Friday, October 17, 2014

The Importance of Renters Insurance

If you live in a rented house or apartment, homeowners insurance is not something you need to worry about. But that doesn't mean that you don’t have belongings and assets that you need to protect. Your landlord will have insured the building in which you live, but that does not cover your personal possessions. What if they should be stolen or damaged or destroyed by fire or natural disasters? Most people tend to underestimate the value of their belongings. It’s easy to think that replacing your possessions will cost you a few thousand dollars. When disaster strikes, you may suddenly find that the actual cost runs into tens of thousands of dollars.

Do Not Underestimate the Value of Your Possessions

Whether or not you decide you need renters insurance, it’s a good idea to inventory and value all your belongings. Take a couple of weekends and catalog everything you own. You may think you can do it in a couple of hours, but once you start investigating closets, cabinets, attics, basements and garages you will normally find that you own much more than you ever realized. Sure, a lot of it may be junk. If so, you are now in a position to get rid of it. What remains is what is important and now you can start to put a replacement cost on all that you own. The final figure may come as a huge surprise. Most people do not realize how much they accumulate over the years and how valuable it all is. If you lost it all, could you replace everything? And if you can do it, take a moment to consider the extent of damage that it could cause to your savings and financial stability. One leading insurance company estimates that the average person has over $35,000 worth of possessions that are normally not covered by any policies that a landlord may have.

It’s Not Expensive

A typical renter’s insurance policy should not cost you more than a dollar a day. That’s is an insignificant amount when compared to the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your belongings are protected in case of loss. If you don’t have renters insurance, why not call your insurance agent and talk to him or her about taking out a policy? The advantage of buying the insurance from a company you are already dealing with is that most insurers offer discounts to people who already have other policies with them.
What’s covered and what’s not
Renters insurance covers, but is not limited to:
  • Theft
  • Fire
  • Lightening
  • Hail
  • Windstorms (hurricanes etc.)
  • Damage to the plumbing system due to freezing
The coverage for some types of property / belongings may be subject to dollar limits:
  • Gold and Silverware – limitation normally applies to theft only
  • Jewelry and furs
  • Money, bank notes and coins
  • Securities and negotiable instruments
  • Watercraft, furnishing and equipment
  • Trailers
  • Firearms – limitation normally applies to theft only
Renters insurance will not cover:
  • Issues related to business pursuits
  • The provision or non-provision of business services
  • Bodily injury or damage to property that is intended or expected by the insured
  • Ownership, use of and maintenance of motor vehicles, aircraft and some types of water craft

Renters Insurance is almost similar to auto insurance and therefore the coverage depends largely on the type of plan that you choose. You can either insure all your belongings or you could be selective in what you wish to insure. You can even decide how much deductible you want on your liability coverage. Renters Insurance also covers any damage that you may have accidentally caused. Before making your decision it would be advisable to shop around for the best coverage you can get.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do You Need Identity Theft Insurance?

The recent theft of personal celebrity pictures from the cloud once again demonstrates how insecure content and data stored online can be. Even if you are a “traditionalist” and keep your data only on your hard drive, you’re still not safe. Hackers, malware and phishing are increasingly more sophisticated, so much so, that it has become a constant battle to fend off these attacks. Cyber strikes are always without warning and any security software or patches to combat the infiltration is developed subsequently.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, (FTC), the major complaint from consumes, for the past 14 years, has been ‘identity theft’. If you have been a victim of your identity being stolen, you will certainly be aware of how disastrous this can be, especially if you have suffered:
  • Financial losses
  • The pain of having to live with poor credit
  • The enormous amount of time and effort needed to reestablish your identity and credit
  • The sense of personal violation

If you are yet to become a victim of ‘identity theft’, it could mean that the security measures you have in place are protecting you right now, but it does not take away the threat of your personal data being stolen. In a world where security services can only play catch up with the cyber criminals, can you ever be totally, completely safe? Or should you seriously consider the advantages of an identity theft insurance cover.

Identity Theft Insurance – Pros and Cons
  • According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of identity theft insurance ranges from $25 to $60 per year
  • It may include account and credit monitoring, credit alerts and reimbursement of cost of repairing your credit history
  • The typical benefits under the policy are limited to $10,000 to $15,000. Additionally the deductibles can be as high as $500 or more
  • Some insurance companies provide extra services in guiding the injured party through the complex processes of notifying the credit reporting agencies in order to help recover their credit
  • Identity Theft Insurance has a limited scope
  • The policy will not cover any financial losses
  • The mental, emotional and psychological impact of being an identity theft victim can be immensely traumatic
To buy or not to buy
  • The cost of insuring yourself against identity theft is comparatively imperceptible but given the limitations of the policy plans, gives pause for thought
  • The need to protect against ID theft still remains. Many people opt for credit monitoring services. If you have the wherewithal or the time, you could monitor your credit, constantly. If, however, you do choose to employ the services of a professional credit monitoring service to monitor your credit, the charges thereon for the service is only $10 per month
  • There are companies like American Express that provide free ID theft protection to all their cardholders
  • Covering against Identity theft gives you peace of mind and the insurance agency will generally provide you with a dedicated advocate who will work on your behalf
  • Some insurance companies will immediately notify you to allow you to take immediate action
  • In case of any detection of breach of your identity, an immediate alert is sent out to you
  • In some plans the ID Theft Insurance covers loss of your wallet and credit cards, whilst you are travelling
  • Some insurance companies may reinforce their plans to include online protection such as:
  • Anti-key logging software which has the ability to delete or immobilize hidden key stroke loggers
  • A Phish-blocker that detects phishing sites and immediately opens a warning page to alert you