Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Congratulations Liam & Gael for winning our 2019 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting the ...
Congratulations Liam & Gael for winning our 2019 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting The Andrew Weishar Foundation!
Liam is a two-time winner and this year his brother got to join him in victory!
They will receive a $500 donation in their name to The Andrew Weishar Foundation. The mission behind this foundation is to uplift the lives of adolescents or young adults battling cancer by providing direct financial assistance and ensuring they know they are not alone in this fight.
They will also receive 2 tickets to Breakfast with Santa at Lincoln Park Zoo as a token of our appreciation.
We would like to thank all contestants and voters for their support and good sportsmanship!
POSTED NOVEMBER 06, 2019 6:00 AM
|A solution to the uninsured mortorist problem
Illinois Mandatory Insurance Verification
The Illinois Secretary of State is now monitoring all registered vehicles in IL, for car insurance. All car insurance companies must now comply with the electronic car insurance verification law (IL HB 2610), which went into effect 01-01-2019. Car insurance companies are forced to send in daily reports to the Illinois Secretary of State on policy information. Including which vehicles have insurance and which do not. The vendor will match the information to vehicle owners/drivers, VIN numbers, and license plates for the Illinois Secretary of State database instantly.
The Illinois Secretary of State will randomly check all vehicles at least twice per year using the electronic insurance verification system. The registered owner will receive a letter requesting proof of insurance or that the vehicle was inoperable during a lapse in car insurance coverage. This 30 day request will be triggered for having even just one day lapse in coverage. The registered owner will only get 30 days to provide the Illinois Secretary of State with the information. Failure to provide the proof will result in an electronic citation.
Courts will have access to the Illinois Secretary of State Car insurance database. This is to verify if cars had insurance during accidents or at the time a citation was issued for driving uninsured.
Minimum $500 fine for driving uninsured.
Minimum $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle while on a suspension.
Bill Status of HB-2610
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State may implement an electronic motor vehicle liability insurance policy verification program to verify insurance coverage of motor vehicles required to be operated with liability insurance under the Code. Provides for information that an insurance company authorized to sell motor vehicle liability insurance in this State shall make available upon request to the Secretary. Provides that if the Secretary implements the program, he or she shall verify insurance coverage at least twice per calendar year and, if unable to verify coverage, shall provide the vehicle owner written notice allowing the owner 30 calendar days to provide proof of insurance on the date of the attempted verification or proof that the vehicle is inoperable. If the vehicle owner provides proof of insurance, the Secretary may verify the proof with the vehicle owner’s insurance company. If the vehicle owner fails to respond to the notice or is unable to provide proof of coverage or proof that the vehicle is inoperable, the Secretary shall suspend the vehicle’s registration. Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Makes conforming changes. Amends the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act. Changes the title of the Act to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Act. Provides that the Secretary of State shall appoint members of the Council (rather than the Governor) and the Director of the Department of State Police shall be the Chairman of the Council. Provides that the Council shall provide funding to the Secretary for the creation, implementation, and maintenance of an electronic motor vehicle liability insurance policy verification program. Makes conforming changes. Amends the State Finance Act to make conforming changes.
POSTED NOVEMBER 01, 2019 5:00 AM
|7th Annual Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting The Andrew Weishar Foundation
We are changing things up a bit! For our 7th Annual Halloween Costume Contest for Kids – we have partnered with The Andrew Weishar Foundation – in an effort to uplift the lives of adolescents or young adults battling cancer by providing direct financial assistance and ensuring they know they are not alone in this fight.
The winning child will receive a $500 donation in their name to The Andrew Weishar Foundation. Take a moment to watch the mission behind this great foundation by Clicking Here.
Participating is simple:
- Email or text your child’s costume picture to Karli Zeiler:
email@example.com l 708.408.5279
- We will post the pictures on our Facebook Page
- All pictures will be posted by November 3rd and the picture with the most “LIKES” at noon on Wednesday, November 6th will win.
The winning child will also receive 2 tickets to Breakfast with Santa at Lincoln Park Zoo on December 15th.
