Suggestions for Filing Your Home Insurance Claim

Make your claim process proceed more smoothly.insurance claim forms covered in coins

For many homeowners, experiencing property damage is a nightmare situation.  When you think about the insurance claims process, the situation seems even worse.  Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that your claim proceeds smoothly and efficiently.  Here’s what you can do to improve the homeowners insurance claims process.

  • Report the Claim Promptly

Most homeowners insurance policies include a clause that requires you to report claims “promptly.”  Generally, this means reporting a claim within 24-hours.  Please keep in mind that for claims related to a break-in or theft, you need to contact the police and file a report before attempting to make a home insurance claim.  When you file these types of claims, you will need to provide information on the officer you spoke to as well as your case number.

  • Take Pictures of the Damage

Before you contact your insurer, you need to take pictures of the damage.  This is a great way to document the damage and can help your claims adjuster determine just how extensive repairs or remediation efforts will be.  Having pictures ready will help your claim proceed much more easily.

  • Provide a List of Stolen or Damaged Property

To ensure that you are receiving adequate compensation, you will need to provide a list of all the personal possessions that were stolen or damaged during a claim event.  While this isn’t a big deal if only one or two items were affected, this can be a daunting task is your home was completely destroyed.  This is why it’s important to create and update your home inventory.  A home inventory is a comprehensive list of all the things that you own, how much they cost, where you go them, and so on.  Having this document ready will help you in the event that you need to file an extensive personal property insurance claim.  Work on this document now to ensure that you are ready if disaster strikes.

Taking these steps will help you simplify the homeowners insurance claim process.  Do you have additional questions regarding your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

How Life Insurance Serves You in Different Situations

Life insurance can do more than you think.family walking in grass

While most people only think about getting life insurance when they start a family, there are many contexts in which it pays to have this coverage.  Here are some of the different situations in which having life insurance coverage will benefit you.

  • When You’re Young and Single

Many people do not consider life insurance when they are young and single.  However, securing this coverage early in life has some definite benefits.  For instance, securing life insurance coverage will ensure that your parents or other loved ones are not forced to pay off your debts, such as student loans or credit card debt.  Additionally, your life insurance can also cover the cost of your funeral and burial, so your family does not need to worry about this considerable expense.

  • When You Get Married

When you get married, you now have a partner who is depending on your salary.  Even if you are both working, many couples need two incomes to make ends meet.  This is why you should consider securing life insurance.  Getting this coverage will ensure that your spouse has coverage for your lost income and well as coverage for your debts and final costs.

  • When You Buy a Home

When you buy a home, you will be saddled with a mortgage.  If you were to die unexpectedly, then your family might not be able to keep up with your regular mortgage payments.  As a result, they could risk losing their home.  Fortunately, you can secure life insurance coverage to take care of recurring financial responsibilities, such as your home mortgage.

  • When Your Employer Offers Your Life Insurance

If your employer offers you life insurance benefits, you should also secure a personal life insurance policy to supplement this employer-offered coverage.  Taking this step will ensure that you do not lose your life insurance coverage if you switch jobs or lose your position.  Rather than leaving your life insurance coverage in limbo, make sure you secure a policy separate from your employer.

  • When You Own a Business

If you own your own business or own a business along with a partner, then you have a whole company and team of employees relying on you.  This is why you should consider securing a separate life insurance policy to take care of your business-related financial obligations.

These are some of the different situations in which it pays to have life insurance.  Do you have more questions about your life insurance coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Happens During a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

What you need to know about life insurance medical exams.person having their blood pressure being taken

When you go through the process of applying for life insurance, the insurance provider may ask you to complete a medical examination.  Many people are nervous about this exam because they are not sure what to expect.  To alleviate your fears, here are some of the important things to know about life insurance medical exams.

Exam Procedures

Life insurance medical exams are usually divided into two portions, a verbal questionnaire administered by a medical professional and a testing section.  During the questionnaire, you will be asked about your existing medical conditions, your family’s medical history, current medications that you are taking, and other health-related things.  During the second part of the exam, various samples will be collected for testing.  For instance, you will provide a urine and blood sample so the medical professional can screen for conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and so on.  Common procedures and tests include the following:

  • Measurement of your weight and height
  • Measurement of your blood pressure and pulse
  • Blood work (to check things such as cholesterol, glucose, protein, and HIV)
  • Urinalysis (to check things such as HIV, protein, glucose, creatinine, and cocaine)

Exam Location

Despite what you might think, you do not actually have to go to a hospital or medical center for your medical exam.  Oftentimes, examinations are done in your own home.  The medical professional administering the questionnaire and the tests will travel to you.

