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Friday, 13 November 2015
Personal data was stolen from 100 million Americans this year in cyber-attacks and thefts from retailers, banks and hospitals. Many of them will become victims of identity theft. While the financial hit to people and companies is real, the emotional impact can be "life-altering," says Terrell McSweeny, a member of the Federal Trade Commission.
"It's essential to remember that there is a human face on each of these ID crimes," he said, speaking at Google Inc.'s offices in Washington, D.C.
Depending on the information that's stolen, problems go well beyond canceling a stolen card or changing a PIN. Criminals file false tax returns or misuse identities to get cellphone service, open utility accounts and obtain prescription drugs. Some victims have had their names wrongly invoked in arrest reports and court records of other people's crimes. Victims say the violation brings with it anger, anxiety, sadness, shame and even suicidal thoughts.
While theft of credit card information remains the most common type of cyber fraud, medical identity theft is growing. It can result in victims being billed for medical services and prescriptions they didn't receive, or finding another person's health information in their medical records. Consequently, they can be denied health benefits or insurance.
At Benton White Insurance, we can insure you for the problems you could face with Identity Theft. Our endorsement to your home, condo or renters policy includes:
Also included from most insurance companies is reimbursement for the expenses you can incur in your resolution efforts. These can include:
There are many other advantages and reimbursements included that are too lengthy to mention here. The cost to add this coverage to your policy is an amazing $25.00 per year for all of what I've mentioned above and much more!
We can help! Identity Theft is a growing problem and we are ready to make sure you have the coverage with us or add it if you don't have it. Contact us by EMAIL at info@BentonWhite.com or call our staff at 615.377.1212. Identity Theft is real! Can any of us afford NOT to have this inexpensive coverage option on our policies?
Posted on 11/13/2015 10:18 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
I often say: "We're in the business to pay claims" and we pay many. When I began in this business in 1978, I chose this segment of the insurance business because I liked the opportunity of helping people solve their problems in a real way with insurance when they would have a claim. Paying claims is one of the primary joys of what I/we do.
This fall season always has its claims challenges and I thought I would outline 8 of the most consistent claims we file on behalf of our insureds at this time of year. A little prevention might help you not to have one and face deductible expenses if you have to file one of these claims.
Fire & Smoke Damage
Just like summer means more grill-related fires, in the fall more time is spent indoors and fireplaces, wood stoves and candles become the culprits. According to Ready.gov, more than 2,500 people lose their lives in house fires each year, and another 12,600 are injured. Property losses from these fires total more than $7.3 billion annually, and many homeowners fail to understand that the time from a small flame to a home being fully-engulfed can be mere seconds.
To reduce the likelihood of fire:
Water & Freezing Damage
Water damage is the most common type of loss reported, according to Xactware. The firm received 1.2 million water damage estimates in 2014, and the average estimate totaled $6,089.
Freezing pipes and water damage account for an average of 20% in 4th QTR. claims. Burst pipes, dishwashers, water heaters, ice makers, water supply lines and toilet valves are frequent sources of water damage. Turning the main water valve off when leaving a home for several days can reduce the risk.
Home robberies increase about 7% in the summer but there is an even bigger increase when the weather turns cooler. There is statistical evidence that the number jumps to 25% in the latter part of the year. Smart homeowners keep lights on a timer and use motion detectors for outdoor lights. Today's home apps let owners monitor remotely to see who is coming and going. Valuables should be stored in either a fireproof safe or a safety deposit box.
Approximately 25% of the year's auto theft claims occur during the fourth quarter. The Insurance Information Institute found that over $4 billion worth of auto thefts were reported in 2013. Cars full of gifts and other items can be tempting to thieves. Taking some preventative actions can reduce the chances that you'll be the victim of a theft.
Snow & Ice
34% of all skidding and snow claims occur between October and December. Before cold weather hits, check the tread on tires and make sure they are properly inflated. Decrease speeds on wet, icy or leaf-covered roads. During winter months, keep the gas tank at least half full since getting stuck in snow traffic can burn fuel quickly. Also check the battery, windshield wipers, anti-freeze and wiper fluid levels. Consider leaving a shovel, blanket and some non-perishable snacks in the car in case of a breakdown.
Parking Lot Claims
With the holidays just a few weeks away, shoppers are flocking to malls and shopping centers in greater numbers. This means more drivers and an increase in parking lot-related claims. Damage from shopping carts, car thefts and tight parking spaces are just a few of the hazards. On average, 25% of parking lot-related claims occur between now and the end of the year.
Rear End Collisions
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there are approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the U.S. each year. During the fourth quarter, most of those types of claims occur and 87% of them are caused by drivers who aren't paying attention. It's important to put down the phone, stop adjusting the radio, and back up slowly, checking mirrors and windows multiple times for oncoming cars.
Deer are no longer confined just to country areas. As development spreads into their natural habitats, these animals can be found in highly populated areas, especially as food becomes scarcer. Hitting a large animal can be just as dangerous as hitting another car, so always wear a seatbelt. Animals tend to be more active at dawn and dusk, so watch for deer, raccoons, foxes and coyotes.
