Replacement Cost Coverage

Home loss is a terrible thing to experience. Fire, flood, tornado can destroy all your prized possessions in a flash. Family photographs, furniture, artwork, clothing, kitchen ware all gone! Fortunately, with insurance, you can rebuild, replacing those items which allow your family to love comfortably. Especially, if you have replacement cost coverage.

Depreciation

The overwhelming majority of homeowner insurance policies cover possessions for actual cash value at the time of loss. Actual cash value is calculated on the current value of your possessions minus depreciation (value reduction through use). The value of furniture, clothing, automobiles is considered reduced through use. Which means the value is depreciated to a percentage of original purchase cost.

For instance, a sofa purchased three years ago for $2,000, given depreciation might only be worth $700 today, the claim amount approved by your insurance company. Then that $700 claim would be further reduced by your deductible, resulting in an even lower claim payment.

Replacement Cost

Unfortunately, too many clients fail to recognize the cost and impact of refurnishing a home until they experience loss. One way to reduce the shock of rebuilding cost is to add replacement cost coverage. With replacement cost coverage, possessions are replaced at the current cost to replace with like kind or quality. With replacement cost coverage, the insurance company would approve a claim payment of $2,000 for that sofa: the cost to replace the sofa with like kind or quality.

The cost to add replacement cost coverage on your personal property is minimal. Call your Aspen Insurance advisor to review your homeowner policy and determine if you have replacement cost coverage. They are more than ready to assist you with adding this coverage, should you not have it and wish to have it.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance advisors and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Commercial Auto Risks


Auto insurance rates have increased steadily over the last few years, well exceeding the rate of inflation over the same period. Why? What is driving this upward trend? There are six reasons for the increase in commercial auto insurance rates.

#1 Cost of Bodily Injury

While the frequency of auto claims involving bodily injury has fallen over the recent 9-year period, the average cost of claims that do involve bodily injury increased by 32% over the same period. The Covid pandemic reduced the number of cars on the road, but initial projections suggest the cost of each claim will be higher due to higher speeds at impact.

#2 Attorney Involvement

“Call the hammer!” …” For the people” …” we’ll get you money!”

With attorneys actively pursuing auto accident business, more claimants now have legal representation. These claims see higher rates of expenditures for medical procedures and treatment. A complete fleet management program can help reduce your exposure.

#3 Driver Distractions

Distractions behind the wheel, whether from vehicle in-car entertainment systems and mobile devices or from driving under the influence, can lead to significant risks. 77% of 1,000 drivers surveyed reported making or taking calls while driving. 31% said they have had a near-miss crash because of distracted driving.

#4 Inexperienced Drivers

A shortage of commercial operators is leading to increased rates of drivers switching companies and increases the chance for less-experienced drivers to get behind the wheel. Operators in new vehicles and covering new routes may also contribute to an increase in accident rates.

Here are ways that good drivers benefit your bottom line:

  • Reduce the cost of loss. Fleet vehicle accidents are among the costliest of injury claims for business. The average cost of a loss related to vehicle accidents is approximately $70,000. Safe drivers can help lower the possibility of loss due to accidents.
  • Lower liability in case of loss. Effective screening, hiring, training, and monitoring can help reduce liability.
  • Boost your public image. Every driver has the potential to send a message. When your truck is headed down the highway, you want it to tell a positive story about your company.

#5 Vehicle Repair Costs

Newer vehicles are outfitted with advanced materials and technologically advanced systems designed to make driving more comfortable and safer. Cars are designed to crumple to dispel the force of an accident. That also means when vehicles are involved in an accident, the cost of repair can be much higher.

#6 Business Interruption

A claim can cause significant disruption for business taking vehicles off the road and slowing or stopping shipments or deliveries. Having an established business continuity plan can help your organization prepare for and overcome such an interruption.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Ransomware Payments Are On the Rise

In March of this year, CNA Financial Corp., among the largest insurance companies in the U.S., paid $40 million to regain control of its network after a ransomware attack. The Chicago-based company reportedly paid hackers two weeks after a large amount of company data was stolen. CNA officials were also locked out of their own network, according to individuals familiar with the attack, neither of whom was authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

CNA did release a formal statement stating the company consulted and shared intelligence with the FBI and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control about the attack and the hacker’s identity.  The Treasury Department’s said last year facilitating ransom payments to hackers could pose sanctions risks.

