Thursday, September 24, 2015

Top 4 Mistakes Made When Filing Insurance Claims

In the chaos that follows any type of disaster, you're first thought is probably to get everything cleaned up and fixed right away; you want to get back on your feet as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can lead to mistakes that could end up delaying your insurance reimbursement or even cause issues with getting reimbursed at all. Don't find yourself making these common mistakes when filing your Lake of the Ozarks insurance claims on your home, business or vehicle:

1. Not Contacting Your Insurance Agent Right Away. 


Other than to prevent further damage, before cleaning up or starting repairs, be sure to contact your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent.  If you start to cleanup and/or fix things before an insurer's inspection, you may find that the cost of the labor you paid for is not covered. For example, in the course of debris removal after a fire, the contractor removes trees from the property that were not damaged.  This action may not be covered under the policy.  Also, the adjuster not knowing the true extent of damages can impact the amount your insurance pays out.

2. Not Properly Documenting Damages. 


Sometimes, repairs need to start immediately to prevent further damage. In this case, be sure to properly document all damages before doing anything else. This means taking pictures of everything! Take pictures of the original scene, exactly how it was directly following the incident. You'll also want to take any closeups of specific items that were damaged. Also take pictures of the repairs that are made.

3. Not Keeping Damaged Goods.


If for some reason you do have to cleanup your business before an insurance agent is able to come review the damage, be sure to keep all the damaged goods. This is all evidence of the impact the situation had on your home, business or vehicle. If cleanup involves removal of water-damaged merchandise, flooring or insulation, keep it all. You can pile it up in your driveway or parking lot until after the insurance adjuster has taken a look and discuss the damages you're claiming.  Another example would be to keep an air conditioning unit after a loss to prove it was hit by lightning verses breaking down due to wear and tear or some other non-covered loss.

4. Not Thoroughly Reading Your Policy. 


The worst thing that can happen when faced with a disaster situation is to call your insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks just to find out your not covered for those specific types of damages. One common misconception is that if you have homeowners or building insurance, you are automatically covered for flooding, earthquakes and all other other possible calamities.  Typically these causes of loss are not covered and you need additional insurance to fill those gaps. It is important to know where your risk is and what you're covered for, before a disaster occurs.

If you have any questions on your Lake of the Ozarks insurance coverage, whether it be home, auto or business, give Insure the Lake a call at 573-348-2794. Our goal is to meet with clients about their specific insurance needs and how to best protect them. We write all lines and types of insurance and have contracts with over 50 insurance carriers, with access to even more. Contact us today for a free insurance quote!

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Commercial Auto Insurance

Many businesses depend on company vehicles for day to day operations. While you have insight on your business operations, road conditions, weather and other drivers are out of your control. Just like the Lake of the Ozarks insurance on your personal vehicle, commercial auto insurance is there to protect you and your business assets. 

Commercial Auto Insurance


While you know that commercial auto insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks is important, you may not know what types of coverage you need for your business. Let's think about the following common scenarios. What if...
  • while on company time, one of your employees fails to stop at a light and hits another car? 
  • an employee making a delivery is hit and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver? 
  • your fleet of trucks is vandalized and all the windows are broken? 
  • your employee is driving a commercial vehicle back to the office and hits a deer? 
  • your commercial vehicle is parked outside at your business and overnight a hail storm damages the vehicle? 
  • while parked outside of a client's home, a tree branch falls on your commercial vehicle?

