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3 Tips That Will Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets And The Insurance Surcharges That Go Along With Them

3 Tips That Will Help You Avoid Speeding Tickets And The Insurance Surcharges That Go Along With Them

Did you know that in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts speeding points are automatically linked to your automobile insurance premium? In essence, your insurance rate will increase if you are found guilty of a speeding violation. These points typically remain on your driving record for six (6) years, which means that you will be paying a higher automobile insurance rate for those six (6) years. The increase can be significant based on the particular violation and the resulting amount of the speeding ticket. That being stated, it is important to do whatever you can to reduce your chances of receiving a speeding violation. The following three tips will help avoid speeding tickets, and the insurance surcharges that go along with them.

Tip #1- Drive The Speed Limit- Although this may sound a bit obvious, driving the speed limit is the best way to ensure that you will not receive a speeding ticket while driving on local roads, and highways. If you do not speed, you will never need to worry about receiving a ticket from a police officer. In addition, you will significantly reduce the chances of being involved in an automobile accident, particularly a fatal one. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is a contributing factor in over 30% of all fatal automobile accidents each year. Typically speaking, approximately 10,000 plus human lives are lost due to accidents caused by speeding on a yearly basis.

Tip #2- Plan Accordingly- One of the main reasons that drivers speed is because they are in a rush. Our society happens to place a high value on efficiency, and as a results far too many of us have become programmed to do everything as fast as possible. That typically leads to driving over the speed limit when operating an automobile. However, most drivers fail to realize that speeding does not get you anywhere significantly faster than driving at or even slightly below the speed limit. For example, if you are driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit, you will only gain two (2) minutes when traveling for 15 miles when the listed speed limit is 55 miles per hour. It is certainly not worth saving a measly two (2) minutes to take the risk of receiving a speeding ticket, let along getting into an accident.

If you happen to be the procrastinating type or run late a lot, speeding will not help you to get from point A to point B much faster. The best thing you can do is plan ahead so you will know exactly how long it will take to arrive at your destination. That way you will feel far less inclined to blow past traffic when you hit the road.

Tip #3- Select The Right Type And Color Automobile- Believe it or not, the type and color of your car, truck, or SUV can make a big difference when it comes to receiving speeding tickets or not. For example, white, gray, silver, and red automobiles are pulled over far more often than any other colored vehicles. The model of your automobile can also affect your chances of receiving a speeding ticket. According to a recent study, three specific models were 300% to 400% more likely to receive a speeding tickets when compared to other automobile models. They are the Mercedes-Benz SL, the Toyota Camry Solara, and the Scion T. If you drive one of these models it may be time to purchase or lease something else, particularly if the automobile is white, gray, silver, or red.

In conclusion, there are things that you can do in order to avoid speeding tickets and those nasty auto insurance surcharges that along with them. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your automobile policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

 

A Few Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Cyber Liability Insurance

It is unfortunate, but data breaches have become far too common these days. It seems as if criminals are breaking into major systems across the country, and gaining access to sensitive information at a record pace. Although we typically hear about the worst-case scenarios that occur at large corporations and the federal government, it happens to small business owners on a daily basis. In fact, 55% of small to mid-size businesses have experienced a data breach, and 54% have had multiple breaches.

A data breach can damage more that just your computer system. It can also ruin your reputation, and put both your customers and employees at risk. That is why more organizations are recognizing the need for cyber liability insurance as part of their overall security strategy. The following information will provide you with a few things that every business owner should know about cyber liability insurance.

What Exactly is Cyber Liability Insurance?

Cyber liability insurance was created to cover financial losses that result from cyber related crimes. Most policies include both first-party and third party coverage. The first-party coverage includes losses that are sustained directly by your organization. For example, if the cyber criminals cause damage to your data files, that damage is covered under the first-party coverage. Third-party coverage applies to claims against your business by people that have been negatively affected by the data breach. For example, if your customer’s personal, private, and or financial information was stolen as a result of the hack, and that customer sues you, it would fall under the third-party coverage.

Cyber Liability Insurance Is Affordable

If your business does not already have cyber liability insurance it should. Companies are increasingly investing in it due to the fact that they have no choice. Clients are now beginning to insist that their partners have insurance in place for both regulatory requirements, and compliance purposes. In essence, having cyber liability insurance is becoming a part of contractual requirements. Not every small business deals with partners or third parties that require cyber liability insurance, however it has become necessary to have in place.

