Accident advice: do you need the insurance when you are given a rental car?

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Its a bad day. Your car is in an accident. The good news: you are ok and it isn’t your fault. Yup. I was just there this week.

The “other guy’s” insurance company provides you with a rental car. Now the question: Do you take the rental car company’s insurance? Why should you? They are paying for the rental and you didn’t cause the accident.

Well, gosh-forbid, what if your rental car is in an accident. Ok, I’ll admit that is really, really bad luck and maybe you should stay away from driving for a bit…

But seriously, this stuff happens. If you are in an accident with the rental car- your own car insurance would cover the repairs to the rental car but NOT the “loss of use.” What does this mean? This means, for the amount of time that rental car is getting repaired, the rental car company is unable to rent it to others so they are losing money. They may expect you to pay that!

How do you remedy that? You purchase the rental car company’s insurance policy which does typically cover loss of use.

Who would have thought? Hopefully your insurance agent. If you are every in an accident, your insurance agent should work closely with you to make sure you understand the claims process and the trade-offs on every detail, including items like “loss of use.”

Have questions? We are here for you- anytime. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to answer any of your insurance questions. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME.

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Gunstock Season Pass Holders Qualify for Home and Auto Discounts

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Concord Group Insurance has created a special Affinity program that provides savings and special benefits to its member policyholders. Gunstock Season Pass Holders qualify as a member of Concord Group Affinity Program, and can receive a 5% discount on  auto and home insurance as well as complimentary roadside assistance coverage and/or identity theft protection. These top quality auto and homeowners’ insurance policies provide robust standard and optional coverage to satisfy most needs. And the competitive rates result in peace of mind knowing you are getting the coverage you need at a great value.

Concord Group is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Concord Group is a mutual insurance company which means the policy holders are members of the Company. This means they have no stockholders- they are there for their policyholders!

These products are further supported by Keslar Insurance Agency. Contact Keslar Insurance today to learn more, take advantage of the affinity discount program and become a member of the Concord Group Insurance Company. www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

It’s deer season. What happens if your car hits one? It isn’t handled the same as a traditional auto accident.

deer car accidents insuranceAbout 1.5 million deer, elk and moose are struck each year, causing more than $1 billion in insured losses and affecting about one in 169 drivers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. From October through December, drivers’ chances of hitting a deer increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In fact, the organization says more deer crashes occur in November because it’s the height of mating season. Additionally, be extra cautious if you’re driving at dusk or dawn, as the III says these are the highest-risk times for deer crashes. Of course, those are times when cars are normally on the road, too.

Hitting a deer can be costly: According to the III, the average cost of deer-crash insurance claims was $4,135 in 2015. To help protect your vehicle (and your wallet), talk to a local agent to make sure you have the proper car insurance coverage on your policy.

As many an unlucky motorist will attest, you don’t necessarily have to run into a deer to be involved in a deer-related crash. A lot of times, you may not hit the deer; the deer may hit you or leap onto your car. Startled drivers who have run-ins with deer are often equally surprised by how their auto insurance treats their claims.

Logic might suggest that such animal crashes would fall under the collision portion of your policy, which pays for damage to your vehicle if you hit (or are hit) by another vehicle or object. Instead, animal-related damage is typically treated as an “other than collision” claim under your comprehensive coverage, or “comp,” which covers so-called acts of God such as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism and theft.

Comprehensive coverage is strongly recommended for all drivers, unless your car has very low value. Collision coverage (which generally is sold as a package with comprehensive) won’t pay for damage caused by hitting an animal. However, collision could apply if you swerve to miss an animal and hit something else instead, such as a fence.

 Improve your safety with these tips:

  • Be extra careful when driving in areas known to have many deer.
  • Deer often move in groups, so if you see one animal, slow down and look for others.
  • Use high beams at night unless there is oncoming traffic.
  • Do not swerve if you see a deer.  Doing so could send you off the road or into oncoming traffic.

If the worst happens

Sometimes an accident is inevitable no matter how careful you are. Deer can dash out from cover with no warning, giving you no chance to stop.

If you hit a deer:

  • Move your vehicle off the road and turn on your hazard lights. Call the police. If possible, take pictures of the scene and any injuries to passengers or damage to the vehicle, for insurance purposes.
  • If the animal runs away after the accident, get a picture of hair or blood on the car to show that a deer was involved. Use this evidence to have the accident processed under comprehensive coverage.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses, especially if the animal runs off. If witnesses are able to wait, ask them to report what they saw to the police.
  • Even if you think the damage is minimal, check to be sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for tire damage, broken lights, fluid leaks or loose parts. You may need to call a tow truck.
  • Do not approach the deer, even if you think it’s dead. A wounded animal could injure you.

How to know you are protected.

All of us are at some risk for hitting deer because they can be found just about anywhere.  The right insurance policy plus defensive driving skills can greatly reduce your chances of injury and uncompensated expense. To learn more about if you have the right insurance policy, check with your local agent or reach out to us- we’d be happy to help www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Cyber-attacks are a real threat to most small businesses.

