Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scheduling Special Items

Back in July we posted an article about special limits on homeowner policies for things such as guns, jewelry, coins, cash, silver and furs.  In the wake of a string of burglaries in our area (burglaries that are only focused on taking cash, coins and jewelry), we felt it was important to remind people of the homeowner limitations on these items.  It differs per policy and per item but usually there is only about $1000 to $2500 of coverage given on the homeowners for things such as guns, jewelry, coins, cash, silver and furs.  If you own more than that limitation in any of the mentioned categories you should schedule the items on a special policy.  Feel free to contact Fey Insurance to make sure you have things appropriately covered.

On a side note, the current criminals who have been robbing homes in the area are first placing calls asking if you have a security alarm.  As soon as you answer no they hang up and then know your home is unprotected.  Be sure to never answer no to such questions over the phone to a random phone call.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Is Identity Theft Coverage For You?

Consulting firm Javelin Strategies and Research reports more than 11 million people are affected by identity theft each year, at a cost of $54 billion to the victims. In trying to deal with this threat, the insurance industry has developed products to help a policyholder recover from this kind of loss. The monetary loss is not the only issue with identity theft. A victim can spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to clean up credit records due to the thief using personal information to obtain credit with no intention of repayment, thus destroying the victim’s financial reputation. Identity theft insurance protection is designed to help you with this problem by covering expenses and sometimes professional services, that will help the victim recover from this type of loss.
Even with coverage provided, following simple steps can help protect you from this threat:

Shredding documents. Anything that contains sensitive information absolutely must be destroyed. There are specific documents that must always find their way to the shredder.
Old Tax Returns. Unless the IRS suspects you of fraud in your tax filings, you are usually only exposed to the threat of an audit for three years at a time. The National Endowment for Financial Education advises you to keep three to four years of tax returns, and shred anything older. Your tax return contains sensitive information, primarily social security numbers.
Bank Statements. Anything with bank account numbers should be shredded, including paper bank statements.
Credit Card Offers. These offers should go from the mailbox directly to the shredder, unless you are actually going to take the bank up on its offer. A lot of identity theft happens within families, so don’t leave these offers lying around.
Old Photo IDs. These IDs contain information, which by itself is probably not enough to be damaging, but used with other information could help perpetrate a fraud.

Pay Stubs. Absolutely shred your pay stubs. Some financial institutions will ask you the amount of your last deposit to use as a validation. A past pay stub can give that information.
Credit Card Convenience Checks. The most dangerous thing you can receive in your mailbox are convenience checks often sent with your credit card bill. These represent a live loan to whoever holds this check. Shred these immediately.
Canceled Checks. Canceled checks contain not only your account and routing numbers, but also your address and possibly your phone number. People often include their full account or credit card number in the memo section when paying with a check. Do your duplicate checks display your account and routing numbers? Don’t overlook these carbon copies.