How to Avoid Libel on Social Media Sites

When using social media sites, it is easy to get carried away with expressing disgust or irritation. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is important to avoid libel. The first step in avoiding it is to know the definition. Libel is any type of defamation that takes place on a more permanent source. Some examples include printed publications, blogs, films or any other written documents. Those who write, publish or are involved in similar practices should read about publishing laws. It is important to fully understand what is constituted as libel or slander. Avoiding such trouble online is the best way to also avoid a costly lawsuit. In addition to being expensive, lawsuits also tarnish the reputations of trusted publishing sources. Even bloggers who have a faithful followers may lose them if libel becomes an issue.

One of the best ways to avoid libel is to check facts. Responsible journalism demands this practice. Never rely on commercial sites for accurate information. Wiki sites are also bad sources for information. Anyone can add text to them, so it is easy for inaccurate stories and figures to surface. If a specific piece of literature lists a person or organization as the main source of information, contact the main source for verification. Quotes and testimonials should also be verified before printing. If a libel suit surfaces, it is important to have a list of sources to back the information. If it is impossible to verify a piece of information directly, be sure to clearly cite the source where the words came from.

In addition to avoiding misquoting people, it is important to avoid trade libel. Making disparaging remarks about a product or the company producing it is considered trade libel. After purchasing a defective product, it is easy to vent personal frustration online. In some cases, people simply want to alert others about a bad experience. However, it is best to contact the offending company directly. If the matter cannot be solved, contact the Better Business Bureau to resolve the issue. Never post insulting comments about a company or product online. Many social media profiles are public, and a quick Internet search for a person’s name may show several social media posts. Avoid jokes that may be interpreted as libel.

Overall, the main idea to remember is to test a comment or statement before posting it. Think carefully about the comment. Would it hurt a company’s reputation? Is it personally insulting to a certain individual? If it may be damaging and cannot be verified completely, avoid posting it. 

How to Detect Possible Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Twenty-five percent of all United States insurance fraud claims are related to workers’ compensation. Employees throughout the country report about $7 billion worth of personal injuries occurring in the workplace or while they are on the clock but off the premises. Although small businesses are least likely to be able to cope with the ensuing expenses, they are the ones that are hit the hardest each year by workers’ compensation claims.

It is important for every small business owner to evaluate his or her plan to stay protected from workers’ compensation fraud. There are several ways to detect it, and these five signs are some of the most common indicators.

1. Injury Time Look for accident reports that are filed on Monday and especially during the morning hours. When people injure themselves away from work during the weekend, they may come to work on Monday and fake an injury. It is important to ask other employees how the injured worker was acting immediately prior to the alleged incident. If they noticed signs of injury before that point, it is likely the employee is trying to commit fraud.

2. Lack Of Witnesses In many cases of workers’ compensation fraud, there are few or no witnesses. An employee will usually pick a moment when nobody else is around for the time of the non-existent accident. This can be hard to determine if the employee is alone often, but if he or she is rarely alone, this is a big red flag.

3. Repeat Claims More than 35 percent of workers who file claims also file other claims after that. These can trigger fraud alerts, but they should also serve as warnings to business owners to examine their operations and workplaces. If the conditions that caused an initial injury have not changed, it is very likely for another injury to occur. Employers in such situations will have a difficult time making a strong legal case.

4. Motive This is an important consideration for every employer. If the worker had a possible motive to claim a fake injury, it is important to address that. This could be a notice for dismissal, a raise being withheld or any other variety of reasons that made a worker upset.

5. Inconsistency And Body Language It is common for people who are being dishonest to show it in their body language. Long pauses before answers, shifty eyes and excessive fidgeting are common behaviors when people are telling lies. Listen carefully for any inconsistencies in a worker’s story about an accident, and look closely at the documentation to make sure the stories match. Clear evidence is needed to make a solid case in court, and instincts alone will not cut it.

Whenever a workers’ compensation fraud case has been clearly documented, it is important to report it to the workers’ compensation fraud investigation department in the state of residence. The Department of Labor provides information about this for every state. The best way to avoid workers’ compensation claims and fraud is to provide a safe workplace. When workers voice their concerns about any working conditions, it is important to take the necessary steps to remedy any problems. By keeping the workplace safe and making safety a top priority, employers can help their workers avoid injuries and show them that their health and safety are important to them.

Are Your Group Health and Wellness Benefits Plans Keeping Up With the Jones’s?

