Standing under the umbrella: What home insurance covers

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In 2005, the catastrophic event of Hurricane Katerina decimated New Orleans. Lives were shattered and many homeowners had to climb on roofs to be rescued when the levees broke. That was only the beginning. What many residents did not know was once the waters receded and their homes dried in the sun was that a multitude of policies did not cover mold or flooding. Many had to forfeit their homes, thus altering their lives. Unfortunate events happen, whether in nature or an act of terrorism, but your home insurance may not cover the damages. Be aware of what you are liable for by reading the exclusions and declarations sections carefully.

Flooding

Home insurance policies do not cover flooding unless a policyholder pays for the additional protection. Water damage can be an issue when a pipe bursts or there is a torrential downpour. This industry standard was a direct result of 1968 Congressional legislation, which sought to lower nationwide premiums as victims of flooding in parts of the country raised the rates for the nation. As a way of keeping balance, policyholders must seek out separate coverage. This separation applies to catastrophic events and burst pipes which can cause quite a bit of damage. Those having insurance, Miami in particular, should read their policies to discover the degree to which water damage is covered. FEMA does provide flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Mold

Spores can result in property damage. Mold grows where is warm and damp. Perfect breeding grounds are the shower and basement. It is rare to have such a situation as residents of the house can grow sick from it. Those with allergies and asthma are particularly sensitive. The main concern of insurance companies is a severe growth can render your house unlivable and thus unsellable. To prevent a plague of mold check pipes for leaks and always be alert to high-risk areas that may need airing out. Mold is perceived as a maintenance issue.

Nuclear accidents

When a person chooses a home, they are also aware of its location. Homes needs airports and the railroad may not be high on the list of wants. Prices may be lower, but in the end, purchasing a home is a choice. Residences near nuclear sites and nuclear accidents, in general, are not covered by home insurance policies. Some policies will pay for evacuation costs, but not for the mortgage and normal living expenses.

Takeaway

A home insurance policy is one of the most financially responsible decisions a person can make. Declarations and Exclusions are carefully detailed in your official paperwork. Flooding via a burst pipe or a natural disaster is not the responsibility of your policy as it will not cover water damage to any degree unless additionally coverage has been purchased. Mold can also be excluded as it is seen as a maintenance issue. Check high-risk areas such as showers and basements. Nuclear accidents can not be the fault of anyone, but a policy may only cover your evacuation costs. Carefully read your policy to prevent any upsets or misunderstandings.

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Expectations from miami auto insurance coverage

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A car accident is a terrifying experience. The noise, the glass, and the panic can make each second feel like an hour. Even fender benders need some pre-planning so you can spring into action to physically and financially protect yourself in the unfortunate event of an accident. The best car insurance Florida provides will help with your accident, but you must take these steps to speed along the process.

Be prepared

The time to start planning for an emergency is not while it is happening. Be prepared by getting your documents ready. Place your insurance card and any pertinent medical information in your glove box. Keep your insurance current. If you have medical issues, make them known. Having your gallbladder recently removed or having an allergy to codeine is crucial for paramedics to know. If you think that by having your info in your wallet is enough, consider that a wallet or purse can tumble around in an accident while a glove box will remain stable.

 

First step

If you can move after a crash, move to the accident lane. An injury can prevent you from moving; stay in the car as immobile as possible until help arrives. Being immobile on the expressway may add to your anxiety, but a minor injury can be elevated to serious in nature with a few small movements. Move to the designated accident lane, or at least not in the middle of the road. Get out of the flow of moving traffic.

 

Stay quiet

Being angry is a natural reaction to someone hitting your car. Keep your emotions in check; what you say can be held against you. A polite apology will be interpreted as an admission of guilt. If you rage against the other driver, however justified, your mental state can be questioned. Promptly move to the next step and remember that staying quiet in your best option after asking if the other driver and/or passengers are okay.

 

Exchange information

Yes, it can be awkward to ask for information after an emotional experience. Stay calm and ask for the following list:

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Phone number
  4. Email
  5. Make of car
  6. Model of car
  7. License plate number
  8. Insurance carrier
  9. Insurance policy number

 

Take picture

After an accident is no time for selfies, but it is a good opportunity to whip out your iPhone and document the damage. Technology can be a blessing when you need proof. The other driver may not appreciate it, but take as many pictures as possible of both cars. A video may be best if the other driver is not cooperating. Wait for the police to do so, if you feel it is best.

