A ring from a loved one. A bracelet handed down through generations. A watch or necklace marking a special occasion.
Every reason why you treasure a piece of fine jewelry is a reason why it should be insured.
However, calling it “jewelry insurance” may be a stretch. You don’t need a separate policy to insure your jewelry. You just need to ensure you have the right personal property coverage from your homeowners, condo, or renters insurance.
Jewelry coverage helps protect the investment you’ve made in your favorite pieces by helping you replace them if you experience a loss that’s covered by your policy. But, the coverage is only for certain instances and set dollar amounts, so double check what coverage you have and learn more about insuring jewelry below.
Know What Your Existing Insurance Policy Covers
If you already have personal property coverage as part of a homeowners, renters, or condo policy, you likely already have some form of protection for your jewelry. The typical insurance policy will cover you, up to your policy limit, for jewelry that’s stolen or damaged in certain incidents, such as a fire at your home. However, the typical policy will not cover everyday damage, such as a stone falling out of its setting.
In addition to knowing when you’re covered and when you’re not, it’s also important to know how much you’re covered for. Your insurance policy may cover each individual piece of jewelry at a set amount, such as $1,000 per piece. Or, it may cover your jewelry collection as a whole, such as $3,000 for all pieces. Check your policy or schedule an insurance review with us to better understand what kind of jewelry coverage you have.
Calculate the Value of Your Jewelry Collection in Today’s Dollars
To determine whether you have enough jewelry insurance, you need to know how much your pieces are worth. Keep in mind that your pieces may be worth more now than when you bought them. The value of precious metals and precious stones can increase over time, so have your pieces appraised about every three years.
Use these appraisals, as well as receipts for recently purchased items, to add up the value of your collection. Then compare it to how much jewelry replacement coverage you have on your homeowners insurance, condo insurance or renters insurance.
Decide Which Items Require Additional Coverage
If the jewelry coverage on your policy is lower than the value of your collection, you’ll likely want to purchase additional coverage. For example, you may have a $2,000 pair of diamond earrings, a $7,500 engagement ring and an insurance policy that covers jewelry loss – no matter how many pieces – at $3,000. If both pieces are lost in a single incident, you’re short $6,500 of coverage.
To fill this gap, you can insure high-value items individually, as part of your homeowners insurance, condo insurance or renters insurance. This is known as “scheduling valuables” or adding a “rider” or “endorsement” to your policy. To do so, you will likely need a recent receipt or appraisal establishing the value of each item.
Once scheduled, if an item is damaged or lost in a covered incident, you’ll be covered for the full scheduled amount. Typically, scheduling an item also gives you broader coverage. A lost stone that isn’t covered under your homeowners policy, for example, is likely covered under a policy rider.
Catalog Your Jewelry in a Home Inventory
Once you arrange coverage for your high-value jewelry, it’s important to create a home inventory or update an existing one to catalog your valuable belongings. This isn’t as important for your scheduled pieces because your insurance company has a record of their value. However, for any unscheduled pieces that are lost or stolen, you’ll want a record of their worth.
Ideally, your home inventory will include photos, receipts, appraisals, descriptions, brand names, etc. of all valuable personal property, not just your jewelry. That way, if there’s a loss, you’ll already have the documentation needed for a personal property claim in place.
A home inventory can be as simple as a Word document (save it to the cloud or a flash drive in case your computer is damaged or stolen). Or use a Web program or mobile phone app, such as the home inventory app, to help you catalog your belongings.
Insuring jewelry is easy and affordable, so talk to us about it. If you get something special this year, in addition to flashing it to your friends, think about protecting it, too.
For more info, please visit Safeco Insurance®.
It’s easy to lower your insurance costs — especially if you have a great driving record, or don’t mind having higher deductibles.
Who doesn’t want to pay less for car insurance? Billions of dollars are spent on ad campaigns to convince you to “switch and save” — but the truth is, many people can find savings no matter who their insurance company is. According to the Insurance Information Institute and other experts, here’s how you can, too:
For more information, visit Safeco Insurance®.
