Here’s a checklist to help with your springtime boat maintenance. I’ve found it’s easier to work on the boat when it’s on shore, rather than on the water. Why not shop your boat insurance while you’re at it?
Does your personal insurance policy provide coverage if you transport people/clients/business customers/co-workers in the course of your job? The is best determined by reading the EXCLUSIONS on your policy (most people don’t). You can’t assume that transporting someone once for your job is covered. Exclusions are policy provisions that state what the insurer does not intend to cover. The primary function of exclusions is to clarify the coverages granted by the insurer, not to take away coverage by an insured.
Ride-Sharing/Car Pooling is covered on most policies, when you are car pooling to work and sharing gas. This type of activity is specifically addressed in your policy.
Uber & Lyft have policies to cover their drivers while on a fare. This type of usage has to be declared to your insurance carrier. No if’s, ands, or buts allowed. There are special optional endorsements on personal auto policies that defines when your policy is in effect, and where the on-demand transportation company’s policy is in effect.
You’re a realtor and occasionally drive someone to a listing. Big grey area. Some carriers allow this for realtors under Business Usage. Make sure this activity is declared to your insurance carrier and documented. Some realtors just don’t give rides anymore – there are a lot of other transportation options.
Social Usage. A group from work goes to lunch or another function on their own. Not required by the employer or a part of their job duties. Should be OK.
Transporting clients. I just checked with a number of insurance carriers – and all said ‘NO’ emphatically. Either it is not an acceptable ‘Business’ type exposure anymore, or it is now specifically excluded in the policy. Courts have generally found that a “public or livery conveyance” is a vehicle that is held out to the general public for hire. Generally transporting persons or property for a private employer (as an employee) is not a ‘public or livery conveyance’ use, when done incidentally to your job duties. Some insurers use a term such as “transporting persons or property for a fee” to broaden the exclusionary impact in the policy. Paid on a 1099 as an independent contractor and regularly transport persons or property? I recommend a commercial auto policy than chance it. Make sure you do have documentation if your personal carrier approves such usage (check the policy language or log comments).
Your best course of action is a commercial auto policy whose underwriters readily accept this type of risk. The cost is about $100/month more than a personal auto policy.
Buy your insurance online? Good luck with this. Read your policy’s exclusions. Below is the exclusion verbiage by three carriers. All three are different. Shopping online and want to know before you buy? Ask for a sample policy – and good luck with that too.
EXCLUSIONS We don’t provide coverage or a defense under Part I – Liability Coverages to any insured for: 1. Liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a motor vehicle while it’s being used to transport persons or deliver property for compensation of any kind, or while the operator is responding to a request for, or returning from, such transport or delivery. This exclusion doesn’t apply to a share-the-expense car pool.
*ISO 01 06 94 : For that ‘insured’s” liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a vehicle while it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This exclusion does not apply to a share-the expense car pool.
5. Any insured’s liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a vehicle while it is being used as a public or livery conveyance. This includes but is not limited to any period of time while it is being used by any person who is logged in a transportation network platform as a driver, whether or not a passenger is occupying the vehicle. This exclusion (A.5.) does not apply to a share-the-expense car pool.
Questions? Feel free to contact me or fill out the form below.
Getting your driver’s license isn’t quite the rite of passage it use to be, but it’s still a significant change in responsibility. For many the drivers license is factual documentation of leaving childhood and entering young adulthood. The car is a big machine that can cause serious damage to yourself and others. It’s fun, scary, dangerous, nerve racking, monotonous, and boring all at the same time.
