Inventorying Your Possessions

Nearly 60% of Americans do not have a home inventory of their possessions, and of those that do, 48% do not have any receipts evidencing their value.¹

It’s great to have insurance against damage and loss, but if you can’t show proof of your possessions, it may result in a protracted settlement process with your insurance company.

Four Tips for Creating an Inventory

Creating an inventory may take a bit of upfront work, but it can pay future benefits in smoothing the claims settlement process with your insurer and increase the potential of receiving the maximum payment possible.

Tip #1—Make a Video of Your Possessions

A visual record of your possessions is the best proof of ownership. When videoing your home contents, make sure you are methodical and thorough in going through all your rooms and storage spaces. Speak while you are taping to describe each item, including any relevant information (e.g., “this is a signed first edition of “Moby Dick.”)

Tip #2—Document Value of Your Items

Scan or video receipts of the items in your home. Indicate the make and model where appropriate. If you have artwork or antiques, consider creating a record of any appraisal you may have received on your collectibles.

Tip #3—Secure Your Inventory

An inventory doesn’t help much if you keep it in the house and your home burns to the ground. If your video is digital (highly recommended), consider storing the file in a “cloud” account, rather than on your computer, or on a USB stick stored in a safety deposit box.

Tip #4—Keep Your Inventory Updated

Failure to regularly update your inventory may mean leaving off expensive new purchases.

Get started by asking your insurance agent if he or she has an inventory checklist, which may help you remember to include items that you might otherwise overlook.

  1. National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 2016. (Most recent study completed in 2012.)

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Fallen Tree Damage—Who Pays?

As a homeowner, are you responsible for the damage caused by a tree on your property that hits your neighbor’s home or other insured structure, such as a garage or shed?

In most cases, the answer is “no.”

When such damage occurs to your neighbor’s home due to forces outside your control, e.g., weather events, your neighbors may have to file a claim with their insurer to receive a reimbursement for the damage a down tree or branches cause.

There is one exception, however.

If it is determined that the tree damage stems from your negligence (e.g., dead limbs that you refused to cut down, or you chose to trim your tree as a weekend project), then the neighbor’s insurer may come after you to recover their loss—a process called subrogation.¹

You may want to check your policy or speak to your insurance agent to ascertain if your homeowners policy covers your liability in cases of negligence.

When Neighbors Sue

Some neighbors may seek to bring legal action against you, though often that is unnecessary.

First, determine what municipal laws are in place to cover such instances. Generally speaking, you are not responsible unless you knew, or should have known, about the danger. Proving what you knew or should have known can be difficult and costly in a court of law. It typically benefits both parties to arrive at a compromise that avoids an expensive legal process.

  1. The information in this material is not intended as as legal advice. Please consult legal or insurance professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Gun Ownership and Your Homeowners Policy

If you own a gun, you need to consider whether you are covered in the event the gun is stolen or destroyed and protected against any potential liability should your firearm cause an injury.

Gun ownership is a big responsibility and having the proper insurance coverage is an important element in meeting that responsibility.¹

Personal Property

For most standard homeowners policies, guns are considered personal property and are covered as such. However, they may be subject to sub-limits that are lower than the overall property limit, primarily due to the fact that they are small, usually valuable and easily transportable.

You should check with your insurance agent to determine the extent of your coverage. If you need additional coverage, you can obtain it through a rider if your current provider offers it. If such a rider is not offered, you may want to ask about a separate policy for your firearm.

The liability risk that gun owners face is a complicated issue since it turns on the circumstances of any injury and the prevailing state laws and court decisions. Having said that, you may want to consider higher levels of liability coverage to protect yourself from this unique risk.

Speak with your agent to discuss how to raise the personal liability protection on your policy, including asking him or her if an umbrella policy may be an appropriate solution.

  1. The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult legal or insurance professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Insurance Rates?

One landmark study found that credit-based insurance scores are used by about 95 percent of all auto and home insurers in calculating the cost of insurance to individuals.¹

While the vast majority of insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine the price of insurance, it is banned in the states of Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California. Some states only allow it as a factor for property insurance like auto and homeowners insurance. Other states allow it to be used with any type of insurance.

Several Factors

Generally, an insurance company will use a credit-based insurance score as just one factor in its underwriting process. Other factors may be considered, depending upon the type of insurance. For example, with auto insurance, other factors could include your zip code, the age of the drivers, the make, model and age of the car, and the number of miles you drive annually.

The use of credit scores to determine insurance rates is rooted in research that has shown individuals with lower credit scores had higher car insurance losses and higher claims payouts.

You can ask your insurance company if a credit-based insurance score was used to underwrite and rate your policy, and in which risk category you were placed.

If you want to improve your credit-based insurance score, you should consider taking the same steps you would to improve your credit rating: make timely debt payments, clear up past disputes and keep credit card balances low.

  1. Predictive Analytics: Achieving Greater Decision Accuracy, Better Risk Segmentation, and Greater Profitability, Fair Isaac Corporation, 2012 (most recent statistics available).

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance has many names. For some healthcare professionals, it’s called malpractice insurance. For lawyers, it may be called professional liability insurance.

Whatever name it goes by, E&O insurance is designed to protect you or your company from potential financial damages that may arise from a client holding you responsible for a service you provided that did not meet an expected or promised outcome. Some E&O policies are designed to protect you from claims of a failure to provide a service. E&O covers risks that your general liability insurance policy generally does not.¹

Most E&O policies cover judgments, settlements and defense costs associated with any civil suits initiated by a dissatisfied client.

Who Should Consider?

While E&O insurance is commonly associated with professionals such as doctors, lawyers and financial advisors, anyone in the business of providing a service for a fee should consider obtaining coverage. Whatever your profession, try to imagine your potential liability if the work performed by you or your employees was not properly done.

Most errors and omissions insurance can be structured to meet the specific needs of your business. For example, a wedding planner has a different risk exposure than an accountant, necessitating a different form of coverage.

  1. The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult a legal professional for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

How Insurance Deductibles Work

An insurance deductible is the amount you, the insured, pays before any claim is paid by your insurance carrier. Depending upon the type of insurance, a policy may set the amount of deductible, or offer you the ability to select a deductible amount.

Deductibles serve a dual purpose: they save the insurance company money (including the administrative cost of processing small claims) and may help keep your premium costs lower.

Choosing the Right Deductible Amount

Generally speaking, the trade-off between deductible levels and insurance premiums is simple: The higher the deductible, the lower the cost of insurance. Conversely, the lower the deductible, the higher the cost of insurance.

Deciding how to make that trade-off is a function of math and your own comfort level with higher out-of-pocket costs if you choose a higher deductible.

Only you can decide if saving $65 a year in premiums for a deductible that is $500 rather than $200 is worth it to you.1 You may find that the relationship between deductible amount and premium cost is different depending upon the type of insurance. For instance, the savings with a higher deductible may be significant with auto insurance, but much less so with homeowners insurance.

Not only will this relationship between deductibles and premiums differ based on insurance type, but it may differ based upon other factors, such as your age and value of your car, for example.

When you consider the appropriate deductible level for health insurance coverage, remember that deductibles may be on each member of the family.

When shopping for insurance, you should always ask your insurance agent what the premium costs are at each of the available deductible levels. Knowing that information may help you make a sound decision regarding your coverage.

  1. For illustrative purposes only. This example is not meant to indicate any actual relationship between deductible amount and insurance premium cost.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.