What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

If another driver hits your vehicle, you might expect that person’s insurance to pay for your injuries. But what if they don’t have coverage?

Enter uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance — coverage that’s intended to spare you from shelling out your own money to pay medical bills for crashes you didn’t cause. In some states, it’s required, but you can get it in others. Generally, it doesn’t cost much to add to your auto policy. Here’s what else to know.

Uninsured motorist coverage at a glance

Names it goes by: Uninsured motorist coverage, UM, and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage, or UMBI. Sometimes it’s referred to as uninsured/underinsured motorist protection because in many states, UMBI also pays if someone doesn’t have enough insurance to cover injuries they cause you or your passengers in a wreck.

When you would use it: If you or your passengers are hurt in a crash caused by an uninsured driver, or one without enough insurance to cover costs related to your injuries. Some insurers will allow you to make a claim against your UMBI if you were the victim of a hit-and-run.

What it pays for: Medical bills for injuries you or your passengers suffer. You may also be reimbursed for lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.

Also good to know: There’s a separate option that pays for damage caused to your car or other property, called uninsured motorist property damage coverage, or UMPD. If you make a claim on that coverage, you might have to pay a deductible, depending on your state. Some states require UMBI coverage only, while UMPD is optional. In other places, both are either optional or mandatory.

Alternative: Health insurance will pay for medical treatment after a wreck. However, if the at-fault driver has auto insurance and you receive any reimbursement for injuries, your health insurer may demand a portion of it. This is true even if the claim check doesn’t cover your out-of-pocket expenses because your health insurer likely expects the person who caused your injuries to pay the resulting medical bills. If the driver is completely uninsured (and not just underinsured) you wouldn’t have to worry about your health insurer seeking a portion of your UMBI coverage.

Learn more at Jones Family Insurance. Serving Southwest Florida all their insurance needs. Offices in Punta Gorda, FL and Fort Myers, FL.

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Florida renewals a “perfect storm” of challenges, warns Demotech

20th May 2020 – Author: Matt Sheehan

Financial analysis firm Demotech has warned that the Florida reinsurance renewals will bring a myriad of challenges for the market, with COVID-19 issues piling on top of a shortage of retro cover, continued loss creep, and legislative issues.Even before the pandemic, analysts had anticipated that 2020 would not be business as usual for Florida focused insurers.

Ongoing complications include jurisdictional risk, the competitive position of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, and increases in the cost of catastrophe reinsurance, including the limited interest of those offering catastrophe reinsurance.

“Having been involved in Florida’s residential property insurance marketplace since 1996, our view is that the financial and market-based criteria affecting residential property insurance have never been more difficult to navigate,” Demotech stated.

Changes in business models and operating plans have already been announced by Capitol Preferred Insurance Company, People’s Trust Insurance Company, and Avatar Property and Casualty Insurance Company, and Demotech believes other carriers will respond in a similar manner.

“We have not experienced market conditions like we are seeing this year since 2006,” said Brian O’Neill, Partner-Client Executive at TigerRisk.

“We are a supply and demand economy, and given the shortage of retro cover available (especially low attaching cover), the loss creep from Irma and to some degree Michael, the lack of legislative reforms to fix the one way attorney fee statutes in the state, and then throw in a Global Pandemic – you have a perfect storm hitting the June 1st renewals,” he continued.

“The carriers in the state are truly performing their best to weather this storm. Support from core reinsurance partners will be critical in this environment along with creating unique risk management solutions and raising reinsurance capacity to optimally manage each carrier’s operational and financial needs.”

Hurricane Myths in Southwest Florida

We’ve all heard of some quick and easy remedies for protecting our homes during hurricane season, but how many of them actually work?

Here are some common hurricane myths and how they can actually do more harm than good:

1. Putting masking tape or window film over windows will prevent window damage and protect my home during a hurricane.

False. Putting tape over your windows may prevent the glass from shattering into small pieces inside your home but the glass can shatter regardless. Only impact-resistant coverings can fully protect your home during a windstorm.

2. Cracking open windows will allow wind pressure inside to equal the pressure outside.

False. Not only will leaving your windows open get the inside of your home wet, but it is also dangerous. Experts agree it’s important to prevent wind from entering your home and creating something called internal pressurization. For the most protection, keep all windows or doors sealed during a storm.

3. You only need to protect windows and doors facing the ocean.

False. All windows and doors need to be covered by impact-resistant shutters or 5/8-inch plywood. Wind can come from all directions and can change direction unexpectedly, and leaving any opening uncovered can put your family and home in harm’s way.

