Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Renters Insurance: Not a Thing of the Past!
According to a recent Nationwide Insurance study, 56 percent of millennials (adults ages 23-35) do not have renters insurance, despite more renters in this age group than ever before.
Nationwide surveyed over 1,000 renters and found that three-quarters of them were unaware that the coverage was quite affordable. Forty percent do not believe the coverage was a necessity, despite owning thousands of dollars’ worth of property.
The study raises the question: If you don’t have it, what are you waiting for?
Renters insurance covers your possessions against damage from things such as fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft and water (but not flooding)—to name but a few, and it's important to know it does not come with general liability insurance. It also extends beyond on-premise theft and hazards, covering property that is stolen from your car, or lost or damaged anywhere you happen to be.
In addition to protecting your personal property, renters insurance also protects you in the event that you are responsible for injury or property damage to others (for more regional specific information on renters insurance, click here: Chicago Illinois Renters' Insurance). That means you will likely be protected if a friend slips and sprains his or her ankle when you host a party.
Policy buyers often struggle to determine how much their stuff is actually worth. The best way to determine value is to conduct a thorough inventory of everything you own. For valuables such as jewelry or collectibles, an endorsement to the policy can be added. That means if your wedding ring gets destroyed by the garbage disposal, you will be covered.
And best of all, because renters insurance covers only the value of your belongings and not the building you live in, the premium is relatively inexpensive. For about the same cost as going to the movies once a month, you can gain peace of mind, regardless of life’s unexpected mishap and ultimately minimize loss control and risk management problems.
Contact Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. today to find out how to protect your valuables.
If you have questions or concerns on this issue, do not hesitate to call Zeiler Insurance and speak to one of our customer service representatives. As an independent agency, Zeiler Insurance prides itself with quality customer service for the people of the Chicago-land area and the rest of the Midwest. Customer or not, we can review your insurance and see if you are being protected appropriately for the right price.
POSTED AUGUST 09, 2018 5:00 PM
|How Smart Lighting Can Make Life Better
Can banishing the blues, sleeping soundly and waking energized be as simple as changing a light bulb? Light affects sleep/wake cycles, body temperature, hunger, physiology and behavior. So aligning lighting with our bodies’ natural circadian rhythms is an important step in improving well-being, productivity and relaxation.
New, smart lighting is helping balance circadian rhythms, augmenting WiFi and acting as hubs for a variety of smart devices.
Smart lighting to help you sleep:
One new smart light bulb is designed specifically for bedrooms, to overcome the problem of light-induced wakefulness. These smart bulbs help resolve that problem by mimicking the sun, transitioning its light from the energizing blue wavelengths of early morning light to the calming light of evening sunsets. This transition prepares the body for sleep, helping trigger the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin in the evening and the release of the stimulating hormone cortisol in the morning.
Another smart bulb in the same family of lights is designed to provide optimal, customizable light throughout the house. Single bulbs or groups of lights can be dimmed or brightened with a tap on your smart phone. That app also supports custom scenes, such as “arrive home” or “watch movie.”
Changing from standard bulbs to smart bulbs is as easy as screwing them into any 60-watt light socket and downloading the relevant app for iOS or Android. A smart hub isn’t needed.
Filtering out blue light:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95% of Americans use an electronic device within one hour of trying to sleep. Yet, the blue-lit screens of tablets, smart phones, computer screens and TV contribute to poor sleep.
Luckily, many devices have apps available that automatically turn on at night and filter out blue light to support your body’s natural circadian rhythm. In fact, iPhones have this built in through a feature called “Night Shift”. Utilizing screen filters can make it easier to fall asleep if you use electronic devices before bedtime.
Tunable LEDs are another innovation. With tunable smart bulbs, users can change their LEDs’ color temperature to create the ambiance they want based on function or situation. For example, one manufacturer’s white ambiance bulbs imitate the sun, producing a full spectrum of white light that can be adjusted with a wall-mounted dimmer or smart phone app.