There are lots of things no one wants to talk about – disability insurance is one of them. But the longer you ignore it, the less protected you are against long term financial risks due to unexpected illnesses and injuries.
Read on for guidance and answers to common questions about disability insurance. This information can help you get started and make the best decision based on your specific needs.
1. If you have people who depend on your income – or if you depend on your income – you need disability insurance. You might be surprised to learn that social security disability benefits are not available if you are expected to be out of work for less than a year. One year without income could deplete your savings and have a significant impact on your finances.
2. Disability insurance replaces a portion of your income when you can’t work. If you were unable to work due to illness or injury, disability insurance can help to pay your most essential expenses, including food, utilities, school tuition, home and car payments.
3. Most long-term absences are due to illnesses, not accidents. While many people think that disabilities are typically caused by accidents, the majority of long-term absences are actually due to illness.
4. You need it even if you’re young and healthy. Almost 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67. What’s more, it’s easier and less expensive to get disability insurance when you’re young and healthy.
5. The risk of a disability during your working years may be greater than you think. The risk of suffering a disabling illness or injury may be more likely than you realize. In fact, at least one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling before they reach retirement age. Disability insurance helps you maintain a steady stream of income when you can’t work due to illness or injury.
6. A good rule of thumb is to protect 60-80% of your after-tax income. You will need to meet your essential living expenses if you should become disabled. 72% of consumer expenditures cover essential needs like housing, food, transportation, health care and education. This easy-to-use Disability Needs Calculator can help determine what amount of disability insurance is most appropriate for your situation.
7. Some disability insurance is better than no disability insurance. When budgets are especially tight, it still makes sense to buy enough disability insurance to cover rent or mortgage payments and keep your family in their home should you become disabled. Disability insurance is more affordable than you may think. For example, a healthy 35 year-old male may obtain a $1,000 monthly benefit for an initial premium of approximately $25 per month.
8. Make sure you know how much disability insurance you get at work. Check to see if disability coverage is made available to you through your employee benefits package. You might want to look carefully at coverage, however, since group benefits alone may not be enough due to potential benefit limitations and types of income covered.
9. There is no substitute for good advice. Seek advice on how much insurance is right for your needs. Talk to a trained financial professional or perform research online. Whichever approach works best for you, taking action to protect you and your family with disability insurance is an important part of a strong financial plan.
10. The financial strength and reputation of the company you buy from matters. When you purchase disability insurance, the company you buy from is making a long-term commitment to you. If you become disabled, there is a chance you will receive benefits for an extended period of time, so it makes sense to buy from a company with experience, financial strength and a solid reputation.
Call us today to talk about getting you a Disability Insurance quote!
That oh-so-covetable experience of taking a dip in your very own pool? Millions of American households enjoy it, at least when the weather’s nice.
With the summer heat ratcheting up, you may be coming down with a serious case of pool envy, obsessed with having a pool right outside your door for cooling off and entertaining friends. A swimming pool can even increase the value of your home. But, will it increase your homeowners insurance rates too?
Before you dive in and add a pool to your property or buy a home that already has one, here are three important things to keep in mind:
Above all, ask us questions. Against which risks is damage to my pool covered? Is the pump covered too and under what circumstances?
Working closely with someone who understands your property and the local zoning laws is one of the best ways to fully understand how a pool may affect your homeowners insurance rates. We can help you find the right balance of coverage for your specific situation and help ensure your relaxing oasis isn’t an unmanageable risk.
Looking for a Homeowners Insurance quote?
Contact us to get the coverage that’s right for you, whether you have a pool or not!
For more information, visit Safeco Insurance®.
Today, as car sharing has grown in popularity (well over a million people are members of various services in the U.S., according to the Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC)), the number of options has grown, too.
You can borrow a company-owned car (think Zipcar or Car2Go) for a few hours at a time or for a daily rate, returning it to the spot where you picked it up or a drop-off area in a designated zone. You can even rent cars from other individuals—and rent your car to them.
