Be sure your new car is covered by doing it yourself!

A common misconception is that lien holders or car dealerships will take care of the insurance aspect of your transaction for you but this can be very misleading. Not that you shouldn’t trust your salesman if they offer to help but in order to be 100% sure you’re covered appropriately, it’s best to contact your agent or insurance company yourself.

In Florida, most auto insurance companies allow up to 30 days to add a newly purchased vehicle. This is extremely important, especially if you financed the car through a lien holder. They require specific coverage and can back charge high premiums if you do not carry it. This general rule of 30 days applies when you’re adding a vehicle to what you already own.

This is still very important when you are replacing a vehicle on your policy with a different one because most companies only allow up to 7 days to make that change on your policy. This is when you’re trading a vehicle in or selling it to replace it with another one. Sometimes you may want to carry different coverage so your policy needs to be reevaluated. Often times, people will not carry collision or comprehensive coverage on an older vehicle but they need to add it when they get a newer vehicle.

Your salesman or lien holder may have good intentions by offering to take care of this step for you but you should definitely follow up. That will ensure that it’s done and correct in order to prevent being stuck either without coverage or paying a much higher premium.

Follow these easy steps when you have a vehicle needing coverage:

  1. Have the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number)
  2. Talk to your agent or insurance company about coverage & be sure you understand what you need and have and that you’re comfortable with the limits and deductibles
  3. Confirm the correct lien holder and how they’d like to be listed (if financing)
  4. Follow up on the change by getting a revised declarations page and ID card for your records

Call it a type A “if you want it done right, do it yourself!” move but it’s very important and you can’t be too careful. As always, let us at McGriff-Williams know if you need anything or have additional questions.

Government shutdown effects on flood insurance and the real estate market

While December 21, 2018 was the deadline for official decisions in order to prevent a government shutdown, agreements were not made. Now as we narrow in on the beginning of 2019, whether or not we’d like to start a new year in this way, there are many things still up in the air. One thing has been resolved though, after just a few days of major backlash.

FEMA, which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program, initially announced that there could be no business conducted regarding flood insurance until the shutdown was resolved. That included issuing of new business, renewals/reinstatements, or coverage changes on existing policies. Nothing. It was estimated that had this suspension continued, up to 40,000 real estate transactions (mainly the sale of homes in flood zones mandatory to carry special coverage) per month would be delayed. This would significantly affect homeowners, realtors, mortgage lenders, inspectors, and many other affiliates’ livelihood.

It was decided that this could drastically affect too many people in irreversible ways. Therefore as of December 28, just one week later, FEMA has reversed that decision and is now allowing all flood insurance business to continue for the time being.

Please contact info@mcgriffwilliams.com or (352)371-7977 with any questions regarding flood insurance in Florida.

Tips for Thanksgiving Travel

It’s hard to believe but Thanksgiving is here! And it’s one of the busiest days of the year for travel. AAA estimated that 54.3 million Americans will travel for this holiday and approximately 48.5 million of those are by vehicle. The roads will be busy and we want you to stay safe! You may even be renting a car to make your road trip or have once you arrive at your destination. Here are some tips on how to make your trip successful as well as how insurance coverage factors in for a vehicle that is not owned by you.

Be sure to prep your vehicle by fueling up and checking your oil and tire pressure. The Red Cross recommends always having an emergency kit with supplies such as water, a flashlight, cell phone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit and spare tire.

If you run in to bad traffic, check out the app called “Waze” for notifications or detours. And if you’re running low on fuel, “Gas Buddy” can help find the nearest station. While these can be helpful, have your passenger navigate them for you so you can avoid distractions and remain alert to the heavy traffic around you.

Often times, the auto insurance you carry on your personal vehicle will transfer over to a rental car. Sounds simple, but there are some stipulations to consider. The rental vehicle cannot be used for business. In order for your coverage to carry over, the rented vehicle must be used for personal use for 30 days or less and inside the United States.

Also, the only coverage that carries over is what you have on your own car. If you have no comprehensive and collision coverage, then you’re left without it on the rental car. Knowing this information can save you a lot of money. You can get away with not purchasing extra insurance in some cases but it may be wise to add it for the minimal cost that it is.