For example, if you operate a business that accepts credit and debit card payments your customer’s private, personal, and financial information is exposed if and when a data breach occurs. That means you will end up paying hefty fines and legal fees that will negative impact your bottom line. Why take the risk? The good news is that cyber liability insurance is affordable, and can be easily added to your overall business insurance policy. Most policies cost as little as $1,000 annually for up to $1 million, depending on the incident.

Cyber Liability Insurance Is Not A Substitute For A Cyber Security Program

A top-notch cyber security program and the cyber liability insurance policy work in conjunction with each other. In essence, the security program is the foundation and body of the building while the insurance is the roof. That means the security program must be constructed first. Cyber liability insurance is just like any other type of insurance in the regard that you hope to never need to use it. If it is doing its job properly, it will prevent cyber criminals from breaking into the system.

In a perfect world, the system will work every time. Since we do not live in a perfect world, the insurance should be in place just in case you need to file a claim. The bottom line is that while the cyber insurance may reimburse costs, it cannot diminish the damage to your reputation. In addition, insurance does not repair the trust that you will lose from your customer base after the breach occurs.

In conclusion, cyber liability insurance is a necessary tool that protects organizations in case of a cyber security breach. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your cyber liability insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

What ATV Insurance Actually Covers

All terrain vehicles, or ATVs for short, are certainly fun to drive. Some are used for work purposes, such as around the farm or hunting. However, most ATVs are purchased as recreational vehicles for weekend fun. Regardless of how you use your ATV, it is important to consider purchasing an ATV insurance policy in order to protect yourself when the unexpected happens to occur. Many ATV owners are under the false impression that they are fully covered under their homeowners or automobile policies. The following information will show you how important ATV insurance is, and what it actually covers.

Bodily Injury Liability

This coverage pays for damages associated with any other parties that are injured or killed in an accident associated with your ATV or off-road vehicle. It will also cover any legal fees resulting from litigation against the policyholder. In both circumstances, this part of ATV insurance will cover up to the claim limits of the policy. The limits of bodily injury liability are typically an amount per person and a total amount per accident, regardless of the number involved. In order to avoid injuries and liability claims related to an ATV, there are a number of things owners can do. Keep your ATV garaged or secured so that only those with permission and supervision can ride it.

Even if someone does not have permission to ride an ATV, you may be found liable for his or her injuries suffered while riding it. It is also extremely important to follow the guidelines of every ATV. Failure to adhere to them might compromise the vehicle’s performance or the rider. For example, every vehicle has weight restrictions. That means you should never overload any haul or cargo. Most four-wheelers are designed for one person. Ensure that the driver is the appropriate size for the ATV. Last but certainly not least; no one should ever operate an ATV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Property Damage Liability

This coverage is similar to bodily injury liability, except it pays for the cost of any damage an ATV driver might cause to another person’s property. This includes personal property, including any belongings, as well as their home or yard. Property damage liability also has a claim limit per damage incident. The limit is typically as much, or lower than the per-person limit of the ATV policy’s bodily injury liability insurance. For example, if an ATV or UTV insurance policy has a bodily injury limit of $25,000 per person/per accident, the same policy’s property damage limit might be $25,000 or lower.

Medical Payment

This coverage is optional. Medical payments coverage pays for any medical expenses incurred by people riding your ATV. It will cover things like surgeries, X-rays, a hospital stay, and even transportation via ambulance.

Uninsured/Underinsure Motorist

This coverage is optional. In the event that you or someone riding your ATV are injured by someone else who either does not have insurance, or not enough of it, these coverage’s will pay for your expenses. Typically, if someone else were at fault for your injury or damages, their insurance company would cover those costs they are responsible for. However, even when insurance is required by law, some individuals might fail to purchase it. Uninsured/underinsured coverage for ATV insurance also has claim limits. Like bodily injury liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage’s have limits per individual and per accident.

Collision

This coverage is optional. It pays to repair any damages to your ATV caused by a collision with another vehicle. It also covers damages if your ATV overturns. Policyholders choose a deductible, which is the amount they pay before their insurer begins to cover cost. The insurance company will cover up to the value of the ATV. In order to keep premiums low, an owner of an ATV with a low value might choose to forgo this coverage, so you may want to determine how much your ATV is worth before adding it to your policy. Collision coverage is often required of owners who financed the purchase of their ATV or are leasing it.