Most business owners and HR executives know that compensation isn’t just about cash. Study after study has shown that employees also value a strong group benefits package as well. This could include everything from employee health, vision and dental to long term care insurance group plans to employee wellness programs. Employers have dozens of options, and generally have a great deal of flexibility in choosing with their insurance companies and other vendors what benefits to offer.

The latest survey from the Society of Human Resource Management took a look at many common employee perks and benefits, and what percentage of established employers offered each one.

Here are some of the highlights from the SHRM study.

PPO plans dominated the group health insurance market, with 86 percent of employers offering the option. About 33 percent offered HMO plans. Only 7 percent of employers still offer indemnity or fee-for-service plans, according to the survey.  This indicates that employers have been trading flexibility in choosing providers in exchange for lower premiums.

89 percent of employers provide mental health coverage – often required by state mandates. 83 percent reported offering accidental death and dismemberment insurance, and 80 percent offer chiropractic coverage.

About 31 percent offer some kind of long-term care insurance, and 29 percent offer critical illness insurance.

Out of those responding to the survey, 13 percent of employers pay the full cost of health benefits for full-time employees, and 5 percent pay the full cost of benefits for part-timers and employee spouses.

35 percent of employers now offer benefits for same-sex domestic partners, but only 26 percent offer benefits for opposite sex domestic partners. 3 percent of employers pay benefits for foster children.

42 percent of employers offer HSAs, or health savings accounts, which allow employees to save money pre-tax for qualified health expenses, and to pay for these expenses tax-free. They can only be used in conjunction with a qualifying high-deductible health plan. 36 percent of employers reported making HSA contributions on behalf of employees.

77 percent of organizations provide long term disability insurance, and 68 percent provide short-term disability insurance. This coverage ensures that a worker can still keep a roof over his or her head and provide for families if illness or injury should prevent them from working.

77 percent of employers offer an employee assistance program – a benefit that allows workers to confidentially access counseling and assistance services for a variety of issues.

Wellness Benefits

About 77 percent of employers provide wellness or preventive health resources and information in some form, and 64 percent have a formal wellness program in place. 48 percent offer first aid training, 61 percent offer on-site flu vaccination, and 44 percent offer a smoking cessation program. 37 percent of employers offer a weight loss program benefit of some kind, and 36 percent offer fitness center membership or reimbursement.

One interesting development: 21 percent of organizations now offer a discount on health care premiums for getting an annual health risk assessment, and 43 percent of organizations report providing a reward or bonus for completing certain health and wellness programs. That’s nearly double the 23 percent of employers offering that particular carrot in 2009.

One brand new benefit that SHRM just began to track this year is a standing desk. 13 percent of employers offer employees a standing desk at work. 

If you have any questions about your benefits plan, call ACBI at 203-259-7580. 

Insurance Fraud Raises Prices for more than just Policies

When people deceive insurance agents or companies to collect money they are not entitled to, this is considered fraud. Consumers can also be defrauded by agents or insurance companies. Fraud can be considered soft or hard. Soft fraud happens when people embellish facts to obtain more money. For example, a policyholder might exaggerate the value of an item stolen from his or her home to receive a higher claim payout, or a business owner may say there are less employees than there actually are to avoid a higher workers’ compensation premium. When people deliberately fake losses to their vehicles, homes or businesses, this is considered hard fraud. They may act alone or be part of a crime ring. Why Everyone Should Worry Insurance fraudsters are picking the pockets of consumers so they can pad their own. Insurance fraud is becoming one of the biggest crimes in the United States. It happens on a daily basis in all 50 states. People who commit this type of fraud come from all backgrounds and fall into all age groups as well as income brackets. The same is true of victims of this crime. According to insurance experts, fraud schemes are responsible for consuming about $80 billion every year. It is important to look past the high costs. Careers, families, businesses and finances can be destroyed by insurance fraud. Honest and hard-working people are the ones who ultimately pay the price for it. People may lose their savings over investment schemes when they trust the wrong people. Older individuals are especially vulnerable to this. Consumers’ health conditions are also in danger sometimes. If they buy health insurance policies that come from swindlers, they find out the hard way that they actually have no coverage or very little. Alternately, they may receive inadequate care that is inflated in price to maximize insurance claims. When these things happen, insurance premiums will assuredly remain high. Home and auto insurers must pass the costs of dealing with fraud on to their customers. This means the prices of consumer goods will be higher. When businesses pass on higher costs, they do so through the price tags on their goods or services. In addition to this, honest businesses end up losing money, and these losses total into the millions every year. When fraud causes increases for employee health coverage, they must make their workers pay more as well. Fraud can cost good workers their jobs, health coverage and even their future careers if their employers go bankrupt due to being scheme victims. Innocent individuals may even be injured or killed. Some of the more sinister schemes involve staging fires or auto accidents. Heartless crooks do not care that victims may be families and even little children or pets, and some people are murdered so a beneficiary can attempt to claim the life insurance benefit. It is important to report suspected fraud immediately. To learn more about how to report insurance fraud or for further information on this topic, call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our website.

