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Do You Really Need Renter’s Insurance?

We’ve heard the story many times.  A parent explains to their university-bound son or daughter to get renter’s insurance. And, like most college kids would, they promptly push this bit of parental advice out of their minds.

Big mistake. We had one customer who told us that when their son got back from winter break in his first year of university, his apartment had been broken into.  Everything gone.  His TV, computer, and other personal items all taken. And, because the poor student had no money, our customer had to pay up to replace everything.

While moving into a new place can be a chore, don’t forget to make sure you (or your son) have the coverage and protection you need in case of an emergency. If you are not sure what exactly it is you need in a renter’s insurance policy, or still have questions, we’ve got the answers.

Why Do I Need Renter’s Insurance?

Most apartment complexes and landlords only have insurance that covers the damage to the actual dwelling, which leaves everything of yours—electronics, furniture, clothes, whatever—vulnerable. So, to protect your belongings in case of fire, theft, or damage, you need your own policy, called a renter’s insurance policy.

You also need liability coverage for damages caused by negligence. For example, if you accidentally leave the kitchen sink on and it overflows into your neighbors’ apartment, you could be found liable for that damage—and required to pay for repairs, medical bills related to the accident, as well as defense costs if they bring a suit against you. Renter’s insurance would cover those costs.

No, none of this is fun to think about, but it’s a lot easier to plan (and pay) for it before it actually happens.

What Exactly Will My Policy Cover—and What Won’t It?

1. Personal Property 

Most standard renter’s insurance policies offer protection for your belongings in case of power surges, water damage, fire, vandalism, theft, and other events out of your control. However, most do not cover damage caused by flood water, earthquakes, mudslides, or nuclear hazards.

Also keep in mind that certain types of property will only be covered up to a limit set by your insurance company (for example $2,500 for electronics and $1,500 for jewelry and furs). So, if you have an engagement ring, a customized computer, an expensive set of golf clubs, or even a signed Gretzky rookie card you should consider purchasing an additional personal articles policy. These add-ons to your renter’s insurance are typically inexpensive (we’re talking a few dollars every month) but will protect those really important items that would be costly to replace.

2. Loss of Use

Your policy also covers your living expenses in case you must leave your home after an accident. Say a tree crashes through your roof and the place needs repairs before you can live there again—loss of use will cover a hotel, food, and any other expenses you incur during that time.

3. Liability

Your liability coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage caused by negligence—like if your dog gets loose and bites the neighbor’s kid and he has to get stitches.

You’re not, however, covered for negligence for expected or intended bodily injury (you throw a baseball in a parking lot trying to hit your neighbor), business pursuits (the cupcakes you bake in your apartment to sell at a market make someone sick with food poisoning—you would need a business owner’s policy), or vehicle-related damage or injury (your emergency brake fails and your parked car hits someone—auto insurance covers this).

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Many landlords require their tenants to have a minimum of $100K in liability coverage. If your landlord doesn’t have this guideline, talk to an insurance broker to determine how much coverage you need.

For property damage coverage, one of the first questions the broker will ask you is how much your stuff is worth. While that seems like a simple question, when you really start to think through what it would cost to replace everything in your apartment, it can get tricky. And it can add up.  More importantly, even if you can’t put a dollar value on all that you have, take photos or videos of your place and your most important belongings. This way, in case of a catastrophe, you’ll have a record of everything and can think through how much everything is worth at that point.

I Need This! Where Do I Get a Policy—and How Much Will it Cost?

First, contact your insurance broker who is providing your auto insurance—most will be able to give you great discounts if you bundle both policies.  Sometimes the savings on your auto policy will pay for the renter’s insurance policy!

Renter’s insurance is not a big premium.  And let’s face it—it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it provides and the coverage you’ll wish you had if something bad happens.

If you would like more information on renter’s insurance, or if you have any questions on your home or auto insurance, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

Eating While Driving & The Top 10 Most Dangerous Foods

Eating while driving is one of the worst forms of distracted driving for a driver! Yet a recent study of 1,000 drivers done by ExxonMobil found that over 70% of drivers admit to eating while behind the wheel and 83% drink beverages while they drive.

A study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that those who eat and drive increase the odds of an accident by 80%! They also concluded that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers fussing with food and drinks. Those are some staggering and eye-opening statistics! As a matter of fact, those stats are worse than texting while driving numbers!

The NHTSA even went as far as to list the most dangerous foods and beverages. Starbucks and Tim’s might be very sad to hear that coffee takes first place. Drinking coffee is the single most dangerous food item to have in the vehicle when it comes to distracted driving. Think about it, what happens if you spill that coffee on your lap? Even when your morning coffee is sitting in a cup holder, you aren’t safe! What happens when you hit a pothole and coffee starts splashing out through the vents and holes on the lid. Doesn’t it attract your attention? Yup, your beloved coffee is putting you at risk!