Already-set routines tell the bulbs to gradually increase the light level of the room in the morning, to provide gentle evening light and to gradually dim lights until they are off. With tunable smart lights, you also can create a lighting plan based on the color palette of a favorite picture or control the lights while you’re away to ensure your home appears occupied. From a design standpoint, these lights can be grouped to define spaces in open concept floor plans and to adjust ambiance with a click to control rooms, routines or scenes.
Regular LED bulbs also are finally being manufactured with the aesthetics of vintage incandescent bulbs (which are no longer manufactured) and candelabra bulbs, allowing energy efficient, visually pleasing solutions for fixtures with visible light bulbs.
Smart lights are doing more than controlling lighting, though. Lighting manufacturers, are developing smart LEDs that that can be used as sensors to function as internet hubs.
Li-Fi technology can even replace WiFi in some areas to deliver Internet connectivity through light bulbs. The LED bulbs become wireless transmitters, downloading and uploading information at a rate of 40Mbps (high speed Internet is considered 25Mbps). Because Li-Fi doesn’t penetrate walls, it is more secure than WiFi, which uses radio signals that can be hacked from some distance.
In 2016, a LiFi innovator introduced an app to allow it to be controlled from a smart phone. This technology has the potential to turn every light into an Internet access point.
These new LEDs are a logical early step toward the much ballyhooed Internet of Things, providing an immediate benefit in the form of more restful sleep and more alert morning and improved ambiance and functionality. And the best part is that most of this functionality is available now at retailers near you.
POSTED JULY 25, 2018 7:08 PM
|Nationwide: 3 Ways to Save on Teen Car Insurance
For parents, having a teen driver in the house can be cause for mixed emotions. On the one hand there’s the added freedom of having another driver who can run errands and no longer needs to be driven to school or extracurricular activities.
On the flip side, many parents worry about the extra expense of adding a teenager to the insurance policy, as well as the accompanying expenses of gas and perhaps even an additional car.
Several factors affect how much the cost of insurance increases when a teen driver is added, including geography and gender. Insuring teen male drivers is more expensive than females, and certain areas are simply more expensive than others. While you can’t do much to change those two factors, there are many ways for parents to cut insurance costs. The good news is that, in addition to improving the bottom line, these options could help your teen become a better driver or even become more conscientious about his or her grades.
Here are three things you can do right now to start saving money on your teenager’s auto insurance.
1. Look into a good student discount:
The grades your teen earns can lower the amount of insurance you have to pay. This is something you may have to ask for, so if your student driver is earning a minimum of a B average, contact us. Before you call, make sure you have proof of the student’s academic prowess. It may be in the form of a report card or a form signed by a school administrator to verify those grades. The discount is also valid for homeschooled teens, who will need to provide results from a standardized test (PSAT, SAT, ACT, etc.) and must be in the top 20 percent of the student scores nationwide. Even better news – this discount continues when your driver goes to college and it’s offered up to the age of 24. Click here to learn more about getting a good-student discount.
2. Consider telematics
Telematics are electronics that record and report on a driver’s habits. That information can be used in many ways; it allows insurance companies to reward drivers for good behavior, and it also lets drivers (or their parents) receive feedback on their driving, which can help them make better decisions behind the wheel. Nationwide’s program SmartRide gives drivers an automatic 5 percent break on the teen’s insurance just for signing up, then offers additional discounts – as much as 40 percent – based on a driver’s habits. They provide a device that is easily installed, tracking four factors: hard braking, fast acceleration, miles driven and nighttime miles.
3. Don’t buy new
While most teens dream of a shiny new car to begin driving, it’s not the best financial move. The reason teens cost more to insure is these inexperienced drivers tend to have more accidents, so buying a new car is going to mean higher repair costs if they have a fender bender. Buying an older car that has good safety ratings won’t just mean lower repair costs and lower monthly car payments, it will cost less to insure.
