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Insurance News


May 2018

Updates from Travelers

Claim Pre-Consultation
Travelers Pre-Claim Consultation is available for customers or agents who would like additional information before filing a Property claim.
Travelers is now offering pre-claim consultation if you’d like additional information before filing a property claim.
 

How it works
Travelers consultants will:

  • Review your policy and discuss the details of the loss
  • Help you make an informed decision
  • Take your claim if the decision is to file one

Contact
800.252.4633 and ask for a Property Pre-Claim Consultant
The service is available 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. EST, Monday- Friday    

        
MyTravelers.com Self-Service 

Travelers customers whose auto ID cards state “Travelers Personal Insurance Company” can now do quotes and issue policy changes to add, replace, or remove a vehicle via Travelers’ smart phone digital app for iOS or Android.

 

Other news from Travelers:

Travelers offers responsible driver plans. Ask us if these policies are right for you.

Ask us how you can set up EFT or recurring credit card payments and go paperless!

Download the Travelers’ smart phone digital app for iOS or Android to review your policy, pay your bill, file a claim, call roadside assistance or view your policy ID card.

June 2017

Ridesharing is Legal in New York as of June 29, 2017, but Not Wise

Insurance coverage is not yet available to protect you. Yes, the ridesharing networks offer liability coverage for when the passenger is in the car, however, the liability coverage provided when the app is on, but the passenger is not in the car, is minimal, and there is no provision for damage to your car.

Your personal auto policy specifically excludes coverage when your vehicle is used to transport people or goods for hire. Your personal umbrella or excess liability policy may also exclude coverage in these circumstances. When you sign into the ride-sharing app, you are immediately suspending your own insurance policy, in its entirety, and relying upon the ridesharing network’s liability-only policy instead.

In other states, insurance companies have had time to analyze the law and the ride-sharing coverage, to determine what coverage endorsements to offer drivers, to help fill the gaps. New York State rushed their version of ridesharing laws into existence with only a month for policy language to be customized around the law. There is currently no way to fill the gap with your personal auto policy, though some insurance companies are working on it. The only alternative, at this time, is to purchase a commercial policy, the same as a taxi owner.

  • Your personal auto policy specifically excludes all coverage when you transport people or goods for-hire.
  • Your umbrella or excess liability policy may have the same exclusion.
  • The transportation network company (Uber, Lyft, etc.) must provide $1.25 million in liability coverage while the passenger is in the vehicle. This may sound great, but pay attention to what it says:  only while the passenger is in the vehicle.
  • The transportation network company must provide $75,000 per person, $150,000 per accident bodily injury liability and $25,000 per accident property damage liability while the app is on, but a passenger is not yet in the car.  So if you send someone into intensive care, or total their new car, you are likely to have to look in your own bank account to help pay the liability claim.
    • Notice the absence of coverage for damage to your car in the coverage provided by the transportation network company.
    • When your bank account doesn’t have enough in it to pay your uncovered liability claims, expect to have your wages garnished.
    • You will need to look in your own bank account for funds to fix damage to your car.
  • The extra income generated by ride sharing won’t go very far in filling the current gaps in available insurance coverage.
  • Some insurance companies are working to create endorsements to help fill these gaps, and you will need to ask for them and pay a little extra for them.
  • The only way to fill the gap now is to insure on a commercial auto policy, like a taxi owner.

Contact us to discuss your policy before you become a ridesharing driver. And share this information with your friends and family members before they become drivers.

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Insurance to Value: Homeowners Beware

Housing values have plummeted throughout the United States.

The pace of existing-home sales dropped more than 8 percent from January 2008 to January 2009, reported the National Association of Realtors. Home values declined for 76 percent of all U.S. homes during 2008, estimated Zillow.com. And housing prices have fallen in 70 percent of all metro areas over the past several years, according to Moody’s Economy.com. What’s more, the rate of new-home construction is now at its lowest in 50 years, noted the U.S. Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What’s not going down, though, is the cost of rebuilding and repairing houses. Construction costs rose by more than 4 percent between 2007 and 2008, according to a report in Best’s Review magazine citing Reed Construction Data figures.

Rising reconstruction prices are contrary to the economic news of recent months. And it’s contrary to consumers’ expectations that lower home values should mean lower homeowners coverage is needed.

What’s more, homeowners are already cutting back on insurance expenses. Nearly one in four households already have changed their insurance coverage in the past year to reduce costs, according to a recent survey by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) and local Trusted Choice® member agencies.

With these conflicting pressures, what should a homeowner do? The first thing: Recall what homeowners insurance is designed to do.

Insurance should “make whole” the policyholder after loss or damage to the home from an unforeseen event such as a fire, lightning strike or windstorm. In the case of rebuilding a home, “making whole” means rebuilding the same or similar structure.

When a home is damaged or destroyed, there are several issues that factor into its repair or replacement cost:

  • Debris must be removed and discarded.
  • Lumber, concrete, and other building materials are in demand on the worldwide market, even if demand is slumping in the United States.
  • Building materials are purchased for just one home, not on a large-scale basis as is for most housing developments.
  • fuel costs, a big part of construction costs, are higher than just a few years ago.
  • Natural disasters in the United States have left a shortage of building materials and labor in certain areas.
  • Homeowners want to get back into their home as quickly as possible, and speed drives up costs.

The second thing a homeowner should do: Check with your Trusted Choice® insurance professional to see that your insurance program reflects current economic conditions. 

Trusted Choice® insurance professionals use the term “insurance to value” to denote that the dwelling limit in the homeowners policy is tied to replacement cost (and not to resale value). Your insurance carrier may periodically analyze replacement-cost trends and suggest adjusting the insurance value of a home.

Check with your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent about keeping the coverage current. Your Trusted Choice® agent is an advocate at time of claim. But the most important protection for  homeowners is to have the proper amount of homeowners insurance—not too high, not too low.

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Going to Canada?

Ask us for a Canadian ID card. "A U.S. traveler in Canada is required to carry a motor vehicle liability card, plus vehicle ownership papers. A copy of the automobile policy is recommended to be carried. And a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card is strongly recommended. U.S. travelers who do not carry a Canadian Non-Resident Inter-provincial Motor Vehicle Liability Card and are stopped by Canadian police or are in an accident while driving in Canada risk being fined or having their vehicle impounded until proof of proper coverage is obtained."