Category Archives: Uncategorized

Boat Insurance Basics

fishing-boat-denmark-beach-sea-86699First let’s tackle the question of whether you need a separate insurance policy for your boat at all. If your boat is small and has limited or no power, the chances are that your homeowner insurance policy will afford you all the protection you need, although you may need to modify, or endorse, your homeowner policy.

A typical homeowner policy includes liability protection for small boats with horsepower for only modest speeds. Some examples of boats like this include canoes, small sail boats and small power boats. Your homeowner policy will also provide some insurance for damage or loss to the boat, motor and trailer. In most cases the amount of protection will be limited to $1,000 or 10% of the home property value – and that’s for the aforementioned boating equipment combined.

A Boat Owner or Watercraft Policy may be for you if you need more protection for your basic boating property; need to cover other equipment like fishing gear, boat covers, fenders or navigation or communication equipment. You may also need a Boat Owner Policy if your boat is larger or is capable of speeds in excess of 25 mph

A Boat Owner Policy combines a number of different kinds of coverage including:

Liability and Medical Payments, Theft, Physical Loss or Damage to the hull, machinery, fittings, furnishings and permanently attached equipment; Towing and Assistance; Uninsured Boater

There are few other things you need to know about. Insurance companies will draw a line on boat size, often at 30 feet in length, and after that consider the craft to be a yacht. If that describes your boat then you are eligible for yacht insurance.

Your homeowner policy may not provide adequate protection for Jet Skis and Wave Runners so you should look into a separate policy, often called a Personal Water Craft Policy (PWC).

Your boat policy will come with a deductible and the deductible may apply differently to different types of property and loss. Reimbursement for physical loss to property may be on an agreed amount, actual cash value (ACV, which is cost new less depreciation) or a replacement cost basis. Again, reimbursement for different types of property may be handled differently by the same policy.

It may be important to you to make sure you have coverage during storage, while the boat is in transit or if you hire a crew. There is more variation in boat policies offered by insurance companies than there is for auto insurance, even though the types of coverage are similar. This variation also extends to the area of discounts. Discounts may apply for:

  • Lay Up Periods
  • New Boats
  • Burglar Alarms
  • Coast Guard Approved Fire Extinguishers
  • Safety Courses (see these websites: http://www.cgaux.orghttp://www.usps.org)
  • Ship-to-Shore Radio
  • Diesel Power
  • Multiple Policies with the Same Insurance Company (e.g., Auto, Home)

To bundle your car and boat policies call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

Managing Homeowner Premiums

pexels-photo-1860776 tips to manage your homeowner premium:
  1. Insure your home adequately but don’t overdo it. You want to be sure your homeowner insurance limits are sufficient to replace your home but it is not necessary to insure the value of your land. It is worthwhile to have your home’s replacement cost checked from time to time.
  2. Periodically check the value of any items you may have insured separately on a schedule. The market value of jewelry, art, collectibles and other items fluctuate up and down so, particularly if you have significant amounts of this type of property insured, you will want to take stock of their values at regular intervals.
  3. Take the highest deductibles you think you can afford. There are two benefits: immediate credit for higher deductible and less likely increases or cancellations due to claim frequency.
  4. Put as much of your insurance as possible with one insurance company. Most companies provide credits for multiple policies.
  5. Explore all premium credits that might be available to you. Credits abound and vary by company, both in terms of availability and amount. Here is a quick list of some common credits that can save you money:Multiple Policy. As mentioned above, insurance companies will often provide premium credits when you have more than one type of insurance with them.
    Safety Device Credits

    Common safety devices like dead bolt locks, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers will earn you premium credit; more extensive safety devices like central station burglar and fire alarms will save even more.

    Mature Homeowner Credit

    Many companies will offer credits for retired homeowners who are generally at home during the day.

    Non-Smoker Credit

    Often, companies have credits available if all household occupants are non-smokers due to a reduced fire risk.

