Umbrella Insurance Part 2

A valued client recently decided to purchase personal liability umbrella insurance coverage.
In general, the amount of coverage you have should at least equal the total of your assets.
The idea being: you’re insurance coverage will protect you from losing the things you’ve worked so hard for. Typically umbrella insurance coverage ranges from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000.
He asked if his retirement accounts could be accessed if sued.
What a great question!
Regarding retirement plans, most plans that fall under ERISA act (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) cannot be touched by a creditor if you’re sued. Most 401k plans fall under ERISA.
IRA’s, on the other hand, are typically not ERISA plans, and can be lost if sued.

Umbrella Insurance

  Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella Insurance protects your assets. If you don’t have an umbrella policy, you should. It’s an important part of one’s financial portfolio.

A Personal Liability Umbrella Policy “sits-over” your home and auto liability limits. Coverage limits start at $1,000,000 and provides you protection from lawsuits.

Coverage is relatively inexpensive to purchase. $1,000,000 of coverage sitting over two autos and a home would cost about $180 annually.

Umbrella Policies require underlying motor vehicle liability limits of $250,000 per person/ $500,000 per accident.

In addition to coverage limits, insurance companies provide legal defense.

So, in essence, when you purchase higher limits you are also purchasing improved legal defense.

Please call or click if you would like to discuss Personal Liability Umbrella Coverage.

Johnson & Rohan InsuranceThank you for insuring with us!

Drone Insurance

Drone Insurance

Love it or hate it, the future includes a lot more drones flying through our skies. The FAA projects that this year is the turning point in the commercial adoption of drone technology. Among hobbyists and amateur drone operators, the future is now. Drones can be purchased on eBay or Amazon for under $50. So you or your child may soon be a drone owner.

Here are some drone tips and suggestions for your drone insurance:
  1. For the drone owner, the prevailing source of insurance coverage is through your Homeowner or Renters policy.
  2. The drone itself is Personal Property under your policy but subject to named perils and the deductible (often $500-$1000) is more than the value of the damaged drone.
  3. Liability coverage to damage done by the drone depends on the circumstances of the accident- especially if negligence is involved. If others are injured or the property of others is damaged by the drone, coverage may be found under the liability coverage of your Homeowner, Renters or Umbrella policy.
  4. Coverage for injury to the operator, the operator’s family or pets would have to be addressed through your medical insurance policy.   If the drone falls from the air and damages an auto, coverage could be found under the comprehensive section of the owner’s auto policy (or if identified, more likely the drone operator’s Homeowners or Renters policy).
  5. All drones over .55 pounds need to be registered through the Federal Aviation Agency. Here is the link to more FAA unmanned aircraft information FAA.gov, including registration. The cost starts at $5.00.
  6. A new company, Verifly, offers on-demand insurance for enthusiasts and commercial drone operators at a cost of about $10 per hour.

Drone insurance, for both commercial and consumer enthusiasts is developing rapidly and evolving into a big business.  We suggest giving us a call to review your particular coverage before your next drone launch.

Boat Safety Tips

Safe Boating Tips

No matter how much experience you have, it’s always a good idea for everyone to review boating safety rules before departures. Below you will find 10 basic boating safety tips to help you stay safe:

  1.  Be Weather-Wise

Always check local weather conditions before departure; TV and radio forecasts can be a good source of information. If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.

2. Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist

Proper boating safety includes being prepared for any possibility on the water. Following a pre-departure checklist is the best way to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.

3.  Use Common Sense

One of the most important parts of boating safety is to use your common sense. This means operating at a safe speed at all times (especially in crowded areas), staying alert at all times and steering clear of large vessels and watercraft that can be restricted in their ability to stop or turn. Also, be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids, all of which have been placed there to ensure your own safety.

4.  Designate an Assistant Skipper

Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety. If the primary navigator is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.

5.  Develop a Float Plan

Whether you choose to inform a family member or staff at your local marina, always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.