 

Takeaway

A car accident is a scary experience. From fender benders to much worse, you must be calm and know your next steps. Have essential information in your glove box. Leave relevant medical information and besides your Miami auto insurance card, a valid Florida driver’s license should also be there as well. Get out of the flow of traffic. Keep emotions in check. Exchange information and document as much as possible.

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Phoning Home: when to call your home insurance

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Humans are a resourceful bunch. Since the dawn of civilization, insurance has existed in one form or another. Close knit communities formed as a way of dealing with the unexpected. If a house burned down, neighbors were expected to care for the family as the home was being rebuilt. With the dependence of technology rather than a community to help, car insurance Miami has come to the rescue in addition to home insurance.

The math of the policy

The general rule of thumb is to make a claim only every ten years or your rates will increase. This rules helps prevent fraud and the hysterical from constantly being on the phone with agents. Every claim can trigger a premium increase, so it is best to be discerning. Major damage should be reported rather than those that are minor in nature.

Repair or replace

To keep rates low ask yourself when you could repair or replace something on your own. This concept is not to say that you should not call your insurance company, rather it is just a way of maintaining your home. If a storm comes into your town and breaks a few windows, you can pay for the repairs out of pocket should the project cost less than your deductible. Consider filing a claim only when repairing or replacing is too much for you to handle on your own.

Fire

A fire that requires the police and firefighters should be made known as it relates to your policy. Any event that requires outsiders to deal with should be reported. Most of the time a small grease fire can be addressed a few coats of paint and consistent ventilation.

Maintain

Your home is a real possession. With that in mind, maintenance is key to providing a safe environment. Clean out gutters and secure shelves. These tweaks can save you major hassles in the long run. Once a year, most do it during the tradition of Spring Cleaning, inspect your home.

Theft

Some homeowners have priceless works of art that need permission to rearrange. If stolen or damaged the policyholder must tell their agent immediately. In this particular case, the theft would most likely be more than the deductible.

Exclusions

Most policies have exclusions. They may exclude mold, acts of terrorism, flooding, and sinkholes. Be aware of what exclusions may be and how they fit into your region. A home in Miami, Florida requires hurricane coverage. A home in California needs to be concerned with wildfires. Read up on the exclusions may be surprising.

Takeaway

Home is where the heart is. While we no longer live in the mind frame that our neighbors will help us out, insurance gives us that much-needed peace of mind. Claims should be filed if the repair or replacement value exceeds the deductible. In essence, minor damage can be handled privately, while major damaged should be phoned in right away. A good rule is to make a claim if police or firefighters had to be called in to handle the situation.

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The workplace, what you should know

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The workplace is where American workers can expect to spend at least a third of their day. Eight hours with co-workers and bosses is strictly regulated by the federal government to prevent discrimination in any form. Below are the top five claims of bias in the workplace.

Retaliation

Almost half of workplace discrimination claims filed alleged that someone was making it personal. No one wants to be told on in grade school. Adults in the workforce may not have left their primary school tendencies with naps and swing sets. If an employee initiates a claim against a manager or a co-worker, it should be expected that a complaint would be dealt with fairly without fears of repercussions. A worker cannot be demoted or fired because they filed a claim or participated in testifying. In a perfect world, the higher-ups would deal with the matter fairly; however, this is not the case given the high number of retaliation claims. Interpersonal conflicts are of concern as bad behavior can bring down an agency or corporation. If a worker files a complaint against a manager and it is placed in their personal file to be referenced when applying for promotions, it is deemed to be retaliation.

Race

America is experiencing a surge in media coverage of racial tension. It has existed for generations and is making strides to be ameliorated. Discrimination based on race involves skin color, hair texture, and facial features. Workers cannot be fired, have decreased pay, or be devalued in any way based on their race. Slurs, hateful symbols, and or derogatory remarks become a problem when they become consistent and create a hostile work environment. McDonald has had ten African-American workers file a claim against the organization in 2015 after a franchise owner who described them with offensive adjectives demoted them. The case is ongoing.