Having the right car insurance is extremely important, even more so for a young driver. Find out how Nationwide can help you save money on teen car insurance while keeping you covered.
POSTED JULY 25, 2018 6:26 PM
|Our obligatory end of the summer blog post - Got Kids in College? Better Get Insurance.
Our obligatory end of the summer blog post...
Got Kids in College? Better Get Insurance.
When we look for coverage to extend for a student away at school the first question is: Is the student a member of the household? Home and Auto Insurance policies specifically list the parent or parents names as the insured on the policy. Then we need to look at who else may be an insured in the policy's insurance agreement. You will find that members of the household are included in the definition of who is an insured but, for both the Home and Auto Insurance policies, limitations may arise if your son or daughter is not living in the home and:
- Your son or daughter is not a full time student.
- Your son or daughter is over the age of 24.
- If your son or daughter applied for local residency - coverage may vary and a more thorough analysis of your policy is needed.
If we're comfortable with our kids being members of the household, coverage will apply for Auto Liability and Personal Liability.
Property Insurance also extends but only up to 10% of the Personal Property limits on your policy. Items like a tablet, phone, or bike would be included under personal property - the need for property insurance can add up.
Let me know if you have any concerns regarding a college student's coverage.
POSTED JULY 25, 2018 5:27 PM
|After-Marriage Checklist: What to Do After ‘I Do’
Congratulations! As anyone will tell you, marriage changes your life. But maybe a little less obvious is how getting married impacts your financial picture and changes your particular insurance needs. So after your vows are exchanged, the toasts are made and you’ve cut the cake, here are 4 important insurance factors to consider in this exciting new phase of your life together.
1. Multi-policy discounts
When it comes to insurance, putting all your eggs in one basket can make sense. For example, you can get a special multi-car discount when you insure both your car and your spouse’s car with one company.
And if you already own a home, you can both enjoy extra savings when you combine your auto insurance with home insurance. Learn more about multi-policy discounts.
2. Group affiliation discounts
You may be eligible for a discount if you or your spouse are a member of an alumni or other membership organization. Make sure you ask us about these – and other ways of saving money.
3. Comprehensive solutions
Now that you’re married, let’s make sure your renters or homeowners insurance policy covers all your combined possessions. You may have multiple computers, smartphones, jewelry items and (of course!) wedding gifts. All these can and should be covered under one policy.
4. Expert advice
Evaluating your insurance coverage is something you should do once a year, or whenever you’ve had a major change in your life – such as a getting married.
Give us a call to talk about how married life will affect your insurance needs.
Click Here for more to do after saying "I Do".
POSTED JULY 25, 2018 5:00 AM
|3 Insurance Gambles That Put Your Business at Risk
Much like sunscreen, business insurance is one of those things you don’t realize how important it is until you’ve been burned: A lot of entrepreneurs don’t have it, and those who do, may not be fully covered.
While large corporations have staffers specifically trained to be sure the business is protected adequately, small business owners are often not aware of the risks their business faces.
“Smaller businesses tend not to get the right amount of coverage,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, an industry trade group that aims to educate the public about insurance. “They will get too little or not the right coverage.”
Here are three of the most common mistakes to avoid when deciding on business insurance.
1. You view insurance as one-size-fits-all. Think again. There are four basic types of insurance that all businesses need, according to Worters. Property insurance protects the building that your business is housed in and the inventory, raw materials and computers that you own. Liability insurance protects you against lawsuits. Business vehicle insurance covers any autos owned by the business. Finally, a business with employees must have workers compensation insurance should an employee be injured on the job.
In addition, every industry has its own specific risks and your business may require a specialized policy. “You need to get an agent that understands your line of business,” says Worters, noting that you should talk to an agent before just signing up with one. Ask a local business group or association for a recommendation.