Here is a list of the top 10 most dangerous foods & beverages while driving:

10. Chocolate: Anything you touch, such as the steering wheel, armrest, your clothes, etc., will leave nasty chocolate fingerprints. A driver’s instinctive reaction is to clean the stains, which of course, leads to a major distraction! The main reason chocolate made the top 10 most dangerous foods to eat while driving is because it’s messy. It’s not really something you can spill, it isn’t extremely hot, and it if you drop your candy bar, no big deal. It’s not something you have to clean up immediately. But when chocolate gets all over the fingers and hands, or worse yet, your nice bright white shirt on the way to your business meeting, the distraction can get dangerous.

9. Soft Drinks: A simple soft drink made the list? You bet! Spilling a drink, having a can or bottle fall out of the cup holder, and even the act of taking a sip all lead to increased driver distractions. Searching the floorboard of your car to find that water bottle rolling around takes your eyes off the road in a worse way than texting and driving. Think about it, why is texting while driving dangerous? Because you must take your eyes off the road, if even for just a split second. Now, what do you think happens when you are guzzling down a bottle of Pepsi or when you spill the 92 oz soda in your lap? Can we say, distracted?

8. Jelly and Cream Filled or Powdered Donuts: So, you swing into Dunkin’ Donuts and get your nice hot coffee and tasty jelly donut. You take a bite, and the jelly oozes out the end and drips all over your nice new work pants. You guessed it, a major driver distraction! Now, I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes there is nothing better in the morning than a large cup of coffee and a surgery donut or two. My favorite is the Boston Cream Pie, but unfortunately, those probably aren’t any safer. Quite frankly, anything that has the potential to be messy is dangerous in the car. Many types of donuts are very talented at causing a messy situation and your car is not safe from such menacing donuts.

7. Fried Chicken: Fried chicken is delicious, but better enjoyed at home. Eating while driving can be dangerous, but eating fried chicken while driving is just ridiculous! A driver eating fried chicken will constantly be cleaning off his or her hands from all the grease. Have you ever gotten grease on a steering wheel or an armrest? It isn’t easy to clean off once it has been there for a while! And worse yet, fried chicken can cause a mess. We’ve already covered the “messy food scenario” with the donuts, but the same thing applies here. Eat your fried chicken in the restaurant or while parked.

6. Any Barbequed Food: Who doesn’t like BBQ sauce! But remember, if it can drip, it will certainly find a way to do that while you’re driving. Getting barbecue sauce all over your clothes and nice leather car seat will surely lead to distracted driving. People try all sorts of tricks. They put napkins down on their lap, they keep baby wipes close by, and maybe even have an entire roll of paper towels ready to go. Believe me, I understand the temptation of BBQ, but it’s more suitable for the backyard than driver’s seat.

5. Juicy Hamburger: Again, if it can drip, it’ll find a way to do so in your car. Don’t let that $3 burger from McDonald’s turn into a $500 or $1,000 deductible from your insurance company. That would be an expensive burger! As one of the most frequently consumed items in vehicles, many people have grown content with eating a burger in the car. It has been so normalized in our society that fast food companies have even made it easier to eat and drive with your Big Mac or Whopper. Heck, these days, you don’t even need to exit your vehicle!

4. Chili: Anything containing chili, like a chili dog, sloppy Joe or Coney dog is obviously quite dangerous and distracting. Chili is fantastic on a lot of things. But chili on your steering wheel or your sweater isn’t so great and will take your focus off the road. Now, this is one of those items you probably don’t think you’d eat while driving down the road, but the fact is lots of people do, and eat worse. Remember, friends don’t let friends eat chili and drive.

3. Tacos: When you hit that pothole and your taco turns into a fiesta bowl on your lap, it’s sure to cause some erratic vehicle movements. Sure, who doesn’t love a late-night Taco Bell drive thru around 1am? I understand that sometimes, a good old taco calls your name, but save it for when you get home. Oh, and if you have a long drive, don’t forget to order your taco in the soft shell. A soggy taco shell is no good when you finally get home.

2. Hot Soups: Who doesn’t love a nice steaming hot bowl of classic Chicken Noodle Soup. Pretty much everyone except the driver who just spilled it all over the floorboard of their car….and the person they rear end as a result. Some soup companies, like Campbell’s, are now making soup in little portable “sippy cup” looking things. It’s a whole lot safer than trying to eat your soup from a bowl, however, even soup in portable “sippy” containers can be dangerous. It’s just as dangerous as the most dangerous food on our list…

1. Coffee: Coffee? Yes, coffee! That’s the most dangerous food item to have in your car while you’re driving! When we think of eating while driving, we normally think of solid foods. But coffee is responsible for more distracted driving accidents than any other food item. You wouldn’t guess it with the number of Starbucks drive-thru and free Monday coffee at McDonalds, but the fact is, with coffee being so readily available and so popular, it is widely used. Piping hot coffee in the car is just a bad idea.

