Is your daughter or son off to college this year?

Graduating high school and leaving home for the first time can be an exciting, and, in some ways, overwhelming, experience. In the excitement and anticipation, parents and students tend to overlook the fact that college students may encounter many insurance issues which have not been considered. So, before there’s an auto accident, a fire in, or theft from a dorm room or off-campus apartment, or an unexpected trip to the emergency room, it’s important to think about, and review, your, and your child’s, changing insurance needs in order to make sure you have all of the necessary coverages. Some key questions and factors to consider when children go away to college are:

Q: Does my homeowner’s policy (“HO Policy”) cover my children’s personal belongings while they are living away from home and attending college?

A: For college students living in dorms, most HO Policies will cover personal belongings up to a certain percentage (usually 10%) of the personal property limit stated in your HO Policy. Because of this limitation, and the possibility your student may be bringing high priced electronics and other valuable items to school, it’s important to check the coverage limits of your policy to make sure you are adequately covered. If you aren’t adequately covered, you may wish to either increase your policy limit, or purchase an additional renter’s insurance policy to ensure there is no gap in coverage.

Q: Do the same coverages and limitations apply if my children live in off-campus housing?

A: Most HO Policies will NOT cover personal belongings for students living in off-campus housing, and neither will the landlord’s insurance. Therefore, you will want to consider purchasing a separate renter’s insurance policy in the event your child’s belongings are damaged, destroyed or stolen.

Personal Possession Inventory: Whether your children will be residing in a dorm or off-campus housing, you are encouraged to compile a detailed inventory of their possessions, including purchase prices, model numbers and/or serial numbers. This will assist with regard to filing a claim, as well as in deciding how much renter’s insurance will be needed, or how much to increase your HO Policy limits, if necessary. You are also encourages to take a pictures or videos of the possessions.

Q: Are there any auto insurance issues I should discuss with my agent?

A: It’s important to pick up the phone and inform your agent if your children go away to college. If they don’t take a car, you may be entitled to a premium discount, but still be able to retain coverage in the event they come home for the holidays and vacation, or in case they borrow a car while away at school. If they do take a car, premiums may increase or decrease, depending on the location of the school. In addition, maintaining a certain G.P.A. may make your children eligible for a “good student discount”, whether they bring a car to school or not.

Q: Are there any health insurance issues I need to consider or address?

A: If your children attending college are younger than 26, they are eligible to maintain coverage on your insurance, as long as they are not offered health coverage through their own employer. If your child will be attending college in another state, it’s possible your plan’s network of hospitals and preferred doctors may not extend there. If this is the case, your student will likely have coverage for emergency care, but may have to travel to a preferred doctor or hospital for routine care, or your insurer may provide benefits at “out-of-network” levels. It will be best to check your individual plan’s provisions, or contact your insurance agent to find out what benefits will be provided.

Q: Are there any alternatives available if my children don’t have healthcare coverage, or it’s limited by network service issues?

A: If your children don’t have medical coverage, or coverage is limited, you may want to consider purchasing a “student health care plan”. Such plans are sold by insurers who have contracted with a college to offer coverage to its students. Contact your child’s college to obtain specific information regarding such plans. Another alternative would be to purchase an individual health insurance policy through your agent.

Q: Are there other insurance issues I should consider before my children go off to college?

A: There are several, including:

Tuition Refund Insurance: The vast majority of tuition refund insurance policies will provide coverage for medically necessary withdrawals from college – usually as a result of a documented illness or injury, or because of the death of the student, or death of the student’s parent or guardian. Tuition refund insurance may be worthwhile for those with children attending higher cost private colleges, for those families who don’t qualify for financial aid, or if your children have a serious medical condition.

Life Insurance: While the thought of purchasing life insurance for a college student may seem strange, it may provide an element of protection for those parents who co-sign for costly student loans.

Identity Theft Insurance: College students are more vulnerable to identity theft, as they are less prepared to protect themselves from the steady stream of personal information requests with which they are ultimately confronted. Before purchasing a separate policy, you should review your HO Policy (or check with your agent) to determine if it includes identity theft coverage, and see if it extends to your children attending college and living away from your primary residence.

Q:  How do I know what I should do?

A:  Making such a decision about your options is yours-and yours alone under the law.  As your independent insurance agent, I can help explain these options.  Our agency’s job is to help provide you with information so you can make informed decisions.

As you can see from these Q & A, if you have a son or daughter going off to college this year there is much to consider.

Employment Practices Liability Coverage….do you have it?

 

Does your business have Employment Practices Liability?  Do you need it?

Employment Practices Liability Insurance is designed to protect businesses in the event they are the target of a claim or lawsuit alleging employment-related wrongdoing.  EPLI provides employers with coverage for a broad range of employment-related risks such as discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and retaliation.  It safeguards you and your company against lawsuits brought by past, present and potential employees.

At Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman, we have access to several insurance companies that offer EPLI coverage.  Some of the coverage features can include*:
  • Coverage for full-time, part-time, leased, seasonal and temporary employees
  • Covered claims include administrative charges filed with the EEOC
  • Optional $100,000 costs of defense for claims alleging violation of the Fair Labor Standards
  • Optional third party liability coverage for claims brought by customers for discrimination (including costs of defense for Americans with Disabilities Act and public accommodation claims) and/or harassment
  • Optional sublimit for costs of defense for criminal investigations brought by any government agency for alleged hiring or harboring of illegal aliens

*This coverage overview is not a part of an insurance contract and does not supersede the policy.  Please read the policy form for complete terms, conditions and exclusions.

 

Cinco De Mayo: Let’s Celebrate!!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! Did you know the origin of this day was to commemorate the Mexican army’s defeat of French troops in the 1862 Battle of Puebla….oh, you don’t really care about that? Okay, then why don’t you go to one of RHH’s favorite Mexican restaurants in the Baltimore, Ellicott City and Annapolis areas, and celebrate this festive holiday! Our favs, in no particular order, are: Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, El Azteca, La Palapa, Pachanga Grill, Pachanga Cocina, Jalapenos, El Salto Mexican Restaurant, Xitomate, Plazuelas, Broad Neck Grill and Miguel’s Cocina Y Cantina.

Maintain Your Clothes Dryer

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an average of 7,000 annual residential fire losses in which the source of the fire is in the clothes dryer or vent. Dryers are the third most common type of equipment involved in fires, ranking behind stoves and fixed area heaters. Clothes dryers can catch fire due to excessive lint buildup in the exhaust pipe or inside the dryer; this lint buildup is often out of sight. As a result, you should take the following steps to reduce the chance of your dryer starting a fire.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe.
  • Keep the dryer vent clean and unclogged.   Check for a clogged vent if the dryer does not dry clothes efficiently.
  • Remove and clean the lint screen before each use.
  • Keep all combustibles away from the clothes dryer.
  • Hire a qualified technician to periodically inspect gas clothes dryers.

 Clothes Dryer Fire Inside Dryer VentOutside Dryer Vent

Baltimore Restaurant Week February 16 – 23

Come dine at one of the fabulous restaurants participating in this week’s Baltimore Restaurant Week which runs now through this Sunday, February 23rd.  Some of the area’s top restaurants are offering special three-course menus, plus some restaurants are offering two-course lunch or brunch menus at special pricing as well.  Click here for information about the participating restaurants, as well as all the information about the restaurant you will need to decide where you would like to eat next!
 
 

Is Your Insurance Ready For College?

Is your insurance ready for college? If “back to school” means college for your son or daughter, make sure your home and car insurance is ready. Get our infographic at stateau.to/college_students

Does your insurance cover your child at college?

Is your insurance ready for college?

Howard County Fair Starts Saturday

The 2013 68th Annual Howard County Fair will be held this Saturday, August 3rd and runs through Saturday, August 10th.   The hours are 8:00 am until 11:00 pm daily.  Parking is FREE and admission is $5.00 for ages 10 years and older; $2 for Seniors age 62 and older.  Food, fun, animals, rides and activities…something for everyone!  You don’t want to miss the GREAT Howard County Fair this year!  See you at the Fair!Howard County Fair 2013

What is a Trusted Choice Agency?

Well, as a Trusted Choice agency, we have access to many different insurance markets, and have made a commitment to help find the right insurance carrier for you that offers the coverage you need at a competitive premium…but that is just the beginning.  We take our Pledge of Performance very seriously.  Read over our pledge and see what you can expect as our customer:  

Trusted Choice® Pledge of Performance

Trusted Choice®agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy.As a Trusted Choice® agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person, not a policy. This commitment means we shall:

  • Work with you to identify the insurance and financial services that  are right for you, your family or your business and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products.
  • Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
  • Help you solve problems related to your coverage or account.
  • Explain the coverages and options available to you through our agency, at your request.
  • Return your phone calls and e-mails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
  • Provide 24/7 services for our customers, offering any or all of the following: emergency phone numbers, Internet account access, e-mail and call center services.
  • Use our experience and multiple company relationships to customize your coverage as needed.
  • Commit our staff to continuing education so they may be more knowledgeable in serving you.
  • Treat you with respect and courtesy.
  • Conduct our business in an ethical manner.

We pledge this to you, our clients and ask that you let us know if we fail to meet our commitment, so we may take corrective action.

Support the Annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge!!

We have this crazy employee named Matt Hiley who will be taking part in the Polar Bear Plunge on January 26th at Sandy Point State Park. The Annual MSP Plunge benefits the Maryland Special Olympics.  Matt has volunteered as a Swim Team Coach for Howard County Special Olympics for the past 3 years and this year he has agreed to take the plunge!  Show your support for Matt by making a donation, or just coming out to Sandy Point to cheer him on and watch him shiver!!  Click here for the link to Matt’s page:

 

 

Retirement Congratulations!

Health Dept CSRWe would like to extend hearty congratulations to Deborah Whattam on her December retirement! Deborah has worked at our agency for the past seven years in our Health Department, and prior to that had a long career in the insurance P & C industry. We wish her the very best as she starts this new chapter in her life!