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Rutt Insurance Blog

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance.

Two keys to weather safety are to Prepare for the risks and to Act on those preparations when alerted by emergency officials.

Please refer to FEMA's website (ready.gov/hurricanes) for comprehensive information on hurricane preparedness at home and in your community.

 

Gather Information

Know if you live in an evacuation area. Assess your risks and know your home's vulnerability to storm surge, flooding, and wind.

Understand the difference between National Weather Service watches and warnings. Understanding the difference is critical to being prepared for any dangerous weather hazard, including hurricanes.

 A watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur. It literally means "be on guard!" During a weather watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for action. Monitor the weather to find out if severe weather conditions have deteriorated and discuss your protective action plans with your family.

 A warning requires immediate action. This means a weather hazard is imminent - it is either occurring (a tornado has been spotted, for example) - or it is about to occur at any moment. During a weather warning, it is important to take action: grab the emergency kit you have prepared in advance and head to safety immediately. Both watches and warnings are important, but warnings are more urgent.

 Contact Information: keep a list of contact information for reference including Emergency Management Offices; State, County & Local Law Enforcement; Hospitals; Fire & Rescue; Local TV & Radio Stations; Your Property Insurance Agent.

 Plan and Take Action

 Everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected. Your friends and family may not be together when disaster strikes. How will you find each other? Will you know if your children or parents are safe? You may have to evacuate or be confined to your home. What will you do if water, gas, electricity or phone services are shut off?

 Supplies Kit: Put together a basic disaster supplies kit and consider storage locations for different situations. Help community members do the same.

 Emergency Plans: Develop and document plans for your specific risks.

 Evacuation: Review FEMA's Evacuation Guidelines to allow enough time to pack and inform family and friends if you need to leave your home. Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered.

Resources

 

Information contained herein was used with permission from NOAA.

 

Posted 12:00 AM


You've Got the Car of Your Dreams, Now How Do You Protect It?

As anybody who’s dealt with an insurance claim on a classic will tell you, it’s an important question. The fact is, the everyday insurance policy that’s perfect for your daily-use cars just doesn’t cut it when it comes to classics. Even if your classic stays in your garage, undriven, it probably won’t be covered by your homeowner’s policy for a fire, theft or accident. So what’s the difference between specialty and everyday insurance? Specialty and everyday insurance policies differ greatly when it comes to vehicle value and how you are compensated in the event of a loss. There are three ways auto insurance pays out claims: Actual Cash Value Most everyday insurers offer Actual Cash Value policies. This is what an insurance adjuster says your car is worth, usually based on used car values – not the classic car market. So if your classic’s stolen or declared a total loss after an accident, it’s unlikely you’ll be compensated for its true value. Stated Value Many everyday insurers offer Stated Value policies for classic cars, allowing clients to set their own value. But here’s the problem: the insurer only has to pay up to the Stated Value, and in fact is allowed to pay the lesser of the Stated Value or the Actual Cash Value, less any deductible. Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value Most specialty insurers offer Agreed Value or Guaranteed Value, which means you and the insurance company agree on a value for your car. If there’s a covered total loss, you’ll receive that full value, less any deductibles. Some companies require appraisals at your expense, while others will only insure cars for book value – no negotiations. The best companies don’t require appraisals, and rely on their expertise and your opinion to determine an accurate value for your classic.

Is Classic Car Insurance Right for You and Your Car? 

Different companies have different vehicle and age requirements, but vehicles are generally considered classics if they maintain or appreciate in value and are of limited production or special interest. Drivers must have a good driving record. Some companies require drivers to be 25 or older. Vehicles typically need to be securely garaged. Vehicles typically can not be used for back-up or daily transportation. Some companies have strict mileage limitations; others are more flexible. How do you choose a classic car insurance expert? As you shop around, here are some things to look for: Agreed or Guaranteed Value coverage - It’s the only way to make sure you get the full value of your classic. • Good Reputation - Ask around and read online reviews. Find out how companies treat their clients and deal with claims. • Financial stability - Choose a company with an A.M. Best rating of “A-” or better. This means that the company is financially strong and benefits from good management. Lets you choose the repair shop - In event of a claim, you should choose who repairs your classic.


- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Hagerty.
Posted 12:00 AM


In the new sharing economy, ridesharing allows vehicle owners to transport passengers in their own cars for a fee or a donation. Drivers sign up with a service that charges a fee to connect passengers with drivers via a website or smartphone app. Passengers arrange rides and pay with a credit card using the app.

Ridesharing is becoming more common around the state and the nation, particularly in large cities. Capitalizing on the new sharing economy and to a certain extent the coolness factor, this simple concept is thriving. Passengers and drivers for Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) alike are generally little informed of the fact that under a personal auto policy, they may not be covered under a number of circumstances.

What Drivers Need to Know

Why is ridesharing an issue for drivers?

Most standard personal auto policies exclude coverage for “public or livery conveyance;” in other words, the use of the vehicle to transport passengers for a fee. Some policies have even stronger exclusions that exclude any coverage when the driver is available for hire.

Other restrictions could apply, so even if you don’t see a specific exclusion, you should not assume that there is coverage under the personal auto policy. Regulators in many states have been issuing consumer alerts to warn the public about possible implications when signing up as a driver – or as a passenger – with the ridesharing apps.

What if my Transportation Network Company tells me I’m covered when I drive for them?

An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to cover the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. Some may also offer Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage, something that can protect you when you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who had insufficient coverage or no coverage at all (which happens all too frequently). You should ask your TNC:

  • What they would provide, and
  • Whether their coverage would be primary.

How do I know if I’m covered as a driver?

If you are considering becoming a driver for a TNC, you should:

  • Find out what the TNC will cover for your commercial exposure, including when coverage starts and when it ends, and
  • Talk to your agent about what your personal auto policy may cover if you are involved in an accident.

