Insurance Disaster Bill

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Insurance Disaster Bill

SACRAMENTO — Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today to streamline residential insurance claims for victims of disasters such as wildfires.

“When someone has lost their home or suffered serious damage in a disaster, they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get coverage they are entitled to,” Sen. Dodd said. “Insurance companies must act swiftly to advance living expenses for temporary housing and other costs and they shouldn’t bury home owners in exhaustive inventory forms. People who pay their premiums deserve to be made whole without unnecessary delay.”

Senate Bill 872, sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, expands the definition of additional living expenses that must be paid to home owners for losses incurred in a state of emergency. Upon submission of a claim, it requires an advance payment of no less than four months for costs such as housing, furniture rental and transportation. Also, it requires an advance payment of no less than 25 percent of a policy limit for lost contents without submission of an inventory form.

The bill, coauthored by Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, requires insurers to give home owners a 60-day grace period for payment of residential premiums after an emergency. Also, insurance companies will be barred from deducting the land value from payouts for those who build on new lots.

“When a disaster occurs, residents need immediate help, not red tape and unnecessary paperwork that adds to their problems,” Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said. “I am proud to sponsor this crucial legislation, enforcing actions that I have urged insurers to take after wildfires to protect policyholders. This proposal will help ensure residents have all the resources and time available to them to help ease the financial and emotional toll of a disaster.”

The More You Know

Insurance can be one of the most confusing items in your life – but it shouldn’t be. If you know what questions to ask and can find someone to give you the right answers, you will find all the clarity you need. Here are some things we think you should know or ask in regards to various types of insurance:

What type of insurance do I need?
Once I have guaranteed replacement coverage for my home, do I need anything else?
If I have a home office/business, do I need any special insurance?
Does homeowner’s insurance cover me if, say, someone slips on my front steps, breaks a leg and sues me?
How do I decide the amount of coverage I want or need?
How much or how little is covered?
Should I just let the bank pick my policy?
How do I know if an item needs additional coverage?
Are all accidents in my home covered?
What discounts do I get if I have added safety features?
Is coverage for legal assistance included?
Is car insurance an absolute must?
What about life insurance?
How can I figure out how much life insurance I need?
Can I control the cost of coverage?
Does health insurance help if I’m sick or injured and laid up for a while?

There are so many other questions and items to consider for all of the various insurance you may need. We can answer all of those questions for you and give you the knowledge and control to enable you to make the most informed decisions.

The More You Know
The More You Know

Doomsday – oops, Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!!  Well, happy day AFTER Thanksgiving – or better known as Black Friday.

Black Friday.

The one day during the year where some people rush through the holiday family meal where they are supposedly giving thanks to/for all they have, only to go st and in line for hours to get a “deal” on items which, they more often purchase for themselves – and forgetting what it is that they were thankful for in the first place.

I am a fan of putting money into business, but unfortunately it is days like today that can sometimes bring out the worst in people.  Later this evening we will be hearing news reports about people getting in fights, trampled, or even worse.

It is sad, disappointing, and scary.

On another note, this is the perfect time to remind you that you need to either get insurance that you don’t already have ( and need) or update your current polices.  There is not better day than Black Friday to make sure your car is protected during gridlock traffic around the mall, your health insurance will cover an injuries that may occur or flu bugs you pick-up while st anding next to that sick lady in line, and your life insurance – well, just in case.

All jokes aside, we wish you a happy holiday weekend and season and hope you have all the insurance you need for the moments that you need it the most.



Gobble, Gobble


Here comes Thanksgiving!

In a few days we will all be sitting down with our favorite people (hopefully they rank among our favorites)  and eat all the delicious food.  However, there are the dangers of Thanksgiving that one must be aware of (cue ominous music). For example, the classic, “Who poisoned the sweet potatoes and marshmallows?” Or, or… you know, you could accidentally get a turkey leg stuck in your throat and choke. People have been known to display extremely gluttonous behavior on this wonderfully hazardous day!


A tribe of angry Native Americans could charge into your family gathering, wielding spears packed with the wrath of centuries worth of being misunderstood and segregated, then having a holiday created in their name depicting what really happened as something worth celebrating.

We are just kidding – we hope! We just wanted to give you a laugh and a smile, but also wanted to express the importance of the various types of insurance you need to protect you during the holidays – and on all days!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

6 Common Property Insurance Mistakes – You Could Lose Everything

Getting the right property and casualty insurance coverage may not rank high on your list of financial priorities. Compared with investment decisions and estate planning issues, questions about the language in your homeowners policy, say, may seem hardly worth considering. Yet the more successful you become, the more complicated your asset-protection needs are likely to be— and the more you have to lose. Suppose, for example, that in addition to your primary residence—a historic home—you also own a house at the beach and a condo in the city. The properties are in three different states. The value of your collection of Abstract Expressionist paintings has grown rapidly. And you just volunteered to serve on the board of directors of a charitable organization.

Almost every aspect of this situation could cost you dearly. Insurance laws may vary widely from state to state, different kinds of property require specialized coverage, and collections of art, antique cars, and other unique items may be difficult to protect fully. Meanwhile, serving on a nonprofit’s board could subject you to additional personal liability.

