Personal Lines

DID YOU KNOW? Carfax is Your Friend AND Foe

DID YOU KNOW? Carfax is Your Friend AND Foe

Did you know that some repair facilities, including Midas and Pep Boys, share your vehicle data with Carfax?  Did you also know that Carfax sells this data to some insurance companies?  This data exchange is not a one-way street – Carfax also receives vehicle claims data from insurance companies. 

DID YOU KNOW? Beating Black Ice Could Mean A Better Insurance Rate

DID YOU KNOW? Beating Black Ice Could Mean A Better Insurance Rate

Winter is officially here and the arctic air has arrived, making it dangerous to be outside, much less on the roads. Even though we like to think we’re accustomed to tough Midwestern winters, the fact is we all tend to forget to adapt our driving styles when the season arrives. 

House Method article features The Plexus Groupe’s Personal Lines Insurance Expert David Miller

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David Miller, Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions, was quoted this week in a blog about owning and caring for upscale homes called House Method. The article is about 16 items usually not covered in a homeowner’s insurance policy. 

This is Miller’s second time this month that he has been cited in a national publication. Last week, he was featured in a Consumer Reports article.

The Plexus Groupe is stocked with experts just like Miller who work in various practice areas like employee benefits and property and casualty to technology solutions and mergers and acquisitions. Contact a strategic insurance expert in Deer Park, Illinois at 847-307-6100, Chicago at 312-606-4800, Dallas at 972-770-5010 or Oklahoma City at 405-840-3033.

DID YOU KNOW? Texting While Driving Deaths On The Rise

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Drunk driving is down by 65 percent since 1982, but deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving – like texting while driving – are on the rise. People are busier than ever, juggling home and work lives, managing kids' schedules and rushing from one thing to the next. It is no wonder that people use their time in the car to navigate their day -- making appointments, responding to email, returning a text -- when instead they should just navigate the road.

This wasn't always the most prevalent problem on the road. Alcohol was.

According to the National Institutes of Health, in the mid-1970s, alcohol was:

  • a factor in over 60 percent of traffic fatalities
  • involved in two-thirds of traffic deaths among persons 16 to 20
  • allowed to be purchased by anyone 18-years old.

Since then, a number of factors have been implemented to reduce drunk driving fatalities. Some of those reasons include:

  • the drinking age is now 21 in all 50 states.
  • The level at which a person can be arrested for drunk driving has dropped from a 0.10% blood alcohol content (BAC) to 0.08%
  • a zero tolerance law of 0% BAC for underage drinking have been adopted.
  • drunk driving has been stigmatized
  • the use of designated driving has been promoted.

 

According to Responsibility.org, these efforts have reduced alcohol-impaired driving fatalties by 65% since record keeping began in 1982.

But with the onslaught of cell-phone use -- over 330 billion Americans use one daily -- the statistics for distracted driving are going in the other direction.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 9 people are killed and 1,100 people are injured per day due to distracted driving and these statistics don’t include near-misses where an accident was avoided at the last second.

A number of years ago, Car and Driver magazine conducted a test that measured the reaction time of a drunk driver compared to a texting driver. The texting drivers took significantly longer to react to an alert than drivers who were legally drunk, yet texting and driving continues virtually unabated.

Despite these statistics, legal deterrents for distracted driving lag far behind those that have been implemented for drunk driving. In Illinois, the average fine for texting and driving is $75 for a first offense and little or no change in your insurance premium with most insurance companies.  Contrast this with a first-offense DUI in Illinois – A one-year suspension of your driver’s license, a fine of up to $2,500 (not counting attorney fees), and up to one year in jail.  From an insurance standpoint, a DUI may also result in non-renewal of your auto insurance, or astronomical increases in your premium combined with coverage restrictions or eliminations for up to seven years.

In order to fill this void, the insurance industry needs to get tougher on distracted driving. Awareness campaigns are a good first step, but meaningful financial penalties need to be implemented as a deterrent. Perhaps tripling a policyholder’s collision deductible for a distracted driving claim would work because it would have an immediate financial impact at the time of loss.

Have questions about your home and auto insurance coverage and want to make sure you are covered if a texting while driving accident occurs? David Miller has answers. Miller, who writes the monthly Did You Know blog, is The Plexus Groupe’s Vice President, Client Executive for Private Client Solutions. Miller can be reached by calling 846-307-6141.

Plexus Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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We enjoy reading about insurance. Here are seven insurance stories we're sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

The Economist takes a look at how insurance is working to tailor policies for the freelance workforce.

