Does your insurance cover damage to your vehicle while you’re making deliveries with it?

Does your insurance cover damage to your vehicle while you’re making deliveries with it?

If you use your personal vehicle for deliveries, will you get a generous tip or a substantial bill for your damaged vehicle?

In the current world of social distancing and self-quarantining, delivery app services are in high demand. If you decided to supplement your income by becoming a delivery driver, do you and your car have insurance coverage if you have an accident while you’re making a delivery?

Here are a few tips to help prevent paying out of pocket if you have an auto accident while making deliveries.

1. Don’t assume personal auto insurance automatically provides coverage.

a. Some insurance carriers do permit their policyholders to deliver food but it’s usually only if they’re employed by one eatery. Most standard personal auto and umbrella policies include exclusionary language against delivery of goods or persons for public delivery app services like Uber Eats, GrubHub, and DoorDash. The exclusion language usually references an auto being held out to the public as a means of transportation (of people or property) for which the driver/policyholder will be paid for that transportation. This includes, but is not limited to, any period of time the driver is logged into a transportation network platform, whether or not a passenger or meal is being transported in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

2. Call your insurance agent. Let them know you’re using your vehicle to make deliveries. Ask your agent if your current auto insurance covers your delivery exposure. If it doesn’t, find out if delivery coverage can be added to your policy.

3. Contact your delivery app company. Find out what insurance coverage is required and if they offer insurance coverage. But be careful! Some delivery apps will provide coverage only if you have food in your car but not while driving to the restaurant. Also, in the event of a loss, some delivery app companies will only “pay in excess.” This means your own underlying insurance policy will have to respond to a claim before the delivery app company’s excess/secondary policy responds.

4. Inquire about a commercial auto insurance policy. Call your insurance agent about a commercial auto policy If you feel you’re not covered adequately under your personal auto insurance policy or with your delivery app company.

So, before you hop into your car to make that next delivery, be sure to call your insurance agent to make sure you and your vehicle are protected!

Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

This blog was written by Wendy Wagner, Personal Lines underwriter.

Topics: Auto Insurance

Understanding insurance coverage while working from home

Understanding insurance coverage while working from home

The change in how we do business across the nation and the world, has allowed for businesses run out of private homes to become a commonplace occurrence versus an exception.

Companies have realized that a brick-and-mortar facility isn’t always needed to operate their business effectively and efficiently. If you’re one of the many people who’ve converted your basement into your shop or are now calling your dining room your new workspace, you may have some questions about your new working environment.

Does your homeowners insurance provide coverage for your business needs? Or do you still need to keep in force your business insurance policy? What equipment is covered and what’s not covered? If you’re working remote and get hurt during business hours is it covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation policy?

Does your homeowners insurance provide coverage for your business?

Homeowners insurance isn’t business insurance, so business owners need to understand their homeowners insurance policy may not provide all the coverage they need. A business owner needs to consider the following when determining which types of coverage are necessary:

  • Business Personal Property – What limits do you need? Can your homeowners insurance policy be endorsed to include adequate coverage?
  • Liability – Is there coverage if a customer slips and falls, injuring themselves while visiting your home? If your business makes crafts, is there products completed coverage?
  • Auto insurance – If you’re using your personally owned auto for business needs, is there coverage provided from your personal auto insurance policy?
  • Business income – If your home burns down and it causes your business to pause operations, is there coverage?

It’s imperative policyholders check their homeowners insurance policy to verify if there’s adequate coverage, or they should discuss adding coverage with their independent agent.

Does your homeowners insurance provide coverage if you’re an employee working remotely?

Many employees today have found working from home can be just as productive as working from the office. But there are some questions that need to be answered to make sure there are no coverage gaps between what your homeowners insurance policy provides and what’s covered under your employer’s business policy.

  • Who provides coverage for the laptop you use for work? What about other equipment such as printers, cell phone, or iPad?
  • What if you get injured while working at home? Are you covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation policy, or are you covered under your homeowners insurance policy?
  • What if you’re working from a remote place other than your home?
  • What if you use your personal auto for business purposes? Where’s the coverage being provided?

To gain a more thorough understanding of what insurance coverage is provided by your employer, you should contact your human resources department. To understand what your homeowners insurance policy covers, contact your independent insurance agent.


