Harris, Reed & Seiferth
Renting out your home or a room in your home on Airbnb can be a good way to generate income, but you need to understand what is and isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
Homeowners Insurance and Home Sharing
Homeowners insurance combines various personal insurance protections, which can include losses occurring to one's home, its contents, loss of use (additional living expenses), or loss of other personal possessions of the homeowner, as well as liability insurance for accidents that may happen at the home or at the hands of the homeowner within the policy territory.
With home sharing, the rules are much less black and white. While some insurance companies will allow you to extend your homeowners coverage to a STR (short-term rental) if it’s a one-time event and you notify the insurer ahead of time, others contrarily may require you to purchase a specific endorsement, which is added on to your existing policy to cover the temporary rental.
When Home Sharing Is a Business
Regularly renting out your home or parts of it for income will generally be viewed as business activity by an insurance company. Instead, you’d need to purchase business insurance. If you’re planning to rent the entire home for an extended period of time, you'll need landlord insurance, as well. Landlord insurance covers the home itself as well as any structures that are on the property, such as a garage or shed. These policies typically cover you for losses such as fire or wind damage, but they won't reimburse you for damage caused by normal wear and tear or for the loss of your tenant’s personal property (tenant should acquire renters insurance).
Home Sharing as a Renter
You’ll also need to cover your insurance bases if you’re a renter and subletting to someone else. First things first: You have to be sure that your landlord allows you to sublet. From there, you need to check with your renter’s insurance company to see if your coverage would apply to someone who’s subletting. If you’re not planning to live in the rental while you’re subletting, the sublessee would need his or her own renter’s insurance. Keep in mind that if the sublessee damages any of your personal belongings while you’re away, your renter’s policy may not cover it.
Which Companies Offer Home-Sharing Coverage?
In response to the growth of the home-sharing industry, a handful of insurance companies are moving toward expanding coverage for homeowners who rent out their homes through Airbnb and similar sites. Luckily we're representing a few and writing policies! Next step? Run a quote for home share coverage! Talking to your insurance company or agent about what is and isn’t included in your policy can help you determine what’s needed to fill the gaps.
Whether you've been riding all your life or are looking to purchase your first bike, buying a new-to-you motorcycle can be pretty challenging. What make do I want? What's my budget? Where should I look? Even if you think you know what you're looking for, finding a used bike that meets your criteria is no easy task, especially when there are so many different motorcycles out there!
If you're looking to buy a used motorcycle, read on to help prepare for a better buy – your wallet and watch will thank you later!
Decide what you're using your bike for
What type of riding are you looking to do? Commuting, sports, touring or a combination? A 1000 CC sport bike may get you excited, but there is a good chance you’ll never need that kind of power while commuting to and from work. These are the main types of bikes you can choose from:
Inspect the bike
Don't blindly trust the seller's word as truth. If you've owned a motorcycle before, do an inspection on the bike. But if you’ve never done work on a motorcycle before, we suggest inviting someone you trust to check it out before you sign anything. These are the specific areas you should review:
Request a service history
The seller may not have that information, but request the history in case they do! This will help you understand what kind of service has been recently done on the bike. The tires may be new but the oil could be a few years old. Also ask for an owner's manual and factory toolkit if available.
Prepare your documents for purchase
Remember that you can't legally ride a motorcycle unless you have a bike license! Take a safety course if you've never owned a motorcycle and purchase a DOT-approved helmet before your first ride. Don't know what kind of helmet to get? Read Protecting Your Noggin to help find a helmet that meets your needs.
Take a test drive
Pick a nice day with dry roads to test drive the bike. And don't forget your bike license and helmet! If at a dealership, be prepared to sign an insurance waiver; if private, be ready to leave your license with the seller as security. Start slowly on the bike to get used to how it feels and responds. Remember to test the brakes–they shouldn't 'pulse,' but rather engage smoothly and evenly. It's also a good idea to accelerate through the gears. The transmission should feel firm and not slip out of gear under acceleration or feel chunky.
Be realistic about negotiations
Use retail pricing guides to help determine your purchase price and understand that the seller probably has a specific price they're looking to reach. If you're buying from a private seller, respect their ride and understand that they've probably taken pride in it over the years. But don't be afraid to say "no" if negotiations aren't going the way you want – you still have the final say.
Insure the bike through Us
This one is obvious, but if you do buy a bike, don't ride naked! Be sure to protect your tail…pipe with reputable insurance from our best carrier for this market: Foremost. They've been offering specialized insurance policies since 1952 and understand your lifestyle! They also have an award-winning team of claims professionals who are available 24/7 to help restore your life to order after a claim. Visit our Motorcycle Insurance - Definitions and FAQ's page to learn more or start a quote!
The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and the open water in front of you. Sound appealing? Then you might want to join the ranks of boat owners all over the country. But before you cut through that clear blue, there are some things to keep in mind. Whether you're buying a fishing boat, cabin cruiser, pontoon or speed boat, different components like cost, horsepower, weight capacity or onboard storage may prove to be more important to you than others.
