Does your insurance policy cover “acts of God?” (image via google)

If you own a car, own a house, or have a family, it’s a good bet you have some kind of insurance.  Odds are you have at least some kind of coverage for the car you drive and the place you live.  If you have personal insurance, you understand the importance of protecting yourself, your financial future, and your property.  But even savvy insurance consumers don’t always know all the ins and outs of their policies.  Here are 4 things customers commonly do not know about their personal insurance policies.

1.     Your Car Insurance Won’t Buy You a New Phone

If you have car insurance and your car is stolen, you know your policy will replace your car or reimburse you for its loss.  But, most car insurance policies will not replace or reimburse you for any personal property that was in the car at the time it was taken.  This also holds true for items stolen from your car.  Let’s say you leave your laptop under the backseat and your cell phone in the center console and someone breaks the window and steals both.  Your car insurance will cover the cost of repairing the window, but you are on your own for the loss of your laptop and phone.

2.     Losing Your Home Won’t Make You Homeless

One thing many people don’t realize about their homeowner’s policy is that it provides for the payment of expenses you incur if you have to live somewhere other than your home for a period of time while repairs are made.  For example, there is a fire in your house that causes significant enough damage that you will have to live somewhere else for 6 months; your policy will pay for the initial stay in a hotel as well as your rent and some other expenses.

3.     Life Insurance Benefits are Not Automatically Tax Free

If you die, the proceeds of any and all life insurance policies go to your beneficiaries’ tax free, right?  Not always.  Whether or not your life insurance payout will be subject to taxes completely depends on the details of your policy.  If you have a term policy where you are the policy owner and your spouse is the beneficiary, if you die during the policy term, the payout will likely be tax free.  However, if someone else, like your parent is the policy owner, there may be tax implications.  Talk to your insurance agent and an accountant to ensure you have a complete understanding of any tax implications.

4.     Natural Disasters are Not Generally Covered

An unfortunate truth in the world is that Mother Nature is unpredictable and sometimes leaves devastation in her wake.  Another unfortunate truth is that many of these disasters are excluded from standard personal insurance policies.  While most people know that flooding is not covered by their homeowners policy, they don’t realize that damage caused by tornados, earthquakes, and other “acts of god” is not covered without purchasing additional coverage.

The best protection you have is to read your policy all the way through and make sure you understand all its provisions and exclusions.  If you are unsure about whether or not something is covered, ask your insurance agent for clarification.

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RV Insurance

Is your vacation insured properly? Read more to learn about RV Insurance (image via _escalade328s_ on Flickr)

The summer season is fast approaching and if you are planning to head out on the open road for a family RV adventure, make sure you take a couple minutes to ensure you have the insurance coverage you need before you leave.  Many people share the common misconception that adding their RV to their auto policy provides them with adequate protection during their trip.  While your auto policy may offer some of the coverage you need, it won’t protect you completely which is why it makes more sense to invest in an RV insurance policy.  Buying a separate policy ensures you have all the coverage you need to keep your trip on track and protect yourself while you are on the road.

What is the Difference between Auto Insurance and RV Insurance?

The primary differences between auto coverage and RV coverage result from the primary differences between your car and your RV.  An RV is more than just an RV; it is a house on wheels.  This means you need more coverage than you have on your car in order to cover potential losses that you are open to with an RV that you wouldn’t be with a car.

You keep significantly more property in your RV than you do in your car, some of which can be valuable like laptops, televisions, and other equipment.  When your house on wheels is parked at a campsite, the area around it can be considered your “yard” which makes you liable for things that happen there.  There isn’t really a situation where your car could be thought to have its own yard.  If your RV is damaged while you are on the road, you will need somewhere else to stay just like you would if your house was damaged.

If you are traveling with only your auto policy, the loss of your property, your liability for the campsite, and the expenses related to staying somewhere other than the RV won’t likely be covered which means you will be paying out of pocket.  That might break your vacation budget and force you to cut your trip short.

Common RV Coverage’s

There are several different types of RV coverage available from most insurers, although they may call the coverage by a different name.  Here are the most common coverage types:

  • Bodily Injury – Covers you if there is an accident where you are liable for someone else’s injuries including medical bills, lost wages, and other legal obligations relating to the injury.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist—Covers the cost of repairs when you are involved in an accident and the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your losses.
  • Property Damage— Covers the repair or replacement of damage done by you or your RV to other people’s property
  • Comprehensive – Covers damage or losses to your RV and/or personal property from all covered threats except collision.  This includes things like theft, vandalism, and weather.
  • Collision – Covers the cost of repair or replacement of the RV and all components if it is damaged in a collision.
  • Vacation Liability— Covers your liability for bodily injury and property damage while on a vacation site or camp site.
  • Towing & Labor—Covers the cost of towing by a tow truck capable of handling the RV.
  • Roadside Assistance—Covers the cost of roadside assistance when you break down or run out of gas.
  • Emergency Expense – Covers your costs to live outside the RV in the event it is damaged and needs to be repaired.  Generally includes lodging, meals, and travel.
  • Personal Effects Replacement Cost – Covers the expanded personal property you are likely to have in the RV against loss or damage.
  • Full Timer’s Package – Provides a package of coverage’s that usually includes liability, coverage specific to when the RV is parked and being used as a residence.

Purchasing RV insurance protects you no matter what comes your way and gives you the peace of mind to sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation.

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