Commercial vs. Personal Auto Insurance


There are many difference between commercial and personal auto insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks, but the main distinctions are in the extent and purpose of coverage. Businesses have many additional concerns that more individuals do not, such as increased liability risks. Besides having higher liability limits, commercial car insurance offers coverage including, but not limited to the following:
  • Any Auto Liability - this coverage extends to the liability coverage of existing commercial vehicles to any new vehicles you purchase, as well as any hired and non-owned vehicles 
  • Bodily Injury Liability - this coverage is for other drivers' and passengers' injuries or death for which you are responsible
  • Comprehensive Coverage - this covers losses resulting from an event other than an accident, such as theft or a tree branch falling on your vehicle
  • Collision Coverage - this covers you in the event your car hits, or is hit by another vehicle
  • Fire and Theft Insurance with Combined Additional Coverage - this insurance is sometimes called Limited Comprehensive Insurance or Specified Perils Insurance and is designed especially for larger trucks. It provides protection for your vehicle in case it is damaged by specific, non-collision incidents.
  • Individual Named Insurance Coverage - allows you to extend your commercial coverage to protect you when you drive a vehicle you don't own
  • Medical Payments Coverage - this insurance covers medical expenses incurred by you and passengers in your vehicle injured in an accident no matter who was at fault
  • Non-Owned Vehicle Coverage - protects you and your employees while driving vehicles not owned by your company   
  • Personal Injury Protection - this coverage can help you pay for your medical bills if you get into an accident
  • Property Damage Liability - this coverage is for damages to someone else's property for which you are responsible 
  • Rental Reimbursement with Downtime - this coverage helps cover the costs incurred to temporarily replace an inoperable commercial vehicle
  • Single-Deductible Endorsement - if you haul a trailer or use other specialized (and probably expensive) equipment for work, you can extend it to cover those items and only pay your deductible once for claims on both the vehicle and the trailer
  • Trailer Interchange Insurance - this insurance covers non-owned trailers you haul under a trailer interchange agreement
  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage - this insurance covers your injuries, damages or death caused by an at-fault driver without insurance or without enough insurance to cover all the costs 

Preventing Commercial Auto Insurance Claims


If possible, you'll want to avoid filing commercial auto insurance claims altogether. While you can't always guarantee the safest driving conditions, you and your employees can take certain safety measures to prevent accidents that are a result of ignorance. Here are a few tips to follow:
  • Keep a safety checklist in all company vehicles. Be sure to coach your employees on safe practices such as buckling seatbelts and using a hands-free phone. 
  • Make sure that all your company vehicles meet safety standards and have routine maintenance checks. 
  • Check the driving history of any employees you plan to hire. An employee with a poor driving record is going to increase your liability and will be costly to insure. 
  • Require your employees to take a drivers safety training course. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, as well as local DMVs or insurance companies, offer programs you can look into.

At Insure the Lake, we can provide coverage for you, your employees and the vehicles you own, rent or borrow. Commercial car insurance coverage can help prevent an accident from damaging your bottom line. Whether you're operating a single commercial vehicle or a fleet of vehicles, our Lake of the Ozarks insurance company is here to help protect your business and manage your risk. Contact us today at 573-348-2794 for more information about our options for business insurance at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Friday, September 11, 2015

Will My Insurance Cover That?

10 Surprising Extras Probably Covered by Your Insurance


When something happens to you, your family, your home or your vehicle, one of the first things you might think about is whether or not your insurance is going to give you coverage. We discussed gaps in insurance coverage in a previous blog, but today we're going to look at some surprising items you might have coverage for. Here are a few items that your insurance may cover that you might not know about: 

1. Falling Objects - While typically uncommon, damage from falling objects is usually covered by homeowner policies. For example, if a metal turbine falls from a plane or a tree limb comes down on your home or vehicle, the damages will probably be covered under your policy.

2. Electrical Updates - If your home is damaged by fire and during the repair process you need to bring your home's electrical system up to code, many homeowner policies will pay for at least part of the upgrade.

3. Potholes - Potholes are actually considered a collision. Therefore if your auto insurance has collision coverage, the repairs needed due to the pothole should be covered subject to your deductible. Keep in mind though that the typical auto policy doesn't cover normal wear and tear due to bad road conditions.

4. Rodent Damage - Crumbs on the floor of your car can lead to a family of mice taking up residence inside and causing damage. Squirrels can also get up into the engine and chew up your wires. Some car insurance policies will cover the resulting damage while others exclude this exposure.

5. Spoiled Food - If you're power goes out for an extended period of time, much of your refrigerated or frozen foods may become spoiled. Many homeowners insurance policies will actually cover the cost of replacing that food. While your deductible might be more than what the food was worth, keep it in mind if the storm that caused the power outage also caused other damage to your home you may be able to add those costs to your claim.

6. Riots - Comprehensive auto coverage will take care of damages sustained to your vehicle during a riot. Your homeowners insurance typically covers damage by fire or vandalism during a riot as well.

