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Insurance Tips  Back-to-School College Students

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College is expensive enough without finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current policies. So, as you get your children ready to head off to school in the fall, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that tuition check): a review of your insurance coverage. It’s important to keep in mind that policy language varies from state to state, and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, but below is a guide to the language in Florida policies. If you have questions, or want to go over your insurance needs, don’t hesitate to contact us! Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy   Coverage of personal property: Florida homeowner’s policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For example, if the contents of a policyholder’s home are insured for $100,000, a student’s property up to $10,000 would be covered if living in a dormitory – provided the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. For apartments or houses off-campus, the same coverage applies. Certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics, may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Renters insurance is strongly recommended if a particular policy does not cover a student’s personal property. Liability coverage: There is an exclusion for damage to property rented to an insured, so damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered. Ensuring adequate coverage:  Contact us to get specific answers and information about your coverages. Also, it’s a great idea to create an inventory of the items your student is taking to school, as is keeping photos of and receipts for the items. Renters insurance: If your student’s needs can’t be met under your current policy, don’t forget renters insurance. Landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the possessions of renters. Your Auto Insurance Policy Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on your auto policy. If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home, and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a distant-student discount. Coverage with a car at school: A car registered to parents and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school. But you should make sure that your insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location. And note that a change to the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium. Driving a friend’s car at school: Students would be covered while driving a friend’s car if the students are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle. The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage. Coverage discounts: In addition to the possible distant-student discount, students may qualify for a good-student discount. To qualify, most insurance companies require that a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications. Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course may be eligible for a policy discount. Going away to school is an exciting and challenging time for both students and their parents. Making sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect your assets as you invest in your child’s future. We’re happy to discuss your coverage and options, so just give us a call or come by.EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Answers – What is An Umbrella Insurance Policy

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If you don’t have any assets to protect, stop reading.Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance. It is designed to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits and as a result it helps protect your assets and your future. It does this in two ways: Provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners, auto, and boat insurance policies.Here are some answers to more of your questions:

An umbrella insurance policy is an excess policy, so it is more affordable than  you might think. EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Your Auto Insurance – Covering Your College Student

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We are often asked that if a student goes away to college and doesn’t take a car, should they be dropped from the family auto policy to save some extra money. But remember, your college student will be back for Christmas break and wants the car to visit friends. Or, what if he is away at college and his friends ask him to be a “designated driver” one evening? If your student doesn’t take a car to school, we recommend that you keep him listed on the policy for a number of reasons:They will be fully protected if he returns home for a weekend visit and wants to drive.
They will have insurance protection when he’s driving a friend’s car while away, and that vehicle isn’t adequately insured.
Even if they don’t take a car to school, they will be fully protected if they’re hit by a car while walking or bicycling, or while being a passenger in somebody else’s car.
Keeping them on your auto policy maintains continuous insurance coverage, which may be beneficial when they gets his own auto insurance policy.
As a full time student, your child may qualify for a Good Student Discount (if they maintain a grade average of 3.0 or higher). Make sure to let your agent know, and provide them with a copy of the transcript or a letter from a college advisor The savings can be significant. You can also apply for the Distant Student Discount if your child attends college 75 miles or more away from home. If your student takes a car to school, they can still remain on your auto policy. In fact, they should, since it is usually much more expensive for young divers and students to have their own policy. Be sure to notify your agent about the new garaging address: Not only do insurance companies prefer that, but it may also save you money, particularly if your student attends college in a less populated area of the state. Full-time college students can usually remain covered on their parents’ auto policy if their primary address is the parents’ house, even if they attend college out of state. Make sure that the policy meets the minimum auto liability requirements for that state. If your student owns the vehicle and holds the title, they’ll need their own auto policy. EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY can help you in properly insuring your college student. We will review your situation and make sure all coverage is current and adequate. EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY 904-677-5884

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Protection For College Students

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You’re sending them off to college, and there are still risk that need to be covered by insurance following them. Auto insurance is one risk that parents and students usually consider. If questions still exist on the impact on the parent’s policy, review our earlier post on keeping or dropping a student from your policy – read here Renter’s insurance is usually the overlooked need. We have renter’s insurance available from several companies with  monthly premiums of $8.50 – $20.00 a month. Theft on college campuses is a major problem. And who is liability for property damages to and physical injuries at an apartment being rented to a student?  The answers to those and other property loss/damage and liability issues, can be solved with very affordable renter’s insurance for college students.

EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Tips For Condo Insurance Shopping

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Insuring a condominium unit can be more complicated than insuring a single-family home. Owning a condominium involves two policies:  your own condo insurance policy and a “master policy”.  Your own insurance policy provides coverage for your personal possessions, structural improvements to your condo and additional living expenses if you are the victim of fire, theft or another disaster listed in your policy. Your own condo insurance policy also provides you with liability protection.  Condominium insurance–also referred to as an HO-6 policy–differs from typical homeowner’s insurance. Most condo associations tackle the responsibility for insuring exterior building walls and common areas in the complex, as well as insuring for property damage and liability protection for accidents occurring in shared areas such as stairwells or walkways. Typical condominium insurance covers your personal property, offers personal liability protection and covers most of the interior structures of the home. To make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage for your condo, you should ask the following five questions.  1.  What does the master policy cover? Your master policy should explicitly say what areas of the complex are and are not insured by association dues.  Don’t jump to conclusions as to which is your responsibility and what is the responsibility of the condo owner’s association. In order to make sure you’re not either under or over insured, determine exactly what is covered by your policy – this way you are only insuring those things that actually need to be covered. Sometimes the association is responsible for insuring the individual condo or co-op units, as they were originally built. If there have been any alterations, you are responsible for insuring those. For example: if you or a previous owner remodeled the kitchen or bathroom that would be covered by your individual policy, not the one your association maintains. Other times, the association is responsible only for insuring the bare walls, floor and ceiling. So you have to insure things like kitchen cabinets, built-in appliances, plumbing, wiring, bathroom fixtures, etc.  2  How much is the condo association deductible? Your condo association will usually have commercial insurance coverage for shared building and common areas. These policies come with an association deductible. Thus, if a disaster struck your complex, this deductible would be split among the unit owners. This is not a major concern if the deductible is only $5,000, but some deductibles can range up to $50,000. Also, if the association does not have enough coverage and assesses each unit owner for the deficiency, you want to be sure you have loss assessment coverage which would provide coverage for your portion of the assessment in the event of a covered claim. 3.  How much coverage is needed? After you know what parts of your condo you must insure on your own, you need to decide on how much coverage is appropriate. To estimate the coverage you need, pay attention to how much other unit owners are paying for recent upgrades, such as new cabinets, flooring, or countertops. 4.  Cash value vs. replacement cost coverage? The difference between these two coverages is massive in some cases. Cash value coverage reimburses you only for the present cash value of the item less depreciation. Replacement cost coverage reimburses you for what it would cost to replace the item with a new model. For instance, if you lost a TV that was three years old, cash value coverage would only give you what the TV is worth today, which might be next to nothing. Replacement cost coverage would pay for you to buy a new model. 5.  Did you insure interior structure and contents? When getting condo insurance, you need to get coverage for both your personal belongings and the actual structure of the building. Remember that you only have to insure the structural items for which your condo association’s master policy holds you responsible.    And don’t forget, your condo policy doesn’t insurance flood insurance. It your lender requires flood insurance for your loan, let us review the options with you. EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY 904-677-5884

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In Florida 1 out of 4 Drivers Are Underinsured

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How important is coverage protection in the event of an accident with a minimally insured driver – CRITICAL!! In Florida 1 out of 4 drivers are minimally insured.
We can help you better understand the coverage you currently have and discuss the need for adequate “uninsured motorist” coverage with you.EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Make Football Season Fun and Safe