Tips for staying alive if you fall through thin ice

Tips for staying alive if you fall through thin ice

If you live on or near a lake, you know how much fun you can have participating in winter activities. Ice skating, fishing, and snowmobiling are just a few. However, fun can turn into tragedy if you’re not careful and you fall through. Ice thickness is a tricky thing to gauge. There are so many variables that affect the depth and strength of the ice.

Below are some things to be aware of the next time you venture out onto a frozen lake or pond.

Before heading out on the ice

It’s important to talk with the local bait shop, lakeside resort, or a local resident about ice conditions. Making consistent ice is a tough job for Mother Nature. Here are some ice characteristics to be aware of:

  • New ice is stronger than old ice.
  • Underwater currents make it difficult for ice to form.
  • A fresh snowfall slows down the creation of ice and adds weight.
  • If you hear booming or cracking, it doesn’t mean the ice is unsafe. Ice is shifting due to temperature changes.

Here are some ice thickness guidelines to follow:

  • 2″ or less – STAY OFF!
  • 4″ – Ice fishing or other activities on foot
  • 5″ – Snowmobile or ATV
  • 8″ – 12″ – Car or small pickup
  • 12″ – 15″ – Medium truck

Survival tips if you fall through thin ice

  1. Remain calm. If you fall through the ice, do your best to stay calm. While it’s a very scary situation, don’t flail your arms. This only wastes valuable body heat and energy. Concentrate on staying afloat. It’s estimated after about 10 minutes in the water, hypothermia will set in.
  2. Focus on controlling your breathing. Due to the extreme coldness of the water, the shock to your body will be intense. Your body’s natural reaction is to gasp for air which can lead to hyperventilating. Hyperventilating can decrease your odds of getting out of the water alive.
  3. Floating horizontal is key. If your body is vertical, it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself out. The ice is slippery, and your wet clothes may be weighing you down. Try to get yourself into a horizontal floating position. Then, kick as hard as you can to try and get yourself to slide horizontally onto the ice.
  4. Call for help. If friends or family are nearby, call for help. However, it’s important that they stay away from the hole, so they don’t fall in. Their best option is to throw you a rope, branch, or anything that you can grab on to. Pulling you out is the safest option for everyone.
  5. Don’t stand up. Once you get out of the water, your instinct may be to immediately stand up to walk back to shore. Standing up could cause you to fall back into the water. Your best chance of survival is to roll over the ice until you can reach safety.
  6. Warm up slowly. Once you’ve made it back to safety, it’s time to start focusing on warming up your body. Hypothermia can still occur after getting out of the frigid water. Here are things to do:
  • Find shelter in a building or car.
  • Remove wet clothes.
  • If you still have energy afterwards, continue moving to keep your blood flowing.
  • Drink warm beverages.

Remember, temperature, snow cover, and currents, all affect ice safety. Ice is rarely the same thickness over a single body of water. With common sense and precaution, you’ll enjoy the winter season safely outdoors.

Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.


Topics: Family SafetyWeather

Tips for handling frozen pipes

Tips for handling frozen pipes

Have you ever come home to the sound of running water or wet floors? If so, you know this can cause a frantic situation. What you do next can make the problem better or worse.

Extreme cold temperatures can cause the water in your pipes to freeze leading to significant damage. Below are some things to watch for as well tips for dealing with frozen pipes.

Frozen pipe warning signs

Before a pipe bursts due to freezing there are some signs to watch for. Awareness can help prevent serious damage from occurring.

  1. No running water. Water plays a significant role in our daily lives. If you turn on the faucet for a glass of water or jump in the shower and no water comes out, you may have a problem. Another sign is significantly low water pressure.
  2. The pipes are frosty. There are pipes running in all different directions in your home, so it’s hard to see them all. However, keeping an eye on pipes that are under your sinks can help prevent damage. If those pipes have frost on them, this is a tell-tale sign that you have a problem.
  3. Unusual odors. If you smell a bad or unusual odor coming from a faucet or drain, this may be another warning sign that your pipes are frozen.
  4. Cold water. If you turn on the hot water, but only cold water comes out, that’s also a sign your pipes are frozen. If your pipes aren’t frozen, there may be a problem with your water heater.