4. If the power goes out, you should light candles.

False. Never use candles, gas or oil lanterns indoors during a hurricane. You can risk causing a fire or ignition. If a fire starts during a hurricane, firefighters will be less likely to respond in a timely manner, and you can risk serious damage to your home. Without proper ventilation, lighting candles can put your family at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Only use battery-powered flashlights if the power goes out.

5. Once a hurricane passes, life returns to normal.

Depending on the severity of the storm and the damage, it could take days, weeks or even months before the power comes back. The strongest winds may have died down, but tornadoes, rain, and flooding can occur after a hurricane. It’s important to have enough supplies to last at least a month after a storm.

6. Water stored in bathtubs/sinks can be used as drinking water.

False. Water stored in bathtubs and sinks should never be ingested. Lead from the bathtub can get into the water over time, making them unsafe for drinking. They should only be used for cleaning purposes.

7. You can go outside during the eye of the hurricane.

False. Due to the light winds, people think it’s safe to go outside during the eye of a storm. There is no way to tell how long these winds will last. Strong winds can return quickly from different directions. Outside wreckage, like down power lines, can pose an additional danger. The safest thing to do is to stay indoors, no matter how calm it looks outside.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently issued new guidance regarding the Payment Protection Program (PPP), established to offset the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Small businesses can request loans from the PPP to help cover payroll costs. This new guidance from the SBA concerns employees who refuse to return to work after a business reopens.
Background
Small businesses can request loans from the PPP to be used as wages for employees, up to 2.5 times the average monthly payroll. Using the funds this way makes the loan entirely forgivable. The catch is that the business must rehire the same number of full-time employees that it used to calculate the PPP loan amount.
The problem is that many employers don’t necessarily need all those staff members to return, especially if operations have been slowed. Furthermore, some employees may not even want to return—and not necessarily for coronavirus concerns. Some employees might be making more with unemployment benefits and don’t want to lose them by returning to work.
What’s New
The SBA understands some employees may not wish to return for a number of reasons, so it issued new guidance. As long as businesses “make a good faith” effort to rehire employees—and explain that they may lose their unemployment eligibility by not returning—the businesses would not face a penalty under that portion of the loan.
Employers should carefully document any communication with employees in case they refuse to return to work and evidence is needed when requesting PPP loan forgiveness.
Read the full text of the guidance below:
Question: Will a borrower’s PPP loan forgiveness amount (pursuant to section 1106 of the CARES Act and SBA’s implementing rules and guidance) be reduced if the borrower laid off an employee, offered to rehire the same employee, but the employee declined the offer?
Answer: No. As an exercise of the Administrator’s and the Secretary’s authority under Section 1106(d)(6) of the CARES Act to prescribe regulations granting de minimis exemptions from the Act’s limits on loan forgiveness, SBA and Treasury intend to issue an interim final rule excluding laid-off employees whom the borrower offered to rehire (for the same salary/wages and same number of hours) from the CARES Act’s loan forgiveness reduction calculation. The interim final rule will specify that, to qualify for this exception, the borrower must have made a good faith, written offer of rehire, and the employee’s rejection of that offer must be documented by the borrower. Employees and employers should be aware that employees who reject offers of reemployment may forfeit eligibility for continued unemployment compensation.
For more information, visit SBA.gov.

Six Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance – #6

The cost of homeowner’s insurance is one of those unavoidable expenses that comes along with owning a house.  How much you’ll pay for insurance varies depending on your location and the age of your home.  It can feel like a big expense, but knowing you’ll be reimbursed if something happens to your most valuable investment can be priceless. Plus, your mortgage company may require that you keep a certain level of homeowner’s insurance as well. 

6th way to save on your homeowner’s insurance is to shop around every few years. I say this because more then not our home insurance is tied into our mortgage and we just get the bill and pay it not even realizing that our homeowner’s insurance goes up year after year. Every carrier has guidelines that set rates and those can change from year to year.  It’s also good to shop it if your agent is not doing that for you. This because lots can happen with the carriers, they could have paid out lots of claims the year before so how are they going to make up for that money they lost? You guessed right! They will up everyone’s insurance premium to overcome that financial loss. Also, other companies could be doing every well and they have a rate decrease of about 10%. That can be a huge difference on your bill. Its important to be with an agent that pays attention to the carriers and the markets he/she writes with. Jones Family Insurance constantly talks with the carriers they write with. We know who is increasing or decreasing rates, why they are doing it, and when they are doing it. 

