Millennial Misconceptions of Insurance: Ridesharing

Ridesharing

As of today I will no longer be using any ridesharing service. This decision isn’t a result of poor customer service, negative publicity, or that I was a passenger during an accident. The reason is simple; I refuse to continue to put these drivers, who are just trying to make a living, at risk. We as millennials continue to live under the misconception that large businesses have our best interests in mind. Unfortunately, some companies don’t see us as students paying off loans or someone just starting a family, they look at us as a wallet in a pocket with green pieces of paper or plastic.

Recently, a colleague of mine was reviewing the lease for his 2015 Honda Accord and brought to my attention one sentence regarding the Terms of Use of the vehicle. It read as follows, “I will not use or allow the Vehicle to be used illegally, improperly, or to transport goods or people for pay.” The penalties for violating this clause might result in the following: termination of the lease and possession of the vehicle and repossession of the vehicle by the leasing company. Ridesharing continues to be a hot topic around the country for reasons such as, employee classifications, area specific regulations, and whether or not this “livery” service will be covered by your personal auto insurance.

The personal auto policy is designed to provide coverage while the insured party is driving for leisure, personal reasons, or when commuting to and from work. In fact, many policies specifically exclude coverage for accidents that occur while the driver is driving a passenger for pay. Due to this exclusion and the growing popularity of services such as, Uber and Lyft, in some states major insurance carriers are beginning to release endorsements to extend coverage for ridesharing activities. The developments have been widely praised and publicized, but what are those extensions adding on to your policy?

The answer is quite startling and inspired the entirety of this blog. Recently ISO, Insurance Service Office, is releasing two optional endorsements, available in fall 2015, for transportation network companies, they cover Phase 1 and 2 of the ridesharing experience. Phase 1 is when a driver logs on to the app but hasn’t matched with a passenger. Phase 2 is when a passenger match is made and accepted. There is no coverage in a personal auto policy for Phase 3, which is when there is a passenger in the vehicle, even if these ridesharing endorsements are added. This misconception can result in those already tough to obtain green pieces of paper being further depleted.

To quantify the amount of drivers who do not have coverage the following research was conducted:

  • Only 8% nationwide of rideshare participants indicated they had obtained the ridesharing endorsement [1]
  • One major ridesharing company listed their active drivers, in December 2014, at 162,037, doubling every 6 months. [2]
  • Based on the above statistic it can be safely assumed that as of July 2015, the company currently has approximately 324,074 drivers

 

With this information I discovered that of the 324,074 drivers for the ridesharing giant, only 25,925 are adequately covered at the time of an accident and only when driving to pick up a passenger. Thus, in a typical personal auto policy no coverage whatsoever is provided while a passenger is in the vehicle. The ridesharing company is responsible for your personal auto insurance as soon as the passenger gets in your car. [3] If you are a driver for a ridesharing company and have concerns about your insurance or contracts, contact your insurance agent or ridesharing company today because unfortunately bad things do happen to good people.

As millennials we must address our misconceptions and realize that convenience isn’t always convenient. As the most informed generation in history with all the information we could possibly imagine just a click away, why settle for the bare minimum? Therefore, a question arises as ridesharing becomes and continues to be a staple for our generation and may seem like an attractive method for making a quick buck, but before you turn on that app, think to yourself, is it worth it?

For more information regarding your personal auto insurance policies please contact Rue Insurance at (609) 586-7474

 

Alec Wells

Business Development Coordinator/ Resident Millennial

NJ Home Improvement Contractor Consumer Law

New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor Consumer Law Registration Requirements 

Home ImprovementNo Home Improvement Contractor shall offer to perform, or engage, or attempt to engage in the business of making or selling residential home improvements unless registered with the Division of Consumer Affairs. Violators of the Contractors’ Registration Act are subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation, and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.

 Contractors must do the following:

Prominently display the Registration Number beginning with “HIC reg.#” on the following:

  • Within contractors place of business;
  • In all advertisements (including direct mailings, lawn signs, posters etc.);
  • On business documents, contracts and correspondence with consumers; and
  • On all commercial vehicles.
  • The word “LICENSE” should not be used!
  • Prominently display your original registration certificate or a duplicate registration certificate issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs at each place of business.

