Understanding Natural Disaster Insurance

Understanding Natural Disaster Insurance

The recent string of hurricanes that hammered the southeast U.S. with the addition of wildfires raging across California has turned a lot of homeowners’ minds to the idea of natural disaster insurance. If you find yourself in a similar state of mind, here are a few things you should understand about natural disaster insurance. Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover Natural Disasters Most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies are designed to cover unforeseen damages, but not all unforeseen damages. When damage results from events like floods, earthquakes and rising water, a typical homeowners insurance policy won’t suffice. If you live in an area that’s prone to one or more natural disasters, you’re going to want to look into purchasing a separate insurance policy or add a rider to your existing policy that covers whichever natural disasters your home’s location is prone to.  It’s important to note here that although a wildfire could be considered a natural disaster, this peril is almost always covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy without the addition of any special rider.  The trick, though, is obtaining homeowner’s insurance in a high-fire risk area in the first place.  It is available, but it can be costly.  Click here for more information on this topic. You’ll Need Some Cash on Hand Depending on the policy you choose, your natural disaster insurance will cover a significant portion of damages. However, there’s often a deductible involved. Earthquake insurance, for example, can require policyholders to pay as much as 15% out-of-pocket. By earmarking some of your savings in the event of a natural disaster, you’ll be well-prepared to handle the costs you...
Tips to Avoid Mistakes with Workers Compensation Insurance

Tips to Avoid Mistakes with Workers Compensation Insurance

In the State of California, workers compensation insurance is mandatory for any business that has 1 or more employees (excluding sole-proprietors). So, if you’ve been running your business yourself but need to hire someone to work for you, you’re going to need to get a workers compensation policy first. Below are a few tips intended to help first-timers avoid some common mistakes when it comes to workers comp. Include the physical requirements of the job in the job description. Whether you choose to include these in an advertisement for the position or at the interview, make sure the prospective employee is informed of, and signs off on, all of the physical requirements of the job. Always address any disciplinary issues with the employee immediately (particularly if the issue has to do with how correctly the employee is executing tasks). If you fail to do so, and the employee gets hurt, it can make your workers compensation claim a lot more difficult to deal with. Report all claims immediately. Always make copies of any paperwork that an injured employee brings in, such as doctor’s notes, and forward them to your claim representative. If one or more of your employees is injured in an automobile accident that is work-related, send the claim to your workers compensation and auto insurance. When it’s work-related, workers comp. provides primary coverage and your auto insurance company will pursue recovery from the party at fault. When a previously injured employee returns, work with them to discover ways they can perform their duties while observing their medical restrictions (if any). If you’re not sure what to do,...
Are You Driving for Uber or Lyft?  Be Careful of Insurance Gaps.

Are You Driving for Uber or Lyft? Be Careful of Insurance Gaps.

The number of rideshare drivers on the streets is growing rapidly, thanks to the popularity of apps like Uber and Lyft. Aside from the money that can be made, driving for these companies allows you to work whenever, wherever, and for however long you want, and the requirements to get hired aren’t all that stringent. Unfortunately, what a lot of rideshare drivers don’t know is that your typical run-of-the-mill auto insurance policy will no longer be adequate once you start working for one of these companies, and the consequences can be severe. It’s best to be upfront with your insurance agent to make sure the right coverage is added on. There are some companies that will add an endorsement that will adequately cover you, but most won’t, and that will leave you with serious gaps. And this kind of coverage is not automatic. So if you’re dealing with a company that will add it on, you need to let them know. Insurance Through Rideshare Companies Often isn’t Enough.  They offer different kinds of coverages/limits, depending on what period of the process you are in. PERIOD 1: This is when you turn the app on but have yet to find a customer. In this case, rideshare companies provide you with  bodily injury liability coverage of $50,000 per person and no more than $100,00 per accident.  Additionally, they will  property damage liability up to $25,000.  But you have NO comp and collision coverage on your own car. PERIOD 2: You’ve indentified a customer and are on your way to pick them up.  Rideshare companies provide you with a top limit of $1 million in coverage for all...
3 Tips for Buying a Perfect Business Insurance Policy

3 Tips for Buying a Perfect Business Insurance Policy

When it comes to business insurance, getting the right kind of business liability coverage is crucial. It’s your general liability insurance that pays for obligations incurred by your business when someone (other than owners and employees) is injured on-site.  Product liability on the other hand, protects you if a customer suffers injury as a result of using your product.  Additionally, business liability covers your legal defense costs if you ever find yourself the target of a lawsuit, and will cover any settlement or award if the suit against you is successful. For small business owners, getting the right amount of business liability insurance coverage can be tricky. Start by Assessing Your Business Risks If you want to buy business insurance that’s tailor-made for your situation, you need to make sure your insurance broker is apprised of your business risks. For example, if your business currently has no employees (other than yourself) and you don’t plan on doing any hiring for awhile, you likely won’t need to worry about paying for a coverage known as “Employee Dishonesty”. Additionally, if you’re running a home-based business, your homeowners insurance isn’t going to cover most things related to your business. For this, you’ll need a business insurance policy that fills in the gaps where your homeowners insurance falls short.  There are many types of coverage that can be bundled into a Business Owner’s Policy and selecting the appropriate coverage is crucial. Consider a Business Owner’s Policy Business insurance can be bought piecemeal, with separate policies that cover separate things, or you can buy a business owner’s policy that provides several types of protection...
Open House Signs and the City of Santa Clarita

Open House Signs and the City of Santa Clarita

Whether you’re a Realtor or a FSBO (for sale by owner), here’s something you might not be aware of in regards to Open House signs in the City of Santa Clarita. I attended a recent Southland Regional Association of Realtors meeting on Friday and a representative with the city of Santa Clarita provided some insight into the guidlines for such signs. This information is particularly useful for Realtors, as they are the ones who typically post them. For starters, Santa Clarita has a strict code against placing Open House signs in a public right of way. What’s a public right of way, you ask? It’s an easement granted or reserved over the land for transportation purposes. It could be for a parkway, street, sidewalk, median, parkway, public walking/bike trail, or paseos. Some have suggested that the city should implement an official Open House Sign Program like Burbank and other communities have done. But that would involve providing insurance and a fee. The city has opted instead to work with Realtors on this issue in another way. The city is willing to work with Realtors as long as certain guidelines are followed. If these rules aren’t followed, the city will confiscate the signs. Here are the guidelines: Never in medians Don’t block the vision of motorists Don’t block handicap access Don’t tie them to a light pole. Now we come to the examples of where the city will not confiscate your signs: Residential parkways. Those are the areas between the back of the curb and the sidewalk that are typically planted with grass or otherwise landscaped. Sidewalk areas as long as three feet of clearance is...