Stay safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Are you prepared for hurricane season?

Hurricane season making you nervous? Many people may have post-Irma jitters after the storm we had in the fall. Worry no more with these tips on how to prepare and understand the protection you have.

  • Storm deductible vs All Peril deductible…. There is a difference. Most home insurance policies have a standard “AOP” (All Other Peril) deductible of $500, $1000 or even $2,500. This would apply for damage such as fire, theft, water, etc. The storm or “hurricane” deductible applies to damage directly caused by any named storm. Even if the damage can be proven to be from a spinoff tornado, wind or lightning, the storm deductible applies if it was a result of a named storm. This is typically 2% (but sometimes can be offered at $500), which is calculated from the dwelling coverage amount on the policy. Example: $200k dwelling, hurricane deductible: $4k.

 

  • Flood insurance isn’t always available right away so you have to plan ahead. Most times, there is a 30 day waiting period for flood coverage to be effective. Damage from rising water is covered by a separate flood policy, rather than the home insurance policy. Some may think they only need flood insurance if they’re in a designated flood zone or low lying area but flooding can still happen with heavy rain. If you are not located in a flood zone (per FEMA: https://msc.fema.gov/portal), you can still purchase elective flood coverage and simply wait 30 days for the coverage to be effective.

 

  • Other Structures can add up. This coverage on your home policy is usually 2% of the dwelling amount, automatically included on the policy. This covers things like a fence, shed, workshop, and sometimes a screen enclosure. There are typically endorsements you can add if you need more than the provided coverage. These items are commonly damaged by wind so it’s imperative to be sure you the coverage you need for repair or replacement.

 

  • Storm damage to a vehicle is covered under Comprehensive coverage on the auto policy. This applies for falling/flying objects, wind, rain, water as well as vandalism, theft, fire, glass, contact with an animal, etc. Comprehensive is exactly that… it covers a lot. If you have a lien holder on your car, your lender requires this coverage. Double check to be sure you have it as it’s an important one.

 

  • Helpful hints to prepare your home before a storm approaches: trim any trees or branches hanging over or posing as a threat for damage, tidy up any loose debris in the yard or equipment parked around the house, secure windows with shutters or boards, have your roof inspected to ensure no missing shingles, nails or clips. You can also be certain to have plenty of water, nonperishable food, batteries, flashlights or even a generator and coolers of ice in the event of a power outage.

Follow these steps and rest assured that you’ve done all you can for whatever mother nature sends our way. Contact us at 352-371-7977 or info@mcgriffwilliams.com anytime you have further questions.

Disability Insurance Awareness Month

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Sometimes disability insurance is overlooked, but if it weren’t important would it have a whole month dedicated to its awareness? It’s safe to say that many Americans are unaware that they may need disability insurance beyond what their employer offers.

Do you need it though?

When most young people think of disability insurance they may think of ailments relating to age or serious occurrences. In reality there are several common and chronic injuries or illnesses that could keep you from working. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, more than 25 percent of 20-year-olds today can expect to be out of work for at least one year before they reach the age of retirement. With odds like that it seems that many young people need the coverage.

What could keep me from working?

The Council for Disability Awareness has released a great website for learning about all things disability insurance, RealityCheckup.org. The top five reasons they listed, according to an Integrated Benefits Institute database, are:

  1. Back and joint pain
  2. Cancer
  3. Pregnancy Complications
  4. Mental health challenges
  5. Accidental injuries

Even if you believe you are being careful or that nothing could happen to keep you from work there are instances that throw wrenches in your plan. Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared?

Why do I need more coverage than my employer offers?

Disability insurance is a great benefit that an employer may offer you. The only problem is that this coverage may come with limitations, as Nick Deas, our Financial Insurance Advisor, discusses in the video below. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, you will likely need 70 percent of your income covered. If your employer does not offer this then you may need private supplemental coverage.

If you have questions about disability insurance please give us a call at 352-371-7977 or email Nick at nick@mcgriffwilliams.com.