What to do when a frozen pipe bursts

  1. Find your main water supply shut-off valve. No matter what the problem, the key to stopping a water leak is to turn off the water to your entire home. To do this, you’ll need to find your shut-off valve. To help you find this more quickly, attaching a shut off tag is a good idea. To get one for your home click here.
  2. Clean up the water right away. If your home has standing water from a burst pipe, cleaning up the water as soon as possible can help prevent further damage. If water sits for a long period of time, there’s a good chance for mold growth.
  3. Remove your personal items. Depending on where the water leak occurs, you may have to quickly remove items from that area. Quickly prioritize what items to remove based on value or sentiment. While many items can be replaced, family heirlooms or pictures can’t.
  4. Call your local plumber. An experienced plumber is trained to find, fix, and replace burst pipes timely. This isn’t the time to try and do it yourself.
  5. Call your local electrician. Based on how your home is built, it’s possible your circuit breaker box is near water lines. If water damage occurs, call your local electrician to identify and assist in the repairs.
  6. Contact your insurance agent. While an insurance policy can provide coverage for this type of damage, it’s important to talk to your independent insurance agent to determine the type of coverage you’ve purchased. Not every policy covers everything. Depending on the amount of damage, your insurance company may call in a local restoration company to help. This happened to me, and the restoration company did a fantastic job prioritizing and saving things important to us. In addition, they were able to save our carpet and drywall because they arrived quickly with the necessary equipment.

Preventing your pipes from freezing

  1. Drain your outdoor hose. Always drain water from outdoor hoses when the weather starts to get cold.
  2. Turn off your outdoor spigot’s shut-off valve. While new homes may have freeze resistant water spigots, it’s still a good idea to find the valve in your basement and turn it off.
  3. Add insulation. If water pipes are in an unheated part of your basement or garage, consider adding insulation to prevent them from freezing.
  4. Keep your heat on. Never let your home get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months. If you’re going to escape the cold by going to a warm climate for a couple of months, consider installing a monitoring system. This type of system will send you a warning if your home goes below a specified temperature. You can then respond by having your neighbor or a family member inspect your home.

Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.

Topics: Home SafetyWeather

Smart thermostat benefits and tips

If you’re making home improvements this winter, you may want to consider adding a smart thermostat to your list. While smart thermostats may not be for everyone, they do offer many benefits. The number one benefit is savings on your heating and cooling expenses. Some smart thermostats can save as much as 20% each year.

Tips for buying a smart thermostat

To get started, all you need in your home is a Wi-Fi network. When it’s time to buy a smart thermostat, here are some things to consider:

  • Your budget
  • HVAC system compatibility
  • Wires needed for the connection
  • The features important to you

Smart thermostat benefits

1. Affordably priced. If you’re ready to change out your old thermostat, there are many reasonably priced options available. Determining which features are necessary for your home will help you find the right one. Check out this recent article to learn more. 

2. Mobile device access. Like many other smart household items, you can access your system through your mobile device. This access will allow you to adjust your home’s temperature while at home or away.

3. Easy to use. Apps that are paired with your thermostat make it simple to set up a program or change it while on the go.

4. Learns your habits. Some thermostats include sensors that can gather additional information. These sensors can tell when a room is occupied or when your family is active. In addition, geofencing can tell your system that you’re on your way home. By collecting all this information, your thermostat will help your heating system run at top efficiency all while keeping you nice and warm.

5. Easy to read. My programable thermostat is bit difficult to read. If I want to change my program, it calls for me to put on my glasses. Smart thermostats use large numbers and simple screen displays which allow you to see what’s going on in your home from a distance.

6. Data analytics. Some thermostats can provide you with analytics. Information may include:

  • Problems with your furnace
  • Energy usage
  • Energy usage patterns
  • How much energy you saved
  • Reasons why you saved energy

Installation tips

Smart thermostats can be added to just about any HVAC system. If you’re an experienced ”do-it-yourselfer,” you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re not, you may want to call an electrician for assistance. Here are some simple tips that may help you with installation.

1. Read the directions. When you buy something new, the last thing you may want to do is read the directions. However, reading the directions prior to installation can increase efficiency and safety.

2. Gather the necessary tools. Understanding what tools are required and gathering them ahead of time can lead to increased efficiency. Turn off your HVAC system.

3. Turn off your system  Turn off your system using the switch on the side of the unit or the breaker in your circuit box.

4. A picture is worth 1,000 words. Take a picture of the wiring before disconnecting. This can serve as a guide for setting up the new one. In addition, if something goes wrong with the smart thermostat, your old one can serve as a backup.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts; please share them in the box below.



Topics: Home Safety