Blog

Subscribe

Tuesday, 24 January 2017
clear

You buy insurance to protect your finances from life's surprises. But unless you know the finer points of your policies, you could be left with another surprise -- no coverage where you thought you had it.  We get questions almost daily asking is this covered?  We do our best to give the most accurate and easy to understand answers we can offer.  I thought it might be good to share some of the more common questions (and one not so common) that we get here in the agency!  Hopefully, this will help you to have a better understanding about your own insurance and what is or is not covered!

  1. You lend your car to a friend. Does your auto insurance cover him or her? Yes - Generally, your auto insurance will cover a friend driving your car, as long as he or she has a license and has your permission to use the vehicle.

  2. During a storm, your neighbor's tree falls on your house. Whose policy covers the damage?  Yours!  If a tree falls on your house, you are covered by your own homeowners insurance policy, not your neighbor's.  However, if the neighbors tree was dead already and wasn't maintained by the owner of that tree, there could be other liability issues against that tree owner.

  3. Your basement floods. Good thing you bought a separate flood insurance policy ahead of time. What does it cover? Choose: A. Carpet / B. Furnace / C. Furniture.  The answer is B!  The only thing on this list that's covered is your furnace. Flood insurance covers structural elements and essential equipment in a basement, but not living improvements made down there. That means it won't pay for furniture or carpets in a basement room, or damaged drywall that has been painted. (It will cover those things upstairs, however.) And don't expect your homeowner's policy to pick up the tab, either.

  4. You rent a car. Does your existing auto insurance protect you in case of damage? Yes - Typically, your auto insurance will cover a car rental. Before you take a trip, you should check to be sure, or you may need to buy insurance from the rental car company. Check with your credit-card company, too -- it may also provide coverage.

  5. Your 18-year-old child goes away to college. Is she still covered under your health insurance? Yes - Insurers must let adult children up to age 26 (today's definition of Affordable Health Care) stay on their parents' policies as long as the child isn't covered by an insurance plan at his or her own job.

  6. Are your child's belongings covered under your homeowner's insurance while he's living in a college dorm? Yes - As long as your child is a full-time student and younger than 24, his belongings are usually covered by the parents' policy if he lives in a dorm. If he moves off campus, he might need to get his own renters insurance policy.

  7. After a shopping spree at the mall, you put the goods in your car. Then you go back in to grab lunch. When you return, you find your purchases have been stolen. Are you covered?  Yes - theft of your personal property is covered under your homeowners or renters policy. But bear in mind that the insurance company will probably want proof of your loss, so if your receipts were stolen along with the merchandise, you'll have to come up with some other way to prove what you bought. Also check with your credit-card company. Some offer extra purchase protection in case of theft.

  8. Does your home insurance policy cover you for earthquake damage? No - Unless you buy separate earthquake insurance, you're not covered.

  9. What if a volcano erupts? Are you covered then? Yes - You're in luck! A standard homeowner's policy will cover you against a volcanic eruption.

  10. If I have a claim, do I call the insurance agency or do I call the insurance company? Call US!  We're here to help you during that tough time and make sure we direct you appropriately in order to get the quickest results for settlement of your claim.

Hopefully these 10 questions with answers can give you better insight into what would be covered in these instances.  We have more just like this on our website.  Just visit our FAQ page for more in depth information. 

Let us know how we can help you!  Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or email us at info@BentonWhite.com.  We're help to make insurance easier for you.  We want to EARN your business!

clear
Posted on 01/24/2017 2:22 PM by Benton P. White
clear

Friday, 23 December 2016
clear

So here we are on the doorstep of Christmas 2016.  Once again, I find myself being grateful for another great year - working with wonderful customers such as yourself.  The agency continues to grow and prosper and we continue to solve insurance problems and fill insurance needs for so many every day.  Thank you for letting us serve you with your insurance.

From our great staff here at the agency, my wonderful family and me, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and may 2017 be full of grace, peace, and joy for you and those around you.

This is my Crew - all 19 of us!  A RICH man am I!

Of course, I have to post Mimi & Poppy with the grandkids!

And yes - there are those CRAZY moments when it looks just about like this!

We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you with all things insurance in the months and years ahead!  

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

clear
Posted on 12/23/2016 4:45 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Thursday, 15 December 2016
clear

Here we go!  The coldest temps of this season yet with windchills coming in the next 3 to 4 days.  Some are saying a 'roller-coaster' weather pattern.  In the meantime, a quick review of PIPE protection.  One pipe burst can flood your property and make this Christmas season a sudden nightmare!  

As a public service, take these 5 precautions so you won't have that miserable event take place:

  • CLOSE all foundation vents so cold air won't get in.
  • CLOSE & SEAL your crawl space door.  That is your outside wind-blocker!  Seal it tight!
  • DRIP a steady stream of water from one or two interior sinks spread-out in your home.
  • UNHOOK garden hose from the spigot and cover exterior faucets with insulating material.
  • KNOW where the main water shut-off valve is located so you can quickly turn off that water if a pipe does burst.  Make a bee-line to it if you hear water!

Every winter season we get those sad phone calls from customers who have frozen and then burst pipes.  Taking these quick precautions could make a big difference between a fun holiday or a horribly wet one in your home.

Let us know if you need anything regarding insurance. We're here to help and always ready to EARN your business.  EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our capable and friendly staff at 615.377.1212.  Merry Christmas to you and your family!  Thanks for putting your eyes on our blog!  Hope it helps!

clear
Posted on 12/15/2016 5:09 PM by Benton P. White
clear

Monday, 12 December 2016
clear

We continue to welcome calls into the agency from people who are struggling to get a healthcare solutions individually or for their family.  There's no question, healthcare these days is a challenge for nearly all of us. 

I read an article this morning in THE TENNESSEAN that gives a little more information about what others face and the solutions that are out there.  I thought it might interest you in seeing this article written by Holly Fletcher of THE TENNESSEAN with contributions from Kristi Nelson with the Knoxville News Sentinel.


Alan Hall sat with his laptop at the ready at Bellevue Public Library Sunday, prepared to help people navigate healthcare.gov as the first Health Insurance Marketplace deadline approaches this week.

The deadline to sign up with a guaranteed Jan. 1 coverage start date is Dec. 15. Navigators around the state like Hall are preparing for a busy week.

Listen to Hall speak for very long and it's a workshop on insurance, explaining co-insurance and the structure of plans' specialist and emergency room coverage, along with the random, odd personal fact - presumably the answer to a security question that won't be hard to remember.

Hall helped Melinda Hmielewski get enrolled in a Cigna plan that will start on Jan. 1. She's been paying $554 a month for Cobra through her former employer. Starting in 2017, however, her new premium will be zero.

She enrolled in a plan in about half an hour and thought the process, guided by Hall, was "just wonderful." She won't "have to pay a dime" in premiums and plans to use the plan as a bridge until she lands a new job and moves onto employer-sponsored coverage.

Hmielewski, referred to Hall by her sister Deborah Garrett, was his first appointment of the afternoon. Garrett has had an individual plan on the federally run exchange for two years.

While activity at enrollment events across the state is on par with last year, some groups expect to exceed the number of people they helped in 2015 by the end of the week.