Exam Duration

The questionnaire portion of the exam takes the longest, usually around 20 minutes.  Depending on your medical conditions and family history, this portion of the exam can take longer because the medical professional might have follow-up questions.  The sample-collection part of the exam only takes a few minutes.

This is what you need to know about your life insurance medical examination.  Do you need help securing the right life insurance to meet your needs?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you the coverage that you need today.

What to Know About Insuring Rental Cars

What’s the best way to secure auto insurance coverage for rental cars?man holding toy car and car keys

As a responsible driver, securing comprehensive coverage for your rental car is a matter of great importance.  While you might be tempted to bite the bullet and secure coverage through the car rental company, this may not be necessary.  Your personal auto policy might already provide some of the coverages that you need.  Here’s what you need to know about securing coverage for rental cars.

Personal Insurance and Rental Car Coverage

Whether or not you need to secure coverage through the car rental company depends on the specifics of your personal auto policy.  In many cases, car insurance policies will extend coverage to rental vehicles.  For instance, if your personal policy includes comprehensive and liability insurance, then this coverage will likely apply to rental cars as well.

However, keep in mind that the value of the rental car will impact your coverage.  If you are planning on renting a luxury vehicle or a car that’s worth more than your personal vehicle, then your existing insurance will not be adequate.  In this case, you should supplement your existing coverage with the insurance offered by the rental company.

Rental Company Insurance Offerings

Typically, car rental companies offer four main types of coverage: liability, personal accident insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver, and personal effects coverage.

  • Liability– Covers the cost of third-party injuries or property damage that you may be responsible for. As your personal auto policy already offers liability insurance, you probably do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Personal accident insurance– Covers your medical expenses should you be injured in an accident. If you have personal injury protection or medical payments on your existing auto policy, then you do not need to secure this coverage from your car rental company.
  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver– Rather than an insurance product, this waiver transfers financial responsibility from you to the car rental company in the event that the rental car is damaged or stolen. If you are renting a car, then it’s recommended to secure this waiver.
  • Personal effects coverage– Covers the personal items that are stolen out of your rental car. Before you secure this coverage from your car rental company, review your homeowners, renters, or condo insurance policy.  In some cases, these policies will offer coverage for items stolen out of your rental car.

This is what you should know about insuring rental cars.  Do you have further questions regarding your car coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your auto insurance needs today.

Swimming Pools and Home Insurance

How building a pool will affect your homeowners insurance.child swimming in pool

While you might love the idea of having a personal pool in your yard, it’s important to consider this decision carefully.  One of the things that you need to take into account is how installing a pool will affect your home insurance risks and rates.  Here are some of the insurance considerations that you should make.

  • Personal Liability Considerations

If you have a pool on your property, you will automatically be responsible for the wellbeing of anybody who uses it, regardless of whether you have given them permission or not.  As thousands of pool-related injuries and deaths occur every year, it’s important to understand that having a pool on your property increases your personal liability risks significantly.

Because swimming pools increase the homeowners personal liability risks, standard coverage limits might not be adequate.  While a standard home insurance policy might offer $100,000 in personal liability coverage, a homeowner with a pool is recommended to purchase up to $500,000 in coverage.  In some cases, homeowners will need to secure an umbrella policy to get even more coverage.  Because higher coverage limits translate into higher insurance costs, it’s important to speak to your insurer to see how installing a pool will increase your premiums.

  • Property Damage Considerations

When you have a pool on your property, your home policy will cover the damages that it sustains.  However, your coverage will differ depending on what your insurer classifies your pool as.  For instance, your insurer might include your pool in the replacement cost value of your policy.  As the average in-ground pool costs $20,000 or more to install, it will increase the value of your home.  This means that you will have to increase your replacement cost value, leading to an increase in your home insurance costs.

Your insurer might also consider your pool as an external structure.  In this case, your pool would have to be declared and listed in your policy.  Most home policies cover external structures up to 10% of the overall policy replacement cost value.  This means that, if the replacement cost of your home is $100,000, then your policy would cover up to $10,000 of damage to external structures such as your pool.  As this will not be enough to cover the full value of your home’s pool, you may need to purchase additional external structures coverage.