There are benefits and drawbacks to car sharing—just as there are when driving your own car everywhere. But is sharing right for you? Here are four things you should consider before you get started.
There’s a lot to like about car sharing, but there’s a lot to think about, too. Don’t hit the road before you weigh the pros and cons—and make sure you’re protected.
For more information, check out SafeCo's website.
“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
That’s a quote from author Hal Borland — but another favorite saying might be even more appropriate for this time of year: “Be prepared.”
After all, warmer weather brings plenty of risk to go with its beauty. If you aren’t ready, you could find yourself with more spring cleaning than you bargained for after heavy rains, hailstorms, and other hazards.
Here are five things you can do to get yourself and your property all set for the season.
To learn more, check out Safeco Insurance®.
Home improvement: It’s a never-ending process for many people, and for those of us who aren’t necessarily handy, it can be a hassle, too.
But there are plenty of simple maintenance tasks and other improvements you can handle to make your home safer – whether you’re handy or not. And you won’t have to break out the power tools (or any tools at all in some instances) or worry about getting in over your head.
You need running water in your home – but not water running in your home, if you know what we mean. Even minor leaks can cause major problems, from higher water bills to damage requiring costly repairs (maybe even the kind you can’t tackle yourself). Here are some easy ways to make sure your water stays where it should:
Keep Your Family (and Your Guests) On Their Feet
Millions of Americans – many of them older adults – are injured in falls each year. About 2.5 million were hurt in 2013 alone, according to the National Safety Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Look around your home. Should you make some of these fixes?
Give Everyone Some Air
Pollution isn’t just an outside thing – the air in your home can be unhealthy, too. But helping people breathe a little easier isn’t hard when you follow these steps:
Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a kitchen remodel or finishing the basement. Making your home safer, in fact, just might be the best improvement of all.
Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.
We, at Theodore & Associates, know the language used by the insurance industry can be confusing. We want to make sure that you clearly understand your options and know exactly what you’re paying for.
Here are some common terms that are used for different types of coverage. We hope this glossary helps make the world of insurance easier to understand!
Additional Living Expenses
If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, your insurance company may pay the necessary increase in living expenses while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.
Broad Form Liability Coverage
Helps protect you from expenses related to injuries or property damage you or your watercraft cause in an accident. Some policies also cover certain accidental fuel spill liabilities and wreckage removal.
C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) is a claims history database created by ChoicePoint that enables insurance companies to access consumer claims information when they are underwriting or rating an insurance policy. It typically contains up to five years of personal auto or personal property claims history.
You can order a C.L.U.E. report:
LexisNexis Personal Reports
Call toll free 1-866-312-8076
Or you can request a copy from the seller of a home you are purchasing.
Pays to repair your auto, classic auto, motorcycle, RV damages caused by an accident. Your agent can help you determine the limits you need based on the agreed value of your vehicle.
Pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in some way other than in a collision. May include loss from fire, cracked windshields, floods, falling objects, and wind.
Custom Parts & Equipment Coverage
Many motorcycle owners like to customize their rides, and some policies pay for customized parts and equipment, often at no extra charge. Ask Theodore & Associates for details.
When you get insurance, you agree to pay up to a certain amount out-of-pocket in case of a loss. This amount is called your “deductible.” The deductible you choose often affects how much you pay for your premium. For example, a higher deductible usually means a lower premium. In the case of a covered loss, you’ll only be required to pay your deductible, and the insurance company usually covers the excess, up to the applicable limit for that loss under your policy.
Emergency & Roadside Assistance
For auto, boat and personal watercraft, emergency assistance pays for the cost of towing or emergency service. For RVs, it also covers housing and transportation costs if your RV becomes uninhabitable and covers the loss of personal property in your RV. Some policies also provide roadside assistance for motorcycles.
Sometimes used interchangeably with “umbrella”, “excess liability” refers to extended liability coverage. This coverage is meant to supplement your insurance coverage if the damages exceed your liability coverage. Be sure to talk to Theodore & Associates about what your excess liability covers.
