Maybe you have been in the same situation. Your flight just landed, you have picked up your luggage and now you are at the rental car counter. You are tired from the flight and already thinking about ordering room service at the hotel when you are asked, “Would you like insurance with your rental car?”

Do you need to buy rental car insurance?

Truth be told, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer. However, you can likely make a decision you’re comfortable with by considering a few things.

What Rental Car Coverage You Might Already Have

First things first, start with your personal auto insurance. It is likely that your policy will provide the same level of coverage for your rental as it does for your own personal vehicle. This usually includes liability insurance, and, depending on the policy you purchased, may include collision, comprehensive and medical payments.

There are some exclusions, however, that it is important to be aware of. Some insurers won’t cover rentals in a foreign country, or rentals that are being used for business. It is important to get in contact with your insurance agent to confirm your coverage.

Next, there is your credit card. Most cards will offer some degree of coverage, but it varies widely. Credit card coverage is usually secondary and designed to pick up where your auto insurance leaves off. It, also, tends to be mostly confined to collision, damage, and theft. For coverage to apply, most cards require that you decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver and pay for the car in full with the card that provides the protection. It is important to contact your card company to specify what exactly is covered.

Lastly, consider your health and life insurance. If you’re in an accident involving a rental car and you have these policies, you likely have coverage for your own costs. Additionally, with your homeowners insurance, you may have personal property coverage to help repair or replace valuable belongings that are lost, damaged or stolen while you’re in a rental. Your deductible and policy limits will apply.

What Types of Insurance the Rental Car Agency is Offering

Typically, a car rental agency will offer you four types of insurance to purchase:

  • Collision damage waiver – The rental car company won’t charge you for a damaged or stolen vehicle when you buy this.
  • Supplemental liability protection – This coverage will ensure you are covered for costs to others if you cause an accident in the rental car.
  • Personal accident insurance – This coverage will pay for injuries of the driver or passengers of your rental car.
  • Personal effects coverage – Reimburse you for stolen personal items while renting the car.

What Rental Coverage Car You Might Be Missing

If something were to happen to your rental car, you may be looking at loss of use and diminished value fees and your regular policy may not cover them.

  • Loss of use is the income that the rental agency loses due to the vehicle being in the shop for repairs.
  • Diminished value is the calculated reduction in a vehicle’s resale value as a result of an accident.

Credit cards sometimes cover these; however, they may require documentation that rental agencies can be reluctant to provide.

Before you make your next trip, give your insurance agent a call and check with your credit card company on what rental car insurance coverage you already have, so you’re ready to make an informed decision at the rental car counter.

1. Coverage Limits 

Uber/Lyft Driver

When the driver signs into the app and is trolling for a passenger, Uber limits coverage to only $50,000/$100,000 total for injuries and $25,000 for property damage to others. Beyond those limits, the driver is personally responsible for damages – coverage under their personal auto policy does not apply.

 

2. Umbrella Policies

Uber/Lyft customer

Umbrella policies have the “drive for hire” exclusion – No coverage applies while you are an Uber driver.

 

3. Multiple Passengers Coverage Ceiling

Uber/Lyft driver

 

When an Uber driver has accepted a passenger and is transporting them – they only have $1,000,000 coverage for damage caused by uninsured motorists coverage total…what if there are multiple occupants in the vehicle? It is $1M total for all passengers.

Call us today to check your uninsured motorist limits.

I thought I was having a nightmare…one that I tell all my clients about but never thought would happen to me.

I received the dreaded call that no homeowner or business owner ever wants to receive.

I had just finished up a great workout and it was 7am on a Monday morning.  I was in my car, almost home when my phone rang and it was a phone number I did not recognize.  I picked up the phone and it was my business park neighbor who said “Karyn, get here quick – there is water coming out of both of your front doors at Seibert Insurance”.  I flipped a U-turn just as fast as I could and got there in under 5 minutes.  To my disbelief, my business park neighbor was not exaggerating.

I drove up to the front doors of the business and saw the water pouring out OF MY BUILDING and into the parking lot.  I then opened the front door and the water really began to gush out!  I was standing in the lobby of my office….and in 4 inches of water….at the same time!! I walked to the back of the office to see the water coming out of the ceiling like a waterfall.  Needless to say, the ceiling had already collapsed onto the floor in the back of the office.

Lesson #1 – Know where your water shutoff valve is for your building or your home – nothing is more important in this situation!