Although insurance issues are often downplayed by TNCs, the coordination between the commercial and the personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of the accident will have a bearing on whether coverage is afforded or not. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Can you give an example?

Examples are a great way to get a better understanding between you and the TNC and/or the insurer and to identify potential gaps.  At the minimum, you should find out how the TNC will cover you when:

  • You are available for hire (logged into the app) but not transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged in and transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged out and not transporting a passenger.
  • You are logged out after dropping off your last passenger, and heading home.

Is this issue settled?

No. Between challenges from Public Utility Commissions, restrictions on licenses to operate, and the Legislature contemplating new laws to address proper insurance coverage, among other things, the issue is not settled. 

What Passengers Need to Know

Why is ridesharing an issue for passengers?

Ridesharing is not the same as riding in a taxi or limousine. Taxis are licensed by the state or a local authority and subject to strict standards, from vehicle inspection and driver licensing to insurance that protects passengers and others who could be hurt in an accident.

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft are not subject to the same requirements. However, they have drawn increasing attention from state regulators and legislators concerned that the public may not be properly protected. In fact, various state regulators have issued consumer alerts to warn the public about possible risks of using a ridesharing app when riding as a passenger.

How is the ridesharing company insured?

Insurance is the crux of the issue. Drivers are using their personal vehicles. Personal auto insurance generally excludes coverage when transporting passengers for a fee.

An increasing number of TNCs are indicating that they are going to provide some protection by covering the driver’s commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage. The nature and scope of coverage provided by the TNC varies from company to company, and its coordination with the driver’s personal auto policy can leave uninsured gaps, in some cases significant.

How do I know if I’m covered as a passenger?

If  you are considering using a ridesharing service, you should:

  • Research the companies that operate in your city
  • Find out how these companies protect their drivers and passengers, including their liability limits

If you have a personal auto policy yourself, you may be able to claim some coverage under your policy if you are hurt in an accident as a passenger. If you do not own a car, you will not have that option, unless you purchased a “named non-owner” policy. Your agent can advise you about coverages.

Why should I worry? How likely is it that a bad claim will occur?

There is no way of knowing what kind of accident will occur. Hopefully, none. However, many of the insurance issues that have come to light have stemmed from catastrophic claims: one in California in which a six-year-old girl was killed in a collision with a rideshare car.

While often downplayed by those who have an interest in the ridesharing business, coordination between the commercial and personal auto policies can pose challenges. The timing and circumstances of any accident will have a bearing on whether coverage extends to the driver and the passenger. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in a number of circumstances.

Is this insurance issue settled?

No. Between challenges from Public Utility Commissions, restrictions on licenses to operate, and the Legislature contemplating new laws to address proper insurance coverage, among other things, the issue is not settled. 

- Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Insurance Agents and Brokers.

Posted 12:00 AM


Easter is coming up very quickly.

Are you planning an Easter egg hunt for your family, church, school, or neighborhood?

Whether your Easter egg hunt is inside or outside, keep the fun going and the kids safe with these safety tips.

Inspect the area for potential hazards.

Pick up any objects that may present a tripping hazard.

For inside egg hunts, be aware of electrical outlets, sharp corners, open windows and stairs.

For outside egg hunts, look for holes and uneven ground that could lead to injury.

    Set boundaries to keep the kids in sight at all times and away from unsafe areas.  This includes places that are too high or near streets and driveways.

    Plan to have adult supervision at all times.

    Hide the eggs in safe areas.

For inside hunts, keep eggs away from electrical outlets, plugs, and light sockets.

For outside hunts, keep eggs away from thick or thorned bushes, areas where pesticides have been sprayed and potential areas for bees and snakes.

    Be cautious of food allergies and choking hazards if filling plastic eggs with candy or toys.

    Be cautious of using real eggs. Make sure to take steps to cook them properly, store them properly, and keep them clean.

---Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Goodville Mutual Casualty Company.

Posted 8:18 AM


Nobody wants to be involved in an accident, but everyone should have a plan and be prepared.

After an accident, it is important to gather information as quickly as possible.

Stop immediately and as close to the accident site as is safely possible.
Do not move your vehicle unless directed by a police officer or if it is in a position to cause another accident. Check everybody involved for injuries. If the accident was more serious than a fender-bender, call 911 immediately. To protect victims from further injury, don’t move them. Cover them with a blanket or jacket and wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Only discuss the accident with the investigating officer. Do not blame anyone, including yourself. The police will tell you what to do next—such as whether you should move the vehicles out of traffic. While you are waiting for the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver if possible.

Information you will need to obtain:

  • Name of driver
  • Their driver's license number
  • Name of their insurance company
  • Phone number of company or agent
  • Effective dates of their insurance policy
  • The driver’s phone number

Other important information to collect at the scene includes:

  • Names of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Make, model, color, and license plate number of each vehicle involved
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses
  • Photos or drawings of the accident scene and damage to each vehicle
  • Names and badge numbers of police officers and responding medical teams
  • Information on how you can receive a copy of the police report
  • If you hit an unattended vehicle, try to find the owner. If you are unable to locate the owner, leave a note with your name and phone number on the car’s windshield.

After the investigating officer has completed a report and you’ve received any necessary medical care, phone your insurance agent, or company claim hotline as soon as possible, even if you weren’t at fault or are far away from home. The sooner your agent receives the information, the sooner your claim will be processed and reviewed.

Throughout the claims process, you must tell the truth about all aspects of the situation, even if the circumstances surrounding the accident are embarrassing or detrimental to you. Insurance fraud is a crime with very serious consequences. 

--Content used in this post is used with permission and was originally published by Penn National Insurance.

Posted 12:00 AM


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