Learn about some of our previous winners and contestants:
Thank you & good luck!
The Zeiler Insurance Team
POSTED OCTOBER 23, 2019 3:38 PM
|What Do Humidifiers Do to Improve Wellness in the Winter?
POSTED OCTOBER 16, 2019 5:00 AM
|Smart Road Tips for Halloween Safety
Advice for drivers and trick-or-treaters.
As ghosts, witches, and superheroes wander the roads on Halloween looking for candy and treats, drivers should take extra care to ensure that the holiday doesn’t become truly horrifying.
The scary reality is that Halloween is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, especially children, statistics show. Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in general, reaching 5,987 in 2016, the highest number since 1990, according the Department of Transportation. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that pedestrian deaths soared by 46 percent from 2009 to 2016, with an increasing share of the deaths away from intersections and on busy and dark city and suburban roads.
"Halloween night is like a 'perfect storm' of risk because it involves darkness, a huge increase in pedestrian traffic, especially children, and all sorts of distractions," says Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at CR's Auto Test Center. "Everyone needs to be ultracareful to not turn such a fun evening into tragedy."
Halloween brings out children of all ages walking on, alongside, and crossing streets. It’s important for kids to be aware of their surroundings so they can stay safe.
And there are steps that parents and drivers can take to reduce the risks.
Tips for Trick-or-Treaters
The tips below are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Parents should accompany children younger than 12 years old.
- Children should walk - not run - from house to house.
- Children should stay on sidewalks instead of walking between cars or on lawns, where there could be tripping hazards.
- Parents should remind children to look for cars when crossing driveways.
- Pedestrians shouldn't assume they have the right of way, because motorists may not see them.
- Go trick-or-treating before it is truly dark, especially with young children.
- Parents and children should consider choosing costumes that are lighter in color, which make it easier for drivers to see them. Adding reflective material to the front and back makes a costume easier to pick out; it can even be built into the design.
- Avoid costumes that make it more difficult for a child to see, especially ones that include masks. If a mask is necessary, kids may want to remove it when moving between houses for greatest visibility.
- Give children a flashlight to walk with in the dark so they can be more easily seen by drivers. Glow sticks can help too.
Tips for Drivers
Drivers can find Halloween to be especially difficult, because children often behave unpredictably and can be difficult to see after dark. These tips are from NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Drivers need to understand that Halloween is especially dangerous.
- Drive slowly in and around neighborhoods and on residential streets.
- Don't drink and drive. Drunken-driving incidents increase on Halloween. (NHTSA reports that 44 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night from 2012 to 2016 were in crashes involving drunken driving.)
- Watch for children who may dart out into the street, and always yield to pedestrians. If you see one child, there are likely more ready to cross.
- If you're driving children around for trick-or-treating, make sure they're buckled up appropriately in a child safety seat or with a seat belt. Make sure they buckle up each and every time they enter the car, and check to make sure they're secure before you drive to the next stop.
- Pull over at safe locations to let children exit at the curb and away from traffic. Use your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your car.
- Try to park in a spot where you won’t need to back up. But if you must, have an adult outside to make sure no children are in the way of your vehicle when you do.
- Don't use a cell phone or other mobile device while driving. Pull over safely to check voice messages or texts if necessary.
By being cautious and mindful of safety this Halloween, you can make sure the holiday is a treat for all.
POSTED OCTOBER 16, 2019 5:00 AM
|Understanding your Insurance Deductibles
Deductibles have been an essential part of the insurance contract for many years. Understanding the role deductibles play when insuring a car or home is an important part of getting the most out of your insurance policy.
A deductible is an amount of money that you yourself are responsible for paying toward an insured loss. When a disaster strikes your home or you have a car accident, the amount of the deductible is subtracted, or “deducted,” from your claim payment.
Deductibles are the way in which a risk is shared between you, the policyholder, and your insurer. Generally speaking, the larger the deductible, the less you pay in premiums for an insurance policy.