The state saw fewer people enroll in the first month compared to the year before, but navigators said the loss of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee continues to be a concern for people in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville who are weighing their options. Hall estimates that, for every one new enrollee he's helping, eight people pick a new insurer.

There were 55,434 people who picked a plan on the federally run Obamacare exchange across the state from Nov. 1 to Nov. 26, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In the first four weeks of enrollment in 2015, 62,922 Tennesseans selected a plan.

In Knoxville, the BCBST twist combined with the election of Donald Trump is shaping people's decisions, said Derrick Folsom, outreach coordinator for Cherokee Health Systems. Some people are forging ahead with picking new providers or insurers while others think the repeal-and-replace will come quickly in 2017 and are opting not to buy a plan.

Hmielewski expects Trump and his administration will take "what we've had in place for the last four years and make it better."

Folsom's seen people who say, "I'm going to get it one last time."

Plans purchased for next year will be in place throughout 2017. Trump and other Republicans in Washington, D.C., are talking about delaying the impacts of repeal for a couple of years.

"I just tell everybody that it's certainly going to be around this year," Hall said.

People who want a plan that starts at the beginning of 2017 shouldn't wait until the last minute to start enrolling, navigators said.

Last year, a surge of users in the days leading up to the 15th caused some shoppers to experience wait times online and on the phone, though the problems were not as widespread as the issues that plagued healthcare.gov in its first year. Federal officials wound up extending the deadline.

Open enrollment at healthcare.gov runs through Jan. 31.


If we can help you with any insurance needs, please let us know either by EMAILING us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212.  We're always ready to EARN your business!

clear
Posted on 12/12/2016 9:45 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Thursday, 08 December 2016
clear

Dr. Mike Looney, the Superintendent of Williamson County Schools has made a great proactive move this week.  There have been several vehicle tragedies in our area in the last few weeks where students have died either behind the wheel of a car or as a passenger.  Dr. Looney addresses the need that we all have to be more careful to do all that we can to reduce these senseless tragedies.

 

We applaud Dr. Looney for this video.  Obviously, we completely agree and hope that we all will do more to help all drivers - especially the less experienced drivers to learn the right way to drive so we can reduce accidents & accident deaths around us.

If there is anything we can do to help you with your insurance, we want to and are ready to protect you and your family in the best and most economical way possible.  Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or email us at info@BentonWhite.com.

clear
Posted on 12/08/2016 4:58 PM by Benton P. White
clear

Tuesday, 06 December 2016
clear

I saw this a few days ago and thought it was interesting.  It's fairly typical of what we see regarding outlook, economic outlook and concerns of many of us.  Travelers, one of our great companies in the agency, offers their annual risk index and this graphic was put together to show the highlights.

We try to insure our customers so they WON'T be up at night!  As a matter of fact, I often say ... "the decision about the right insurance program as well as the right amount of coverage truly depends on what helps you to sleep best at night!"  After over 38 years in this business, I still feel that way.

If we can help you with anything insurance, contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or info@BentonWhite.com.  ive us a call!  It would be our pleasure to earn your business!

clear
Posted on 12/06/2016 8:00 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Wednesday, 23 November 2016
clear

Today and everyday!  This week and every week, we are grateful for so many things, including great relationships with family, friends, business acquaintances and many wonderful customers!  Let's take a much needed break this week and remember how truly blessed we are!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise!  Give thanks to him and bless His name!
Psalm 100:4 (NASB)

We wish for you a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us
 at Benton White Insurance!

clear
Posted on 11/23/2016 9:00 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Wednesday, 16 November 2016
clear

How attentive are you when you drive?  Is your attention on driving or are you distracted with the many things now available to us all as we drive.  It's a critical time on our highways these days with distracted driving accidents growing at an alarming rate!  Here are possibly some of the reasons why.

The messaging app Snapchat allows motorists to post photos that record the speed of the vehicle. The navigation app Waze rewards drivers with points when they report traffic jams and accidents. Even the game Pokémon Go has drivers searching for virtual creatures on the nation's highways.

When distracted driving entered the national consciousness a decade ago, the problem was mainly people who made calls or sent texts from their cellphones. The solution then was to introduce new technologies to keep drivers' hands on the wheel. Innovations since then - car Wi-Fi and a host of new apps - have led to a boom in internet use in vehicles that safety experts say is contributing to a surge in highway deaths.

After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. And the numbers so far this year are even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now," Mark R. Rosekind, the head of the agency, said in an interview.

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating an Oct. 26 crash near Tampa that killed five people. A passenger in one car, a teenager, recorded a Snapchat video showing her vehicle traveling at 115 m.p.h. just before the collision.

A lawsuit filed in a Georgia court claims a teenage driver who was in a September 2015 crash near Atlanta was using Snapchat while driving more than 100 m.p.h., according to court records. The car collided with the car of an Uber driver, who was seriously injured.

Alarmed by the statistics, the Department of Transportation in October outlined a plan to work with the National Safety Council and other advocacy groups to devise a "Road to Zero" strategy, with the ambitious goal of eliminating roadway fatalities within 30 years.

The Obama administration's transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx, said that the near-term effort would involve identifying changes in regulations, laws and standards that could help reduce fatalities. That might include pushing for all states to tighten and enforce laws requiring use of seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorcycles, while cracking down on distracted or drunken driving. The effort might also include tougher regulation of heavy trucks, Mr. Foxx said.

A second, related effort would focus on setting longer-term goals and speeding the introduction of autonomous-driving technologies that many safety experts say have the potential to prevent accidents by removing distracted humans from the driving equation.

One concern so far, though, is that current generations of automated driver-assistance systems, like the Autopilot feature offered by Tesla Motors, may be lulling some drivers into a false sense of security that can contribute to distracted driving.

Whether highway safety officials in the Trump administration will have the same priorities, though, is too soon to say. The names of candidates for transportation secretary have not yet been publicly floated.

Most new vehicles sold today have software that connects to a smartphone and allows drivers to place phone calls, dictate texts and use apps hands-free. Ford Motor has its Sync system, for example. Others, including Honda, Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz, offer their own interfaces as well as Apple's CarPlay and Google's Android Auto.

Automakers say these systems enable customers to concentrate on driving even while interacting with their smartphones.

"The whole principle is to bring voice recognition to customers so they can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," said Alan Hall, a spokesman for Ford, which began installing Sync in cars in 2007.

Since then, the company has added features to reduce distractions, like a "do not disturb button" that lets drivers block incoming calls and texts.

CarPlay allows use of the iPhone's Siri virtual assistant to answer phone calls, dictate texts and control apps like Spotify and Pandora. Both Sync and CarPlay present simplified menus on a car's in-dash display to reduce driver distraction and turn off the phone's screen, eliminating the temptation to use the device itself.

But Deborah Hersman, president of the nonprofit National Safety Council and a former chairwoman of the federal National Transportation Safety Board, said it was not clear how much those various technologies reduced distraction - or, instead, encouraged people to use even more functions on their phones while driving. And freeing the drivers' hands does not necessarily clear their heads.

"It's the cognitive workload on your brain that's the problem," Ms. Hersman said.

Technology in some new cars is meant to reduce driver distractions or compensate for them.