Consider how a pool will affect your homeowners insurance before building one in your yard.  Do you have questions about your home coverage?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your coverage needs today.

What Constitutes Insurance Fraud?

Learn more about insurance fraud.scale and gavel

While telling a small lie or concealing the truth doesn’t seem like a huge deal, it is when it comes to your insurance.  This is because anything less than truthful constitutes insurance fraud.  Here’s what you need to know about this illegal act and why you should avoid it.

  • What is Insurance Fraud?

In general terms, insurance fraud is lying to an insurance company in an attempt to receive compensation or undeserved benefits.  Insurance fraud can take different forms.  For instance, lying on your insurance application, exaggerating your damages during an insurance claim, or making a fake claim are all instances of fraud.

  • Understanding the Different Types of Fraud

Legally, there are two main types of fraud: hard fraud and soft fraud.  A person committing hard fraud might fake an injury, theft, or accident and file a fake claim with their insurer in hopes of receiving compensation.  Soft fraud is like a smaller scale version of hard fraud.  A person committing soft fraud might have a legitimate insurance claim, but they exaggerate their damages in the hopes of receiving additional monetary compensation.  While soft fraud doesn’t seem as bad as hard fraud, it’s important to understand that it is still highly illegal and punishable by various penalties.

  • Consequences of Insurance Fraud

If you are caught committing insurance fraud, then the penalties can be very severe.  While soft fraud is considered a misdemeanor in many states, it is still punishable by fines, probation, community service, and even imprisonment.  Hard fraud is always considered a felony, and the perpetrator can be charged with over a year of jail time, major fines, and restitution payable to the insurance company.

This is what you need to know about insurance fraud.  Do you have further questions regarding your personal insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services for assistance today.

Ask These Insurance Questions When House Hunting

Insurance considerations for your new home.keys on a wooden home keychain

If you are house hunting, then you probably have a lot on your mind.  However, one of the things that you cannot overlook is the home’s various risks and how this will influence your homeowners insurance.  Before you close on a property, ask these insurance questions about the property.

  • What is the condition of the plumbing and electrical systems?

When you are having a prospective home inspected, ask your inspector to pay particular attention to the state of the home’s plumbing and electrical systems.  Poorly maintained plumbing systems can lead to major damage events such as flooding and water damage.  Outdated electrical systems increase the property’s chance of electrical fires and, in extreme cases, explosions.  If the home you are looking at has poorly maintained, unsafe, or outdated plumbing and electrical systems, then it will cost more to insure.

  • If the home at risk for wind damage?

Homes located in certain areas (such as tornado and hurricane-prone areas) face a higher risk for wind damage.  While standard home insurance policies will provide some coverage for wind damage, it may not be enough to address your risk completely.  As a result, you may need to invest in additional private or state-run insurance that is specifically designed to cover the damage caused by windstorms.  Securing this additional coverage comes at a cost, so make sure you consider this before closing on a home.

  • What is the property’s flooding risk?

All standard home insurance policies explicitly exclude coverage for flood damage.  This means that, if the home you are looking at is in a high-flood-risk zone, then you would need to secure supplementary insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Paying for this insurance on top of your regular homeowners insurance will result in considerable costs, so make sure you consider a property’s flood risk before you make an offer on the home.

These are some of the insurance considerations you should make before closing on a home.  Do you need assistance with securing the right coverage for your new home?  If so, then contact us at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  Our dedicated team is ready to get you covered today.

Why You Need to Secure the Right Amount of Car Coverage

The importance of securing auto insurance to meet your needs.paper car cutout in front of stacks of coins

When you go to secure auto insurance, it can be tricky to choose your coverage limits.  On the one hand, securing insufficient coverage could leave you at risk for financial ruin.  However, securing too much coverage is unnecessary and could also break the bank.  This is why securing coverage to address all your real-life risks is so important.

  • Why Insufficient Insurance is Bad

Obviously, the big risk of not carrying enough auto insurance is that you will end up having to pay for claim costs out-of-pocket.  For instance, if you were carrying insurance minimums and you got into an accident, then your insurer would only cover a portion of your accident costs.  You would be left to cover the remaining expenses on your own, potentially jeopardizing your personal assets in the process.