*A float plan can include the following information:

name, address, and phone number of trip leader

name and phone number of all passengers

boat type and registration information

trip itinerary

6.  Make Proper Use of Lifejackets

Did you know that the majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets? Make sure that your family and friends aren’t part of this statistic by assigning and fitting each member of your onboard team with a life jacket prior to departure. Wear it!

7.  Avoid Alcohol

Practice boating safety at all times by saving the alcohol for later. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.

8.  Learn to Swim

If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim. Local organizations, such as the American Red Cross and others, offer training for all ages and abilities. Check to see what classes are offered in your area.

9.  Take a Boating Course

Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course. Regardless of your individual state’s requirements, it’s always important to be educated and prepared for every circumstance that might arise. You can learn boating safety rules by taking a local community course or online course to help educate yourself.

10.  Consider a Free Vessel Safety Check

Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations. Free of charge, they’ll provide a specialist to check out your boat and make helpful boating safety tips and recommendations. They also offer virtual online safety checks as well.

Spring Insurance Cleaning

Spring Insurance Cleaning

Life can be messy. Consider making a call to us to review your insurance part of your spring cleaning ritual.

Some questions to consider asking:

1. Is my home covered if we need to rebuild?

Have us complete an updated Replacement Cost Survey. Upgrades to a kitchen or bathroom, new kitchen appliances, or updates to a basement can all affect the cost to repair or rebuild your home.

2. Do I have enough coverage for my expensive items?

Your homeowner coverage includes “special limits of liability” which, for example, the most the insurance company will pay:  $1,000 for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semiprecious stones; $2,500 for loss by theft of silverware, silver-plated ware, goldware, etc.; $2,000 for loss by theft of firearms. If you have any special items consider scheduling the item by appraisal.

3. Do I still need to carry comprehensive/collision on my car?

Our Agency rule of thumb is, if your vehicle is worth less than $3,000 you might want to consider removing comprehensive and collision coverage on the vehicle. Coverage that pays for the value of the vehicle. Give us a call to help you determine the book value of your car and savings that goes with reducing insurance coverage.

4. Do I have enough liability coverage to protect my assets?

Home and auto policies carry liability limits that help protect you from judgments against you and legal fees, up to policy limits. Do you know your policy limits? In our litigious society, you may want to have us help you review your limits. If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing additional coverage in the form of a personal liability umbrella policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1M and “sits-over” your auto and home liability limits.

5. Do I qualify for additional discounts?

An annual insurance review is a great time to ensure you’re receiving all applicable discount. For example, have you installed a security system? If so, additional protective device discounts may be available. Are you getting the proper account discounts? What would be the savings/cost if you were to increase/lower your deductible? Give us a call so we can review.

6. Does my newly finished basement affect my coverage?

Finishing your basement increases the cost to rebuild your home, in addition you may want to make sure you’ve added an additional, optional sump pump failure/ water backup endorsement.

7. Does my policy provide enough coverage for landscaping equipment or outdoor appliances?

When you install a new sprinkler system, larger shed, new pool or hot tub, or if you’ve purchased a fancy, backyard grill or riding mower, you might want to upgrade your insurance coverage. Significant investments require a review of your Dwelling and Personal Property Coverage.
Like home maintenance, an annual insurance review is an important part of protecting your biggest investment.

Give us a call, a click or a visit and we will be happy to review your insurance coverage with you.

Tips for insuring teen drivers

 

Tips for insuring teen drivers

Adding your teen driver can be expensive. How much? That depends on you and your teen.