Workplace Safety Tips for Working in Cold Temperatures

Depending on how long a person has been exposed to cold temperatures, hypothermia symptoms may vary. The earliest symptoms include fatigue, shivering, confusion and loss of coordination. As hypothermia progresses, it may cause blue skin, dilated pupils, lack of shivering, loss of consciousness, slowed breathing and a lowered pulse.

Treating Hypothermia If a worker is suffering from hypothermia, it is important to act quickly. Let the workplace supervisor know immediately, and ask for medical assistance. Take the victim to a warmer room, remove clothing if it is wet and focus on warming the center of the body first. This should include the neck, head, chest and groin. Use dry layers of blankets or material. Do not give the person alcohol to drink, but a warm beverage may help if the person is conscious and able to drink. Once the victim’s body temperature has risen, keep the person wrapped up and warm in a blanket. Be sure the neck and head are covered. For victims who have no pulse, start CPR immediately and have someone call 911.

Immersion Hypothermia When a person is submerged in cold water, it creates a condition known as immersion hypothermia. This type develops considerably faster than the standard type, which is due to the body’s natural response of conducting heat away from itself 25 times quicker than it does with air. Immersion hypothermia can happen in any water that is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frostbite Frostbite happens when part of the body freezes. It results in a loss of color and feeling, and it is most common in the ears, chin, cheeks, nose, toes and fingers. Frostbite can cause permanent tissue damage, and it may even lead to amputation of affected limbs or digits. Workers who are not dressed properly or have poor circulation are more prone to developing frostbite in cold temperatures. Tingling, numbness, stinging, waxy-looking skin and aching are common symptoms. If a worker exhibits symptoms, immerse the affected area in warm water, keep pressure off of it and seek medical attention.

There are other conditions to watch for such as trench foot, which happens when the feet are exposed to cold and wet conditions. It can occur at temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Another condition to watch for is chilblains, which are itchy areas that return with repeated exposure to cold. Ears, cheeks, nose and other exposed areas are usually affected. The itching is due to permanent capillary bed damage. Keeping workers safe is something all employers should make a top priority. The following tips are helpful for this:

– Be aware of dangerous environmental conditions in the workplace.

– Know the signs and treatments for illnesses or injuries caused by cold temperatures.

– Have workers wear appropriate clothing when working in cold or damp locations.

– Make sure workers are informed about cold-related injuries and illnesses.

– If possible, have employees work during the warmer part of the day in colder months.

– Since energy keeps muscles warm, do not work employees to the point of exhaustion.

– Encourage workers to eat high-calorie foods that are warm when working in the cold.

– Make sure there is a warm and dry place where workers can take frequent breaks to warm up.

– Tell workers to avoid caffeine and choose warm or sugary beverages instead.

– Have employees work in pairs to ensure they may look for danger signs in one another.

– Workers who are taking certain medications, have poor physical health or have chronic illnesses face increased risks for cold-related injuries and illnesses.

When Does Your Commercial Liability Insurance Company Have to Defend You in Court?

Most insurance policies will provide some level of indemnity if you are financially harmed by something covered by the policy. That’s the whole point of having insurance, right?

But financial pain isn’t the only kind of damage you may suffer. What about the damage to your reputation if you are the victim of a false claim or frivolous lawsuit? Your insurance company may want to jump at the chance for a favorable settlement out of court. After all, that could limit their losses. But you are still left with potential damage to your personal or professional reputation. Suppose you don’t want to settle. You want your day in court, and you believe the evidence will provide vindication.

Is your insurance company obliged to provide a defense? The answer depends on the language in your policy.

For most commercial liability insurance policies, the contract with your insurer will state that the insurance company will have “the right and duty” to defend you against any suit seeking damages that would be covered under the insurance policy.

Note the last clause. Since commercial liability is not all encompassing, your commercial liability insurance policy is not required to defend you against suits seeking compensation for property damage or bodily injury to which the policy does not apply. The claim must bear a direct and plausible relationship to the policy and the policy must at least arguably cover the damages, should they be found to be legitimate.