Dr. William Chandler, a retired neurosurgeon in Ann Arbor, Mich., just bought a 2017 BMW X5 sport utility vehicle that warns him if he drifts out of his lane on the highway or if a car is in his blind spot. His favorite feature is a heads-up display on the windshield in front of him that projects his speed, the speed limit and navigation information.

"It puts all the directions and turns right there in my field of vision," he said. "That's a real safety factor for distracted driving, because I'm never looking at the map on the screen in the console."

But new cars make up only a small portion of the 260 million vehicles on the road in the United States. Digital diversion is harder to address in older models.

Brett Hudson, 26, a teacher at a charter school in Jackson, Mich., said his iPhone 6 Plus had become essential to his daily commute in his 2002 Chevrolet TrailBlazer. He uses Apple Maps for navigation, listens to music via Pandora and gets his favorite Michigan football call-in show on iHeart Radio.

To reduce the time he looks at the phone, Mr. Hudson installed an aftermarket Bluetooth system for hands-free phone calls. He mounts the iPhone on a clip attached to an air vent, enabling him to see the screen while still keeping the road in his field of vision.

Mr. Hudson concedes that the setup is not risk-free.

"I've noticed that when I do have to touch the phone,'' he said, my brain becomes so totally focused, even in that short period of time, and I don't really remember what's happening on the road in those four or five seconds."

Insurance companies, which closely track auto accidents, are convinced that the increasing use of electronic devices while driving is the biggest cause of the rise in road fatalities, according to Robert Gordon, a senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

"This is a serious public safety concern for the nation," Mr. Gordon said at a recent conference in Washington held by the National Transportation Safety Board. "We are all trying to figure out to what extent this is the new normal."'

We're here to help you with your insurance whether it be auto, home, motorcycle, life, long term care or other insurance needs.  Contact any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212.  With more than 38 years experience, we're ready to earn your insurance business.

[Portions of this blog post taken from an article in the New York Times - online edition - November 16, 2016 written by Neal E. Boudette (www.nytimes.com).] 
clear
Posted on 11/16/2016 11:21 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Friday, 28 October 2016
clear
I have followed Dave Ramsey from the early days of his career.  I know many people who work on his team and have the pleasure of insuring many folks who follow Dave's template of financial peace!  One thing Dave doesn't do:  he doesn't mince words and you're never confused about what he thinks!  His financial counseling on-air, online, in churches, schools and to the general public have turned many debt ridden people into debt free winners! (www.DaveRamsey.com)  
 
He had a pretty serious and factual rant about the current state of medical insurance a few days back.  He is voicing what I hear almost daily in my business with people facing MAJOR premium increases and loss of coverage as a result of our current healthcare insurance problem.  This industry is in the worse place I have seen it in my 38+ year career and Dave addresses it here:
 
 
We're here to help and do what we can to find places or solutions to any of your insurance needs including healthcare coverage.  If we can help, please contact any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or feel free to call us at 615.377.1212.  We want to earn your business!
clear
Posted on 10/28/2016 1:07 PM by Benton White
clear

Thursday, 20 October 2016
clear

It's clear that autonomous vehicles are coming to the market place. The only question is how quickly.

Google garnered attention with its prototype of a self-driving car, Ford Motor Co. says it plans to sell driverless cars to the public by 2025, and several other manufacturers, such as Mercedes, BMW and Volvo, are in the test phase. And, in the United States at least, a true sign of the coming technology: The federal government issued regulations on autonomous cars on Sept. 20.

The vehicles are touted as a way for aging drivers and people with disabilities to maintain their independence. They're also predicted to increase traffic safety and cut down on distracted driving. Commercial truck fleets are also testing autonomous vehicles, and cargo container ships are interested in the technology as well.

Earlier this year, the driver of a Tesla was killed in an accident while operating the vehicle on autopilot, and Chinese researchers recently claimed to have hacked into a Tesla and taken control of the brakes, among other things.

A recent report from the Boston Consulting Group, "Self-Driving Vehicles, Robo-Taxis, and the Urban Mobility Revolution," found that 58 percent of the 5,500 consumers surveyed across 10 countries would be willing to ride in a fully autonomous vehicle, although 23 percent aren't willing to cede control to the vehicle.

Here's a look at eight reasons that drivers are reluctant to use self-driving cars, according to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group and the World Economic Forum:

8. Hackers

In the survey, 23 percent of the respondents were concerned that the car could be hacked.

7. Price tag

In the survey, 25 percent said they were unwilling to pay for self-driving functionality.

6. Traffic concerns

In the survey, 26 percent of respondents said they wouldn't trust self-driving technology in mixed traffic.

5. Unknown technology

More than a quarter of survey respondents - 27 percent - say they don't know enough about the technology yet.

4. Loss of a pleasurable experience

Almost 1 in 3 survey respondents - 30 percent - said that driving a motor vehicle is a pleasurable experience that they're reluctant to give up.

3. Driver' error

Of those surveyed, 43 percent don't want the car to make "mistakes" on the road.

2. Need for control

In the survey, 45 percent said they have a need for the driver to be in control of the vehicle at all times.

1. Safety concerns

Half of the people surveyed - 50 percent - responded that they wouldn't feel safe in a self-driving car.


Autonomous vehicles will certainly change auto insurance - both personal and commercial - in ways we're not  completely sure of yet. But what do consumers really think about self-driving cars? Will the technology be adopted as quickly as we adopted smartphones?

We'll continue to keep an eye on the driverless car developments as it relates to insurance.  Certainly insurance companies are very busy analyzing these risks and how to insure them properly and for the right price.  We'll pass along anything we learn as this subject progresses.

If we can help you with driver-controlled car insurance, we're here and ready.  Please reachout to any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or contact us at 615.377.1212.  We're ready to EARN your business!

[Portions of this post taken from a recent article by: By Rosalie L. Donlon, PropertyCasualty360 // October 20th, 2016]
clear
Posted on 10/20/2016 11:00 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Wednesday, 12 October 2016
clear


Every insurance policy is different. Properly understanding what's covered requires the homeowner to ask a lot of questions and to read the fine print on his or her insurance policy. Though there are differences between policies, there are some things that almost all insurance policies will have in common.

 

What's Covered?

Homeowners insurance typically covers a broad range of possible damages. You can expect that your actual dwelling is covered, as well as some other structures on your property, like a garage, fence, driveway or shed. However, if you run a business on your property that's housed in a separate structure, this is generally not covered in the typical insurance policy.

Personal Property is typically accounted for in your policy as well. This is sometimes known as contents insurance. The amount of coverage for personal property may be limited on certain types of high-value items, such as jewelry or artwork, unless additional coverage is purchased for these items.

Replacement Cost vs. Fair Market Value

Not all insurance policies offer homeowners the replacement cost of the property. Buying coverage for replacement cost helps to bridge the gap that can be caused by inflation and loss of value when property items are no longer new. Otherwise, if a claim is made, it will be assessed at fair market value. Since some items depreciate quickly, this means that you may not get enough money from a claim to cover or replace the items that were lost or damaged. Coverage for replacement costs will ensure that you're able to replace the items that were lost, with similar items. If having this coverage is important to you, you'll want to be sure that both your home and personal property are covered for replacement cost. (At Benton White Insurance, we automatically include replacement cost on both dwelling and personal property.)