All home improvement contracts in excess of $500, and all changes in the terms and conditions of the contract, shall be in writing, and shall include, but not limited to:

  • The legal name, business address, and registration number of the contractor, and the legal name and business address of any sales representatives who negotiated the contract;
  • A copy of the certificate of general liability insurance for a minimum of $500,000 per occurrence and the telephone number of the insurance company issuing the certificate;
  • Description of work to be performed and principal products and materials to be used or installed;
  • Statement of any guarantee or warranty with respect to any product, material, labor or service made by the contractor;
  • Description of any mortgage or security interest to be taken in connection with the financing or sale of the home improvement;
  • Total price (including finance charges);
  • Signatures of all parties involved;
  • Start and completion dates or time frames;
  • The Division of Consumer Affairs’ toll-free telephone number: 1-800-242-5846

Bill Rue Jr Appears on Master Your Finances radio broadcast

Recently our President, Bill Rue Jr., appeared on The Master Your Finances broadcast where he talked about the history and trends in homeowners and auto insurance. You can hear the broadcast via your smart phone or computer at:  http://rockwebsystems.com/1077Thebronc/MYF_071915.mp3

Want to know more about this radio show? Check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/masteryourfinances

Millennial Misconceptions of Insurance: Changing Your Thinking

Change Your ThinkingTo be honest, four years ago when I was beginning my freshman year of college the last industry I thought I was going to end up in was Insurance. While progressing through my college years, I heard of insurance internships and how my peers in those internships spent their summer calling everyone they knew to buy life insurance. Needless to say when I got offered an internship at an insurance agency I was skeptical. The last thing I wanted to do was call and ask my family and friends for favors. I had the same misconception that most millennials have and over the past year I have come to understand that insurance is so much more than life insurance, let alone a cute mascot or catchy jingle.

We, the “Millennials”, have access to more information than any generation before us. So why do we think that insurance is this commodity that can be fully grasped in fifteen minutes or less? It’s quite simple; it’s what we have been trained to think by entertaining advertisements that teach you little to nothing about what you’re buying. There is a reason that insurance has been around since King Hammurabi’s Code of ancient Babylonia, and I can assure you it isn’t to save time. Although much has changed in the past 3000 years the general concept of insurance has not. The technical definition of insurance is the transfer of the possibility of a loss (risk) to a third party, who then spreads that risk to many individuals.

So here I am, a 22 year old, in an industry dominated by employees in their mid to late fifties. My goal is simple, to educate my peers and debunk the negative stereotypes that come along with insurance. It is not something that can be overlooked and there are reasons why every aspect of life involves insurance, commercial or personal. When I explain my interest in insurance to friends, they all have the same puzzled look: Why are you so passionate about insurance? The answer is effortless and one that requires a little bit of a demonstration.

I pick up two pieces of printer paper, both costing an average of $0.00598 to produce. Because one has ink on it that happens to be an insurance policy covering a business, it’s actually worth $500,000. I go on to tell them that in the event of a loss in which you are covered that half a cent can protect not only you, but your future and those who depend on you.

Unfortunately in an industry where price is viewed as the determining factor this isn’t always the case. Those fifteen minutes I talked about earlier can leave them exposed to risks that quote machines don’t want to educate them on or give them the option to add to a policy. When they experience a loss, the lack of coverage that saved them time and money could result in that $500,000 policy being nothing more than a $0.00598 piece of plain white printer paper.

When it comes to insurance, obtaining the bare minimum just isn’t good enough. This “commodity” is growing ever more prominent in our lives with the introduction of Obamacare. Thus, education is the key to not making a mistake that could impact you financially for the rest of your life. My goal is not to lecture you or tell you what to buy, but to prepare you and change your thinking when it comes to this little thing we call insurance. Through this blog series I will examine the most common misconceptions that millennials have and hopefully teach you something that will help you in the future.

 

Alec Wells

Business Development Coordinator/ Resident Millennial

Jason Pierre-Paul’s Fireworks Injury and You

public fireworks

Fans of the NY Giants were surprised to hear this past weekend defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered injuries from playing with fireworks. Reports are now coming in stating that the injuries were not as severe as originally thought. But it remains to see how this will impact his ability to play this season or his career. I hope and pray for his speedy recovery.

But what does this injury say to ordinary people like you and me? The answer is simple. It doesn’t make a difference if you are a professional athlete or if you are a guy sitting at a desk typing away at a keyboard all day, playing with fireworks has its risks and they can be deadly or life changing.

For example:

In the State of Maine a man who was drinking set off a firework on his head which killed him.

