Gendelman Insurance Newsletters
Some Thoughts About SUVs
The great American poet Marianne
Moore was once commissioned by the Ford Motor Co. to name its newest
car. A few names she came up with: "The Utopian Turtletop," "The
Resilient Bullet," and "The Intelligent Whale."
didn't use any of these names, preferring to go with the family
name of "Edsel." But "The
Intelligent Whale" might be a good name for a sport utility vehicle
(SUV). The American public seems addicted to these buildings-on-wheels.
The phenomenal sales growth of this private passenger vehicle also
pleases the auto manufacturers, since SUVs are their most profitable
product. People seem to like SUVs despite their low gas mileage,
parking space problems, high accident potential, and other disadvantages.
Every year, manufacturers
try to outdo each other in size and sales volume. The expected
introduction of a pickup bed in place of the rear seat in luxury
SUVs promises to put even more SUVs on the road in the future.
The National highway Transportation
Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 1997 (the most recent
date for which studies are complete), 9,400 people died when a
car, van, or SUV rolled in an accident - 21% of total crash deaths.
The rate for pickups was 42% and 62% for SUVs. The NHTSA is currently
considering a rating system for SUVs that could end up as the basis
of a warning label program.
Rating system or not, the
make of a vehicle affects your insurance premium. If you're thinking
about purchasing an SUV (or any other kind of car), check with
us about insurance costs. Knowing the insurance premium for different
makes in advance might save you from an unpleasant surprise after
your purchase. Comparing sticker prices isn't enough; you need
to consider the long-term impact of safety factors, gas consumption,
maintenance costs, license, taxes, and insurance costs to get the
Some people believe that
motorcycles, jet skis, cars, and other vehicles stored in the garage
are adequately covered under a Homeowners policy for fire and other
perils. Not so. These vehicles should be insured under an Auto
policy or a Recreational Vehicle policy.
In some cases - for instance,
when vehicle's are laid up for the winter or the owner is out of
the country for a number of months the policy's Liability portion
can he suspended for the idle period. Just be sure to reactivate
it when use resumes!
Another situation that causes
problems is the storage of cars, boats, and recreational vehicles
in someone else's warehouse or barn. What happens in the event
of a loss - say, when the barn burns down? It can get complicated.
Talk to us!
There's More Than One Way to Lose Your
Mention Homeowners insurance
and most people think of protection against property lost to finish,
burglary, and other perils. Few consider the importance of the
policy's Liability insurance. This protection (with its accompanying
Medical Payment coverage) guards the insured family from claims
Let's say you're holding
a yard sale. While rummaging through your goods, a visitor cuts
his foot on a rock and sues you. Or a satellite-dish installer
falls through the roof and sues you for failing to warn him that
your roof was weak. Your Homeowners policy will handle the defense
of these claims and make small settlements.
Families are constantly involved
in liability-generating situations: backyard sports, at-home swimming
pools, pets, barbecues, and so on all can cause injuries. Homeowners
Liability protection even extends beyond the home premises to cover
family members and certain other household residents from many
However, the medical payments
available through the Homeowners policy's Liability coverage do
not apply to family members. This protection is best left to the
family's Health insurance. Instead, it pays for first-aid coverage
when someone outside the household is hurt on your property - for
instance, when the cleaning lady trips on the stairs, your take-charge
neighbor lights the barbecue and seriously burns himself, or your
dog nips a guest.
When a non-family member
is hurt, the family doesn't have to be proved negligent for the
medical payments to kick in. This coverage helps to deter claims
and lawsuits; an injured person who is given free medical help
is less likely to make a claim later.
Policy limits for liability
and medical payments are important considerations for the homeowner.