Car Broken in at Home

Most homeowners insurance policies generally include coverage for personal effects and separate structures on your property, such as a garage or a workshop. But what happens if your car is broken into while it's on your property? This is where the distinction between your home and auto insurance policies can become a little blurry. Many home insurance policies will provide some insurance for personal items that are stolen from your car, but some of the more comprehensive auto insurance policies may cover this, too. Insurance companies may also limit the coverage available through your policy, if the items stolen were purchased for use in the vehicle exclusively.

Natural Disaster Coverage

A wide range of natural disasters are typically covered by your homeowners insurance policy, though not all of them. If you live in some regions, you'll want to be sure to inquire about things like tornado or earthquake insurance. However, the typical inclusions for natural disaster include fire, lightning, windstorm and hail. Your policy may also include coverage for smoke damage, or damage caused by falling items. Earthquakes and other natural movements of the earth are not typically covered by insurance policies, though you can purchase separate insurance to cover these types of events.

Flooding

Flooding is much the same as earthquakes, when it comes to homeowners insurance. Flash floods and even sewer backups are not generally covered in basic homeowner insurance policies, though you can ask your insurance company about adding coverage to your policy, especially if you live in a region that is prone to flooding. (For related reading, see Understanding Lender-Required Flood Insurance.)

Personal Injury

Most homeowner insurance policies include coverage for injuries incurred by those on your property where you are liable. This could include something like someone slipping on a patch of ice that's on your front walk, or falling as a result of a broken step on your porch. This coverage is usually limited to a certain dollar value, so you definitely want to know how much coverage you have and exactly what's included. We're strong advocates of perosonal injury and personal liability coverage that extends above the base limits of your policy at Benton White Insurance.  And, the pricing of the extra coverage is just pennies per day!

Deductible

The deductible is the amount that the insured party has to pay when a claim is made. You can decrease your insurance costs by increasing the amount of your deductible, meaning you'll be required to pay more if you ever do have an incident that requires you to make a claim. Keep in mind that many mortgage providers require homeowners to carry a certain amount of insurance on their property with a deductible that's below a specified limit. Check with your mortgage provider before opting for the lowest possible rate with the highest possible deductible. It might be tempting to go for the lower rate, but if you ever do have to make an insurance claim, you might regret it, if you're responsible for a $10,000 deductible.

The Bottom Line

It may not seem like particularly interesting reading material, but it's a lot better to take the time to thoroughly read up on what your insurance policy covers, than to be stuck in a situation where you're not sure when you really need it. We often feel here at the agency that we are more in the education business than in the insurance policy business.  We work hard to blend both so you end up with the most competitive coverage for the most affordable pricing.  It's our job to educate you on all types of coverage's and make sure we don't miss anything that you need insured.  Who knows, you might need additional coverage to cover your original Van Gogh painting or that giant diamond ring.  We can help!

At the end of the day, doing your homework before purchasing a policy could really pay off if you're ever stuck in an unfortunate situation when you actually need to rely on your homeowners insurance.

We're here to help!  Contact any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212.  We're here to earn your business and help you to understand it too!

Portions of this blog post taken from: What Is and Isn't Covered by Homeowners Insurance | Investopedia | By Janet Fowler

clear
Posted on 10/12/2016 9:09 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Thursday, 06 October 2016
clear

Not that we've had questions about this .... and honestly, not that we have a tremendous interest in this story.  However, there is ALWAYS an insurance angle that many don't consider.  When there is $10Million in jewelry stolen in a robbery in a foreign country, many questions have to be answered before a claim could be paid.  I thought this article from Billboard Magazine was interesting enough that we should share it.  It's interesting reading!

This comes from an article entitled: HOW MUCH INSURANCE MONEY WILL KIM KARDASHIAN RECEIVE FOR HER STOLEN JEWELS? THAT DEPENDS / 10/6/2016 by Lauren Indvik, Billboard

Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

"A multi-million dollar claim like this one is going to be difficult, both to investigate and to resolve," says Heather Perkins, head of underwriting at L.A.-based jewelry insurance specialist Lavalier.

A few hours after midnight on Monday morning, Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel of what is now estimated to be more than $10 million worth of jewelry - a story that has captivated the media, both in Europe and the U.S., in the days since.

As there is little chance the jewels will be recovered, Kardashian is now presumably about to enter into a complicated claims process with her insurance company - most likely Lloyd's of London (which specializes in insurance for multimillion-dollar gems), according to Scott Andrew Selby, co-author of Flawless: Inside the Largest Diamond Heist in History.

But how much Kardashian West will receive for the loss (assuming, of course, that each piece was insured) depends on a number of factors, including the category and conditions of her coverage. "It all depends on the type of jewelry coverage the customer purchased," Janece White, North American vice president of underwriting and jewelry specialist at Chubb Personal Risk Services, a multinational property and casualty insurer, tells Billboard. "Was it worldwide coverage? Was there a maximum amount of coverage provided while traveling? Were there any restrictions with regard to the security required while traveling with the jewelry? In some instances restrictions are placed on the policy, which require that when traveling the jewelry be kept in a secure hotel safe - not the room safe."

The conditions of Elizabeth Taylor's insurance on the famous, 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond, for example, specified that Taylor should only wear it in public 30 days per year and when protected by security guards, according to Lloyd's. If anything had happened to the diamond while violating those conditions, she would not have received the full value of her claim.

Assuming Kardashian West is indeed insured, and was following the dictates of her policy to a T, the claims process will still be complicated. "Very high value, unique and rare items can be tricky to replace with pieces of 'like kind and quality,' which is the standard for most insurance companies," Heather Perkins, head of underwriting at Los Angeles-based jewelry insurance specialist Lavalier, tells Billboard. "So a multi-million dollar claim like this one is going to be difficult, both to investigate and to resolve.

"It is common for those who own jewels as pricey as Kardashian West's to wear imitation jewelry while traveling - something White strongly suggests for other owners of high-ticket items. And if an imitation set is not an option, storing the jewels in the hotel security safe when they aren't being worn is a must. "I would also be wary of making my whereabouts known, as individuals who could wish me harm could use that information," she adds. "And lastly, because even when all precautions are taken, sometimes bad things happen. I would want to make sure I had the best insurance coverage in place to protect my valuables."

We insure jewelry, music instruments, sports equipment and many other personal type articles.  And yes, if you have $10,000,000 to insure, we have companies.  So let us know if we can help!  Contact any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212.  We're always ready to earn your business!

clear
Posted on 10/06/2016 12:22 PM by Benton White
clear

Monday, 26 September 2016
clear
I wanted to get this to you as soon as possible.  This is a major announcement regarding healthcare insurance here in Tennessee.  The #1 and largest provider of healthcare insurance in Tennessee is pulling out of the major metro markets including Nashville on the Obamacare exchange.  This article below from The Tennessean - released late this morning gives details. 
 

BCBST to pull out of Obamacare exchange in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis - Read The Full Article


What This Means For Us...

