Protect Yourself: Professional Liability Insurance

Protect Yourself: Professional Liability Insurance

professional-liability
Whatever your profession, protecting yourself with professional liability insurance is not just a smart thing to do, but a necessity in today’s litigious society.  You have worked hard and put in years of education and work to get where you are in your career.  Without the right coverage for potential negligence suits, you could lose everything you have worked so hard to achieve.

What It Covers

General liability insurance can protect you from a wide variety of claims against you and your business, but will not protect you from the type of lawsuit that can result from the simple errors we are all capable of making.  Nor will it protect you from claims made against you that are unfounded.  Remember that even if there is no truth to the accusations against you, you can still find yourself in court defending yourself and your professional reputation against them at a very high cost to you.

Those who provide a service or advice, or in any other way use their knowledge and experience to help others are in need of professional liability insurance.  This includes things like errors and omissions insurance and malpractice insurance, both of which are types of professional liability.  The similarity is that the types of lawsuits brought against professionals are usually based on actions, advice, or services that may not have caused property damage or direct injury but nonetheless can in some way be shown to be a result of the negligence of the professional.

Don’t Take Chances

You do your best to provide good advice, to make sure that everything you do and offer to your clients is as accurate and helpful as possible, but everyone makes mistakes.  And even when you didn’t make a mistake, all it takes is someone who is unhappy with the outcome to turn on you and put the blame at your feet.  These lawsuits can cost professionals incredible amounts of money, even if you win.  Having to pay out on such a lawsuit can easily bankrupt even the most well off professional.

Professional liability insurance provides you with the means to defend your good name in court against accusations as well as to pay out on settlements when you are found to be negligent.  Without it, you could find yourself not only out a lot of money, but your reputation could be on the line because you are unable to fight an unfounded lawsuit.  Don’t take chances; protect everything you have worked so hard for with the right professional liability policy for your industry.  Your insurance agent can help you to ensure you have the coverage you need to have complete peace of mind.

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Home Inventory

Home Inventory

home-inventory

Have you ever thought what would happen if you fell victim to a burglary, fire or any other catastrophic event that would cause you to lose your possessions?  This is something most people do not think about on a regular basis.  Most can name the big items – furniture, clothes, jewelry, electronics; but how about the little items?  Also included in this is the consumables – items in your pantry, items in your refrigerator/freezer and dry goods.

Whether you own your home or you are renting, you need sufficient insurance coverage to protect you from the events listed above.  To help determine the amount of coverage you need, it is a good idea to conduct a Home Inventory.  Please find a Home Inventory PDF fillable form here.  This can be an overwhelming task to complete at once – start it now and work on it as you make new purchases, when time allows add the older items.

When completing your home inventory be specific as possible; including but not limited to, the serial number and model number.  The more detail provided the more likely you will receive a like replacement – less detail may mean a lower priced replacement.  For the more expensive items (TV, Appliances, Stereo) take pictures or a video.  Since we are in the age of technology you may prefer to take pictures or videos of all of your possessions. Some items you may not think of are items you take with you everyday – cell phone, laptop, tablet, mp3 player, cameras and jewelry.  These items should also be listed on your personal inventory.  Remember to update your inventory with new purchases and remove items you have disposed of.

Once your inventory is completed you can discuss your current coverage with your agent to see if you have adequate insurance and you will also have peace of mind that you have the coverage you need.  It is also recommended to keep your inventory, pictures and videos in a safe place such as a safe deposit box.  If you do have a loss it will make it easier to file your claim.

We are happy to help with any questions you may have about your current insurance coverage and discuss if there are any other options available.  Stop by one of our offices – Edenton or Kitty Hawk and ask to speak with a Personal Lines Agent.

By:  Jen Tighe

 

Auto Insurance Tips

Auto Insurance Tips

tip-for-lower-rates

Tips For Lower Rates Without Sacrificing Coverage

Everyone is looking to save money these days, and auto insurance is one of the most common expenses people shop around for in order to reduce costs.  There are some great ways to save money on your auto insurance, and the good news is you may not even need to switch insurance companies to save money—nor should you have to give up any of your coverage.  Here are some of the easiest and most common methods of saving money on your auto insurance.

What Are Your Deductibles?

The deductible is the amount that you would have to pay out of pocket in the event of certain types of claims.  Most people opt for low deductibles so that they won’t be responsible for coming up with much cash.  This isn’t always the smartest way to go, however.  Higher deductibles can save you a lot of money in the long run, even if you do wind up having a claim in which you have to pay that amount.

