Friday, April 29, 2016

20 Homeowners Insurance Terms To Know

Not understanding your homeowners insurance policy can result in inadequate coverage and serious financial consequences. For the average Joe, some of the terms used in the insurance industry can seem like a foreign language. While your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent should be able to explain your policy to you, there are some terms that you might want to understand on your own. Let's take a look at some common homeowners insurance terms that you may come across:

1. Adjuster - An adjuster is someone who is trained to investigate losses and seeks to determine the extent of an insurer's liability for that loss when a homeowners insurance claim is filed. Adjusters can either represent specific insurance companies or can be a "public adjuster" hired by the claimant to work independently.

2. Appraisal - An appraisal is an evaluation of a home insurance property claim by an authorized person, usually an adjuster, to determine the property value or damaged property value. Many policies require an appraisal process to resolve claim disputes.

3. Cancellation - A cancellation is the termination of a homeowners policy before its agreed-upon expiration date, most often due to nonpayment of the premium.

4. Claim - A claim is a homeowner's request for reimbursement under the terms of the homeowners insurance policy.

5. Deductible - The deductible is the amount that a policyholder must pay out of their own pocket before the homeowners insurance coverage kicks in.

6. Depreciation - Depreciation is the estimated decrease in value of property over time due to wear, tear, aging and other factors.

7. Endorsement - An endorsement is a provision, document or clause added to a homeowners policy that modifies the original coverage offered by the policy.

8. Exclusive Agent - An exclusive agent is an insurance agent that only sells the products of one insurance company. 

9. Exclusion - Exclusions are items, conditions or circumstances that are specifically noted in a homeowners policy as not being covered.

10. Independent Agent - An independent agent is an insurance agent that represents more than one insurance company. For example, Insure the Lake has direct contracts with over 50 different insurance companies, allowing us to offer you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price!

11. Lapse - A lapse is an interruption in coverage caused by non-payment of the premium.

12. Liability Coverage - Liability coverage covers the losses for bodily injury or property damage to others that occur on the homeowner's property, as well as medical and legal expenses that may arise from lawsuits. Both losses are covered up to a specific dollar limit.

13. Market Value - Market value is the current worth of your home, including the land on which it is built.

14. Nonrenewal - When an insurance company declines to renew a policy at the end of its term, it's referred to as a nonrenewal.

15. Peril - A peril is a specific risk or reason for a loss.

16. Personal Property - Personal property refers to portable items, such as furniture, electronics and clothing, that are not permanently attached to the home.

17. Policy - A homeowners policy is a written contract between an insurer and the insuree specifying coverage for loss or damage to property.

18. Premium - A premium is the price charged by an insurance company that varies depending on the level of coverage purchased.

19. Property Coverage - Property coverage is protection for building or personal property against loss or damage.

20. Underwriting - Underwriting is the process that insurance companies use to determine the eligibility and premiums for coverage.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to understanding your Lake of the Ozarks homeowners insurance policy is that not all homeowners policies are the same. For further help understanding your policy, contact the best insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks. Insure the Lake is here to help with all your insurance needs from homeowners to business insurance.

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, April 28, 2016

Subrogation - What Does It Mean?

Subrogation is a legal term that's widely used in the insurance industry. It's based on the idea that if Party A accidentally injures party B, and Party B is compensated for his injury by Party C, Party C has the right to seek recovery of that payment by suing Party A. In many cases, Party C would likely be an insurance company. Let's take a look at how subrogation plays a part in Lake of the Ozarks insurance contracts:

Subrogation Clauses


Many insurance contracts contain a subrogation clause that gives the insurer the right to recover the amount of a loss payment from the party that actually caused the loss. Most commercial auto, liability, property and workers compensation policies contain a clause that addresses subrogation. These clauses may vary from one type of policy to another. However, they all have the same general intent. Here are a few common examples of subrogation clauses:

Property Policies

Many property insurance policies include a clause that states if the insurer makes a payment to someone that has the right to recover damages from someone else, those rights are transferred to the insurer. For example, if your commercial building catches on fire due to the negligence of the business owner next door. After you file a claim for the loss, your insurance company has the right to file suit against the owner of the building next door to seek recovery of the amount paid for the loss.

Liability Policies

The subrogation clause in a general liability policy is pretty straightforward. It states that if the insured has rights to recover all or part of any payment the insurer has made under the policy, those rights are transferred to the insurer. For example, if someone trips on a loose piece of wood flooring in your store and breaks their leg, your liability insurance would kick in to cover what the customer sued for. The insurer then discovers that the loose flooring was a result of improper installation and can then sue the contractor that installed the floor for the amount paid to the injured customer.

Auto Policies

Like property and liability policies, a commercial auto policy also contains a subrogate clause, also known as a "transfer of rights" clause. The clause states that if any person or organization for whom the insurer makes payment under the policy has rights to recover damages from another, those rights are transferred to the insurer. In other words, if the insurer pays an auto claim, either for liability or physical damage, and someone other than the insured is liable for it, the insurer may sue that party to recover the amount of its payment.

