April Showers Bring May Flowers

As Spring is setting in, we start hearing the birds chirping and the trees are starting to bud with their blooms, we start thinking about preparing for what comes with every Spring and Summer in Florida… rain. Lots and lots of rain. As much as we need (and want!) the rain, if you have damage to your home that is caused by rain, it can be confusing if you needed to file a claim to repair that damage. In fact, many Florida homeowners have never heard of the term, “wind-driven rain” until they had damage to their home and found out their home insurance doesn’t cover it. So, what is wind-driven rain and how do you know if your policy has it covered?

Wind-driven rain can be very confusing when you’re unfamiliar with the concept. For the sake of being brief, wind-driven rain damage is caused when there is no hole or entry point for the rainwater to come in from, but is still pushed inside your home by wind. For example, if wind caused rain to enter through the window seals, soffits, or siding and then caused damage. The best way to look at it is, if the wind wasn’t there, the rain itself probably wouldn’t have caused damage.

Particularly in the state of Florida, this coverage is very important. However, because of the high likelihood of exposure, many insurance companies have put an exclusion on policies for this type of loss. As you can imagine, this could be very frustrating for someone to find out, usually after a storm… when it’s too late. There are a few things that you can do to help prevent this issue before it starts. You can do a series of proper maintenance steps to your home to ensure the seals around the windows and doors are tight, replace any broken window panes, replace missing or damaged siding, and keep your roof structure and soffits maintained.

Here at Bouchard, we have surrounded ourselves (and our clients) with some of the best companies available. Therefore, we have several carriers that include wind-driven rain in their policies and some companies may allow the coverage to be added back onto the policy for an additional premium charge.  So, if you are concerned about wind-driven rain or want to see if your policy includes it, please reach out to one of our team members to review your coverages with you! And if you know of a friend or family member that you think would be interested in protecting their home from wind-driven rain, share this article to increase awareness to such a common issue in Florida!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christin Snow Linkedin.jpg

Christin Snow is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Christin is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Going Green for St. Patrick's Day

If you’re anything like me, you love any reason to celebrate your heritage. With mine being Irish, I have St. Patrick’s Day festivities lined up every year. However, even if you’re not Irish, you can still take the opportunity to be green and get a little “Luck of the Irish” during this St. Patty’s Day! At my home, we don’t just wear green, we try our best to “Go Green”! Here are some tips for going green at your home to take your St. Patty’s day to the next level.  

Adjust your heating system.

If you are able to handle your temperature at a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, your system won’t have to work as hard and will be more energy efficient.

Upgrade windows and doors.

This is where a lot of heat and air can easily escape. Even if your windows are still in good shape, you can still do an upgrade by checking your window seals. They can wear down over time and replacing your seals can be an easier (and less expensive) alternative.

Fill your dishes and laundry with a full load.

This will do wonders to save on water consumption and save some green in your pocket!

Keep your air conditioning and heating system maintained and start thinking about replacing it after 15 years and about 10 years for your water heater.

When you are upgrading your system, check out the most energy efficient models. They can save you money over the long run and it’s a great way to “Go Green”.

Turn off electronics, lights, and appliances when you are not using them.

This will help save the planet and money.

Add more insulation to your home.

Your HVAC system may be working harder than necessary because of lack of insulation. You can always improve efficiency by adding some extra insulation to your home.

Recycle.

Many trash carriers in the area offer recycling service included in the trash service or for a little extra. You can even create bins in your own home for free and take to many area drop-off recycle locations!

Plant trees.

I heard recently that within 5 years of planting trees and plants to add shade the area around your energy bill could see a 3% savings and by 15 years you could see a savings of 12% on energy. Now, that’s saving some green!

Going green can be especially easy this year with these tips! Encourage your friends and family to do it too by sharing this article. It might save you a pinch or two in the future!

As always, reach out to your Bouchard agent if you have any questions about how we can help with your insurance or share more tips on “Going Green”.

Here are a couple of fun little Irish quotes to help guide you into St Patrick’s Day holiday:

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance!” – George Bernard Shaw. 

