Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We are an independent insurance agency and periodically we receive telephone calls from people who have moved to Nevada from another state. They are calling us because they want to insure with the same carrier.
We spoke with someone whom moved to Nevada early in the year and they registered their vehicle and made an address change with their out-of-state insurance company. Unfortunately they did not realize at the time, that their Nevada registered automobile needed to be insured by a Nevada insurer. The result was a $250.00 dollar fine.
Thus, whether your moving into Nevada or a moving to another state, remember to check with the state's department of motor vehicles department to ensure you are following the law.
Fortunately most States have a website. In Nevada that link is http://www.dmvnv.com/.
Friday, October 12, 2007
One of my clients asked me what his rights were when filing an auto insurance claim.
I explained to him that as a policy owner he has certain rights. First, every state has laws protecting consumers. Second, when you purchase insurance you enter into a legal contract between you and your insurer. Thus, the policy (contract) defines your rights and obligations of the insurance company.
If you have any questions regarding your rights as outlined in your automobile insurance policy, talk to your insurance agent or company representative. You may also feel compelled to contact your state insurance department. In Nevada, the Nevada Department of Insurance can be reached at (775) 687-4270 or on the web: http://doi.state.nv.us.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The issue of mold in homes has been getting a lot of attention lately – with good reason. Homeowners face costly repairs when property is damaged by mold growth, and, in some cases, families experience serious health problems related to mold. As the problems mount, insurance companies are confronting rising claims costs and, sometimes, disagreements over who is responsible when mold attacks.
First, the bad news: As a general rule, mold is not covered by homeowners insurance policies. Standard homeowners policies cover disasters and accidents, but aren’t designed to cover cleaning and maintenance, which is the category mold falls into according to insurers. An exception: In cases where mold results from some accident or disaster (such as bursting pipes), repairs and eradication may be covered.
In addition, mold can cause serious health problems for people who suffer from asthma or have allergies (an estimated one in five of us), and can worsen cold symptoms like throat pain and congestion for everyone.
Now, some good news: Mold is everywhere, and most of the time is not much of a problem. Mold can grow on wood, carpet, paper, cloth, leather, sheet rock, insulation, and of course, on foods. Outdoors, it grows in the ground and in shady, damp spots. Indoors, it grows in high humidity and moisture areas including basements, kitchens, and bathrooms as well as ceilings and walls where water collects from leaks. Most molds aren’t particularly dangerous to you, but some do produce hay fever-like allergic symptoms.
The best defense against mold-related catastrophes is to avoid them completely. And it’s not as hard as you might think.
Mold can be eradicated pretty well by cleaning affected areas with bleach and water. But it can grow back. The only way to guard against this is to get rid of moisture completely – whether by cleaning or by replacing damaged floors, boards, walls, and other contaminated areas. While this is certainly not going to be cheap, the cost of letting mold spread and proliferate is going to be much higher in the long run.
So, what should you look for? Signs such as musty smells, or water stains on walls or ceilings can signal the presence of mold. To discourage mold growth:
* Keep your home and belongings clean and dry.
* Fix plumbing leaks immediately.
* Keep gutters clean of leaves and other debris.
* Maintain your roof to prevent water from seeping into your home.
* Keep humidity in your home at 30%-60% with air conditioners or with dehumidifiers, which are good for those with asthma or severe allergies.
* Use exhaust fans in kitchens when cooking.
* Don’t carpet basements, bathrooms, or damp areas.
* Vent bathrooms, dryers, and other sources of moisture.
* Prevent condensation on cold surfaces by insulating windows, piping, outside walls, roof, and floors.
Protect from the outside:
* Keep your home's exterior painted – ideally with paint containing mold inhibitors.
* Keep plantbeds away from exterior walls so soil doesn't touch siding.
* Don't let sprinklers hit walls for an extended time.
* Don't pile wood or debris against the side of the house.
* Have your home inspected if you see mold.
* Make repairs after a flood or other damage.
* Dry or replace water-damaged carpets, padding and upholstery within two days of their getting soaked.
* Remove puddles of water as soon as possible, since it breeds microorganisms.
* Wash and disinfect affected areas. This includes walls, floors, closets, shelves, as well as heating and air-conditioning systems.
Monday, July 2, 2007
How to Avoid Being Scammed During a Disaster
June 29, 2007 09:37 AM PDT
As the rebuilding process begins after the Angora wildfires in
Unscrupulous contractors may take advantage of people who have experienced a catastrophic event. Take your time in choosing true professionals to repair your home.
Immediately report any suspicious behavior to your local police, sheriff's department. Be cautious of flyers and business cards left on your doorstep.
Nine Checks to Not Get Scammed...
- Get estimates from several licensed, bonded contractors.
- Check their credentials with your local Better Business Bureau or Home Builders Association.
- Ask your neighbors what they're paying for similar work.
- Inspect contractors' licenses and proof of liability insurance.
- Get a contract in writing.
- Avoid paying money up-front. Some reputable contractors will require partial, up-front payment, but these pre-work payments shouldn't exceed the cost of materials or 20 percent of the total estimate.