The majority of food related accidents occur in the morning hours. People are more concerned about their appearance in the morning as they are heading to work, so a spill is a much bigger deal. Eating while driving also occurs more frequently when people are running late.

Some distracted driving activities gets a free pass. With the number of fast food drive-thrus and coffee shops on seemingly every corner in the most dangerous driving areas, the task of eating while driving has been normalized by our society. Nobody thinks it’s a big deal and in fact, our vehicles and fast food companies have made it as easy as possible for you. Just because a certain form of distracted driving is overlooked, that doesn’t mean you should take part. Eating while driving is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than texting while driving!

Yes! Eating While Driving Really Is Dangerous!

If you would like more information on keeping safe while you are on the roads, or if you have any questions on your home or auto insurance, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

Do You Need Classic Car Insurance?

For many car enthusiasts, the idea of owning a classic car is enough to get their hearts racing. However, owning a classic car means taking a different approach to its care. Not all repair shops will know how to care for the engine; they may only be equipped for running diagnostics on today’s highly computerized cars.

If you are thinking about getting involved in the world of “old” cars, you should learn the various car classifications: antique, vintage and classic. Each class has its own meaning and mastering these is one of the most basic concepts of learning this hobby. While some of these classifications are open to interpretation and can vary, there are attempts to create conformity. In fact, in some cases there are state laws that regulate how these words are used. In other situations, there are definitions set by car collector groups.

Here are a few things to know before you buy:

Antique, Classic or Vintage?

While the terms antique, classic and vintage seem interchangeable, they are very separate designations. Antique cars, for example, are usually cars that are more than 45 years old and are maintained to keep the original manufacturer specifications.

Vintage cars may be antiques, and some antiques may be vintage – but that’s not always the case. Usually cars are considered vintage if they were manufactured between 1919 and 1930, though some classifications end the vintage designation at 1925. Learn more about the difference between vintage and classic cars here.

Classic cars must be at least 20 years old, but no older than 40 years old. As with antiques, cars should stay true to the original design – but those that are modified with aftermarket touches, may still qualify as a true classic car.

Classic Car Coverage

When it comes to insuring your classic, antique or vintage car, you will quickly find out it’s not the same as insuring the family car. If your car is a collectible, you’ll want to look into a policy designed specifically for collectibles. While your regular car is insured with the idea that it is depreciating in value almost immediately after you buy it, a classic or antique car may appreciate in value – particularly if you are planning to put work into restoring it.

Surprisingly, you may find the premium is lower on your classic or antique car, even though it might carry a higher replacement cost. That’s because collectibles such as classic, vintage and antique autos tend to spend more time in the garage than they spend on the road.

Depending on its designation, your car may be restricted for driving only at certain car club events, parades or other special occasions. When exploring coverage options, it is important to know if your car is mainly going to be used for shows rather than regular driving.

Since insurance rates can vary, make sure you talk with your agent about whether your car is antique, vintage or classic.

If you would like more information on classic car insurance, or if you have any questions on your home or auto insurance, please contact Munn Insurance toll free at 1-855-726-8627 today.

Top 10 Car Insurance Discounts.

hug around laptop car insurance discounts

There are many ways to obtain car insurance discounts, from choosing the right car (one that is less likely to be involved in an accident or stolen – yes that matters!) to reducing the amount that you drive (the less you drive, the better). But if you’re looking for more ways to save, here is a list of  car insurance discounts that you can discuss with your broker at your next renewal:

  1. Multi-policy discount. For drivers who buy their car and home insurance policies from the same company.
  2. Multi-vehicle discount. For drivers who insure more than one vehicle with the same company.
  3. Conviction-free discount. For drivers who maintain clean driving records for a set amount of time (usually 3-5 years).
  4.  Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) discount. For vehicles that have an AEB system that acts independently of the driver to help avoid or mitigate accidents.
  5. Short commute discount. For drivers who commute a short distance to and from work daily.
  6.  Loyalty discount. For customers who have remained with the same insurance company for a set amount of time (usually over 4 years).
  7. Full coverage discount. For customers who have both liability and physical damage coverage on their vehicle.
  8. Away at school discount. For parents with kids who are living away from home to attend school and don’t have regular access to the insured vehicle.
  9. Green discount for hybrid vehicles. For eco-friendly vehicles that help the environment by reducing smog and greenhouse gas emissions.
  10. Single pay discount. For customers who pay their entire annual premium in one payment.

Based on our experience, these are 10 of the most valuable car insurance discounts available — but the specific discounts offered may vary by provider. Be sure to ask your broker to find out if they can offer these discounts and whether you qualify. You’ll be amazed by just how much you can save, and what you can do with all those savings!

If you would like more information on your home or auto policy (and about the many discounts available) please contact Munn Insurance at 1-855-726-8627 today.