“God then made man. The Italians for their beauty. The French for their cuisine. The Welsh for their voices. The Germans for their cars. And on and on until He looked at what He had created and said, ‘This is all very well, but no-one is having fun. I'll have to make an Irishman.’" - Unknown.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christin Snow is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Christin is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Auto Insurance: Easier Than Your March Madness Bracket

2019 is in full swing and we're a few weeks out from the start of March Madness, the three weeks of college basketball glory! Office and neighborhood pool registrations are open and you're gearing up to make your picks and set your bracket. Completing a bracket takes time and careful thought, but completing the perfect bracket is a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance. On average, there is an auto accident in the U.S. every 4.6 seconds. Making sure you are covered against these odds is much easier than picking your March Madness bracket.

Your auto insurance breaks down into three major sections: liability coverage if you cause an accident, medical coverage for yourself and passengers, and physical damage for your vehicle.

Bodily Injury Liability coverage protects you for any bodily harm or death of another party involved in an accident that you may be liable for. The average liability cost of an accident with a non-disabling injury is $21,000. The average for an accident resulting in a disabling injury is $61,600, and expenses can climb over $1 million for fatal accidents. These figures include lost wages, medical expense, and vehicle damage.

Property Damage Liability covers you for any damage to another parties' property that you may cause with your covered vehicle. This includes, but is not limited to, another vehicle, personal belongings, bicycles, mailboxes, and telephone poles. The state of Florida requires that you carry Property Damage Liability on any motor vehicle tagged and registered for road use.

There is coverage available on your auto insurance that will cover to pay for medical expenses and lost wages for you. Personal Injury Protection, also commonly referred to as PIP, is that coverage. Like Property Damage Liability, PIP is a required coverage by the state for any registered motor vehicle. PIP is a $10,000 limit that will be the first coverage to pay for your medical expense if you're involved in an accident, no matter who is at fault. PIP claims are required to be filed within 14 days of an accident to receive the full benefit.

Uninsured or Under-Insured Motorist (UM) coverage is one of the most important coverages you can have. This coverage will reimburse you for medical expenses and lost wages you may incur from a not-at-fault accident where the at-fault party does not have liability insurance or enough liability insurance to cover their liable expense. This is crucial as medical insurance plans may have exclusions for injuries caused in an auto accident.

Finally, you have physical damage coverage for your vehicle. This is split into two separate coverages. Collision coverage repairs damage to your vehicle caused by colliding with another object. Whether it be another vehicle, a mailbox, or simply backing out of the garage and scraping the side of the car. Second, is comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage repairs damage to your vehicle caused by anything other than a collision. This includes, but is not limited to, fire, flood, and vandalism. If your car is parked in the garage during a hurricane and the house falls in on it, coverage would be provided by your auto policy and not your homeowner's policy. These two coverages also have deductibles that you may select as out-of-pocket expense for repairs to your vehicle.

That wasn't so bad, was it? Give our office a call and one of our agents will review your policy with you. We will provide an all-around review of your coverage and provide recommendations where your coverage may be lacking. With accidents becoming more frequent with more drivers on the road than ever, make sure you're protecting yourself, your family, and your assets.


Raymond Killian.jpg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raymond Killian is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Raymond is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.

Let’s Have a Conversation…About Valuable Articles Insurance

People take pride in collecting valuables and it’s vital that these items are insured with confidence.  Whether you are passionate about jewelry, fine arts, wine, coins, or other collectibles, it’s important to find a carrier who understands that these treasures reflect who you are and what is important to you. As an insurance advisor, I recognize the importance of insuring the special possessions that you may have inherited from a loved one or worked so hard to collect.

It’s easy to assume that your valuable articles are covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy; however, there are typically limits on the coverage that won’t cover your items to their full value. Your treasured collectibles should be protected for their true or appraised value and also be protected for the broadest coverage available.

