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Personal Property: 5 Reasons Why Yours May Not be Fully Covered

Why You May Want More Personal Property Coverage 

Imagine you took the roof off your house, turned the whole thing upside down and started shaking. Everything that hit the dirt is what your insurance company calls “personal property” - hence Personal Property Coverage (Coverage C) on your homeowners, condo or renters policy.

In the event of a covered loss, such as a fire, theft or weather-related damage, it helps you recover, at least partially, the investment you’ve made in some of your key possessions. This includes furniture, artwork, jewelry and more.

Many consumers do not understand the restrictions and limitations of this coverage, and that can lead to potentially devastating consequences. So, let’s explore five reasons why your personal property may not be as fully covered as you think it is.

  1. You have Actual Cash Value coverage instead of Replacement Cost coverage.
    Say you purchased a brand new, top-of-the-line TV five years ago. Today, that TV is only worth a fraction of what you paid for it. Now say the TV has been stolen, and your insurance policy covers the loss. How much will you get?

    With Actual Cash Value Coverage, your policy will typically pay the depreciated value, and, no, it won’t be enough to purchase another top-of-the-line model at current prices. For that, you need Replacement Cost Coverage, which typically pays the purchase price of a similar model that’s available in stores right now.

    Think of it like this: Replacement Cost gets you the new; Actual Cash Value is back in with the old. Your policy will tell you which of the two coverage types applies to your personal property.

  2. Your policy has sublimits for certain item types.
    Other types of property, such as jewelry, silver, furs, firearms and collectibles, won’t settle at either Actual Cash Value or Replacement Cost if their value is above a certain threshold. You may have a $20,000 Rolex and $50,000 in Personal Property Coverage at Replacement Cost. If the watch is destroyed in a fire, your claim should be a slam dunk, right? Wrong. Your policy may only cover each piece of jewelry for $500 to $1,000 total. This is known as a “policy sublimit,” which can vary widely from item type to item type, policy to policy or state to state.

  3. You haven’t scheduled high-value items.
    When you do have an item, such as the Rolex, valued above your policy sublimits, you can “schedule” it. This designates separate coverage for the full appraised value of individual items. You can schedule as many items as you like to help offset your policy sublimits. It’s simple to do so. Just provide us with a recent appraisal and purchase that amount of coverage. We will advise you on any special requirements.

  4. You tend to lose or drop things but don’t have Special Personal Property Coverage.
    It’s important to know which losses are covered and which aren’t, as outlined by your policy. Personal property destroyed in a fire? Likely covered. Personal property that mysteriously disappeared? Likely not covered, unless you had Special Personal Property Coverage on your policy. This extends your coverage to many other different types of losses so you’re protected for a wider array of scenarios, such as dropping your new TV. Policies can vary company to company - so check with us on this as well.

  5. You don’t have an updated home inventory.
    On a standard policy, your personal property is covered at a percentage of your dwelling coverage. So, you may have $500,000 of coverage for the dwelling and $250,000 of coverage for personal property. But, is that enough? To know for sure, you need to know the value of your stuff. Having a home inventory – a list of all your stuff, the value of each piece and other details, such as model numbers – tells you how much coverage you need. If your home inventory shows you’re lacking coverage, be sure to purchase more.

 Dan Zeiler

dan@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x134



POSTED APRIL 04, 2017 5:00 AM
How Condo Insurance Differs From Home Insurance

Know What You Own Before You Buy Condo Insurance Coverage

A condominium is different from a house or an apartment - you own part of a building or a property, but not all of it. Insurance for condominium owners is different, too.

Just like homeowners and renters, people who own a condo unit want to be insured against financial loss brought about by such dangers as theft, fire and lawsuits. But, a condominium will typically be covered by two separate insurance policies that protect different parts of the whole.

The first of these two policies will be held by your condominium association, or other administrative group. It’s sometimes known as the master policy. This policy covers the structures and areas owned in common by all the unit owners. This usually includes the roof and exterior walls, stairways, recreation rooms, elevators, swimming pool and grounds.

The other policy is your individual coverage, and it needs to protect your personal property and that portion of the building that belongs to you.

What do you own?

But, which parts belong to you? Depending on the state where you live and the particular condominium you buy into, you might own - and have responsibility for insuring, if coverage is available - everything between the bare walls, floor and ceiling of your unit. This could include carpeting, floor tile, bathroom fixtures, cabinets, appliances, countertops and interior walls.