Ransom Payment Trend

As Companies rarely disclose ransomware attacks or payments it is difficult to know actual past payments. According to Palo Alto Networks, the average payment in 2020 was $312,493, a 171% increase over the prior year. The $40 million payment by CNA is bigger than any previously disclosed payments to hackers, according to three people familiar with ransomware negotiations.

Ransomware demands have increased exponentially in the last six months, according to Melissa Hathaway, president of Hathaway Global Strategies and a former cybersecurity adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The average ransom demand is now between $50 million and $70 million, Hathaway said. While those demands are often negotiated down, she stated that companies are frequently paying ransoms in the tens of millions of dollars, in part because cyber insurance policies cover some of the cost.

A taskforce of security experts and law enforcement agencies estimated that victims paid about $350 million in ransom last year, a 311% increase over 2019. The task force recommended 48 actions the Biden administration and private sector could take to mitigate such attacks, including better regulation of the digital currency market used to make ransom payments.

The task-force report, prepared by the Institute for Security and Technology, was delivered to the White House days before Colonial Pipeline Co. was compromised in a ransomware attack.  Bloomberg reported that Colonial paid the hackers nearly $5 million shortly after the attack.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware encrypting a victim’s data demanding a payment to unlock access to the data. Cybercriminals also use ransomware to steal too. The hackers then ask for a payment to unlock the files and promise not to leak stolen data. In recent years, hackers have been targeting victims with cyber insurance policies and huge volumes of sensitive consumer data that make them more likely to pay a ransom, according to cybersecurity experts.

The CNA hackers used malware called Phoenix Locker, a variant of ransomware dubbed ‘Hades.’ Hades was created by a Russian cybercrime syndicate known as Evil Corp., according to cybersecurity experts. Evil Corp. was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2019. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pinpoint blame as hacking groups share code or sell malware to one another.

Phoenix Locker appears to be a variant of Hades based on overlap of the code used in each, according to Barry Hensley, chief threat intelligence officer of cybersecurity firm Secureworks Corp. “We have a high degree of confidence this is a Hades variant,” Hensley said. He said they have not determined which hackers used the Hades variant to attack CNA.

Hades was created by Evil Corp. to bypass U.S. sanctions placed on the hacking group, according to research published in March by the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike Holdings Inc.

CNA, which offers cyber insurance, said its investigation concluded that the hackers were a group called Phoenix not yet subject to U.S. sanctions.

The average ransom demand is now between $50 million and $70 million, subject to negotiation. Companies are frequently paying ransoms in the tens of millions of dollars, in part because cyber insurance policies cover some or all of the cost.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Protecting From Cyber Attacks

Computers are everywhere: homes, business, libraries, schools, even in your pocket, if you own a smart phone. Computers are used for entertainment, business operations, navigation, government administration, heating, and cooling: the list goes on and on. As ubiquitous as computers have become, criminals are increasingly attempting to extort money or use our personal information to create a duplicate of our identity, destroying our finances through impersonation.

Rise in Computer Crime

Computer crime is not decreasing:

  • In 2020, 300 million people were affected by data breaches: 80% of the nation’s population.
  • 91% of organizations experienced at least one damaging cyber attack over the past two years. 60% had two or more over the past two years.
  • 1 in 4 businesses experienced a cyber event in 2020.
  • Ransomware attacks (where villains lock computer until a ransom is paid for release) exceeded one million dollars in 2018: in 2020, it was more than $30 million!

As a result of the rise in computer crime, 78% of risk managers now purchase some level of cyber insurance, up from 34% in 2011.