Disability

Wounded veterans and those born with physical challenges may experience overt discrimination during the hiring process. Reasonable accommodations are legally expected to allow workers with physical challenges the right to sustain a livelihood unless it is cost prohibitive. If a worker is physically challenged and needs an elevator to be mobile in the work area, an employer that does not have the means to provide one cannot be accused of discrimination. Business insurance can address injuries that result in the workplace such as with equipment or related injury. These can also include workers with cancer, ADD, and other impairments that hold them back for hiring, promotion, or gainful employment.

Gender based

The workforce regularly preaches against harassment. Belittling someone for his or her gender or sexual orientation is discrimination. In recent years, transphobia and transgender discrimination has also come to the forefront. Making someone a consistent target for jokes or withholding promotions and/or benefits is biased based. Be sensitive to the issues surrounding gender, both born and preferred to prevent a claim of this nature.

Age

Retirement age was once declared at sixty-five. A worker could expect to put in their years and receive a gold watch before enjoying their golden years. Social Security benefits have been under duress resulting in the workforce becoming older. Seniors may have costs such ashome insurance or acquiring guardianship over grandchildren who are putting a financial strain on their retirement savings. Some employers prefer younger workers as they are perceived to be malleable and may have more working years ahead of them. An additional concern with hiring senior workers is the construct of their pensions as well as retirement benefits.

Takeaway

Discrimination is a serious matter in the workforce. Avoid perceived retaliation. Bias based on skin color or facial characteristics is unlawful. Provide reasonable accommodations for those with physical challenges. Be sensitive to issues centered on gender and sexual orientations. Finally, be aware that senior workers are valuable and should receive the same possibility of advancement or security as their younger co-workers.

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What every boat owner should know

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Everyone has dreams of sailing the high seas at their leisure as the captain of their boat. A seaworthy vessel is an investment. Given that is not a part of your home, even if it is docked there, home insurance does not extend coverage for it unless requested. Additionally, it is not enough to cover the boat; one must also acquire protection if an accident in which the owner/driver is at fault. Coverage is based on the size and personal history of the proprietor. Read on for the ins and outs of being a responsible boat owner.

The best of both worlds

Boat insurance combines the benefits of both home and auto insurance. Guests in your home can be injured and will you will be covered in the event of an unfortunate occurrence. Similarly, if a passenger is injured on your vessel, insurance will pay for medical expenses. Auto insurance secures the policy holder in the event of an accident as will boat insurance. Smooth sailing is best served with proper coverage.

Head for coverage

Most boat owners are not aware that there is a navigational limit to their adventures. Boat insurance will cover domestic waters and some parts of Canada. U.S. waters are deemed as eligible for coverage, but unless specified, international adventures will not be covered. Driving a boat from Miami to Bimini may increase rates, but the peace of mind is worth to have the coverage.

Boat out of water

Vessels belong in the water, but docking a boat in a marina can be cost prohibitive. An owner may attach the boat to their car and drive it to their home to dock. Once the boat is not in water and is connected to a vehicle, it is covered under their auto insurance policy. Auto insurance Miami policy holders may have an easier time acquiring the coverage as it is a common thing to have a boat in the Magic City. Once at home, your home insurance may cover it as well. Ask your agent if your boat is covered under your homeowners insurance as it is not automatic.

Financial savviness

You can save money on your boat insurance in a multitude of ways. A discount rate may be offered if a boating class is taken. Knowledge is power when one knows all the safety advantages and has training in the event of an emergency. Agencies can oversell you on insurance if you are not careful. A yacht requires different coverage than a family-sized fishing boat. Invest in safety features such as a wireless tether and other preventative devices. Discounts may include a layup time that is the season when a watercraft is not in use, consider informing your insurance agency when those times can be expected for a possible discount.

Takeaway

Having a boat is an adventure in and of itself. Boat insurance blends the benefits of home and auto insurance. Protect your passengers as you do guests in your home as well as cover the watercraft after an accident as you do your car. Nautical adventures may only be secured in domestic waters. Ask your agent before charting a new course to secure coverage. If not docking in a marina, understand that while it may be covered with your vehicle insurance, it may not be with your homeowner policy. Take a few classes in boating safety and ask for discounts. Enjoy your nautical adventures.