Cyber-attacks are a real threat to most small businesses.

Many businesses think- “I don’t keep my customers personal data, so I’m not at risk of a cyber attack.”. That isn’t completely true.  If you do collect any personal information for any reason, including employee data or prospect information or more you may be at risk. Many assume that because they are using a third party software product that they aren’t responsible. This also isn’t true. Anytime you collect any type of personal information, you could be putting yourself at risk.

Cyber attacks aren’t always done by someone in a foreign country looking for information from big stores. More than 50% of attacks are on small businesses.

This happens a wide variety of ways. For instance, did you know email is the most popular method to get data? They often use legitimate login information. One common ploy is that someone will pretend to be your “support” personnel and ask unsuspecting employees to give login information.  Another common problem is when laptops are lost or hacked. Another common situation is when an employee is working remotely using public wifi.  Furthermore, the “bad guys” are still finding success with phishing schemes. Some claims have come from instances where a disgruntled rogue employee steals names, addresses, social security numbers and other personal information from customer files.

Some other real world examples include:

A manufacturer nearly transferred $315,000 to China based solely on an email request to pay for raw materials that appeared to be legitimate.

A man sent an email to his ex-girlfriend hoping to monitor what she did on her computer. She opened the email on her work computer, and over the course of two weeks, the spyware emailed the man more than 1,000 screenshots of confidential data on 150 customers.

If any of these things happen to you, finding and remedying the issue can be very costly and slow. There are very specific steps you likely have to take. For instance, at least 47 States require notification of breach to customers.  This has to happen a certain way and at an expense to your organization. Furthermore, if you have a breach or loss, everything stops in your business until you address the situation. This may require forensic experts, steep legal fees and more. The expense of resolving this can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

How do you minimize these risks? Your traditional business insurance doesn’t typically cover this type of situation. Fortunately, there are now additional insurance solutions available to help not only cover the cost of paying to notify all clients, hiring forensic experts, data restoration expenses and other required legal steps, but the insurance companies often have a team of experts to help you address the required steps and get your business running again even more quickly.  Check with your insurance agent to see where your most likely risk are and what products can best protect you in the event of a cyber-attack.

Have more questions on Cyber risk? Need help with commercial insurance? We’d love to help. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME.

 

Not at risk for a cyber attack? Think again. 10 Cyber risk myths

  1. I’m not at risk because I don’t maintain any personally identifying information on my customers. Every commercial entity has an exposure because all commercial entities have customers and employees. Typically, an entity will have employees’ social security numbers as well as health information for benefits programs. If you have this information- you have risk.
  2. I’m not at risk because I don’t conduct business over the internet. While the more sensational breaches involve hacking information via the internet, the majority of breaches occur by other means such as accidentally released or stolen physical files or electronic media (i.e. laptops, CD-ROM’s, thumb drives, etc.).
  3. I have coverage under my property, commercial general liability or other commercial policies. You may want to review your insurance policies again.  Property policies may provide coverage for business interruption but generally are triggered by a direct physical loss to the insured property. “Physical” is though of as “tangible” and case law generally maintains that data is not tangible property. Typically, commercial general liability (CGL) policies contain exclusions for damages as a result of the release, disclosure or access to personally identifiable information. It is for this very reason cyber risk coverage was developed.
  4. Personal Data breaches only happen to large companies and public entities. The media tends to focus on larger data breaches because it impacts a significant number of people but breaches impact entities of all sizes. In fact, smaller entities may be more susceptible to breaches as they do not have the resources to dedicate to the issue.
  5. Laws requiring notification of personal data breaches only apply to large businesses. Currently there are 47 states that have legislation requiring notification in the event an entity breaches personally identifying information. These laws are consistent on one point- they do not address the size of the entity.
  6. Coverage that wouldn’t enable my company to provide a professional response to a personal data breach requires a lengthy application and various audits. Unless limits of $100,000 or great are required, no underwriting questions are asked. A security audit is not required for this program.
  7. There is nothing I can do to reduce my company’s chances of having a personal data breach. There are several steps an organization can take to require its cyber liability exposure. Click here to learn more about how to reduce your changes for breach.
  8. If we have personal data breach data and need to notify our customers, we can just send them a “we’re sorry” letter and our customers will understand and continue to do business with us. While ending a “we’re sorry” letter will often satisfy the various legal requirements, the entity is then left with a marketplace reputation problem and the challenge of retaining customers in the wake of a breach. our program offers additional service to the people affected by by the breach. These service include access to a toll free information line, credit monitoring service and identity recovery services.
  9. I don’t need cyber risk insurance if I spend more information Technology security. While robust information technology security will help reduce your exposure, it will not prevent all breaches from occurring.  Breaches often occur from procedural mistakes or “rogue” employees who have access from the inside. Insurance, as well as appropriate spending on security and information technology is part of a holistic risk management strategy.
  10. In this economy, I can’t afford any more insurance. You cannot afford not to have cyber risk insurance. A recently Ponemon Institute study indicated that direct costs to respond to a breach were $60/record. Even a small breach that only impacts 100 records could cost you several thousand dollars.