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Finally, football season. Football season in the south brings with it a whole host of seasonal activities for football fans, from game-day tailgates and sports bar outings, to friendly bets and bowl parties.  At EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY, we want your football season to be both exciting and safe, so as you cheer your team to victory, consider the following tips.
Keep it clean: Tailgating is one of America’s favorite pastimes!  If you’re tailgating, select non-breakable, recyclable containers. This will make cleanup easier and help avoid injuries resulting from broken glass.
Be smart: Whether you are tailgating, hosting a football-watching party at your house, sitting in the stands or joining your buddies at the local bar, know your limit on alcohol intake and make sure you have a designated driver.
Know where you’re going: Always plan travel to and from the stadium to avoid getting lost and to make finding parking easier if you drive.
Fill those bellies: Whenever alcohol is consumed, make sure food is too!
Be weather wise: If you’re heading to the stadium, be sure to prepare for the weather. OK, it’s hard to prepare for hot weather. But  remember to stay hydrated – with water being the best beverage to select for that purpose
Keep it close: Whether you’re hitting the live game or the local tavern, be sure to keep your valuables, such as wallets, mobile phones and purses, safe.  Also, keep it close to you (better yet, attached) at all times to avoid theft.

Wherever and however you’re watching the game, we hope you enjoy every last minute.  Go team (#jags, #gators, #noles , #falcons, #bucs, and yes #commodores)! Game day insurance tips Here are a few pointers for making sure your insurance provides an additional safety net on game day:
Make sure you have adequate auto coverage to cover any contents that may be stolen in the unfortunate event of a break-in at the stadium parking lot.
Ensure you have sufficient liability coverage on your homeowner’s policy, as well as medical payments coverage and possibly umbrella coverage. These exist to protect you in the event someone becomes injured while at your house.
Consider roadside assistance coverage. In the event your vehicle breaks down or you lock your keys in your car, it can save the day.

EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Driving Personal Autos in Business, and Business Autos Used Personally

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In any traffic accident, two entities can be held liable for damages: 1) the at-fault driver and 2) the vehicle owner. Insurance companies generally view the vehicle’s insurance to be primarily liable with the driver as secondary.Let’s assume you’re a business owner using your personal vehicle for company business. You are the owner of the car and the driver. Only one responsible party, right? No. Since you’re using the car for business, the business can be held responsible since you’re driving on its behalf.So, who pays when your business has no automobile insurance?The business pays all damages not covered by your personal insurance. Worse, the business pays for legal representation whether you are at fault or not.The solution is simply to purchase “hired and non-owned” automobile liability, usually as an endorsement to your general liability policy if you have no automobile coverage. This add-on is inexpensive for small companies, but saves much stress, financial, and legal consequences in the event of a major accident.Now, what about the other side? Your business owns the car, and you drive it personally. If you do not have a personal auto policy, you are personally unprotected against the liability of car accidents.The other driver will claim against you as an employee and the business as vehicle owner, both covered by business automobile insurance. If the claim extends to you personally, you may be liable for damages in excess of the business policy limits, plus all of your legal expenses.The solution to this potential gap in coverage is a “drive other cars” endorsement which allows the business policy to act on behalf of the driver whether in a rental car, a borrowed car, or a car used in business. The endorsement will add only named people to the policy; it is not blanket coverage for all employees.EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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Florida has 3rd highest car ownership costs in U.S.

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There are two major reasons the car ownership cost in Florida are ranked 13 percent above the national average.One of the reasons why Florida is so pricey is because of higher car repair costs. “When Floridians take their car to the shop, they pay about 10 percent more for parts than the typical U.S. vehicle owner,” according to Bankrate.com. ranked 13 percent above the national average.Insurance is also a driving factor in Florida’s higher costs. Florida drivers paid an average of $1,124 for their policies between 2007 and 2011, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.”That’s 27 percent more than the average U.S. vehicle owner paid over the same span of time,” Bankrate.com said.So let consider the question, who know more about lowering the cost of insurance; the average consumer or an independent insurance agent with experience and many companies to shop for the best value (price and best coverage)? Read more…EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY904-677-5884

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