Companies and businesses often purchase this coverage to protect them against loss from employee dishonesty (such as theft of money, equipment, or other assets).
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open accounts or incur charges without your permission. Thieves can access your personal information in a variety of ways, such as stealing your personal mail, your wallet, or hacking your computer files. The thief then uses your identity to rack up debt in your name or perhaps to issue fake IDs. For more information on identity theft and tips on prevention visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Site.
Providing indemnity means to financially restore someone after a loss, through payment, repair or replacement.
Insurance ScoreAn Credit Based Insurance Score (CBIS) is derived from information on your credit report. It is a number that measures likelihood of having an insurance claim – not a measure of credit worthiness. Insurers use CBIS along with a number of other factors, including driving records, claims history, and the type of home or vehicle owned, to evaluate new and renewal auto and homeowner insurance policies.
Medical Coverage (Home)
Covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover healthcare costs for you or other members of your household.
Medical Coverage (Auto, Boat & Personal Watercraft, Motorcycle, RV)
Provides for your passenger and your medical expenses that are the result of an accident.
Liability & Personal Liability Coverage
For homeowners, this coverage applies if someone is injured or property is damaged and you are to blame. The coverage applies anywhere in the world. When choosing liability coverage for your home, auto, boat, personal watercraft, or RV, consider things like how much money you make and what you own. Your liability coverage should be high enough to protect your belongings if you are sued.
Personal Property Coverage
Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, sports equipment, and other items that mean a lot to you. This coverage helps repair or replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of an insured event.
Personal Watercraft (PWC)
A personal watercraft (PWC) is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. Models have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering.
Physical Damage Coverage for Watercraft
Pays to repair the damage done to your watercraft due to an accident. It also generally pays to repair or replace your watercraft for insured situations such as theft, fire, vandalism or other non-collision damages that occur in or out of the water
Simply put, a premium is the payment you make in exchange for one term of policy coverage.
Property or Dwelling Coverage
Typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event.
Scheduled Personal Property Coverage
If you have special possessions such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles, you may want to talk to your agent about this additional coverage.
Umbrella insurance is the coverage that may kick in when your losses under other insurance policies, such as homeowner’s and auto coverage, have exceeded policy limits.
Underwriting is the process of assessing risks when deciding whether to issue a policy of insurance.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Pays for damages associated with bodily injury or death from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver, as defined by the law in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred, who is at fault. It also covers you if you are hit as a pedestrian.
Unattached Equipment Coverage
Pays to repair or replace equipment that isn’t permanently attached to your boat or personal watercraft. This includes items like life jackets and water-skis.
Feel free to reach out to us for any further questions!
Everyone knows why life insurance is important, but many of us choose to ignore the reality of what would happen if we were to die suddenly without the proper protection. The results could be devastating for your surviving family members, leaving them with a large bill for your final expenses, or even worse, loss of the family home because they can no longer cover the mortgage.
If you don’t currently have a life insurance policy, you are not alone. According to Life Insurance Statistics and Facts, which is a report put out by the life insurance industry, about 43% of the population don’t own a life insurance policy in any amount. Unfortunately, the study found that most of us are in desperate need of a life insurance policy. Nearly 1/3 of Americans would feel the loss of the primary earner in the household within the month.
We gathered a few stories to highlight the importance of life insurance. While these stories are fictional, they are based on very common situations.
Mary and Steve have a 24-year-old daughter named Amy who took out $150,000 in private student loans to fund her law school degree. Her parents co-signed the loans, wanting to give Amy a shot at her dream career.
Amy graduated from law school, joined a great law firm, had a baby and started paying off her student loans. When she died at the age of 34 from breast cancer, her parents suddenly became responsible for about $120,000 (the balance on her loans) and their 2-year-old granddaughter.
Because they co-signed the loans, Mary and Steve were responsible for repaying the loan balance. In some cases, the loan documents may include an acceleration clause that will bring the entire balance due at death. Mary and Steve could not afford to pay off the loan and had to sell their own home to settle their daughter’s debt.