→ Fixing something and need insurance fast? One agency is offering on-demand coverage.

→ Why are major non-insurers like Walmart suddenly looking to get into the business?

→ Dog bite insurance claims totaled close to $690 million in 2017, according to one study.

→ The state of Kansas allows teachers to be armed in schools, but the state schools' insurer has made it clear it won't cover schools with armed teachers.

→ Here's a neat story from the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal on how area insurers and schools are working to attract students to careers in insurance.

→ The deadly Montecito mudslide has led to more than $400 million in insurance claims.

 

Why checking your homeowners insurance should be a rite of spring

Double-checking your homeowners insurance probably isn’t on many spring to-do lists. But it should be.

That’s the advice from David Miller, Vice President and risk management expert at Plexus Private Client Solutions, a suburban Chicagoland personal insurance agency protecting the life’s work of successful families and individuals with tailored home, auto, and umbrella coverage solutions.

In his recent article, “Eight Things That Might Surprise You About Your Home Insurance Policy,” Miller highlights some hot-button issues for homeowners, including:

Your home may be underinsured. Via Consumer Reports, which cited data from analytics firm CoreLogic, three out of every five homes are 20% underinsured on average. In the case of a total rebuild, this could leave homeowners left to pick up the pieces — while also picking up the check.

Take a look at your deductible, because it may have changed. Miller, who has more than two decades of insurance experience, cautions homeowners to be aware of wind and hail deductibles. These have been on the rise, with an uptick in roof-related claims particularly an issue. An insurance company can only change your coverage at renewal; make sure to read the fine print. Your agent can help.

Do not assume you have sump pump failure coverage. Most insurance companies will exclude this damage as a cause of loss. However, you can usually buy back a limited amount of coverage. Writes Miller: “Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.”

For more information on the home and personal insurance expertise offered by Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact David Miller at 847-307-6100, or visit plexusgroupe.com. The firm's located at 21805 W. Field Parkway, Suite 300, in Deer Park, Illinois.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions

The personal insurance practice of national insurance brokerage The Plexus Groupe LLC, Plexus Private Client Solutions delivers a superior client experience and comprehensive personal insurance for successful individuals and families, including auto, home, and umbrella coverage. Our experienced, dedicated team takes a consultative approach to your personal risk management needs. For more information on Plexus Private Client Solutions, contact the firm at 847.307.6100 or via the Web.

Plexus Points: Insurance stories we're reading

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At Plexus, we enjoy reading about insurance. Here are a half-dozen insurance stories we are sharing, bookmarking, and highlighting as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

-- A major carmarker will begin a program allowing owners to rent their cars out when they are not using them, a la Airbnb and homes.

-- In case you are wondering, Airbnb does provide some free liability coverage to users, and homeowners insurance may also cover some issues, as this Kiplinger's Personal Finance article points out.

-- Here's a look at the type of coverages home-based businesses may want to explore.

-- Will marijuana-related businesses utilize captives for insurance solutions?

-- Dental implants are effective, but will your insurance cover them?

-- On homeowners policies and firearms.

Eight things that might surprise you about your home insurance policy

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By David Miller, Vice PresidentPlexus Private Client Solutions 

Home insurance is essential, but only having the right home insurance offers true piece of mind.

What's more, there is nothing worse than being surprised by an expense not covered by your insurance.

With these points in mind, here are eight things to consider as you think about your homeowner's coverage.

Finally, if you want to discuss issues raised in this article, please contact me at 847-307-6141 or dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Eight Considerations

1. Your home's probably underinsured.  According to CoreLogic, which provides analytics information to insurers and other businesses, 60% of U.S homes seem uninsured by an average of 20%.  Most home insurance companies will provide additional coverage if the amount listed in your policy's not enough to rebuild your home. The amount of this cushion varies from one company to the next.

The bigger concern, however, is not working with an agent that insures the home correctly in the first place.  You don’t want to find out at the time of loss that your policy provides you with 20 percent additional coverage when you need 50 percent more coverage to completely rebuild your home.

2. Your deductible may be too low.  Many insurance companies are starting to provide meaningful premium reductions at higher policy deductibles.  Our rule of thumb is to accept a higher deductible when the increase in deductible divided by the premium savings is five years or less.

For example, let’s assume your current deductible is $1,000.  The insurance company would decrease your premium by $450 if you increased the deductible to $2,500.  If you divide the additional out-of-pocket expense ($1,500) by the premium savings ($450), the result is 3.3 years.  In this example, we would recommend moving to the higher deductible.