Answer these questions before going boat shopping:
And a few other components to consider...
When it comes to motorcycles, there are few things as important as the tires. "Tire maintenance is essential," says Kevin Henry, senior product manager for Foremost motorcycle. "It doesn't take a lot of time or effort to inspect a bike's tires and it will help the motorcycle achieve top mileage and performance."
Here are some tips that can help keep motorcycle tires performing in top condition:
We want you to stay safe this on your motorcycle at all times.
I remember the first day I passed my driver's test. I felt like I was on cloud nine…invincible. I instantly thought about all of the places I was going to go by myself. No more asking my parents or friends for a ride - my ticket to being independent had finally come, and I was ready to take on the road like a pro! Handing the paperwork to the clerk at the Secretary of State was empowering. "This is it," I thought to myself. "You are about to get your official driver's license!" I made sure I looked my best for my photo (I even made them take the picture twice) and they said I would receive a hard copy of my license in the mail in 2 to 3 weeks.
Walking out that door with the authorization to drive on my own, I couldn't stop smiling, I felt like a true adult. However, I was far from it. The truth is, I was only 16-years-old and had no idea the weight of responsibility that was on my shoulders now. I'll admit for the first few months I was driving alone, I was a little scared. I would have to constantly keep rubbing my palms on my clothes because they would get sweaty and slippery on the wheel. If I got beeped at, I took it very personally and thought about what I could have done better. I made sure to make as little mistakes as possible – I didn't want any of the other experienced drivers thinking I was a beginner at this! Eventually, it got better with practice and I became more comfortable with going on highway ramps, switching lanes and driving in urban areas.
If you have a teen that just passed their driver's test or are currently in driver's education, remember that this moment is an important, life-changing accomplishment for them. Even though you won't be physically by their side when they're behind the wheel, you can still offer them your support and driving wisdom beforehand. I know, it's easier said than done. Looking back, I didn't exactly listen to everything my parents told me when I was 16, but I must have retained something since I'm a pretty safe driver now!
Sadly, according to the CDC, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. It's scary and the last thing you want to imagine, so it's important to make sure they're truly prepared for driving.
Thankfully, you can guide your teen to ensure their driving experience is as safe as possible with these helpful tips:
For the first few weeks, it might be a good idea to have your teen start off with small trips that are less than five miles away. It will help build confidence, and allow them to get more comfortable with driving alone. If you're still nervous, there are other options you can look into, such as a GPS tracking device or smart phone apps that will monitor location and driving speeds. Plus, larger automakers have actually installed systems in their new models that allow parents to set limits on speed and drive time, so keep an eye out for those.
Good luck and safe driving!
It's no secret that apartment hunting can be stressful. It can be hard to find the perfect one that meets your checklist, and that's within your budget. If you are looking to rent, here’s a couple things to focus on:
sane as preparations are made to start the next chapter of life. If you're also planning on a move, don't you fret! Follow along beginning to end as we create a tolerable moving experience for ourselves.
This four-part series will prepare you for the move, teach you effective and time-saving hacks for packing, help you organize the moving-out process, and get you ready to move into your new home. Let's start off by checking these items off our list.
Snowmobiling is easily one of the most exhilarating winter pastimes. Whipping around in the snow and feeling the cold breeze on your face brings such a rush of adrenaline that can't be easily matched. Not to mention, they are a great way of getting around when the snow piles up! If you're considering buying one of your own snowmobiles, you're probably asking a lot of questions about what to consider when making the purchase, especially because these sleds can be quite an expensive investment.
We want to make sure you are prepared to invest your money on the best snowmobile you can find which is why we're also here to help you with snowmobile insurance — here are some tips that will get you out on the trail with the best sled around!
Be realistic about what you need
Your budget, ability, and location are all important factors when considering the purchase. How much money do you want to spend? Is newness important to you? Are you an experienced snowmobiler? These are all valid questions to ask yourself before you begin your search.
Consider buying a used snowmobile
These babies can still be some of the most reliable sleds around. Buying a used snowmobile will give you all the fun with a lower price tag, which is always appreciated!
Research different brands
Every brand out there has some great snowmobiles, but asking friends and family who own snowmobiles of their own will help you make a more educated assessment on what brand to continue with. A personal story gives you a trusted source to base your decision on.
Look under the hood
If you are buying a used snowmobile, check the hood! If the engine and clutches are dirty and covered in oil, it might not be the best idea to make the purchase. A clean sled is a healthy sled! Start the snowmobile up and let it run for 5 to 10 minutes. It should rev consistently and will give you some time to check out the different lights and other electric functions of the sled.
Whether you are buying new or used, asking questions is the best way to make sure you are making the most educated investment possible. Good salespeople/previous owners will know the sled and will be able to answer any question you may have.
Consider added costs
Your initial purchase will be the most expensive, but supplying fuel, maintaining insurance, keeping up with maintenance costs, and remembering registration charges go hand in hand with the original investment.