While no parent ever wants to take out a life insurance policy on their own child, if you have co-signed their loans, and paying off the balance of those loans would be financially devastating; a life insurance policy can protect you from financial ruin.
A 30-year term life insurance policy on a 25-year-old woman (Amy’s age when she graduated from law school) would be very affordable and would have saved the day for Mary, Steve and their granddaughter.
1. Insurance Through Work Isn't Enough
Scott and Trish were happily married with two kids. Scott had a great job that he loved and was pulling down $150,000 a year. His employer provided two years' salary in life insurance, which Trish (who handled the finances) thought was sufficient until she talked to a friend of hers who was an insurance agent.
Her agent friend warned her that any coverage through work is always a nice bonus, but it’s never a good idea to rely on it. In the event that Scott were to quit, be fired or be laid off, his life insurance coverage would go away, leaving them completely exposed, and if 10 years had gone by, coverage would be much more expensive because Scott was now 10 years older.
Most insurance experts recommend keeping your life insurance separate from any coverage offered by work. Consider work-related life insurance icing on your insurance cake.
Trish took her friend's advice, and purchased a $750,000 term life insurance policy with a 25-year term. This coverage level would give her enough money to pay off their mortgage, put the kids through school and give her a bit of breathing room if the worst were to happen to Scott.
2. Don’t Leave Your Kids Holding the Bag
Kelly, a single mother, always thought it would be a good idea to buy life insurance to protect her children, but something always seemed to get in the way. Money was tight, or time was tight and she just never got around to it.
Years later, Kelly purchased a small home; her daughter was then 18 years old and her son was 14. While she didn't exactly live paycheck to paycheck, her budget was pretty tight and didn't allow her much room for savings.
One night while driving home from work, Kelly was struck head-on by a distracted driver. She died instantly. While Kelly’s children were forced to deal with the tragic loss of their mother, they also had to face the fact that she left behind only a few thousand dollars in the bank and no life insurance, leaving them essentially broke after covering the cost of a very basic funeral.
That is why life insurance is important. Nobody knows what is coming around the corner. If you die unexpectedly, you can leave your spouse or children in a very tight spot.
Term life insurance is extremely affordable. A 20-year policy with a death benefit of $500,000 for a healthy female can cost as little as $25 a month.
3. Life Insurance Can Save a Business If a Key Employee Dies
John started a tech company when he was 20 years old. Over the years he grew it into a multi-billion business that was consistently on the cutting edge of technology, introducing many industry-disrupting inventions. Even though John now employed thousands, he was very hands-on and had personally come up with most of their major breakthroughs.
John’s board of directors was concerned that if something happened to John, the company would suffer a tremendous financial loss. The board felt that a key man insurance policy was needed. A key employee life insurance policy is put in place to protect a business from losses if an invaluable employee dies.
The company decided to take out a very large life insurance policy on John, over his strenuous protests. John felt that he was in fine shape and would live to a ripe old age. Unfortunately, John was wrong. He suffered a major heart attack and died a few years after the policy went into effect.
Sales and the stock price immediately plummeted after his death, and the death benefit from the life insurance policy kept the company afloat for the next 12 months while the new CEO rebuilt investor trust and got the company back on track.
4. Stay-at-Home Parents Need Insurance Too
Mike and Stacy have been married for ten years, and for most of that time, Mike has been lucky enough to stay home with the kids while Stacy has been the primary breadwinner. While Stacy earns a good living, she would struggle to cover the cost of a nanny or other childcare provider if something were to happen to Mike.
Mike provides a variety of services to the family. He takes care of childcare, transportation, managing the household and their finances. He also deals with repairs and maintenance for their home. Mike also earns a small income doing handyman services around the neighborhood.
They decide that in the event something happened to Mike, a life insurance policy would ensure that Stacy would have enough money to hire the necessary help or take a few years off to stay at home as the family learns to cope with the loss.
Sarah purchases a 20-year term policy with a death benefit of $750,000 that will give her the financial means to replace the services Mike provided for the family as well as cover the cost of sending the kids to college.
