• Rental Cars: Should you purchase rental agency coverage?

    Your liability, comprehensive (other than collision) and collision coverage most likely will protect you if you are traveling in the United States, its Territories and possession or Canada. Coverage will not follow you anywhere else in the world. Our Agency recommendation is for you to purchase coverage offered by the Rental Car Company, as all Rental Companies vary in their contracts in what you may be responsible to pay if there is a loss to their vehicle. Also, your personal auto coverage will not follow to a commercial vehicle.

  • What to do after an accident?

    You've been in an accident. Here are some general guidelines about what to do next.

    Stop at once: Never leave the scene of even a MINOR accident.

    Seek medical assistance and summon police.

    Do not admit fault: Do not comment about the accident to anyone but your insurance representative and the police. Never accept or make an offer of cash, check or "private" settlement.

    Gather accident information:

    Note the date and time of the accident.
    Obtain information on the other driver including: name, address, phone number, make of car, vehicle license number, insurance company and agent's name and telephone number.

    Record a description of what occurred.

    Draw a diagram of the accident showing the direction of both cars and the point of the accident. Include street names and location of traffic signs/signals.

    Report the accident to us promptly. During business hours, contact the office at 734-641-4200. After hours you can contact your carrier directly toll free. See our claims page for more information.

  • Lease Loan Gap Coverage

    If you are thinking about leasing or buying a car, you might consider adding Lease Loan Gap (LLG) Coverage to your auto policy. LLG Coverage is an extension of your auto's physical damage coverage.

    Ordinarily, your comprehensive and collision coverages provide you with up to the actual cash value (the vehicle's cost minus depreciation) in the event of a total loss. When you sign a lease or loan agreement, you may be obligating yourself for an amount higher than the vehicle's actual cash value.

    At a cost of approximately 5% of your current comprehensive and collision premiums, LLG Coverage protects you from out-of-pocket expense when such a "gap" occurs. Although there are some limitations, LLG Coverage will pay up to your lease or loan amount if your car is stolen or if the cost of repairs is greater than its salvage value. Contact our office and we'd be happy to discuss this coverage further.

    Note: Some car manufacturers may provide gap coverage as part of the lease agreement.

  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage

    It is estimated that one out of every 20 motorists is driving uninsured. Although this figure represents only 5% of today's drivers, uninsured motorists are responsible for approximately 13% of all auto accidents.

    If you become involved in an accident with an at-fault driver of an uninsured motor vehicle there are coverage options available to ensure that you are adequately protected:

    UMBI - Uninsured Motorists Bodily Injury Coverage provides bodily injury coverage for you and for the occupants of your vehicle. Most policies already provide this coverage.

    UMPD - Uninsured Motorists Property Damage - provides coverage for your vehicle. Vehicles without collision coverage have no protection for damage resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver. If the optional UMPD coverage is added to your policy and you find yourself tangled in an accident with the at-fault driver having no insurance, you won't be left to pay for the damage to your car out of your own pocket.

    Please contact us if you want to check into how your particular company's UMPD coverages are structured and priced.

  • Insurance Fraud

    Be a Fraud Buster!

    Fraudulent insurance claims cost us all money. 800#s are available for reporting information concerning fraudulent insurance claims. The caller's identity is kept confidential and an individual may talk with a trained investigator or leave information anonymously on a telephone answering machine.

    Funds spent on fraud detection are a good investment. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the property/casualty industry is recovering $3.50 for every $1.00 it invests in detecting fraud.

    If you want to report insurance fraud, please call our office. You can also contact the National Insurance Crime Bureau at the number shown below.

    Be a fraud buster. We can all help fight insurance fraud.

    NICB Fraud Hot-Line: 1-800-TEL NICB

  • Earthquake, Flood and Sewer Back-up

    It is a good idea to review some optional coverages you may wish to add to your current homeowners policy. Flood insurance as well as the sewer back-up and earthquake endorsements are worth a brief examination.

    Flood - Since flood damage is excluded under your homeowners coverage, you should be aware that flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program. Structural and contents protection are offered. A $500 deductible applies.

    Sewer Back-Up - This endorsement provides protection for direct loss caused by water that backs up through sewers, drains or sump pump wells. Just as flood insurance excludes coverage for sewer back-up, this endorsement excludes any coverage for damage due to flooding. Coverage is subject to a deductible.

    Earthquake - Coverage is available with the premium determined by the structure of your home or building. Because it will better withstand an earthquake, a frame structure is less to insure than a masonry one. A substantial deductible (often a percentage of the amount of insurance that applies to the destroyed or damaged property) is in effect.

    For clarification of your current policy or information regarding the above coverages, please contact us. We welcome the opportunity to evaluate your present needs and to discuss possible insurance improvements for you and your family.

  • Your Home Business: Know Coverage

    Test your knowledge of your homeowners insurance:

    Are you covered?

    While caring for a child for a fee, the child is injured in your home. The parents expect you to cover the hospital bills.

    You replace your friend's car brakes for a "few bucks" and the car is damaged or your friend is hurt in some way. He expects compensation.

    A friend slips on an icy walk or trips on a toy while picking up the craft item she paid you to make. She expects you to cover medical bills.

    You use your detached garage for a small woodworking business and the garage is damaged in a windstorm. You want your garage rebuilt.

    You do word processing for a fee from your home. Your computer is stolen. You want it replaced.

