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What Your Property Insurance Doesn’t Cover

What Your Property Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Ask the average homeowner what their property insurance covers and they will probably say “not much”. All too often homeowners make claims against their property insurance for common occurrences that simply aren’t covered by the policy. There are many things covered by property insurance: fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, windstorm, hail, riot, civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, sinkhole collapse, volcanic action, falling objects; weight of snow, ice, or sleet; water damage (in the form of leakage from appliances); and collapse from specified causes (unless, of course, any of these are specifically excluded). However, there are some specific exclusions you should be aware of since claims for any of these will not be covered under your policy. Vermin & Animals The specific property exclusion in the Homeowners 3 – Special Form (HO3) policy form looks like this:     Vermin includes lice, fleas, roaches, bed bugs, and rodents. Damage or infestation by these pests is not a covered peril under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Damage to the home and subsequent repair and treatment of the home would be an out-of-pocket expense. So what is considered a rodent?  According to Wikipedia, the most well-known rodents are mice, rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, and capybaras so damage by these would not be covered. What about skunks, bats or raccoons? None of these are considered insects or rodents, so coverage would most likely apply to damage made by these creatures. However, check with your broker or insurance policy for a complete definition. As for part (h) – “Animals owned or kept by an ‘insured’” this means...
State Minimum Auto Insurance

State Minimum Auto Insurance

During every sporting event, there are plenty of ads on TV touting the latest online auto insurance company. Each offers online quoting, low down payments and state minimum auto insurance. Those all sound great, but are they? Remember that old adage that “you get what you pay for”? Let’s talk more about state minimum auto insurance. What is State Minimum Auto Insurance? Nearly every state requires that drivers have insurance or financial responsibility in order to drive a vehicle. Since insurance is mandatory, states have established state minimum auto insurance requirements for drivers. State minimum auto insurance limits are the minimum amount of liability insurance (both bodily injury liability and property damage liability) that the state requires for a driver to be “legal” to drive. These limits vary from state to state. Below are some examples: California $15,000 bodily injury liability per person $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident $5,000 property damage liability per accident Florida $10,000 property damage liability per accident $10,000 personal injury protection Here is a handy guide to the websites and information for state minimum auto insurance requirements by state. What Isn’t Required As State Minimum? State laws require only that drivers have minimum liability insurance limits for bodily injury and property damage. Still others require minimum limits of personal injury protection for insured drivers and their passengers. What usually isn’t required is coverage for comprehensive and collision damage (also known as “full coverage”) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, towing & labor, or rental reimbursement. Should You Purchase State Minimum Auto Insurance? As a law, you MUST purchase at least the state minimum in order to...
Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

It is the time of year when we all reflect on the past 365 days and look forward to the coming year. Hayes Brokers wishes all of our current and future clients a happy holiday season and a prosperous 2019.
Christmas Presents, Christmas Perils

Christmas Presents, Christmas Perils

Tis almost the season! With the holidays shortly upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to examine how the holidays might impact your homeowner’s insurance coverage. This season is a joyful one, but sometimes bad things happen. How will your current coverage respond? The Peril of Fire As seen in this classic scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Christmas trees are highly flammable: According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) the likelihood of fire increases in December and January. A huge spike in home fires occurs in the 10 days after Christmas, when homeowners have stopped watering the tree regularly, and are more lax about turning the lights off. Electrical shorts from overloaded circuits near a source of kindling (a dried out Christmas tree) accounted for about 40% of Christmas tree fires. See more facts about Christmas tree fires here. The good news: your homeowner’s insurance will cover the peril of fire unless the fire was intentionally set (and 24% of them are). The Peril of Theft All types of theft increase during the holidays, including shoplifting. However, the worst kind of theft to experience at this time of year is the theft of holiday gifts. Christmas lights on the house, a brightly lit tree glowing in the window and no cars in the driveway are a beacon to thieves looking to cash in on some holiday spirit. This family was hit in 2013:  There are many ways to keep your home from being burglarized, including making sure the home looks occupied at all times, installing a security system, and keeping gifts out of sight...
What Does Equipment Breakdown Cover?

What Does Equipment Breakdown Cover?

As a business owner, you may have been presented a quote by your broker for Equipment Breakdown (aka Boiler & Machinery) coverage. You may have even seen this coverage as a line item on a property, package or business owner’s package (BOP) quote. In many parts of the country, boilers are no longer used, but this coverage is still valuable for many reasons. What Is Equipment Breakdown? Decades ago, this coverage was called Boiler & Machinery and was designed to cover boilers and production machinery used by factories and other businesses. Over time this coverage was expanded to cover such things as air conditioning units and elevators, so the coverage was renamed to Equipment Breakdown insurance. Equipment Breakdown insurance is property coverage. Heating and air conditioning equipment, as well as other machinery components now rely heavily on electricity. Electrical arcing, which is excluded by the property coverage form, is a major reason for equipment breakdown and would be covered under equipment breakdown insurance. What Does Equipment Breakdown Cover? This coverage is designed to cover a significant gap in the Building & Business Personal Property coverage form that specifically excludes: Mechanical breakdown The explosion of boilers and pressure vessels and Electrical arcing The systems that are usually affected by these claims include: Electrical systems Heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration Boiler & other pressure vessels Computers and communications equipment Mechanical Production systems Alternative energy systems Some claim examples: An air conditioning motor burned out in a high rise senior citizens apartment complex at the height of summer. “Spot coolers” were rented to keep the place cool while employees worked overtime to...