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Escrow your insurance payments with your mortgage payments

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Sometimes we hear words enough that we know we should learn the meaning. Escrow is one of those words that everyone seems to bandy about assuming the definition is common knowledge. Most people do not know that there are two types. Both of types of escrow help you with your home and your insurance payments should be in escrow to make life much easier.

Buying a home

A third party handles escrow during the process of acquiring a home. Unlike the movies where the buyer and seller shake hands, and the deal is done, the real world requires a spacing time a few essentials such as an escrow. The real estate transaction protects both sides until all terms are agreed upon by the third party. This can be anything from making sure the furnace is up to code or that central air be installed. Bundled money shows the seller that the buyer is serious, and it demonstrates that the purchaser will have their terms agreed to, or the money will be deducted. It is an excellent financial buffer for both sides.

 

Lender’s protection

A bank will give a homeowner the opportunity to pay their taxes and insurances via escrow. This arrangement is to help both parties protect their joint investment. A home is subject to fire and regional weather events. It is also subject to fluctuations in insurance rates and hikes in property taxes. Those that pay insurance via escrow know that that if wild fluctuations occur, they will be protected.

 

Pay via escrow

When bills are due every month, we might have the money automatically deducted from our checking accounts. Payments made once or twice a year can get trickier. A cell phone bill is due every month as is the mortgage payment. They are, therefore, easier to budget for and expect. Property taxes and home insurance may be substantial and paying them both at once annually can be quite the financial uphill challenge. The best way to counteract this is to pay monthly with your mortgage payments with the ease of an escrow account.

 

A smarter decision

Monthly payments are easier to budget for than one made annually, particularly one that is prone to fluctuations. Property taxes may increase to fund the building of a local public school. Home insurance rates jumped after Hurricane Katrina. Miami auto insurance can have fine print regarding weather readiness that all forms of insurance want to protect their investments. Insurances always want to protect their investment and with so many variables in place, escrowing insurance payments makes financial sense. You cannot control the weather, but each month you can manage your bill payments.

 

Benefits

We all wish there was a reward for paying on time. Paying your insurance with your escrow means that if the financial pillow you have provided overpays and there is a surplus, a check can be cut for you. Additionally, if you want to keep the surplus in escrow, it can be added for when unexpected price increases happen. In other words, you will always have that extra coverage and the peace of mind you will not receive a whopper of a bill unexpectedly.

 

Takeaway

Life can be uncertain in so many ways. Escrows provided a financial cushion in case of weather events or increases in property taxes. Prevent any financial challenges by paying your insurance via escrow.

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The ins and outs of property insurance

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With the prevalence and depth of present day of insurance, it might be hard to imagine property owners did not always protect their assets long ago. Until The Great Fire of London in 1666, policies did not exist. 1681 is the official year insurance became structured, and many participated given the widespread destruction of the infamous fire. Property insurance protects against risks to properties, including fire, theft, and water damage. Another benefit is if someone is injured on your grounds.

Property insurance covers two types of perils: open and named. Open perils include earthquakes, floods, nuclear incidents, terrorism, and war. These are dangers in which the homeowner has no control and may be receive news coverage. Fire, lightning, explosions, and theft embody named perils. They may, in other words, be events without a witness whereas open perils can have a multitude of witnesses. Common cases that insurance Miamipolicyholders deal with usually involves hurricanes whereas Wisconsin could see the impact of snow.

Businesses and homes should have property insurance. An owner or renter should be aware of three terms to help understand their policies. Replacement cost, actual cash value, and depreciation are terms that must be understood by any policyholder. A replacement cost is what it cost to replace items destroyed in an open or named peril. Cost excludes sentimental value or other emotional factors. Actual cash value is the replacement cost minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decline in value/price, which happens as a result of tears, decay, and wear. It, also, takes into consideration objective and subjective depreciation. Objective is tabulated by the age and category of an item whereas subjective is assessed via a photo or visual assessment by the adjuster. The only difference between the concepts of replacement cost and actual cash value is solely a deduction for depreciation. Keep in mind the two terms are rooted in the present day cost to replace the damaged property with new property.

