Uncovering PWC Coverage

According to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 75 million people in the U.S. participate in recreational boating. With 3.5 million of those boaters coming into Lake Havasu alone a year, Arizona’s plethora of man-made lakes are an epicenter for this leisure activity. Like any other investment, it is important to secure personal watercrafts from the threat of collision, theft, and bodily injury. Securing recreational vehicles is not as pervasive as auto and home insurance, and because of this, personal watercraft coverage is a foggy concept for some. To make searching for boat insurance less like sailing blindly into unchartered waters, understanding the tides of PWC coverage will make navigating this necessary process a little easier.

What Does Your PWC Coverage Actually Cover?

To get a framework of how PWC coverage works, think of it as a hybrid of auto and home insurance policies. Similar to auto insurance, PWC coverage includes damages your boat may inflict on docks or any other land item it may come into forceful contact with, personal injury of anyone inside or outside of the craft, and any physical damage that may harm the vessel itself. Like home insurance, PWC insurers give you the choice between replacement cost or cash value in the event of total loss. A unique element of PWC coverage that is independent of other essential insurances is the ability to lay-up; the winter months are undoubtedly less filled with trips to the lake as July and August, and fortunately, during such times of minimal to no use, coverage is subject to suspension.

Agreed Value vs. Actual Cash Value (ACV)

When buying a car, the value of your vehicle begins depreciating from the moment it’s obtained. The same goes for your boat, unless you make an agreement with your insurer on the value of the craft upfront. This agreed value will ensure a fixed fiscal compensation in lieu of an incident, in spite of depreciation. However, there are upsides to choosing an actual cash value (ACV) policy, where a vessel is insured based on current market value. Most insurers will offer a steeply discounted rate for ACV agreements.

Where is Your Boat Covered?

Outside of the water, your boat does neither you nor your insurer any good, begging the question: will your vessel receive any coverage when on land? The answer is maybe, but not from your PWC coverage. Depending on the type of auto insurance you have, your watercraft may be insured while out of the water. In the case of attachment via trailer, your vehicle policy reigns supreme. This does not necessarily mean your boat will be covered in this regard, but to ensure that it is, an umbrella policy included in your auto insurance may secure your boat’s haul from the garage to the lake.

Lessen the Bloat of Boat Insurance

With a deeper understanding of the basics of boat insurance, it is easier to find ways to save. Here are a few steps you can take to deflate the rates of your coverage:

1. Get Your Arizona Boater Education Certificate. Certain providers offer discounts when boat safety classes are fulfilled.

2. Extend Your Lay-Up Period. Be realistic about how often you will use your boat for specific periods of time, and save money during your busiest months.

3. Invest in Boat Safety Features. Your rates may be underwritten if your boat is secured with enough safety features. In addition, preventative measures can inhibit incidents and keep your rates from spiking after an accident.

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Insurance Agents Offer Tips for Getting the Most Value from Your Homeowners Insurance

Insuring your home is one of the greatest fixed expenses you will have. Your insurance agents want to help you see that this is money well spent whether you file any claims or not. The following steps should prove useful for getting your money’s worth from your home insurance:

Maintain a Good Credit Record

Customers who pay their bills on time and don’t take out more in loans than they can afford to pay back are generally seen as lower insurance risks. Responsibility pays off in discounts.

Buy Your Home and Auto insurance from the Same Company

Insurers that offer different types of coverage will often give a 10% to 15% discount for buying multiple policies. Likewise, staying with the same insurer can garner a discount for customer loyalty.

Upgrade Home Features

Many home improvements, such as adding a security system or a sprinkler system, will result in discounts on insurance premiums. Your insurance agent will be able to tell you exactly which features provide a discount and how much of a discount in your area.

Review Your Riders

At least once a year, take a look at the extra insurance you have for valuables such as jewelry, art, or antiques. Do you still have these valuables? Have they significantly increased or decreased in value? Are they something you want to continue to keep and insure? Asking these questions will help determine whether you’re paying the right amount insuring extras. Also, and most importantly, list out and photograph each of these items with an appraisal value, and keep multiple copies of this list in different places. If you do have to file a claim, this documentation will help immensely.

