Courtesy of iii.org
When you buy or lease a new car or truck, the vehicle starts to depreciate in value the moment it leaves the car lot. In fact, most cars lose 20 percent of their value within a year. Standard auto insurance policies cover the depreciated value of a car—in other words, a standard policy pays the current market value of the vehicle at the time of a claim.
If, when you finance the purchase of a new car and put down only a small deposit, in the early years of the vehicle's ownership the amount of the loan may exceed the market value of the vehicle itself.
In the event of an accident in which you've badly damaged or totaled your car, gap insurance covers the difference between what a vehicle is currently worth (which your standard insurance will pay) and the amount you actually owe on it.
It’s a good idea to consider buying gap insurance for your new car or truck purchase if you:
- Made less than a 20 percent down payment
- Financed for 60 months or longer
- Leased the vehicle (carrying gap insurance is generally required for a lease)
- Purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than the average
- Rolled over negative equity from an old car loan into the new loan
Your car dealer may offer to sell you gap insurance on your new vehicle. However, most car insurers also offer it, and they typically charge less than the dealer. On most auto insurance policies, including gap insurance with collision and comprehensive coverage adds only about $20 a year to the annual premium.
Courtesy of iii.org
June weather in New York City can be fickle. As the I.I.I.’s own Brent Carris reported, this fickleness can lead to chaos for the city’s outdoor music festivals, like the recent fiasco at this year’s Gov Ball. Carris noted that event organizers will often have event cancellation insurance to protect themselves financially.
But this got me thinking: is there rain insurance?
The answer: yes, actually. It’s usually called “weather insurance” – and covers financial losses resulting from adverse weather, including rain. Typically, weather insurance is useful if you’re planning an outdoor event, like a wedding or a bar mitzvah. Commercial events can also buy this insurance, like fairs or festivals.
According to Trusted Choice, weather insurance is often tailored to a specific event’s needs. For example, a sailing regatta in San Francisco might want to be covered for excessive fog, whereas a baseball tournament in Arizona might want to be covered for extreme temperatures. Of course, these covered perils can be combined: it gets hot in southern Florida and rains a lot, so you might want to cover your golf tournament for both high temperatures and precipitation. Plus, you know, hurricanes.
How the coverage gets triggered also depends on the event: one-day events might want their policies to kick in if a certain amount of rain falls over a certain amount of time. Other events that last multiple days or weeks might want the trigger to be if rainfall or temperatures exceed their averages during the policy period.
Special event insurance
Okay, cool, that means I can protect myself in case I have to cancel my invitational street hockey tournament. But what if I have to cancel or postpone for non-weather reasons? That’s where “special event insurance” comes in. It’s broader than just plain weather insurance and will cover other causes of cancellation.
In the case of a wedding, special event insurance can cover cancellation due to, among other things: death or illness of a key participant, or if the bride or grooms is suddenly called to military duty. You can also cover your gifts in case they’re stolen or damaged. You can even cover your losses if one of your third-party providers can’t uphold their promises to you. For example, you could be covered if the bridal salon goes out of business and you have to get a dress somewhere else, or the photographer fails to show up and you need to deputize your cousins to take pictures with their smartphones.
It’s not just event organizers who can get insurance protection, though. There are also products to protect attendees. For example, Allianz calls its product “Global Assistance Event Ticket Protector Insurance,” which roughly translates into English as “ticket insurance”.
According to the Ticketmaster website, this insurance will reimburse you 100 percent of your ticket (including taxes and shipping) if any of a long list of things happens that prevents you from enjoying your event. Illness or serious injury, for example. Military duty is also covered (who knew there was such a high risk of someone being whisked away to military duty on short notice?). You’ll also be covered if a traffic accident keeps you from getting to the venue, or if your plane is delayed getting in.
However, being lazy is not a covered cause of loss: “Please note that no benefits will be extended for cancellations due to simply changing your mind.”
Millions of Americans safely enjoy outdoor barbecues, but accidents do happen. Ensure trouble-free summer cooking fun by maintaining your grill, using it safely and knowing what to do in case of emergency.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year, most caused by malfunctioning gas grills. These fires cause an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 fatalities. In addition, thousands more people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.
In the rare instance of a grill fire spreading to your property, your homeowners insurance provides financial protection, as fire is a covered peril. A standard policy covers:
- Damage to the house itself
- Damage to personal possessions, such as lawn furniture
- Damage to insured structures on your property, such as a shed or gazebo
- Injuries to a guest, under the liability portion of the policy
Of course, the best way to enjoy a summer of outdoor barbecues is to take steps to prevent accidents, and take fast action should any occur.
Gas grills are generally safe if they are properly designed and constructed, properly maintained and regularly checked for leaks. Follow these safety tips when setting up at the start of each grilling season:
- Search the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to make sure there has not been a recall on your model grill.
- Check grill hoses for cracks, holes and brittleness.
- Check for blockages, especially in the Venturi tube that runs to the burners. These can be caused by food drippings, spiders or insects. Clear any blockages with a wire or pipe cleaner.
- Check for leaks by running a solution of one part liquid soap, one part water along hoses and on connections. Open the valve at your tank and check to make sure that gas isn’t escaping, which will be indicated by bubbles at the leaking points.
- Adjust hoses away from hot areas or where grease might drip on them.
- Cover your grill when cooled and not in use to help protect its parts from inclement weather, falling leaves, and insect activity.
- Store propane tanks outside, away from your house. Always check to make sure valves are firmly turned off.
When barbecuing, use common sense:
- Operate your barbecue on a level surface, away from your house, garage and landscaping.
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and let everyone know where it is and how to operate it.
- Don’t move the grill once it is lit.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill.
- Protect yourself—or whoever is doing the grilling—with a heavy apron and oven mitts that reach high on the forearm. Use very long-handled utensils designed for barbecuing.
- Use only lighter fluid designed for grilling when charcoal grilling. Never use gasoline or other flammable liquids, and never add more lighter fluid once the fire has started.
- Never grill indoors or in enclosed areas. Charcoal grills produce carbon monoxide (CO) fumes, which can be fatal in unventilated areas.
- Wait until the grill is cooled before storing or covering. When you’re done cooking, remember that the grill will remain hot for a while.
- Soak charcoal briquettes with water to ensure they are cool and inactive before throwing them away.
Despite all good efforts to prevent them, accidents do happen. Which is why they're called accidents—and why people have insurance! Here are steps to take if the worst should happen:
- In case of fire get out the trusty fire extinguisher and, if the situation warrants, call 911. Fire spreads quickly and it's better to be safe with professional help than sorry.
- Address injuries immediately. Run cool water over minor burns, but do not cover injured areas with bandages, butter or salve. In the case of serious burns, take victims to the emergency room or an urgent care facility. Again, if needed or when in doubt, call 911.
- Assess your property damage. Once you have dealt with any injuries and the smoke clears, assess your property damage. If the situation calls for it, contact your insurance professional to discuss filing a claim.