Business Cyber Protection

As the majority of cyber criminals are overseas where law enforcement may not be able to reach. Business owners might evaluate their internal business cyber protection. Even well-defended companies experience cyber losses. What can a business owner do?

First and foremost, each business owner should have a robust cyber security plan in place. One that is continually updated as new weapons are wielded by criminals.

To begin with:

Maintain A Robust Perimeter Defense: Many networked computer systems are protected by a firewall: think of a firewall as the castle wall. The wall keeps invaders out allowing entry only through a protected gate. The firewall is absolutely the first line of defense. However, be concerned if it is the only line of defense. If the walls are breached, invaders may be inside with complete access to customer data and individual computers.

Change Passwords every 30 days: over 55% of unauthorized access is from “spoofing” a legitimate user. Criminals have become sophisticated in their use of social media and publicly available information to induce employees to click on links installing malware software on your systems. Such malware lies hidden tracking every keyboard click, including the capture of passwords, customer social security numbers and birthdates and a lot more. By changing passwords, it reduces a criminal’s ability to impersonate your employees.

Install Anti-virus Security Solutions: Install products such as Norton or McAfee on all computers and keep the software up to date. In 2020, 360,000 new malicious files were detected each day. Current virus software will capture and isolate the software for review and deletion, before inflicting damage.

Restrict Browsing: Every company uses internet browsing for business purposes. However, criminals will upload malware to appear as a seemingly innocent picture or video (cute kittens, romping puppies!) which, when clicked upon, is designed to infect the computer without the user knowledge, then seek and infect other computers on your network.

Minimizing Risk of Cyber Attacks

Six of ten small to medium sized business (under $250 million annual revenue) have no cyber insurance protection. Business owners should consider the cost of losing all business data or paying a ransom for locked out computers and the impact these situations represent. Consider investing in risk management protection by expanding coverage such as:

  • Breach Response Costs
  • Cyber Extortion/Ransom
  • Business/Dependent Business Interruption
  • Systems Failure/Dependent
  • Systems Failure Digital Asset Recovery
  • Cyber Crime (Social Engineering, Funds Transfer Fraud)
  • Bricking

Speak to your Aspen Insurance industry expert to discuss possible options expanding your cyber security insurance and general liability insurance.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO servicing clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

5 Most Common Business Lawsuits

The United States are a litigious society: every business must be aware of and protected from suits brought for any number of reasons. However, there are five types of suits more common than all others. Most, though not all, may be covered by insurance.

1. Employment Discrimination and Wrongful Termination

Many lawsuits filed against businesses are based on allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or wrongful termination. Most workers are protected from these acts by federal anti-discrimination laws, including:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Bars employers from discriminating against workers based on sex, race, religion, color, or national origin.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act: Prevents employers from discriminating against a woman because of pregnancy or a related condition.
  • Equal Pay Act: Requires employers to pay men and women the same wages if they perform equal work in the same workplace.
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act: Prohibits employers from discriminating against employees ages 40 or older based on their age.
  • Title I of Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA): Prohibits discrimination against qualified employees who have a disability.

Many states have enacted their own anti-discrimination laws protecting workers. Both state and federal laws apply to applicants for employment as well as employees.

Harassment – Retaliation – Wrongful Termination

Harassment and retaliation are forms of discrimination. Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. In a harassment claim, the alleged perpetrator is often a manager or co-worker; the plaintiff claims they reported the harassment to the employer who failed to stop it.

Retaliation is the termination, demotion or other action taken by an employer to punish the employee for filing a discrimination complaint or lawsuit.

Wrongful termination is firing an employee in violation of the law. Most wrongful termination claims against employers are based on allegations of discrimination, for instance firing an employee due to their age.

Small businesses are typically more vulnerable to employment-related lawsuits. Many small companies do not employ human resources professionals to ensure internal personnel actions comply with federal and state laws.

Claims alleging discrimination and other employment-related acts may be insured under an Employment Practices Liability (EPL) policy.

