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

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.

 

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognizes Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman, Inc among its top agents

This week, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company recognized
its top agencies, including Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman, Inc, for expertise in jewelers block
insurance during its annual National Sales Conference. Agencies were named to the
Centerstone Circle Agents in recognition of their efforts to serve Jewelers Mutual policyholders.

“Jewelers Mutual agents are the most knowledgeable jewelers block insurance experts in North America, and we are pleased to recognize their accomplishments,” said Jewelers Mutual’s President and CEO, Darwin Copeman. “Our agent partners play a key role in serving and protecting our policyholders. They are skilled in minimizing risk, assessing coverage needs, and, when the unthinkable happens, our policyholders count on them for advice and support as they recover from a loss. They are vital to our business.”

Seminar a Smashing Success!

 

Our CNA Loss Control Seminar for Law Practice Risk Management was held yesterday morning at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, and was a rousing success!!  It was attended by well over 300 participants from Maryland law firms and legal teams, who enjoyed presentations by some very special guests, including the Honorable Glenn T. Harrell, Jr., Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland.  Included in the modest registration fee was free parking and a complete breakfast buffet!  These seminars sell out fast, so “Like” our Facebook page and come back often to find out when the next seminar will be held!  You can also check our website at https://rhhinsurance.com/professional-liability/lawyers for information on any upcoming events.

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.

Employee Reaches 10 year Mark!!

Erika Zowd has now been with our agency for ten years…10 lucky years for us!  We celebrated her milestone with a DELICIOUS lunch catered by a restaurant we insure, Mission BBQ, located in the Baltimore area.  Erika is a dedicated and hard working insurance specialist working with our Commercial insurance clients.  If you see Erika or are lucky enough to be one of her clients, be sure and give her a well deserved congratulations!

Erika Zowd celebrates her 10th year with Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman

Erika Zowd celebrates her 10th year with Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman

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

RHH Sponsors The 10th Annual Maryland ProStart Student Invitational

Maryland ProStart is an organization that supports educational programs in Maryland schools for high school students wishing to pursue a career in the restaurant industry.    High School students from around the state will compete in two different competitions, the Management Team Competition on the 19th and the Culinary Team Competition on the 20th. The students will be competing for 1 Million dollars in scholarship awards, and the chance to represent Maryland in the National ProStart Program Invitational.  It will be held at the Sheraton Columbia Town Center Hotel February 19-20, 2014.  The competitions and college and job fair are free to attend, and the public is encouraged to come both days and cheer for their favorite team.  RHH is a proud sponsor of the Management Team Station.  Good luck to all of the competing high school teams!!

 

For additional detailed information about this event, click here.

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!