    Loss Free or Renewal Credits

    Insurance companies will often reward policyholders who have renewed with them over several years and have no losses with additional credits.

  6. Your needs change and sometimes it is time to switch insurance companies. That’s why we are here. We do our best to keep up with your insurance needs but, if you ever feel it is time for a change, let us know. As an independent agent we represent many insurance companies and will save you time and bother in reviewing options for you.

Start saving today on homeowners insurance call AmeriAgency at

615-209-9362.

Small Business Insurance Basics

18 0f usWhat is a small business? Small is a subjective word, meaning different things to different people. As we explore the kind of risks you face and the kind of insurance you might need we’re going to take a life-cycle approach, starting with the most incidental of business pursuits and work our way up to the Fortune 500 level.
Work From Home

Technology and social trends have driven a wave of telecommuting. Many of us work at home at least on some days while some may work from home all the time. For that reason, more and more homes contain a designated office area; with increasing frequency that area is a room.

If the work you do is not for your own business you can often amend, or endorse, your Homeowner, Condominium Owner or Renters Policy to extend liability protection for incidental office exposures. Modifying your Homeowner policy is also an easy and inexpensive way to increase the limits for coverage of business property. A standard limitation is usually $2,500 for loss to business property on your residence premises but only $250 for business property away from your residence. Many insurers will, in exchange for some small additional premium, allow your Homeowner Policy to cover $5,000 or $10,000 of business property. And for a telecommuter, that’s often the best solution.

Home Based Business

According to the Casey Home Based Business Study, 62% of all small business are home based and this includes real estate sales and sales and distribution of products as a part time business. If your home based business is not your main source of income you still need to consider additional risks which may not be covered, even under an amended Homeowner policy. Here are a few:

  • Business-related personal property (equipment and furniture) in excess of the Homeowner Policy limitation – both on and off premises
  • Inventory you store or have on hand
  • Business property of others while in your care or under your responsibility
  • Accounts receivable
  • Valuable papers and records
  • Electronic data coverage
  • You may need liability to extend to personal injury, products and completed operations, incidental contractual liability, and general commercial liability.
  • Automobile – If you are driving people around for business reasons, transporting supplies or products or visiting customers your personal auto policy may not provide coverage.

Most of these additional risks and more can be picked up through a Home Based Business policy. These policies usually allow for up to 3 employees and will allow more adequate limits of protection for liability and property.

If your home business is your primary source of income you will want coverage for business interruption and extra expense. Fortunately, this protection is usually included in a Home Based Business policy. There are a few other kinds of insurance you should be thinking about as well.

  • Disability Insurance – If you become disabled and are unable to work and generate income, this insurance will help to keep you “paid” during that period. It won’t cover ongoing business expenses, however.
  • Life Insurance – Many employers provide at least some life insurance protection to their employees. Since you are the employer, you are on your own on this one. Life insurance is also used as a vehicle for perpetuating a business in the event of the death of an owner; this is sometimes known as Key Man Life.
  • Health Plan – The same thing applies here as to Life Insurance. If you don’t have an employer supplying or subsidizing this important protection for you, you’ll need to get it on your own.
  • Workers Compensation — All states require employers, even home based ones, to purchase Workers Compensation if they have employees. Workers compensation insurance offers a schedule of benefits for employees unable to work because of a job or workplace related injury or illness.
Small Business Level

Most Home Based Business Insurance policies assume most of your business is done from home. If that is not the case, you may need a type of policy that will provide coverage for you as you work away from home. There are also limits for Home Based Business policies regarding number of employees and maximum protection limits for Business Personal Property, Business Interruption and Loss of Income and other risks. If you find your business has grown beyond the kind of protection a Home Based Business Policy can provide you may need to consider a Business Owners Package policy.

A Business Owners Package policy (BOP) is a bit like a homeowner policy for your business. A BOP provides a certain amount of coverage for your Building, Business Personal Property, Business Interruption, Liability and more in one package. The policy can be customized to include protection for automobile and business specific exposures as disparate as those related to accounting firms, retailers and dry cleaners.

