Back to School and Insurance check
It’s September and that time of year when the quiet of August is abruptly interrupted by the post-Labor Day frenzy. With the season’s change, this is a good time to review personal insurance exposures and make any necessary insurance adjustments. Here is a list of some things to look out for:
Automobile exposure including Rideshare driving:
Check: Is anyone in the household thinking about driving for Uber or Lyft or a ridesharing company, or delivering pizzas?
Actions: It might be an easy way for students and others to earn extra money but ridesharing and delivery are not covered by most automobile policies and even worse, may trigger a denial of coverage if it is found during a claim investigation that the vehicle had been used during the policy period for these activities. The insurance provided by ridesharing companies offers only limited coverage and no physical damage when the driver goes “online” to accept a fare. Special insurance policies must be purchased that specifically include coverage for ridesharing or delivery. Also, most umbrella liability policies exclude coverage for ridesharing and delivery which means that drivers who require higher limits of liability should be very careful about having their vehicles used for ridesharing or delivery.
Check: Have drivers in the household changed? Do you have students away at school without a car, any new drivers, household employees who are driving your car?
Actions: New drivers in the household, whether family members or household employees, need to be added to the automobile policy.
Check: Are you planning to purchase a car for a student who will be away at school?
Actions: If so it is generally recommended that the car be titled in the student’s name. Students should remain on the parents’ automobile policy only until they are no longer part of the household, graduate and move on their own. Then the car need not be retitled in the name of the adult child because it is already titled in their name. [Parents can still help out by paying the premiums on the new automobile policy.] It is not a good practice to keep adult children living out of the home on the family policy. Drivers listed on the family policy who do not live in the household may not have coverage for rented or borrowed vehicles and parents remain liable for losses caused by adult children on the parents’ policy.
Check: Do you plan on putting vehicles in storage over the winter, or taking some vehicles out of storage for winter use?
Actions: Be careful when reducing coverage on vehicles to “comprehensive” only, with the thought that collision and liability will not be needed. Note that it is vital to reinstate those coverages before the automobile is back in use or there may not be coverage if there is an accident. Or be safe and remove just collision and keep liability on the policy.
Solution for city dwellers with no vehicle ownership:
Check: Rental apartment or condominium owner and no vehicle ownership.
Actions: A renters or condominium policy from Chubb that includes at least $1 million liability includes coverage for cars rented or borrowed for less than 30 days as long as no vehicle is owned or furnished for the regular use of the policyholder. These policies typically cost between $250 and $450 per year.
Jewelry and Fine art exposure – Serial Numbers for Watches:
Check: Did you make any jewelry and fine art purchases over the summer, possibly while on vacation?
Actions: Make sure your itemized schedule is updated properly and/or that you have enough blanket coverage. Remember that jewelry not scheduled or included on a blanket will typically only have the policy’s jewelry limit available in case of loss, which will 1) be subject to a deductible, and 2) possibly be insufficient.
Reviewing your schedule is especially important at this time because jewelry tends to be worn more during fall and winter.
Check: Do you have the serial numbers for your fine watches?
Actions: If any watches or jewelry have identifying serial numbers be sure these are sent to the agent to include on the description for the itemized jewelry or kept on file for jewelry insured on a blanket. They are critical for the police when handling lost and stolen jewelry cases both for recovery and proving ownership so the items may be returned to the rightful owner.
Check: Do you have a vacation home you close down for the winter?
Actions: If so, make sure it is properly winterized to help avoid ice damage.
Check: Do you have a swimming pool that will not be used in the colder weather?
Actions: Make sure it is securely protected against trespassers.