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.

Be Ready When the Wind Starts Blowing: Hurricane Preparedness

 

“Well the wind is blowing harder now
Fifty knots or thereabouts
There’s whitecaps on the ocean
And I’m watching for waterspouts
It’s time to close the shutters
It’s time to go inside”

- Jimmy Buffett, Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Who knew that when he wasn’t searching for his lost shaker of salt, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett was singing about hurricane preparedness? While hurricanes and tropical storms are often associated with the southeastern coastal United States, in 2011 Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene caused significant damage in Vermont and upstate New York and, while they’re more rare, Pacific tropical storms have impacted California as recently as 2009. As we enter the peak of hurricane season, here are tips for before, during and after a storm to help you prepare your home and family.

Before a hurricane

  • Install hurricane shutters or precut 3/4″ pieces of marine plywood for each window of your home.
  • Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
  • When a hurricane is approaching, a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning will be announced through your local news media. Be prepared to evacuate, especially if you live on the coastline, on an offshore island, in a mobile home, or near a river or floodplain. High winds and flooding are common even if the hurricane doesn’t make landfall. Take your disaster supplies kit, sleeping bags and blankets.
  • Lock the windows and doors of your home before leaving and turn off all utilities.
  • Follow the recommended evacuation routes.
  • Store away lightweight objects that could become airborne.
  • Anchor outdoor objects that cannot be brought inside.
  • Call your emergency contact person to report your plans.
  • Fill your car with gas.

During a hurricane

  • If you are not told to evacuate, settle in and stay put. Keep the roads free for those who need to use them. Don’t be fooled! The first part of the storm is followed by a period of tranquility. It is only the eye of the hurricane passing over. The rest of the storm is yet to come.
  • Collect your disaster supplies kit, blankets and sleeping bags & keep them near you.
  • Keep children and pets indoors.
  • Make sure your battery-powered radio is nearby.
  • If you’re along the immediate coast and in danger of a storm surge, go to a room on an upper floor, preferably one without windows. Stay there until the storm passes.
  • If you’re in a location not susceptible to a coastal storm surge, then go to an interior room on the lowest floor to protect yourself from wind-related damage.

After the hurricane

  • If you have evacuated, wait until authorities tell you it’s safe before returning home
  • Be alert for tornadoes.
  • Stay away from flood waters.
  • Use a flashlight. Do not light matches or turn on electrical switches.
  • Sniff for gas leaks. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and evacuate. If you have any concerns, have the gas system checked by a professional.
  • Do not touch wires or outlets.
  • Check for frayed cords and for cracked or broken prongs and plugs.
  • Turn off the main electrical circuit switch. Be careful to stand on a dry surface and do not touch the metal handle of the switch box. Use a piece of heavy rubber, plastic or a piece of dry wood to open the metal door and throw the switch. Share your concerns with a licensed electrician.
  • Watch for holes in the floor, loose boards or hanging plaster.
  • If your home has been flooded, check for snakes and other animals that may have entered the property.
  • Before you start cleaning up debris, prepare an inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. If you can, videotape or photograph the damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Clean up any flammable or poisonous materials that may have been spilled.
  • Dispose of all spoiled food immediately. If you have insurance coverage for spoiled food, document your losses.
  • Hold off on permanent repairs until you’ve received approval for reimbursement.
  • Save remnants of damaged or destroyed property for your insurance company adjuster, and do not sign agreements with contractors or anyone else until you have a chance to meet with your insurance adjuster.
  • Keep a written record of everyone you talk to about your insurance claim, including the date of the conversation and a summary of what was said.
  • Keep all receipts.
  • Your pre-disaster home inventory will be of great assistance to you at this point. After you’ve examined everything and determined the extent of damage, call your independent insurance agent as soon as possible to file a claim.

Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  These words couldn’t be truer when it comes to hurricane season!!

Posted with permission from TrustedChoice.com

Vicki Leja Celebrates 10 years with RHH!