5. Life Insurance Can Ensure Your Business Survives
Todd and Chris started a business together and over the years it grew into a successful enterprise. Their financial advisor recommended using whole life insurance policies to make sure that if one partner died, their family would be taken care of, and the business would survive the loss.
Todd purchased a $1 million whole life policy on Chris (and made the payments) and vice versa. Years later Todd was killed by a drunk driver. Chris received the death benefit from his life insurance policy on Todd, which he used to buy Todd’s share of the business from Todd's family.
This arrangement allowed Todd's family to be fairly compensated for his half of the business, while also allowing the business to survive without taking the major financial hit of paying off Todd's family.
This is called a buy/sell agreement and is a fairly common arrangement for small business partners.
Top Reasons Why Life Insurance Is So Important
Hopefully these stories have shown you just how important life insurance and "insuring your love" is for the special people in your life. If you still have doubts, here are some reasons why life insurance is a necessity, not an option:
Where Can I Get Life Insurance?
If any of these stories struck a chord and you are considering a life insurance policy, you are in the right place. Theodore & Associates can help you assess your specific risks and financial goals before recommending a policy. Whether you need a term policy, a permanent policy or a combination of both, our agents will do all of the legwork for you, gather quotes, and present you with a variety of options that will provide the protection that you and your family need.
Start protecting your family today, contact Theodore & Associates now.
For more information, please visit Trusted Choice here.
Adam and Bob were best friends since junior high school. They shared an apartment in college, majored in the same field, and even went to work for the same company. When they were in their mid-30s, they came up with a great idea for a product that would become very popular, and the two decided to venture out with their own business. They decided to form a partnership with each owning 50%. The business soon began to flourish.
Two weeks after his 47th birthday, the seemingly healthy Adam suffered a massive heart attack and died. Upon his death, Adam’s ownership in the company was transferred to his wife, Cathy. Having known Bob for many years, Cathy left control of the company to him and the business continued to prosper.
Two years later, Cathy met Donald and after a whirlwind romance, the two were married. Donald became very interested in the stock in Cathy’s late husband’s business. Eventually he would begin having ideas about how the company could be better run. Although he had no experience to back his ideas, being a good wife, Cathy would make these suggestions to Bob. The relationship between the partners began to suffer from this tension.
Not long after Cathy and Donald’s third anniversary, Cathy was diagnosed with cancer and soon she also passed away. Like many people, Cathy had failed to plan properly for her future, and under community property laws, her ownership transferred to Donald at her death. Donald was now a 50% owner of the company with an equal authority in how the business was run.
Bob and Donald rarely agreed on the operation of the company and although he had years of experience and knowledge far superior to Donald’s, Bob was unable to override Donald’s ideas. Time spent on these disagreements, dissatisfied customers and mounting costs would all prove too much for the company, and on the 20th anniversary of Adam and Bob opening the doors of the company, they would be closed for good as the owners filed for bankruptcy.
A Simple Solution
A very simple yet often overlooked strategy could have helped avoid this unfortunate end to the previously happy story. A buy-sell agreement is a legally binding clause in a partnership agreement that controls what happens if one of the partners dies or otherwise needs to leave the partnership.
Typically, the agreement sets a price and gives the surviving partner the option to buy the deceased partner’s share from their estate. In the story above, this would have let Bob simply buy Adam’s ownership interest, allowing him to maintain full control of the business and avoid the other problems.
This strategy runs into difficulty at the time of the partner’s death if the surviving partner does not have sufficient capital to make the purchase. Keyperson life insurance helps to solve this problem. With this product, the business buys a life insurance policy, equal to the agreed upon purchase price, on the life of each of the partners with the other partner listed as beneficiary. Death benefit of the insurance is then used to pay the deceased partner’s estate and transfer ownership.
With the business listed as the owner of the policies, they are considered business assets and premiums are allowable business expenses. This allows the partners to successfully plan for the future of the business while receiving some valuable tax benefits as well.
For more information, please visit the Life Happens blog.