Conversely, if the facts of the case have nothing to do with the type of coverage in question, and there is no possibility the insurance company will be forced to pay a claim as a result of the litigation, then the insurer would have no obligation to provide a defense. The obligation only arises when the insurance carrier has ‘skin in the game,’ as it were.

For example: Sam owns a restaurant that sells alcohol. A customer has a few too many, and leaves the bar, and gets in a wreck. The customer then sues Sam and his bar for personal injury because they continued to sell him alcohol knowing he was incapacitated. The general business liability insurance policy wouldn’t cover claims arising from intoxication for a bar engaged in the sale of alcohol. However if the policy had a liquor liability endorsement, then the policy would respond to the claim. This would include providing defense costs if the liquor liability endorsement includes the phrase ‘duty to defend.’

In sum, if your insurance policy contains the “right and duty to defend” clause, then your commercial liability insurance carrier must provide you with a defense until claims paid out in judgments or settlements reach the limit of insurance coverage.

Generally, the commercial general liability insurance form also states that the insurer will pay all expenses involved in defending, investigating or settling a claim or suit as a supplementary payment. Defense costs shouldn’t count against your coverage limit.

Contrast the ‘right and duty’ to defend with less robust forms of coverage, including language that says “right but not the duty to defend,” or  “duty to indemnify.”

With these types of coverage, the insurance company does not have to provide you a legal defense in court. They merely have to compensate you for your covered losses up to the limit of the policy. The duty to indemnify is therefore much narrower. They sell for lower premiums, of course – but they are also much less valuable when the crisis comes, since the cost of private legal counsel is extremely prohibitive for many.

Court Precedents

Historically, courts have tended to rule in favor of the insured in disputes over the right and duty of carriers to provide legal defense. A recent New York court case may intensify the incentives that insurance companies have to provide legal defense in borderline cases. In K2 Investment Group, LLC, et al. v American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Company, a New York appeals court ruled that if an insurer breached its duty to defend – that is, if it failed to provide a defense when it should have – it may not contest the final judgment. It forfeited its chance for input. However, it may still have the duty to indemnify. So the insurance company in this case gave up its opportunity to mitigate the eventual damages it would be required to pay.

Defense costs can be crippling to individuals and small businesses – and in many cases they will be greater than the cost of the settlement. A 2007 study of Texas court cases found that defendants were forced to spend an average of $35,000 per case.  

By working with an experienced property and casualty agent and undergoing a detailed needs analysis, you can better identify your potential liabilities, vulnerabilities and risk. Contact ACBI if you would like to discuss solutions to help protect your assets.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes During the Winter

Every winter, about 250,000 people find themselves with messes from pipes that freeze and burst. In addition to erupting and filling a room with water, a burst pipe can also cost a person thousands of dollars in damages. Carpet, photos, furniture and other belongings can be damaged to the point they need to be replaced. A crack measuring only three millimeters can spew as much as 250 gallons of water into a person’s home in just one day. Whether a person has plastic PVC or copper pipes, they are not immune to ruptures and bursts.

Fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken to protect pipes and avoid the hassles associated with bursts.

To avoid flooding, consider these tips:

– Bundle up the pipes before winter arrives. Use insulation in attics, garages and crawl spaces. Be generous with the insulation, because more protection means pipes are less likely to burst.

– Wrap pipes up with heat cables that are thermostatically controlled. Heat tape can also be used. Place this around pipes that are at a higher risk of bursting. Before using any of these types of products, make sure they are approved by testing organizations. Follow the installation instructions carefully.

– Seal any cracks, and look for air leaks close to the pipes. If there is cold air leaking in even through a tiny space, pipes can freeze quickly and burst. Every leak should be sealed properly with insulation or caulk.

– Turn up the thermostat to 65 degrees or higher during the winter. Temperatures in the attic or behind the walls can become cold enough to let the pipes freeze if the thermostat is turned lower than this.

– Put any hoses away before temperatures drop in the winter months. After doing this, shut off the indoor valve.

– Keep one faucet on in the home at all times, but set it so it will only drip warm water slowly. Even the smallest trickle can aid in preventing pipes from freezing. Whenever possible, use a faucet that is located on an outside wall.