BOP policy requirements vary from insurer to insurer but if you employ 50 employees or less, have relatively few business locations and are in an easily categorized industry, your business may qualify for a BOP. The same coverage can be acquired by mixing and matching other policies but combining everything in a Business Owners Policy usually results in a lower premium than customized coverage. Many companies also construct BOP policies around very specific kinds, or classes, of business. These are often referred to as program policies.

Additional protection you might want to consider at this stage of the business life cycle, other than those mentioned above, include:

  • Employment Practices Liability – EPL protects you from claims made by current or former employees of discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment and related allegations.
  • Professional Errors and Omissions Insurance – E&O, formerly known as professional liability, covers a variety of advisor or professional roles and pays legal costs and damages should a mistake you make cost a client money. Some common business that might need E and O Insurance include financial planners, computer consultants, real estate agents and appraisers, mortgage brokers, consultants, graphic designers and hair stylists. The list of types of businesses that might need E&O is quite long; one provider alone lists 160 classifications.
  • Directors and Officers Insurance – D&O is like an E&O policy for company officers. It can pay legal costs and damages if officers are sued for their performance in running the company.

As a business moves through the business growth cycle and becomes larger and more complex, more kinds of risks are introduced and more kinds of insurance may be needed. It becomes more difficult, and eventually impossible, to address all the risk needs of a business with just one policy. The list of extra policies is not all inclusive, of course. The more additional policies your business needs the less it shares the characteristics of a small business and starts to look like a medium sized one. We’ll address some of the issues for a medium sized business in Medium Sized Business Insurance Basics.

Call AmeriAgency now for the best rates and advice on

business insurance at 615-209-9362.

Updated  Fujita Scale

 

In 2007, the Fujita scale was updated, and the Enhanced Fujita Scale was introduced in the United States. The new scale more accurately matches wind speeds to the severity of damage caused by the tornado.

 

Start saving today on homeowners insurance call AmeriAgency at

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Fujita Scale

  Wind Speed
Typical Damage
F0
40 – 72 mph Broken tree branches, antennas blown down
F1
73 – 112 mph Mobile homes moved overturned or moved off foundation
F2
113 – 157 mph Significant building damage, trees uprooted and knocked down, mobile homes and other light structures destroyed
F3
158 – 208 mph Cars and trucks thrown about, building walls and roofs torn off
F4
207 – 260 mph Little chance of anything in tornado path escaping destruction
F5
Over 260 mph Entire homes lifted from foundation, cars thrown hundreds of feet

Medium Sized Business Insurance Basics

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We’ve said it before: the distinction between a small and large business is somewhat arbitrary. At what point in the business growth life cycle do you cross over? One way to answer the question is when your business no longer qualifies for a Business Owners Package Policy. The BOP bundles up several kinds of insurance protection in one policy. But as business become larger the risks they pose become more varied and difficult to address in one policy.

Medium sized businesses can still purchase bundled coverage, like the Commercial Package Policy (CPP), which is roughly analogous to the Business Owners Policy (BOP). The CPP combines Commercial Liability and Commercial Property and some additional policies designed for specific industries like churches, heavy manufacturing or health care providers. Additional policies found in some Commercial Package Policies include Commercial Auto, Boiler and Machinery and Inland Marine. Again, the CPP is usually designed to fit most businesses within a specific industry. But if your business faces special risks or doesn’t fit neatly within a generic industry definition, a CPP may not give you the necessary flexibility to address unique needs.

An alternative is to start with the foundation policies, Commercial General Liability (CGL) and Commercial Property. These policies can be obtained through different insurance carriers and modified separately to meet the needs of many complex businesses.