Hopefully, these spotlighted claims can help you avoid one. We're here to cover you if any of these occur and we do our best to make a tough situation a positive one for you. If we can help you with anything insurance, please let us know. Our staff is ready to help at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com. Let us EARN your business!
Posted on 11/10/2015 1:39 PM by Benton White
Friday, 06 November 2015
Parents have a lot on their parental plate. There are many items of teaching that need emphasis as children get older. But there is a thought in the media that with all of the pressing societal issues facing parents and their teens, parents are underestimating the risk that driving presents to their teenagers and often allow dangerous behavior including night-time trips and carpools, a safety group said.
Only 24% of parents identified hazardous driving or car crashes as their biggest safety concern for children ages 15-19, according to a National Safety Council survey released recently. The category of drugs and alcohol was cited by a similar share of parents. Other top concerns included bullying, Internet safety, teen pregnancy and school shootings.
The council is seeking to sharpen focus on some of the most routine dangers by addressing misconceptions about risk. The group in June highlighted that overdoses from prescription painkillers and car accidents are more likely to kill Americans than dramatic events like plane crashes and cataclysmic storms.
"The biggest threat to teens' safety is sitting in the driveway," Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and chief executive officer of the NSC, said in a statement. "The statistics have shown this for years, yet too many parents still do not appreciate that the first year of driving is a particularly deadly time in a teen's life."
Almost half of parents set the driving curfew at 10 p.m. or later, even though 40% of fatal crashes are after that hour, according to the council. The group also said that most parents who talk on a mobile phone while behind the wheel continue that behavior when teens are passengers.
In 2013, there were more than 6,600 deaths in the 15-24 age group tied to motor-vehicle mishaps, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. That's more than all non- transportation accidents combined, a group that includes poisoning from "noxious substances."
The National Safety Council is a non-profit organization focused on reducing risks in the workplace, on the roads and in homes. The group released the report in observance of National Teen Driver Safety Week last month.
The review was conducted for the council in September by Irwin Broh Research using an online consumer panel. There were 1,010 completed responses, and the sample was balanced by gender, geographic region and ethnicity, according to the NSC.
Teen vehicle safety contributes to us having less auto insurance premiums for both parents and teens. We monitor our youthful drivers and do all that we can to educate newly licensed drivers the rules of the road as it pertains to insurance. We're here to help you! Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com. Our teen driver insurance rates are competitive and if you or your teen has a tough driving history, we can insure them too! Let us know if we can help!
Portions of this article are taken from a PropertyCasualty360 article - Parents focused on drugs, bullying overlook risk of car crashes by Christie Boyden with BLOOMBERG
Posted on 11/06/2015 11:56 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 03 November 2015
Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between Feb. 1 and Aug. 31. October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third. Collisions with deer and other large animals can cause significant damage to vehicles, injuries to the driver and passengers and suffering to the animal.
Here are some proactive driving tips to help you avoid hitting a large animal and to limit or avoid damage to your vehicle:
Here is a document that will give you more in-depth detail with important information for you and your family!
This is not a subject that any of us should take lightly. We get numerous claims each year from deer accidents. And as bad as it may sound, I always suggest: if you can't avoid the deer and are about to have an accident, HIT THE DEER or ANIMAL! Statistically, a much worse, more injury prone accident occurs when a driver makes an effort to avoid the animal. Often times, they go off of the road and hit an embankment or tree and the accident is much worse than just colliding with the deer!
It's November and this is the prime deer accident month. Be aware and heed the advice above to help you avoid what many won't - a collision with an animal that will cost you trouble, time and money!
Posted on 11/03/2015 1:40 PM by Benton White
Thursday, 29 October 2015
We have been getting calls from some of our customers asking us about insurance they would need if they choose to rent their property as a short term rental. They would consider the AirBNB or VRBO model and wanted to be sure their current homeowners insurance would cover them. Simply put - it won't!
The standard homeowners policy is for the homeowner who has a place where they reside and occupy the premises. It's not designed for business usage for rental - much less short term rentals. There are very few policies in the market as of now that will cover those type of exposures. If we were able to insure it, there would have to be an industry change in the insurance forms used to define coverage or move the policy to a commercial one. That's why we are seeing some of the rental agencies themselves, like the above mentioned, coming to the table with more coverage for their types of risks.
In the last few days, AirBNB announced that it has given its Home Protection Insurance program a makeover, beefing up its liability insurance coverage in an effort to attract new hosts to the short-term rental service.
Airbnb said that its insurance program, which offers up to $1 million in liability protection, has been upgraded from secondary insurance to a primary program and made it available to nearly 1 million hosts in 16 countries, regardless of other insurance coverage the host may already carry. The expansion is expected to persuade people who were thinking of signing up to be a host but were reluctant due to liability concerns.
"The majority of our hosts are middle-class people that use Airbnb to make ends meet, and we try to make hosting as simple and stress-free as possible for them," Jakob Kerr, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based startup, said in a statement. "This expanded version of the program will make it easier for people to host on Airbnb with peace of mind, and we believe it's a groundbreaking collaboration between Airbnb and the insurance industry."