In Texas a woman received second and third degree burns when a pyrotechnic device ignited under her. Another Texan man injured his hand when a firework exploded in his hand.

In Boston two children (ages 5 and 9) suffered injuries from fireworks. One child received severe burns the other suffered hand injury and may face possible amputation.

In the three examples I just cited 2 of them are in states were fireworks are legal. One even happened when Paramedics were nearby monitoring the event.

Even professionals who run fireworks displays have a mishap from time to time. Take for instance the accident this past weekend in Avon, Colorado. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission 2013 Annual Report the percentage of the total injuries from professionally run fireworks displays is a meager 4%

The bottom line is this; fireworks are imbedded in the American psyche and even with laws that make them illegal, like in New Jersey, people still use them. Extreme caution should be taken on how they are used and if at best left to the professionals.

Grilling Safety Tips with Bobby Filet

Grilling Safety

Summers mean backyard grilling – safely!

 

Just like hamburgers and hot dogs, a sizzling grill is a symbol of summer and grilling isn’t just about great food. Backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with friends and family.

Keep in mind, however, that when you grill, you’re literally playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents.

There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking some simple precautions. The tips below can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

 

TIPS FOR ALL GRILLS

Your grill, whether gas or charcoal, should be on a level surface outdoors, away from anything that could be ignited by flames (bushes, fences, etc.).

NEVER use a grill indoors. Odorless carbon monoxide fumes could kill you.

Keep your grill clean and well-maintained. Check parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.

Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children play near it.

 

CHARCOAL GRILL TIPS

From Kingsford.com

Do not add lighter fluid directly to hot coals. The flame could travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.

Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.

Use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.

To dispose of coals, allow the ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully place coals individually in a can of sand or bucket of water.

 

GAS GRILL TIPS

From the National Fire Protection Association

Check your grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If you have a leak, and it will not stop after the grill and gas is turned off, call the fire department. If the leak stops when the grill and gas are turned off, have your grill serviced by a professional.

If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Do not keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.

Store propane tanks in an upright position, and never indoors.

 

From all of us at Rue Insurance, happy grilling, and stay safe this summer!

 

Would Your Insurance Cover You In A Jurassic World?

tyrannosaurusMake no mistake about it folks, Dinosaurs are not human friendly. Sure they may “appear” to make good pets and my 3 year old son would LOVE to have one, but these prehistoric animals can’t be domesticated.

So what would happen if Dinosaurs roamed the earth today and they “Interacted” with your home or auto? By interacted I mean caused some serious damage.   We took these hypothetical questions to the Rue Insurance Lab for testing and analysis. Here are our findings:

  1. A Brachiosaurus comes to your backyard and eats your prize rose bushes. Are your flowers covered? Unfortunately, no. A standard homeowner’s policy would only cover flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs for such perils as fire, lighting, explosions, vehicles of others, or aircraft.
  2. A Pterodactyl falls out of the sky and crashes into your shed. The shed and the contents inside are destroyed. Yes, you are covered! A standard homeowner’s policy comes with coverage for “other structures” on your property and also the property within.
  3. A Triceratops goes on a mad rampage and smashes your parked car, sending it flying in the air and smashing to the ground. If you have Comprehensive coverage you would be covered for this. But get a police report because if you do not’ report it to the police then it would be covered under Collision coverage. Why is the police report important? Without it the insurance company will assume it’s a hit and run accident and that is covered by Collision.
  4. A Tyrannosaurs Rex comes walking through your backyard causing the ground to shake. The ground shaking caused by this animal damages your house. Are you covered or not? There was some serious debate among the lab technicians, but we came to the conclusion that this would not be covered due to the “earth movement” exclusion under a homeowner’s policy. Earth movement is an all encompassing word that includes such things as Earthquakes, Landslides, Mudslides, Sinkholes, and other forms of earth movement caused by nature or by humans.
  5. That same Tyrannosaurs Rex not only destroys your house but your dog is now mysteriously missing. Remember this kind of Dinosaur is carnivorous. Is your dog covered? We hate to be the bearer of bad news but animals, fish and birds that you own are not covered.

 

So let’s be grateful that we do not live amongst the dinosaurs.

Host Liquor Liability – Do You Know Your Limits?

Graduations, weddings, Memorial Day holiday or just celebrating the warmer weather, party season is upon us.  Before you send the invites out for your next bash, make sure you have the proper insurance coverage.  How well do you know Host Liquor Liability and what are your coverage limits?