If you are a good driver, the odds of having an at-fault accident are relatively low.  If increasing your deductible saves you hundreds of dollars a year, you won’t have to go many years without an accident before you have already saved more than enough to cover that increase in the deductible.

Are You Getting All The Available Discounts?

One of the things many people don’t consider when shopping around for car insurance is shopping for homeowner’s insurance at the same time.  Why should you do this?  Most companies offer a hefty discount on both policies when they insure your home and auto together.  Check if your current auto insurance company offers homeowner’s as well, and you might not even have to bother shopping around.  In addition to the savings, you will also have the convenience of everything being in one place.

There are other discounts you may be missing out on as well!  Be sure to check regularly with your agent or insurance company to find out if all the discounts you qualify for are being applied to your policy.

Are Your Cars Rated Correctly?

Auto insurance rates are calculated based on a number of factors, including the number of miles you drive each day.  If you are a stay at home parent but your car is being rated as a commuter vehicle, you could be paying too much.  If you have changed jobs and now commute only five miles each day rather than 30 miles, your yearly average will drop, which could have an effect on your rates.  Be sure to advise your agent when changes in your driving habits occur!  You could be reaping the benefits.

 

Insuring Your Toys

Insuring Your Toys

toys

What do you consider a toy?  A toy when it comes to insurance can be any of the following:  RV, ATV, Golf Cart, Jet Ski, Boat (of any size/type), Motorized Scooter, or Motorcycle.  All of these items need to be insured separate from your home and auto insurance policies.

Boats and Jet Ski’s:

  1. Exposure:  Are you a Commercial Fisherman?  Recreational Fisherman?  Are you boating in salt water?  Fresh water?  Do you rent your vessel?  Do you live on your vessel?  These are all questions that will help determine the type of policy you need.
  2. Basic Coverages: Basic coverages include the hull, engine(s) and trailer. In some cases, the engine replacement cost is more than the hull.
  3. Bells and Whistles:  Don’t forget your special equipment ranging from fishing gear to recreational water sports equipment.  Valuable coverages also include Unisured/Underinsured Boaters, Theft, Passenger Injuries and more.

Motorcycles, Motorized Scooter, Golf Carts and ATV’s

  1. Exposure: Do you run Motorcross?  Vehicle commercially used?  Long distance commuting/travel?  Crusing/Pleasure riding?  Off-road riding?  These are all questions that will help determine the type of policy you need.
  2. Basic Coverages: In most cases, the NCDMV requires liability coverage for these vehicles when used on the road.  Physical damage coverage is also available to repair or replace your vehicle if an accident where to occur.
  3. Bells and Whistles: Safety apparel can be a significant investment. Check whether you have coverage for items such as helmets, boots and gloves and for how much.

Recreational Vehicles and Campers

  1. Exposure: Do you live in your RV/Camper?  How often is it used?  Do you rent it?  Is it garaged at a campground?  What type is your RV/Camper?  These are all questions that will help determine the type of policy you need
  2. Basic Coverages: Much like insurance for your car, RV insurance can include liability, comprehensive, collision and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  3. Bells and Whistles: Just like your home insurance, it is important to cover all the items inside your RV/Camper, as they are just as valuable as the items in your home.

It’s a good feeling to get back behind the wheel of your favorite toy. It’s even better when you know you have the coverage you want for the toy(s) you love.  Vogedes Insurance Agency, Inc. can help you with all of the above and more.  Stop by one of our offices – Edenton or Kitty Hawk and ask to speak with an agent.

 

Force-Placed Coverage

Force-Placed Coverage

force-place

Unless you are very lucky, you probably have a mortgage on your home. Your mortgage company, also known as a lien-holder, has a vested interest in the protection of your home. If you fail to carry acceptable homeowner’s insurance and a loss occurs, their monetary loss will be much greater than yours. For this reason, lien-holders require that you carry homeowner’s insurance. You won’t be able to close on a purchase without it, and if it lapses, your lien-holder will step in.

What Is Force-Placed Insurance?

Force-Placed insurance is a policy that your lien-holder takes out on your home when your policy has lapsed or you have not provided them with proof of a policy that is acceptable to them. In order to protect their interest in the property, your mortgage company will obtain a policy and attach the payments on this policy to your mortgage. This insurance will remain in place until you provide proof of an alternate insurance policy.