Airbnb is just one of dozens of companies to describe itself as part of the sharing economy, the idea of using the Internet to create person-to-person marketplaces. Some services let people swap bicycles, tools and musical instruments. Others, like Airbnb, let people sublet their rooms, or their entire homes when they're not around.
Consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that global revenue across all sharing-economy companies, which is roughly $15 billion today, will increase to around $335 billion by 2025. While such companies promise convenience or an easy way to make a buck, they also raise concerns about various local issues, including insurance.
The issue came to prominence a year ago when San Francisco passed a so-called Airbnb law, which allows people to rent their rooms or homes for up to 90 days per calendar year. The law requires, among other things, that hosts carry at least $500,000 in liability insurance, a tricky situation as many homeowner's and renter's insurance policies don't tend to cover business activities in the home.
"Some insurance companies may provide coverage if you occasionally rent out a room, but making all or part of your home available for regular rental likely would be considered business use," the Oregon Insurance Division warns in an advisory page that mentions Airbnb by name. "Homeowner policies generally do not provide coverage for business use."
Airbnb's insurance program provides up to $1 million in coverage if a guest is accidentally injured on a host's property or surrounding area. It may also cover other costly situations in which a guest accidentally causes damage to surrounding property, such as a water leak in a host's apartment causing damage to a neighboring apartment.
Airbnb hosts don't need to do anything to become part of the program. The Host Protection Insurance program covers hosts' bookings as long as they are in one of the countries included in the program.
The program, which launched in the US in January, now covers hosts in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.
If this type of market exists, companies like VRBO an AirBNB almost had to make this provision a part of their agreement. The general insurance company arena hasn't shown a fondness to this type of risk as of now. Will they later? Possibly! Demand will determine it.
Let us know how we can help you with any insurance you may have. We're in the business to EARN your business - give us a shot for any other coverage you may need. Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com.
[Portions of this article taken from a C/Net article - dated October 22, 2015: Airbnb beefs up liability insurance offering for hosts written by Steven Musil]
Posted on 10/29/2015 11:35 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 27 October 2015
A confession: I get upset and sometimes very angry at what other drivers do when I'm driving on the road. And sometime, I inadvertently do something that makes other drivers angry at me! The question is, how do we contain that anger and how far do we take it to retaliate or strike back! That's what has to change!
A few weeks back, a driver came upon my vehicle on a Saturday when my wife and I were out enjoying our day. This vehicle was moving at a high rate of speed and swerved in front of me to make a turn! I immediately hit the horn and my temperature level rose mainly because I felt a sense of danger for us both. How dare that person do that and WHY? Once I stopped honking my loud horn, my wife kindly spoke: "Honey, these are different times and if you don't stop doing that, someone is either going to pull a gun and shoot at us or stop at a red light and come back and attack! You need to consider this in this new world we live in where so many people carry guns and use them for incidents such as this!" She got my attention!
Unfortunately, ROAD RAGE is much more prevalent in our society and it seems to be on the increase with a higher reporting of incidents that are deadly in some cases. Take the drive-by shooting that occurred last week that killed 4 year old Lilly Garcia in Alburquerque, NM. Lily and her brother were in their father's truck after being picked up from school when police say another car forced the vehicle out of its lane. The father gestured toward the other driver and swore at him. The man in the other car opened fire, hitting little Lilly in the head. She was pronounced dead a short time later. The other driver had a conviction for this same type of incident in the past.
This is one of many tragic incidents that has been reported but this made national news because of the age of this innocent child.
Eight out of 10 drivers surveyed in the AAA Foundation's annual Traffic Safety Culture Index rank aggressive driving as a "serious" or "extremely serious" risk that jeopardizes driver and passenger safety. Aggressive driving accounts for more than half of all traffic fatalities.
Although "road rage" incidents provide some of the most shocking views of aggressive driving, many common behaviors, including racing, tailgating, failing to observe signs and regulations, and seeking confrontations with other drivers, all qualify as potentially aggressive behaviors. Speeding is one of the most prevalent aggressive behaviors. AAA Foundation studies show that speeding is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes.
Despite a strong public awareness and understanding of aggressive driving, many people are willing to excuse aggressive behaviors. But now, some of those aggressive behaviors are having deadly consequences.
After my incident above and from what I read about the lack of tolerance and destructive action taken by drivers, I've made some changes in my attitude and behavior when I drive. How important is it for me to make a point that could back-fire and cause me or my family MUCH MORE HARM than the little incident that upset me in the moment?? We're in a sad place with intolerance and lack of patience in our country which certainly includes driving on our highways. Maybe my experience can help you to be more 'patient' as you drive your vehicle! The patience you exhibit could save your life and others.
