5 Ways Your Insurance Agent Can Help You Get Through the Stay-at-Home Order
by Heidi Kussurelis
Heidi Kussurelis Insurance Agency
If your driving activity is down, then here are some short-term options for reducing your auto insurance costs.
If you have multiple cars and can do without one for the short-term, consider putting ‘storage only’ coverage on one of the vehicles. Storage only coverage provides comprehensive coverage for fire, theft, vandalism, but removes all other coverage. This brings a large cost savings, however, you will need to remember to call your agent and to add back coverage before you drive the vehicle.
You may have a vehicle that you are not driving often but legally you must carry liability coverage. If the vehicle is older, you may consider removing collision coverage. But this means no coverage for body damage to your auto from an accident, so be careful!
Rental Car Coverage
If you are working from home and have more than one car in your driveway, you probably can use another vehicle if you’re in an accident. For the short-term and for some quick savings, remove Rental Car Coverage.
If you have not participated in your insurance company’s telematic program, now is the time to do so. Mileage is a key indicator that is monitored, so lower mileage means a larger discount.
The insurance company will either give you a plug-in device to install or a phone app that will monitor your driving for about 90 days. The tools will measure total miles driven, hard braking, fast accelerations and night driving between midnight and 5 a.m. Policy discounts associated with this program can be significant!
Call your agent for a complete review of your policy. Make sure you’re getting every eligible discount including bundling your home and umbrella policies. Verify the drivers on your policy and the coverages on each vehicle. Are garaging addresses correct? Since people have been online more, cyber theft is increasing. Talk to your agent about Identity theft, which can usually be added to your homeowner’s policy for a small premium.
Michigan Auto Reform will begin to roll out in July. I will be writing an article in a future magazine issue, but now would be a good time to start learning about options that will be available for Personal Injury Protection.
Heidi Kussurelis has owned and operated the Heidi Kussurelis Agency for nearly 25 years. Offices are located in Brighton, Ann Arbor and Pleasant Ridge, but the agency services customers throughout the State of Michigan. Insurance is complicated, so we are committed to help you obtain the best coverage for your needs and budget. Visit www.HeidiKInsurance.com
What do you need to know about Michigan Auto Reform
You may have heard that Michigan has the highest insurance rates in the country. Why?
Michigan offers better medical protection than any other state in the country, providing unlimited coverage, but it comes with a higher premium.
Our governor recently signed a bill that will give Michigan residents choices to reduce coverage and receive a premium savings. This means for policies that renew July 2nd or later you must select one of the coverage options available.
There are 2 major changes coming:
· Option to choose Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Medical limits, today it is unlimited and you don’t have a choice, so picking lower limits will lower your costs.
· Minimum bodily injury limits are increasing
Often times people confuse Health Insurance or Medicare to be the same as PIP Medical which is incorrect. PIP Medical provides additional coverage you do not get with traditional health insurance.
PIP Medical covers :
· Resident Relatives (relative of either you or your spouse who lives in the same household)
· Medical bills
· Rehabilitation costs
· Attendant Care cost (covers reasonable and necessary services when hiring someone to look after an injured accident victim. These services include but aren’t limited to such things as:
o Meal Preparations
o Light cleaning
o Grooming/Personal Hygiene tasks
· Funeral Expenses
· Modifications made to your Home and Automobile due to disability after auto injury.
Attendant care costs and modifications to your home and auto are typically limited or not provided with Health Insurance and Medicare. Therefore, if these coverages are important to you, you may want to select one of the options with PIP Medical in order to keep coverage for these important expenses.
Starting July 2nd your choices for PIP are:
1. Unlimited PIP (this is what you have today)
2. Limited PIP Benefit of $500,000
3. Limited PIP Benefit of $250,000
4. Limited PIP Benefit of $250,000 with some or all persons excluded from PIP medical
· Anyone who wishes to exclude PIP must have qualified health coverage
5. Limited PIP Benefit of $50,000
· Named insured must be enrolled in MEDICAID
· Spouse and all resident relatives must have one of the following: Medicaid, Qualified Health Coverage, or Coverage under another auto policy with PIP medical coverage
6. No PIP medical coverage for anyone covered by the policy. You may only select this option if:
· The named insured has coverage under both Medicare Parts A and B, AND
· Any spouse and all resident relatives covered by the policy have qualified health coverage or are covered under another auto policy with PIP medical coverage.
Risks to consider:
· By choosing one of the new limited PIP options the coverage may not be enough to cover your medical expenses. After your PIP limit is reached you will then rely on other health coverage, so if you do not have other health coverage at that time, you will likely be personally responsible for paying these expenses.
· If you exclude anyone from PIP Medical and they lose their health insurance coverage, it will be important to contact your insurance agent. A person who has not obtained qualified health coverage or PIP medical coverage within 30 days of loss of coverage will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits. This means all cost will come out of pocket.
Terminology to know:
· Qualified health coverage is defined as:
o Health and accident coverage that does not exclude or limit coverage for injuries related to auto accident and has an annual individual deductible of $6,000 or less; OR
o Coverage under both Medicare Parts A and B
o Medicaid is an example of coverage NOT considered qualified health coverage.
The SECOND big change is:
· Standard bodily injury limit is increasing to $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident
· Must sign a selection form if you want lower limits indicating you understand the risk
· Minimum limit has increased from $20,000/$40,000 to $50,000/$100,000
What does that mean to you?
Drivers may now choose Limited PIP medical benefits or exclude coverage all together creating increased exposure that an injured driver may not have enough medical coverage to cover their own medical expenses. They may now sue you (the at-fault party) to pay for their expenses that are not covered.
Consider purchasing a Personal Umbrella policy for added protection in the event you are sued. A Personal Umbrella is a policy that sits above your home and auto policies providing an additional $1 million of coverage above the liability limits you carry on your home and auto policy.
This newsletter has provided a general overview of Michigan Auto Reform. In my mission statement I state that, insurance is complicated causing many people to be unaware of the consequences of poor coverage. The new Auto Reform is complicated. Saving money on your auto insurance is a benefit but understand the pros and cons of each option. I invite you to contact my agency and talk with our highly trained team members who can provide guidance in choosing an option that’s right for you and your family. Our goal is to build strong client relationships, product value and peace of mind.
Tips to Stay Safe This Summer!
Want to avoid summer accidents that you could be liable for? Check out these tips on how to be safe around pools, trampolines and ATV/Motorcycles:
Pools: We all love sitting by the pool and relaxing. But it is important to be safe around them to avoid any accidents. Be sure to keep constant supervision on younger swimmers and have them wear the proper flotation gear if they are not tall enough to reach the bottom. Clear out any extra pool toys that nobody is using so nobody trips and falls on them. Lastly, make sure that all other pool equipment like diving boards, slides or ladders are working properly so no major accidents can be caused.
Trampolines: Trampolines are another fun thing to enjoy during the summer months. But make sure to follow the proper safety when having children on one. Make sure children are always supervised. Having safety netting around the trampoline can reduce the risk of someone falling off and getting hurt. Keeping the springs on the trampoline covered can also help prevent injury. And finally, make sure that nobody is attempting any dangerous stunts on the trampoline.
ATV/Motorcycle: Now that summer has arrived, there will be a lot more motorcycles and ATVs out. Make sure that all riders are wearing the proper safety gear like helmets, proper clothing to avoid exposed skin, and padding to help reduce the risk of severe injury. On motorcycles, follow all traffic safety laws and avoid injuring yourself or others on the road. Follow all the rules regarding where and what times of the day you are allowed to ride ATVs and avoid any dangerous stunts on ATVs to reduce the risk of anyone getting severely hurt.