The standard limit of $100,000 for Liability claims and $1,000
(possibly as high as $5,000) for medical payments is inadequate
in many parts of the country. Fortunately, higher limits are available
via an Umbrella Liability policy. Umbrellas raise your limits for
Liability, Auto, Homeowners, and more by at least $1 million, fortifying
you against serious damage claims. And besides extending coverage
that already exists, Umbrella policies may also insure whole new
Umbrella policies are quite
affordable. Premiums are generally low because most claims are
covered by the underlying policies. But be warned: One Umbrella
does not fit all! You must choose the policy that best suits your
needs from the wide variety available. Purchasing an Umbrella policy
is a wise move for anyone - but it's imperative for those who could
lose a good deal of assets because of a single negligence claim.
-- Priceless, Hardly!
Last year, the holiday gifts
were lavish. Among them were a couple of expensive watches. a Precious
Moments figurine, and a Mark McGwire rookie baseball card.
If these things are stolen,
lost, or damaged, your Homeowners policy might not pay for them.
Homeowners policies are designed
to cover the average household - but plenty of options for extra
coverage will fit the policy to your unique needs. A typical policy
devotes 50% of its total toward Contents coverage; that is, $100,000
worth of coverage would pay out $50,000 toward personal property
in the event of a loss. Some categories of personal property, such
as jewelry, have internal policy limitations.
But you can still cover these
items. To do so, make an inventory of all your personal property
and its value. Send us the list so we can determine how much of
the property is covered under your current policy. We'll call you
if the policy needs adjusting.
At the very least, inform
us of expensive or unusual items that need special insurance: fine
arts, furs, antiques, rare items and memorabilia, souvenirs, and
collector items. These can be insured through an endorsement to
your Homeowners policy, a separate Personal Articles floater, or
a Fine Arts floater.
Necessity Is the Mother of Inventory
The TV images are indelible:
Destroyed homes. Distressed families picking through the rubble.
It's hard not to wonder what you'd do if a tornado or other disaster
hit your home. Certainly a Homeowners policy provides comfort and
recovery but as with any policy, you must prove your loss.
In the event of a disaster,
an insurance company will advance you money immediately and ask
you to come up later with proof that the property existed at the
time of loss.
Memories are unreliable,
so it's crucial for insureds to keep a record of what they own
in a safe place perhaps a safe deposit box or a relative's home
in another location.
Videotaping the premises
is one good way to create a complete inventory.
Swing the camera 360 degrees
in each room, and film even the insides of closets and drawers.
As you tape. narrate the serial numbers, dates of purchase, and
other information. In lieu of a videotape, a simple paper inventory
is far better than nothing after a destructive loss. Be sure to
update any inventory every few years.
The Year 2000 (12K) frenzy
has cooled down, at least in terms of media warnings, but some
people are still worried that they won't be able to access their
bank accounts immediately after Dec. 31, 1999. Having spent millions
to prevent computer-generated problems, the banking industry assures
us that the back-up records held by banks will enable any problems
to be corrected promptly.
If you want to be prepared
for any eventuality, should you stockpile cash? Extra currency
will be printed this year, since the Federal Reserve is anticipating
a major drain on the normal supply.
beware: Large amounts of cash in private hands will encourage
robberies and burglaries.
Opportunistic criminals won't be going on holiday because of Y2K
- in fact, they may even be hoping that Y2K-generated chaos will
leave them a free field for their "work." If you plan to carry
a lot of cash come New Year's, be sure not to spread the word!
Also, consider your insurance
coverage. Homeowners policies have special limits for a number
of valuable, easily portable items, including cash. A basic Homeowners
policy may have a cash limit as low as $200. Fortunately, these
limits can be raised in fact, you may have already done so for
jewelry or other property.
Call us if you're not sure
what your limits are - and definitely let us know if you plan to
store a lot of cash.
High school graduation has come and gone. Your child may be entering
college - or perhaps leaving on some other adventure. Now is the
time to see what affect your child's absence will have on the family's
Homeowners, Auto, and Health insurance policies. Changes in existing
policies may need to be made - or perhaps a whole new policy is
Call our agency for advice.