2. You think you're covered by another policy. Some business owners assume they don’t need coverage. They believe their company is covered by their client's policy or they're no longer at risk when a client leaves. Not true. A client can come back and sue you years after an event or transaction occurs.
And don't think your homeowner's policy will bail you out, either. Even if you have a home-based business, a homeowner's policy won't protect it should you get into any legal issues with employees or business litigation. Whether the homeowners’ policy will protect your business property in your home depends on the policy.
3. You think you're invincible. Worters says many businesses don’t even consider what is called either business income or business interruption insurance. If a natural disaster hits, for example, and your business closes, your revenue can be immediately shut off for an undetermined amount of time, and that can really threaten the life of your business.
POSTED JULY 11, 2018 6:33 PM
|Opioids: How Are They Affecting Your Workplace?
We hear a lot about the opioid epidemic in our country, that is, the use and abuse of pain medications including oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl. These medications were nearly unheard of just a few years ago, but now they appear in the news almost daily. Unfortunately, when these medications were introduced, patients and doctors thought they were non-addictive, and only later did we discover that they are highly addictive and dangerous.
It’s likely you know someone - a family member or a social acquaintance - who is addicted. It’s also highly probable that there are employees at your workplace who depend on these drugs. This is cause for concern and vigilance on your part.
Why the Concern?
Those dependent on opioids become addicted very quickly. A workplace accident, a surgery, even a procedure as simple as wisdom teeth removal, often leads to a prescription for this class of pain medications. As the meds wear off the pain returns, leading users to pop even more pills. It becomes a vicious cycle with a desperate need for more and more painkillers.
Affected workers may look and act normally for a time. Eventually, the medications can lead to impairments, with symptoms such as drowsiness, anxiety and depression. Those taking the pills often have impaired judgment, are less productive and experience more workplace accidents.
Now imagine an addicted employee operating a forklift, crane, jackhammer, drill, bulldozer, truck or working with any type of tool. The risk of injury is exponentially higher than the same task completed by a sober employee.
Your company can be at risk even if an addicted employee sits at a desk all day. Whether the employee is writing computer code, reviewing contracts or monitoring a production line over a computer monitor, he or she may be inattentive to detail, have errors in judgment or not complete work on schedule. Whatever role the addicted employee plays in your workplace, opioid addiction affects the cost of healthcare and workers’ compensation insurance as claims rise.
What Can You Do?
1. Be Observant
- Observe any changes in a worker’s behavior, especially in one who has been treated for an accident or injury. It’s possible that he or she is using pain medications.
- Investigate accidents that occur at your workplace (or driving accidents involving employees), checking whether opioids might be involved.
- Consider that a worker with a rising absenteeism rate may be struggling with opioid use.
- Monitor workers’ compensation claims to evaluate the type of care injured workers receive.
- If you are in the construction, entertainment, recreation or food service sector, be especially vigilant, as National Safety Council research shows that these industries have a substance abuse problem that is twice the national average.
2. Take Appropriate Actions
- Review and update your company drug policies and drug testing to include opioids (don’t forget pre-employment testing). Keep in mind that a zero-tolerance policy may not be the best way to control an opioid addiction.
- Thoroughly document any policy violations, recognizing that an impaired employee is a danger to others in the workplace and to your company.
- Provide training to supervisors and employees about the dangers of opioids and how to spot potential problems in your workplace.
3. Treat Opioid Addiction as a Disease
- In working with and supporting an employee with an addiction, follow regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Direct the employee to resources for assistance, including your employee assistance program (EAP) and rehabilitation.
- Provide coaching, letting the employee know that getting medical help is essential, and that if he or she seeks assistance the job will be waiting upon their return to work.
Find more information and assistance from the National Safety Council:
- Calculate the real costs of substance use in your workforce.
- Request a kit containing a guide to being proactive about opioid use in the workplace, tools to update your policies and benefit programs, fact sheets, handouts, safety talks and posters.
