If you’re injured at work, you’re probably covered by worker’s compensation (WC) insurance. Laws vary by state, but in many states, including Michigan, employers must carry worker’s comp.
If you’re a business, you need to know what
worker’s comp WC covers, why you need it, and how to get it. Let’s dig into the basics.
WC covers work related injuries or illness.
- Missed wages: If an injured or sick worker is not able to perform their assigned duties they will be compensated during that time.
- Medical expenses: Any costs that come from treating the injury or illness.
- Rehab: If an employee needs ongoing care after initial care in order to return to work.
- Death benefits: If an employee passes away in a work-related incident, limited death benefits will cover funeral and other costs.
Injuries covered by WC must be work-related. This does not include normal commuting to and from work but would cover injuries sustained while traveling for work.
How It Works
When an employee is injured at work, they must report the incident to their employer as soon as possible. To be eligible to be covered by WC, incidents must be reported within 90 days. The employee will make a claim and the employer or WC carrier will either pay or deny the claim. In most cases, the only way a claim can be denied is if it’s found that the employee was injured as the result of misconduct.
When It’s Required:
In Michigan, employers must carry WC if they have three or more employees at any time of if they have one employee working 35 hours of more a week for 13 weeks. While there are some exceptions, generally, if you’re paid to perform services, you’re an employee. Some farm workers and contractors don’t fall under this rule.
How You Get It:
Call your Independent insurance agent. The Holt & Dimondale Agency has qualified professionals on staff to assist you with all of your insurance needs.
Given that your house is not just a roof over your head but also an investment, a source of equity and possibly savings, and a home, you want to make sure you, your money, and your family are protected if anything should happen. But the role our homes play as our protectors and main assets make them particularly vulnerable to disaster. Home insurance rates will vary based on where you live, the age of your home, and more.
Your home is one of your most valuable assets. How much would…or should…you pay to protect to it? Well that depends on a number of factors and it may not always pay to choose the cheapest policy. Let’s take a look at the price of home insurance, what types of protections you have, and what makes it cost what it does.
NOTE: Homeowners insurance is not required by law. Most lending institutions require it in order to cover their investment. There are endorsements and limits that can be added to every basic homeowner’s policy in order to cover all your assets and that can get confusing. We can help answer those questions and get you the coverage you need. Here’s a look at some of those endorsements and limits.
Types of Home Insurance:
Before we talk price, let’s talk about the different types of policies you can choose from to protect your home.
Homeowners Insurance: This policy covers specific causes of loss to the structure, attached structures (garages) and unattached structures (sheds) to the limit of the policy. Wind, hail, water, fire, theft and vandalism are the most common causes of loss to name a few.
Personal Liability: Personal Liability is part of your home owner’s plan and covers you if you are found responsible for an accident involving the home covered in the policy. This could be legal expenses and/or any cost associated if sued.
Medical Payments: This covers the medical expenses of someone outside your household who are injured on your property, no matter who is at fault.
Additional Living Expenses: This will cover some or all living expenses if you are displaced from your home and is another beneficial part of your homeowner’s policy.
Renter’s Insurance: This type of homeowner’s insurance covers your personal property and various forms of Liability. There is no coverage for the actual structure (the owner of the structure should cover that), but it should give you peace of mind in the event of theft, fire, water back up or other causes of loss. Renters insurance costs less because you are not insuring the structure.
Dwelling Fire Insurance: This is typically the type of insurance Landlords carry on rental properties. Dwelling Fire insurance covers the structure and liability but not the contents in most cases. Again, this is typically less expensive than an actual home owner’s policy because you are not covering the contents of the home(because the landlord doesn’t have contents within the structure).
Personal Property: This covers the personal belongings you keep in your home, like your clothing, furniture, and electronics.
Major Cost Factors of Home Insurance
Homeowners insurance will vary based on a number of factors and will depend what state you’re in. States with more densely populated area and a lot of major cities will likely have higher premiums due to higher home values.
Your state’s likelihood of experiencing a natural disaster also factors in to your insurance rates. For example, Louisiana has some of the highest premiums in the country due to its location on the coast and its regular occurrence of strong storms.
Before we take a look at Michigan’s rates, let’s dive into some of the other factors that will impact your home insurance rates.