Ask Your Agent What Discounts are Available

There are various discounts available for senior citizens, nonsmokers, and customers who have not filed previous claims against their homeowners insurance (see also Chubb Insurance Scottsdale AZ). Other responsibility discounts may apply to you. Ask your agent for details.

Raise Your Deductible

Increasing the amount you will have to pay out of pocket if you do file a claim is a good way to lower the cost of your premium. Just put the amount you save on premiums into an emergency fund that you do not touch unless you have a genuine emergency.

Check for Adequate Replacement Value

Make sure that your policy covers the replacement value of your home in the event of a catastrophic loss. This is the primary reason you carry insurance. Do an annual cost analysis of what it would take to rebuild your home and set your coverage accordingly.

Don’t Hoard

Clutter increases the risk of fires, personal injury, and the inability to get out of the house in an emergency (or for emergency crews to get in). It also impedes proper maintenance. This will be reflected in what you pay in premiums. Cleanliness pays.

Limit the Number of Pets

The drawbacks of clutter listed above apply to pets as well, perhaps even more so. The presence of too many animals in a residence creates obvious health hazards and may present dangers for emergency crews.

Understand Your policy

This is probably the most important favor you can do for yourself. Read your policy thoroughly; if there are provisions you don’t understand, ask your insurance agent to go over them with you.

Arizona Capital Insurance Reviews

You may be confused about who Arizona National Insurance is. There are a couple of insurance agencies across the United States with this name. This Arizona National Insurance ranks among the Top 100 Arizona insurance brokers, with a founding vision of integrity, compassion, professionalism, quality, and innovation.

If you are in Arizona, please visit the Arizona National Insurance website by clicking on this link.

You may read Arizona National Insurance reviews by visiting Arizona Capital Insurance, Google Plus, and Yelp.

Insurance Agents in Arizona Talk About Break-ins

Arizona homeowners are being confronted with a rise in property crimes not just in their homes, but in their cars and storage areas. Crime statistics for 2010 show that “the city property crime rate in Phoenix was higher than the national property crime rate average by 35.05%.” Based on these and other statistics, given that the total burglary reports for Phoenix in 2010 amounted to 15,626, and the projected burglary rate for Phoenix in 2013 is 17,080. Your insurance agents want to help you make sure that your property doesn’t become part of these statistics.

To start with, here is an interesting infographic that covers many of the basic facts and statistics regarding residential break-ins. Since this information was compiled by a security system provider, it naturally promotes the use of home alarms. A security system is an important component of an overall plan, but they are too often defeated by the owners themselves. Nothing will substitute for awareness. Set the alarm for the day when you’re at work, not only at night.

It’s not just that the number of break-ins is increasing, but the types of break-ins have changed. Since more people are using garage door openers with remotes in cars, a burglar will break into a car in the driveway in order to get the remote. That’s often enough to gain entry into the house, as many residents neglect to lock the doors between the house and the garage. Remove remotes from cars parked outside. Lock your car each time you leave it.

Vacant houses are a burglar magnet because it’s so easy to tell that they’re unoccupied. An overgrown yard, shuttered windows, no cars in front, unused trash cans that are never put on the curb, notices or flyers flapping on the doors— all these signs are invitations to break in or vandalize. If a tenant can’t be found immediately, hire a property manager to check the premises daily.

It’s also become common for burglars to pose as work crews. They will drive around hauling trailers with yard equipment, shovels, pvc pipes, or other tools that give them the appearance of being on a job. It’s the most natural thing in the world to see a man walking around a house with a shovel on his shoulder, carefully examining landscaping or the foundation, and to assume he’s from a nearby nursery or a foundation repair company. What he’s actually doing, however, is looking for security wires, a vulnerable door, or a partially hidden window. Know what’s going on in your neighborhood. Look for company signage on any work trucks.