For further information about cyber liability coverages- as well as any other business or personal insurance needs, we can help. We can be reached at www. keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Source: The Main Street America Group. This document is intended for information purposes only and does not modify or invalidate any of the provisions, exclusions, terms or conditions of the policy and endorsements. For specific terms and conditions, please refer to the coverage form.

Have a 2nd home? Your insurance company may expect you to keep it plowed this winter

untitled-design1Many people in our area own summer homes at the ocean, on a lake or in the mountains. This is a great destination spot to spend your summer weekends and vacations. But what happens in winter?

Many of us find it difficult to break away to visit these seasonal homes during the off-season. Between work, children’s activities and other family obligations, we just don’t get up there as we may like. So, if you know you aren’t going to go up, why have the driveway plowed? That means you’d either have to go up or pay someone to do it for you. Seems like time and money better spent elsewhere. But maybe not.

Your insurer may require access to the home year around. In the event of a fire or other issue, if the driveway to the home isn’t plowed, the emergency vehicles would be unable to get close enough to minimize the losses. Of course, it would be in your best interest, too, to try to  make sure your property is accessible for the same reason.

Unsure what your insurance requires? This is a great time to ask your agent. They can review coverages and expectations with you.  If you have any other questions or would like us to review your coverages, we are happy to help. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953. Keslar Insurance Agency is in independent agency offering a wide variety of carriers for home, auto, business and life insurance in NH and Maine.

 

How often should you shop for home and auto insurance? Maybe more or less than you think.

questionWe hear this all the time: “I’ve been with my current insurance company for years. I’m just too busy to shop it. But all insurance is the same.”  This makes me cringe. There are four very good reasons to review your insurance options at least every 3-5 years if not more frequently.

  1. Your life changes. As time passes, many things change- you get older, your home gets older, you may do updates to your home, your family gets older so you may now have new teen drivers, or drivers who have left the household. You may have claims during this time that impact your rates. You may purchase different cars, obtain toys like boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and more. All of these things can impact your needs and your rates.  That said, it may impact them more with one insurance company than another.
  2. Insurance rates change. Every couple of years insurance companies submit new rates to the states for approval. When they do this, they have considered certain factors about the types of clients that they have an appetite for. This can change over time. This means, you may be getting offered the best rates by some companies at one time and not the best rates from the same company at another time. This isn’t a reflection on you, just a reflection on what the company wants to focus their growth on. Same happens in reverse, they may decide that they’d like more customers just like you- so they will offer better rates the next go around to you and those who are like you.
  3. Insurance products change. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to be more competitive and grow their business. This means they are always adding new features and products to attract customers. Many of these can be pretty interesting and may be perfect for your needs. This means what were options for minimizing risks a few years ago may not have been as robust as they are now!
  4. Not all insurance companies are the same. Home and auto insurance from different companies can be very different. Yes, in general they cover many of the same things- your property, your liability etc. But that’s where the similarities can stop. Some will offer broader coverages- like replacement cost, others may not, some may include towing or more, others may not. It is a tough thing to navigate unless you have a lot of hours- or an agent who can help you. But I promise, they aren’t all exactly the same. Some may be a better fit for you than others.

Benefits to you to review your coverages regularly:

  1. Saving Money on premium. Recently, we’ve been able to save three families between $1,500-2000/year on their home and auto insurance premiums. This doesn’t always happen, but it can!
  2. Making sure your coverages match what you really need. You want to make sure you are only paying for things you are likely to use and are covered for things that are likely risks.
  3. You can take advantage of new features or insurance products. Related to #2, the new features for some products can be very appealing and appropriate for your unique needs.

But don’t shop too much. Some carriers do reward for loyalty. If you prove that you do stay with a company for a few years, new carriers may be more likely to offer you better rates as they know you will come and stay with them for some period of time too. The reverse can be true too, if you jump companies every single year, they may not offer you the best rates, as they know you aren’t likely to stay with them for long. So, you may want to think twice for before jumping company to company to company every single year for a few dollars savings. It is likely to catch up with you.

How do you know what to do? Consider working with an independent agent. Independent agents typically offer many products from leading carriers giving you “one stop shopping”. These agents are licensed, experienced and educated in the products from a number of companies. They can review your coverage needs for any changes or new products that are now available. They can share with you several different options with carriers, they can work with you to see which carriers can save you money or they can recommend that you stay where you are for another year and review again next year. They typically do all this for you, at no additional charge. Good agents will review this with you yearly so you’ll know you are in the best place for you for the next year. They can also help you with the entire transition over process if you do change insurance carriers, again making your life easier.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have on reviewing your insurance. We are an independent agency covering NH and ME with a wide range of products from leading National and Regional carriers. We can be reached at http://www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.