POSTED JULY 11, 2018 5:00 AM
|Understanding Inland Marine Insurance
Don’t let the term “inland marine” confuse you. As opposed to “marine insurance,” which covers products when transported over water, inland marine insurance covers products, materials and equipment when transported over land - e.g., via truck or train - or while temporarily warehoused by a third party. Collisions and cargo theft are the two most frequent causes of inland marine losses.
Does your business need inland marine insurance?
For many businesses, the property insurance provided by your Business Owners Policy (BOP) or Commercial Package Policy (CPP) may be sufficient. In general, these types of insurance cover property housed at a specific location, but tools and equipment that travel with employees to nearby job sites may also be covered.
However, if your business frequently ships products or equipment, you may want to consider purchasing inland marine insurance. This type of coverage is especially important if you ship high-value products or materials, which are often excluded from basic property coverage. Inland marine insurance can cover a wide range of specialty equipment and products, including:
- Computers, everything from servers to laptops.
- Communications and networking equipment.
- Construction and contracting equipment.
- Medical and scientific equipment.
- Photography equipment.
When weighing the need for inland marine insurance, consider the nature of your business and operations. Inland marine insurance isn’t just for companies that ship products to retailers and customers. For example, if you have a valuable tradeshow booth that is frequently shipped around the country and stored offsite by a vendor, you may want the protection provided by inland marine insurance. In addition, if someone else’s property is temporarily in your possession, inland marine insurance can provide coverage against the loss of this property. Special inland marine coverages include:
- Bailee’s Customer Coverage - Protects clients’ property that is left in the care of your business; e.g., if you operate a warehouse or repair shop.
- Builder’s Risk - Protects structures and materials during new construction projects or renovations.
- Exhibition and Fine Art Coverage - Keeps valuable items protected while on exhibit, in transit or on loan.
- Installation Floater - Covers materials from the moment they are loaded onto a truck until they are put to use or installed.
- Motor Truck Cargo Coverage - Keeps clients’ goods protected while your business transports and delivers them.
We can help you determine whether or not purchasing inland marine insurance makes sense for your business.
Give us a call.
POSTED JULY 11, 2018 5:00 AM
|What’s the difference between an Additional Insured and a Certificate Holder?
The key difference between an additional insured and a certificate holder comes down to whether you have coverage under someone else’s insurance policy. This only applies if you’re named as an additional insured on a policy.
What’s an additional insured?
When you’re named an additional insured on a policy, you are typically insured for covered claims arising from the Named Insured’s negligence (or your joint negligence) with regard to the premises, project and equipment that’s described in the additional insured endorsement. This commonly will include defense costs should you need to hire an attorney if the claim falls within the terms of the additional insured endorsement.
Businesses typically request to be named as an additional insured on a policy if another business’s negligence could affect them. Two examples could include:
- A general contractor hires a subcontractor to help with a project. The subcontractor does negligent work, which leads someone to get injured and file a lawsuit against both the general contractor and the subcontractor. By being named an additional insured on the subcontractor’s policy, the general contractor may obtain coverage under the subcontractor’s policy within the policy’s limits.
- A wholesaler-distributor distributes products manufactured by another company. A product injures someone, and the injured person files a lawsuit against the wholesaler-distributer and the manufacturer. By being named an additional insured on the manufacturer’s policy, the wholesaler-distributer may obtain coverage under the manufacturer’s policy within the policy’s limits.
A business is usually added as an additional insured via an endorsement to a business insurance policy. Many contracts spell out who should be named as an additional insured on a business’ policy.
There are two ways most policies treat additional insureds: on a specific basis and on a blanket basis. A specific basis is just that—a specific person or business is named as an additional insured on a policy.
Meanwhile, a blanket basis covers anyone who meets the definition of “additional insured” as it’s spelled out in the policy. The policy typically names broad types of parties like “contractors” or “landlords.”
What is a certificate holder?