John Hinkle, VP congratulates Vicki on her 10 year anniversary with Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman

John Hinkle, VP congratulates Vicki on her 10 year anniversary with Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman


Our agency is so lucky to have Vicki with us!! She is a cornerstone in our Personal Lines Department. Please help us congratulate Vicki for her dedication, knowledge and professionalism. She is a true joy to work with every day!

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?

Severe Weather Bulletin – Tropical Storm Andrea

Tropical Storm Andrea
As Tropical Storm Andrea threatens the east coast, we would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of all insurance companies’ binding authority in the event of severe weather:
• After a “severe storm”, “watch” or “warning” is issued by the NOAA National Weather Service, your insurance company will suspend binding authority for all commercial and personal lines property coverages, inland marine coverages, and physical damage coverage on automobiles. This will apply to all new risks and to any increase in values on existing risks.
• No policy or coverage may be written or bound on new business, or coverage values increased when a “severe storm”, “watch” or “warning” has been issued. When the NOAA National Weather Service withdraws the “watch” or “warning,” normal binding authority will be reinstated.
• No endorsements to existing policies may be issued or coverage bound which have the effect of increasing the property limits.
• All Flood Insurance policies have a 30 day waiting period after submission before they become effective. Please keep this in mind with the hurricane season upon us.

NOTE: For the State of Maryland, binding authority suspensions will follow the moratorium protocol established by the Maryland Insurance Administration.

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.

Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance Offers Quality Insurance Products For Over 140 Years

Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance Inc. has offered superior quality insurance products to people and businesses since 1871. The company is very proud of its ability to offer high quality insurance to its customers. Their extraordinary team of customer service experts takes pride in the excellent reputation they have earned for great service and for their exceptional customer focus.

Businesses from Maryland and from many other states have relied on Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance for their insurance needs for decades. Rossmann Hurt Hoffman provides quality insurance to restaurants. They also offer general liability insurance for contractors such as plumbers, electricians, roofer’s, landscapers, flooring, roofing, street and road contractors. They provide insurance products to many other businesses as well.

Rossmann Hurt Hoffman offers car insurance and professional liability insurance in addition to their premium insurance products for businesses. The Maryland based company is also licensed and able to offer insurance products in many other states.

The company has special programs in place that allow them to find the best rates for each customer based on their needs. This very customer focused operation has earned an excellent reputation in the insurance business. All their systems are automated allowing them to work quickly and efficiently to find the best insurance for each clients needs.

With total customer focus, they take pride when they are able to get great rates for their clients and offer the best insurance products for the best price. They always strive to build long-term relationships with each client and the relationships are based on trust. This company-wide philosophy is practiced by everyone that works for Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance, Inc. Their highly trained team finds the best products available on a case by case basis, and offers those products to clients at very competitive prices.

Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance, Inc. has received the honor of being named a Best Practice Agency out of 900 eligible candidates. This is an honor and an amazing achievement. Only 195 were selected for this competitive honor and Rossmann Hurt Hoffman Insurance was proud to be named a Best Practice Agency for 2004 and 2005.

How does life expose thee? Let us count the ways

Six good reasons to have a personal umbrella

There is no question that the ownership and use of our autos present us with the greatest personal liability exposure. But our normal daily activities can expose us to the potential of a large liability claim that could threaten our personal assets. One of the best ways to understand the need for a personal umbrella policy (PUP) is to review actual claim examples. Listed below are actual personal liability claims that illustrate the need for higher personal liability limits.

Loss #1
A couple hosted a pool party for their teenage children. They did not provide any alcohol, but it was brought by some of the guests and was available. After leaving the party, one of the guests was severely injured in an auto accident, and the injury was attributed to his consumption of alcohol. This case went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court which decided that anyone who sells or furnishes alcohol to a minor is responsible for the minor’s injuries as well as any injuries caused by the minor. The opinion of the court was that the homeowners should have prevented the consumption of alcohol by minors on their premises. Both the homeowners’ and personal umbrella policies responded to this claim.

