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P.O. Box 1750, Cockysville, MD, 21030
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Personal Protection Bulletin
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Insurance for Your Boats/Watercraft
There are many hidden costs associated with owning a boat: Dock fees, general maintenance, and winter storage, just to name a few. One expense that boat owners should never skimp on is purchasing the best available insurance policy for their watercraft.
Because buying a boat is a huge investment, owners should protect their boat with comprehensive insurance coverage. Plans are often based on the type and size of the boat. Many Homeowners and Renters insurance policies provide limited coverage for property damage if the boat's engine is less than 25 mph horsepower or if it is a small sailboat, but without additional insurance, no liability coverage is included.
Owners of larger, more powerful boats and yachts will need to purchase a separate insurance policy for their boat. The insurance company will take into account the size and type of boat, its value, and where the boat sails when drawing up the conditions and cost of the policy.
Separate boat and watercraft insurance policies provide much more coverage to the owner. These policies generally include loss and damage coverage to the boat's hull, machinery, furnishings, fittings, and any permanently attached equipment, like a navigation system. Liability coverage is extended to:
Bodily injury to other persons
Damage to other's property
Legal expenses associated with non-consensual operation of the boat
Medical costs for injuries to the owner and passenger
Policyholders can choose the liability limits of their plan, ranging anywhere from $15,000 up to $300,000. The deductible cost for property damage is $250, and it ranges between $500 and $1,000 for theft and medical expenses. Of course, policies can be individualized based on the boat owner's needs. Other endorsements and coverages can be added to the policy to cover the boat's trailer, fishing gear kept aboard the boat, and any other accessories. Also, make sure to ask whether or not the policy covers the boat while it is being towed.
Just as Auto insurance providers offer discounts to their policyholders, discounts for watercraft policies apply in certain cases. For example, insurance companies favor diesel-powered engines over gasoline ones because diesel fuel is more stable, making the engine safer to operate.
Other discounts are related to safety equipment kept on the boat. Having items like fire extinguishers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and ship-to-shore radio equipment could reduce the amount of the premium. Also, completing a boater's safety course offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the American Red Cross, or the U.S. Power Squadrons can gain some favor with the insurance company. Maintaining a clean boating record is just as important as being accident-free on the roadways, when it comes to lowering insurance rates. Premiums are usually discounted for every two years the boater goes without an accident or filing a claim. Bundling your Watercraft insurance with Homeowners and vehicle policies is another good way to save money on coverage costs.
A solid insurance policy gives boaters the peace of mind needed to set sail and enjoy the open waters. Nothing is more relaxing than knowing your investment is covered.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Your Dog Breed and Homeowners Insurance
It is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that's not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they're not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they're cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They're also suspicious of strangers and won't back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
What happens if your car is involved in a flood?
Floods happen - and nearly half of all deaths related to them involve vehicles, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The best advice for drivers during periods of heavy rain or flooding is to stay off the road. If that's not possible and you see signs of high water or stranded vehicles, pull over or take a different route ( "Turn around, don't drown").
However, an unexpected flash flood can easily catch you unawares. If this happens, safety experts recommend taking these precautions to prevent an accident or a water-damaged car:
Never drive beneath an underpass during a heavy rainstorm because they're prone to flooding.
Be wary of water levels. According to FEMA it takes only one foot of water to float a car, or even an SUV, sweeping it off a bridge or down a road.
If your vehicle gets caught in a flood and stalls, or you lose control, get out before the car is carried downstream.
If you can't escape and your vehicle is going under, don't panic. Once the car is submerged, open the doors, hold your breath, and climb out.
The good news: If your car is involved in a flood-related accident, Auto insurance can make sure that you don't get swept away financially. Comprehensive coverage will pay for any type of damage to your car up to its actual cash value caused by natural events, such as flooding. If you hydroplane during a storm and flip your car or hit another vehicle or tree, Collision insurance will pay to repair it or cover the actual cash value of the car.
To learn more, please feel free to get in touch with our agency.
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
Understanding Your Deductibles
To determine the deductible that provides the greatest value for your insurance dollar, we believe Sherlock Holmes might have made a great insurance agent. Although insurance can sometimes seem complicated, choosing the best deductible for your personal situation can prove an elementary decision.
Deductibles serve a clear purpose. For a given loss, the deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket. The insurance coverage will pay the remainder of the covered loss, up to the available policy amounts. Using deductibles properly can reduce premiums by eliminating smaller claims that most people would never expect their policy to pay anyway. This keeps coverage available as your safety net for large, possibly catastrophic, claims.
How do you decide what's "small." How much would you be willing to pay in the event of a claim; and at what point would you want insurance to take over? For some policyholders, especially in tough economic circumstances, this "out-of-pocket" amount might be very small. Recognizing this, the usual Homeowners insurance deductible for many years has been between $250 and $500. The same amounts hold true for Auto insurance.
However, suppose you feel you could comfortably handle a $1,000 or $2,500 deductible? Paying losses lower than those amounts will reduce your premiums -- but by how much? Will it put enough money back in your pocket today to make it worthwhile if you file a claim tomorrow?
Before you decide, let us show you what the savings would be. Give our agency a call about your deductibles. If you're willing to take on a bit more risk today, we can put some money back in your pocket. As Holmes might have said, "It's a simple premium deduction, dear boy."
HMS Insurance Associates, Inc.
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