Unfortunately, this will affect how we offer healthcare coverage in this agency because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee was one of our primary healthcare providers.  Up until today, I have put my emphasis toward their good product(s) because one would think the largest provider would have success in this awkward national healthcare environment.  They couldn't and now we all will be forced to the healthcare.gov site to find decreasing amounts of providers that are still participating in the national healthcare system.  We will continue to find best avenues to share with our customers as it pertains to sustainable healthcare insurance.
 
The premise of having everyone covered for healthcare is a good one.  But no one has considered how the insurance companies that will provide the coverage can pay for it.  And since many companies are dropping out as a result, those that remain will undoubtedly be forced to increase their premiums by incredible percentages in order to continue to participate in all of this.  The story isn't over and we'll do out best to keep you informed as the progress or lack thereof develops.
 

Contact Us

As we celebrate 38 years in this business this Saturday - October 1, we're here if there is anything you need from us.  Certainly, our other markets are very stable in the auto, home, commercial, life and other personal lines of insurance.  If you need us for anything, we're ready to earn your good business.  THANKS for the opportunity to do just that!  EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212.  Stay tuned for more regarding this healthcare market as we learn more!
 
clear
Posted on 09/26/2016 3:10 PM by Benton White
clear

Wednesday, 31 August 2016
clear

Have you ever been in that horrible situation where you had less than 100 miles to reach your destination in your vehicle.  BUT, your eyes are closing and your reactions are sluggish but you 'just can't stop ... you have to make it.?'  The decision to get behind the wheel or stay on the road despite feeling drowsy can be deadly.  Fatigue-related fatal and injury crashes cost a staggering $109 billion a year, not including property damage.

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association, "Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do," points out that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. And it's taking a toll - an estimated 5,000 lives were lost in drowsy driving-related crashes in 2015. 

Drowsy driving is not a new traffic safety problem. However, the recognition of drowsy driving as a significant public health and traffic safety issue has only recently been made a priority. In March 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced the agency would take a comprehensive approach to preventing the tragedies attributed to driver drowsiness or fatigue.

Safety improvements


The NTSB added human-fatigue to its current list of most wanted transportation safety improvements just this year. In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services'Healthy People 2020 program, the nation's roadmap for better health, includes sleep as a priority initiative and calls for a reduction in drowsy driving crashes coupled with an increase in the proportion of high school students and adults who get sufficient sleep.

 

Clearly, the nation's lack of sleep and its impact on driving is a threat to all drivers on the road and contributes to the increasing number auto insurance claims. The challenge is educating and engaging the public in order to create behavior change.

Keep reading to learn more about the epidemic of getting behind the wheel while impaired by lack of sleep:

 

Tired driver

Crashes involving sleepy drivers often involve a driver traveling alone at night. (Photo: iStock)

Common characteristics of drowsy driving crashes

 

  • They occur late at night, in the early morning hours or in mid-afternoon.
  • They are likely to result in serious injury or death.
  • They involve a single vehicle leaving the roadway.
  • They occur on high-speed roadways.
  • They involve a driver traveling alone.
  • There is no evidence of braking.

Curving road

Drowsy drivers have impaired judgment and loss of visual awareness. (Photo: iStock)

Negative impact of lack of sleep 


Drowsy driving is impaired driving. The extreme danger posed by tired drivers has prompted NHTSA to expand its definition of impaired driving to include not only drunk, drugged and distracted, but also drowsy. 

Drowsy drivers have:

  • Slower reaction times.
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Increased levels of risk taking.
  • More frequent blinking/eye closure.
  • Deficits in cognitive performance.
  • Memory impairment.
  • Attention failure.
  • Loss of visual awareness.

 

bus crash

In this March 12, 2011 file photo, emergency personnel investigate the scene of a bus crash on Interstate 95 in the Bronx borough of New York. Prosecutors in New York alleged the driver, Ophadell Williams, was all but asleep at the wheel, but a jury decided there was not enough proof to convict him. Although police can prove that someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while behind the wheel, proving a person to be too fatigued to drive is not as easy. (Photo: David Karp/AP Photo)

Who drives tired? 


No one is immune from drowsy driving, but teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable.

  • It is estimated that drivers 25 years of age and younger are involved in more than half of drowsy driving crashes annually.
  • People who work night shifts and/or long or irregular hours, including first responders (e.g., police, fire, EMS), doctors and nurses, and commercial motor vehicle operators, are at high risk for drowsy driving.
  • A study of nearly 5,000 North American police officers, found that sleepiness is a common problem with 46 percent reporting falling asleep while driving.
  • It is estimated that 10 percent to 20 percent of crashed involving at least one truck or bus may have involved tired drivers.
  • Many people who suffer from sleep disorders are undiagnosed and untreated, which means they may not recognize they are having problems with alertness or drowsiness when driving.

Powernap road sign

Laws that address impairment - including drowsy driving - must be enforceable. (Photo: iStock)

Drowsy driving laws 


Only two states - New Jersey and Arkansas - have enacted legislation that expressly addresses motorists who drive drowsy and subsequently injure or kill someone.

New Jersey's statute, known as Maggie's Law, took effect in 2003. It is named for a 20-year-old college student who was killed by a driver who had not slept in 30 hours and smoked crack cocaine. The crash led to two trials resulting in the driver receiving a $200 fine and a suspended jail sentence since driver fatigue could not be considered as a factor by either jury.

The statute deems driving "while knowingly fatigued as recklessness" and defines fatigued as "being without sleep for a period in excess of 24 consecutive hours."

Arkansas' law, like New Jersey's, defines fatigue in the same way, but also adds "or in the state of being asleep." In both states, law enforcement has had limited success convicting drowsy drivers under these statues.

While sleep advocates are encouraging other states to follow Arkansas and New Jersey's lead, the effectiveness of these laws is still up for debate. While the GHSA has not adopted an official position on states enacting drowsy driving laws, the association notes that any law that addresses impairment - including drowsy driving - must be enforceable. 

Rumble strips

Vehicles drive on a two-lane highway with rumble strips, a safety feature to alert drivers who are veering off the road. (Photo: iStock) 

Engineering improvements to make roadways and vehicles safer


Rumble strips: Raised or grooved patterns placed on the roadway surface that produce both a loud noise and a vibration when a vehicle's tires travel across them are a proven and cost-effective tool for reducing drowsy-driving crashes. When placed along the shoulder of the road, they alert drivers when they are drifting or about to run off the road. When placed along the centerlines, they make drivers aware that they have crossed into an opposing travel lane.

Installation of rumble strips is inexpensive compared to other infrastructure improvements (about $1,000-$1,500 per mile).

Evaluations indicate that they can reduce lane departure crashes by 50% or more, depending on the location.

Median cable barriers: Made of three or four steel cables strung on posts, when a vehicle hits this barrier, the posts break and the cables flex, absorbing much of the crash force. This redirects the vehicle along the median, preventing a cross-median crash.

They are much less expensive to install compared to concrete and metal beam barriers ($140,000-150,000 per mile versus $400,000-500,000 per mile).

Most states that have installed cable median barriers report a decrease in cross-median crash fatalities of 90 percent or more.

Rest areas. A rest area provides tired motorists a place to safely pull off the road and take a nap. Sleep is the most effective countermeasure for combating drowsy driving. Numerous studies point to the importance of rest areas for helping to make driving safer, however, they are typically located on interstates rather than rural roadways where there may be few or no places to safely pull off the road.