Finally, one of the most depressing trends in break-ins is the number of them that occur during summer vacation or school holidays. Unsupervised teens have been known to break into neighbors’ homes for a number of reasons:

(1) They’re familiar with the area; they know who goes to work during the day or who is away on vacation. They know who has the expensive toys and who does not have a dog or a security system.

(2) They’re bored, looking for some excitement, or trying to build up a reputation.

(3) They don’t like certain neighbors and want to exact a little revenge for a perceived wrong.

Get to know your neighbors. Take extra precautions during school breaks.  

Insurance Agents Offer Safe Driving Tips

With the start of the new year and Winter winds blowing, the snow birds have arrived in Arizona. While these visitors are welcome, the increase in traffic can cause an increase in accidents and insurance claims. Insurance agents would like to offer some safe driving tips for natives and for those who are visiting the state.

Vehicle Safety

Before you get behind the wheel make sure that all of your tires are inflated properly. A low tire could indicate a problem that will make it more difficult to drive, or even cause an accident. Always use your safety belt. This will help reduce injuries for you and your passengers if you do get involved in an accident. If you are driving a rental car, make sure you know where everything is before you start driving. This includes lights, wipers, radio, air conditioning, and mirror controls. Adjust all of the mirrors to ensure you can see clearly.

Double check the dashboard for any warning lights. Proper maintenance on a vehicle will not only improve performance, but improper maintenance can impact insurance claims. Once you are comfortable and everyone is buckled up, you are ready to go.

Of course be sure to follow all traffic signs and obey all traffic laws. These laws are for everyone and help keep us all safe.

Dust Storms and Monsoons

Arizona is in a desert that is subject to frequent dust storms. The high winds sweeping across the dry desert can blow dust onto highways and reduce visibility. Visitors from the north may be familiar with blizzard conditions where blowing snow reduces visibility. Dust storms are much the same, though they don’t make the road slippery. If you are caught in a dust storm turn on your lights and reduce speed accordingly or pull over to the side if the storm is severe. If you decide to pull off the road, be sure to get as far over to the right as possible.

Deserts are not the first environment where people expect floods, but they do happen in Arizona. These flash floods can cover roads with a torrent of water that is dangerous to cross. Areas where floods are common will have signs that say, “do not cross when flooded”. These signs are there for your safety, so find another way to get where you are going.

Don’t cross washes that have swollen with recent rain. There is no way to predict if another rain will send a sudden flash flood down the wash. These flash floods are strong enough to wash away even a large vehicle.

Night Time Driving

Statistically speaking, night time is the most hazardous time to drive in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. It is important to be particularly cautious when driving after dark. Here are some quick tips to help:

  • Slow down so you are driving within your vehicle’s headlights.
  • Dim your headlights if you are following another driver.
  • Keep your headlights clean.
  • Go slow on curves.
  • Avoid using light inside your car while driving.
  • Do not drive if you are tired.
  • Obey the speed limit (55 mph on federal highways, 65 mph on rural interstates).

Driving safely and following all applicable laws will help avoid costly and dangerous accidents for you and your family.

Arizona Insurance Agents Offer Tips on Kitchen Fire Safety

There’s nothing nicer on a cold winter morning than cooking up a good hot breakfast to share with someone you love. Even kitchen klutzes can figure out how to brew coffee and scramble eggs. But make sure you’re awake before you stumble into the kitchen and turn on the stove, because studies by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that the number-one cause of home fires and home fire injuries is cooking, and most of those cooking fires start on the stove. In consultation with the NFPA, your insurance agents should offer these tips for making sure your kitchen experiences are happy ones:

  • Don’t store plasticware or anything flammable in an oven or microwave. Always check inside an oven before turning it on. Completely clear off the stovetop before turning on a burner.
  • Stay focused on cooking. Once you turn on a stovetop burner, don’t leave the kitchen without turning it off. Always keep the stovetop in your field of view when working in the kitchen.
  • In a small kitchen, don’t allow more than one other person to help you cook. Unless this is a special teaching session with one child, keep children away from the stove.
  • Keep a clean kitchen. Grease and food spills can catch fire. Clear clutter away from the stovetop. Have paper recipes encased in plastic, and when you need to refer to them, put them on a counter away from the stove.
  • Use pots and pans of adequate capacity on the stovetop and in the oven to prevent spills.
  • Be careful not to overheat oil or grease. Use cooking thermometers when in doubt. Immediately turn off the heat under any grease that starts to smoke.
  • Roll up sleeves and tuck in loose shirts. An apron is good for more than keeping stains off good clothes; it can keep good clothes from getting scorched.
  • Use the back burners first, and turn pot handles out of the way. Make sure all pots have lids that fit, and have them accessible while cooking.
  • Keep pot holders in a designated place where they are easy to reach when you need them and easy to put away when you don’t.
  • Use timers to remind you what’s cooking where.
  • Keep a charged fire extinguisher in or close to the kitchen.
  • Keep a box of baking soda nearby because…

…if you do have a kitchen fire:

  • Pour baking soda on a grease fire, NOT WATER. Water will cause burning grease to splatter.
  • Turn off all burners and the oven.
  • Slide a lid firmly over a pan with burning contents and leave the lid on until the pan is cool.
  • Use the fire extinguisher that you kept charged and ready. Point the nozzle at the base of the fire, not the flames.
  • If the fire gets out of control, make sure everyone is out of the house. Get out yourself before calling 911. Shut all doors behind you.

We hope this list will help keep your winter cooking pleasant! For more information, please contact our insurance agents.

Arizona Insurance for the Motorcylist

Riding a motorcycle is a fun way to get around, and Arizona’s weather means that when others up north are shivering and huddling under blankets, you can take to the highway. But before you “get your motor running,” there are factors involved in insurance requirements that you need to consider first.

Insurance Itself

First and foremost (and there’s no getting around this), if you are planning to drive on public roads and your vehicle has a motor, you need insurance. Cars, tractors, motorcycles, mopeds, even golf carts are all considered vehicles when it comes to driving on the road (and no, you can’t drive on the sidewalk to get around this restriction).

Arizona requires the same amount of coverage for the motorcycle driver as it does from the automobile driver when it comes to insurance. Namely, the minimum amounts of liability coverage are:

  • $15,000 bodily injury coverage for one person in one accident
  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage total per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident

Remember that liability coverage only covers the other people injured in an accident, and not yourself. Comprehensive and collision coverage, while not required, provide quite a bit of peace of mind. That way, you don’t have to worry if that other guy doesn’t have the right amount of insurance.

Insurance coverage is a pretty big deal. If the Motor Vehicle Division inquires about your coverage and you can’t prove you have it, not only could they suspend your motorcycle registration, they could suspend your driver’s license!  Suddenly you go from “born to be wild” to “born to take the bus everywhere,” and are facing a long line to get your registration in order, along with a $50 reinstatement fee.

Is it Actually a Motorcycle?

When looking for insurance, it’s also important to know if you are actually driving a motorcycle. According to Arizona law, not all vehicles on less than four wheels are the same, and this will affect not just your registration fees, but your insurance coverage as well.

The first, and smallest type we’re looking at is the moped, which has bicycle-like pedals and a small engine with less than 50 cc displacement. Mopeds have a maximum speed of 25 miles-per-hour, and 1.5 brake horsepower or less.

Next up, then, is the motor-driven cycle, a motorized vehicle with up to three wheels designed to go faster than 20 mph, but with engine displacement from 49 to 80 cc.  Basically this is the class where you’re going to find your motor scooters.

Anything larger than that, and you’ve got an actual motorcycle, which is any motorized vehicle with up to three wheels, and isn’t a tractor (though using a Harley as a tractor does have a certain appeal, doesn’t it?).

If you’re having difficulty determining what class your bike is, the Motor Vehicle Division of Arizona can provide more information.