Commercial Property will provide coverage for any building you own or lease, including improvements and permanent fixtures and equipment, business property on premises and personal property of others in your ‘care, custody or control’. Depending on your business you may need to add coverage for goods in transit, buildings under construction, business income (interruption expense), data loss, loss due to flood, employee theft and embezzlement among others.

Just to add to the variety, Commercial Property insurance comes in three forms: Basic Form, Broad Form and Special Form. The first, Basic, provides protection against loss from the more common causes like fire, lightning and wind storm. The Broad Form extends protection to additional perils like water damage and structural collapse. The Special Form protects against all perils unless specifically excluded. Some commonly excluded perils include flood, earthquake, terrorism, wear and tear and insects and vermin.

Commercial General Liability provides an insured business protection for lawsuits, bodily injury or property damage arising chiefly from these areas: ownership or use of a business premises, business operations, contractual agreements, completed operations, personal and advertising injury and products made, sold or distributed.

The policy provides Medical Payments coverage for those injured on a business premises or job site on a no-fault basis. Policies can be issued on either a Claims Made Form or an Occurrence Form.

CGL policies are broad in nature but generally have some coverage removed by endorsement. Some additional coverage your business may need to supplement CGL protection includes Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O), Directors and Officers Insurance (D&O), Workers Compensation and Environmental Liability.

Because of the complexity of risk medium sized and larger businesses are faced with, it is often best to sit down with an insurance professional. An independent insurance agent is armed with options from several companies and can help you understand and develop the kind of program you need for your business.

 

Call AmeriAgency now for the best business insurance  coverage and advice at 615-209-9362.

Computer Password Security

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Today many of us have a multitude of passwords to keep track of at work and at home. As passwords multiply it is easy to succumb to the temptation of using easy to guess words or simply leaving a sticky note on your computer. But these are generally bad ideas. Better is to come up with a strong password and keep it secret.

What is a strong password? The fact is, any hacker with enough skill and time can crack almost any password with the computing power and tools available today. But, because of the time and effort involved, most really sophisticated hacking is confined to cracking large, commercial networks. For the rest of us a little common sense and a few tips will keep our information safe from novices.

  • Never write your password down and leave it where it can be easily obtained, in fact you should never write your password down, period. This goes for keeping passwords in your PDA.
  • Your password is your password, don’t share it with anyone.
  • Avoid easily guessed words or names like the names of your children, pets or your nickname. Avoid birth dates, addresses and other sequences of numbers that are easy to guess.
  • Passords based on any dictionary word is fairly easy to crack so stay away from those.
  • Never use the same password for more than a few sites.
  • Change your password several times a year.
  • Keep your passwords between 6 and 8 characters (long enough so they take some effort to crack, but not so long that they are hard to remember and tedious to input).
  • Use a combination of upper and lower case letters and special characters (punctuation or the characters above the number keys).

Here are some examples of how to construct a password that is hard to crack but easy to remember (Please don’t use these passwords!):

Choose a phrase that you can remember, such as How now, brown cow? Your password could consist of keeping the first character of each word as well as any punctuation. That way your password would be Hn,bc?. Some punctuation and other symbols may not be permitted as characters in password strings on some internet sites. In that case, just swap a symbol, like ‘?’ with another, like ‘$’, or a number like ‘3’.

Another approach might be to use the title of your favorite book as a base, select every third character (your lucky number), include spaces as characters but use a special symbol instead of a space (like #). How Green Were Our Values would become wrne#rae. You could stick with your lucky number and capitalize the third character of the password you derive. If you did that you would have wrNe#rae as a variation.

The important thing is to pick a scheme that makes sense to you and is one you will recall. Then all you have to keep track of is the phrase or title you used as a base.

Finally, to keep password management less complex, you might take a multi-tiered approach. For instance, if you frequent news sites, like the Wall Street Journal, relatively little harm can come from another person learning and using your password. For sites like this you might actually use a common name or something really easy to remember.