Posted on 10/27/2015 2:40 PM by Benton White
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Many don't know that I've been developing websites for more than 18 years. I learned website code as a hobby and created a company many years back at the infancy of internet & website activity to help other insurance agencies around the country get their internet website and email marketing created. It's been challenging, fun and enjoyable but the most beneficial part to me is that I have met some incredibly talented people - much more artistic and creative than I - who know how to develop websites. I now contract them to do all of my website work including our agency website.
The primary advantage of these years of experience in this work for my insurance customers is that we have had many website fine tuning stages over the years so that I can bring you the best of the best for my own - Benton White Insurance website. Have you visited www.BentonWhite.com lately? It truly is the ONE PLACE where you can GET IT ALL as it pertains to what we do for you with insurance.
..... and that just gets you started. We have developed and re-developed this site over time and I venture to say, you won't find another insurance website that is easier to navigate and offers more information than the Benton White Insurance website!
One of the most up-to-date features is that you can get the full site on any computer of any size you use. Phone, tablet, laptop, desktop or stone-tablet (just kidding!) will offer you the full site advantages you would get on your desktop. We've developed this so that the ease of use is in your favor. But that's enough from me! You'll only know if you test it out for yourself. Visit us today or any day and find out what thousands are finding out daily - this is the One Place to Get it all.
Posted on 10/22/2015 10:49 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
The year 2016 will send shockwaves to about 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, or roughly 7 million Americans. They're going to be paying a lot more for their monthly Medicare Part B premium.
Individuals affected will see their monthly premiums rise from about $104.90 to $159.30, and $318.60 for married couples. Those whose income exceeds the threshold, as defined by individuals making more than $214,000 or couples making more than $428,000 per year, the projected increase is anywhere from $223 per month up to $509.80 per month. For high-earning married couples, their premiums can increase from $446 to $1,019.60 per month.
It all has to do with a legal provision that addresses cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security benefits, and the fact that there won't be an adjustment next year. Unless there is action by Congress or the Department of Health and Human Services, the premium increases will go into effect in 2016. A bill to block the premium spikes was recently introduced, but the outcome is pending.
Here's what you need to know. The premiums will affect:
- New enrollees in 2016
- Enrollees who don't collect Social Security yet
- Enrollees with high incomes (individuals earning $85,000 or married couples bringing in $170,000)
- Dual Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries
If you're part of this group, you'll want to do some extra planning.
Those who have deferred claiming Social Security, and who enroll in Part B for the first time in 2016, may want to consider enrolling earlier if they're already 65 and eligible. Individuals can avoid higher premiums if they start receiving their Social Security benefits, and have their premiums deducted, in November and December 2015.
If you are already on Medicare, or could apply immediately, and you were going to start Social Security benefits in the next year or so, and you are not subject to a high income threshold, some financial advisers say you should consider applying for both of those benefits rights now. By filing earlier and receiving both your Social Security benefits and Medicare by the end of 2015, you'll fall into the group that will be exempt from the premium increase. Generally filing a month in advance is sufficient.
For those who have higher incomes, consider if you've had a life-changing event, such as a job loss, marriage, divorce, or death of a spouse, that has put you in a lower income bracket. You could qualify for an exemption based on these events.
You should speak to your financial adviser and if you need a referral, we have someone we can refer you to here at Benton White Insurance. You could also reach a representative from the Social Security Administration for various options that may be available to you, so you can maximize your future Social Security payments.
As I have said many times this year, healthcare is in a state of major transition and this is just another domino falling as a result of the changes. Having all medical history and ailments covered under a national health insurance plan is a great benefit to all of us but we're all now paying much higher premiums for that privilege. There isn't a premium rate ceiling in place yet and we've seen nothing in the short or long term that will control these price variances. Stay tuned!
If we can help you with insurance of any type, we are ready to earn your business! Let us know how we can help! Reach us by email at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212.
[Portions of this article taken from an online release from CNBC.com - "Bad news for some Medicare beneficiaries" by Sharon Epperson & Judy Gee]
Posted on 10/20/2015 11:50 AM by Benton White
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Adjustments continue in the health insurance marketplace as we approach the annual enrollment period for national healthcare coverage. This latest change affects 27,000 Tennesseans.
Community Health Alliance will no longer offer insurance coverage next year, forcing about 27,000 Tennesseans to find new health care plans.
The alliance, created under the Affordable Care Act as a health cooperative, will continue to pay out existing claims but will wind down its coverage by not taking on new customers.
The decision was based on the alliance's financial condition, according to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Policyholders will keep their insurance coverage through 2015 as long as premiums are paid. They must re-enroll in a new health care plan during the Open Enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1. To receive coverage in 2016, consumers must enroll by Dec. 15, according to the department.
"This was not a decision that the Department took lightly, but it was the right decision," Julie Mix McPeak, commerce and insurance commissioner, said in a statement. "With thousands of Tennesseans' coverage hanging in the balance, CHA's financial success could not be guaranteed. Ultimately, the risk of CHA's potential failure in 2016 was too great and would have caused substantial detrimental effects on the market as a whole if it were to collapse."
Without providing more detail, the department said it was concerned about a new federal program aimed at helping health insurers and new information that emerged about the alliance. New customer enrollment on the Federally Facilitated Marketplace had been stopped since January, but the alliance gained department approval for new 2016 rates in recent months.
