Why Extending Home Insurance From Standard Coverage is a Good Idea

Having standard home insurance coverage is a good thing because it covers many of the basic risks to a home; however, it usually does not cover everything that most homeowners need to protect.

It is a good idea to discuss the specifics of home insurance coverage with your agent at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving Peoria, AZ and the surrounding area. Your agent can help you understand what things may need extra coverage.

Some of the items to consider include:

  • Pests: Damage from vermin and insects may not be covered by a home insurance policy. If termites destroy a home, coverage for the damage is not something usually found in a standard policy. The size of the pest may affect the coverage. For example, if a bull stampedes through a living room, the damage may be covered; however, a rat chewing through electrical wiring may not be covered.
  • Mold: The problem with mold is that it can grow in places that are not easily seen. A home insurance policy may not cover old problems such as a roof leak that allows water to enter the home, which causes mold contamination within the walls over time.
  • Floods: Because of the new weather patterns from climate change, floods and flash floods are showing up in places that are not expected to have them. About 25% of flood damage now occurs outside of the traditional floodplains on maps maintained by the U.S. government that are desperately in need of an update.
  • Earthquakes and Sinkholes: Earthquakes and sinkholes are unusual risks that need to have special coverage. If the ground shifts beneath a home, this can cause cracks in the foundation, floors, and walls, which need expensive repairs.
  • Municipal Sewer Systems: In severe rainstorms, a municipal sewer system may get overloaded and cause sewage to back up and then to enter homes causing severe damage.

Get a home insurance review by talking with your agent at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance in Peoria, AZ to add extra coverage to your home insurance as needed.

A Quick Description of Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is really just a catch-all term for extra liability insurance. It’s a way to go above and beyond your current protection to give you extra coverage should you land yourself in a legal mess. Those in Peoria, AZ who want to protect themselves, their families, and their livelihoods can consider umbrella insurance as a way to give them additional protection. Keep this explanation in mind before looking for policies, courtesy of Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance. 

Legal Fees 

A single undeserved liability claim against you will need to be fought in court, which requires costs ranging from court costs to lawyer fees to time and opportunities lost away from work. Cases may be dragged on for weeks or even months as everyone gets their evidence and appeals in order. If you have someone who’s determined to win the case however they can, you may end up having to spend far more than you realized to put the matter to bed. 

Reputation 

Sometimes when people’s names are dragged through the mud, it’s entirely deserved. But sometimes, it’s based on false allegations that are entirely fabricated by a single entity. Even though a case may be far less expensive to settle, a business leader may be hesitant to settle because it will look as though they did something wrong. Umbrella insurance is there to help handle the less tangible costs of reputation loss. It helps the holder take back control to clear themselves in the public eye against the charges. 

Calling Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance is a great way to learn more about how umbrella insurance can help you. If you live in Peoria, AZ, we can help you decide on a policy that can keep you safe from potential claims that come your way. 

Is Commercial Insurance Required for Me?

If you own your own business in the Peoria, AZ area, you will want to make sure that you are following all of the rules and regulations that are set forth for you. One very important rule that you will need to follow is in regards to Insurance. Small business owners are often required to carry commercial insurance to cover their business and employees.  there are several situations that could indicate whether or not you need to have commercial insurance coverage in place.

If You Have a Loan
One situation in which having commercial insurance could be a requirement for your business is if you have taken out a loan. When a bank gives a loan to a company for any reason, they want to make sure that the company will be able to repay the loan. Because of this, they will want to make sure that you have plenty of insurance coverage in place in the event you are sued. The lender may also need to be named as an additional insured party. 

If You Have Employees Working for You
In the state of Arizona, business owners are also required by law to carry workers compensation Insurance. When you have workers compensation coverage in place, it will give insurance coverage to an employee in the result they are injured while working. This will ensure they receive the medical care that they need to recover from the injury. 

If you are looking to learn more about your commercial insurance requirements, you should contact the Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance company to learn more. The Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance company can help Peoria, AZ companies to find the perfect commercial insurance policy for their business and can provide a range of insurance consulting services.