Comprehensive

This coverage is optional. Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to an ATV that are not caused by a collision with another vehicle. It also covers losses due to theft, vandalism, flooding, earthquakes, fires and other issues. Just like collision, comprehensive coverage has a deductible. For example, if someone steals your ATV, you could file a comprehensive claim and your insurer would pay up to the cash value to replace it.

In conclusion, an ATV insurance policy is a smart choice for any ATV owner. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your ATV insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

What Is A BOP And Why Does Your Business Need It?

Although it may sound like a dance craze from the 1950’s, a BOP can go a long way in protecting your small to mid size business against the risks that can have a negative financial impact on you and your organization. BOP is actually an acronym for Business Owners Policy. In essence it is business insurance that protects against fire, burglary, liability, and business interruption losses. Since a BOP is prepackaged, it is typically more cost effective than purchasing separate policies.

The added bonus is that you only have to review one policy, which saves time dealing with paperwork. Additional coverage can be added, if need be, in the form of an endorsement or a rider. BOP insurance is a product that is specifically designed to serve small and medium sized businesses. The type of business goes a long way in determining if your company is eligible. Typically speaking, organizations with up to one hundred employees, and revenues that do not exceed $5 million per year are candidates for a BOP policy.

That being stated, there are particular types of industries, such as restaurants, that may be ineligible based on the specific risks inherent in the business. In this case, you would need to consider purchasing the individual coverage on a separate basis.

The BOP Combines Three Insurance Policies Into A Single Package

A BOP provides the core insurance policies that most small to mid size businesses need in one convenient package. They are as follows….

Property Insurance

This type of coverage provides protections for your building or office space, and any property that is owned by the business such as equipment and inventory.

Liability Insurance

This type of coverage protects the business and business owner against the costs that arise if a third party is injured as a result of visiting the business, or by utilizing your products and or services.

Business Interruption Insurance

This type of coverage, also known as Business Income Insurance, replaces revenue that is lost in the event that your business is forced to shut down due to fire, wind damage, and other covered losses.

The BOP Can Be Customized To Meet Your Needs

It is important for business owners to fully understand the fact that a BOP does not cover all risks that are associated with operating a small to mid size business, and the coverage limits are typically lower. For example, if you have employees on the payroll, you may very well be required to carry a Workers Compensation Insurance policy. If you have a business owned vehicle, you will also need insurance coverage that goes above and beyond your personal car insurance policy.

You may also want to consider insurance coverage for things such as a computer system break in, or business identity thefts. There certainly are a plethora of unique risks that are associated with your business. A reputable insurance professional can help you discover the particular business related insurance policies that are right for you and your business.

Excess Liability And Umbrella Policies Can Increase Your Coverage

If you need to increase the protection provided by your BOP insurance, adding an Excess Liability or Umbrella Insurance policy is the smart choice. In essence, this type of supplemental insurance policy increases your coverage beyond the limits of your primary insurance policies. Depending on your particular policy, the umbrella coverage is designed to widen and increase coverage. It basically fills in the gaps left by other types of liability insurance coverage by covering additional areas of risk. It can even reimburse you for deductibles.

In conclusion, the BOP may very well be the ideal way to protect your business and yourself. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your life insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

 

Get To Know Your Homeowners Insurance Policy And What It Actually Covers

When most people think of their homeowners insurance policy all they can picture is paying a lump sum of money, or making monthly payments on top of their mortgage payment. However, your homeowners insurance can be your best friend if disaster strikes. It can also be extremely useful when smaller incidents happen to occur. In fact, homeowners insurance helps protect you, your home, and your belongings from a variety of unexpected events.

Homeowners insurance policies are certainly not a one size fits all type of product. While a typical homeowners insurance policy includes particular coverage, it is usually customized in order to meet each individual homeowner’s distinctive requirements. You can purchase additional coverage for increased protection. The typically homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for damage caused by fires, lightening strikes, windstorms, and hail.