2. Discrimination Suits Not Based on Employment

All discrimination suits are not always brought by employees. Suits may be filed by customers, suppliers, patients, vendors, and other individuals with a connection to the business. For instance, a foreign-born customer sues a restaurant for discrimination alleging the wait staff made derogatory remarks about her native country and then refused to serve her.

Some EPL policies cover discrimination claims filed by individuals who are not employees.

3. Wage Law Violations

Many lawsuits filed against employers are based on allegations that the employer violated a federal, state, or local wage law. These laws are collectively called wage and hour laws.

The Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the federal minimum wage. It also governs child labor, recordkeeping, and overtime pay. The FLSA creates two categories of workers, exempt and nonexempt. Generally, nonexempt employees are eligible for overtime pay while exempt workers are not. Many states and municipalities have enacted their own laws regarding wages and overtime pay.

Wage and hour suits are often based on claims that the employer failed to pay either the minimum wage or overtime pay. Workers may also contend that the employer avoided paying overtime by misclassifying them as independent contractors.

Suits based solely on allegations of wage and hour law violations are not likely to be covered by insurance. These types of law suits are not covered by general liability policies and are specifically excluded from employment practices and directors and officers liability policies.

4. Torts

Many suits filed against businesses by third parties are based on torts: violating a person’s civil rights. Two types of torts may lead to lawsuits against businesses: unintentional torts (negligence) and intentional torts.

Negligence committed by a business owner or employee may lead to an accident that causes personal injuries or damaging personal property. The injured party may sue the business or the employee for bodily injury or property damage. Intentional torts like false arrest and wrongful eviction can also generate suits against businesses.

Claims against a business for bodily injury or property damage may be covered under a general liability policy. Claims based on certain types of intentional torts are also covered by liability policies under personal and advertising liability coverage.

5. Breach of Contract

A business owner breaches a contract when he or she fails to comply with its terms. Most claims based solely on breach of contract are not typically covered by liability policies. Employers still may be able to avoid the risk of non-performance through the purchase of a surety bond.

We recommend discussing risk management and mitigation protection with your Aspen Insurance Advisor who can give trusted advice on protections for yourself and your business through small business insurance.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, Colorado, and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover A Fallen Tree?

At Aspen Insurance we don’t know the answer to the question; “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear….”. We do, however, know the answer to the question “if a tree falls on my home, will I be able to file an insurance claim?”.

Trees are a lovely and welcome addition to a homeowner’s property. Trees bring shade, block the wind, provide privacy and add a visual counterpoint. Unfortunately, the benefits of trees may be offset by the disadvantages of tree removal, especially for trees reaching end-of-life. Trees may be struck by lightning, infected by boring insects or, simply reached the end of their natural life span, no longer having the ability to withstand wind or intense weather.

And, it’s not just trees in our yard we need be concerned about: we should also keep in mind the possibility of trees falling from a neighbor’s yard. Even though it was not our tree falling in our own yard, we still may be financially responsible for removing the fallen tree and repairing the damage. Whether your homeowner’s insurance policy includes coverage for fallen trees depends on several factors, including the reason the tree fell and the type of resultant damage.

Does Homeowners Insurance Policies Cover Falling Tree Damage?

The answer to the question “am I covered?” is, ….“it depends”. Homeowner’s insurance policies typically protect the home and other structures, such as a fence or shed against specific causes of loss. Covered risks typically include damage caused by wind. If the tree falls in a high wind, then yes, homeowner’s policies will typically cover the loss and help pay to repair the damage, assuming the tree was in good health.

However, home/house insurance will not cover loss or damage caused by either negligence or a maintenance-related issue. If the tree was not n good health, your claim could be rejected as it is expected that you, as a homeowner, are maintaining your property including proactively removing dead vegetation, structures and trees past useful life.

How big a risk is a tree falling on my house? Typically, 4% of all claims are classified as “non-theft property damage”, the category under which tree claims would fall. So, 4% of claims indicates this not a risk considered extremely likely. However, as the average claim in this category is over $5,000, the severity of the risk is one we should seriously consider trying to mitigate.

What if A Tree from my Property falls on Neighbor’s Property?

