Monday, June 8, 2015

Trusts, Deeds, and Insurance

He who owns it, must be he who insures it

If you took the initiative to create a trust or LLC then you need to be sure that those are listed on your insurance policy. The individual or entity that appears on the deed/title should be the same name on your insurance policy. 

Garden Gnome imageExample:
Last week you finally decided to take the advice of your lawyer and set up a living trust. Among the many assets you put in the trust for safe keeping, you decided to put your house in the trust. The trust is now the deed holder on your home.

This morning Sue Yu trips on the lawn gnome in front of your house and sustains a life altering elbow injury, losing the use of her left arm.  Sue seeks counsel to gain compensation for the pain and suffering she has endured after losing her arm to your lawn gnome.  One of the first things Sue's lawyer does is look up to see who owns the property on which the gnome was located in order to determine who to file suit against. The next week you get a letter in the mail advising of the law suit against your living trust. 

If your insurance policy does not list the living trust on the policy, then you could be leaving all of the assets of the trust at risk.  Luckily, you are insured with Mason Insurance Agency and because you read their blog so you knew to update your policy. The claim was covered and Sue has a brand new arm.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wood Burning Stoves

'Tis the Season

Wood burning stoves have become an increasingly popular, especially after the extreme weather we saw last year in Michigan. If you are considering installing a wood or pellet stove, or already have one, here are a few safety tips:

  • Always, always, always have a professional install your stove!
  • Keep sufficient clearance between the stove and any combustible materials.
  • Make sure your wood stove has a UL label.
  • Do not vent your stove through the same duct work as any other heating appliance.
  • Clean your chimney and stove pipe at least once per year.
  • Only burn dry, seasoned wood.
  • Do not start your fire with gas, oil, or any other flammable fluids.
  • Clean your stove regularly and dispose of ash outside, away from the house.
  • And of course, contact your local independent insurance agent to inform him/her of your new stove!

information gathered from insurance information institute

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sump Pump Failure

Tips to keep your basement from flooding

With Michigan's sporadic weather, it may seem like an uphill battle to protect and maintain your home from mother nature. If you live in Michigan, you have probably walked downstairs after a stormy night to find that your basement flooded.... again!

A typical homeowners insurance policy has a limit of $5,000 for backup or sewers and drains (less your deductible, of course). This includes sump pump failure/backup so it is important to have your water backup system in tip-top shape, especially if you have a finished basement.

If your sump pump isn't doing the job, you might want to install one of the following:

  • backflow preventer or backwater valve
  • water powered sump pump
  • backup system with a generator
  • battery powered backup sump pump

Top reasons why sump pumps fail:

  1. Float switch is broken
  2. Too much water, sump pump can't keep up
  3. Clogged intake screen
  4. Pump is air locked
  5. Jammed by mud/stone
  6. Power outage
  7. Tripped circuit/blown fuse
  8. Broken pump impeller or drive shaft
  9. Clogged/frozen discharge

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Is there coverage for my dirt bike on my home insurance policy?

Do you have a Polaris or Kubota UTV? How about a dirt bike or four wheeler? If you do, the next questions you should be asking yourself is 'does my policy cover this'?

Physical Damage:
If you want to make sure your recreational vehicle is covered for physical damage, the best answer is to just schedule it on your homeowners policy. This will ensure you get the proper value for your vehicle and provide coverage for additional perils not normally included.

Most policies include recreational vehicle liability while you are on your own property, however it is usually excluded off premises. Even if you don't want to cover the vehicle for physical damage you should still purchase the recreational vehicle liability endorsement.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What factors are used to determine my car insurance rate?

There are a lot of misconceptions about what insurance companies take into consideration when calculating your car insurance premium. Among a long list of rating factors, here is a list of a few variables insurers rate for.


Garaging Location

Average Mileage

Vehicle: Age, make, model, and company experience history are some factors that affect how expensive a vehicle is to insure. It is always a good idea to contact your insurance agent to quote a new vehicle before purchasing.

Claim history: Claim frequency and total amount of claims paid out in the last 3 years (even if you were not at fault)

Violations: Slow down!

Insurance score: Companies us a score comprised your credit history along with a number of other factors that vary between each company.  You can contact Lexis Nexis to order your consumer report.

Be sure to read our last post 15 Auto Insurance Discounts to find out how to lower your car insurance premium.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

15 Auto Insurance Discounts

How can I lower my car insurance premiums?

Make sure you are cashing in on the discounts you deserve!  We have compiled a list of common discounts available on car insurance policies.

Multi policy discounts:

Cash in on discounts for insuring your home, auto, umbrella, life, disability, long term care, etc. all at the same company. The discounts you receive on your home/auto insurance could pay for an entire life or umbrella policy and still save you money!

Go Green: Get a discount for going paperless.

Home Ownership:

Even if you don't insure your home with the same company as your car, you can still get a discount for owning your home.

Pay in full:

There is a significant discount for paying your policy in full if you can afford to do so.

Storage coverage: 

Don't drive one of your vehicles in the winter? Put your vehicle in storage coverage while it is laid up for the winter.

Vehicle safety devices:

Air bags, anti lock breaks, anti theft devices, auto recovery systems (i.e. OnStar), and even daytime running lights can all be provide discounts on your auto policy.

Student away at school:

Available for people who have a child on their policy who is at college without a vehicle.

Good student discount:

Good grades= cheaper auto insurance.

Teen driver monitoring device:

Your kids might not like this one, but there is a discount available if you install a teen driver monitoring device in your child's vehicle. The savings on your auto could more than pay for installing the device.

Loss free discount:

Your loss history stays with you for 3 years.  Consult your agent before turning in claims, sometimes it's not worth while to turn in that $100 claim if you could lose your claim free discount for 3 years.

Coordinating health insurance:

Ask your health carrier if they pay for auto related accidents. If they do, you can get a discount on your auto insurance.

Group memberships:

Being a member of a credit union, professional association, alumni association, gym, or local volunteer group can get you another discount.


Some companies give a discount if you have a high school diploma, some college education, bachelors degree, and post graduate degrees.

Driver's safety course:

Do you have to take a driver's safety course for work? Or maybe you took a class to get out of a traffic ticket? Send your agent the completion certificate to get a discount on your auto insurance.

Low mileage:

If you move, switch jobs, or retire make sure to let your insurance agent know. You can get a discount if you now commute 5 miles to work instead of 30.




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Loan/Lease GAP coverage

What is GAP coverage?

Buying a new car this holiday season? If you are, this may be a good time to review the coverage limits on your auto policy. One coverage that you should look into if you are purchasing a brand new vehicle is GAP coverage. 

You've probably heard that your car depreciates in value as soon as you drive it off the lot. Well, what if a week after you drive your brand new car off the lot you get into a wreck and total your car? You could be left holding the bill for the difference in the depreciated value of the car and the money you still owe on your auto loan. That is where GAP coverage will fill the gap between the depreciated value of the vehicle and the amount you still owe on the loan.

Sometimes GAP coverage is included in your loan or lease agreement. It is a fairly inexpensive additional coverage that could wind up saving you a couple thousand dollars, so it is worth checking into!