A certificate of insurance is a document that shows that insurance coverage is in effect. It shows the dates of coverage, the limits, and the line of business that’s covered.
The certificate shows that a policy is in force - but that doesn’t mean the person or business requesting it is covered as well. As a certificate holder, you are only receiving proof that the insurance policy exists; the certificate of insurance is not an insurance policy and does not provide coverage or serve to amend or alter the terms of an insurance policy.
A certificate of insurance is usually requested by one party in an agreement, contract or transaction to make sure another party has the appropriate insurance coverage. A certificate of insurance does not entitle you to rights as an additional insured. For example, you aren’t provided any coverage under the other party’s policy in the event of a loss, unless the policy has been endorsed to provide coverage. For that reason, the best way to verify that you have been added to a policy as an additional insured is to request proof that the additional insured endorsement has been added to the insurance policy. If the policy has been endorsed with the additional insured form, the certificate will often include the form number and specific information about the endorsement that reflects what has been added to the policy. Proof may therefore be a certificate with this information listed or an actual copy of the declarations showing the endorsement.
POSTED JULY 11, 2018 5:00 AM
|What Is Dry Drowning?
It’s every parent’s worst fear: You’re enjoying the pool with your kid one minute, and heading to the emergency room the next.
Such was the case with four-year-old Elianna Grace, who was splashing around in her backyard pool in Bradenton, Florida earlier this month. After she accidentally swallowed water while playing a game in the pool—something her mother described as a “freak accident”—Elianna immediately threw up, but seemed to recover fine shortly after, according to ABC News.
Just two days later, Elianna was struck by a fever that wasn’t letting up. Her mother took her to urgent care, where her heart rate spiked, oxygen levels dropped, and skin turned purple. From there, the two went straight to the emergency room.
Remembering the 4-year-old boy from Texas who died last summer after inhaling water during a Memorial Day weekend trip, Elianna’s mother broke down crying, suspecting the same thing was happening to Elianna. “At that point, I had no clue how it was going to end,” she told ABC News. “I was so, so, so terrified.”
Elianna was, in fact, experiencing “dry drowning” or “secondary drowning.” She was treated for aspiration pneumonia, a condition in which there is swelling or an infection of the lungs or large airways. She spent four days in the hospital, relying on an oxygen tank to breathe, and is slowly recovering.
Here’s what you should know about dry and secondary drowning, how to spot the conditions, and what you can do keep your kids safe this summer.
What are dry drowning and secondary drowning?
Dry drowning and secondary drowning are often used interchangeably, and even have similar symptoms, but they are different conditions. Dry drowning occurs after you inhale water through your nose or mouth, spurring a spasm and blocking your airway, which prevents proper breathing, according to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
Secondary drowning, which is also known as delayed drowning, involves ingesting water as well. Unlike dry drowning, though, the water makes its way to your lungs, which causes inflammation or swelling and impairs breathing over time, the AOA says.
What are the symptoms of dry and secondary drowning?
If your child accidentally swallows a large amount of water, he or she may experience trouble breathing, coughing, sleepiness or a drop in energy, irritability, chest pain, or vomiting. If you notice these warn signings, go to the hospital and have doc look into it.
In the case of dry drowning, these symptoms will likely occur soon after the water is swallowed. In secondary drowning, the symptoms often don’t appear until a few hours—or even days—after the incident.
How can you prevent dry drowning and secondary drowning?
Just like any other kind of drowning, you can take a few steps to keep your kids safe from dry or secondary drowning while they swim.
In addition to being alert while your child is in the water, have them take swim lessons as early as possible to learn proper water safety, the AOA recommends. Never let them swim alone and always make sure there are lifeguards around.
The good news is, these conditions are both rare, so as long as you keep an eye on your kids while they're in the pool and take note of any unusual symptoms, you should be able to enjoy the water with little worry this summer.
POSTED JUNE 26, 2018 4:57 PM