However, it is important to be aware that not all natural disasters are covered. For example, damage caused by earthquakes and floods are not typically covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy. If you live in an area of New England that tends to flood, you will need to apply for a separate Flood policy. So what specifics does a standard homeowners insurance policy cover? The following information will provide you with the answer to that question.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Dwelling Protection

Dwelling Protection is one of the basic coverage’s of your homeowners insurance policy. In essence, it helps cover the replacement cost or repair costs of the structure of your home if damage is caused by an item that is covered in the policy. For example, if a fire destroys your kitchen, the Dwelling Protection will cover the repair costs. Dwelling Protection also covers other structures that are attached to the main property such as an attached garage or deck.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Other Structures Protection

The majority of homeowners insurance policies also include coverage for other structures that are on the property, but are not attached to the house. In essence they are free standing structures such as a detached garage, shed, or fence.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Personal Property Protection

Your Homeowners Insurance policy does not only cover damage to the structure of your home, it also provides you with coverage if your personal belongings are damaged, destroyed, or stolen. For example, if your big screen television is stolen, the Personal Property Protection may pay to replace it. Many insurance companies offer Optional Coverage that can further help protect the expensive items that you own such as jewelry, watches, and fur that have values above and beyond your Personal Property coverage limits.

A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Includes Liability Protection

The Standard Homeowners Insurance policy typically provides you with liability coverage when someone that is not living at the property is injured while visiting your home. For example, if a visitor trips on the stairs and breaks his or her leg than the Bodily Injury Liability coverage will help pay for your resulting legal expenses. It will also cover your visitor’s medical bills if you are found at fault. You may be able to increase the Liability Protection coverage limits by adding a personal umbrella policy if need be.

Coverage Limits And Deductibles Explained

Each of the coverage’s in the Homeowners Insurance policy is subject to a limit. In essence, the limit is the maximum amount of money that your policy will pay toward a covered loss. You may be able to adjust your coverage limits to your needs based on the value of your home and belongings. In most cases, you will be required to pay a deductible prior to your insurance benefits kick in to help cover the loss or repair. The deductible is a set amount and can be lowered or raised depending on how much you are paying for the policy. For example, a lower deductible will cost X amount more per month, while a higher deductible will save you Y amount per month.

In conclusion, you should not think of your Homeowners Insurance policy as an expense, it is more like a friend when you are in a time of need. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your life insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

Characteristics That Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates In MA

There are a plethora of factors that determine the rates that Massachusetts drivers are required to pay in order to insure their personal vehicles. That being stated, there are just as many myths that surround this hot button topic. So we decided to separate the facts from the fiction in order to provide you with a better understanding of how the system works. Our goal is to explain the factors that determine why you are paying more or less for auto insurance than your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

So without further ado, the following information will teach you all about the characteristics that affect your auto insurance rates in MA, and some myths that have absolutely zero impact.

Does The Make, Model, And Year Of Your Vehicle Determine The Auto Insurance Rate?

The answer to this questions is YES. It is a true fact that the make, model, and year of your vehicle goes a long way in determining your auto insurance rate. Cars, trucks, and sports utility vehicles are assigned a safety rating. The safety rating determines the chances of the vehicle getting into a serious accident, and the insurance companies take this into account. For example, automobiles with higher safety ratings have lower insurance premiums than automobiles with lower safety ratings.

In addition, your vehicle’s year, make, and model have a direct impact on its value. If your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive and collision coverage than the dollar amount of protection that these coverage’s provide is typically set to be equal with the value of your car, truck, or SUV.

Does The Color Of Your Vehicle Determine The Auto Insurance Rate?

The answer to this question is NO. Although a great deal of drivers are under the false impression that the color of their automobile helps to determine the price that they are required to pay for insurance, nothing could be further from the truth. Most likely this myth was formulated due to the fact that certain colors are more noticeable to police officers when moving down the road. For example, if you drive a brightly colored vehicle, particularly red, than you may be at more risk of a speeding ticket than someone that drives a white automobile.

Does Your Driving Habits Determine The Auto Insurance Rate?

The answer to this questions is YES, YES, and YES. Your driving habits have an enormous impact on how much you pay for auto insurance. In fact, your driving habits affect the premiums in multiple ways. For example, automobile insurance underwriters consider whether or not you have moving violations, if you have been in any accidents, and how many miles you drive on average per year. The majority of drivers are aware that negative driving records increase insurance rates.

In MA, each moving violation increases your auto insurance premium for seven (7) years. That means speeding tickets end up costing a lot more money than the initial fine. The good news is that your driving habits do not necessary have to affect your auto insurance premiums in a negative way. Many insurance companies are now utilizing advances in technology to develop devices that track how quickly you accelerate, how long it takes you to slow down, and how far you drive each day.

If you happen to be a cautious driver, the device will help to verify your good driving habits. Your insurer may even offer you discounts on the policy based on this information.