You would typically be considered responsible if negligence on your part was a contributing factor to the tree’s falling. That is, if the tree in question was dead or at end-of-life and you had ample warning to safely remove the tree. For instance, your neighbor sends you a registered letter pointing out trees in your yard which could damage their home or property.

If the tree which fell was healthy, you would not normally be considered “at fault”.  Your neighbor will likely have to file a claim through his or her own insurance.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tree Debris Removal?

Expect your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of repairing your house as well as removing fallen branches, leaves and other detritus. If a tree damages a structure on your property, home insurance may help cover the cost to remove the tree, normally up to $1,000, depending on your policy and the level of selected coverage.

If a tree falls without causing damage to any property structures, homeowners’ insurance likely will not cover the cost of removing the debris.

The scope of your insurance coverage is best understood by reviewing the homeowner policy language. This informs you of what your insurance carrier claims adjuster will do. Absolutely, feel free to speak to your Aspen Insurance agent who is well experienced in helping ensure you are well protected.  

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Damage to A Car?

Homeowners insurance will not cover damage for a tree falling on your car. However, if you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, you may be able to file an auto insurance claim as comprehensive coverage helps pay to repair damage caused by falling objects.

Tree Falling Summary

Homeowners living in areas surrounded by many tall trees may wish to meet with their Aspen Insurance Agent to review homeowner’s coverage and ensure they have appropriate coverage to protect against all potential risks, including falling trees. Especially, if the height and size of trees could put your home or other structures at risk.

Aspen Insurance Agency is in Denver, CO and services clients nationwide. We are a family run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.

Are you ready for this year’s Tax identity thieves and IRS scammers?

Do you know the signs of your data or network being compromised… or what about your identity being stolen?

No judgment…we promise! Most of our clients are not until we make them aware which is why we decided to create this for our clients and the community. Most consumers do not know until it is too late. So, by being proactive (like charging your phone before you go to bed) well then, this 2-minute read will give you some easy steps to put on the calendar and make this a part of your routine.

Trust us – If you have not had to deal with Identify theft – you do not want to!!

Here are some signs your identity might have been stolen:

  1. Unfamiliar or unauthorized credit card charges.
  2. Missing statements or invoices
  3. Missing utility bills
  4. Suspicious activity on bank or credit card statements.

Tips to help keep your “electronic life” safe and secure:

Your Home Security network – Keep your home operating system updated with its latest security update – setting this feature on “automatic update” is a little step that can go a long way

Strong Passwords – It sounds obvious but most people have the same password for everything. HINT: Create two or three passwords and rotate using them.

Taxes – File your tax return on a secure network or at home. Do no do it at your office or on a public Wi-Fi. Before you give your information to someone to file your taxes make sure you have vetted them properly.

Tax Time “burglars”!

Unfortunately, with all of your information in one place at one time, it is very common to see these scammers ramp up their efforts to steal the information of millions of people.

To start fighting tax identity theft:

  • Protect your Social Security Number throughout the year. Do not give it out unless there is a good reason, and you are sure who you are giving it to.
  • File your tax return as early in the tax season as you can.
  • Use a secure internet connection if you file electronically or mail your tax return directly from your local post office.
  • Research a tax preparer thoroughly before you hand over ANY personal information.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. Make sure no one has opened a new account in your name.

If you suspect you have been victimized by identity theft, take the following steps:

  1. File a claim with your identity theft insurance, (if you have it).
  2. Notify your mortgage, primary bank, credit card companies of your stolen identity.
  3. File a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
  4. Contact your local police department.
  5. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  6. Freeze your credit.
  7. Sign up for a credit monitoring service if offered.
  8. Tighten security on your accounts.
  9. Review your credit reports for mystery accounts.
  10. Review credit card and bank statements for unauthorized charges.

Many consumers may fail to realize that their cybersecurity insurance policy (if they have one -whether it is a personal or a business policy) may not cover identity theft.