A deductible can be either a specific dollar amount or a percentage of the total amount of insurance on a policy. The amount is established by the terms of your coverage and can be found on the declarations (or front) page of standard homeowners and auto insurance policies.
State insurance regulations strictly dictate the way deductibles are incorporated into the language of a policy and how deductibles are implemented, and these laws can vary from state to state.
How deductibles work
For dollar amount deductibles, a specific amount would come off the top of your claim payment.
For example, if your policy states a $500 deductible, and your insurer has determined that you have an insured loss worth $10,000, you would receive a claims check for $9,500.
Percentage deductibles generally only apply to homeowners policies and are calculated based on a percentage of the home’s insured value. So if your house is insured for $100,000 and your insurance policy has a 2 percent deductible, $2,000 would be deducted from any claim payment. In the event of the $10,000 insurance loss, you would be paid $8,000. In the event of a $25,000 loss, your claim check would be $23,000.
Note that with auto insurance or a homeowners policy, the deductible applies each time you file a claim. The one major exception to this is in Florida, where hurricane deductibles specifically are applied per season rather than for each storm.
Deductibles generally apply to property damage, not to the liability portion of homeowners or auto insurance policies. To use a homeowners policy example, a deductible would apply to property damaged in a rogue outdoor grill fire, but there would be no deductible against the liability portion of the policy if a burned guest made a medical claim or sued.
Raising your deductible can save money
One way to save money on a homeowners or auto insurance policy is to raise the deductible so, if you're shopping for insurance, ask us about the options for deductibles when comparing policies.
Increasing the dollar deductible from $200 to $500 on your auto insurance can reduce collision and comprehensive coverage premium costs. Going to a $1,000 deductible may save you even more.
Most homeowners and renters insurers offer a minimum $500 or $1,000 deductible. Raising the deductible to more than $1,000 can save on the cost of the policy.
Of course, remember that in the event of loss you'll be responsible for the deductible, so make sure that you're comfortable with the amount.
Homeowners disaster deductibles
Wind/hail and hurricanes are covered by standard homeowners insurance; flood and earthquake policies are purchased separately by homeowners. But each of these disasters has their own deductible rules. If you're in an area that's high risk for one of these natural disasters, understand how much of a deductible you'll need to pay if a catastrophe strikes. Start here, check your policies and speak with us to learn exactly how your particular deductibles work.
- Hurricane deductibles. In hurricane prone states, special deductibles may apply for homeowners insurance claims when the cause of damage is attributable to a hurricane. Whether a hurricane deductible applies to a claim depends on the specific “trigger” selected by the insurance company. These triggers vary by state and insurer and usually apply when the National Weather Service (NWS) officially names a tropical storm, declares a hurricane watch or warning, or defines a hurricane’s intensity in terms of wind speed. Hurricane deductibles are generally higher than other homeowners policy deductibles and usually take the form of a percentage of the policy limits. In some states, policyholders have the option of paying a higher premium in return for a traditional dollar deductible; however, in high-risk coastal areas insurers may make the percentage deductible mandatory.
- Wind/hail deductibles work in a similar way to hurricane deductibles and are most common in places that typically experience severe windstorms and hail. These include Midwestern states (like Ohio) and around Tornado Alley (which goes through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska). Wind/hail deductibles are most commonly paid in percentages, typically from one to 5 percent.
- Flood insurance offers a range of deductibles. If you have—or are considering buying—flood insurance, make sure you understand your deductible. Flood insurance deductibles vary by state and insurance company, and are available in dollar amounts or percentages. Furthermore, you can choose one deductible for your home's structure and another for its contents (note that your mortgage company may require that your flood insurance deductible be under a certain amount, to help ensure you'll be able to pay it).
- Earthquake insurance has percentage deductibles that are anywhere from 2 percent to 20 percent of the replacement value of your home, depending on location. Insurers in states that have higher than average risk of earthquakes (for example, Washington, Nevada and Utah), often set minimum deductibles at around 10 percent. In California, the basic California Earthquake Authority (CEA) policy includes a deductible that is 15 percent of the replacement cost of the main home structure and starting at 10 percent for additional coverages (such as on a garage or other outbuildings).
