Friday, August 26, 2011

“Wear and Tear” Vs. “Sudden and Accidental”

Two terms that are important to know when it comes to the reason behind an insurance claim. Those terms are “Wear and Tear” and “Sudden and Accidental”.

“Wear and tear” is defined by Wikipedia as “damage that naturally and inevitably occurs as a result of normal wear or aging.” An example on a home would be a house settling over time, a pipe that corrodes and leaks water over several months or years, or a roof that after 15 years starts to drop shingles. All these items would not be covered under an insurance policy as an insurance policy does not cover “Wear and Tear”. Insurance policies cover “Sudden and Accidental” events.

So what is “Sudden and Accidental”? The best way to define it is by giving examples. If a pipe in your house just suddenly burst from pressure or because of freezing that is sudden and was done accidently. If wind blows through your neighborhood and suddenly blows off your roof or chunks of your roof that is sudden and accidental. If a tree falls and damages your home that event is sudden and accidental.

“Sudden and Accidental” events are things people can not totally prevent which is why insurance exists and covers them. On the other hand, “Wear and Tear” damage can be prevented by making sure your property is well maintained and updated. Insurance policies are not maintenance contracts.

So next time you have damage to your property ask yourself is this “Wear and Tear” or “Sudden and Accidental”? If it is “Sudden and Accidental” be sure to call your insurance agent or if you are not sure which it falls under call your insurance agent and let them help you figure that out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Insurance and Your College Kids

Out in front of our Oxford, OH insurance office, it is a busy place. Today 16,000+ Miami University students return to begin a new school year. This annual pilgrimage brings up potential insurance issues pertaining to what parent's personal insurance policies cover or don't cover. Three areas that parents should be aware of:

(1) If your son or daughter is going away to school over 100 miles from home without a car, most companies will rate your Personal Auto Policy for them being married which is a nice discount. Let us know if this discount might apply to your family and your Personal Auto Policy.

(2) Most insurance companies will extend personal property (contents) coverage and personal liability for your son or daughter while they are in college and living in a dormitory. Some, but not all, will also extend coverage if they are living in off campus facilities such as an apartment or other student housing. Please check with us to see if your insurance company provides this extended protection. If not, we should be able to write a Tenant/Homeowner for your student to cover both their personal property and personal liability while they are an undergraduate. If they are in graduate school, they should definitely have their own Tenant/Homeowner Policy.

(3) If you or your children are using a rental truck to take their things back to college, U-Haul, Penske, Hertz and other will offer you coverage on the vehicle (collision damage waiver) and extended liability. While these may be covered by your Personal Auto Policy, not all companies extend the protection, so check with us before renting the vehicle. Whether or not they are covered will depend on the length and Gross Vehicle Weight of the vehicle and several other factors. We may be suggesting you buy the extra protection from the rental company before your trip.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leaving Your House Vacant? Consult Your Agent! (9/17/10 Repost)

In today’s real estate market it can be somewhat common to purchase a new home with out having first sold your current home. Prices are low so if you want to upgrade your house, now seems to be the time even if you know you may have to wait a few months until you sell your current home. So many are purchasing a new home, moving into it and then leaving the old home vacant until it sells. This can pose an insurance problem that Fey Insurance feels many don’t realize.

In a typical homeowner policy there is wording that refers to a 60 day period. For sixty days your homeowner policy will have no change in coverage once it becomes vacant. However, and this is important, once the house has been vacant for 60 days some of the coverages are no longer provided. Example, vandalism or malicious mischief claims would no longer be covered. Same with glass breakage claims. The reason for this is that a homeowner policy is priced and designed for buildings that are being lived in and cared for by the owners. Once the owner no longer lives there and it is vacant then the building is more at risk for claims and therefore the insurance companies require it be on a special vacancy policy. What does vacancy mean? Vacancy means the following, “Substantially empty of personal property necessary to sustain normal occupancy.”

So if you are considering purchasing a new home and leaving the current home vacant until it sells, please be sure to call your insurance agent so they can make sure coverages don’t disappear from your policy