Your Insurance Score: While this has nothing to do with your home itself, most insurance will check on this. Things that can affect this score include claims, late payments, and your ability to pay premiums or not paying your premiums.
The Age of Your Home: Older homes are beautiful but are more likely to have problems such as old plumbing and elements that are not up to code. Updating essential parts of the home like HVAC, electrical, the roof, or the plumbing can make a difference in your premium.
Replacement Cost: You might ask, “why do I have to carry insurance for $300,000 if I only paid $200,000?” This is where the replacement cost comes in. The cost to rebuild your $200,000 home in two, three, or ten years will be closer to $300,000 than $200,000.
Actual Cash Value (ACV): The ACV is a typical for older homes because you simply can’t replace many of the things in these homes. The ACV takes a value and then calculates depreciation to come up with a value.
- Consumer protection laws
- Proximity to a fire department
- Flood Risks
- Hurricane Risks
- Earthquake Risks
- Pools or Hot Tubs
Michigan Insurance Rates
Luckily, Michigan has some of the lowest insurance rates in the country, averaging just $908 per year, versus a national average of $1,173.
But you’re not in the clear just because you live in Michigan. Given what we learned about what can impact home insurance rates, Michigan residents are at risk for potential claims due to rough winters, windy lakeshores, and older homes.
What does that mean for you? It means you should talk to an agent to find out where and how to get your best insurance rates and that it may not always be advisable to choose the lowest rate Your number one priority should be covering all your risks and the Holt & Dimondale Agency can help you do that.
With nearly 60 years of experience as your local, independent insurance agency, you can trust the Holt & Dimondale Agency to find the best products to fit your insurance needs.
There are a lot of decisions to make when purchasing your home. If you’re purchasing your first home, those choices can seem overwhelming. But, even amid all the craziness, don’t forget about home insurance. This policy can play an important role in protecting you, your home, and your assets from future disasters.
Not sure where to start? Here are few things you should consider when purchasing home insurance.
The Rebuild Cost
What if tragedy strikes and you have to completely rebuild your home? When deciding how much building insurance you need, you should consider the rebuild cost. This can be easy to overestimate as many people tend to forget that this cost only includes the cost of building the house, not securing the land. You pay for that when you purchase your home. Land is included in the home’s market value so don’t assume that you need to cover the entire amount of your home’s market value.
Your insurance agent can help you find that value of the materials and labor needed to rebuild your home in the event of an emergency.
The Cost of Your Stuff
You keep all your stuff in your house. If something happens to your house, something happens to your stuff. Insuring your things can get tricky because it often depends on a number of factors like the value of the items, if they stay in the house or travel with you, and if they’re for work or pleasure.
But it’s important to try and accurately estimate the value of the items you would like covered and make sure you have the right right policies to cover those items. This might appear as an extra “contents replacement cost” on your policy so you need to know what to look for.
Your insurance agent can help you make both these estimates and choices.
There are none. That’s right, there are no state-mandated requirements for homeowners coverage (as there are for auto insurance in most states), and a mortgage lender may only require you to insure for 80 percent of the replacement value of your home. But keep in mind that no insurance, or even too little insurance, could be devastating in the event of an emergency. But no insurance, or too little, could leave you stranded.
We’ve talked about liability protection in terms of your business, but you should seriously consider purchasing it with your home policy. Like with your business, liability protection protects you and your assets in the event you’re sued. Depending on where you live, you could be sued for nearly all your assets— including investments, real estate, and personal property. So be sure to consider this when purchasing liability protection.
Even if a flood seems unlikely in your area, flood insurance is a good idea. Most policies cover flood damage even if it’s caused by a pipe bursting or other dysfunctional systems in your home.
Given the price of coverage—and the fact that about a quarter of flood claims come from low to moderate-risk areas—it’s a worthwhile expense for many people.
Ways to Lower Your Premium
If you’re looking into homeowner’s insurance, consider some ways to lower your premium when you purchase.
- Bundling coverage
- Choosing a higher deductible
- Adding a security system
- Replacing old plumbing
- Adding leak detection sensors
Anything you can do to help prevent accidents in your home will help you pay less for homeowner’s insurance!
