Are you adequately insured? (image via wikipedia)

Most of the time when people talk about specialty insurance, they are talking about insurance coverage that provides companies with specialized protection based on their industry or on specific risks they are face.  However, there is also a side of specialty insurance that is all about covering personal interests.  Many people believe that their auto, renter, or homeowner’s policy provides coverage for these specialty risks and depending on the policy, it might.  But in many cases these specialty items actually indicate a gap in coverage that leaves them open to liability claims and property loss.  To help you understand if you have any of these specialty risks, here is information on some of the most common types of specialty personal coverage.

Boat/Watercraft Insurance

If you own a boat, you may have some coverage under your existing homeowner’s or renter’s policy.  Many companies will provide limited coverage for small boats like canoes as part of their base homeowner’s protection but it would be a mistake to assume any and all watercraft related risks are covered this way.  Even if minimal property coverage is included in your homeowner’s policy, it is unlikely that liability protection will be included.  Additionally, if you have a boat with an engine that can go more than 25 mile per hour, you may need to obtain additional coverage.

Flood Insurance

While most homeowner’s know that damage caused by floods is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy, there are still many homes that remain unprotected against this specialized risk.  Additionally, flood damage is also excluded from most renters insurance policies which means that even renters need to secure this specialty protection, especially if they are in a flood zone.

Earthquake Insurance

Damage from earthquakes and other natural disasters is generally excluded from personal insurance coverage which means it must be purchased separately in order for you to be protected.  Most earthquake policies or riders carry a much larger deductible than other personal policies.  If you live in an area where earthquakes happen often, having this insurance is critical to protecting your financial future.  But remember, earthquakes can happen almost everywhere and in areas with low risk, the cost of adding this coverage is often minimal.

Motorcycle Insurance

Riding a motorcycle, just like driving a car, carries certain risks and responsibilities and most states require drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance.  However, your motorcycle is not always automatically covered under your existing auto policy.   A motorcycle insurance policy protects you from property loss or damage if something happens to your bike and with liability coverage in the event you are responsible for causing damage to something or someone else.   In addition to this base coverage, you may also need to add coverage for accessories or specialized equipment.

Recreational Vehicle Insurance

Like other types of specialty coverage, recreational vehicle insurance provides additional protection from risks specific to your RV.   This type of insurance goes beyond what is covered by auto policies, property damage and liability coverage, and often offers additional protection from breakdowns and travel related risks.

If you are concerned that you have a specialty risk that may not be covered by your existing policies, talk to your insurance agent.  They can walk through the details of your policies and help you determine if you need additional coverage and which type you need.

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Motorcycle Insurance

Are you properly insured while you’re riding your motorcycle? (image via gullevek on Flickr)

Beautiful weather just begs for an afternoon spent on a motorcycle, enjoying the open road and the gorgeous scenery.   There is nothing quite like a long ride in the desert; few things can rival the feeling of freedom offered by the wind on your face and the wide open spaces of the Southwest.  Protecting that freedom and your future requires the right kind of insurance.  Motorcycle insurance will protect you and your bike.

What Kinds of Bikes are Covered?

Most major insurers cover any factory-built motorcycle that can be licensed for use on public roadways.  This includes custom bikes, classic motorcycles, motor scooters, minibikes and trail/dirt bikes.

How is Motorcycle Coverage Different than Auto Insurance

Generally speaking, insurance is insurance. Where things differ is in the types of coverage a specific policy provides.  There are many similarities between an auto policy and a motorcycle policy, but there are some coverage’s available for bikes that you don’t need for cars, like safety apparel coverage.

Types of Coverage

Like the insurance policies you may have in place for your home and car, motorcycle insurance comes with different kinds of coverage.  The key to putting the right policy in place is finding one that offers the coverage you need.  The following types of coverage are commonly included or available for motorcycle policies:

  • Liability Coverage – Similar to the liability coverage you carry on your car, this coverage protects you if you are in an accident or cause damage for which you are found liable. It covers bodily injury and property damage to someone else’s person or property.  It may also include a small amount of coverage to pay medical payments for yourself or a passenger.  Depending on your state, you may be required to carry liability insurance for your motorcycle just like you would for a car.  Policies come with a variety of liability limits.
  • Collision Coverage – Just like an auto policy, collision coverage pays for damage to your motorcycle that is caused by you colliding with something or by someone or something else colliding with your motorcycle.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – This fills the gaps left if you only have collision coverage and pays for damages caused to your motorcycle by things other than collisions like fire, theft, or vandalism.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This type of coverage pays for those things that the other driver’s insurance would pay for if you are in an accident caused by another driver who does not have their own insurance.
  • Accessory Coverage/Safety Apparel Coverage – This covers customized parts, special equipment, paint, helmets and safety apparel, and may provide coverage for travel interruptions.  Damage to these items is generally covered but loss resulting from theft may not be so check with your carrier to make sure.
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance – This provides access to roadside assistance resources if your motorcycle breaks down and provides for a specific amount of towing.
  • Gap Coverage – This type of coverage only makes sense if you have a loan on your motorcycle.  If you are in an accident or experience a loss that totals your bike, gap coverage will pay the difference between the amount you owe on your bike and the actual value provided by the insurance company.  Purchasing this coverage insures you won’t ever owe on a bike that is totaled.

Most auto policies don’t cover motorcycles without a special endorsement that adds motorcycle coverage.  Don’t assume yours does. Check with your agent and make sure you have the coverage you need.

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