Take, for example, a camera that was owned by Ansel Adams and was bought at auction. Ansel Adams is a lauded photographer, and this would significantly increase the value of the piece because it would have a higher resale value given the context attached to it. A regular camera would just be replaced with what it could fetch at market. Marks such Drops and scrapes lead to value depreciation. The actual cost of the item would be the cost of replacing it with the wear and tear figured into the price. It goes without saying some things are priceless to us, but every insured item has an objective value.

Homeowners in South Florida must have home insurance, particularly during hurricane season. There have been stories of people losing their home in Hurricane Andrew during the storm and then once again when their insurance did not pay because they had let their policy lapse. Always pay attention to due dates and make sure to have high-value items appraised immediately after purchase before reporting the treasures to your property insurance company. While both named and open perils cannot always be prevented, update your policy to make the unimaginable tolerable.

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Your auto insurance premium

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Is determined by key elements that Insurance Companies believe indicate the security risk that an individual may pose. Different companies may not always hold the same elements in equal regards, which explains contrasting premiums in rival Companies, but they do consider and assess the same general statistical data. Compiled below is a list of the most influential elements that either lower or raise your car insurance premiums.

The data collected that Insurance companies use can be divided into two distinct groups, static and elastic data.

Static data would include elements such as gender, or age – things that are fixed and out of your control to change.

Elastic data would include elements such as car type and driving record – things that are in your control.

Static Data

Age: Drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 are considered more risky than older drivers.                            26 to 55 years age groups of drivers are considered the safest. However, on the other side of the      spectrum very elderly drivers might need to pay higher insurance rates as their driving reflexes        are considered slower.

Gender: Women are considered safer drivers than men, statistically speaking men are more likely to speed as opposed to women. Because of this women get offered marginally lower rates than men.

Education: People that have graduated from college are offered lower rates. The logic that works here is that higher education leads to better choice making, lowering the chances of a accident.

Age of the car: The older the car, the less is the insurance rate as the value of the car depreciates over time. New cars attract higher rates as they are in good shape.

Elastic Data

Car type: Standard car models will attract lower rates than expensive and exclusive cars. Cars built for speed receive higher premiums than standard issue model cars.

Driving record: A driving record decorated with tickets and fines all over it will directly spike insurance rates. Fortunately on the other hand, a clean driving record indicates a careful, trustworthy driver and lower rates are offered

Geographic location: While, not everyone can change their homes on a whim, individuals that live in proximity of crime ridden neighborhoods will receive higher premiums because the risk of damage to your property is higher. Likewise, if you live in a quiet neighborhood, with little or no traffic, rates will be comparatively lower.

Credit rating:  A good credit rating is indicative of an individual that makes good decisions. Having a good credit rating gives the impression to Insurance Agencies that the applicant is less of a risk. Basically, the better the credit rating, the lower the rate.

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Insurance 101: Different Types of insurance

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Insurance is a necessity of modern life. Coverage is available for businesses, autos, home and personal watercraft, and is typically easy to acquire. A few things must be understood to find the right insurance to suit the needs of the inquiring insured.

Protect Your Business

Making your entrepreneurial dream of owning a business is an accomplishment, but it is also an investment. Business insurance is imperative to protect the professional assets of the business, just as you would your home or car. A solid, comprehensive package should offer property, liability, and crime coverage.

Equipment ranging from laptops to bulldozers may be necessary for your business. Breakdown or theft of the required item(s) makes coverage a must. Maintaining machinery and purchasing/leasing the highest quality supplies will assist your business, only if they can be shielded from theft, judgments, and damaging weather.

Also, it is a reality that accidents in the workplace occur. Solid coverage includes attorney’s fees, medical expenses, and equipment damage. If your product or service causes harm, such as severe allergic reaction or a slip and fall, then you must be covered to prevent the possibility of losing the investment in your business.

Car Insurance

There continues to be many uninsured drivers on the road. Busy expressways and distracted drivers can make even the best drivers nervous. Auto insurance is a necessity that is required by law, and is relatively simple to understand.

Auto insurance covers loss of the vehicle itself, as well as the drivers/passengers. One imperative term with auto insurance is deductible. The term translates into the amount paid out of pocket for coverage. An insurance holder accepts the risk of a certain amount prior to insurance coverage. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. In short, more coverage equals higher rates.