Different policies cover different aspects of your home and while it can seem confusing or overwhelming, the best choice you can make for your home is choosing the right insurance agent.
Need an agent who can help you out? Give us a call today. With nearly 60 years of experience as your local, independent insurance agency, you can trust the Holt & Dimondale Agency to find the best products to fit your insurance needs.
With the upcoming changes to Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Laws in 2020, we’re introducing a series of blogs that will fill you in on the basics and help you prepare. This is the first of those blogs.
In our first blog, we covered what exactly liability coverage is, why you need it, and what these changes mean for your coverage.
Today, we’re going to talk about the specific impact these changes could have on your family. Because let’s face it, when you hear about these changes, the first thing you think about is your family and if they will still be covered. Well, we have answers.
To find out how your family will be impacted by these changes, let’s take a look at a Before and After view of No Fault.
Who was covered?
- The driver of a car
- The passengers or pedestrians who are not a resident or relative (either they live outside the home permanently or live within the home but are not related) are covered.
No-Fault Reform in 2020
Who is covered as of July 2020?
- The insured
- The insured’s spouse and a relative of either individual who is living in the same household.
- Anyone who is related to you that lives in the same house will be afforded the same coverage that you have on your policy.
Household members have been covered in the past, even if they were not related. This is no longer the case.
Keep in mind, your child’s insurance travels with them. They’re covered under you, even if you’re not in the car.
One gray area that will come up is domestic partners, couples that live together but aren’t married. In this case, we recommend having your own, individual policy to be safe.
What will your family spend?
You’re always concerned about budget and the cost of insuring your family, we get it. With the current No-Fault policies, many Michiganders get discouraged with the amount they have to pay for Personal Injury Protection, a policy they didn’t get to choose.
With No-Fault Reform, they will have the option to choose the amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage they carry. Those options will be:
- $50,000: The applicant or insured must be enrolled in Medicaid
- No policy: The applicant or insured must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B
What does this mean for cost?
While many assume this change will mean significantly lower insurance premiums, they are only partially correct. Yes, there will be a slight reduction in premiums depending on your choice. But, here are some things you should keep in mind when considering making the switch:
- The premium reduction is only on the PIP portion of your policy
- The reduction will most likely be incredibly small
- If you’re injured in a car accident, your medical bills could exceed $250,000 very quickly
- If you stick with lifetime medical, you won’t see much of a change at all
If you’re thinking of choosing a lower coverage amount in July, please reach out to your insurance agent to find out what this could mean for you and your family. If you don’t have an agent you can reach out to, please give us a call.
We want to make sure every Michigan driver is comfortable with their policy and covered when something happens.
Worker’s compensation insurance, insurance that can help employees cover medical fees and lost wages for work-related injuries or illness, is required in almost every state for businesses that have employees.
But, in an ever growing gig-economy filled with contractors and self-employed individuals looking to build their own businesses, set their own hours and be their own boss, it’s worth asking—if I’m self-employed, do I need worker’s comp?
The short answer is, “no.” But, hang on. While in general, self-employed individuals with no employees are not required to purchase worker’s comp, here are a few reasons you still might want to.
Some businesses require that contractors carry it
Many businesses have a strict rule…if you work with them, you have to be covered. This includes contractors and subcontractors. If this is their rule, you might be required to purchase it depending on the laws in your state. Depending on the business, even freelance writers may be required to purchase it.
You’ll be covered if injured while working
If your job often leads you into situations where you risk an injury, you might want to invest in worker’s comp. Regular health insurance does not cover work-related injuries so you risk losing out on income if you’re injured on the job. If you purchase independent contractor worker’s comp, you’re covered.
You might want worker’s comp if:
- You tend to work with companies that require it
- You do physical work like construction
- You are the sole provider for your family
- You hire subcontractors to help you out
Consider these types of Insurance:
If you opt out of getting worker’s comp, self-employed individuals may be better off investing in these types of insurances instead.
- General Liability: Protects you and your business from various claims
- Errors and Omissions: Protects you when a mistake is made
- Commercial Auto Insurance: Protects you and your vehicle if you use it to do business
There’s always some gray area when it comes to what types of insurance you may or may not need. If you’re not sure, just give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have and help you find the right policy.