- Follow local building codes and inspection procedures.
- If anyone performs work on your house or property without your permission, don't pay them, and contact your local authorities.
- Avoid signing over an insurance settlement check to the contractor.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Nevada law requires all business owners in the State of Nevada to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation coverage, especially those with one or more employees. There are very few exceptions to this requirement.
Business owners failing to comply with this law face fines up to $10,000, may have their business ordered closed until the insurance has been obtained and be held financially responsible for all costs associated with an employee who sustains a work related injury when the employer has no workers' compensation insurance coverage.
Since January 1, 2000, Nevada no longer provides workers’ compensation through a State fund. However, employers may obtain workers’ compensation insurance from a private insurance company authorized to provide workers’ compensation in Nevada by the Division of Insurance (DOI). If qualified, an employermay be self-insured through an approval process overseen by the DOI. For smaller businesses interested inbecoming self-insured, there are associations of self-insured employers which are groups of employers (generally in the same type of business) which are members of the association. Current listings of approved self-insured associations and self-insured employers may be found on DOIs Web site at doi.state.nv.us.
Private insurance carriers may establish competitive rates that are approved by the DOI. If you are looking for new coverage or have not been renewed by your current insurer (your insurer must give you 60 days notice of intent to not renew) you have many options for obtaining the required coverage.
• Your first step may be to contact the agent or broker who handles your other lines of insurance. With over 200 private carriers authorized to write workers’ compensation insurance in Nevada, there is a good chance your broker/agent will be able to provide the coverage required.
• If you are unable to find an insurer ( have been refused coverage by two insurers) willing to
write workers’ compensation for your business, coverage may be secured through the assigned
risk program, i.e., the involuntary or residual market pool. Additional information on this option
may be obtained from your broker/agent.
NOTE: This program is administered by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI). Coverage can be obtained through a licensed agent or by calling the NCCI toll free at 1-800-NCCI-123 (622-4123). There is a surcharge added to the minimum rate when obtaining coverage through the assigned risk program. If coverage is obtained through this plan, the employer or his agent should continue to contact other licensed carriers to find a lower rate.
There is always a way for an employer to obtain workers’ compensation coverage in
Nevada. Depending on the circumstances, one of the choices described above should fit
the specifics of a particular employer’s situation.
Source: doi.state.nv.us (website).
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The best thing to do is to take a complete inventory of all your business property, determine all of its value and decide if each is worth insuring. Then check to see that the items on the inventory list are included in the basic business property policy and covered for the correct amount. If not, ask your Trusted Choice® agent about the cost of purchasing additional coverage to meet your needs.
You also need to consider your business situation. Are you planning a major expansion? Does your inventory have a decidedly peak season (like a toy store in December)? Or does it fluctuate throughout the year (like a clothing store)? Is your liability limit high enough in light of the new job contract you just signed? Business policies are designed to be added to or subtracted from to meet your needs. Be sure to discuss changes to your business with your Trusted Choice® agent so that he or she can help you ensure your policy still provides adequate coverage.
Some common additional coverages for business property include (although this list is by no means all-inclusive):
Boiler and Machinery Insurance
Even if you do not own a boiler, you may need this coverage. The term “boiler and machinery insurance” is gradually being replaced with terms such as “equipment breakdown” or “mechanical breakdown” coverage. This insurance provides coverage against the sudden and accidental breakdown of boilers, machinery or equipment, including computer systems and telephones/communication systems. Coverage usually includes reimbursement for property damage, expediting expenses (e.g., express transportation charges), and business interruption losses.
Builders Risk Coverage
This covers buildings in the course of construction. Depending on the policy, this coverage can be for either the building’s value at the time of loss or its full value at the time of completion.
Building Ordinance Coverage
Provides coverage when a community has a building ordinance stating that when a building is damaged to a specified extent (usually 50%), it must be completely demolished and rebuilt in accordance with current building codes rather than repaired. Special attention is required when establishing the amount of insurance.
Business Interruption Insurance
This covers the loss of earnings as a result of damage or loss of business property. Reimbursement for salaries, taxes, rents, and other expenses plus net profits that would have been earned during the period of interruption can be included.
Commercial Crime Coverages
This covers money and securities, stock and fixtures against theft, burglary and robbery both on and off the insured premises and from both employees and outsiders.
Debris Removal Coverage
Covers the cost of removing debris after damage from fire or other covered peril that requires debris removal before reconstruction of the damaged building can begin. This is not part of fire insurance coverage and must be added as an endorsement.
This covers business owners for losses due to dishonest acts by their employees.
This provides coverage for glass breakage such as store windows and plate glass on office fronts.
Inland Marine Insurance
Primarily covers property in transit such as from warehouse to warehouse or warehouse to retail store, as well as other people’s property left on your business premises, such as clothes left at a dry cleaning business or an employee’s personal effects left in the company locker room.
Insurance for Loss of Lease Income or Value
This covers the loss of income when rental property is damaged or destroyed and the loss of value when the owner of the rental property also used some of its space for business. If the tenant of the destroyed or damaged building is forced to rent space elsewhere at a higher cost, this is called loss of lease value.