POSTED OCTOBER 09, 2019 6:42 PM
|Top Seven Mistakes Business Owners Make Filing Insurance Claims
In the chaos that follows a disaster, mistakes can be made that may delay insurance reimbursement, or mean your insurance won't pay at all. Long delays can be deadly for a business trying to bounce back and get the doors open again.
Here are the top seven mistakes business owners make in filing insurance claims:
1. Not contacting your insurer immediately. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up damage before an insurance representative visits the business. This creates confusion about how bad things really were, and you may find that labor you did or paid for is disallowed if it preceded an insurer's inspection. In a disaster situation, many insurers have a quick-response team that will come out to survey the situation.
2. Not documenting the damage. Often, repairs must begin immediately to prevent additional damage, or equipment must be moved to a new location. If so, be sure to photograph the original scene to document how it was before you started your cleanup effort. Also take photos of any repairs you make.
3. Not keeping damaged goods. If your business cleanup includes removal of items such as water-damaged merchandise, flooring or insulation, keep it all, even if it has to pile up in the parking lot. The damaged materials are all evidence of the impact of the disaster on your business.
4. Not appealing your insurer's lowball estimate. Your insurer will give you a damage estimate after surveying your business. If you think it's too low, you can appeal. Hire your own adjuster to do a second estimate. Usually, an impartial, third-party mediator will then be employed to make a final decision on the payment amount.
5. Not reading your policy. It's a common myth that if you have insurance for a building, you must have coverage for flooding, earthquakes and all other possible calamities. But often, it's not true. In earthquake-prone states, for instance, this coverage often must be obtained on a separate policy or rider, and flood insurance is only offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. Don't waste time submitting claims to your private insurance policy if it won't cover you for the disaster you've just suffered.
6. Counting on FEMA for quick help. If your business is in a federally declared disaster area, federal aid will be available. It might provide homeowners with temporary shelter and eventual money to rebuild. But for a business owner, your private insurance will be your best chance at receiving money fast enough to reopen before all your customers drift away.
7. Not preparing ahead of time. Obviously, the aftermath of a disaster goes more smoothly if you are ready to swing into action when trouble hits. Start with reviewing your policy to make sure you have adequate coverage. Then be prepared. Do you know where your insurance policy is kept? Is it handy, where you could grab it if you had to leave suddenly? Is an extra copy in a safe deposit box where it would be safe from flooding or fire? Do you have our number programmed into your phone? It'll prevent delays if you have your information handy.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 5:00 AM
|Reducing Risks to your Business Vehicles
Whether you own or lease a single business car or an entire fleet of commercial vehicles, you’ll need to purchase commercial auto insurance. We can help you weigh your risks and evaluate coverage options.
But even with insurance in place, you’ll want to take steps to prevent accidents and protect your employees and vehicles. Your business can reduce the chance of an accident by establishing and enforcing the following practices and policies.
Hard and Fast Driving Rules:
When it comes to the safety of employees and the protection of your vehicles, you should set certain firm driving rules that must be followed at all times, including:
- Mandatory seat belt use - Nearly every state has a seat belt law. Seat belt use helps prevent deaths and limit the severity of injuries in vehicle accidents. There is no reasonable excuse for not using a seat belt.
- Zero tolerance for intoxicants - Even one alcoholic beverage can impair a driver’s reaction time. Employees should never drink or use other intoxicants prior to using business vehicles.
- No cellphone use - Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. Prohibit employees from taking calls or texting while driving.
Other rules may be more flexible, but you should consider instituting policies and adhering to the following practices yourself as appropriate:
- Limit non-business use of vehicles - While some employees use the same car for work and personal use, generally limit business vehicle use to work-related travel.
- Slow down - Scheduling should allow sufficient travel time between meetings and assignments. Do not create such a frantic pace of work that employees are encouraged to speed. In addition to reducing the risk of accidents, driving the speed limit also will help control fuel costs.