Workers Compensation Policies

Workers compensation policies contain a clause entitled "Recovery from Others." This clause gives the insurer your rights, as well as the rights of your injured employees, to recover its payments from anyone liable for the worker's injury. A separate subrogation policy is included in the employers liability coverage section. For example, if one of your employees is inured in an auto accident and your insurer pays the employee the benefits, but someone other than the employee caused the accident, the insurer may sue that party to recover the benefit amount.

Whether you're an individual or a business owner, it's important to understand your insurance policy at the Lake of the Ozarks. As your local insurance company, Insure the Lake is here to answer any questions you may have about the wording in your insurance contracts, what all is included with your coverage, and more. Give us a call at 573-348-2794 any time!

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, April 14, 2016

7 Things You Didn't Know Could Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Premiums

As a homeowner, you're going to need to purchase homeowners insurance. When your Lake of the Ozarks insurance agent is determining your homeowners premium, there are many different factors to be considered. Here are 7 things you may not have known could affect the price of  your homeowners insurance premiums:

1. The Age and Condition of Your Home


We'll start with a simple one - you may have already known that the age and condition of your home can affect the price of your insurance. The older your home or the worse the condition of it, the higher your premiums are probably going to be. The likelihood of home issues that could result in an insurance claim occurring increases with the age of the home. Newer homes and those in good condition are less likely to experience those types of problems.

2. The Material Used to Build Your Home


In addition to when your home was built, the type of material that was used also helps insurance companies determine your premiums. The premiums for homes made primarily of brick or masonry are typically lower than those for wood frame homes.

3. The Location of Your Home


Along with size, construction type and overall condition of your home, location plays a big role in the cost of your insurance. Unlike homeowners though, insurance agents aren't looking at school districts, restaurants and how far the commute is to grocery stores, office buildings, etc. What the insurance companies want to know is:
  • How close is the home to a highly rated, permanently staffed fire department? 
  • What is the proximity of the home in relation to the shoreline of a lake or river? 

4. Outdoor Home Amenities


Having a nice in-ground pool and hot tub can seem like a great thing to have. Trampolines and playground equipment also make a nice addition for those families with children. Along with those types of amenities, however, comes increased risk for accidents. This increased risk calls for increased liability insurance. Liability coverage may pay court costs or other expenses if you're found responsible for an accident on your property.

5. A Wood Stove or Wood Burning Fireplace


The second most common causes of residential fires is heating related fires. A standard homeowners policy will cover fire, until you increase the risk of fire by:
  • Putting in a wood stove 
  • Failing to properly maintain an existing wood burning fireplace
  • Putting in a new wood burning fireplace
By increasing your risk of experiencing a fire in your home, your insurance premiums might increase.

6. Your Pets


Some insurance companies won't insure you if you own certain breeds of dogs that are known to be aggressive. Other companies might not exclude certain breeds, but will take pets into consideration on an individual basis. In some cases, owning exotic pets, such as snakes, lizards and birds, can also drive up your insurance rates.

7. Your Home's Claim History


Even if it was before you owned the home, past claims on your home can affect the price of your premiums today. Your home's claim history is all bundled up in a nifty database known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). Essentially this is like a credit report for your home and includes all records of insurance claims on the home. While previous claims on your house could cause your premiums to increase, many claims could actually have a positive impact, such as a roof replacement. In addition to your home, the claims history of your neighborhood, particularly the homes directly next door to yours, can also affect your insurance premiums.

If you have questions regarding your homeowners insurance premiums, give Insure the Lake a call at 573-348-2794. Our goal is to see you get the best coverage for yourself, your family or your business, at the best price of course! Easily request a free quote on our website - we want to save you money, while still providing the same or even better insurance coverage 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, April 8, 2016

7 Tips to Prepare for Tornado Season

In the Midwest, tornado season runs from mid-March through late June. Missouri is located in what is known as "Tornado Alley" and is considered a high risk area for tornadoes. Insure the Lake wants to make sure you're prepared for any disaster that may affect you and your home. Here are a few tornado preparedness tips for you to keep in mind this season:

Tornado 

Preparedness Tips


1. Build an emergency kit that includes basic household items you may need in the event of an emergency. This could include bottled water, ready-to-eat snacks, battery operated radio, flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, etc.

2. Make a family communications plan in case your family is not together when disaster strikes. Your plan should include how to receive emergency alerts and warnings, how to get to a safe location, how to get in touch if phone service and internet is down, how to let loved ones know you're safe and how to get to a meeting place after the emergency.

3. Listen to the weather forecast to stay up-to-date on any potential storms headed your way. In addition, make sure you're aware of how your city or area notifies people of an emergency situation, i.e. sirens, website or text updates, etc.

4. Look for danger warning signs such as a dark, often greenish sky, large hail, a large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating), and/or a loud roar, similar to a freight train. If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

5. Reinforce your doors and windows for extra protection from wind and flying objects. In preparation for tornado season, re-install your storm doors and storm windows. If you have a storm cellar, reinforce it with steel doors.

6. Prepare a safe room where everyone can go in the event of a tornado. If you have a storm cellar already, that's great. If not, it's important you have a space in the basement or room in the middle of the house where you can all go to be safe. 