Loss #2:
The insured hosted a party at his home. Among the guests was a family friend, who was also the insured’s financial advisor. The friend brought his wife, their 2-year-old child and their baby to the party. The insured gave them a jug of spring water to mix formula for the baby. The 2-year-old child also had a drink of the water. Shortly thereafter, both children became ill. The family left the party and took the children to the hospital. The hospital confiscated the water jug which was found to contain arsenic. An old label was found wrapped around the handle with the words “weed killer” printed on it. The insured had mistakenly given the jug, which was similar to the ones containing spring water, to the family. The baby died and the 2 year old survived after being in critical condition several days. The personal umbrella liability limit was paid.

Loss #3:
The insured’s 18-year-old son was driving his parents’ car to the store with his 19-year-old girlfriend. He left the roadway and hit a tree. The son told the police that another car cut him off, but there were no witnesses, and the girlfriend had no recollection of the accident. She was hospitalized for over a month with multiple fractures and internal injuries and received extensive physical therapy. The personal umbrella insurer settled with the girlfriend for the policy limit.

Loss #4:
An 18-year-old college student was struck by a fraternity paddle during initiation. He sustained facial fractures and blindness in his left eye. The fellow fraternity members and their families were sued. The court awarded $1,300,000.

Loss #5:
A 28-year-old engineer dove into a friend’s above-ground swimming pool, struck his head on the bottom and, as a result, became a quadriplegic. He sued both the homeowner and the pool manufacturer. The court found the homeowner to be 60 percent responsible and the pool manufacturer to be 40 percent responsible, and awarded $10,000,000.

Loss #6:
A babysitter left a 5-month-old infant unattended in a walker. The infant toppled the walker, struck her head on the floor and suffered brain damage. The parents of the infant sued the teenage babysitter and her parents. The court awarded the parents $11,000,000.
The above losses show the consequences of situations that can quickly exhaust the liability limits of the underlying policies.

For less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day, most folks can purchase a personal umbrella policy with a limit of $1,000,000, possibly $2,000,000 or even $5,000,000.
Jerry Milton, CIC, contributed this resource. The legal profession recognizes him as an expert on insurance coverages. He is also an education consultant for IA&B, working with CISR, CIC and on-demand CE programs.

Rossman Hurt Hoffman Insurance

Rossman, Hurt, and Hoffman Insurance known as RHH Insurance offers several personal insurance coverage options. Events in life are sporadic and unexpected. That’s why it’s important to be protected at all times. It’s better to have, than to not have by being prepared and feeling safe. RHH has homeowners insurance to protect your really important and valuable personal property, such as, your home and any buildings that sit on your property and even, what it holds including – clothing, furniture, and appliances. They offer auto insurance covering bodily injury to others and personal injury protection. Optional coverage components can always be added, make sure you let them know specifically what you want insured.

Additionally, RHH offers life insurance to provide for your surviving loved ones upon your passing. This is crucial to cover any estate costs, pay for burial and for any other bills your family may incur. Health insurance is also another product to help cover health care costs. It’s very important to have in the event of unforeseen medical emergencies that could potentially be extremely expensive. By having health insurance you would then alleviate much costs and future debt. RHH even has a wedding protection plan.

RHH is upfront and honest and is sure to provide you with the necessary details to ensure you choose the right coverage plans. Their website provides informative feedback with a Frequently asked Q & A section. An added feature is their online insurance quote form. You can input your information in and receive a quote instantly without leaving home but if you want to speak with someone you can always call them using their toll-free number 1 (866) 847-0449. RHH insurance agents will be happy to explain all policy information to make sure there is no content that’s unclear to you. Go ahead and get your price quote today. http://www.rhhinsurance.com/personal-insurance.html

10 Reasons Your Insurance May Need a Checkup

Does your insurance need a checkup?

• Have you gotten married or divorced?
• Have you had a baby?
• Did your teenager get a driver’s license?
• Have you switched jobs or experienced a significant change in your income?
• Have you done extensive renovations on your home?
• Have you decided to buy a vacation or potential retirement home?
• Have you acquired any new valuables such as jewelry, electronic equipment, fine art, antiques?
• Have you signed a lease on a house or apartment?
• Have you joined a carpool?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, give us a call to update your policy. (410) 504-1002