For other web sites, like a research or news clipping service where you have saved other than personal information, you might find it quite a nuisance if someone guessed your password and deleted your saved information. For these sites a somewhat more difficult password may be in order. You might still use a common word but add upper case letters or numbers to make it harder to guess.

Finally, for those sites where personal financial information is saved or exchanged, you should use a strong password, as previously explained.

Start Saving Today On Car Insurance, Call AmeriAgency At 615-209-9362.

Dryer Vent Safety Factors

averie-woodard-114289Clogged dryer vents contribute to over 15,000 fires every year so making sure your dryer vent is clear is a simple but important way to keep your home and family safer. Even in the absence of fire, clogged vents cause your dryer to be less effective resulting in greater use of electricity and more breakdowns. If you find your dryer is taking longer and longer to fully dry a load of laundry, chances are your vent has become blocked with lint.

  • Dryer vents should be cleaned at least every two or three years but there are a number of factors that may dictate more frequent cleaning.
  • The greater the length of the vent duct, the more frequent the vent should be cleaned. Dryers, which used to be located almost exclusively in basements or outside laundry areas, are often located adjacent to living areas in newer dwellings. This frequently requires a greater distance to vent to the outdoors. Clogged vents with gas dryers in living areas can result in poisonous carbon monoxide back up into the home.
  • Straight is better: the fewer bends in vent conduit, the slower the build up of lint and the less frequent the necessity of cleaning.
  • Older or smaller dryers are generally are less efficient and will promote somewhat greater lint build up.

Some other safety considerations:

  • The dryer duct should be at least the same diameter as the dryer vent.
  • Duct material, particularly if concealed, should be made of semi-rigid, non-flamable metal material. Avoid accordion plastic or foil.
  • The dryer should vent outdoors, not into a crawl space or attic and not into a chimney or other vent.
  • Dryer duct should be secured using metal tape, not screws or non-metal tape.
  • Never leave home with the dryer running.
  • Be sure to clean the lint filter before drying each new load of clothes.
  • Consult you dryer installation manual for exact requirements for you dryer.

 

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Home Inventory Suggestions

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 It is a good idea to take an inventory of your personal possessions, at least annually. Keeping a current inventory benefits you in three ways:

  1. An inventory helps you establish a replacement cost value for all your possessions. Home, condo and renters insurance provides broad protection for your your personal property. But there is is a dollar limit, both for amounts payable for all your property as well as for specific kinds of property (business property, for instance). Some insurance companies have estimated that consumers are not carrying the levels of protection necessary to cover all their possessions nearly one-third of the time.
  2. Trying to recall what you owned after a fire or theft increases the chances you will not be compensated for loss of some items simply because you forgot you had them. An inventory will help avoid this.
  3. Having an inventory can make a difficult situation a little easier to deal with. An inventory is something you will have to provide the insurance company after a loss. Far easier to have it done in advance than to try to create one when you are dealing with emotional stress after a loss.

Keep you inventory somewhere besides in your home.

Home Inventory Suggestions

Keeping a home inventory is an important exercise that aids you in three ways:

  • It helps you establish as precisely as possible the replacement cost of your possessions so that you can determine if your insurance protection is adequate.
  • It substantiates ownership, which can be useful in the event you have a loss covered by insurance.
  • A complete inventory can help you avoid overlooking items for which you should be compensated in the event of a covered loss.

A simple way to do an inventoryis to take a video or photos of your possessions. The easiest way to do this is to go room by room. Be sure to capture the make, model and serial number of your property. Once you have completed the video or photo record you should store the images away from your home. A safe deposit box or a relatives home are alternatives.