There is a ton of information online about teenage driving, videos, and classroom training. Today’s teenagers should be very prepared when taking to the streets. They need to be. DriveitHome is a website designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. Here is a list of their 12 driving essentials:
Practice Driving in the Rain
Risks of Night Driving
Dangers of Distracted Driving
How to Respond to Emergency Vehicles and Traffic Stops
Maintaining a Safe Following Distance
What Your Teen Needs to Know about Intersections
Watching Out for Road Hazards
How to Scan the Road
How to Regain Control of Your Car
How to Deal with Aggressive and Unsafe Drivers
Learning How to Drive a Safeco Speed
Impaired Driving: When Teens Shouldn’t Drive
All of these concerns existed when parents learned to drive as teenagers. Experience is the big factor to driving safely. Beginner freeways and intermediate highways do not exist. Teens make up only 6.9% of licensed drivers, they account for 15% of fatalities
Teen Driving Psychology
Pemco did a study of their teenage drivers. Here are their findings:
Overconfident Teenage Driving
The 16-year-olds had a higher accident rate than adults, but not that much higher. However, at age 17, 18, and 19, we see the rate jump to three times the adult rate. One reason is that teenagers get overconfident. They’ve driven from home to school to home repeatedly, and they begin to think they’ve mastered driving.
They haven’t. They’ve only mastered their “regular” trips, where they know every curve, intersection and lane change. That doesn’t mean they’re good at judging new situations for the first time, especially if it’s under difficult conditions (other teens in the car, dark outside, bad weather, etc.)
Overconfidence when driving a different car
Any car that isn’t your child’s regular car is potentially a hazard. Your friend’s car. Another car in the family. A Sport Utility Vehicle or another vehicle that is bigger, heavier, and takes longer to turn or stop. Sensitize your teenage drivers to this. They will need to focus harder. The car will handle differently. The dashboard will be different. The light switch and wiper controls might be unfamiliar. There will be a number of distractions they aren’t used to
If you tell your teenage children they can’t have teenage passengers, music, night driving, etc., you’ll likely hear something like this: “What’s the point of even having a license if I can’t drive with my friends and listen to music? What’s the point if I can’t have fun?”
We’ve all been brainwashed by a lifetime of ads and movies to think that driving should be exhilarating, exciting, and fun – an emotional experience. Well, everything in moderation.
If you’re too excited, take a big breath and calm down. (When was the last time you felt exhilarated during your morning commute?) Emotion is what sells cars. But we’re really not supposed to drive emotionally. This point gets lost on people, especially teenagers.
Teen Drowsy Driving
According to researchers at the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), two-thirds of all drowsy-driving crashes involve people under age 30 – with males outnumbering females by five-to-one. Sleep deprivation is the likely cause.
Teens and 20-somethings miss out on sleep owing to a combination of sleep patterns (younger people naturally tend to be more alert late at night, meaning they often go to bed too late to get all the sleep they need on weekdays), schoolwork demands, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and late-night socializing. The average high school senior sleeps just 6.9 hours on weeknights – far short of the optimal nine hours needed on weeknights by people that age, as recommended by the NSF.
That’s a sobering thought when you consider that, according to the NSF, being awake for 18 hours produces driving impairment equal to having a blood alcohol level of .05 (.08 is legally drunk)! Other groups at high risk for drowsy driving include night-shift workers, long-haul truckers, people with untreated sleep disorders, and those with chronic insomnia.
See the checklist below for clues that your teen may be sleep deprived.
Checklist for parents: Is Your Teen At Risk For A Drowsy Driving Accident?
Driver fatigue causes 100,000 accidents a year and kills more than 1,550 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. So how can you tell if your son or daughter is bleary-eyed enough to be a danger on the road? The NSF says to watch out if he or she:
must be awakened for school or work (usually with difficulty)
sleeps two or more hours later on weekends than on weeknights
relies on caffeinated beverages in the morning to wake up or consumes two or more during the day
naps more than 45 minutes regularly.
Good sleep habits (a regular bedtime, no TV or other electronics in the bedroom, and no caffeine after lunch) combined with learning to say “no” to sleep-robbing over commitments can help reduce the risks.
Insurance for Teenage Drivers
Adding teenage drivers to your insurance policy is expensive. Expect anywhere from 40-75% depending on the carrier and circumstances. Shop rates, but if you’ve been with your current carrier for 3 years or more with a clean record, I wouldn’t change unless there is a very significant savings. A carrier with an established driving record with your family may be easier to work with if problems come up – independent insurance agents are invaluable in these situations.
Discounts. Carriers have discounts if your teenager maintains a 3.0 or B average in school.
College Discounts. Most carriers have a discount if the young driver is a full time college student, attending school more than 100 miles away from home, and does not have a car at college with them.