Host Liquor Liability

Social Host Liquor Liability is NOT excluded under Personal Liability and Commercial General Liability policies.  These liability policies protect you when you host parties and events where alcohol is served and not sold by you. No matter where the party is actually held, your liability insurance goes with you.  However, if you rent a location you must add that location to your policy temporarily as an “insured location” for premises liability and medical payments to apply. The act of hiring a caterer to serve food and alcohol does not exclude your host liquor coverage. However, if you cater the event and the venue or caterer sells the alcohol then they assume the liquor liability exposure. You should verify that they have liquor liability insurance by requesting proof of insurance.

  • Personally hosted parties – Your personal liability is provided as a coverage component of your Homeowners, Condo, or Tenants (Renters) Insurance policy. Check your liability limit, which can vary from $50,000 up to a max of $500,000.  You can increase your limit to the max for a small premium.  Because liability awards can be quite significant, we recommend that you consider a personal excess liability (umbrella) policy for at least a $1,000,000 limit.  Contact us  for a quick quote on a personal umbrella policy.
  • Business or office hosted parties – You and your business entity would be insured under a Commercial General Liability policy (or as a section to your Business Owners or Package Policy).  Coverage is not excluded for a party you host where alcohol is not sold by you. Check your liability limit which can range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 limit.  For increased limits or limits over $1,000,000 please contact us.
  • Special Event Liability – If you are hosting a party and don’t have Personal or Commercial Liability coverage then you can purchase a separate policy for Special Event Liability. Contact us for more information.

Sample Cases

You host a graduation party and one inebriated guest negligently causes a serious auto accident on the way home.  You are sued.  Will your homeowners or auto polices respond?  The answer may depend – it’s possible that both, either or neither will respond.  New wording in the homeowners policy form removes a very important part of this coverage.  The major change is that the policy no longer covers you for the liability arising out of a guest’s use of an auto.  This means that there is no longer coverage for your liability arising from a guest drinking too much and getting behind the wheel.  Depending on how your insurance program is structured, you may be facing a significant coverage gap.

A jury in a very conservative community handed the host of a graduation party an adverse judgment in excess of $4 million due to an accident related to consumption of alcohol by guests.  In another case, there was a $3.5 million jury verdict against a family serving alcohol to teenagers who then had a horrific accident.  In both cases insurance was inadequate.  In the first instance, the insured had adequate liquid assets to respond; in the second case, liquidation and bankruptcy were necessary, wiping out wealth accumulated over several decades.  These were examples where there was insurance coverage, just inadequate limits.

Before you host your next event, contact Rue Insurance, at 800-272-4RUE or www.rueinsurance.com.  We can review your coverage and assist in developing a risk management plan.

Spring Severe Weather 101: Storm Safety & Preparedness

Spring Severe WeatherAs sure as April showers bring May flowers, every spring day brings a greater risk of spring severe weather in the majority of the United States.

According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes the US around 25 million times a year, killing an average of 51 people annually.

If thunder has been audible within the last 30 minutes, lightning is close enough to strike. Though no outdoor location is safe with lightning in the area, here are few tips to remember if caught outdoors in a thunderstorm:

  • Get out of water. Immediately head toward dry land.
  • Stay low. Avoid hills and other high elevated areas.
  • Avoid conductive objects. Do not seek shelter near metal objects or under solitary trees.

Vehicles with hard metal tops (no convertibles!) can be a safer alternative, though substantial buildings are your safest bet against lightning. While inside, remember the following:

  • Stay away from doors and windows, and avoid direct contact with concrete floors and walls.
  • Avoid using electrical devices and corded phones.
  • Avoid contact with sinks, faucets, showers, or any outside water sources.

Lightning is by no means the only risk. In 2013, flooding took 82 lives in the US while causing over 2 billion dollars in damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50% of flood-related deaths occur from vehicles being driven into water-covered roadways.

The penultimate rule of thumb in flood safety: Never attempt to cross covered paths or roadways. It only takes six inches of fast-moving water to knock over an adult, while small cars can be swept away in 12 inches.

Spring is the perfect time to review your insurance policy and develop a strategic disaster plan.

In addition to insuring your home, Rue Insurance is committed to helping you and your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes. If you would like more information on developing a family emergency plan or building a disaster supply kit, please contact us at 609-586-7474 or http://www.rueinsurance.com today.

For up-to-the-minute severe weather forecast information, visit NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center on the web at www.spc.noaa.gov.