Does Your Credit Score Determine The Auto Insurance Rate?

In most states across the country, insurance companies can and typically do consider credit scores when calculating auto insurance premiums. That means having a low credit score or no credit can significant increase the policy rates. The good news is that the Commonwealth of MA has banned this practice, so the answer to this question is NO. If you live in MA, your credit score will not impact your auto insurance premium.

Please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance to walk you through the details of your auto insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

Life Insurance Is A Key Piece Of The Financial Planning Puzzle

Life insurance is certainly not one of those topics that you enjoy talking about around the water cooler because it forces us to face our own ultimate demise. Purchasing a policy may even feel like a jinx to some of us. Although most people are aware of the fact that they need life insurance, they tend to procrastinate until a significant life event provides them with the incentive to purchase a policy. This is unfortunate, because death can occur at any time and for some it is too late. There are a plethora of benefits to having a life insurance policy in place. In fact, life insurance is a key piece of the financial planning puzzle. The following information will explain this even further.

Life Insurance Replaces Lost Income

A life insurance policy provides financial security to your loved ones after you have passed away. In essence, it will give you with peace of mind knowing that if you were to die suddenly your family will be covered from a financial standpoint. This holds particularly true if your family depend solely on your income. Think if it in the following manner. What would happen to your loved ones if you were to pass away? Will they be able to afford the basics such as shelter, food, and clothing, let alone the comforts of life without your income? You need a life insurance plan with adequate coverage so that your family is not left helpless when the monthly bills are due.

Life Insurance Covers Burial Expenses

Even a basic funeral can cost upwards of five to ten thousand dollars. That can be a tremendous financial burden on your family. The good news is that your life insurance policy covers burial expenses so that your loved ones can grieve without worrying about how they are going to pay for the funeral. In essence, life insurance provides your beneficiaries with a guarantee, and lifts the burden off of them and yourself while you are alive.

Life Insurance Pays Off Debt

Did you know that when you pass away it does not necessarily mean that your debt will disappear? That means your family may very well be responsible to pay your creditors. For example, if you and your spouse have co-signed for a mortgage, automobile loan, or other loans your spouse may become responsible for the repayment. In addition, your creditors could try to collect from your estate. Life insurance provides your beneficiaries with the ability to handle all of your remaining financial responsibilities.

Life Insurance Can Build Cash Value

Unlike Term Life Insurance, which stays in place for a set period of time, Whole Life Insurance provides permanent coverage that only ends if you cancel the policy. The reason why this is important to understand is due to the fact that Whole Life Insurance provides you with the ability to build up a cash value over time. Although Whole Life Insurance is more expensive than Term Life Insurance, it is an attractive option from a financial planning perspective. In essence, the cash value acts as an additional financial cushion that you can access at any time. This can come in extremely handy if you happen to experience a financial crisis at some point in the future.

Life Insurance Diversifies Your Investments

A great deal of financial savvy people utilize life insurance as an investment tool by taking out a universal life policy. These policies are attached to a particular investment product. Policyholders receive dividend payments that are based on the product’s performance. It is highly advised to read all of the fine print before signing the policy papers. That way you will be well aware of the potential risks prior to committing to the policy.

In conclusion, life insurance will ease the financial burden of the people that you leave behind, and can come in handy while you are alive as well. If you have any questions, please call (508) 831-0133 to contact an associate at Zawada Insurance. We are happy to walk you through the details of your life insurance policy and explain your coverage options. We look forward to helping you with all of your personal and or business related insurance needs.

The Business Owner’s Insurance Policy Explained

Is your business insured? If you answered no to this question do not worry, you are not alone. Unfortunately, less than thirty-percent of small business owners are covered by a standard Business Owner’s Insurance policy, or BOP for short. It is completely understandable. When you are starting a small business, or even growing an existing business, there is a plethora of pressing issues that take precedence. Purchasing an insurance policy may even feel like an unnecessary expenditure.

However, it is extremely risky to simply cross your fingers and hope that nothing bad will take place. There certainly are numerous reasons why you should avoid leaving the fate of your business to chance. For example, what would happen to your organization, and even your personal finances, if the business were faced with a threatening lawsuit? The good news is that a Business Owner’s Insurance policy is a cost effective way to protect both your business and yourself.