– When leaving the home for any period of time, have someone check on it daily. Tell the individual to look for signs of pipes that are about to burst. Also, tell them to ensure the house is warm enough to prevent frozen pipes. If this is not possible, it may be best to drain the water system and shut it off before leaving. However, it is important to remember that this will render a fire sprinkler system ineffective if there is a fire.

– Know how to spot a frozen pipe. If the faucet is turned on but water does not come out, this is a sign that the pipe is frozen. Call a plumber, and leave the faucet on. It may be possible to thaw a frozen pipe with a hair dryer. Start close to the faucet, and work toward the coldest section of the pipe. Avoid using any open flames or torches to defrost pipes.

– If a pipe does burst, turn the water off at the main shutoff valve. Turn all of the faucets on, and call a plumber immediately. After calling the plumber, call the insurance agent. Adjusters will not need to come assess the spill itself, but they must know about it and assess the damages later. If possible, take photos of any spills or damages.

– Move any electronic items, rugs, furniture or other belongings out of harm’s way. Mop the water up immediately, and set a fan to help it dry. If this is not possible, use towels to dry the floor. If any temporary repairs must be made to prevent further damage, make them and keep all receipts. Insurers may reimburse policyholders for temporary repairs. Wait until after the adjuster has assessed the damage to make any permanent or extensive repairs.

To avoid having this happen, take all of the proper steps to protect pipes during the coldest months of the year. Even with preparations, there is still a possibility that pipes could burst during storms and power failures. This is why it is important to plan for them and be prepared.

Example of Homeowners Liability that Goes Beyond Your Home

One misconception about homeowners liability insurance coverage is that it only covers incidents in the home. In actuality, the Comprehensive Personal Liability (CPL) coverage under a homeowners insurance policy is really not associated with any location, other than the limitations and exclusions on the policy. Here are some examples of what probably would be covered by CPL:

»        Sports Incidents: For example, you are playing golf and you drive the ball that hits someone in the head and disables them. If you are found liable, as long as you were not doing it professionally, your policy will likely provide coverage.

»        After shopping at your local market, you accidentally drop a bottle of olive oil in the parking lot, and it shatters and bleeds the oil onto the pavement. Another shopper comes long, slips and seriously injures themselves on the pavement. While the assumption is the injured party will take action against the market, the typical practice of attorneys is to go after everyone associated with the incident.

»        You are on vacation at a hotel, and you are so excited to leave the room to enjoy a sightseeing tour that you forget to turn off the faucet. The running water causes significant damage to the hotel structure. The hotel decides to go after you for damages; your CPL will defend you and may pay out damages if you are deemed liable.

»        Your kid lends his skateboard to a friend, and the friend, who may not be experienced with the skateboard, gets seriously injured trying to make a maneuver. Parents can be held liable for this injury and there is a very good chance this will be covered by the CPL coverage.

»        If your dog bites a stranger at the park, your CPL will cover you as the owner and responsible party for the dog, as long as the policy does not exclude coverage for your dog breed. Some homeowners policies exclude coverage for breeds deemed “dangerous,” such as pit bulls.

Additionally, the CPL coverage will usually extend coverage for the following items, even if an incident happens away from the insured premise. Here are some examples:

»        Trailers that are not attached to a motor vehicle

»        Motorized golf carts are typically included in coverage

»        Watercraft that does not have a motor or is not more than a specified amount of horsepower

»        Sailboats below a certain length

»        A vacation residence; however, certain conditions may apply; you also may need to schedule it

»        Non-motorized bikes

Here are examples where coverage does not exist and is excluded by nearly every homeowners insurance policy:

»        Your cars are clearly excluded. This is exactly why there is need to get a separate auto insurance policy.

»        Motorized recreational vehicles, most especially if they are off premise.

»        Any incident related to business. Almost all homeowners policies exclude business incidents.

»        Intentional acts. Most policies have language against intentional acts.

Policies vary, so it is important to review your policy to see what may be covered and what may not be covered. Additionally, some policies allow you to endorse a coverage that may not be on the policy. This is why it is so important to sit down with your agent to address additional risks you may have and make sure coverage for those risks is addressed. Liability coverage is perhaps the most important coverage you should have, simply because most of these cases involve attorneys and if coverage exists, the insurance companies provide for your defense, as well as any settlement for up to the limits of your policy. This is why it is so important to review your risks with your agent.  Call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our website

Policy Deductible Increases: The Safer Way to Save Premium Dollars

Money is still tight for many Americans, meaning most are still looking to save when and where they can. Some people have even turned to the their insurance policies as a place to cut costs. Insurance can be expensive, but consumers need to carefully ask themselves where and how they can really save money in this area without jeopardizing the protections offered by their coverages.