Why You Don’t Want It

It doesn’t sound like such a bad deal to let the mortgage company handle placing insurance on your home. The problem is that this type of policy exists only to protect the mortgage company’s interests—not yours. There is no coverage for your personal property, and in the case of a claim you will get nothing—only the mortgage company will receive payment. In return for this limited coverage, force-placed insurance is very expensive—much more so than traditional homeowner’s insurance.

How Can I Avoid It?

First of all, make sure your homeowner’s insurance coverage doesn’t lapse! Make your payments on time. If you have trouble remembering, consider rolling the insurance in with your mortgage payment, or having it automatically withdrawn. Another important consideration is to make sure that the insurance company has accurate information regarding your lien-holder, including their address. This will ensure the insurance company provides proof of insurance to the correct lien-holder and there is no question that you already have insurance in place.

Force-placed insurance isn’t what the mortgage company wants, nor is it the best choice for your interests. Be sure your homeowner’s insurance stays in force and proof is provided so that your interests, as well as those of the mortgage company, are protected.

Personal Property Coverage

Personal Property Coverage

personal-property

Most people love their home, but what makes it far more valuable than the walls and roof are the things that fill it.  Your personal property is special to you, things that you have gathered over many years and selected to suit your personal taste.  Making certain you have enough coverage for these things should be a top priority when it comes to homeowner’s insurance.  Here’s how to be sure your personal property is protected.

How Personal Property Coverage Is Determined

Most insurance companies use a percentage of the value of the home to determine the amount of personal property coverage.  When you see that number, be sure to question it if you believe it’s too low.  In some cases you may need to provide some evidence for the extra coverage, but it’s worth the hassle.  If you were to lose everything in a fire, that is the maximum amount you would receive to replace everything.  And that really is everything, from your toothbrush to your dining room table.  So be sure to discuss that number thoroughly with your agent!

Special Items Of Value

Whenever there is something of particular value in a home, such as artwork, jewelry, or rugs, you may need to take out a special additional coverage known as a floater.  A floater adds a specific coverage to the policy that is intended only for that particular item.  It usually requires an appraisal of the item as proof of value and comes with an extra premium amount.  However, if your diamond engagement ring is stolen from your home you will certainly be glad you covered it properly, because most personal property coverage has a per item limit on jewelry that probably won’t cover it.

When You Aren’t At Home

Many people don’t know this, but your homeowner’s insurance will actually cover your personal property anywhere you go.  That means that if your things are stolen from your car, or even from your hotel room in Hawaii, you can make a claim against your policy to recover the damage.  You will, of course, have to pay the deductible, so the amount of the stolen goods will need to be enough to make the claim worthwhile.

Your homeowner’s insurance covers more than your house—it covers the things that make it your home.  Be sure you help your agent and insurance company cover your things properly by keeping good records, taking out floaters when needed, and ensuring you have the right amount of coverage on your policy.

 

Business Property Insurance

Business Property Insurance

nuts-bolts

Whatever type of business you operate, you have important property that you rely on to get the job done.  The physical property required by your business, from office equipment to manufacturing equipment, is vital to your operations and not easily replaceable.  Think about how much it would cost you to replace everything your company uses each and every day to make your business run.  Could you afford to start from scratch if everything were lost?

Covering Your Business Property

Property coverage is a vital part of your commercial insurance policy; it protects you against the loss of all of those items that represent a substantial investment in your business.  It covers you for everything from the desk and chair you sit at to the computer equipment you need to keep up with business in the modern age.

Take a minute to do some mental calculations and figure out just how much you have spent gathering furniture and office equipment, as well as other equipment such as manufacturing systems that make it possible for you to stay in business.  Chances are you didn’t buy it all at once, and you might not be aware of just how much you have invested or what you stand to lose in case of a fire or other catastrophe.  Without those things you could not continue to stay in business, and you would need to have a lot of cash on hand to replace them.

Building Coverage Isn’t Always Property Coverage

If you lease or rent the space in which you do business, then someone else probably handles the coverage for the building itself.  But their policy doesn’t cover you at all; it exists to protect the owners of the property itself.  The things that you keep inside your office, warehouse, or factory are not covered by this policy.  You need to carry your own coverage to ensure that if something happens, your property would be replaced.

If you do own the building in which you do business, whether a commercial space or a business run out of your home, it is a dangerous assumption to think that your property is covered.  Many commercial building coverage policies have minimal coverage for property, and a homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover business items.  Don’t assume you have coverage!

Protect your business from a potential disaster by getting property coverage to ensure that even after a fire or other catastrophic event, you will be able to replace everything and get back to business as soon as possible.