7. Stampedes - If your neighbors cattle herd gets spooked and comes stampeding through your yard, the damages could be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

8. College Student Belongings - Many homeowners insurance policies will actually cover your child's belongings while they are away at college. This typically only extends to dorm rooms as they are considered less risky by the insurance industry than off campus apartments.

9. Car Seats - Even if there's no apparent damage, you should replace a child's car seat after it's been through an accident just to be on the safe side. Many auto insurance policies will pay for the replacement.

10. Gravestones - Many homeowners policies consider gravestones an extension of your belongings and will often reimburse you for part of it should something happen to it. For example, vandalism by teenagers is not entirely uncommon.

While you may have coverage for these items, each policy is different. Give your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agency a call to determine which of these items you have coverage for and where you might have gaps. Some of these items may seem uncommon and you think that they won't happen to you, but you never know. Make sure all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs are taken care of, just in case!

Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Not only is it important to protect your personal belongings with great insurance coverage at the Lake of the Ozarks, but you also need to protect your identity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of identity theft incidents has reached 9.9 million per year! Each and every minute, 19 people fall victim to identity theft and it takes the average victim $500 and 30 hours to resolve each identity theft crime. Here are a few tips for preventing identity theft from happening to you:

1. Secure Your Social Security Number. 


Don't carry your social security card around with you. Keep it at home in a safe place. Don't write your social security number down to keep in your wallet either and don't write it on checks. Only give it out when absolutely necessary. If someone asks for your social security number, ask them to explain why they need that information. In many cases, companies do not need to have your social security number.

2. Don't Respond to Unsolicited Requests for Personal Information. 


Personal information includes your name, birthdate, social security number or bank account number. Don't give this information out over the phone, by mail or online to any person or company you are unsure about. Many fraudulent behaviors begin by contacting someone via email or phone to let them know about an unpaid bill for example. Keep in mind that your bank isn't going to contact you asking for personal information; they're already going to have that on file. If this happens, be sure to contact your financial institution immediately.

3. Keep Close Tabs on Your Personal Information. 


Collect your mail promptly. If you are going to be away from home for a period of time, have the post office hold your mail or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect it for you. Pay attention to billing cycles and notify the sender if any statements are late or missing. Shred any papers that include personal informaiton before throwing them away. This includes reciepts, credit offers, account statements and expired cards. By doing so, you can prevent "dumpster divers" from getting your personal information. Be sure to store any items with your personal information at home in a safe place.

4. Watch for Unauthorized Transactions. 


Keep all your reciepts and promptly compare them with your bank account statements to make sure everything matches up. Not only are you looking for unauthorized transactions, but you're also looking to make sure the amounts match. You might should consider ordering your free credit report once a year to review it and make sure there are no accounts you didn't authorize open on there. Check it more frequently if you feel someone may have gained access to your account information.

5. Guard Your Passwords. 


Watch out for "shoulder surfers" when you enter your PIN numbers and passwords at ATMs, store checkouts and at the computer. Be sure to shield the keypad if necessary. On your home computer, be sure to install firewalls and anti-virus software. When creating passwords, be sure to use something complicated that identity theives can not easily guess. This means not using your name, birthdate, etc. in the passwords. It is also a good idea to change your passwords regularly and don't use the same password for every account.

While you can do everyting in your power to prevent your identity from being stolen, it can still happen. More and more we are seeing large corporations having data breaches. It is important to make sure you're protected from identity theft through your insurance policy. If you're a business owner that handles a lot of personal information from customers, it is important to have proper Lake of the Ozarks insurance to cover that as well. From personal insurance to business insurance, Insure the Lake can handle all of your coverage needs. Contact us today at 573-348-2794 to see how we can help you! 


Request a Free Quote Online! Contact Insure the Lake today for all your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs! 


About the Author: Steve is a double back-flip insurance ninja. He was named Young Insurance Agent of the Year by the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents in 2010 and is a Certified Insurance Counselor. When he is not helping customers, he enjoys community service, Latin dancing with his beautiful wife and going on adventures with his two awesome sons.

Steve Naught, CIC
3736 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065
Next to Golden Coral



stnaught@naught-naught.com


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