Four carriers remain on the federal marketplace that will allow Tennessee residents to choose new plans and the department pointed them to www.Healthcare.gov to find more information on these options.
As I have told clients who are facing many changes in their healthcare, all of these company changes are a moving target to insureds. There is currently a 'tug-of-war' between Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee with some providers in this state as new contracts are negotiated. There are threats Blue Cross/Blue Shield is not offering to pay claims at some of these providers until a new contract can be negotiated.
We do our best to answer questions and offer assistance to those who need to adjust their healthcare coverage in this environment. Feel free to contact us by email at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. We write all kinds of insurance so we can get you covered. It's just one of those times in the insurance cycle when healthcare insurance isn't so easy to understand nor easy to obtain.
[Portions of this blog post taken from an October 14 article in The Tennessean written by Jamie McGee]
Posted on 10/15/2015 11:17 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Many people in areas deluged by rains and flooding tides fed by Hurricane Joaquin are likely to be surprised to find that standard homeowners' insurance policies do not cover damage from floodwater.
Property owners seeking that kind of protection need to buy a separate flood policy, usually through the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or through a few independent sellers. The federal policies pay up to $250,000 for a structure and up to $100,000 for personal possessions.
Relatively few homeowners have flood coverage. According to estimates, just 10 percent of homeowners in South Carolina, which has suffered a historic deluge, carry flood insurance, said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the industry-funded South Carolina Insurance News Service. The national average is 14 percent, based on 2014 data from the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group.
The average flood insurance premium is about $700 a year, although rates for properties in flood-prone areas can be much higher. Rates are rising because of heavy losses from major storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. While flood insurance isn't mandatory, lenders typically require homeowners in high-risk areas to buy it to qualify for a mortgage.
In an attempt to get the federal flood program out of the red, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to eliminate big discounts for policies in high-risk areas. But last year, Congress passed another law that slowed the impact of the premium increases for many policies.
New rates that took effect April 1, however, still increased policy premiums for homeowners in flood-prone areas as much as 25 percent. And surcharges were added for all policies: $25 for owner-occupied primary homes and $250 for second homes.
Homeowners who go without coverage have little recourse in the event of a flood. Some federal disaster aid may help with grants for temporary housing and repairs for lower-income households, but assistance for most homeowners takes the form of low-interest loans that must be repaid, said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a nonprofit group that advises consumers on insurance issues.
Although experiencing a flood is overwhelming, Ms. Bach advises those who have flood insurance to move as quickly to document the damage to their homes so they can file a claim promptly; flood claims generally must be filed within 60 days. Extensions are sometimes granted, she said, but it is unwise to count on that. "Get the wheels in motion," she said. "Take lots and lots of pictures, and lots and lots of notes."
Experience with other storms suggests that homeowners should not rely solely on their insurer's assessment of damage when making a claim, she said. She strongly urges homeowners to take the time to get a second opinion by hiring their own contractor to inspect the property, particularly the foundation. If the floodwater caused structural damage, that is significantly more costly to fix than soggy drywall and carpet. "Understand what the flood did to the house," she said. "You can't get to an accurate number until you know that."
Here are some questions to consider about flood insurance:
Q. What if my car is damaged by floodwater?
Generally, the "comprehensive" portion of your auto insurance policy covers flood damage. Such coverage is often optional, but many lenders require it if you borrowed money to finance the purchase of your car. Car claims are likely to be significant in South Carolina, Mr. Dubisky said. "We have seen a lot of flooded vehicles."
Q. If flooding causes a tree to fall on my home, is that damage covered by my homeowner policy?
Generally, yes, said Mr. Dubisky.
Q. Does my federal flood policy cover temporary living expenses?
No, according to the federal flood program's website. The policies also exclude coverage for damage to exterior property, like decks and patios.
Q. If I buy flood insurance, how soon can I file a claim?
Federal flood policies require a 30-day waiting period before they become effective. Independent policies may offer shorter waiting periods, but coverage and pricing may vary from federal policies. Ms. Bach said it might be worth getting an independent quote to compare with federal coverage, but try to find a knowledgeable agent who could explain the difference.
The news reports from South Carolina over the last few days have brought back memories for so many who lived through our flood in May of 2010. Little has changed as far as what is and is not covered as a result of flooding except flood insurance premiums have increased. I still think that any home/property owner has to consider flood insurance when they buy any insurance on their property. Comprehensive coverage on auto insurance aids in repair of flood damaged vehicles and most all of our insureds carry comprehensive coverage unless the car is of little value to them and they choose to cover the vehicle for liability only.
We offer flood insurance and even though the quoted section above regarding flood insurance premium indicated premiums are $700 average, we see most of our flood insurance premiums in the $350 to $500 range per year. This premium amount affords good coverage for the flood prone sections of our insureds property.
Let us help you with flood or any other type of insurance. You can contact our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com. We're always ready to EARN your business!