    You are a self-employed sales representative with an office in the home. While entertaining a client in your home, the client is injured and expects compensation.

    In each situation described, the answer is probably "not covered" --- unless you have added specific coverage to your policy for this home business. Take away the compensation, or business aspect, and each would probably be "covered".

    Situations like those described can be covered in one of three ways:

    Your employer may cover it if your business is conducted on behalf of your employer.
    A business insurance policy may be purchased to cover it.

    Your home insurance policy can sometimes be broadened to cover it.

    If you have any concerns about a business-type activity in your home, call us. We'll be happy to discuss it with you.

  • Money Saving Tips

    Controlling household expenses is something we all try to do. We want to help you reduce your home insurance costs when possible. Here are some points to consider:

    Smoke alarms. Check your policy or contact us to see that you are receiving a discount. If you don't have alarms, get them. Not just for the discount, but for your family's safety.

    Higher deductible. The standard deductible today is $500. If yours is lower, you are paying an added charge. If you choose a $1,000 or higher deductible, more savings are available.

    Delete unneeded coverage. Review your policy. There may be jewelry listed that has since been sold, endorsements for businesses in the home that are no longer in operation or other unnecessary coverages.

    Central station alarms. Fire and burglary alarm systems that automatically dial a central station can provide both good security and a significant premium savings.

    COMBINE HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE IN ONE COMPANY. Companies often offer a discount on the home and auto insurance or both when carried by the same insurer.

    In addition to these money-saving tips, some companies offer discounts if you have fire extinguishers, deadbolt locks or a loss-free record. Check with us to see if your plan offers any of these options.

    Group Discounts. Are you a member of a group or organization? Don't forget to ask if you qualify for a group discount.

    Remember, under insuring is not a recommended way to save premium as it can lead to serious problems settling a claim.

    Whether it's a question about cost or coverage, we're always willing to review any insurance concerns with you. Please call us.

  • Long Term Care Protection

    With costs approaching and frequently exceeding $30,000 annually, this is an area of concern to all, especially those who have been successful in accumulating significant assets. Extensive planning is often done to conserve these assets and protect them from high estate taxes. It is equally important to consider the effect a long-term stay in a nursing home can have on an estate. Death taxes and a long-term illness can exhaust accumulated assets. To avoid having to "spend down" assets before government programs (Medicaid) will pay for long-term care, a long-term plan may be purchased that will provide the dollars necessary for care. As with most types of health insurance plans, the premium increases as we age and the risk increases. The following chart shows representative annual premiums for $100/day, 60-day waiting period, 5% compound inflation benefit at various ages.

    Issue age 50 - $ 552/year
    Issue age 55 - $ 723/year
    Issue age 60 - $ 993/year
    Issue age 65 - $1437/year
    Issue age 70 - $2097/year

    Other optional benefits such as home health care are available for an additional premium. As in any estate planning situation, with long-term care the earlier one starts in planning the solution, the lower the cost.

    Individuals who have been successful in accumulating an estate should be careful in planning for estate taxes and long term care costs. We would be happy to talk with you about the need, the benefits and the costs as they would apply to your situation. Please give us a call.

  • Umbrella Liability

    Why have it?

    What is it? Who needs it?

    Skyrocketing court settlements and medical costs can cause uneasy feelings about the adequacy of insurance protection. Liability insurance pays for injuries to others due to negligent acts by you or another covered person on your policy. Although the liability insurance provided under a home or auto insurance policy is adequate for most situations, in a few instances large lawsuit settlements do approach or exceed the limits of these policies.

    An umbrella liability policy is designed to give you peace of mind from this concern. It adds one million dollars (or multiples of $1 million) of protection to the liability limits of your home and auto insurance policy. * Should a judgment against you exceed the limits of that policy, the umbrella picks up the unpaid portion up to the umbrella policy limit.

    Persons most likely to purchase an umbrella policy are:

    likely "targets" for a large lawsuit--professionals, business owners, property owners, higher income individuals, etc.

    those who want greater peace of mind knowing that their life savings will be protected from a financially devastating lawsuit.

    Coverage cost varies, but it is generally $115 to $150 per year for a $1 million limit. If you would like more information on this topic, please call us. We will be happy to discuss it with you.

    *The umbrella can also increase the liability limit for your boat, rental property, motor home, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, vacation home and others. Umbrella protection can be purchased for your personal & business exposures.

  • Life Insurance: How much do you need?

    Life insurance needs can vary drastically for individuals and families. Our agents will meet with you and take the time needed in order to complete an extensive life insurance needs analysis designed especially for you, or your family. Our agency represents several highly rated, financially sound life insurance companies in order to meet your life insurance needs. Properly protecting your financial future is just a phone call away. Please call today for an appointment.

  • Workers Compensation: What do I do if my employee is injured?

    Michigan law requires that employers fill out a Form 100 when an employee is hurt within 24 hours of the injury. When completed, please fax to our agency. If you do not have a Form 100, please contact our office immediately.

  • Terrorists Coverage: Does my policy now exclude it?

    Most insurance companies have listed exclusions in their policy for terrorism due to the September 11th, 2001 tragedy. However, coverage is available when added by endorsement to the policy. An additional premium charge will apply. To find out if your company has excluded terrorism on your policy, and what the rate is to add coverage if needed, please contact our office for assistance.