Helmet Laws

The amount and type of insurance coverage you have does not have any bearing on the helmet laws of Arizona. Those laws, by the way, require a helmet for any rider or passenger under the age of eighteen. Those over the age of 18 do not have to wear a helmet, but any driver must wear goggles or some form of protection that covers the eyes. Because, let’s face it, you don’t want to take a bug to the eye at 50 mph. Ouch, and ick.

By the way, that same section of law that requires goggles also requires a rear-view mirror, a seat, footrests and handrails for a passenger, and that the driver’s hands be lower than shoulder height as he drives. So your toddler may look cute hanging from the steering bar, but that doesn’t mean he’s safe to drive.

Be safe, and happy riding!

Tips From Insurance Agents to Reduce Homeowners Claims

One factor that can affect the cost of your homeowners insurance is your claims history. Keeping your claims history to a minimum can be accomplished by using a variety of tips from insurance agents.

Winterize Your Home

This is a task that needs to be done in the fall before the winter season starts. All pipes that are exposed to the weather or cold will need to be insulated. This can be done by adding pipe insulation to all of the exposed pipes. Another option is to wrap heat tape on the pipes. You will need to insulate pipes that are in a garage or a crawl space that is exposed to cold air. Turn off and drain all your outside water faucets to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Protect Against Moisture and Mold

Areas of the country that have high levels of humidity can cause problems for a homeowner that has a basement. Excess moisture in a basement can lead to the formation of mildew and mold. Mold is a risk to you and your family’s health and needs to be prevented. Your homeowners policy may not cover any mold removal from your home. Moisture in your basement can be treated with a dehumidifier. If your basement has water penetration, then the walls may need to be sealed. Check all of the appliances in the basement, such as a water heater, to ensure there are no leaks. You also need to make sure that no water is leaking at your windows and doors.

Home Fire Prevention Measures

Verify that all of your smoke detectors are working properly once to twice each year. Smoke detectors that are not working properly may need a new battery or require a replacement. Your home should also have one to two fire extinguishers that are easily accessible. Fire extinguishers are needed to put out a grease fire because water will be ineffective. You should also have a fire evacuation plan for your home, should a fire occur.

Home Theft Safety Measures

Outside doors to your home should all have a deadbolt lock. You can also install an alarm or a security system to alert the police if your home is burglarized. If you have valuable items inside of your home, store them in a fire-resistant safe. Make sure that you do not have easy entry points that an intruder can use, such as a window air conditioner installed on the first floor.

Eliminate Safety Hazards and Nuisances

The potential for an accident is something that is not always considered. An accident can occur if you do not have the proper railings on staircases or take proper care to ensure your property is safe. Make sure that all sidewalks and entrances to your home are free of ice to prevent a trip and fall. You should also keep all flammable items in an outbuilding, such as a barn or shed, away from your home.

Benefits of Safeguarding Your Home

The use of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and alarm systems qualify for a discount on a homowners insurance policy.

Make sure that you have reviewed your insurnce policies with your local insurance agent to make sure you are getting all the policy discounts that you should.

Arizona Homeowners Insurance Tip: Document Your Belongings

Tips for your Arizona Home Insurance policyYou know that thing you know you really should do, but you just keep putting off? Maybe it’s backing up the files on your computer, or putting irreplaceable documents into a safety deposit box. You never seem to get around to taking that preventative step, yet you know that if anything ever happened you would deeply regret it. Perhaps you even have an entire list of tasks like this that you’re planning to get to “one of these days”.

Well, add this one to your list, and put it at the top: Document your personal property for insurance purposes. Most people have heard this tip, but very few people actually take the time to do it. That’s unfortunate, because in the event of a burglary or fire, if you didn’t document the contents of your home ahead of time, the insurance claim process will be much more difficult. Save yourself the headache and the heartache–before anything happens, set aside a few hours some weekend and take inventory, including photos, videos, and a written list. Then store it all in a safe location away from your home, such as that safety deposit box you’re going to get.