(Portions of this post is taken from an article written by Ann Carrns - New York Times - "With Flood Insurance Rare, Homeowners Have Little Recourse" - released online October 7, 2015.)
Posted on 10/13/2015 1:16 PM by Benton White
Thursday, 08 October 2015
Consider this: Safe Kids Worldwide states that 77% of families do not have a fire escape plan in place! My wife and I have one! We know where we'll immediately go if the unfortunate fire engulfs our home in flames.
Would this be your family if a fire occurs tonight?
Fire can spread quickly through your home, leaving as little as two minutes to get everyone out. Two minutes - that's it! But having a family fire escape plan can help make sure your family gets out safely. Watch this video:
As I've often said, we are in the insurance education business as well as the insurance product business. We insure individuals and families so that they are protected when a tragedy occurs. If we can help you, we're always ready to earn your business. Contact our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212. After 37 years in this business, our goal remains the same - to protect and serve individuals and families. Let us help you!
Posted on 10/08/2015 2:35 PM by Benton White
Tuesday, 06 October 2015
ALL children deserve the chance to grow up to be whatever they can imagine. Every year, preventable injuries kill almost 1 million children here in Middle Tennessee and around the world. The vast majority of these injuries happen to children who live in poorer communities. We really shouldn't stand idly by while too many children are stripped of the opportunity to follow their dreams.
There are affordable, proven practices that are available right now that can save the life of a child. Education, stronger laws and safer environments make a difference. Many developed countries have reduced child injury deaths by 50% in the past 25 years.
From the second our babies are born, we know we will do anything within our power to protect them. Let's care for all kids like they're our own.
Spend 60 seconds reviewing this eye opening video produced by safekids.org.
It's important we give this safety subject the attention it certainly deserves. Let's do our part to help keep kids safer! At Benton White Insurance, we insure kids and their parents and we want to keep them safer and insured appropriately too!
Posted on 10/06/2015 2:22 PM by Benton White
Friday, 02 October 2015
In the event of severe damage to your home or business, having a current inventory of your possessions - including their make and model numbers - can help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance. While most people think of their home when discussing an inventory, it is important to document the contents of your home or business as well.
Here are some suggestions for getting started.
Have you thought about using your smartphone to help? Watch this: is a checklist that you could use to prepare.
We've all heard: "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!" That's what this inventory can be for you. We've seen cases in our past claim filing history of customers that were so shocked at a major loss of property caused by either a fire or tornado that their mind was blank about what they lost. Producing this inventory now could do SO MUCH to help you get through that horrible nightmare of loss if you simply could refer to this at that time.
We're here to help and we're always striving to earn your business! Thanks for letting us help you. Reach any of our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212.
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Posted on 10/02/2015 10:25 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
The latest insurance data show that the risk of hitting a deer with your car has not changed much from a year ago. But the cost of repairing your car, if you're unlucky enough to strike one, is on the rise. Some insurance company statistics show that the chance of a driver hitting a deer is one in 169 nationally, about the same as in 2014.
There is, however, significant regional variation. Motorists should take special care when driving through West Virginia, for instance, where the chance of hitting a deer is one in 44 drivers. Odds are also high in Montana, Iowa, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. Even though we don't have official data for this blog, our assumption is that Tennessee can't be too far behind.
The compilation of these reports originates from a company making projections for the industry as a whole based on its own claims records and uses data on state licensed-driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration. The analysis is based on claims filed from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, in all states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 1.3 million claims were filed industry-wide. The numbers include claims from hitting elk and moose, as well as deer.
If you hit a deer, the damage to your car typically is covered under the "comprehensive" portion of your auto insurance policy. That is the part of your policy that covers fire, smoke, theft, water damage & window breakage - generally, damage caused by anything other than a collision with another car or an object (like a utility pole). You will usually have a deductible that you pay before the insurance policy pays out.
Comprehensive coverage, however, is often optional. If you have not bought such coverage for your car, you will probably pay for repairs out of pocket and that can get expensive.
The national cost per claim from hitting a deer rose 6 percent to more than $4,100 from about $3,900 in 2014. One factor in the increase is the rising costs for auto body repairs.
Here are some questions and answers about insurance and hitting deer:
â– Will filing a claim after hitting a deer raise my insurance premium?
Since deer accident claims are generally filed under your policy's comprehensive coverage, where there is usually no fault assigned, they are less likely to result in a rate increase, said Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group. But, she noted, for a deer accident to be considered a comprehensive claim, the car must have physical contact with the animal. If you, say, swerve to avoid the deer and hit a tree or another car, that would probably be filed under your policy's collision coverage, if you carry it. That could affect your rates, depending on your insurer and the number and severity of your previous claims, she said.
â– Am I more likely to hit a deer at certain times of the year?
Deer are more likely to be on the move late in the year because of breeding season, according to wildlife officials, so the risk of hitting one increases in the fall. Deer accidents typically begin rising in October, peak in November and begin dropping off after December, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Deer are also most likely to be mobile during the hours around dawn and dusk, so drivers should be alert at those times, especially in areas marked with "deer crossing" signs.