A 15-minute review with one of our insurance advisors, might not be able to save you 15% or more…but it can go a long way toward understanding what our value is with our clients when it comes to being an advisor and educating them about their risk and facilitating a coverage analysis with a policy review which is distinctly different from the one-size-fits-all insurance offered by today’s trendy and very successful direct-to-consumer insurance providers and ad campaigns.

Why pay for insurance if it is not the coverage you want and need?

What is the best way to find out if you have the right coverage – with the least number of headaches?

Call Aspen Insurance Agency, today, and we will do a free risk analysis and quotes of any policies you request to see if we can help you, just like we have helped thousands of families across the country.

Our job is NOT to sell you a product – we “sell” a service.

Our job is to make sure you have the best product and coverages at the most affordable price for your budget. That is the easy part – the hard part is continuing to build the relationship and trust to make sure you are not just protected at “the point of sale” but for many years to come and that is our commitment to our clients.

Aspen Insurance Agency Named As One of the Best Insurance Agencies in Denver

Best Insurance Agencies in Denver

Aspen Insurance Agency was recently awarded and named as one of the Best Insurance Agencies in Denver for 2020, by Expertise. We are thrilled to receive this recognition and continue to remain committed to delivering the best customer service experience for our clients.

Although we were founded in Denver, Aspen Insurance Agency continues to support clients nationwide. Check out all of the states that we do business in here.

Thanks for the support, Denver- We appreciate your business!!

Interested in learning more about the services we provide?

Request a Quote from a Licensed Agent or give us a call today!

Get Your Vehicle Winter-Ready.

Ready or not, winter is coming! As the nights get cooler and the days get shorter, winter inches closer each moment.

Taking the time to get your car and house ready for the winter, can save you time and money in the future. To help you out, we compiled a list of ways to get your car ready for the upcoming season! 

Check Your Battery. The cold can be tough on your car’s battery, and there are few things more annoying than when you are running late and your car won’t start. Many mechanic shops can run a test on your battery to determine how much lifespan it has left. They will be able to quickly determine if you are in need of a new battery or not. A battery replacement typically costs under $200. 

We also suggest starting your car every few days during the winter if you are not using it regularly, this will help prevent your battery from dying. It is also advised to make sure you have AAA, they will be able to jump-start your car if your batter does die. Many insurance companies have a roadside assistance program that you can also enroll in. 

Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid. Winter precipitation and salt on your windshield can make seeing the road nearly impossible. Good wipers and a good supply of wiper fluid can help you get around when road conditions are working against you.

If your wipers look worn, it is always advised to replace them. Wiper blades typically only last about a year, and are fairly inexpensive to replace. If you are in a location with frequent snow storms, you can also buy windshield wipers designed for winter weather. There are also a variety of products on the market that you can apply to your windshield to help keep it clear of precipitation. 

Check Your Tires. Cold weather causes air pressure in your tires to drop. Many cars on the road today have a feature that checks them automatically. If one or more of your tires is low, don’t ignore it. It is extremely important to make sure they are aired up properly. A properly inflated tire ensures the best possible contact between the road and the tires, which is essential for safe traction when driving in wintry conditions.

If you live in an area that gets frequent snow storms, snow tires might be a good investment for your vehicle. Snow tires are made of a different material and have different tread patterns than non-snow tires. Snow tires won’t get you out of any situation, but they will provide extra traction to help you get around.

Change The Oil. Cold weather reduces the oil’s effectiveness. The lower the temperature, the thicker the oil gets and thick oil doesn’t properly circulate through your engine as well as thin oil does. 

Luckily, this fix is an easy one. Change to a thinner oil. Ask your mechanic about this at your next oil change. 

Stock Your Car With Emergency supplies. Emergencies happen at random, and the only way to prepare for them is to plan ahead. We suggest keeping a few emergency items in your car at all times, but especially in the winter or when snow is in the forecast. 

  • A charged cell-phone
  • Jumper cables 
  • Flashlight 
  • Warm blankets or an extra coat
  • Ice Scraper or folding shovel
  • Tow strap or chains
  • First aid kit

We hope these tips will help you get ready for the season ahead!

