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Rutt Insurance Blog: personal

View the latest blog posts from Rutt Insurance.

Can You Name Every Item in Your Home?

Many people don't think about the many items they have collected over the years. Many items are used every day, but often never thought about. Many items are replaced throughout the years, but no thought is given to the increased value of inventory. Creating and maintaining an inventory of items in your home can help ensure you have purchased the right insurance coverage. In the event of a loss, it can help you settle a claim faster, and put less strain on your brain in an already stressful situation.

How do You Create Your Home Inventory?

Creating and maintaining your home inventory is easy with free software available from the Insurance Information Institute. At knowyourstuff.org you can download the free software, learn how to use it, and continue to maintain and update your inventory after it is completed. Their free secure online storage will allow you to access your inventory anywhere, any time. You never know when a claim may happen, but you can be prepared with an up-to-date online home inventory.

What Should You Include in Your Home Inventory?

You should take inventory of everything of value in your home, and update the list as you acquire new items. Here is a list of some of the most common items:

  • Electronics (TV, Gaming Console, Computer)
  • Kitchen and Household Appliances (Washer/Dryer, Microwave, Oven, Refrigerator)
  • Furniture
  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • China
  • Silverware
  • Artwork
  • Antiques
  • Linens
  • Books
  • Guns
  • Sporting Equipment

Some items like jewelry, antiques, and other special items, may need to be insured separately. Talk to one of the specially trained independent agents at Rutt Insurance to make sure you have the coverage that you need.



Holiday Fire Safety at Home

Four fire hazards and tips to avoid them.

Picture your perfect holiday. Perhaps you hear family members laugh while the fireplace crackles in the background. Or you enjoy your favorite holiday meal surrounded by friends and the glow of candlelight in your carefully decorated dining room. With all the holiday buildup, you might not be thinking about fire safety. But you can help preserve these peaceful memories by doing a little preparation.

 

Nearly 156,000 fires occur during the winter holiday season, causing 630 deaths, 2,600 injuries, and approximately $936 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. “These are tragic losses at this time of year,” says James King, field technical manager for Chubb Personal Insurance. Every January, he reviews several cases of fires that could have been prevented.

Here are four main fire hazards that every homeowner should know.

Fireplaces

Always Properly Dispose of Fireplace Ashes - Ashes should be placed in a metal container, wet down and moved outside, far away from your deck, garage, woodpile or anything that could catch fire. After about a week, check again for hot spots. If none are found, dispose of ashes in your outdoor trash bin and take the trash to the curb.

Always get your chimney inspected and cleaned before the holidays.

Always regularly check your Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide Detectors, and Fire Extinguishers. If they don't work, replace them immediately.

Candles

Never leave candles unattended.

Never place candles in a high-traffic area where children or pets might knock them over.

Always leave a two-foot circle of safety around candles.

Never place near anything flammable.

Extension Cords and Holiday Lights

Never overload extension cords or use indoor cords outdoors. Turn off lights when sleeping or away from home.

Always check manufacturer labels to avoid a fire hazard. Do not connect more strings of lights together than recommended by the manufacturer.

Always keep extension cords out of reach of children and pets.

Never run cords under carpets. The wire can fray or be pinched by heavy furniture and start a fire.

Never nail or staple through the cord or holiday light wiring.

Always plug outdoor lights into circuits protected by GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) to prevent electric shock. Older home may not have GFCIs, but it is a fairly inexpensive fix.

Always inspect all extension cords and holiday lights for frayed wire, cracked insulation or excessive kinking before using them.

Always store cords and lights in a dry attic or closet out of season, and consider replacing inexpensive lights every few years.

Space Heaters

Never use extension cords with space heaters. These should always be plugged directly into the wall.

Always check the circuit to make sure it can handle the added demand.

Never leave a space heater unattended, and if not in use turn them off and unplug them.

Never remove the third-prong grounding feature, and plug heaters into GFCI's for added safety.

Originally published by CHUBB Personal Insurance

 

Posted 9:37 AM


As winter has reluctantly said its final goodbye, and school bells will soon ring marking the last day of school, many Pennsylvania families are turning their thoughts to family vacations. Here are some frequent questions we get each year from families looking to rent a car on vacation.

Q: I'm going on vacation and plan to rent a car. I've been told my personal auto policy will cover the rental vehicle. Is this true?
A: The majority of auto insurance companies will extend coverage from your personal auto policy to a rental vehicle. With most policies, coverage pays for actual repairs to the rental car, but you remain responsible for your policy deductible. In addition, the rental agreement often makes you responsible for "additional" items, and that’s where many issues can arise.

NOTE: If your personal auto policy does not include physical damage coverage, the rental car will not be covered if it's damaged. In addition, if you rent a car outside of the United States, coverage may not be extended.

Q: I've also heard that if I use my credit card to pay for the rental vehicle, the rental vehicle will be covered. Is this true?
A: Many, but not all, credit card companies offer rental insurance, and will pay for damage to a rental car if you pay for the rental vehicle with that card. However, the coverage will be secondary to your personal auto policy. In other words, your credit card company may pick up certain things that your personal auto policy does not cover, such as your deductible. It is best to check with your specific credit card company to see what coverage may be provided.

Q: If my personal auto policy covers my rental car, and if my credit card covers my deductible, doesn't this mean I'm fully covered?
A: While your personal auto policy and use of a credit card may provide adequate coverage, they frequently fall short.
The rental car company may come after you to pay certain fees such as towing, loss of use (the period the rental car is out of service for repairs), diminished value (wrecked and repaired cars are viewed as less valuable than undamaged, factory originals) and administrative fees. All of these fees may be tacked on by the rental car company in the event of an accident, and all of which you can be held liable for. By signing the rental agreement, the renter is always responsible for any loss or damage to a rental vehicle, regardless of who is at fault.

Q: Would it be wise to purchase the "extra insurance" offered by the rental car company?
A: A loss damage waiver (LDW), sometimes called a collision damage waiver, purchased from a rental car company essentially takes the place of your own collision and comprehensive insurance, letting you and your insurance company off the hook if you wreck the rental car, or if it's stolen or vandalized. In exchange for purchasing the LDW, the rental company agrees to "waive" claims against you for damages in the event of an accident. But, your LDW coverage could become void if the accident was caused because you were speeding, driving under the influence, or the accident was the result of a reckless act or error on your part. 
 
Before renting, familiarize yourself with your insurance options by:
* Contacting a Rutt Insurance agent and finding out if you have enough coverage under your existing policy; and
* Contacting your credit card company to find out if it offers rental car coverage, and what the restrictions and limitations may be.

If the two coverage methods mentioned above seem inadequate for your needs, you may wish to consider the purchase of a LDW. 

Q:  Are there any other options?
A.  Because of the prohibitive cost of purchasing Loss Damage Waivers from rental car companies, many people choose to forego the purchase and take the risk of being hit with fees. Realizing the need for a more affordable solution some companies specializing in travel insurance have begun offering Rental Car Insurance. Companies such as Allianz Global Assistance, are now offering a more affordable alternative to the Loss Damage Waivers offered by many rental car companies.

Q: What should I do?
A: Making such a personal decision about your options is yours - and yours alone under the law. As your independent insurance agent, we will do our best to help explain your options. Our agency's job is to help provide you with information on these choices so you can make the best informed decision for you and your family.
 
Posted 12:01 AM


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