â– Are there any aids to help drivers avoid hitting deer?
Most deer strikes cause damage to the front of the car, according to recent research from the highway safety institute, and some auto manufacturers are said to be refining collision-warning systems to help alert drivers to deer. For now, though, "No current front crash prevention system that we know of is calibrated to recognize deer or other animals," as stated by Russ Rader, a spokesman for the safety institute.
As mentioned above, fall in Tennessee is high-risk deer accident time. Please be vigilant as you drive - especially in areas away from the main streets as you venture down less traveled side roads where there is a lot of trees and non-developed land. Make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance if you're going to meet up with a deer and as I've said before (and it's restated above), if you have a choice to hit the deer or avoid the deer and hit something else, HIT THE DEER!!! That keeps your record clear of an at fault accident that would be paid under your collision coverage.
We're here to help! Let us know how we can assist you with your insurance as we strive to earn your business! Contact us by email at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. And good luck in avoiding DEER this fall!
Portions of this blog article taken from a recent New York Times report: Car Repairs From Deer Collisions Will Cost More by Ann Carrnes
Posted on 09/29/2015 2:46 PM by Benton White
Friday, 25 September 2015
We continue to find ways to make doing business with us simple and hassle-free. That's why on our Benton White Insurance website, we've created a site where you don't need an app to use it. You can log into www.BentonWhite.com and easily review our site on your desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone or any other web device you might have. It's easy to get to the site and even easier to navigate.
Our companies also make it easy to work with them by furnishing mobile apps you can access to get real-time information about your policy with them. Progressive Insurance offers their latest mobile app at either on App Storeâ„ or Google Play. It's another convenient way for you to have at your fingertips, the information that you need on your policy.
Here are some key features that you find with the Progressive Insurance Company FREE app and benefits it offers:
If you need anything from us, we're here and ready to help. Simply email us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. Earning your business is our top priority!
Posted on 09/25/2015 9:55 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Have you visited our website lately!? There is SO MUCH to see, so much one can learn from our website information and so many other places on the site that helps us to serve you better through insurance. One of the newer additions to the website that is really beginning to catch on is our LIVE CHAT feature. It is a service available to you during business hours.
Let's say you have a quick coverage question - use LIVE CHAT
Whether you are on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop or some other computer, simply go to our website www.BentonWhite.com, click on the CLICK TO CHAT NOW button at the top of the page and you immediately have access to someone who can assist you. It's a feature that not many insurance agencies use because honestly, I don't think they like to be interrupted. We want to help and LIVE CHAT is just another way we want to offer you the best, real-time service we can!
We appreciate working with you at Benton White Insurance! Contact us on LIVE CHAT or EMAIL at info@BentonWhite.com. Oh, and there's the phone: 615.377.1212. We're ready to earn your business!
Posted on 09/22/2015 1:24 PM by Benton White
Friday, 18 September 2015
There are times I get snippets of information that isn't enough to fit into a full blog post. These snippets are informative and can give you quick insight to insurance items that might affect you or those around you. So today, we introduce QuickSnaps - quick reads that are informative.
More Snaps as we get them .... Let us know if we can help you with your insurance. EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of the staff at 615.377.1212. We're always ready to earn your business!
Posted on 09/18/2015 1:04 PM by Benton White
Tuesday, 15 September 2015
We just recently published an Insurance Checklist that we are offering to our new customers when we first write their insurance. We also are circulating this to our existing clientele to make sure we are all on the same page regarding what we insure and where their GAPS of insurance coverage might be.
The Benton White Insurance Insurance Checklist is available in two places:
Whether you are a customer of ours or not, please take a few minutes to complete this data so we can help you in all of the right areas where you need important insurance coverage. Our guess is that this entire form completion will take less than 5 minutes of your time!
Insurance with us is always a partnership. We're only as good as your insurance agent if we get the right information from you on what you need. This Benton White Insurance Checklist is surely a move in a positive direction.
And as always if you have questions about this or any insurance related matter we are always here to help! Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com.
Thanks for your business!
Posted on 09/15/2015 2:35 PM by Benton White
Friday, 11 September 2015
My wife and I visit New York City as often as we can. We love the shows on Broadway, the food, the sites and the sounds as visitors to America's largest city! In 2012, we made a 5 day trip to the Big Apple in late July to take in all that wonderful city has to offer. Tops on our to-do list was to visit the 9/11 Memorial. My wife had visited it once before and she warned me it will move you. It did!
After a very organized procession with hundreds of others on a hot July day, we weaved our way through lines of people to enter the Memorial area. There wasn't a lot of noise or talking but there was a prevailing reverence and somber feel to the place. We saw one family of a loved one who died on that dreadful day. They rolled out a wide white paper over the name of their loved one. They then took a pencil and traced out the name posted on the Memorial wall. Tears were in the eyes of those family members as they did it. Tears came to mine as well.