7. Make sure your homeowners insurance is up-to-date, so you don't have any unexpected surprises when you go to file a claim.

Homeowners Insurance: Tornado Protection


Typical homeowners insurance policies include coverage for tornado damage. Unlike with earthquakes, floods, etc., a separate policy is usually not needed for tornadoes. With that being said, studies have shown that around 64% of U.S. homes are underinsured. In the event of a total loss due to a tornado, many people will not have enough money to rebuild their homes. Tornadoes generally cause wind damage which can blow the roof off of homes. If that happens and a home's contents are destroyed by rain, standard policies will cover it. Homeowners insurance also covers homes' contents and living expenses while the home is being rebuilt.

Our Lake of the Ozarks insurance company is here to help you make sure you're covered for any situation that may result in an insurance claim. From homeowners and auto insurance to business insurance, we've got you covered. We offer a variety of coverage at competitive prices. Give Insure the Lake a call today at 573-348-2794 for more information on insurance coverage 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, April 1, 2016

Is Umbrella Insurance Necessary?

With so many different types of insurance out there, how do you know what exactly you need for your unique situation? What happens when you exceed the limits of your auto or home insurance and don't have the cash to cover the rest? Insure the Lake wants to help you understand what umbrella insurance is and if it's necessary for you.


What is Umbrella Insurance? 


Umbrella insurance is a type of liability insurance designed to protect you against lawsuits. While other insurance policies at the Lake of the Ozarks are specific to one type of coverage such as an auto policy or a homeowners policy, umbrella insurance is very different. Like an actual umbrella, an umbrella insurance policy provides extra protection, covering most aspects of your financial life. Therefore, anytime you exceed the limits on one of your other policies, your umbrella policy kicks in to cover the extra costs.

What does Umbrella Insurance Cover?


Although 85% of umbrella insurance claims are related to car accidents, umbrella insurance also covers against accidents that occur in your home. Types of damage covered by an umbrella policy include:
  • Bodily Injury - If you injure someone in an auto accident and the medical bills exceed your auto insurance's limits, the umbrella policy will kick in to cover the rest. Similarly is someone gets hurt on your property, the umbrella policy is applied after what the homeowners insurance will cover. This umbrella policy often covers other items that your general insurance does not; for example, if your dog bites someone while you're on a walk.
  • Property Damage - If you or your teenage child crashes the car into the neighbors fence, mailbox or even the house, the umbrella insurance will cover anything that exceeds the limits of your auto insurance policy. Other umbrella insurance coverage includes things like your pet clawing up a priceless painting at the dog sitter's house or your child knocking over an expensive antique vase at your friend's house.
  • Other Types of Legal Damage - Your umbrella insurance policy can also protect you if you're sued for libel or slander. It can also protect you against suits for false arrest, malicious prosecution, violation of privacy and a variety of other civil charges. 
  • Legal Fees -One final perk of this type of coverage is that it will cover your legal fees and court costs in a lawsuit. Lawyers are expensive and even if it's not your fault, you could find yourself in court. With an umbrella policy, you know you can afford a good lawyer to protect your assets. 
Although umbrella insurance covers a lot of different scenarios, there are certain types of lawsuits that many policies specifically exclude. Most umbrella policies do not cover malpractice lawsuits, workers compensation claims against employers, damage caused by a business or business related activity, or damage that you cause intentionally to any person or property. It's also important to understand that umbrella insurance only protects you from being used for damage to other people or their property. If you're the one that gets hurt, it's up to your health insurance to pay for the damage and the rest comes out of your pocket. In that case, an umbrella insurance policy can't help you.

What does Umbrella Insurance Cost?


According to Bankrate, umbrella insurance is "the absolute best buy in the insurance business." Umbrella insurance policies are generally sold in $1 million increments and you can get $1 million worth of coverage for around $150-$200 per year. The actual cost however, varies based on where you live and how good a risk the insurance company thinks you are. Factors that could affect your rate include your job, your hobbies, your pets, your driving record and any previous lawsuits you were involved with.

Who Needs Umbrella Insurance? 


The point of umbrella insurance is to protect your assets. Therefore, if you have a lot of assets that you could potentially lose, it might be a good idea to purchase an umbrella insurance policy. While it's easy to assume that only a rich person would need that much insurance coverage, you'd be surprised at home important a policy like this could be for an average member of the middle class. Ask yourself some basic questions like:
  • Do I own a home? 
  • Do I own any other significant assets other than a home? 
  • Have I built an investment portfolio or a retirement savings account? 
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you'll want to make sure those assets are protected. Think about the total value of all your assets. Now look at the amount of liability insurance coverage you currently have with your individual policies. Is that insurance amount enough to cover all your assets? If not, you should talk to an independent insurance agent at the Lake of the Ozarks today.

Our Lake of the Ozarks insurance company specializes in all type of insurance policies. We are one of the largest insurance agencies in the state of Missouri. As an independent agency, we have direct contracts with over 50 insurance companies and access to hundreds more brokerage services. This allows us to shop around and give you the most comprehensive coverage at a competitive price! Contact us today at 573-348-2794 for all of your Lake of the Ozarks insurance needs.  

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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