems that he might, then no, because he (the owner) is knowingly damaging his own property.

-In terms of homeowner’s insurance, would the castles crumbling walls be covered?  Nope.  Though it is due to magic, I still think it is wear and tear and that is never covered by any homeowner’s insurance.

-Lastly, would the enchanted objects need life insurance or would they just be considered personal property?  Not like they’re constantly being destroyed or anything, but near the end Chip almost gets smashed to smithereens, and I just have to wonder if and how he would have been covered.

 

 

*Disclaimer: Each insurance policy is different, and while we speculate here for enjoyment purposes, you will need to discuss your insurance policy directly with your agent or CSR.  Our speculations here are in no way an indication that a similar occurrence would in fact be covered.

**All characters described and mentioned are copyrighted by Disney

Why Your Auto Premium Increased

why your auto premium increasedYou just received your renewal for your auto policy. You skim down to find the new premium for the following year and you see it has increased by a couple hundred or more. Most auto policies take an annual rate increase otherwise known as an inflation guard.  There are also other factors that could cause this increase.

Below is an article that gives insight into what determines your premium and what may increase your premium upon renewal.  Keep in mind as your agents, we are here to review your policy if you ever have questions.

 

What’s Driving My Personal Auto Insurance Rates?

If you drive a vehicle, you are required by law to have insurance. But why do we need it? Consider hitting a car and injuring three passengers. If both your vehicle and the other vehicle are valued at $20,000 and considered total losses, and each passenger has medical claims of $20,000, this quickly adds up…

 

 

 

Jewelry Protection

Have some new jewelry in the house? Protect it!

 

 

Ah, Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things, suchjewelry-protection as chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “Be Mine” – and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one — or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your New Mexico home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. At Brown & Brown Insurance, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them — so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. You can check your policy or give us a call at 505-821-5888.

You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.

Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.

What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re in New Mexico, or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement.

Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.

Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

 

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact Brown & Brown Insurance of New Mexico at 505 821 5888 or info@bbnm.com

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Understanding Your Policy

In light of all of the recent weather disasters and catastrophes, we in the Brown & Brown personal lines department want to be sure you aren’t in for a surprise (the bad kind, not the good kind) if something were to happen to you.  It is important that you understand the coverages provided to you by homeowner’s insurance and your auto insurance. Contact your agent today to review your policy.

Review Your Policy

The first thing to do is read your policy.  Car insurance terminology can be a bit daunting, but the main thing to know is your limits of liability, your uninsured motorist coverage, and your deductibles.  For home insurance, make sure that your dwelling coverage is at replacement cost.  There is obviously a lot more to each policy, and if you have questions, our personal lines agents are here to help.

Contact Your Agent

We want you to be confident that you are covered properly.  Our three offices are in Albuquerque, Taos, and Santa Fe, but we insure clients throughout all of New Mexico.  We hope you give one of our offices a call to help with all of your insurance needs.Understanding your policy

Night Driving Dangers

A little extra caution can go a long way while driving at night

night-driving-dangers

Summer has ended, and while fall and winter have their own pleasures, longer nights mean increased danger on the roads.

You might think you drive just as well at night, but consider this: Even though nighttime driving accounts for just 23% of vehicle miles traveled, more than 50% of fatalities for vehicle occupants 16 and older occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the National Safety Commission (NSC).

Because we’re big advocates for safety at Brown & Brown Insurance, we thought it would be helpful to take a look at why night driving is more dangerous, and what you can do to decrease that danger.

What’s dangerous about night driving?

  1. Decreased vision. We won’t go into all the biological details, but different parts of the eye (such as iris, pupil and retina) work differently at night. Your peripheral vision is actually slightly improved, but it’s more difficult to focus on objects ahead of you. And traveling between well-lit areas and darker roads creates issues as well.
  2. Driving too fast for your headlights. Depending on vehicle speed and headlight setting, many people “over-drive” their headlights. That means, by the time they see something on the road, it’s too late to stop in time to avoid it.
  3. Impaired judgment. Whether due to drowsiness or the use of alcohol or drugs, it appears that drivers at night often don’t use good judgment. According to the NSC, 66% of fatalities at night involve vehicle occupants who weren’t wearing seat belts.

So what do you do?
Sometimes, there’s no way around driving at night. So here are some tips to help you make a safe trip — whether you’re just running to the store, or you’re headed all the way to Santa Fe.

  1. Make sure your vehicle’s lights are in good working condition. And not just headlights, but turn signals, taillights, etc.
  2. Avoid speeding. Leave a bigger cushion between you and other cars than you would during daylight hours. Leave yourself more time for the trip.
  3. Be more aware of your surroundings. You shouldn’t be using your phone, messing around with the radio or trying to find something on the floor while you’re on the road anyway — and distractions are even more deadly at night.