Written by Morgan Hatfield

Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only. Each person should consult their insurance, business advisor or expert in the field with respect to matters referenced.

What Are Insurance Claims

Insurance Claims are requests on behalf of policyholders to insurance agencies in order to receive coverage and/or compensations for a loss that is covered by their policy. Once a claim is filed, the agency then confirms that the claim is either valid or invalid. If validated, the agency will then make the approved payment to either the policyholder or an interested third party that has been approved. 

These claims can offer a wide array of coverage, ranging from basic medical procedures to death benefits and almost everything in between, depending on the services offered by the agency. In certain scenarios, a third party can also file insurance claims on behalf of the policyholder. However, that is not always the case.

How do Insurance Claims Work?

The purpose of an insurance claim is to compensate policyholders against loss, often financial loss. In the legal world, this is called indemnification. The policyholder pays premiums to maintain their policy and ensure that they are covered for whatever their policy encompasses. The claims that are most frequently filed are for medical services or goods, loss of life, liability from owning/renting a home, and liability from the operation of vehicles. 

For policies regarding causality/property insurance, the main determinant of your coverage cost comes from the amount of claims you file, regardless of who was at fault or the size of the accident. As the amount of claims you file increases, so does the amount you pay to stay covered. 

That being said, if the claim you are filing is based on damage that is not your fault, your rates may not rise. If the claim is for damage that you caused, you should expect to see a rate increase. Common examples of damage that are not at the fault of the policyholder are weather damage or your car being hit while parked. 

Many other circumstances can increase your rate as well. Things such as your driving record, being in an area prone to natural disasters that can damage whatever you are trying to insure or even having a low credit score can also all lead to a rate hike. To read more about ways to keep the cost of your auto policy down, check out our blog post here.

Not every type of claim is viewed the same by a carrier. Claims that indicate liability in the future, such as having mold or water damage, if your dog bites someone, or if someone is injured on your property are all examples of claims that can act as a red flag for agencies. These types of claims often lead to rate increases. 

What are the Different Kinds of Insurance Claims?

Casualty / Property 

For many individuals a house is one of, if not the, largest asset purchased in their lifetime. When the policyholder files a claim to damage to their home (or other insured property), the claim is usually filed online and sent to a claims adjuster. The policyholder must report the damage of whatever they own directly to the agency. The claims adjuster will evaluate the claim and the damage, and then verify the claim. If the claim is approved, the adjuster then makes the payment to the policyholder. 

Life Insurance 

When someone files a life insurance claim, that person must show the original policy, a certificate of death and a claim form. After that, the agency will conduct an in-depth examination of the circumstances of the death to confirm that the death was not categorized under a contract exclusion, such as the result of a crime or a suicide. 

Without any extenuating circumstances, the process often takes one to two months. This allows the beneficiaries of the claim to replace the income of the deceased.

Health/Medical

Costs of most medical procedures and health care can be prohibitively expensive. Health insurance policies, whether for an individual or group can protect patients from these costs, which often amount to burdens because of the expensive nature of health care. Most claims are filed by health care providers and are on behalf of the policyholders, unlike property claims. After the provider files the claim, the process is handled electronically and generally requires minimal effort from the policyholder. 

The only time a policyholder must actually file a paper claim themselves is when the medical provider does not take part in electronic transmittals, but the services provided are still covered by the insurance policy. 

Special Considerations

There is no specific, black and white way to determine what constitutes a rate hike. Some agencies can be more lenient in some areas and stricter in others and each agency can be different. It is important to understand regardless of your insurer, filing any claim can put your rates at risk. Learning as much as you can about your agency is the best way to understand what filing a claim can do to your rates. 

No matter what, filing as few claims as possible is crucial in protecting your rates and keeping them constant. Only filing claims in the case of devastating loss is the best way to keep your rates what they are. 

As an Independent Agency, you should always consult us before you file a claim so we can consider your unique circumstances.

Written by Max Chaitin.

Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only. Each person should consult their insurance or business advisor with respect to matters referenced.