  • Why Too Much Insurance is Bad

The main problem with carrying excessive auto insurance is that it will be extremely expensive.  While you can rest easy knowing that your policy will cover virtually anything that comes your way, chances are you don’t actually need all the coverage that you are paying for.  Rather than increasing all your policy limits and securing every additional coverage option available, it’s far smarter and more cost-effective to assess your risks and secure enough auto coverage to fully address them.

  • Securing the Right Amount of Auto Insurance

Ultimately, the best strategy is securing enough coverage to meet your needs, while making sure that you’re not going overboard.  Because every driver has different risks and personal factors, there is no specific answer for how much coverage you need.  This is why it’s best to work with an experienced auto insurer to determine your needs.  A good insurance agent will weigh your lifestyle, they type of vehicle you own, and your various risks to help you figure out how much coverage you need.

This is why drivers need to avoid under and over-insuring themselves.  Do you need help securing the right car coverage to meet your needs?  If so, then contact the team at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services to get started today.

Try Out These Suggestions to Secure Your Business’s Insurance

How to choose the right coverage for your business.businessmen at work

If you run a small business, then it’s vital that you secure the right commercial coverage to keep your company safe.  However, with all the insurance options out there, it can be difficult to determine which coverages best meet your needs.  To help you secure the business insurance you need, here are some of the suggestions that you should try.

Know the Basic Forms of Coverage

While every business has its own unique insurance needs, there are certain forms of coverage that all businesses should carry.  Some of the most essential types of commercial coverage include the following:

  • General liability– Protects against customer, vendor, or other third-party injuries or property damages that your business may be held responsible for.
  • Commercial property– Protects your business’s physical structure as well as the equipment, supplies, inventory, and other property housed inside of it.
  • Business interruption– Offers financial support to keep your business afloat when your business’s normal operations cannot proceed as usual.
  • Workers compensation– Offers coverage for employees that are injured or become ill while on the job. This insurance covers an employee’s medical treatment, a portion of their lost wages, and the cost of their rehabilitation.

Secure Mandatory Forms of Insurance

It’s important to understand that certain types of business insurance are legally mandated.  For instance, every state requires businesses to carry some minimum amount of workers compensation insurance.  Additionally, certain states require companies to offer their staff disability insurance.  Finally, if you are renting or leasing a space for your business, then your landlord or lending agency might require you to carry commercial property insurance in your contract.

Learn About Specialty Coverage Options

In addition to basic and mandatory forms of business insurance, there are many other types of coverage that can be secured to address your business’s unique risk factors.  Some of the most common types of coverage include the following:

  • Product liability
  • Professional liability
  • Employment practices liability
  • Commercial auto
  • Cyber liability
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Home-based business
  • Commercial umbrella

In addition to these forms of insurance, there is a wide array of additional coverage options that you can secure for your business.  You should speak to an experienced insurance provider to learn about which coverages are right for your company.

Here are some of the things that you should do to secure the comprehensive coverage that your business needs.  Need help with your business insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to get you covered today.

When to Expect Life Insurance Benefits

Find out when you will receive life insurance payouts.parents holding their baby

If a loved one has passed away, then you may already be feeling the financial impact of their loss.  This is why you may be worried about receiving their life insurance benefit.  Here is what you need to know about life insurance payouts following the policyholder’s death.

How quickly will I receive benefits?

According to the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), life insurance benefits are usually paid within 30 days of the insurance provider receiving the claim.  If you have all the necessary documentation, then you can receive compensation as quickly as ten business days.

Delays

Some of the common issues that can cause a delay in benefit distribution include the following:

  • Missing information or documentation– If the claim form is incomplete or inaccurate, then this will slow down the process. Additionally, if you do not provide a certified death certificate for your loved one, then this too will cause delays.
  • Suicide– Many life insurance policies include a clause stating that benefits will not be distributed if the policyholder dies from suicide within the first two years of the policy term. If the insurer suspects suicide within that time frame, they will investigate.  This will delay or even cancel the benefits distribution process.
  • The death occurred during a contestability period– A contestability period is usually the first two years after a life insurance policy has been secured. If the policyholder dies during this period, then the life insurance company has the right to investigate the claim.  Should an investigation ensue, then benefits can be delayed or not paid out at all.

This is what you need to know about the life insurance benefit distribution process.  Do you have additional questions regarding your life insurance?  If so, then contact the experts at Miller Carlisle Insurance Services.  We are ready to assist you with all your life insurance needs today.