In some cases, the master policy might cover your unit’s original fixtures, making you responsible only for any alterations or modifications that you make. In still other cases, you might also be responsible for what’s inside your walls: plumbing and wiring.

If your unit comes with a patio, balcony, garage or garden area, those will also likely be your responsibility. If it includes a “limited common” area, such as a balcony or room that you share with only one or a few other units, you will probably want to insure your share of it as well, if possible.

The details of what property you own should all be spelled out in the association agreement you get at the time you purchase the condominium. You’ll want to bring that agreement along when you discuss condo insurance coverage with us as well.

What does condo insurance cover?

One feature of condominium insurance, as with homeowners insurance, is coverage for the structure – the inside of your unit, that is. A condo policy will generally cover interior structures, such as cabinets, flooring and countertops within your unit’s surrounding walls, but only as specified in your policy. For example, damage to the interior of your unit due to fire or vandalism may be covered. Damage caused by neglect may not be.

A standard policy usually provides even more protection than that. Typical condo insurance coverage, within the limits of your particular policy, may help to cover:

  • Loss assessments when a covered peril damages the community’s common property and your association bills you for a share of the repair costs.

  • Personal property, such as TVs, furniture, computers and artwork, that’s stolen or damaged in a covered peril, such as a burglary.

  • Damage to another’s property for which you’re held responsible.

  • Medical payments, if a guest is injured on your property.

  • Temporary housing costs if you’re unable to live in your unit due to a covered loss.

Additional condo insurance coverage may also be available. It might be wise, depending upon your circumstances, to consider:

  • Coverage for individual items from your personal property. “Scheduling” an item on your policy designates coverage just for it, usually at the appraised value, in cases when your policy does not provide enough coverage. For example, you may have a ring worth $8,000 but your policy only covers $3,000 worth of jewelry. By scheduling the ring, you can insure its full appraised value.

  • Higher coverage for loss assessments.

  • Flood, water backup or earthquake coverages, if your unit is in a floodplain, susceptible to drain backup or in a potential earthquake zone.

How much coverage should you get?

Since there’s much less property and structure to cover with condo insurance than with homeowners, it generally costs less to insure a condo. To find out how much less, you will have to do your homework. Study your association agreement to determine exactly what parts of the structure you own and are responsible for insuring. Tally the value of your personal property, giving special attention to costly or irreplaceable items. Call all us with your association documents in hand, and explore the range of possible coverages. Then kick back and enjoy your condo. You’ve earned it.

Pay Less for Condo Insurance

A variety of factors will impact how much you pay for condominium insurance. One is how much personal property you have, and how much it’s all worth. Another is your deductible. If you choose a lower deductible, your premium may be higher – and vice versa. To save on condo insurance, you may want to consider a higher deductible, as well as insuring your car, motorcycle and other assets with the same carrier. Discuss available insurance discounts with us.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651



POSTED APRIL 03, 2017 5:00 AM
Put a Stop to Internal Theft

 

Though you may find it hard to believe, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees steal at least once in their lifetime, and half of those that steal do so repeatedly. And it’s not just your employees you need to worry about. If your operation has warehouses or retail locations, vendors may have the same behind-the-scenes access with little supervision. Here’s a quick guide to help prevent internal theft.

Why do people steal?

  • Opportunity—When gaps in internal controls are apparent, even the most honest employees can be tempted to steal.
  • Pressure—Theft is more likely when employees are feeling financial pressure in their personal lives. Stressors include drug or alcohol dependency, divorce or medical bills.
  • Attitude—Some employees may think the company “owes” them something or may not see their actions as an act of theft. They may also see theft from a large organization as a relatively harmless crime since they aren’t stealing directly from an individual and they believe the organization can absorb the loss.

How can I detect or discourage theft?