Here are some tips to help you make the inventory quick and easy:

  • Go room by room when doing your inventory. This is an easy way to ensure you don’t leave out some items.
  • Start with the five most expensive items in the room. Work your way to the next five and then the next. Within a very short time you will have documented the lion’s share of value in the room. The Know Now Knowhow worksheet has the items that are typically the most expensive in each room displayed at the top of the item listing for each room to help you get started.
  • Group like items, such as CDs and DVDs, together. Start by counting the number you have and estimating a cost per item. You can add titles and other information as a second step.
  • Don’t forget items you have tucked away under beds, in closets or stored in attics. Attics, basements and similar storage areas frequently contain high concentrations of valuable possessions. Similarly for items tucked in the back of closets.
  • Don’t overlook things you see everyday but may take for granted, like pictures or paintings on the wall.
  • Current replacement cost may be quite different from what you originally paid for an item. If a lot of time has elapsed since you bought something the price may have changed. You may have bought something on sale or at an outlet. If you had to replace possessions suddenly you would not have the luxury of seeking out bargain prices.

 

Start Saving On Homeowners Insurance Today, Call AmeriAgency at  615-209-9362.

Flood Safety & Flood Insurance

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Flooding causes more property damage than any other weather related event and occurs in all 50 states. You should understand potential flood vulnerabilities you may have at home. The Red Cross or the local planning and zoning department can help you if you are unsure.

If it is raining hard or, if it has been raining over a long period of time you should check for increased flood possibilities by listening to the radio or tuning in weather updates on TV.

There are several types of flood. Coastal flood and river flood are a little more predictable and develop of a period of hours or days. A flash flood can appear very suddenly. Local authorities may issue Flash Flood Watches or Flash Flood Warnings or regular Flood Watches or Flood Warnings; clicking on any of the words will take you to an explanation of each.

Before a Flood Threat

  • If you are in a flood prone area you should consider flood insurance. Homeowner insurance does not include coverage for flood. That coverage has to be obtained as a separate policy.
  • Prepare or update a Flood Disaster Supply Kit and Personal Evacuation Plan.

During a Flood Watch

  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors in your house. If you have a one story house then move these items on top of counters and tables.
  • Make sure your vehicles have full fuel tanks and be prepared to leave should an evacuation order be issued.
  • Monitor changes in flood status by listening to the radio or TV.

During a Flood Warning

  • Pay close attention to updates by listening to radio or TV. Be prepared to evacuate.
  • If the Flood Warning is a Flash Flood Warning, move to higher ground immediately. Flash floods can develop into raging torrents in a matter of minutes so you may have little time to act. Move away from rivers, creeks, streams and drainage areas.

During a Flood

  • Do not drive on flooded roadways or across flooded bridges. 80% of people who perish in a flood die trying to drive where they shouldn’t. Six inches of fast moving water will move a car or knock a person down.
  • Leave your vehicle, if it stalls, and seek higher ground.
  • If flooding occurs at night, be especially cautious. Warning signs are more difficult to recognize in the absence of light; light reflected off smoother water surface can look just like wet pavement.
  • Get to the highest point you can without wading through dangerous flood waters.
  • If you use a watercraft, proceed slowly to you are less prone to upset from striking debris; also, wakes from fast moving watercraft can add to property damage.

After a Flood

  • Check for structural damage to your home before reentering. If the damage appears significant, do not enter the home until you can take precautions against collapse.
  • Inspect your water lines and other plumbing. If you think there has been any damage, avoid using toilets.
  • Do not drink or wash in tap water water until local authorities say it is safe to do so. Boil all water in the meantime.
  • Avoid electric appliances or lines if water has intruded into your home or basement.
  • Continue to monitor radio and TV for updates regarding water safety, transportation and other important information.
  • Throw away all food that has come in contact with flood water, even food in cans or other packaging.
  • Avoid using candles, kerosene lamps or other open flame sources for heat or light. Candles cause more fires after a disaster than any other source. If you must use a candle or open flame lamp take extreme care to keep pets, children and combustibles away from the flame.
  • If you smell or hear the hiss of leaking gas, leave the house. If you can, turn off the gas line at the cut off valve outside your home. Call the utility company from your cell or from another location.
  • Take photos of any damaged items. Place them outside if they cannot be salvaged but try to avoid discarding them until they have been looked at by an insurance adjuster.