A number of websites such as Interstate Rest Areas and RoadNow and free or low-cost apps for both Apple and Android devices are available to assist motorists locate rest areas on roadways across the United States.

Vehicle technology. Automotive manufacturers and researchers have developed technologies that detect variations in driver performance and issue a drowsiness warning. These systems, which go by names such as Attention Assist, Driver Alert, Driver Attention Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and EyeSight, all essentially work the same. However, they are typically not sold as standard features, but available as upgrades to base models or on higher-end vehicles, thereby limiting their adoption.

There are other in-vehicle technologies that, while not specifically designed to prevent drowsy driving, can be helpful in preventing crashes resulting from sleepy drivers who fail to react or see a danger. For instance, adaptive cruise control senses where a vehicle in front of you is relative to your own vehicle, and slows down and speeds up your vehicle to maintain consistent spacing.Forward collision mitigation, meanwhile, detects how far and fast the vehicle in front of you may be moving and automatically applies the brakes if you do not respond.

Forward Collision Warning systems alert you when your vehicle is about to collide with another vehicle some distance ahead of yours. The warning varies by vehicle (e.g., flashing light, alarm, vibration), but unlike Forward Collision Mitigation, forward collision warnign systems do not automatically apply the brakes. Lane departure warning is perhaps the technology that has the most applicability to drowsy driving prevention. It works by looking at the road's lane markings and alerts the driver, via an alarm or vibration in the steering wheel or seat, when he or she unintentionally drives to close to the lane edge.

 

Rest area sign

Schedule frequent breaks on long trips; stop every two hours or 100 miles. (Photo: iStock)

Life-saving tips for avoiding drowsy driving:

 

  • Be well rested before hitting the road. Several nights of fewer than seven or eight hours of sleep slows your reaction time, resulting in a sleep debt. It may take several nights of being well rested to repay that debt and make you ready for a long road trip.
  • Avoid driving between midnight and 7 a.m. and in the mid-afternoon, times when we are naturally the least alert and most tired.
  • Don't drive alone. If possible, travel with a well-rested passenger who can engage you in conversation and share the driving.
  • Schedule frequent breaks on long trips; stop every two hours or 100 miles.
  • Don't drink alcohol. Just one beer when you are sleep deprived mimics the effect of two or three when you are well rested.
  • Don't rely on caffeine to keep you awake.

Sleeping

Make sure you're getting enough quality sleep. (Photo: iStock)

Tips for getting a good night's sleep

 

  • Establish and stick to a seven-day a week sleep schedule. Sleeping later on the weekends makes it harder to get out of bed on Monday.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, but not two or three hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the afternoon or evening; its effects can take up to eight hours to wear off.
  • Avoid nicotine. It's a stimulant that causes people to sleep lightly and wake early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed, which can rob you of sleep and impair breathing.
  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night, which can cause indigestion and frequent urination, respectively.
  • If possible, avoid medications that delay or disrupt sleep. Talk to your doctor if any drug you are taking is keeping you up. Ask if you can take it at other times during the day or early evening.
  • Don't take naps after 3 p.m. They can make up for lost sleep, but late afternoon naps make it harder to fall asleep at night.
  • Relax before bed. Read, listen to music or engage in some other relaxing activity.
  • Take a hot bath before bed; it drops your body temperature and helps you feel sleepy and more relaxed.
  • Have a good sleeping environment, one that is cool, comfortable and technology-free. (When was the last time you changed your mattress and/or pillow?) If you have a clock by your bed, turn the face so you do not worry about the time while trying to fall asleep.
  • Have the right sunlight exposure. Get outside at least 30 minutes a day and turn down the lights before bedtime.
  • Don't lie in bed awake. If you are still awake after 30 minutes or starting to feel worried or anxious, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy.
  • Consult a doctor if you continue to have trouble sleeping. You may have a sleep disorder or another physical or mental health condition that may be impacting your sleep.

We're in the business to insure you and help you stay safe as you drive.  Thanks for reading this blog article and know, if we can help you with anything insurance, we're ready to earn your business!  Just contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com.  We're always ready to earn your business!

[Portions of this article are a reprint from PropertyCasualty360.com - posted on their website on August 29, 2016 .. written by Jayleen R. Heft]

clear
Posted on 08/31/2016 11:07 AM by Benton P. White
clear

Tuesday, 23 August 2016
clear

Tennessee's insurance regulator approved hefty rate increases for the three carriers on the Obamacare exchange in an attempt to stabilize the already-limited number of insurers in the state.

The rate approvals, while a tough decision, were necessary to ensure that consumers around the state had options when open enrollment begins in November, said Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the only insurer to sell statewide and there was the possibility that Cigna and Humana would reduce their footprints or leave the market altogether.

"I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse ... and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I'm doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero," McPeak said to The Tennessean.

Cigna and Humana both refiled their requests earlier this month after telling the TDCI that the first requests were likely too low.

McPeak said insurers asked for the opportunity to refile rates last year but she said no. This year, however, was different because many of areas of the state will only have one or two choices.

"I felt like I didn't have any choice but to allow them to refile their rates," said McPeak, who is concerned about the limited number of insurers..

Cigna asked for and received an average 46.3 percent increase.

Humana asked for and received an average 44.3 percent increase.

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which did not refile its request, asked for and received a 62 percent increase.

The increases underscore the complex environment of the exchange. People who buy plans on the exchange are heavier users of services than anticipated. In addition, there are changes to federal transitional programs in 2017 that will impact insurers financially.

We're keeping an eye on it here at the agency and are fielding calls trying to help our folks navigate through these challenging times in healthcare.  If we can help you, please let us know.  EMAIL our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212.  We're always ready to help you and earn your business!

clear
Posted on 08/23/2016 9:18 AM by Benton White
clear

Wednesday, 17 August 2016
clear

Summer is considered over in our area because school is back in session across Middle Tennessee.  Of course, that means increased traffic on the roads.

With college students packing up their cars to go back to campus, and parents dropping off and picking up kids from school, the increase in traffic congestion and distracted driving can create dangerous road conditions and contribute to increases in the frequency of auto accidents.

 

Young drivers are prone to distracted driving, especially with the increase of handheld technology. This is part of the reason why U.S. traffic deaths increased nearly 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That's why the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has released a list of back-to-school driving safety tips for parents and young drivers, alike. There are distractions all around in the car, and PCI is encouraging drivers to put down their phones and stay focused on the road.

1. Wear seat belts

Whether taking a summer get-away or just running errands around town, PCI encourages drivers to buckle up, drive safely and try to be prepared for those who may not. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.

 

2. Plan and allow for extra travel time
 

With more people on the roads, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for a traffic crash increases. PCI encourages motorists to plan routes in advance when traveling to new destinations, be patient, and allow for extra travel time.

3. Observe speed limits, including lower speeds in work zones
 

Stay focused on the road and aware of changing traffic patterns caused by construction.  Please be cautious of the construction workers themselves, who are often in close proximity to the highway - and at great risk.

4. Avoid distracted driving
 

When the entire family is traveling in the car, the opportunity for distraction is multiplied. Remember to put the phone down, and never text while driving.  Be careful when eating on the run, as lunch can be just as distracting as a cellphone. Buckle up or secure pets in the back of the car.