  • Know your employees. Order applicant background checks for positions that handle cash, and make sure they comply with federal and state regulations. For help, see Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know from the Federal Trade Commission. You have less control over vendors, but consider keeping a log of approved vendor names, payment details and visits recorded by employees. This helps your staff keep unauthorized people out of your sensitive areas and provides a reference for which accounts are cash on delivery.
  • Advertise your awareness. If you have a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system, you should be spot checking recordings regularly. To let employees know you’re reviewing video (and deter theft that might occur when they think video isn’t being reviewed), find on-camera instances of employees doing good work and pay them a compliment in front of others.
  • Monitor vendor activities. Consider creating a schedule to let your employees know when to expect specific vendors. When a vendor arrives, have a manager check them in and verify the inventory being delivered matches the invoice. Don’t be afraid to open boxes and look inside. You can also ask vendors to flatten boxes before they leave to ensure they are empty on the way out of your facility.
  • Create a security culture. Train employees about theft and keep them on the lookout for signs of theft among other employees or vendors. Make sure they know they can report suspicious activity to supervisors without reprisal and explain how to do so.
  • Provide alternatives to stealing. Consider establishing an employee assistance program to help those who are struggling with substance abuse or other problems.
  • Audit regularly. Routine audits of inventory and bookkeeping can help catch fraud and theft. Pay special attention to cigarettes, lottery and phone card sales, and consider a third-party audit when theft or fraud is suspected. Review point-of-sale records for suspicious voids or returns, or cash registers staying open too long. You might also want to analyze average sales per customer (or ASPC) to determine which employees (those with lower ASPC) might be skimming money. Check out this handy guide, The ABCs of ASPC from Convenience Store Decisions.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651



POSTED APRIL 01, 2017 5:47 PM
Business Insurance and Loss of Utilities

It is important for businesses to understand the need for Utility Service Inturruption Insurance.  Watch the video for detail to learn why you should consider this coverage.

 



POSTED APRIL 01, 2017 4:12 PM
Why Your Business Needs an Umbrella Liability Policy


Incidents like the ones we are about to share can and do happen to business owners like you. If you own a business or commercial property, you need to be prepared for what seems impossible.

  • You own an apartment building with a porch that does not have railings. One of your tenants falls from it. Recovery from her injuries requires months of physical rehabilitation. A court awards her $3,000,000.
  • The poorly-maintained brakes on an asphalt truck fail. The truck strikes the back of the car in front of it, causing a woman riding in the car to suffer serious hand injuries. The truck's owner settles with her for $1,500,000.
  • A man dies after an air conditioner falls on him. The building owner settles with his estate for $3,900,000.
  • A woman slips and falls on some tiles as she is exiting a cafe. She receives a damage award of $5,700,000.
  • A child collides with an uprooted cable and loses an eye. The owner of the premises settles with her mother for $2,600,000.


Incidents like these can drive companies out of business or property owners into bankruptcy without sufficient financial protection. That is why every business and property owner should consider purchasing an umbrella liability insurance policy.


An umbrella covers a business after it has used up its "primary" commercial general liability (CGL) or business automobile liability insurance. For example, suppose the owner of the asphalt truck had an auto liability insurance policy that pays up to $1,000,000 for bodily injuries and property damage in a single accident. After the insurer pays out the full amount, the truck's owner still owes $500,000. The umbrella would cover the remainder.


Sometimes, multiple claims in one policy term can use up a business's primary insurance. CGL insurance normally provides one amount of coverage (such as $1,000,000) for a single occurrence and another (such as $2,000,000) for all losses that occur during the policy's term. Suppose the owner of the property with the uprooted cable had $2,000,000 of coverage for all losses, and its insurer had already paid $1,500,000 before the accident with the child. The primary insurer would pay only $500,000. If the premises owner has an umbrella, the umbrella insurer would pay the rest, up to the amount of insurance the business bought.


Umbrellas provide $1,000,000 or more of coverage. The cost of each additional $1,000,000 coverage is a fraction of the cost for the first $1,000,000. For example, the additional cost of buying $2,000,000 instead of $1,000,000 might be 40 percent of the cost of $1,000,000; the cost of going from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 might be 30 percent of the cost of $1,000,000; and so on.


An umbrella may also cover some losses the primary policies do not. In those situations, the business will be required to pay a stated portion of the loss (such as $10,000) before the insurer will pay.


Any business may have a catastrophic unforeseen accident. An umbrella policy will help it survive at a relatively low cost. It is a wise purchase for any business or property owner. 

 

Dan Zeiler

dan@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x134

 



POSTED APRIL 01, 2017 5:00 AM
What Kind of Business Owner Are You?

For business owners, their company is often a reflection of themselves. It’s personal. More than their larger counterparts, small businesses embody the goals, priorities and personalities of their owners. People who choose to start a business instead of working for someone else are unique. No surprise - running a business requires an enormous amount of drive and commitment.