Cars. If you have newer cars and more drivers than cars – consider raising your collision deductible. It’s rough, but you may want to pay a $1000 repair bill out of pocket rather than filing a claim and taking a surcharge. A lot of parent’s buy a $5K-10K good used car for their teenager to use. Higher rate as a principal driver (vs occasional), but you can just insure for liability only. Rating keeps getting more involved, I can’t say for certain anymore that this scenario is $500 more than that. Best to let your agent see how it will work out.
Permit Drivers: Let your agent know. They will know if your carrier wants them listed (rated or not) on the policy.
Divorced Parents. Find out if your child is insured on your ex’s policy, and let your agent know the particulars (if he doesn’t already have both policies). Your agent can check with your carrier for the correct rating. Make sure to check with your carrier for the correct rating/coverage on the teenage driver.
Loaning/Borrowing Cars. Make sure your teenager knows to ask you if a friend can drive your owned car. Most policies state the registered owner has to grant permission (not the teen). You also need to know if young drivers are excluded on that car’s policy. A lot of policies specifically exclude coverage for drivers under 25 years of age. Your agent can help you with this.
I am available for questions, and quotes if you want to shop your insurance rates. Comments welcomed.
Buying earthquake insurance is a perplexing problem in personal risk management. It’s not a requirement on your mortgage, but you are still responsible for the balance of the loan if your home is destroyed by an earthquake. Earthquake coverage is expensive, carries high deductibles, certain damage may be excluded, and the big one may not happen in your lifetime. Yet if the big one occurs, how well can you recover financially from the loss, if at all.
The Earthquake Fault Zones
The fault zone in Washington was thought to be inactive up to the 1990’s. Research on the Cascadia Subduction Zone now shows great earthquakes have occurred on average every 500 years (last 3,500 years) or every 243 years (last 10,000 years). The date of the last great earthquake was 1/26/1700 with an estimated 8.7-9.2 magnitude.
A 7.5 event is thought to have occurred along the Seattle Fault in 900 A.D.
Seattle’s Faults: KUOW
The USGS maintains an earthquake map with recent events of 2.5 or more in Washington State. Crustal earthquakes tend to be more damaging, as a quake’s destructive power depends not only on its strength, but also on location, distance from the epicenter and depth. Deep earthquakes are felt over a wider area. A Washington event can be deep or shallow, and quite a few faults exist.
Policies vary quite a bit on coverage limits/sub-limits/exclusions. Some of the items to review when comparative shopping:
Deductible. Typically the deductible on earthquake insurance is a percentage of the dwelling limit or a combined limit on all coverage – not the claim damage. A policy with a dwelling limit of $500,000 and a 10% deductible will not pay until there is $50,000 in damage. Deductibles can range from 2.5% to 25%. A homeowners insurance policy with an earthquake endorsement will have a separate deductible (it won’t be the standard $500 deductible).
Dwelling Limit: Usually written the same as your home’s estimated replacement cost. This limit may optionally be reduced or increased depending on the policy. Reducing limit is lower coverage, but there is a cost savings to the insured for retaining more risk. Increasing the coverage limit (also increases the deductible) can provide for the possibility of increased labor/material costs after the catastrophe.
Restricted/Excluded Coverage: Stand alone Earthquake policies have severely restricted limits or exclusions on Other Structures (detached structures/fences/driveways), Personal Property (clothes/furniture), and Loss of Use (hotel expenses). Homeowner insurance policies with an earthquake endorsement will typically match the policy limits. Safeco now sells a stand alone earthquake policy, but Washington residents who migrated from the old Liberty Northwest (North Pacific) policies to Safeco would have retained the endorsement with better limits. These policies are identified as ‘Safeco of Oregon’ on the Declaration page. (Washington). The earthquake endorsement is not longer available on new business, and the restricted stand alone policy has to be purchased.
Masonry: Just about all of the policies exclude damage to brick veneer and chimneys.
I have a number of options for insurance coverage. Earthquake can added as an endorsement on some policies, but most carriers now sell earthquake as a separate policy. Underwriting guidelines may limit the insured’s choices.
Geo Vera: has two options for earthquake coverage and uses a combined single limit vs a dwelling limits