Two typical places that many insured individuals think they can cut the cost of their premiums are from reducing the dwelling/liability limits on their homeowner’s policy and reducing the liability limits on their auto insurance policy.

In reality, cutting the liability limits on these policies leaves you highly vulnerable to risk and will not ultimately save you any money over the long run. While you might save a few dollars now with such tactics, it really isn’t worth it when you stop to think about just how much you could lose if you were sued after someone was injured in your home.

If you want to decrease your premiums, a much more prudent way to do it is by increasing the deductibles in your auto and/or home policies. A deductible increase from $250 to $500 could save you up to 15% on your homeowner’s insurance premiums. You can save 30% or more on your premiums by raising the physical damage deductible on your auto insurance policy to $500 or $1000 dollars.

Some consumers get nervous about not having the $500 to cover their newly raised deductible should they need to file a claim. Since the situation doesn’t involve thousands of dollars in difference, it’s likely to be just as difficult for most people to come up with $500 as it would be $250. The only difference will be that the extra premium savings can be saved and set aside to cover the higher deductible from any future claims. In most cases, the additional $250 could be saved in less than 24 months.

If you’re nervous about taking the larger leap to a $1000 deductible, then you can always take a slow and steady approach. You might increase your deductible to $500 first. You can open a savings account for the premium dollars you’ll save each month from having a slightly higher deductible. Although it may take some time, you can eventually raise your deductible to $1000 when you have saved $500 to $750 dollars in the account.

Unlike lowering limits, deductible raises can save you money without placing you at a greater financial risk. If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, call ACBI at 203-259-7580 or visit our website. 

Earthquake Protection ~ Do You Need Coverage?

PLAINFIELD, CT (WFSB) – Five small earthquakes rattled New England on Monday, January 12th. The Weston Observatory at Boston College said the first four happened within 20 minutes of each other. The fifth was 5 1/2 hours later. It was the third day in less than a week that rumbles shook the Plainfield region.

Plainfield police said it happened around 6:30 a.m. Scientists from the observatory registered the largest of the four at a 3.1 magnitude. Though the U.S. Geological Survey told Eyewitness News it was 3.3. It was felt in Rhode Island and as far away as New Bedford, MA, and Framingham, MA. The observatory said the smaller ones were recorded at 1.1, 0.9 and 2.0. A quake around noon time registered at 1.3.     *Click for link to full WFSB article*

When most people think about earthquakes in the United States, California and Alaska are the two states that come to mind. However, earthquakes can happen in any part of the country. They are a very real threat that everyone must consider and plan for. One of the most vital aspects of proper preparedness is having ample insurance coverage. Earthquake damage isn’t covered in the majority of homeowners policies. This is also true for business policies. Both types of policies specify that damage from earth movement is not covered. While actual damage from a quake may not be covered, property insurance may provide coverage for fires and other incidents that occur as a result of it.

Many people think they won’t experience a major earthquake during their lifetime. This is especially true for those who live in areas where earthquakes happen every 100 years or less. Although many people may not experience a strong earthquake, there are over 5,000 incidents recorded each year by the USGS. Damage from earthquakes has been recorded in all 50 states in history. There have been reports of damage in 39 states alone since 1900. This proves that while some people may not live in areas that commonly experience earthquakes, they’re still not immune to the threat.

Earthquake insurance is available as a rider, which is added to a Home or Business policy.  Since they’re unpredictable and happen suddenly, it’s best to be prepared for all types of disasters. Earthquake insurance is so important that it can’t be stressed enough. The nation’s average is less than 12% who carry this coverage.

Earthquake insurance costs vary by location, building type and the age of the building. Buildings more likely to withstand the force of earthquake are less costly to insure.

Every earthquake policy also has a deductible. This means that homeowners must pay upfront for a portion of the damages before the insurer pays the remaining amount. The deductible may be up to 20% of the structure’s replacement value. The percentage depends on the insurer and the location of the structure.

There are also options for renters. There are coverage policies that protect personal property. In addition to this, they usually cover living expenses if the building becomes uninhabitable after an earthquake. It’s important to keep a list of belongings and their values. Major appliances, furniture, electronics and other expensive items must all be documented properly. A new way of creating a record of belongings is making a narrated video tour of the home and focusing on belongings.

Call ACBI at 203-259-7580 to discuss earthquake coverage that is right for your individual needs.