Tips for insuring teen drivers:
  • Consider driving an older model vehicle with high safety ratings. If you insure a vehicle that doesn’t cost much (doesn’t require collision coverage) you will save a bunch of money. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offers their top choices here: IIHS Top Safety Picks.
  • Get good grades. Auto insurers offer large good student discount for B or better averages. In order to qualify for the good student discount most companies require the student also has a perfect driving record.
  • Drive Safe. Accidents and violations for a new driver can turn expensive rates into absurd rates. Practice safe driving.
  • Complete a Certified Driver’s Education Program. All drivers under the age of 18 are required to complete a licensed, Professional Driver’s Education program. Driver’s ed will save you 10% (parts 1,2, 4, 5 & 7) on insurance costs.
  • Consider registering and insuring the vehicle in your child’s name.  In Massachusetts parents are provided 100% insulation from lawsuits arising from bodily injury or property damage claims.
  • Take In Control’s Crash Prevention Course.  In addition to discounts, Crash Prevention Training has reduced accidents involving new drivers by up to 70%. Some companies will even pay some of the course’s cost. Call us for more information.
  • Take advantage of discount programs. Standard discounts programs still apply such as: anti-theft, low-mileage, and multi-car discounts however some companies offer an “away from school” discount which, if your young driver goes to school 100 + miles from home without the vehicle, a significant credit will apply.
  • Shop around. Different companies have different rating criteria. Rates can vary wildly from company to company. Have us shop around for your teen driver.

Give us a call, click or visit. We’ll find you the best rates and coverage available.

Thank you for insuring with Johnson & Rohan Insurance.

Massachusetts Vanity License Plates

Massachusetts Vanity License Plates

 

Have you ever thought about getting Massachusetts Vanity License Plates? If so, you are not alone.

According to Mass.gov, the official website of Massachusetts, one of the most requested topics is: ordering vanity license plates.

By using the following Registry of Motor Vehicles search tool, you can check to see if the vanity plate you want is available:

http://www.massrmv.com/VanityPlateRequirements.aspx

Ordering Massachusetts Vanity license Plates

Massachusetts Vanity License Plates may be ordered in person.

In Person: Go to any full service Registry Branch and complete the Application for Vanity Plates  Up to three plate requests can be made on one application. Payment must be made at the time of ordering.

Process: Within twelve to fourteen (12-14) weeks after your payment is received, you will receive a letter telling you the plates are ready and instructions on where to pick them up. The plates generally arrive at the branch within one week of the date of this letter.

To pick up your Massachusetts Vanity License Plates at the branch you will be required to:

  • Submit an RMV-3, stamped by your insurance company.
  • Surrender your old plate(s).
  • Pay a swap fee.

Vanity plates must be picked up within 90 days.

Call or click and we’ll be glad to assist you with the process!

Massachusetts Auto Excise Tax

The dreaded Massachusetts Auto Excise Tax.

I’ve been told “you couldn’t get away with that in Texas.” Here in Massachusetts, however, we suffer our annual auto excise tax.

Excise bills are prepared by the Registry of Motor Vehicles according to information on the registration. They are sent to city/town assessors who commit them to local tax collectors for distribution.

The Massachusetts excise tax rate is $25 per $1,000 of valuation (NADA) subject to the following percentage formula:

  • In the model year: 90%; second year: 60%; third year: 40%; fourth year: 25%; fifth year & beyond: 10%.

If you have turned in your plates on the vehicle you are getting excise taxed on, or if you have transferred plates and got rid of the vehicle, you may be eligible for abatement. Abatement instructions are located on your excise tax bill.

http://www.mass.gov/dor/local-officials/municipal-finance-law/frequently-asked-questions-motor-vehicle-excise.html#q55

For what reasons may I get an abatement of a motor vehicle excise?

A taxpayer may file an abatement application and receive an abatement for any of the following reasons:

  1. Sale of the vehicle and cancellation of the registration or the trade of the subject vehicle for another;
  2. Transfer of the registrant and the vehicle to another state with proof of registration in that state and cancellation of the Massachusetts registration;
  3. Overvaluation of the vehicle;
  4. Subsequent registration of the same vehicle in the same year by the same person (e.g., vehicle is later registered with a Vanity Plate).
  5. Theft of the vehicle, if the local police authorities are notified within 48 hours of the discovery of the theft and the certificate of registration is surrendered not less than thirty days after the theft and the registrant has received a certificate of cancellation of registration signed by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles or his authorized agent verifying that the subject vehicle was stolen.