 Of course, if you’re not comfortable driving at night, the best thing is to avoid it altogether if possible. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a ride from a trusted safe driver or waiting for the sun to come out!

Contact Us!

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 505-821-5888 or send us a note at info@bbnm.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

Parking Lot5 Ways to Avoid Parking Lot Fender Benders in New Mexico

Parking lots in Albuquerque, NM – we love the convenience but hate the frustrations, especially when people are driving too fast, backing out of spots without looking and otherwise modeling bad parking lot behavior.

That behavior just so happens to be the cause of many a door ding and irritated driver. Even worse, careless behavior can cause a collision or injury. So, let’s all slow down and follow these five tips to make parking lots safer for everyone:

  1. Don’t Speed
    Speeding decreases the amount of time you have to react when a child runs out in front of you, another driver stops suddenly or a car begins backing out unexpectedly. Is a collision – or even a fatality – really worth the price of getting to your destination just a bit sooner?
  2. Use Your Eyes – and Mirrors and Cameras
    Keep a lookout for perils at all times, even if the lot seems empty. When you’re pulling into a spot, watch for doors being opened. When backing out, look all around, in your mirrors and in your rear-view camera and proceed slowly.
  3. Give Yourself – and Others – Some Space
    Parking in between the lines and in a spot sized for your vehicle may help to minimize dings and scratches. Better yet, park in a less-crowded area and enjoy the stroll into the store – just don’t park where you feel unsafe. And, always park away from stray carts.
  4. Expect the Unexpected
    Assume things will happen. That someone will dart out in front of you, that a cart will come rolling toward you, that someone backing out of his/her spot won’t see you backing out of yours. When you’re on guard, you’re better prepared for those who aren’t.
  5. Be Respectful
    A little kindness goes a long way in a parking lot or parking garage. So stop for pedestrians, don’t cause traffic jams waiting for a spot and, above all, don’t lose your cool.

Remember, when you’re watching for dangers, you have a better chance of avoiding them. If an incident does occur, we here at Brown & Brown of New Mexico are ready to help.

 

Parallel parking – the easiest way!

All-in-one parking methods. Easy to understand tutorial. Learn to drive and prepare for a driving test! http://www.parkingtutorial.com/ The clip has NO AUDIO. This way of parallel parking is the EASIEST, because the driver is given exact REFERENCE POINTS. According to these points he/she can turn the steering wheel at the right moment and parallel park the car.

Renters Insurance

The Importance of Renters Insurance

renters insuranceIf you live in a rental home or apartment, chances are you don’t have the proper insurance. Despite the fact that rented homes are more likely to be burglarized than owner-occupied properties, nearly 60 percent of renters don’t have a renters policy.

Why does it matter?

“If you rent a house or apartment and think that your landlord is financially responsible when there is a fire, theft or other catastrophe—think again,” warns the Insurance Information Institute*. “Your landlord may have insurance to protect the building you are living in. But your landlord’s policy won’t replace your personal possessions or pay for your living expenses while the building is being repaired. The only way to protect yourself financially against disasters is to buy a renters insurance policy.”

Renters insurance covers your possessions, liability and additional living expenses. Let’s take a look at these three types of protection:

Possessions

Standard renters insurance protects your personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy. Floods and earthquakes are not covered.

To decide how much insurance to buy, you need to know the value of all your personal possessions—including furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even towels and bedding. The easiest way to figure this out is to create a home inventory, a detailed list of all of your personal possessions and their estimated value.

There are two types of renters insurance policies for your possessions:

  • Actual Cash Value pays to replace your possessions minus an amount for depreciation (the reduction in the value of items due to age and use) up to the limit of your policy.
  • Replacement Cost pays the full cost of replacing your possessions (with no deduction for depreciation), up to the limit of your policy. The price of Replacement Cost coverage is about 10 percent more than Actual Cash Value coverage, but can be well worth the additional cost.

Note that a standard renters policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

Liability

Standard renters insurance policies also provide liability protection in the event you or members of your familiar cause injury to others or damage their property.  It also pays for damage your pets cause.

If you are sued, the liability portion of a renters policy may pay for both the cost of defending you in court and for court awards, up to the limit of the policy. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Your policy may also provide No-Fault Medical coverage. If visitors are injured in your home, regardless of fault, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not however, pay medical bills for your own family or your pets.

Additional Living Expenses

Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is typically included in a renters insurance policy. If the home or apartment you are renting is damaged or destroyed and you need to live elsewhere while it is being repaired or rebuilt, renters insurance will cover your additional living expenses—namely the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional costs incurred by having to live away from your home, such as hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, etc.

Need help deciding what coverage is best for you? Contact us today!