Then there is the Survivor Tree! There was a tree that was plucked from the wreckage of the World Trade Center and nursed back to health at a nursery in the Bronx. This Callery Pear was later replanted in the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. The tree was originally planted at the trade center complex in the 1970's and was discovered in the rubble on October 2001 with snapped roots and a blackened trunk. It was only 8 feet high in 2001 when most of the tree was crushed when the towers fell. The tree now stands nearly 40 feet tall. Many have said it symbolizes the city and country's resilience. It was a focal point on this self-guided tour for us!
To the 2740 US citizens who lost their lives and the thousands of friends and family who continue to grieve their loss personally, we at Benton White Insurance REMEMBER this 14th anniversary with sadness. May we never forget how the events on this day in 2001 changed so much about the America we knew and know now. But the positive of it all - it DID NOT destroy us!
Posted on 09/11/2015 11:31 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 08 September 2015
In the aftermath of well-publicized premium hikes for long-term-care insurance and the departure of some key insurers from the market, many consumers are skittish about buying coverage. But the need for protection isn't going away. The median cost of one year in a private room at a nursing home has topped more than $80,000 according to a recent surveys. The cost is increasing at a rate of about 5% per year. Round-the-clock home care runs even more.
If you don't want to buy -- or can't qualify for -- standalone long-term-care insurance, here are three other ways to protect your retirement savings from the potentially devastating cost of long-term care. And if you don't use the benefits for long-term care, the insurance goes toward a death benefit or an annuity.
Here at Benton White Insurance, we highly support life insurance combo policies. Several companies have introduced these new policies that combine life insurance and long-term-care protection. You invest a lump sum or pay premiums for a limited time, and you're guaranteed to get either long-term-care payouts or a death benefit. For example, if a 55-year-old man invested $10,000 per year for ten years in one plan, he would have a pool of $320,000 in benefits to pay for long-term care, available as a monthly payout of $6,669 for up to four years. If he died without using the long-term-care component, his heirs would receive a life insurance payout as a death benefit. Or, if he used some of the money for care, the death benefit would be reduced by the amount that was used to pay for his care.
These policies may be appropriate for people in their fifties and sixties who still need life insurance but who also want protection against long-term-care costs. Paying the premium all at once shields you from price hikes; some policies that you pay over ten years also guarantee that the premiums won't rise. Long-term-care benefits are triggered when you need help with at least two daily activities, such as bathing and dressing, or you are cognitively impaired. You can receive care at home, in an assisted-living facility or in a nursing home.
Then, there are annuity/long-term-care policies. A few companies offer a combination deferred annuity and long-term-care policy that allows you to leverage your investment three-to-one. For example, a $100,000 annuity could pay up to $300,000 in long-term-care benefits. These policies are attractive to people who already own a deferred annuity and want to exchange it tax-free for a combo annuity policy. And it may be easier to qualify for one of these combo policies than for a traditional long-term-care policy.
If you use the money for long-term-care costs, the distributions are tax-free. Withdraw it for other reasons, however, and you'll pay ordinary income taxes on the earnings. Unused portions of the annuity (minus any long-term-care payouts) may be left to heirs.
Finally, there is longevity insurance. This type of annuity pays out only when you reach a certain age -- usually 85. It's a viable way to ensure that you won't outlive your savings and to protect against long-term-care costs that often occur at advanced ages. Say you invest $100,000 in one of the available plans at age 65; starting at age 85, you'll receive approximate payouts of $67,000 per year for the rest of your life. You can use the money for any purpose, including long-term care.
Anyone may buy longevity insurance, regardless of their health status, so it may appeal to people who don't qualify for stand-alone long-term-care insurance. The downside is that you won't get anything if you die before age 85.
There are options for long term care coverage even in a market that is still adjusting to higher rates than imagined when this type of plan originated years ago. We have had great success with the life insurance combo policies because of the variety of options available to the insured. The premiums are guaranteed and the underwriting is somewhat less intensive as it is with the regular long term care policy. Plus, premiums for the combo policy isn't that much more expensive than buying a long term care policy.
We can help! The need isn't going away and the cost for the care when you are later in life is escalating each year! Contact our office at 615.377.1212 or email us at info@BentonWhite.com if we can help. There is good long term care solution and we'll be glad to show it to you.
[A portion of this article was taken from Kiplinger Online - "New Ways to Pay for Long-Term Care" by Kimberly Lankford]
Posted on 09/08/2015 8:17 AM by Benton White
Many of our customers don't realize that I personally review each policy that renews in my agency annually. I block out several hours to review how a customer's rates have been over time and what they can expect in premium on their next renewal. Sometimes, it's painful to see some of the increases that are caused by an event that involved the customer. There are a number of reasons a rate can change from excessive claim activity to at-fault accidents, traffic citations and many other premium affecting...
04/11/2017Minimize your Risk of Distracted Driving
As the spring season gets fully underway, families gear up for spring break car trips or college visits. With better weather, more drivers take day trips or plan weekend getaways. This all adds up to more drivers on the road, and more potential for distracted driving – which also increases the odds of traffic accidents with bodily injuries. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the time of year when the National Safety Council and other organizations join forces to heighten awareness of...
01/24/2017Questions? 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...