Source: Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (iiaba.net)
Friday, June 8, 2007
To ensure that innocent parties are adequately compensated for their injuries,
The penalty for not having liability auto insurance is severe. Nevada Revised Statute 482.480 states that if you are the owner of a motor vehicle that is registered, or should be registered, and you are found guilty of operating or allowing someone to operate your motor vehicle without insurance, you will be required to pay a reinstatement fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Insurance Verification Program. The fee amount is $250 unless you can provide proof that the vehicle was dormant, which may reduce the fee to $50. If you are found to be without insurance by a law enforcement officer, the penalty will be administered by a court of jurisdiction and is generally more severe.
If you do not carry insurance, and you or someone using your motor vehicle with your permission is involved in an accident, your registration and driver’s license may be revoked. You may also be required to have an insurance company certify that you have insurance. Most insurance companies will charge you an additional fee for this certification (commonly referred to as a SR-22) that you will have to maintain continuously for a three-year period.
Finally, once you have gone without insurance for any period of time you may find it difficult to find insurance you can afford. Many companies do not insure people who have not had insurance or have allowed their insurance to expire. Other companies will simply charge you more for insurance.
As you can see, going without insurance can cost you much more than carrying the liability coverage that is required by
Source: Nevada Division of Insurance
THE TORT SYSTEM
Insurance provides protection to consumers by assuming certain risks and promising to pay for financial loss. The type of insurance you buy will be based on how the financial loss can occur. In
Credit Scores – Credit scoring/insurance scoring is a mechanism by which insurance companies determine eligibility and pricing for automobile and homeowners’ insurance. The legal authority typically cited for the use of credit scores for the purpose of insurance is the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA “allows” but does not mandate the use of credit information in the acceptance and pricing of insurance.
The insurance industry generally favors the use of credit scores to determine the price to charge someone for insurance. They believe credit scores are a good predictor of losses, increase the availability of insurance by providing fair rates to all and are not based on an individual’s gender, age, or national origin. The insurance industry maintains that credit scores indicate how an individual manages his assets and is an inexpensive tool that is not directly subject to manipulation by the consumer. Some of the factors that may negatively affect a person’s credit score include late payment on credit card, auto loans and home mortgages, plus bankruptcy and unpaid child support.
The Division of Insurance, however, belies that appropriate weight must be given to other relevant rating variables besides an individual’s credit score to determine that person’s insurance rate. Effective July 1, 2004 Nevada Revised Statue 686A.680 was amended to restrict certain uses of credit reports and credit scores by insurance companies.
Canceling Your Insurance or Registration
If you drop the liability insurance on any vehicle for any reason, you must also cancel the registration by surrendering the license plates.
If you cancel your insurance, it is extremely important for you to do the following:
- If you cancel your insurance because your vehicle is not in use, you must cancel your
- If you sell your vehicle, you must remove the license plates, then cancel your
registration. The license plates do not stay on the vehicle. Nevada
- You will receive credit toward registration of another vehicle for the unused portion of the canceled registration. You may qualify for a refund under certain limited circumstances.
- If you have personalized plates and wish to keep them, you may do so by bringing the rear plate to the DMV and scraping off the decal in person.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Philosophy: As a recently converted (about 3 years ago) independent (represent multiple insurance carriers) insurance agent, I have developed more of a risk management philosophy. From this viewpoint, purchasing an insurance policy is a strategic decision aimed at an individual or business (risk sharing arrangement with an insurance carrier). Many times this concept is lost because some insurance is mandatory, however, in most cases insurance policies are packaged to include additional coverages that can be customized (inexpensively) to meet your specific needs. Utilizing sound risk management strategies when purchasing and using (i.e. placing a claim) insurance policies may save an abundance of time and money in the long term.
About me: I am founder and president of Ardent Insurance Inc. We are an Independent, Trusted Choice insurance agency, located in Reno, Nevada (Caughlin Ranch area). I have been a licensed insurance agent in the state of Nevada for 20 years this September, I am also licensed in the states of California & Arizona. My formal education was obtained through the University of Nevada, Reno; B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing Major). To see our company website please click here.
- Kevin Brunson, President/Independent Agent, Ardent Insurance Inc
- 6119 Ridgeview CT #500, Reno, NV 89519, 775-284-8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org., United States
- http://www.ardentinsurance.com College BS in Business Administration (University of Nevada, Reno) 1987. Independent Farmers Insurance Agent 1987-1997; Part time financial sales positions 1997-1999; Co-founder and President of ClientFlex Corporation 1999-2004; Lucini/Parish Insurance 2004-2005; Co-founded (with Tammy Brunson) Ardent Insurance LLC (2005-2007); Changed entity to Ardent Insurance Inc (2006-present). Insurance Designations: LUTCF. Insurance Affiliations: Big I (Independent Insurance Agents of America); Trusted Choice Approved Agency; Professional Insurance Associates, Inc. (Affiliate); Local Business Associations: Northern Nevada Insurance Agents - Member; Community Associations: Northern Nevada Endurance Training - Active Member.