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Excise Abatement Application

MA Excise Abatement Form

Massachusetts Junior Operator Law

Understand the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law

Getting a Massachusetts driver’s license is an exciting, and sometimes scary, event for the new driver and the new driver’s family. In order to preserve your license and keep auto insurance rates somewhat reasonable, make sure your know the rules of the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law!

Operating a motor vehicle is serious business and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a strict Junior Operator Law for new drivers. As way of refresher course:

Massachusetts Junior Operator Law

Any motor vehicle operator or motorcyclist between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 is considered a Junior Operator. The Junior Operator Law has several requirements and restrictions that significantly affect the operation of a motor vehicle by a person who has a Junior Operator’s License (JOL). The basic purpose of the law is to provide new drivers supervised opportunities in which to develop good driving skills, while keeping those drivers free of the possible distractions caused by friends under age 18 who are present while the drivers are behind the wheel.Following, from the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles Driver’s Manual, we offer Massachusetts Junior Operator License Restrictions:

  • You may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six months after receiving your JOL while any person under age 18 is in the vehicle (other than you or an immediate family member), unless you are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver’s license form Massachusetts or another state and is occupying a seat beside you.

General Rule: The passenger restriction that applies to the Junior Operator (Under age 18) is lifted once the Junior Operator completes the six-month period or you reach age 18, whichever occurs first.The six-month passenger restriction period will stop running, temporarily, during any suspension. When your JOL is reinstated, you will still have to complete the remainder of the six-month restriction period that existed at the beginning of the suspension period, unless you have already turned 18.

  • As the holder of a Junior Operator License (JOL), you may not operate a motor vehicle between 12:30 a.m and 5:00 a.m. unless you are accompanied by one of your parents or your legal guardian. If you are found operating a motor vehicle in violation of this restriction, you may be charged with operating a motor vehicle without being licensed. This is a criminal violation.
  • If you violate the passenger restiction or the night restriction, you will be subject to a license suspension of 60 dyas for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and one year for subsequent offenses. For a second or subsequent offense, you will also be required to complete a Driver Attitudinal Retraining course. The law requires the Registrar to impose this suspension in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation, or requirement that may be imposed in connection with a violation committed at the time you were violating the passenger or night restriction.
  • You may not operate a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • You will be suspended for one year if you are udner 18 when you have committed certain driving offenses and alcolhol or drugs were involved (180 days if age 18 to 21), in addition to any penalty assessed by a court or other law.
  • You will be ineligible for a full license until you have completed the period of suspension imposed while operating with a JOL and you reach age 18.
  • You will face additional suspension periods of one year for a first drag racing offense and three years for a subsequent offense, you will be suspended for one year.

In conclusion, follow the rules and drive safe. You’ll keep your license and see your auto insurance rates go down.

Bailment waiver of collision deductible

Bailment waiver of collision deductible

As reported on our MassAutoQuote.com site:

On your Massachusetts auto insurance policy, a “bailment” situation occurs when the operator borrows a vehicle temporarily from the owner and is responsible for returning the vehicle in the same condition as when it was borrowed. Otherwise, a claim for damages exists against the operator.

A “valid” bailment situation allows 100% recovery of physical damage payments against the other party’s insurance company in instances where the operator of your vehicle may have been primarily at fault.

In order for bailment to apply 4 conditions must be present:
  • the operator of your vehicle cannot be the owner and must have permission to use it.
  • the owner cannot be an occupant of the vehicle at the time of the accident.
  • the owner cannot benefit from the operator’s use of the vehicle at the time of the accident.
  • at least 1% negligence must be proven against the other party involved in the accident.

If all of these conditions apply, both the owner and the operator of the vehicle will need to complete a “Bailment Affidavit” which we will send to you. This signed document will be presented as evidence that a valid bailment exists and full recovery of all physical damage claim payments is warranted.

Johnson & Rohan