5. Have a plan for roadside assistance
 

If an accident occurs, be wary of unscrupulous towing companies. Have the phone number for the insurer or a roadside assistance program ready.  Some towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident and drivers could find themselves facing excessive fees or complications recovering their car from the tow yard.

6. Update proof of insurance
 

Before hitting the road, make sure to replace any expired insurance identification cards in the event the driver needs to prove they have insurance during a traffic stop.

Hopefully these tips will help you be prepared and more aware of the increased traffic we all face now that school is back in session in Middle Tennessee.  If we can help you with your insurance, we're ready to earn your business.  Simply contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or email us at info@BentonWhite.com.  Thanks for reading our blog and be safe out there!

clear
Posted on 08/17/2016 2:18 PM by Benton White
clear

Thursday, 11 August 2016
clear

Throughout my career, many have asked why I don't represent just one company like State Farm, Farmers, GEICO and others.  "Why are you independent?"  It's always an easy answer consisting of many reasons.  The best way to show it is in this new video!  Enjoy!

 
We give you choices!  We're a part of the independent agency system and a proud member of the Trust Choices network.  Don't settle for just ONE company that can only quote you ONE premium.  We'll shop for you and give you what you need - not only with the right coverage's but also with the most competitive premiums.  Contact our staff at 615.377.1212 or email us at info@BentonWhite.com.  We're always ready to earn your business!
clear
Posted on 08/11/2016 10:27 AM by Benton White
clear

Wednesday, 03 August 2016
clear

Many things can affect your auto insurance premiums, for example, how many miles you drive per day and per year, whether you've been in any accidents that were your fault and where you live.

One factor you may not be aware of is the number of moving violations you've received when driving a particular vehicle. (Parking tickets generally don't count.)

When assessing risk, insurance carriers look at a person's driving habits and presume that someone with several tickets for speeding is more likely to get into an accident than someone with no moving violations. In addition, the amount of the claim for an auto in a high-speed accident is going to be higher, with more property damage and possibly bodily injuries as well.

Red cars and speeding tickets


Drivers have thought that the color of the car was a major influence on whether they received speeding tickets. A long-held belief is that red cars are ticketed more often than any other color. But most law enforcement agencies deny that a car's color has anything to do with whether it will be cited for speeding more often.

According to a recent study from Insurance.com, speeders tend to prefer the same model cars. Drivers and car owners can use Insurance.com's "Ticket Magnet" tool to analyze how many tickets their car make or model receives based on more than 323,000 insurance quotes for drivers who use the site.

The analysts at Your Mechanic examined the data more closely to determine whether the type of car makes a difference in the amount of tickets it received. When they segmented the models into luxury cars, mid-size, compact, sports cars, pickup trucks, SUVs and subcompact cars, they found some interesting data on what types of drivers are typically getting the most tickets.

Common traffic violations


As Maddy Martin at Your Mechanic points out, traffic violations can differ from state to state, but some of the most common ones are running a red light, driving at night without headlights, illegal turns, illegal parking,or running a stop sign. Speeding laws also fluctuate based on the state and road.

Here are the 10 most ticketed cars by model and percent of vehicle owners, based on the data analysis from Your Mechanic. Note that there are no dates or date ranges provided with the results. They only reflect information from a driver who provides information to the Ticket Magnet tool.

10. Toyota Tacoma - 30.1% of vehicle owners

9. Acura - 30.1%

8. Dodge Stratus SXT - 30.2%

7. Volkswagen GTI - 39.3%

6. Mazda 3S - 30.3%

5. Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS/LT - 30.8%

4. Volkswagen Jetta GL - 31.4%

3. Dodge Charge - 32.1%

2. Nissan 350Z - 32.5%

1. Lexus ES 300 - 33.4%

We get all types of comments from rumors about what is the best car to insure that is safest or less noticable to police officers.  None of the myths are really true.  Speed or wreckless driving produces tickets on the road.  Not much else competes with that.

Please let us know if we can help you with your insurance.  EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212.  We're always here and ready to earn your business!
[Portions of this article taken from PropertyCasualty360.com - written by Rosalie L. Donlon]

clear
Posted on 08/03/2016 4:06 PM by Benton White
clear

Wednesday, 20 July 2016
clear
It takes 2 extra minutes ... pull out your phone or camera and take 4 angles of your rental vehicle before you drive it off the lot.  Then, do the same thing again when you check the car in. That gives you a TIME-STAMPED visual record of the condition of your rental car before and after you drive it.  Here is why this is important!
 
We have had two of our customers have claims on their auto insurance in the last couple of weeks because of damage to a vehicle they rented.  One of the customers didn't even have the privilege of filing it himself - the rental car company filed it quickly direct to our insured's company!!!!  I personally have had a claim issue with a rental car company several years back.  I turned the vehicle in one early morning before catching a flight.  The rental company wasn't opened yet.  So I did as they instructed, I left the vehicle in a certain place that was supposedly secure.  About 4 weeks later, I get a notice that I was being charged for damage on that vehicle that never occurred under my watch.  The car was spotless!  So in the end, it was my word ("I didn't damage that vehicle!" against theirs ..."This car had damage on it when you turned it in!")  I had to file the claim with my credit card insurance coverage that covered the physical damage on that vehicle as a benefit of my card.  I was glad they could take care of it and keep me from having to pay out of pocket.  I later learned, much to my own disappointment, the credit card insurance paid some or all of that claim.  Unfair in my book!
 
Christopher Elliott is a travel editor with USA Today.  He basically lives on the road and gives great advice about travel issues.  Earlier this month, he wrote a thorough article about car rentals.  Here is what he wrote and I so agree with him:
 
"Eric Eatman didn't do it. He's sure of that.
 
When he rented a car in Atlantic City recently, he noticed several scrapes on the side of his vehicle, which he brought to the attention of an employee.
 
"The agent assured me that as long as the scratches were smaller than a dollar bill it didn't matter," says Eatman, a notary public from Brandon, Fla.
 
But after he returned the car to Enterprise, a representative claimed he damaged the vehicle, and the company eventually sent him a $3,096 bill, including a $289 bill for "loss of use."
 
"I was certain that I did not cause the damage," he says.
 
Taking responsibility is never easy. But when they're away, travelers often think they can get away with anything. Travel companies, particularly car rental companies, are understandably suspicious of their customers who balk at paying their bills. Maybe it's time for a little detente.
 
How badly is the relationship frayed? Let's put it this way: If something breaks in your rental car, you're guilty until proven innocent. But with good reason. Too often, motorists invoke the "wear and tear" excuse when they've trashed a rental. Owning up to our actions may be the first step toward bridging this chasm of distrust.
 
When James Pillow returned his car to Alamo recently, he watched another renter back his car into a concrete pole. "Nobody else saw it happen," says Pillow, who works for a sports memorabilia site in Orlando. He could see the driver hesitating - should he say something or pretend it never happened? After a moment, the customer walked over to an attendant and confessed.
 
"It was very noble," he says. "Especially given the damage."
 