To start saving on flood and homeowners insurance

call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

Kids Off To College? New Risks

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Computer Equipment

Your son or daughter probably needs some new, expensive computer equipment. When they were in high school they probably used a desk top computer but they now have a lap top. Lap tops, by the very nature of their portability, are much more susceptible to theft.

But if your child”s lap top is stolen, they probably will need a replacement right away. The college may provide insurance but you should also check into insurance that may be offered by your homeowner insurance provider. Chances are it is more comprehensive and a better value.

Sensitive Financial Information

Identity fraud encompasses a broad range of crimes wherein a perpetrator gains access to information about bank account numbers, passwords and other asset information and uses this it to tap into those accounts and your credit capacity.

Many institutions of higher learning use the social security number as a student ID. Since the social security number is often required as verification of identity or as an account number by itself, it is a gateway for identity fraud.

Social security numbers and other sensitive information may be stored on student lap top computers which increases the damage potential if the laptop is stolen. Additionally precautions need to be taken to keep that information secure; just because the computer is secure from theft doesn”t necessarily mean the information on it is also safe. Log on IDs and passwords should not be shared with others and computers should be in the log off mode when unattended.

Here are some other tips for protecting yourself and your student:

  • Most homeowner policies can include identity fraud coverage. The coverage is inexpensive, especially relative to the extra protection and peace of mind it can provide. Your insurance agent can let you know if it is available.
  • Care should be taken when using email because email is not secure. The way to think about email is like a post card. You expect that people other than an addressee might see what is on a post card and you should expect the same thing of email and use it accordingly.
  • Always check to see if a web site is secure before transacting business or sending information (the web address will begin with “https” instead of “http”; e.g., https://cscoact.com).
  • Consider using a browser with fewer security issues. Internet Explorer has a number of well documented security flaws. Also, criminals tend to target IE because of its broad use. An alternative browser is Mozilla”s Firefox which can be downloaded for free.
  • Don”t leave sensitive information lying around. Employ a “clean desk” policy. Buy and use a shredder. They are inexpensive and can help avoid a lot of heartache in the future.
  • Check your credit card and bank statements when they arrive; always scan for unauthorized transactions.
  • Instead of signing credit or debit cards, write “See photo ID” in the signature space. Cashiers are more likely to ask to see the users drivers license this way.
  • Be aware of phishing scams in which an unsolicited email asks you to link to a site and provide personal information. These sites look just like legitimate sites. Past phishing scams have centered on legitimate sites like eBay, Citibank and Earthlink. Frequently, but not always, the “s” is omitted from the web address (i.e., http://ebay.com not https://ebay.com). Be suspicious of unsolicited emails that suggest your account has been or might be suspended unless you provide social security numbers, IDs and passwords. You can see examples of past phishing scams and can often verify potential scams by checking this site: http://antiphishing.org/phishing_archive.html.
  • If you are victimized don”t wait to report the crime to authorities, your creditors and to your insurance provider. The three major credit bureaus should also be alerted. The Federal Trade Commission has toll-free hotline to general information about identity theft and how to resolve related problems. The number operates Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST at 877-IDTHEFT. Victims can also file complaints online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

Cars Away From Home

Your student may have a car away at school. If the school is out of state and you are providing insurance coverage through your policy, you will probably need to amend your policy to make sure that you are extending the protection you think you are. Even if your student”s vehicle is not garaged out of state it is a good idea to review policy coverage to be sure that no gaps or limitations have been created by the away-at-school situation.

Personal Items on Campus

Your homeowner policy provides some coverage for personal property away from home (generally 10% of the personal property limit – “Coverage C” on your homeowner policy). However, some kinds of property, such computer equipment as noted earlier, may require special insurance protection.

If you student is renting an apartment it may be a good idea to consider a separate renter”s policy as a way to protect possessions and legal liability.

Get a quote for renters insurance today, call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.