Auto insurance may also help those who are injured in a collision (either party), as there are states that are “no fault”. Medical costs can escalate, and a vehicle can even be banished from the road after an accident. Insurance will either repair or replace a vehicle after an accident, weather events, and/or vandalism.

 Enjoy Your Home and Have Fun

Part of the American dream is to become a homeowner. Home insurance protects a home, personal possessions, and personal liability. A fire, hurricane, or other events can render a home uninhabitable, therefore home insurance can lessen the burden by providing shelter and compensating via the replacement value.

Liability lawsuits are also an issue when owning a home. Accidents and weather can make insurance applicable to rebuilding or restructuring a home. Lawsuits can make a home eligible for repossession. In the event that a guest is injured in a home, insurance can cover medical expenses and may private ensuing lawsuits. If at least eight hours in a 24-hour period are spent in the home, it must insured as a part of the owner’s life and identity.

Life also needs a bit of (protected) fun! Boats and other personal watercraft should have proper insurance based on the characteristics of the vessel and the water on which it will be used. Coverage includes the boat’s motor and trailer. Owning and operating a boat should be as enjoyable as a day on the water.

Boat insurance Miami well knows covers weather events, theft, and man-made challenges, such as capsizing and collisions. Recreational accessories such as oars, dinghies, skis, etc., are also protected.

Takeaway

Miami auto insurance is an imperative part of everyday life, as well as an investment. Business, auto, home, or personal watercraft are required to protect the insurer from liabilities and personal injury. Take the time to do your research to discover which plan best suits your lifestyle and insurance needs.

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Boat Insurance Miami Scoop

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The high seas are calling your name. A boat, the preferred vessel of sea voyaging, is needed in order to enjoy the summer months. As you invest money on the must have of the hot season consider purchasing boat insurance Miami knows you need to prevent more than a rainy day from happening.

Passengers

A boat is similar to a car insurance Florida and the rest of the nation have in that you can take in whomever you want. In doing so, you assume the responsibility for their safety. If an accident happens, your insurance will cover part of their medical expenses up to a certain point. Insurance will also cover lost income, pain and suffering and legal expenses.

Captain

Anyone can drive your boat with express permission from the owner. By handing over the keys, the owner assumes liability for damage that is incurred. These range from running aground to a collision.

Damage and liability

Repairs and replacements are covered, but the owner is responsible for towing a damaged vessel as well as paying for wreckage clean-up costs. Additional coverage may be purchased to deal with these necessities. If a boat collides with another boat, a dock or other structures, the collision is covered with insurance.

Vandalism and additional coverage options

Boats, whether kept in a secured marina or at home on a dock, are subject to vandalism. They are also susceptible just as a car, to be stolen. Insurance covers these events as well collisions. Fishing equipment, oil spills, and uninsured boaters are all covered with additional features on a policy.

Compensation

Claims depend on a few details. Deductibles and limits are big factors. Most owners are not aware if their insurance covers the actual cash value, replacement cost or agreed upon value. Review policies to be in the know.

Specifics

Once a boat has been purchased, the next step is to determine the coverage needed. Maximum out of pocket expenses, aka deductibles, and the additional features desired should be communicated. This should be decided as soon as possible. Florida residents should purchase additional hurricane coverage as well.

Faults

If a boat accident occurs and there is damage to both boats, insurance coverage will go into effect. If you are at fault, depending on state laws, liability insurance would kick in and cover damage up to the limit of the policy. If the other driver is at fault, his insurance would pay for the damage up to the capacity of their coverage.

Uninsured

Uninsured watercraft does pose an issue. Car insurance is a must while boating insurance may not be a top priority for some. Major financial loss should be a motivator for coverage, but some believe that they are fine without it. With this concern, policies do contain a provision for uninsured boaters and their effect on the claimant. Make sure to review this aspect of the policy with your agent.

Set sail this summer with the inside scoop on boating! Have fun.

* Note. If you use your watercraft for water-skiing, make sure you get coverage for this exposure as well. (Depending on the insurance company, it may not be automatically covered.) You can also get coverage for the trailer(s) you use to transport the watercraft.

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