It helps to take responsibility when things go wrong. When Vicki Winters, a social media manager who lives in New York, visited Spain this summer, she found a parking ticket on her rental. Initially, she and her husband decided not to tell their car rental company, and they might have gotten away with it. Tracking down a customer who lives more than 3,000 miles away - never mind matching a ticket to the right driver - is a challenge for even the best car rental company.
 
"We waffled some more," she says. "Then we decided to come clean and show them the ticket."
 
To her surprise, an employee told her she was off the hook.
 
"Honesty was the best policy," says Winters.
 
But it's equally important to take a stand when you didn't do it. I reviewed the correspondence between Eatman and Enterprise and saw a string of vehement denials by Eatman. What's more, Enterprise couldn't prove the dent had happened on his watch. From all appearances, he'd tried to warn the company about the pre-existing damage, and an employee had dismissed him.
 
I contacted Enterprise on his behalf and it agreed to review his claim.
 
"Sometimes, as you know, we may miss something, but we never hesitate to make things right for our customers," Enterprise spokeswoman Laura Bryant said. "As a result, this claim has been dropped. Thank you for bringing this to our attention."
 
Responsibility is a two-way street. On the one side, you have car rental companies that usually assume you're responsible for damage if you're the last person who rented the car. That's not always fair. On the other side, you have motorists who might walk away from real damage and traffic tickets, actions that don't exactly help the fragile relationship between drivers and car rental companies.
 
Is there a way to meet in the middle - for car rental companies to stop assuming we're guilty of destroying their vehicles and for us to own up to our violations? Changing corporate policy may not be practical, but the next time you pick up the keys to your rental car, you can make a promise to yourself: I'll treat this like it's my own car."
 
How to avoid a frivolous car rental damage claim
  • Take pictures or video of your vehicle - before and after. The images should be enough to exonerate you if there's a bogus damage claim.
  • Report any pre-existing damage, no matter how small. Don't let an employee reassure you with promises that smaller scratches don't count. They do count. If the car is dented and scratched, you should refuse it.
  • Get insurance. Being covered means you won't have to face a $3,096 bill. Check with your credit card company and car insurance companies before you spring for the optional insurance, which can be overpriced.
Hopefully, this information will help you as we move into the vacation season when many rent cars these days.  As you can see, I'm a big believer of rental car picture taking.  It's hard to question a time-stamped photo of a vehicle if you are ever accused of damaging a rental vehicle. 
 
If we can help you with anything insurance, we're here and ready.  Contact us at info@BentonWhite.com or call 615.377.1212.  Any of our staff is ready to assist!  Thanks for reading and be ready to pull out that camera the next time you rent a car!
 
clear
Posted on 07/20/2016 10:56 AM by Benton White
clear

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
clear
An personal umbrella insurance policy is a liability policy that covers you and your family members over and above your primary insurance policies, including the policies you hold for your automobiles, home, rental properties, and even boats or campers.
 
Many of my clients believe that only millionaires need this coverage. Unfortunately, this is a gross misconception. Many people can benefit from umbrella policies.
 
If you are sued and then found liable, and if you do not have enough liability on your primary policies to cover the judgment against you, any assets or property that you own will be put towards the settlement-unless you have an umbrella policy.
 
Frequently, when I give this simple explanation, I am told, "I do not own anything nor do I have any money in the bank for anyone to take."
 
Here are the questions I then ask:
  • Do you have a job?
  • Do you have a retirement account?
  • Do you own a car?
  • Do you own a home, condo or rental property?
  • Does your spouse have any assets or property?
  • Does your spouse have a job?
At least one of these questions likely has a yes answer.
 
This means a lien can be put on your salary, disability benefits, 401(k), or any future salary you may earn, or you may be forced to sell any or all of your property or your spouse's property to pay for the judgment against you.
 
Additionally, many people forget about legal fees. Sometimes the attorney and investigation fees are more than the final judgment awarded. These fees can exhaust the primary liability limits on your policy very quickly.
 
The above facts gives very good examples of reasons why we should discuss purchasing an umbrella policy.  Here are some example that could make it even more clear:
 
A neighborhood child runs over to your dog sleeping in your yard, startles it, and causes it to bite and seriously injure the nerves in the young child's hand. The suit is over $5,000,000 because not only did the parents and the child have to endure trauma, but also the child was a very talented pianist with the potential of becoming a star until the accident. You will have to pay for the estimated loss of income, as well as emotional injury, even though the child startled your dog.
 
Your son is away at college with one of the family cars, and he lends the car to one of his friends. The friend gets into a four-car accident; two of cars involved had no insurance and five people are seriously injured, including the friend who had borrowed the car. Did you know that if your child gives permission for someone else to drive your car, it's the same thing as you giving permission, and therefore you are liable for that driver's actions as owner of the vehicle? While the driver of your car was not fully at fault, the injuries from the accident cause the lawsuit to come in at $10,000,000. If nothing else, you will need legal defense. These suits can take years to settle, and the defense costs add up very quickly.
 
Someone walks up the stairs to your home only to find out that she has the wrong house. However, when leaving, she trips and falls down your stairs, seriously injuring herself in such a way that she could no longer work. Yes, your homeowners policy will defend and pay the lawsuit against you; however, if that limit is exhausted and there is no umbrella, you will be liable for the rest.
 
Bear in mind that not every umbrella policy is the same. Does your umbrella policy cover legal fees inside the limit on the policy or outside? Do you sit on a board of directors? Do you own a personal watercraft or ATV? Unless you have underlying coverage, your answers to these questions may mean that your umbrella policy excludes coverage.
 
Call us today at Benton White Insurance.  We're writing more and more personal liability umbrellas these days and the pricing is some of the least expensive we offer.  Our average umbrella quote is approximately $200 per year for $1 Million of coverage.  We can offer more information on this very important coverage so you can protect the assets and property you have worked so hard to earn and grow.  Call any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com We're ready to earn your business and protect yours!
 

 

clear
Posted on 07/13/2016 11:56 AM by Benton White
clear

clear
1 2 3 4 5 Next Last

Benton's Blog

Questions? We've got answers!

You buy insurance to protect your finances from life's surprises. But unless you know the finer points of your policies, you could be left with another surprise -- no coverage where you thought you had it.  We get questions almost daily asking is this covered?  We do our best to give the most accurate and easy to understand answers we can offer.  I thought it might be good to share some of the more common questions (and one not so common) that we get here in the agency!  Hopefully, this will help...

Merry Christmas & THANK YOU!

So here we are on the doorstep of Christmas 2016.  Once again, I find myself being grateful for another great year - working with wonderful customers such as yourself.  The agency continues to grow and prosper and we continue to solve insurance problems and fill insurance needs for so many every day.  Thank you for letting us serve you with your insurance. From our great staff here at the agency, my wonderful family and me, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and may 2017 be full of grace,...

Cold Temps means PROTECT PIPES!

Here we go!  The coldest temps of this season yet with windchills coming in the next 3 to 4 days.  Some are saying a 'roller-coaster' weather pattern.  In the meantime, a quick review of PIPE protection.  One pipe burst can flood your property and make this Christmas season a sudden nightmare!   As a public service, take these 5 precautions so you won't have that miserable event take place: CLOSE all foundation vents so cold air won't get in. CLOSE & SEAL your crawl space door.  That...