Having a “Valuable Articles” insurance policy that is separate from your homeowner’s policy is the most effective way to insure your collections. Advantages of keeping your valuables separate from your homeowner’s policy include some of the following:

All-Risk Coverage

Unlike your homeowner’s insurance policy, most Valuable Articles policies cover all risks and typically have no deductible. If your collection is insured on a standard homeowner’s policy, there are exclusions and deductibles that apply to your valuables. Certain carriers, offer “all-risk” coverage for most causes of loss, usually without a deductible.

Worldwide Coverage

If you travel frequently, it’s important to have insurance coverage that follows you across the globe.  Imagine being overseas and your watch that you inherited from a family member was stolen. The last thing you would want to hear is that the watch isn’t covered. Different carriers recognize that these types of pieces are priceless and you should never doubt that you are covered, especially during a vacation.

 Mysterious Disappearance

Most homeowner’s policies exclude coverages for lost or misplaced items. High Net Worth carriers have policies that offer automatic coverage for misplaced, stolen, or lost items.

Blanket or Scheduled Items

With a standalone Valuable Articles policy, you have the option to protect an entire collection, schedule items individually, or do both.  This allows you to customize the coverage amounts that best fit your personal needs.

 As you can see, there are numerous benefits of having a standalone Valuable Articles policy.  It’s important to find an insurance carrier who understands the years that you have spent investing in managing your collections.  We recognize that our clients cherish their possessions and strive to teach them about why it’s valuable to have a collections policy that is personal to them.


Abbey Bouchard.jpg

Abbey Bouchard, a Client Advisor in the Private Client division of Bouchard, specializes in high net worth personal insurance that focuses on affluent individuals with more complex insurance portfolios and exposures. As a third generation Bouchard working for Bouchard Insurance, Abbey’s purpose is to continually better serve the affluent client base by promoting exemplary service and always putting the client first. | Connect on LinkedIn

NASCAR Fans: Tips for RV'ing the Races

Most people associate February with Valentine’s Day and chocolate, but for others it’s the kickoff to the NASCAR season with the Daytona 500. If you love spending your Sunday afternoons watching NASCAR from the comfort of your living room, imagine how great race day would be from the luxury of your home on wheels?  NASCAR is one of a few sports that allows you to be right in the middle of the action while camping in your RV.  Here are some things you should know if you decide to take in a race from your infield campsite and if you’re protected if something were to happen to your RV.

Be Prepared

Most tracks on the NASCAR circuit are not going to have full hook ups.  With no water hookups, be prepared to dry camp.  Make sure your generator is in good working order, you have full water tanks, plenty of propane, and empty black tanks.  Some of the larger tracks offer extra camp services like propane delivery and waste removal, but be prepared to pay a premium for those services.

Parking

Most infield camping spots will need to be purchased far ahead of race weekend.  These coveted spots go quickly. Once you have procured your spot, be sure to arrive early. Give yourself plenty of time as most tracks will pack the infield like a can of sardines.  While maneuvering through the tight areas and making camp, you trade paint with some of your neighbors, don’t worry, a good agent will make sure your RV is protected by collision coverage that will repair your rig and property damage liability that will repair your fellow race goer’s rig for any damage you may have caused.  Remember, rubbing is racing.

Getting to the Track

You’ve gone over your check list one last time and you’re ready to hit the road.  You are on your journey to the race and you have a mechanical failure with your rig and she’s not going to make it to your destination.  What now?  Some RV policies will have a few coverages that will come in handy in a situation like this.  Roadside assistance and towing is available on most RV policies to help you get to a repair shop.  You may also want to review your policy for emergency expense coverage which would help you with transportation and hotel costs. 

Trip interruption is another coverage you may want to consider. This reimburses you for paid non-refundable fees such as reservation and lot fees that you are not able to use do to a covered trip interruption or trip cancellation.

Maybe taking your RV to the races is not your scene. Maybe you would rather travel to Yosemite and hit every stop in between or perhaps spend your time at the best beach side campgrounds the country has to offer.  Either way, making sure your RV, your belongings, and your family are covered correctly should be number one on your checklist.  Whether you’re in the market for your first RV or you’re a seasoned road warrior, contact our office to get a quote or review your current policy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raymond Killian.jpg

Raymond Killian is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Raymond is experienced in all lines of personal insurance.