Understanding Taxes and Life Insurance

It’s important to understand different tax implications when buying life insurance, so you can make the right decision for your current situation and your future. Discuss with your agent at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance.

Taxes on Life Insurance Premiums

Unlike other purchases you make in Peoria, AZ, you don’t have to pay sales taxes on life insurance premiums.

Employer-Provided Life Insurance

When an employer provides life insurance, the IRS will consider it income, which means that the employee may have to pay taxes. An employee will only have to pay taxes up to a certain amount of coverage.

Prepaid Life Insurance

Certain policies will allow the policyholder to pay a premium with a lump sum up front. This money will then get applied to the premiums throughout the plan. The lump sum will grow due to interest, and that interest money is considered income by the IRS. This means that money can be taxed either when the money is applied to the premium, or if the policyholder withdraws some of the money.

Cash Value Plans

Whole life insurance plans can also accumulate cash value, and a portion of those dollars can accumulate interest. Since these plans can accumulate interest some people use them as investments, along with the benefit that if they have an untimely death, their family is protected. This interest is still considered income and has tax implications, and financial advisors will advise not to go this route because the returns are usually minimal compared to other investments. However, the policyholder doesn’t have to pay income tax each year as the plan grows. The whole life insurance policy is tax-deferred and taxes don’t have to be paid until the policy is cashed out.

Life insurance premiums are not tax deductible. While many health insurance plans can be deducted from federal income tax, life insurance premiums are considered a personal expense that cannot be deducted on a tax return.

Contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving Peoria, AZ for a quote on life insurance.

 

3 Reasons to Acquire Commercial Insurance in Peoria, AZ

When you own a commercial business in Peoria, AZ, there are more than a few reasons you need commercial insurance. If you don’t currently have this coverage, then you need to contact the professionals at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance.

If you want to know more about why this type of insurance is necessary, learn more here.

Protect Your Business Assets

The top reason you should carry commercial business coverage is to protect your assets. You put time, effort and money into what you have built in acquired – all this is worth protecting. Believe it or not, coverage to protect you from a devastating loss is actually more affordable than you may think. Don’t neglect this type of coverage or your business may be put at risk.

Protect Your Employees

Your employees are depending on you. You have to have insurance to protect these individuals. These are the most important people and with the proper insurance, you can ensure they are taken care of if they are injured in the line of duty. Also, by having insurance coverage, you won’t suffer a financial burden if an employee files for workers’ compensation benefits.

Protect Your Customers

While your workers may be injured while working for you, your customers may also suffer an injury. If this happens, they can sue you can result in financial devastation for your business. With commercial business coverage, you won’t have to worry about this, as this will cover any damages or injuries that have occurred.

If you need more information about purchasing commercial business insurance for your Peoria, AZ business, contact the staff at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance for more information. Having the proper amount of coverage is the best way to protect yourself and your business.

 

How Umbrella Policies Protect You and Your Family

Your home is a valuable asset to you and your family. That is why you protect it with quality homeowners’ insurance. With a homeowners’ policy, you also benefit from a measure of liability coverage should anyone be injured on the property. The same holds true for your automobile insurance. Your coverage protects you and your assets in the event of an accident where you are deemed liable. These types of standard liability coverage have its limits though. What would happen if someone is injured and their medical expenses exceed what is covered in your home or auto policies? Additionally, if they decide to sue you based on your negligence, the legal fees can quickly exceed what Is covered by your home or auto policy. This is where umbrella insurance comes into play. It provides an additional level of liability coverage. It is not used until the coverage of all other policies have been exhausted. It’s a tool that is there when you need it most. The agents at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance work with homeowners’ in the Peoria, AZ area every day. They understand your concerns that your assets are adequately protected.  

When considering adding the additional protection of an umbrella policy, you will have many questions. You may even feel reticent to add another policy. The agents at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance help Peoria, AZ area homeowners see the benefits of an additional umbrella insurance policy. By adding a low-cost umbrella policy, the amount of liability coverage and asset protection increases significantly. Your agent will be able to answer any questions that you have and demonstrate how an umbrella policy can be a good financial investment for you and your family. Why put your most important assets at risk? Call your agent today!