3. Your deductible may have changed.  We have started to notice that some direct writers are moving towards a percentage deductible as opposed to a flat deductible for all causes of loss.  Other companies are implementing higher deductibles for certain types of losses. Many range from one percent to as high as five percent for losses due to wind or hail.

4. You may have little or no coverage for losses due to sump pump failure or sewer backup.  Most policies issued by direct writers provide no coverage if water enters your home through a sump pump failure or a sewer drain backup.  Many of these same companies will allow you to buy back some coverage. The amounts may be low ($10,000 is common), or the buyback includes restrictions on the types of property covered.

Even if you have an unfinished basement, the costs associated with a sump pump/sewer claim might surprise you.  We represent companies that offer higher limits, all the way up to limits on your home and/or contents.

5. You may have a depreciation schedule for hail damage claims to your roof.  Some companies are including a depreciation table in their policies that list how much less they will pay for your roof, based on the type and age of your shingles.  For example, if you have a 20-year-old roof and asphalt shingles that  hail damaged, your company might only pay for 50 percent of the claim.

6. Your policy might not cover claims for Personal Injury.  Personal Injury refers to such things as libel, defamation, and invasion of privacy.  While these types of claims may seem far-fetched, they are on the rise with the pervasive use of social media.  And while you may be careful with what you post about your neighbors or friends, your children may not.  They might send an inappropriate photo or text to a friend, and that message's forwarded and quickly goes viral.  Adding this coverage to your home insurance is inexpensive (less than $50 a year) and often overlooked by the agent.

7. Your jewelry or other valuables may not be insured.  Most policies limit the amount of coverage for lost or stolen jewelry to no more than $2,500 – and that's after your deductible's applied.  For additional premium, you can insure your jewelry for its full value at a $0 deductible.

You can insure collections of just about anything. Whether it's sports memorabilia, old movie posters, or wine, your passion's included.

8 Your homeowner’s liability limit may be too low.  Many home insurance policies carry a liability limit of $100,000 or $300,000.  For less than $50 per year, this limit can be increased to $500,000, or even $1 million.

About Plexus Private Client Solutions 

Plexus Private Client Solutions protects the life’s work of families and individuals, offering tailored, comprehensive personal insurance solutions, including home, auto, and umbrella policies. Click here for a personalized quote.

 

Worried about distracted driving? There's an app for that.

We lead our latest personal insurance news roundup with a look at a phone feature aimed to reduce distracted driving. Now there is some technology we can all get behind. For more information on The Plexus Groupe's home and auto coverage solutions,  contact us at 847-307-6100 or via the Web.

Getting to know the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" iPhone feature

iPhone owners seeking a little peace and quiet during their commute, try out the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature. The application is available on devices using iOS 11, and Apple has a handy how-to guide for using the feature. There is some evidence the app can reduce iPhone use in the car. Via Insurance Business America, the online auto-coverage quoting service EverQuote surveyed iPhone users last September and October and found that device use while driving decreased eight percent with the Do Not Disturb function employed.

Don't let an ice dam ruin the final weeks of winter

We've reached the homestretch of winter, but that does not mean the risk of ice-related damage has passed just yet. Homeowners should look out for ice dams, which grow at the edges of roofs and cause problems if they melt. The resulting water has nowhere to go, leaving it to leak inside the house, potentially damaging walls and other fixtures. Travelers Insurance offers some helpful tips on how to prevent ice dams.

Introducing our new online home & auto quoting platform 

Plexus is proud to unveil a new online platform designed to streamline the home & auto quoting process for our personal insurance clients. Fill out this brief online form, and one of our dedicated Plexus Private Client Solutions representatives will contact you to begin the process of finding the right insurance for your needs. At Plexus, you are a valued client partner, not an account, and we will protect all you've earned and achieved with a tailored, comprehensive risk management strategy. Want to know more about what Private Client Solutions can do for you? Contact Client Executive David Miller at 847.307.6141 or via email at dmiller@plexusgroupe.com.

Insurance stories we're reading

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At The Plexus Groupe, we enjoy reading about insurance stories. Here are five industry-related stories we're bookmarking, sharing, and thumbing through as the work week rolls on:

Insurance Stories

→ Here's a closer look at the kinds of insurance that major motion pictures might utilize.

→ Will Maryland require individuals to have health insurance?

→ Auto insurance rates are seemingly up everywhere, but they are really going up in Colorado.

→ A fisherman, a boat, and a half-million dollars in liability insurance.

→ Wisconsin recently adjusted the insurance program available to dairy farmers that pays out when the cost of producing milk nears the cost of selling milk.