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*Insurance Information Institute, September 30, 2009

Make Recycling and Reducing Routine

Make reduce, reuse and recycle at part of your routine.

recycle

 “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” Most likely, you’ve heard that catchy phrase connected with information about saving natural resources and even saving your family money. But how many of us really make reducing, reusing and recycling a part of our everyday life?

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we’re happy to say that we try to do our part to protect our environment and use our resources wisely. And we’re hoping you’ll take the time – if you’re not already – to make reduce, reuse and recycle part of your daily routine. Depending on where you’re starting from, it may take a change in mindset, or maybe just a little more dedication. But these tips from the Environmental Protection Agency can help.

Reducing and reusing

  • Look for products that use less packaging. Companies use less raw material when they use less packaging, reducing waste and cost. This means that you can save money while helping to protect the environment. A great example (though it sounds at odds with “reduce”) is buying items in bulk.
  • Avoid disposable items. Take your own travel mug to the coffee shop, for instance, or bring real silverware to work for lunches, instead of using plastic.
  • Let technology help. New compact fluorescent light bulbs use far less energy than standard bulbs, and low-flow shower heads, coupled with aerators, can reduce your water use without you even noticing.
  • Invest in maintenance. When properly maintained, many items, such as appliances and clothing, won’t need to be replaced as frequently.
  • Don’t buy limited-use items. If you need something that you won’t use more than once or twice, such as a power tool, see if you can borrow or rent instead of buying.
  • Donate! When you’re done with an item, if it’s in good shape, consider donating it to a charitable organization that will sell it or continue using it. You just might get a tax deduction, too! And don’t forget, you can always buy used items as well.

 Recycling

Recycling isn’t just about putting your cans, bottles and newspapers into a bin, although that plays a big part. Here are some other things to consider.

  • Electronic waste: TVs, computers, cell phones a
    nd other electronics should not go into landfills. Many companies offer options now for proper disposal at little to no cost. Even printer ink cartridges can be recycled.
  • Food waste: In many communities, food scraps and waste are collected along with yard waste and used for composting.
  • Restaurants and grocery stores: Some establishments are beginning to offer separate bins for recyclable materials and food waste. Be sure to use these when available, and if your favorite place doesn’t offer this option, ask about it!

Though your actions may seem small, they do make a difference in the Albuquerque community — and the world. And when they’re combined with the efforts of millions of others, the impact is even bigger than you can imagine!

Contact Us!

At Brown & Brown Insurance, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 505 821 5888 or send us a note at info@bbnm.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Saving Money on Your Personal Insurance

Saving Money on Your Personal Insurance
NM Logo - Red Line

In today’s unsettled economy, many people are looking for ways to stretch their money—but sometimes this includes altering insurance  coverages to dangerously low levels or eliminating coverage entirely. If you’re thinking about changing your coverage to save money, consider these key issues below — and give us a call. We can help make sure you’ve got the right protection at a price you can afford.

 

  • Make sure you’re getting the appropriate discounts and credits: Most insurers offer a variety of policy credits and account discounts that can translate into significant savings — without endangering the level of protection you need for your home, autos and other valuable property. And often, if you purchase multiple policies through the same insurance company, you’ll receive further discounts. People who own motorcycles or boats and who complete approved safety courses can qualify for discounts, and families with teen drivers who earn good grades in school may qualify for auto policy discounts.
  • Increase deductibles for cost savings: Only a small percentage of homeowners have claims in any given year, so you might consider increasing your deductible.
  • Specialty lines coverage options: Own a classic car or RV?  If their use is seasonal, you can typically reduce your coverage to liability only during the off-season, then add full coverage only when you are actually using the vehicle
  • Full payment on policy: Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be able to make lump-sum payments instead of partial premium payments, such as monthly or quarterly. Partial payments often include small transaction fees, so paying the full amount can eliminate those extra costs.

 

Some decisions to avoid
It is just as important to understand what not to do as you look for cost savings. Here are some scenarios you should avoid:

 

  • It may be unwise to carry only the minimum state-required amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on auto policies, or to cancel it entirely if it is not required in your state: According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC)*, the correlation between the percentage of uninsured motorists and the unemployment rate is high — when the economy is struggling, more people go without insurance. You want to make sure you’re protected in this instance.
  • Ignoring renters insurance: This coverage is often overlooked no matter what shape the economy is in. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the individual renters’ contents. Imagine having to replace furniture, clothing and other personal property out of pocket because you excluded this essential, affordable coverage and then suffered a devastating loss from a burglary or other covered event.

 

Saving money is important, but so is making sure that what you’ve got is protected. If you’re looking for ways to save, or want to review your coverages, give us a call!

 

*Insurance Research Council, January 21, 2009

 

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