The Basic Business Owner’s Insurance Policy

The foundation for small to mid-size business insurance is the Business Owner’s Insurance policy. It basically covers general liability, and commercial property loss, which are two of the largest threats that business owners potentially face on a daily basis. General liability insurance protects your company from lawsuits that are filed by a third party. For example, if a customer slips and falls in your office or at your store, the general liability insurance covers the damages. Commercial property insurance typically covers damage or loss to your organization’s property. For example, your building burns down, or a burglar robs all of your computers. There are additional policies that you can add to the Business Owner’s Insurance policy to protect your company and yourself even further.

The Business Interruption Insurance Policy

If your business suffers from a disaster, such as a fire, the property is covered under the commercial property insurance section of your BOP. However, if the property damage prevents you from operating your business it can be crippling to the financial health of your company. The good news is that a Business Interruption Insurance policy can help replace income that is lost during the down time. In essence, the Business Interruption insurance is a real lifesaver that can help you stay on your feet during the rebuilding process.

The Professional Liability Insurance Policy AKA The Errors And Omissions Policy

This type of business insurance protects against lawsuits that are caused by mistakes made by yourself or your employees. It is most often utilized by professional services business such as accountants, lawyers, and marketing agencies to name a few. For example, if an accounting firm makes a mathematical error on a client’s tax return, and the Internal Revenue Service penalizes the client, they may very well sue the accountant. The Professional Liability Insurance policy, also known as the Errors And Omissions policy, will help cover the losses. People tend to sue even if you have not made a mistake. The Professional Liability Insurance policy covers your attorney fees and court costs even if you win the case.

In conclusion, being in business can be exceptionally risky. This holds especially true for small business owners. Do not make it even riskier by forgoing a Business Owner’s Insurance policy. It can actually make the difference of staying in business, or closing your doors forever if a nasty lawsuit or unfortunate disaster happens to strike. There are numerous other areas of your business where you can look to save money. Do not be part of that less than thirty-percent of business owners that fail to carry a Business Owner’s Insurance policy. Many of them end up looking back and wishing that they had been smarter about business insurance.

For more information about business owners insurance or other types of business insurance please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today and one of our licensed, experienced, and dedicated agents will answer any and all questions that you may have.

Understanding Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Purchasing a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. It can also cause a tremendous amount of stress. There certainly is a plethora of things to deal with. There is also a ton of paperwork to sign that is full of terms that you may or may not fully comprehend. That being stated, it is important that you are fully aware of what you are going to be responsible for before signing the dotted line. Understanding your homeowners insurance policy can go a long way in this department.

Homeowners coverage provides financial protection against a loss or losses due to accidents, disasters, and even theft. Most standard homeowners insurance policies include four types of coverage as follows….

Homeowners Insurance Covers The Structure Of Your Home

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the repair or rebuild costs if your house is damaged or even destroyed by disasters as listed in your policy such as fire, hurricane, hail, or lightening. Most homeowners insurance policies cover the main structure as well as detached structures such as the garage, gazebo, or tool shed. Standard insurance coverage does not pay for damages that are caused by a flood or earthquake, although separate policies can be purchased to cover these emergencies.

In addition, your homeowners insurance policy does not cover normal, or routine, wear and tear. It is incredibly important to purchase a policy that provides enough coverage to rebuilt your home.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Personal Belongings

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the replacement value of your furniture, clothing, equipment, and other personal items if they are stolen or destroyed in a fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. The personal belongings coverage also includes items that are stored off of the premises. Most plans include up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of credit and debit cards. Expensive personal items such as jewelry, high-value collectables, and high-priced artwork are covered.

However, there are typically dollar limits if these items are stolen. In order to insure these expensive items to their full value, a separate personal property endorsement or floater can be purchased by the homeowner. Trees, shrubs, and plants are typically covered for upwards of $500 per item, but are not covered for disease or poor maintenance.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Liability

Your homeowners insurance plan covers you against lawsuits for property damage or bodily injury that either you, or your family members caused to other people. It also pays for damages to other people that are caused by your pets. For example, if a visitor to your home trips over one of your children’s toys, or your pet’s toys, you are coverage for the damages it causes. The liability coverage also pays for the costs of defending your case in a court of law, and any damages that the court awards to the other party or parties up to a specific amount of money that is stated in your policy.

Liability limits typically begin at $100,000. That being stated, it makes sense to discuss whether or not you should purchase a higher level of protection with a professional insurance agent. If you have a considerable amount of assets that require additional coverage, you may choose to purchase an umbrella policy that will provide you with higher limits and a wider range of coverage.