Every business owner’s individual personality traits influence how they run their business and make decisions about the future. Business owners can play to their strengths by gaining a deeper understanding of different types of small business leaders and the management approach each type takes.

Here are the four distinct types:

  • The Visionary — puts their vision and values first when making decisions about strategy, hiring employees and selecting suppliers.
  • The Problem-Solver — addresses both routine problems and unexpected obstacles by designing and implementing creative solutions.
  • The Director —applies a thoughtful and pragmatic process to business strategy and decisions; effective at optimizing available resources.
  • The Hands-Free Owner — sets a high level course, but tends to be removed from daily decisions.

I encourage you to find out where you fall in the study from MetLife, “It’s Personal: The Four Types of Small Business Owners” where they dive into real world stories of small business owners and the method behind their leadership styles.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651

 

 



POSTED APRIL 01, 2017 5:00 AM
How to Prepare Your Business for Severe Wet Weather

Rainy season is here - flooding can become a major hazard to your business. These risks shouldn’t be taken lightly, as water damage is among the most costly types of weather-related damage to clean up and repair. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, the cost of cleaning up a 1,000-square-foot space can easily run upwards of $20,000. Given all these potential costs and risks, it’s essential to prepare your business for severe wet weather.
 
Know your flooding risks. Flooding can happen anywhere, but there are certain areas that are especially prone to it. Know how much risk you face so you can determine how much protection you need. If your business is near a body of water, such as a river, lake, odds of flooding are generally much higher than if you’re far from water. That said, flash flooding and other factors can cause flooding just about anywhere.  In fact, about 20% of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk flood areas.
 
Bring your valuable assets to higher ground. Basements and other low-lying areas are most vulnerable to flooding. Consider keeping your most important and valuable assets - whether paperwork, computers or other equipment - above ground level to reduce the chance of water damage. Also consider ways to protect those assets in case of water damage through the roof or due to a pipe burst, such as by keeping them in waterproof containers or covering them with water-resistant tarps.
 
Now - what’s covered? Flood insurance policies cover physical damage to your property and possessions. You can use the following list as a general guide:
 
Building Property
• The insured building and its foundation
• Electrical and plumbing systems
• Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
• Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
• Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring
• Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
• Window blinds
• Detached garages (up to 10 percent of Building Property coverage) Detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate Building Property policy
• Debris removal
 
Personal Contents Property
• Personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
• Curtains
• Portable and window air conditioners
• Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
• Carpets that are not included in building coverage
• Clothing washers and dryers
• Food freezers and the food in them
• Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
 
What’s Not Covered?
• Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property owner
• Damage caused to Personal Contents in a basement is generally excluded
• Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates
• Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
• Living expenses such as temporary housing
• Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property
• Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts
 

Give me a call with questions.

Dan Zeiler

dan@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x134



POSTED MARCH 29, 2017 8:09 PM
Signals You Don’t Know You’re Sending Your Workforce

Smart companies put a lot of effort into creating a workplace culture that supports wellbeing, innovation and creativity - a culture that enables each team member to bring their A-Game. Unfortunately, all of that effort can be undermined if company leaders fail to walk the walk. Mixed messages can cause confusion, mistrust and a lack of motivation.

These actions in the workplace can speak louder than words:

Taking Time Off Isn’t Really Encouraged

Taking a break from work is important for employee physical and mental wellbeing. It can enhance productivity and reduce stress, which allows everyone to do their best work, including managers.

Even if your business has a robust time off policy in place, bosses who rarely take personal time or postpone vacations can send their employees the message that current work projects and obligations always take precedence over time off.

How can this be fixed? Work together as a team to build coverage and back-up support so colleagues can be accountable for each other. That way, one person’s absence won’t cause a delay on projects and deliverables. Regularly encourage workers to use the days that they are entitled to, and lead by example.

An employee doesn’t necessarily have to plan an extended vacation to take time off - here are five creative and cost-effective ways to use PTO.

You’re Not Creating a Work/Life Blend

Occasional overtime work or meetings outside of normal work hours can be unavoidable, especially if you work with people in different time zones. If you know a certain project or deliverable may need more attention or work outside of normal business hours, than be more flexible during office hours.

A Collaborative Environment Isn’t Really Thriving

Are you quick to shut team members down when they introduce new ideas, or reprimand them when their plans fail?

If you value creative collaboration, encourage your employees to take risks by being less judgmental and more receptive to new ideas. How you respond sends a strong message. Being overly critical without offering constructive feedback is likely to discourage others from speaking up.

