Jeff Youngs Insurance Blog
Up and down temperatures can bring big issues.
When we have up and down weather like this winters weather, Ice Dams are more likely to form on your home. An Ice Dam forms on the edge of a roof. It is caused by warm air escaping from your home and thawing snow on your roof that refreezes before it can run off. Water can then pool on your roof and back up under your shingles and enter your home causing damage both your roof and the inside of your home. It will put gutters and downspouts at risk too.
Ice Dams are a very common sight in Ohio winters, and our agency has a history of claims related to Ice Dams every winter. There are several things you can do to avoid getting an ice dam or to reduce the risk of damage after one has formed, but there’s really only one cure: a combination of better sealing, insulation, and venting in the attic and eaves.
All of these methods treat the symptoms, not the underlying problem, which is the warm roof, caused by poor insulation and venting of the space under the roof. We have found that the only way to cure an ice dam – and prevent one in the first place – is to:
1. Seal all points where warm air leaks from the living space into the spaces immediately below the roof sheathing.
2. Insulate the living space well enough to prevent conduction and convection of heat through the ceiling.
3. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing, so any heat that does leak through is carried away.
If you have ice icicles that regularly form on your home, we recommend you have a contractor look at your home to find a solution for the situation. Water entering your home could result in a very large mess as well as a costly claim.
We have all seen the overabundance of insurance advertising that come at us from every direction these days. Name your own price, accident forgiveness, new car replacement, key replacement, pet injury coverage etc. This focus on a laundry list of "extras" could be considered an attempt by insurers to steer your attention away from the importance of purchasing higher auto limits of Liability.
Why do they do this? What would cost insurers more, replacing your auto with one a model year newer, or covering your $500,000 liability claim. Insurers can hold down what they potentially need to pay out in the event of a liability loss by shifting your attention towards policy price and included extra coverage's. The advertising does not educate consumers that liability from an accident can be in the hundreds of thousands, and sometimes even exceed a million of dollars. Well above most insureds policy limits.
If the amount you are responsible for from a liability loss is greater than your limits of liability, you are personally responsible for the balance. Courts may order you to liquidate your assets (Sell your property, cash in your retirement, sell your business) and/or have future earnings garnished to make restitution.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain limits of personal liability that are greater than your total assets plus any possible future earning. This will better protect you in the event of a momentary lack of attention or judgement that could result in a costly liability claim.
Despite laws that compel the purchase of auto insurance, many people choose to drive without it. According to the Insurance Research Council (IRC), nearly 13% of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured in 2014.
Consideration should also given to how much you would need to be compensate if an un- or under-insured driver injures you or your family members. Without proper policy limits, you could have massive medical bills and/or experiences associated with the loss income with no compensation possible from the at-fault party. Purchasing higher limits of un- or under-coverage would better protect your family for a loss like this.
You may also want to consider adding a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP) to your insurance portfolio. A PUP is an additional layer of liability available with limits in one million intervals and provides excess coverage above your other personal policies. Pricing for a PUP is based on the risk factors in your household (Number of autos, age of drivers, prior loss/driving history. etc...) and normally range from $150 to $350 per year. You can also endorse the PUP to include additional un- and under-insurance coverage's.
Sure, all the extras that we can now add to your personal auto policy are nice. Just remember to review the limits of liability offered at a competitive price. After all, does it really matter your insurance carrier replaced your car with one one year newer if you have to sell it because your liability limits were to low?
This question on coverage's comes up all the time from our clients; at what time should collision and comprehensive be removed from an auto. First let's look at what each coverage provides.
When I see advertising that says 'Shop Local" or "Shop Local First" I have to wonder if the business owner realizes they may also be saying "Out of towners, shop your own businesses. We are here for our local community."
Is the only reason I should shop your business simply the fact that you are local? What does that tell people from outside your community? What I hear is "Don't travel to this community to shop or dine, do this in your own community; Support YOUR local businesses." I can also hear a tone of shaming, "Are you really going to support big online business when the same product is right in my store for only 15% more?"
This is an interesting report that fits into my blog. In full disclosure, I do not watch Fox News nor CNN. My posting is of this is not politically motivated.
Advertisers have confused the Auto Insurance market place.
Over the last decade, advertisers have been telling consumers that auto insurance is commodity that should solely be purchased based on price or brand recondition. Consumers are being conditioned to think an insurance purchase should be made in less than 15 minutes at the lowest rate that can be found. "Shop and save". Many local agency's now advertise they will find you he "lowest price possible"
On-line insurance providers have no obligation to advise consumers of what coverage's that should be considered at the time of purchase. The only objective they have is to offer a price that will convince that individual to purchase the product as quickly as possible so they can move on to the next sale. Most consumers have limited knowledge of what insurance coverage's they have or need. If you do not engage in conversation with a insurance professional that is willing to advise you on the coverage's you need at the time of the sale, you could find after a loss you wished that you had.
When you review your auto insurance renewal, are you just focusing in on your total price or are you looking at the limits of liability that you have? Large national insurance carriers are spending massive amounts of money on advertising that only focus on price. Sure, you can always pay less for your insurance. However, what could this cost you at the moment you have a liability loss?
Surprisingly, most people do not understand what the liability limits they have purchased represent. We are only going to look at a split limit liability policy in this example. So lets say you decide to purchase only what the State of Ohio requires you to have to legally operate an automobile. Those limits are 25/50/25 and here are what these numbers represent.
The first 25 represents the maximum your policy will pay for injuries you are liable for in an accident. The 25 represents $25,000 per person. The second number represents the maximum your policy will pay per accident for injuries you are liable to others per accident, $50,000. The last 25 is the limit this policy will pay for property damage you are liable for to others, you got it $25,000.
Very cut an dry.
So, for example, if you have a policy that is at state minimum coverages and you then you have a small accident. You’ve injured 3 people and damage some property. Each person went to the Urgent Care and were treated for minor injuries. As long as no single person seeks treatment greater than $25,000 and the three people all together do not seek treatment collectively that exceeds $50,000, you would have enough coverages to cover your liabilities for the injuries you caused. Their car only had minor and should be repaired for well under your $25,000 limit.
What if you have a much larger accident and people are more severely injured? For instance, the first responders call in a medical fight to take an injured person to a faraway hospital. Or what if a person misses work due to needed therapy appointments for recovery? What if the injured person is suddenly represented by a personal injury attorney whose firm is made famous by their high settlements? Will state minimum coverage be enough?
The limits of liability listed on your declarations page of your insurance policy is the maximum your policy will pay out. If your liability for a loss exceeds these limits the insurance carrier stops paying. Now the liability now falls on you to complete the compensation for your damages.
Has your current limits of liability kept up with inflation? By using an inflation calculator, we discovered $193,485 today is the save purchase power of $100,000 in 1990. Do you think higher limits like 100/300/100 is the correct limits for you? Does 250/500/250 sounds much more reasonable now? Perhaps you should purchase an additional $1,000,000 liability policy to increase your liability limits because you own property and have a savings?
So in the moment your insurance renewal arrives, are you just looking at the price?
I will be addressing these issues and more over the next few months in this Blog.
Jeff Youngs is president of Mid-Ohio Insurance Solutions and has been in the Insurance Business for nearly 20 years. He strongly believe you should understand the coverages that you have and be actively involved in your insurance coverage selection.
Please enjoy my Blog!
I have Dyslexia. For this reason, I have always been very reluctant in starting a Blog. I believe my content is factual, informative and thanks to spell check, the incorrect words I use are spelled correctly.
If you feel the need to grammar check this, have at it. Just please keep your findings to yourself.
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