Safeguarding yourself and your family may mean buying additional coverage, but more insurance isn’t necessarily the solution. Rather, it’s important to review all of your needs, consider specialized policies or policy options, and coordinate your coverage with other aspects of your financial situation. Here are 6 different shortcomings that could prove costly.

1. Leaving gaps in homeowners coverage. Any homeowner needs to review coverage regularly to keep up with rising replacement costs. But insuring different kinds of homes in different locales poses extra challenges. If you buy insurance from more than one carrier, you may face contrasting rules, limitations, and policy renewal dates. For example, the liability limit on the policy for a second home might fall below the minimum on an excess liability policy designed to complement the insurance on your primary home. You could wind up responsible for the difference.

2. Ignoring properties unique characteristics. One perk of affluence is the means to own exceptional homes; one drawback is that they may be difficult to insure adequately. St andard homeowners coverage won’t pay for the materials and craftsmanship needed to rebuild that 19th century showplace you’ve painstakingly restored. Coastal homes may face hurricane damage, while a place in the California mountains could be subject to earthquakes or wildfires. Meanwhile, city co-ops or condos may need policies tailored to their buildings or associations coverage.

3. Under insuring art and collectibles. St andard homeowners policies limit coverage for the losses of antiques, furs, and other valuables. And while you could schedule additional coverage, insuring the real value of a collection of contemporary art or vintage muscle cars likely will require a specialized policy addressing several critical issues. How is the value of the collection determined? (You’ll need a professional appraisal when the policy is designed, with frequent updates as items appreciate.) Will a damaged or destroyed item be paid for with cash, or will you be required to have it replaced or restored? Will additions to your collection automatically be covered?

4. Forgetting to insure household employees. When someone works for you or your family, as a nanny, l andscaper, personal assistant, or in another role, you could be liable for medical expenses and lost wages if the worker is hurt on the job. Several states require household employers to pay into a workers compensation fund, while in other states it’s optional, but providing such insurance may be m andatory for ensuring your financial well being. If an employee drives your car, also make sure he or she is included on your policy.

Enjoying life with HIV or AIDS

Life can change in a matter of seconds–accidents, births, new jobs; the list is exhaustible. Hearing the news that you have HIV or AIDS is one of those moments, one of those life changing, harrowing, irreversable moments. But living with HIV or AIDS doesn’t have to be the defining factor that controls how you live.

When I was fourteen, my uncle revealed to my family that he had contracted HIV from his long time partner, who was not aware that he was infected. It was the late 1990’s, and not much was known about either HIV or AIDS; the news seemed devestating and final. My uncle was a smart man, and immediatly made arrangments for those he loved. He purchased life insurance that would support his daughter till she reached a legal age, and drafted a will that covered every basis.

But the years passed, and my uncle continued to thrive; we went on vacations all over the U.S., he and his partner took up pottery making, and his daughter graduated highschool with a full scholarship. Time moved forward, and it became easier and easier to forget about the disease that once consumed his every thought.

He, like millions of others living with HIV and AIDS, finally decided that his life was still his own. Nearly fiften years have passed, and both my uncle and his partner are still active, happy, thriving members of society. HIV is still a part of who he is, but it is by no means the majority of who he is.

If you have recently found out that you are HIV or AIDS positive, it is perfectly ok, even advisable, to play it safe and plan for the future. But remember to also live in the now. Enjoy each day, and spend time with the people that love you. Life can change in a matter of seconds, but it doesn’t have to always be for the worse, even when it seems that way at first.

Louis- the Tale of Redemption

Louis was a man who lived by his own rules. He did what he wanted and never cared who got hurt in the process. Then in the 90’s this man in his early forties found out he had AIDS. He found out when he was in the hospital for an unrelated matter.

Being diagnosed with AIDS made Louis re-evaluate the way his life was going and what he was doing. He first got life insurance (which was no easy task at this time) and then set out to make things right with his family. He decided to look up his daughter who he had not seen since she was 9. She was now 20 years old and had two children.

He spent his last few years getting to know his daughter and making up for lost time. He got to spend time with his gr andchildren as well as his nieces and nephews. He had been estranged from much of the family because of the way he had treated them in the past. He used his time to make amends and regain trust as well as bond with the people he loved. At first he worried that his pride would make this impossible, he realized in the end that he cared about his family more than his pride. When he passed, he was surrounded by not only his daughter, but his siblings and father as well.

Living with HIV, the Positive Side

When HIV was first discovered it was pretty much a death sentence. People were not expected to live very long after their diagnoses and that made getting life insurance difficult. Because of major drug developments and a better underst anding of the disease people are living longer than ever with HIV.

Even those born with HIV, who have been on meds are their life, are now living a full and healthy life. They are going to school, dating, getting married, and even having children. They no longer need to fear the discrimination that was once so prevalent to those born with the disease because there is more underst anding and education on it.

Those who find in their twenties and thirties are still going to college and getting jobs. They have access to wonderful counseling centers that are dedicated to serving those who are HIV positive. They have had some medical issues, but are still healthy because of advances in treatment.

Those who were diagnosed later in life have had to endure many obstacles. Some of them have had HIV for twenty plus years and have been able to see their children grow up and have children of their own. This is giving hope to all of those who have been diagnosed with HIV. They are seeing that they do have a future after all.