Homeowners Insurance Covers Your Additional Living Expenses

Your homeowners insurance plan covers the added costs of living away from your home if you cannot live there based on damage that is caused by an insured disaster. In essence, the addition living expenses include hotel/motel bills, restaurant meals, and other costs that are above and beyond your typically living expenses. It should be noted that most homeowners insurance policies have limits, and many include a time frame limitation.

For example, if construction is underway and it is projected to take three months to complete, the additional living expenses may not cover anything beyond three months even if the work is incomplete. If you rent out part of your home, your policy will also reimburse you for the rent that you would have collected if the property had not been destroyed.

For more information about home owners insurance please contact Zawada Insurance Agency today.

Essential Insurance Policies Every Apartment Building Owner Should Have

Owning an apartment building can be a financially and personally rewarding experience. It can also be as risky as swimming with the sharks. Landlords often face serious financial harm due to circumstances that may very well be out of their control. This holds especially true for real estate owners that fail to incorporate the proper insurance coverage into their business costs. The good news is that this article explains the various types of insurance policies that you need to protect yourself and your assets in case of an emergency. So without further ado, here are the essential insurance policies that every apartment building owner should have in place.

The Basic Insurance Policies

In order to succeed as a landlord, you need several business related insurance policies that protect you from the common property and liability risks associated with owning real estate. They are as follows….

The Commercial Property Insurance Policy

A commercial property insurance policy protects you against the loss of your apartment building or buildings, as well as other structures on the property including common areas, garages, common areas, storage buildings, and swimming pools to name a few. The amount of coverage and the resulting cost of that coverage are based on a variety of factors such as the age of your roof and mechanical systems, the age of the building, and the location of your building or buildings.

It is also based on the type of building or buildings you own such as high-rise, duplex, or multi family properties. The type of construction, presence of up to date security and fire protection systems, and amenities such as a clubhouse, fitness center, or swimming pool are all decisive factors as well.

The Loss Of Income Insurance Policy

All apartment building owners should also protect themselves with a loss of income insurance policy. It is extremely important coverage that actually reimburses the property owner for lost business, such as rent, if the building is damaged by a covered loss. For example, if there is a fire at the property, and you are not collecting rent on an apartment or multiple apartments until the damage is fixed, the loss of income policy covers that loss of income. As you know, it can take multiple weeks or even months to repair damage, so this policy is a tremendous benefit.

The Landlord Insurance Policy (Commercial General Liability Insurance)

The landlord insurance policy protects real estate owners against claims of actual and alleged property damage or bodily injury to a third party including tenants, visitors, delivery people, and repair people to name a few. In essence, it is the type of coverage that protects you from lawsuits that occur when a tenant or visitor to the property is injured on the premises. It also covers the injured party’s medical expenses.  For example, if one of your tenants or a guest falls, slips, or trips while at your property, you are liable. The landlord insurance policy protects you when being sued in a court of law by the third party.

Additional Insurance Policies

It is always a smart business decision to insulate yourself as much as possible. The following insurance policies are not required, however they are an important aspect of protecting yourself and your assets. They are as follows….

The Equipment Breakdown/Boiler And Machinery Insurance Policy 

This policy covers damage and loss of income that is caused by a breakdown of covered equipment, including steam boilers and other mechanical systems.

The Commercial Umbrella Insurance Policy

This policy provides excess liability protection for events that exceed the limits of your other liability coverage.

The Errors And Omission Insurance Policy

This policy protects apartment building owners and landlords against claims that they have financially harmed a third party due to errors and or professional negligence.

The Workers Compensation Insurance Policy

This policy protects employees who work at your property or properties if they are injured or suffer from a work related illness. It also protects property owners if the sick or injured employees decide to sue in a court of law.

The Commercial Automobile Insurance Policy

This policy covers any automobiles that are owned by your real estate venture such as maintenance trucks or shuttle vans.

In conclusion, owning real estate, especially apartment buildings, can be a lucrative investment and or career. Keep in mind that something can go wrong at any time.  You need to the proper insurance policies in place to protect yourself from financial harm. Otherwise you are putting yourself in a position to fail.

For all your apartment building owners insurance needs, please contact Zawada Insurance Agency. We work to give you comprehensive coverage at a competitive price.

Zawada Insurance Agency, Inc. is a family-owned and operated independent insurance agency, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, serving central Massachusetts and beyond.