Set aside time for employees to express their creativity by scheduling brainstorming sessions or creating a suggestion box. If an idea is implemented, consider a reward for your employee’s contribution to the team, either through verbal recognition or something more tangible, like a financial incentive.

You’re Not Really Available to Your Employees

Is your office door closed all day? If you’re too busy for regular meetings, and you fail to keep employees in the loop on major business decisions, you’re likely discouraging an open dialogue with your team.

A true open door policy speaks volumes. It not only tells people that they’re welcome to stop by and chat, it shows them that you mean it.

It’s also important to make time to talk to each and every employee, either at regular staff meetings or by scheduling one-on-one’s as often as you can. Remind employees to ask questions, and answer them as promptly and openly as you can.

When it comes to employee retention, your company culture can set you apart. Make your company values known to your team, and ensure each action you take as a leader supports the culture you want to create.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651

 



POSTED MARCH 29, 2017 7:17 PM
Tips for Safer Telecommuting Habits from a Telecommuter

Tips for Safer Telecommuting Habits from a Telecommuter

EMC Risk Improvement Consultant Laurie Hoskins is among the 3.7 million employees who frequently work from home. According to a recent Gallup study, regular telecommuting has grown 103% since 2005. That represents a loss control challenge for employers who are responsible for the safety of employees regardless of where they work. “Basically, employers need to train their off-site employees to be their own risk manager,” comments Hoskins, who shares her experience as both a telecommuter and a loss control professional.

Be an Equal Ergonomic Employer
You won’t find Hoskins sitting in a couch or easy chair with a computer in her lap. Technology has not only made telecommuting possible, but also a hazardous job. “With the amount of time the average worker spends using the computer, cases of cumulative trauma disorders (CTD) are on the rise,” warns Hoskins. To reduce these types of injuries, employers need to invest in training to make employees more aware of ergonomic guidelines. These tips are a good starting point.

  • Office chairs should allow for the following adjustments: chair height, seat back angle and height, seat pan depth and armrests. The following adjustments should be considered: operator’s feet are firmly on the floor when sitting back in chair; 90°–110° angle in knees, hips and elbows; there should be a few inches of space between edge of seat and knees; lumbar support should fit into the small of the worker’s back; arms should be relaxed and forearms parallel with floor. If the work surface is too high, raise the chair, lower the workstation or add a footrest.
  • An external keyboard and mouse should be used when working with a laptop or tablet.
  • Keyboard trays and monitor risers should be used as needed, so fingers are relaxed, wrists are straight and the top of the monitor is at eye level.
  • Monitors should be at least an arm’s length away.
  • Lighting should be arranged to reduce reflections or glare from computer monitors.
  • Train employees to improvise when on the road. For example, Hoskins recommends using an ironing board as a work surface in a hotel room because it can be easily adjusted to the proper height for the keyboard, mouse or monitor.

Going Beyond Chairs, Desks and Good Posture
Desks and chairs that facilitate good posture and reduce repetitive muscle strain are only part of the challenge telecommuters face. The Federal Emergency Management Agency shares the following safe and healthy telecommuting tips with its employees:

  • Fidgeting is actually beneficial. Mayo Clinic researchers in 2005 concluded the more you move—even tapping your feet under a desk—the less likely it is that you will gain weight. Small movements have major lifestyle impacts.
  • When telecommuting, use the time saved from commuting to exercise. Whether it’s a brisk walk around the neighborhood, a run or going to the gym, a little exercise has physical and psychological benefits during the workday.
  • Computer cords and telephone chargers can become a tangled mess and cause trip hazards. Avoid this risk by ensuring there is no path between your workstation and your outlet.

"A home office should offer the same level of safety as the employee would enjoy in a traditional office setting," adds Hoskins. To that end, she recommends the following best practices for telecommuters:

  • Home office smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed and checked on a regular basis.
  • Telecommuters should have clear access to a functioning fire extinguisher and a well-stocked first aid kit.
  • Telecommuters should take the time to have a written emergency plan that includes emergency contact numbers posted near the phone and periodic contact time scheduled with coworkers.

