Insurance Blog

wedding season liability

It's not surprising that February is National Weddings Month. In time, you will have picked out the table linen, found your dream venue, and figured out a way to seat all of your family members in one room without them strangling one another—it must be time for your wedding! Family conflicts included, as much as you plan, you can never predict everything that may or may not happen on the “big day”. It is important to consider the many different ways you can protect your big day from being ruined by illness, a late vendor, or bad weather. It is best to contact your Baldwin / Welsh & Parker Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent as soon as you make the decision to be married (jewelry insurance anyone?), because your agent can walk you through the steps of obtaining wedding insurance as well. Every wedding is different so you also have options to add a “rider” or additional protections for the following: 

  • Military service—if you or your “soon-to-be” is suddenly called to duty.
  • Gowns and tuxedos—if the dress is damaged when you pick it up or the store suddenly goes out of business.
  • Gifts—if gifts are not covered by your homeowners or renters insurance, provides protection against theft or damage of gifts.
  • Honeymoon—in case you need to cancel your trip due to illness, bad weather or other circumstances.

Keep in mind that venues usually have their own insurance policies, so it is important to do your research to avoid paying double the cost. If you get married at your home or at a private property, you will need an additional stipulation to your policy to protect your event. 

Be sure to talk to us at Baldwin / Welsh & Parker before making major decisions like paying deposits for venues and limos. May your wedding day be filled with security, happiness, and plenty of wedding cake! 

Here's a terrific infographic to share:

Wedding Infographic

 

 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017 05:02

Love your Valentine's Gift!? Insure it!

Valentine

It’s Valentine’s Day, and thoughts of people everywhere turn to … jewelry. 

Love isn't likely to be a cheap thrill this Valentine's Day, as consumer spending related to the holiday is expected to reach an all-time high thanks in part to the last several months of domestic job growth and wage gains. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will shell out more than $19.7 billion for Valentine's Day.

About one of four Americans buys jewelry, spending $2,000 per year on average, and industry experts expect jewelry sales to grow by at least 5% annually through 2025. Those who don’t buy shiny things for Valentine’s Day may prefer other types of valuables, such as electronics, artwork, antiques, wine and furs.  

Whatever the purchase, American consumers should take steps to safeguard and insure their valuables. Having the right insurance coverage will provide financial protection and is an important first step after receiving a Valentine's gift of value. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute. (I.I.I.), jewelry losses are among the most frequent of all home insurance content-related insurance claims. Fortunately, there are four relatively simple steps everyone can take to ensure adequate protection for their new jewelry:

 1) Contact your insurance professional immediately. Find out how much coverage you already have and whether you will need additional insurance. Most standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include coverage for personal items such as jewelry; however, many policies limit the dollar amount for the theft of high-value personal possessions—such as jewelry—to $1,000 to $2,000. So, you would be covered if the item were destroyed by disasters listed in the policy such as a fire or hurricane, but if your expensive new present is lost or stolen you would need separate insurance to be covered, pointed out the I.I.I.

 To properly insure jewelry, consider purchasing additional coverage through a floater or an endorsement. In most cases, these add-ons to a homeowners or renters policy would also cover you for “mysterious disappearance.” This means that if your ring falls off your finger and is flushed down a drain, or is lost, you would be financially protected. Floaters and endorsements carry no deductibles, so there is no out-of-pocket expense to replace the item.

 2) Obtain a copy of the store receipt. Forward a copy of the receipt so that your insurance company knows the current retail value of the item. Keep a copy for your records, and include it with your home inventory. If the item was purchased on sale, also get a copy of the appraised value of the item.

 3) If you received an heirloom piece, have the item appraised. Heirlooms and antique jewelry will need to be appraised for their dollar value. You can ask your insurer to recommend a reputable appraiser.

 4) Add the item to your home inventory. An up-to-date inventory of your personal possessions can help you purchase the correct amount of insurance, and speed up the claims process if you have a loss, so remember to add your new jewelry to your inventory. And if you don’t yet have an inventory, celebrate your engagement by creating one with your fiancée. To make creating a home inventory as easy as possible, the I.I.I. offers free Web-based software and apps, available at Know Your Stuff® - Home Inventory.

Finally, if you don’t think you need renters insurance, think again. A 2013 Insurance Information Institute poll found that 96 percent of homeowners had homeowners insurance but only 35 percent of renters had renters insurance. If you rent your home, renters insurance can provide important financial protection in the event your belongings are stolen or destroyed.

Contact one of our Baldwin / Welsh & Parker insurance agents for more information and make certain you secure the right coverage for your special Valentine's gift!

 

Who is liable if a holiday guest gets food poisoning or drives home drunk? As millions of Americans host and attend holiday parties across the street and across the country, many may be unaware of the risks they may be taking. Party hosts need to understand their responsibilities when inviting people into their homes and serving food and drinks.

If you’re hosting a holiday party, make sure you follow these important safety tips:

  • Do your homework. When hosting a holiday party, you should look to the liability portion of your homeowners or renters insurance policy to protect you if you are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who consumed alcohol or got sick after consuming food at your home. Make sure you regularly review your liability coverage limits to ensure you are adequately covered should an accident or illness occur.
  • Watch what you eat and feed others. Even if food was prepared outside your home by a caterer, another guest, a local deli or the neighborhood pizza joint, you could be held liable if someone becomes ill from consuming it on your property. Make sure that you check food and don’t put anything out that you suspect may be undercooked, spoiled or contaminated. Use only reputable food purveyors. Follow proper food handling, heating/cooling and storage recommendations. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Know your state laws and statutes. In many states, party hosts can be held liable if a guest is involved in an alcohol-related accident. Many courts have found hosts liable for damages their party guests cause as a result of consuming alcohol and then driving motor vehicles. Many states have also enacted statutes that can be interpreted as mandating non-commercial social host liability. 

So, if a guest or third party is injured in an accident that is related to alcohol consumption and the drinking can be linked to you, you could be held responsible for the payment of medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work and—in the worst case—claims for wrongful death resulting in huge monetary settlements.

  • Mix up the activities, not just the cocktails. If the party centers around drinking, guests will likely drink more. Schedule entertainment or activities that do not involve alcohol. Provide safe, filling food for guests and alternatives to alcoholic beverages.
  • Party elsewhere. Host your party at a restaurant or bar that has a liquor license, rather than in a home or office, to decrease your liability.
  • Call a cab, get a room or have a slumber party. Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who cannot or should not drive home.
  • Just say no. Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated. Stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the party is scheduled to end. Stay alert and always remember your responsibilities as a host. You might also consider hiring an off-duty police officer or professional bouncer to discreetly monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
  • Consider an umbrella policy. While holiday partygoers and hosts alike should act responsibly and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be entirely eliminated. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense. Purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy—providing $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit of a standard homeowners or renters policy—may be a prudent move for the frequent party host.

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