No matter what you decide, we hope you will have an exciting and safe winter sporting season.
This week we meet Britany Reed of Harris, Reed & Seiferth Insurance Group in Miami, who shares her passion for nurturing her business, talks about the challenges of unplugging, and also offers some advice for those just starting out.
J: How did you get started with your business?
B: On starting Harris, Reed & Seiferth Insurance Group, I was looking for a career and life change, and a business that I could dedicate my life to building and nurturing. I wanted to build something that I could establish financial strength, freedom and independence for myself, and also provide that fortitude to my clients. I felt this business called upon all of my aspirations and business experiences. It enabled me to build a career that provides me and those lives I touch with lasting purpose and honor. I set very high standards of excellence and integrity for myself, my staff and the results I provide to my clients, which provides me with the foundation to earn the opportunity to work with the people I dedicate myself to.
J: How do you make use of Google products in your business?
B: G Suite is a key player for us, coupled with the ability to incorporate apps like DocHub, Contacts, Analytics, Forms, Drive, Hangouts, Calendar. Even Maps keeps us running efficiently. We're always looking for latest Google updates on recommended partner applications.
J: What’s your biggest challenge today?
B: Unplugging. I’m HORRIBLE at this. I try to put conditions in place so that I don’t email after 8pm and I don’t respond to clients after 12pm on Saturday, but it always seems to creep in.
J: What do you hope for in a year’s time?
B: As we are currently licensed in seven states, we are hoping to solidify licenses for the remaining, or at least half, within the next year.
J: What’s your best advice for a new business owner?
B: Anything is possible. Dream big, aim high in your ethical and professional standards of excellence and, with relentless dedication, you can achieve a business and life that is filled with great purpose, substance and fulfillment.
On behalf of the Small Business Community, thank you Britany.
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Experiencing a loss can be stressful, frustrating and disheartening, but having insurance coverage will help alleviate the financial burden a loss can cause. The first step in restoring your property and moving forward is to determine if your policy provides coverage for the loss. To do this you need to file a claim with the insurer. While the claims process isn't something many eagerly look forward to, there are definitely ways you can make it a less stressful experience. To help you successfully navigate the process, here are several tips for effectively and efficiently filing claims.
Keep an inventory of all your insured possessions.
Be proactive! If you keep a written document of your possessions, it can help make the claims process much easier if you experience a loss. Go from room to room and record each item and its value to prepare an inventory. An easy way to do this is to take photos or videos of each room and all of the contents in the rooms. Consider keeping receipts with the purchase date and original cost for your records too, in case of total loss. Your inventory list should be consistently updated, which can be done easily if you record new items shortly after purchasing them. Pro Tip: Your inventory should be easily accessible. It is a good idea to keep a couple copies of your inventory at different locations, with one location being off-premises in case of a total loss, like a fire.
Reach out to your agent first.
In the event of a potential claim, it's best to contact your agent directly instead of the broader insurance provider. Your agent will be able to explain your options and advise on whether filing a claim is in your best interest. In some cases, your agent may even file the claim for you.
Report your loss promptly.
Always file your claim as soon as you possibly can. Of course, theft losses should be reported to the police first, and in other situations of danger and urgency, safety takes priority. But once it's safe and reasonable to do so, you should contact your insurance agent. This is important because your policy might require you to make the notification within a certain amount of time. Not filing a claim within the time required in your policy may lead to a denial of the claim or may result in the claims process taking longer.
Be prepared with the right information.
When you file your claim or make follow-up calls regarding the process, be sure to have the right information so your conversation is easier and more effective. Have your inventory list and the details of your loss, and keep the following information handy for your claims representative:
Provide complete, correct information.
Explain the situation accurately without downplaying or exaggerating your loss. Incorrect or incomplete information may cause complications and delays in processing the claim. Additionally, materially misrepresenting the facts of your loss may result in a loss of coverage.
Record important details from all correspondence.
While going through the claims process, be sure to write down important information from your phone conversations and in-person meetings with claims representatives and other contacts. This should include the time and date, as well as the name and title of the person you spoke with. This will help you stay organized and create records that may come in handy later.
Make appropriate emergency repairs.
If you're dealing with property damage it may be necessary to make immediate emergency repairs to prevent additional damages, such as calling a plumber to repair a broken pipe. Your policy might cover the costs of these emergency repairs, so be sure to inquire about them when filing the claim. It is also important to take photos or even videos before making the repairs, and save the receipts from all of the work that is done.
Don't be afraid to ask your claims representative for more information or clarification. The process will go much more smoothly if you are both on the same page and fully understand each other. For example, if there is a disagreement about the coverage of the claim, ask for the specific language in the policy that is in question to find out if it is a matter of differing interpretations.
Overall, it's important to have patience because every insurance claim is different! Some may be completed quickly, while others may take a few weeks or even months to be resolved. You never know when problems will arise, but these tips can help you to effectively address the situations and smoothly navigate the claims process.
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