 

Learn more about us at www.JonesFamilyInsurance.com 

Serving North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Cape Coral and Fort Myers Florida

Six Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance – #5

The cost of homeowner’s insurance is one of those unavoidable expenses that comes along with owning a house.  How much you’ll pay for insurance varies depending on your location and the age of your home.  It can feel like a big expense, but knowing you’ll be reimbursed if something happens to your most valuable investment can be priceless. 

5th Check out flood insurance. Always know when purchasing your home if you’re in a flood zone and if you are, know what your Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is. Your BFE will determine the height at which the flood carrier determines your price. If you have equipment in the garage such as hot water heater, make sure it is elevated. We have seen flood polices go 6x the regular price just because a hot water heater sits on the ground. In Charlotte County we are experiencing a flood map change and it is very important to call your agent or us to find out all the ins and outs of this change. The maps haven’t changed here in about 30yrs! Also, even if you are not in a flood zone it is important to get a quote. People think oh my gosh flood insurance is so expensive. Well if you’re not in a flood zone you’re probably looking at about $400-$600 per year to cover your most prize possessions. Just remember one in five flood claims come from homes that are NOT in a flood zone.

 

Learn more at www.Jonesfamilyins.com 

Six Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance

The cost of homeowner’s insurance is one of those unavoidable expenses that comes along with owning a house.  How much you’ll pay for insurance varies depending on your location and the age of your home.  It can feel like a big expense, but knowing you’ll be reimbursed if something happens to your most valuable investment can be priceless. Plus, your mortgage company may require that you keep a certain level of homeowner’s insurance as well.  There are typically four parts to a normal homeowner’s policy you’ll see on your quote that you should make your agent explain to you.

3rd Make sure you are getting every discount available. Its important to deal with an insurance agent that knows how they can get you all the discounts you qualify for. I’ve personally seen when reviewing quotes other agents have prepared sometimes $300-600 dollars’ worth of savings left on the table and shake my head.  Make sure if you’ve upgraded your roof, windows, security systems, smoke detectors, etc you let the agent know too, so they can apply those for you. Jones Family Insurance always has you get a 4pt and Wind Mitigation Loss inspection. The savings you get is way more than the $250 you spent on the report.

Thank You,

Matt Jones, Owner of Jones Family Insurance

Six Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance with Jones Family Insurance!

1st way to lower your Homeowners insurance is by doing your homework!  Jones Family Insurance works with about 10 different Homeowners companies and every company has their own type of home and situation that they like to insure. I say this because we always run your home if eligible with all our carrier, but we pick the best three to give you quotes on. Its not always about price either. We make sure that the companies we give you quotes for are all A admitted A rated companies through the state of FL.

Get a home owners quote now and save money with Jones Family Insurance. Offices in Punta Gorda and Fort Myers, Florida.

Wind Mitigation Inspection Reports

The state of Florida requires insurance companies to offer discounts to homeowners who protect their homes against damage caused by windstorms. The discounts are offered after a certified inspection is done on your home. Your insurance company or lender do not mandate wind mitigation inspections. These inspections, unlike mandated four-point inspections, are entirely optional. 

While optional, wind mitigation inspections can result in savings that cover the cost of the $75 inspection, so it makes sense to have it done. You can never be penalized for having safety features, so your premiums can only go down, not up. The wind mitigation credit is good for 5 years. After five years, a new inspection will be required to ensure you qualify for the credits based on new forms submitted by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Wind Mitigation Inspectors Examine These Key Safety Features:

A certified inspector will look for specific factors in your home that would make it more resilient to becoming damaged in a windstorm. The inspector will look at the roof, doors, and windows specifically.

  • Roof Shape
  • Roof Bracing of Gable End
  • Roof Deck Attachment
  • Roof Covering
  • Roof-to-Wall Connections
  • Secondary Water Resistance
  • Doors
  • Protection of Openings (windows and other openings)

The current features of your home will be evaluated to determine how wind resilient it is. Homes in Florida with constructed after 2002, were built to certain safety codes and will most likely save you money. Homes built before 2002 with roofs replaced after 2002 should still have a wind mitigation inspection since some of the roof’s features may qualify for discounts.

You can take steps to safeguard your home and reduce your hurricane-wind premium with a few cost-effective measures; secure your roof with hurricane clips, hurricane-proof your windows, openings, and garage doors with protective wind impact-resistant glass.

 

Learn more about us at www.JonesFamilyInsurance.com