- Lock and secure vehicles - Employees should always lock vehicles when on the job. Whenever possible, vehicles should be parked in secure, well-lighted areas.
Employee focused practices to reduce vehicle risk:
- Know your employees - Before hiring employees to drive company vehicles, check their driving record with the motor vehicle department for past infractions. Limit or ban driving by employees with a history of accidents or moving violations. Employees should also be required to report any accidents they have while not working. In addition, recognize that some personality traits - such as a bad temper - can raise the risk of auto accidents.
- Provide training - Employees who regularly drive work vehicles - or are taking on a new assignment requiring vehicle use - should be provided with drivers training. This course may just be a refresher for some, but it should cover key safety practices such as following distances and proper backing techniques.
- Recognize safe drivers - For businesses in which driving is central - such as a florist or a moving company - establish a program to recognize and reward safe drivers. You may also want to reward a department or the whole company for accident-free periods.
Responding to an Accident:
The above practices and policies can help minimize the risk to your business vehicles, but they cannot entirely prevent accidents from happening. If a business vehicle is involved in an accident, you’ll want to help your employee-driver respond appropriately and proceed with filing an insurance claim. The following practices and steps will help your business and the involved employee recover and get back to work.
- Establish procedures in the event of an accident - Employees using company vehicles should be trained what to do if an accident occurs. This includes not leaving the scene of an accident, contacting the police, and collecting information (license plate numbers, contact information, insurance information, etc.) from the affected parties and any witnesses. The accident should also be reported to appropriate personnel at work. Consider using the incident as an opportunity to educate all employees who drive company vehicles about what to do if they are involved in an accident.
- Contact us and file a claim with your insurer - As soon as possible, contact us to report the accident and begin the claims filing process. It’s especially important to work immediately with us if anyone has been injured in the accident. Follow the guidance in a timely manner, such as getting estimates for repairs.
Remember too, that auto insurance claims are not limited to accidents. You may also need to file a claim if your vehicle is vandalized, stolen or damaged from an event other than an accident, such as fire or severe weather.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 18, 2019 5:00 AM
|Building Ordinance and Law Coverage
To understand the need for Ordinance and Law coverage we first need to look at the insurance agreement.
The important parts to consider include:
- Coverage is provided for direct physical lose to tangible property.
- And two the loss settlement provision will provide reimbursement for like kind and quality
So if your building is struck by lighting and catches fire - there is direct physical loss to property - and policy will respond replacing what was damaged. But what about your local building code requirements? Does your building meet all the current cores?
Some considerations that may need to be made include:
- Fire Suppression Sprinkler System
- ADA compliant features which can include elevators, handicap bathrooms and ramps
- And with our green energy push many improvements in insulation or R-values requirements have been changed.
These improvements can add over 25% to the reconstruction cost of a building. And, many communities have a building codes requiring that a building that has been damaged to a specified extent (typically 50 percent) must be completely demolished and rebuilt in accordance with the current codes.
- An unendorsed property insurance policy will not pay to rebuild the portion of your building that was not damaged.
- It also will not pay the cost to demolish that undamaged portion of the building.
So what is needed? A Building Ordinance and Law Coverage endorsement.
There are three basic parts.
- Coverage for the undamaged portion of the building that needs to be torn down
- Increase cost of construction limit for the required building improvements
- Demolition cost reimbursement for the portion of your building being torn down - that was not damaged.
There are other considerations that need to be made and I’m available should you have any questions.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 3:24 PM
|Illinois Auto Insurance and GAP Coverage
Illinois Auto Insurance and Guaranteed Auto Protection "GAP Insurance".
When purchasing or leasing a new car it is important to make sure that you have the proper insurance. One option that needs to be considered is Guaranteed Auto Protection - GAP Insurance. GAP Insurance covers the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and what the insurance company may pay for a totaled or stolen vehicle. Watch this video for a quick summary of this coverage option.
POSTED SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 3:06 PM