Will Home Insurance Cover My Expensive Personal Items?

One of the most important factors to consider when you are buying a new home is the purchase of a new home insurance policy. While a home insurance policy will be able to provide you with coverage for your property if it is damaged, it can also provide you with coverage for your personal belongings. However, the coverage that you have for some expensive items including jewelry, art, and expensive electronics may not be covered by your base policy. There are several factors that should be considered when determining whether or not your expensive personal items are covered by your home insurance policy.  

Base Coverage Policy

The first factor to consider when determining if your personal items are covered by your insurance policy is what your base coverage policy is.  Your base home insurance policy will provide you with a fixed amount of coverage for all of your personal items. This amount of coverage is typically around $10,000 or less, which means some more expensive items may not be covered.

Rider to Policy

If your expensive personal items are not covered by the standard policy limit, the next factor to consider is whether or not you have a rider to your policy. A rider to your home insurance policy will provide you with coverage for a specific item. Having a rider will provide coverage for theft, loss, or damage to the item.  

If you have expensive personal items that you want to have insured, contacting Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance would be a good place to start. Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance can provide those in the Peoria, AZ area a full understanding of their home insurance needs to make sure their jewelry, art, and other expensive belongings are covered by either the full policy or a rider.  

Do You Need to Tell Your Insurance If a Teen With a Drivers Permit is Driving the Car?

There is a lot of confusion as to when you need to add a teenager to your auto insurance policy or let your auto insurance company know that your teenager is driving. Here at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, this is a question that we are often asked. Here is the answer that we provide to parents who have a teen who has just received their permit. 

Do You Need to Notify Your Auto Insurance Company?

In most cases, the auto insurance company does not require you to notify them that your teenager is driving until your teenage is a licensed driver. This means that, in most cases, you do not have to notify your auto insurance company when your teenager receives their permit and begins to drive. 

Should You Notify Your Auto Insurance Company?

While you are not required to notify the auto insurance company in most cases, it is still a good idea to reach out to your specific auto insurance company and let them know that you do have a teenager who received their permit. Some companies do require you to notify them of all drivers, including only those with permits. Reaching out to your insurance company allows you to add your teenager if it is required. 

Once your teenager is licensed to drive, your auto insurance needs may change. At Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, we can help you determine how much coverage you need and help you find the best plan for both your needs and your teenager’s needs. Contact us today to get started. 

What Does an Umbrella Insurance Cover?

An umbrella insurance policy is an extra liability coverage. To understand what the policy does and doesn’t cover, you have to know all the underlying insurance plans. This policy is designed to offer protection from major lawsuits and claims, hence protecting your assets and finances. This is accomplished in two ways:

  • It offers extra liability coverage above your auto, homeowner’s, boat, motorcycle, and RV policy limits.
  • It gives protection for the claims excluded by other liability plans such as slander, false arrest, libel, as well as liability coverage on any owned rental units.

This coverage will provide an expanded protection over the policies you currently have and is given by insurance providers like Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance in Peoria, AZ. So, in case you are involved in a car accident and the expenses exceed your policy limits, the umbrella plan kicks in to pick up the extra difference. However, if you are involved in an accident because of doing something unlawful, the illegal action will void both your auto and umbrella policy.

When it comes to homeowner’s insurance policy, liability insurance can have some exclusions like failing to provide coverage if you keep a breed of dogs that are considered dangerous. In case you purchase the plan, and then your dog bites someone, you’ll not get compensation. What’s more, your umbrella policy won’t help you either, just like the homeowner’s policy.

Although most umbrella plans also exclude items excluded on your underlying coverages, there may be some exceptions. For instance, if you have a home business, you may not know that your business coverage isn’t part of the homeowner’s insurance plan. If a customer comes to your home and gets injured, you won’t get the required protection. But, your umbrella insurance carrier may extend the additional business protection options to you.

How to qualify

To qualify for an umbrella policy, you need to have the required insurance plan limits for liability on all the underlying policies. You also need to meet the limit requirements as set by the insurance carriers.

It’s important to get umbrella insurance, so consider contacting Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance that serves the Peoria, AZ area for more information.