I immediately thought, “oh my gosh – how do I turn off the water to the building?”  I ran outside, found a box in front of my building that was underground and I turned off the water to the building.

Once the water was off, I went back inside and looked around.  Computers were underwater, all my furniture was soaked, stationary, all my tax receipts…so much was destroyed!  The first call I made was to my husband to have him turnaround while on his way to work to come to the office and help me.  I then called Nationwide claims (my insurance company for the building) and asked them “Who should I use to clean this up and help me?”.  Nationwide gave me the names of three different vendors to choose from immediately on the first call and the first one that answered and said “we are on the way” is the one I used.

Lesson #2 – Don’t wait for the water restoration company to get there, do what you can ASAP to start mitigating the loss yourself.

Once I knew the restoration company were on the way, I called my staff and told them to come into the office in shorts and T-shirts…my plan was to get them working to empty out the building of furniture to start the mitigation process.

My staff was great!  Within 1 hour of me finding this mess, we had all the furniture and computers out in the parking lot so they could start to dry.  We had brooms we were using to brush out the water into the parking lot.

Lesson #3 – Have a “back up” plan in case your building is destroyed.

We had already started to set up a temporary office for my staff to work from while the dry out/rebuild process started.  Our phones and extra computers were set up and running by 9am so we did not have any break in service for our clients BUT if we would not have had that other office location, how long would it have taken to set up a temporary office?

Lesson #4 – Have all your systems inspected in your home/office regularly and replace when they are approaching the end of their useful life.

The restoration folks got there around 8:30 that morning and they went right to work!  They identified pretty fast that it was my hot water heater in the ceiling (who knew offices have hot water heaters?!) that had cracked right down the side of it and was trying to refill for hours and hours and hours before we found out about it.

Lesson #5 – Review your insurance for your business now, don’t wait until after you have had claim.

So, I got my staff up and running, got the restoration folks working…what’s next…I think to myself “how much insurance do I have?”.  I tell my clients all the time, after a loss is not the time to wonder how much insurance you have but that is exactly what I was doing.  I pulled out my policy and reviewed the coverage and was instantly relieved because I knew I had the right amount of coverage for my business.

Lesson #6 – Have good relationships with vendors for everything that you need to operate in your office, you will need to pull in some major favors if something like this occurs at your place of business and you need to get up and running again ASAP.

The restoration company was very professional, efficient and well-staffed to handle my disaster. Something I never realized was how time consuming it is to coordinate the adjuster, the water restoration folks and the contractor that builds the place back again.  In addition to coordinating all of those workers, I was expected to do my normal job and re-buy all the items that had been damaged.  I needed new desks, new computers, new bookcases, new chairs, new vanities in the bathrooms, paint colors, etc…all of these decisions needed to be made quickly because any delay on my part would just push back the move-in date on the damaged building.

In summary, some important points to think about are…

  • Have a disaster plan in place – who calls who, where you will temporarily work and how – make sure that is all set up in advance.
  • Review your current insurance policy now, make sure you have enough property coverage, liability coverage, business interruption, etc.  This review should happen BEFORE you have a claim to ensure that the right coverage is in place to respond to a disaster.
  • Do business with a reputable carrier AND call that carrier for a contractor recommendation when you do have a loss.  They deal with contractors every day so they know who the “bad actors” are.  Let them refer you to their preferred vendors.  Not only do you get a longer warranty on the work when you use their vendors, they typically have a good relationship with the adjuster so checks get cut faster.
  • Call your agent for guidance and if you have any snags in the claims process, they can help you through it!
  • Be ready to make decisions!  The contractors will ask you all kinds of questions like paint colors, flooring and furniture purchasing.  The longer you wait to make a decision, the longer the re-build process will take!
  • Inspect all systems in your office every 5 years.  You want to know how old the A/C, water heater, electrical system, roof and plumbing systems are and that they are in good working order.  It is not a waste of time or money.  Had I inspected the systems in my office, I would have realized that I had a hot water heater, that it was in my attic AND that it was very old.  No doubt, I would have replaced it upon seeing the results of the inspection and I would have prevented this loss from occurring.
  • Make the best out of the situation.  My staff members were used to having their own offices with doors but for more than a month many were in cubicles or conference rooms and were operating without all of their materials at their desk.  We called it summer camp and had a “bet” on who could guess the move-in date.  The person who got closest to the date, won a fire pit from our summer camp area in the office.  We brought in donuts, lunches and snacks to try to keep everyone positive.