The Good News and Bad News About Telecommuting
The advantages associated with telecommuting are too great to ignore. Employees have greater flexibility and higher job satisfaction while employers improve retention, reduce absenteeism, improve their recruiting efforts and save on office space requirements. But accidents and injuries that can reduce productivity and increase insurance costs can happen in any work environment. “Remember, you’re responsible for the safety of workers wherever they work,” concludes Hoskins.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651



POSTED MARCH 29, 2017 5:00 AM
Roofing Scams: When to Be Wary

Contractors Promise Free Roof Replacements in Storm-Hit Areas

One day following a particularly nasty hailstorm, you receive a knock on your front door. It’s roofing contractors, and they can replace your roof at no cost to you – it’s covered by your insurance.

Suspicious? You should be.

Roofing contractors (the not-so-reputable kind) spring into action following a storm, coaxing homeowners into okaying work that may or may not be needed and may or may not be covered by their insurance. So, despite how genuine the contractors may seem, it’s smart to remain wary until you work out a few key details. These scenarios and tips should help you sort out any confusion.

Contractors: Want to Take a Quick Look at Your Roof
You: Should Decline

The problem with this scenario is, if you let dishonest contractors onto your roof, they might do more than just look for damage. They might go so far as to cause damage. Why? They want a reason to replace your roof. There’s money in it for them, remember? So, if they don’t see a valid reason, they may attempt to create one.

When an adjuster comes out to take a look, they will likely know the difference between actual storm damage and artificial damage. And, since you only have coverage for the former, according to the terms of your policy, you may have to pay out-of-pocket to repair the latter. So, leave the initial roof inspection to us or to someone you know and trust.

Contractors: Insist on Starting Work Right Away
You: Should Research, Not Rush

So, the contractors want to begin work right away and handle the insurance details later. All you need to do is sign. Not so fast. You haven’t been in touch with us, you don’t know anything about the roofers and you likely haven’t had a chance to read the fine print – all red flags.

This is when you stop and ask for the roofers’ business card and references and tell them you may be in touch. Then contact us, we can recommend a reputable roofing contractor in your area. If you wish, look into the other contractors’ reputation online, such as with the Better Business Bureau or other online review sources.

Contractors: Say Your Insurance Company Will Pay the Entire Cost of a New Roof
You: Need to Hear This From Us, Not a Contractor

Sure, a contractor may say you’re entitled to a new roof because a storm went through the area or because your neighbor’s getting a new roof. However, a random contractor doesn’t know the specifics of your homeowners insurance policy. That’s why it’s important to start with us when facing the need for potential roof repairs or a potential roof replacement following a storm. This allows you to understand whether or not you have coverage for the scenario at hand. It also helps you know how much you may need to pay out of your own pocket, such as your deductible. And, isn’t that nice to know upfront?

Contractors: Want You to Assign Your Insurance Benefits to Them
You: Should Be Very Cautious

Say you assign your insurance benefits to roofing contractors, who claim this will make the whole process quicker and easier. The problem here is that you may end up being scammed. The contractor may pocket the insurance money and skip town before finishing your roof repairs.

The bottom line is this: Rushing into roof repairs or a roof replacement may leave you on the line for some or all of the costs. So, be wary of contractors going door-to-door in your neighborhood, and contact us at once if you suspect you have roof damage following a storm.

If you still find yourself hiring or interacting with a roofer, here are some tips:

5 Tips for Dealing With a Roofing Contractor

  1. Ask for the contractor’s license number (if your state licenses roofers) and insurance information. Also write down the person’s license plate number and, if possible, driver’s license number.
     
  2. If you allow unfamiliar contractors to inspect your roof, be sure to supervise them. However, it’s best not to let them onto your roof at all.
     
  3. Be especially wary of contractors who say replacing your roof won’t cost a thing. They may even claim they’ll pay your deductible for you.
     
  4. Never sign a contract with blanks. Get everything in writing: Cost, scope of work, time frame, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations. And, read every contract carefully, paying particular attention to any “assignment of benefits” language.
     
  5. Don’t pay in full or sign a certificate of completion until the work is done and you’re satisfied with the outcome.

Finally, one last warning: Contractors may try to pull similar scams with windows, siding or driveways following a storm, so be wary.

We know it can all seem a little daunting. We just want you to be aware of some scenarios you may encounter so you can protect yourself. Because, while not all roofing companies engage in disreputable behavior, some of them certainly do.

So, remember, get in touch with us first to deal with storm damage. Doing so may just help you avoid unsavory characters and contract conditions.

Lucas Zeiler

lucas@zeiler.com

708.597.5900 x651



POSTED MARCH 22, 2017 7:20 PM

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