 

 

Factors affecting vehicle sales, insurance and repairs

By Patricia L. Harman

March 7, 2018

PropertyCasualty360

Artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and changing consumer expectations are just some of the issues impacting auto sales, insurance and repairs according to the 2018 Crash Course study from CCC Information Services, Inc.

With 17.25 million vehicles sold in 2017, slightly down from 2016, the 2% increase in average vehicle prices to $36,113 meant it was still a strong year for manufacturers. Higher vehicle costs also means increased insurance premiums, leading insureds to opt for higher deductibles should they be involved in an accident. According to the CCC report, 19% of all collision claims had a deductible of $500 or more, although the average repair generally costs significantly more than the deductible.

Auto technology improves

Manufacturers are working towards greater “vehicle connectivity, vehicle autonomy and vehicle electrification, powered by advancements in computer power, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Susanna Gotsch, Crash Course author and lead analyst for CCC. “Our industry has never moved faster or been so exciting. Advances in digitization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and sensor and camera technology are driving dramatic changes and improvements in automotive technology.”

Connected vehicles are enabling vast amounts of information about a vehicle’s health, driving data (the vehicle and driver’s), performance, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle data to be collected by manufacturers, insurers and other parties. Some of the information can help insurers with more accurate policy underwriting.

SMA research anticipates that 70% of all auto insurers will be using telematics by 2020. The benefits include a shorter delay in filing the first notice of loss with an insurer, since crash data could conceivably be sent to the insurer, first responders (in the event of bodily injuries) and to the repairer.

Technology usage in other areas has affected policyholders’ expectations for the insurance industry. Like online retailers who provide constant updates when packages have been dispatched, are en-route and will be delivered, insurers and repairers are expected to provide similar information to policyholders about their claims. Recognizing the importance regular communication has on customer satisfaction ratings, multiple insurers are utilizing programs to provide policyholders with regular updates on their claims status.

The ups and downs of ride-sharing

As the use of ride-sharing increases, so does the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven. The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis studied ride-hailing in seven U.S. cities and found a 6% drop in the use of public bus transportation and a 3% drop in light rail use.

In New York City, increased ride-sharing usage accounted for declines in the use of taxi and private car services. For business travelers, ride-sharing now accounts for 65% of the ground transportation costs according to the Center for Automotive Research, while taxis only account for 7% and car rentals for 28%. Even airports are reporting a major drop in fees from parking, car rental companies and taxis.

Auto repair costs climb while collision severity drops

The increased use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as front crash prevention, blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, park assist, obstacle detection and back-over prevention is having a positive impact. While these technologies are not mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA announced in 2016 that 20 major auto manufacturers had voluntarily committed to making front crash prevention systems standard on most models (approximately 99%) by 2020.

Studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and IIHS have found that vehicles equipped with forward collision warning systems have reduced rear-end collisions by 23%, and accidents involving vehicles with automatic emergency braking dropped by 40%. The CCC report finds that in addition to fewer accidents, these systems may also help reduce the number of incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

While these technologies have shown promise in reducing the number and severity of accidents, the cost to repair vehicles continues to rise. CCC said the average cost for a repair increased 2% in 2017 to $2927. Repair costs for non-comprehensive losses ran 2.3% higher in 2017 than the previous year, with costs for current model vehicles running slightly higher at 3.7%. Costs to repair vehicles that were one to three years old increased 3%.

However, there is a significant difference in repair costs depending on the age of a vehicle. Average repair costs for new vehicles compared to older ones increased from 47% to 69% over the last five years. “Dollars for replaced parts as a share of total repair costs and the average number of replaced parts per claim have increased — particularly for newer vehicles,” said Gotsch in her report.

The increased use of driver assistance technologies can help mitigate or even prevent accidents, but like cell phones and other technology, they will also change driver behaviors. For insurers, this could also mean changes in liability and the types of insurance coverage required for a vehicle. The actual repair costs, while higher, could be offset by fewer overall accidents, which would have a long-term impact on parts suppliers and repair shops as well. The changes for all are probably coming more quickly than anyone expects.