With digital photography this process can be easier than ever before. Use a digital camera and take pictures of every room in your home, including inside drawers, cabinets, and closets. Don’t forget the art on the walls, the lights on the ceiling, and the carpet on the floors. Take pictures of the inside of bathroom cabinets, tool boxes, and the garden shed. Be sure to photograph appliances, curtains, bathroom fixtures, bedding, and computer equipment. Even everyday items are more valuable than you might think. Imagine the cost of replacing all the things you use on a regular basis, like furniture, kitchen items, bedding, and clothes. You get the idea: photograph everything.

You can also use video to document your possessions. The best way to do this is to start at the front of your home and work your way through each room. Narrate as you go along, explaining what each item is and making a note of any valuable items like jewelry and electronics, including the value or price paid if you know it.

Then you can simply save the images and/or video on a CD, DVD, or other storage device that you put in the safety deposit box, along with copies or originals of important documents and a written list of anything that might be helpful when filing a claim. You can also save your photos and video remotely in the cloud for additional backup. Having the images stored in more than one place will give you additional peace of mind. And as a bonus, you can back up your family photographs to the same cloud-based site. After all, photos are one thing home insurance can never replace if you don’t have copies saved elsewhere.

Imagine how much better you’ll feel after you knock this task off your “really-should-do” list. Consult with your homeowners insurance agent for more advice about documenting your belongings, and to discuss ways to ensure future home insurance claims, if any, go as smoothly as possible.

Burglary Prevention Tips From Insurance Agents

Arizona Insurance AgentsAlthough it’s comforting to know that your insurance agents are there and ready to help if something goes wrong, nobody wants to have to file an insurance claim.

Prevention is the key to avoiding most home insurance claims. Of course, you can’t control everything that happens in life, but when it comes to protecting your home from burglary, there are actually many relatively simple preventative steps that you can take.

The first, and perhaps most obvious step is to invest in security features such as a reliable alarm, deadbolt locks, window locks, and outdoor lighting with motion-sensors. Be sure to let your insurance company know if you do install any of these items, because it can mean lower premiums on your homeowners insurance.

But there are plenty of other things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a burglary. Don’t leave ladders anywhere that might be accessible to potential intruders. Secure sliding doors and windows. Always lock both your front and back doors anytime you go outside, and keep your garage doors closed. Don’t leave windows open when you’re away. Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, and if you purchase new appliances or electronics, don’t put the box out by the curb where everyone can see what shiny new item you have inside.

Take safety into consideration in your landscaping plans, as well. Make sure any bushes or shrubs near windows aren’t providing a convenient hiding spot for intruders. Trim back any tree branches that could provide access to upper-story windows. Keep in mind that any overgrown trees or shrubbery in the yard can create concealing shadows.

It’s common for homeowners to leave a spare key hidden somewhere outside in case they are locked out. But burglars will check in the more obvious places, and even if you’re a savvy key hider, it’s still possible that someone might figure out your hiding spot. Instead, give a spare key to a friend or a neighbor you trust. Speaking of neighbors, it’s worth getting to know yours. Neighbors who know each other are better able to identify strangers and more likely to look out for each others’ property and safety.

Mostly, burglars just want to get in, take your stuff, and get out. That’s why burglaries tend to occur during the day when people are at work. If you can create an illusion that someone is home, they won’t want to take the chance. Interior lights with timers can give the appearance that the home is occupied, but make sure you have window coverings to prevent anyone from seeing clearly inside.

If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time, then you’ll need to prepare in advance. Before going out of town, make arrangements to ensure that the lawn gets mowed or the sidewalk gets shoveled. Put a hold on mail and newspapers so they won’t pile up outside your home. Neighbors can collect any packages that are delivered, or even park their car in your driveway. You can also contact the police and notify them of the dates you will be away.

Burglary results not only in the loss of your belongings but also your peace of mind. So it’s well worth the investment of time and money to do everything you can to prevent it from happening in the first place.