The happy ending… 51 days later we are back in our office…it is like brand new so please come and check it out…  Also see our pictures of the process….from the day of the flood to the dryout to the restoration and now we are all put back together!

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Why should I have an independent insurance agent?

No one understands your local area and its unique risks like an independent agent. An independent agent works side by side with you, the customer, as part of the fabric of your community.

Unlike their online counterparts, independent agents are able to tap into the resources and expertise of multiple insurance companies. So from home to auto to business insurance, you get more options and more ways to create the insurance plan that’s right for you.

There are other benefits as well. A good independent agent is free to give you objective advice. No strings attached. A good agent has the ability to find the policy that meets your needs and you don’t have to worry that there might be a better policy out there.

How do independent insurance agents benefit their customers?Why do I need an insurance agent?

There are many terrific benefits to you as a customer. To begin with, you’ve got a chance to build a dependable, lifetime working relationship with your independent agent. Because your agent knows you well, he or she will be able to help you make the best decisions about adjustments to your coverage when needed.

Independent agents can also save you time and energy by servicing all of your insurance needs. In addition to providing you with a superior personal policy, your agent can handle your business coverage as well. Many customers choose to have one agent as their advocate for both commercial and personal lines of insurance.

Your agent works as your advocate and can represent your interests with a company’s claim representative in the case that you ever need to file a claim. You can be assured that you are getting personal, fair and fast attention in addressing all your insurance needs.

The bottom line?

Working with an independent agent offers you peace of mind. As a customer, you want to know that the insurance advice and coverage that you receive is coming from someone you trust and in your best interest. Your agent is there to protect your interests and to support you in times of need.

To make sure your insurance is keeping up with the needs of you and your family be sure to talk to an independent agent.

Written By: Phyllis Hromalik, Office Manager at Seibert Insurance Agency for over 20 years

Karyn recently did an interview with Stacie Schaible of WFLA about Teen Driving.

Car accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teens in the United States.

Karyn spoke to Stacie about ways parents can educate their teen drivers and ways they can promote safety while driving.

If you didn’t catch the interview live, you can check it out here:

Check out this infographic created by Tower Hill, one of the homeowner insurance carriers we represent.

It includes facts you need to know about hurricanes.

Hurricane season started June 1, so it’s important to stay prepared.

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We were voted one of the top 3 insurance agency websites by PropertyCasualty360.

We are honored to receive this recognition.

We strive every day to serve our clients and community and believe our new website helps us do that.

We would like to thank PropertyCasualty360 for acknowledging us.

Check out the article about the award here.

We know how much you love to test how smart you are.

Take the Boating Safety Quiz below, courtesy of Safeco Insurance, to see just how much you know about staying safe on the water. Answer questions about life jackets, the proper way to tow water-skiers and more.

Once finished, they are invited to learn more about how to enjoy a safe day on the water by visiting Safeco’s Boating Safety Tips page.

“I live on a private lake. I don’t need to have insurance on my jet ski/boat”.

It is true that if you live on a private lake it is unlikely that you will be pulled over by Marine Patrol to verify your vessel is insured BUT that does not mean you do not have a need for insurance.

Photo Courtesy of Tiger Schmitttendorf

Photo Courtesy of Tiger Schmitttendorf

Imagine you have your friends over for a day on the lake. It is a beautiful day out, you are swimming and water-skiing and your friends ask if they can drive your jet ski.  They tell you they know what they are doing, so you let them drive it.

You fail to remind them that on a jet ski, you have no brakes and have to hit the gas to turn. Before you know it, they are headed in the wrong direction around the lake and are head on with another boater because they want to jump the wake that the boat is putting out.

They get too close…let off the gas…try to steer away, but keep moving straight towards danger and then CRASH into the boat.  Now, your neighbors boat is damaged, people are injured inside the boat, your jet ski is wrecked and the driver of the jet ski is critically injured.

Did you know that you are responsible for all the damage simply because you own the jet ski?

You are! And if you don’t have insurance on your jet ski, you have just put all your personal assets at risk.

Did you know that most jet ski/boat insurance is less than $500 per year?

If you have a jet ski, boat, or any other recreational vehicle that is not insured, call us today for a quote to protect your assets.