With the upcoming changes to Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Laws in 2020, we’re introducing a series of blogs that will fill you in on the basics and help you prepare. This is the first of those blogs.
Insurance is not always the hottest topic at family dinner or while pre-gaming before the big game, but the pending changes in Michigan’s current No-Fault Auto insurance should definitely be a topics of conversation.
First, let’s get a basic understanding of some of the key policy terms, because let’s be honest, most people have no idea.
The one thing that is required of EVERY auto insurance policy is Liability coverage. This is what covers you in the event you are at fault in a crash. The injured party or their insurance company can come back on you for damages either to their property or persons when you are legally responsible for the accident. You have the option to choose limits of liability ranging from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per occurrence for personal auto insurance.
The state minimum is currently $20,000 but will increase to $50,000 in July 2020 as a result of the new legislation.
What Is Liability Insurance?
Liability is one of the first choices you make. How much is enough? In today’s litigious society, everyone sues everyone and the sky is the limit. Don’t let that scare you into thinking you HAVE to have $1,000,000 in liability coverage.
Liability insurance provides the insured party with protection against claims resulting from injuries and damage to people and/or property.
Liability insurance policies cover both legal costs and any payouts for which the insured party would be responsible if found legally liable. Intentional damage and contractual liabilities are generally not covered in these types of policies.
How It Works
The new law will also have a “default” liability coverage of $250,000 unless you sign a form to acknowledge that you understand the potential risk of taking a lower liability limit. All you have to do is watch TV for 5 minutes to see three law firms that represent accident victims and get six figure settlements in court. The new law expressly states that if you are at fault in a crash that injures someone, they can sue you for any and all expenses over what their policy covers.
Example: You are ruled at fault in a crash that seriously injures the driver (Johnny) of the other vehicle. Johnny has a $250,000 limit on his Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Johnny spends a month in the hospital and 3 months in rehab with a total bill of $750,000 dollars. Johnny will now hire one of those fancy law firms to sue YOU for the $500,000 in uncovered medical expenses.
The “order of priority” is what defines who is actually covered under a particular policy. Starting in July 2020, this order of priority is very specific. The named insured, their spouse and resident relatives living in the same house, are covered. In the old law, those that lived in the same house whether related or not would be covered because they had access to the vehicle. So, if you are not related to the named insured or spouse of the named insured, you are NOT covered on the policy.
Come July, your policy is going to change. If you have questions about those changes, give us a call. And stay tuned for more information on the new laws!
You’re starting a business. You’ve got your business cards, a snazzy location picked out, a beautiful website and fun business name…now what? Besides all the fun stuff that comes with opening a business, you also need to look into the stuff that’s going to protect you if there is a problem…business insurance. And when it comes to business insurance, it’s not one-size-fits-all.
As you build a business insurance portfolio, it’s going to include all the different types of insurance that can help protect your individual business.
While you need to cover your bases, businesses could go broke thinking about the things that could wrong and trying to cover every single possibility. It’s important to think about your business, what you do, who your customers are, what liabilities you might face and which ones you won’t, and then decide which insurance is right for you. To make sure you’re covered, it’s important to talk to an expert.
That said, here are a few places to start when it comes to covering your business:
Worker’s Comp: Worker’s Compensation is required in most states. This insurance covers your employees in the event on an on-the-job injury or any illnesses suffered due to their job. If they have to miss work for any amount of time because of something caused by their work, this will cover their time off and their medical bills.
Property Insurance: Property insurance covers the actual location of your business. If you own the building where you house your business, this is an important coverage. It protects the building in the event of fire, natural disasters, or harm caused by an employee. Depending on your situation, this type of insurance may not apply to you.
Liability Coverage: This important policy covers you if you’re sued by a customer or employee. It does’t matter what type of business you are, you’re always open to lawsuits and you’re always at risk of being shut down by legal fees.
While business owners are always concerned with expenses and the price of multiple types of insurance might make you hold your check book a little closer, if you have a buiness, you’re open to risk—risks like:
- Loss due to theft or damage
- Mistakes that cause harm or destruction or customers or employees
The above policies protect your business from those common incidents, but, depending on your business, you could be open to even more risks.
Before you consider what types of business insurance you need, you should consider what types of risks you could face. Here are some of the most common risks faced by business owners:
- Data breaches: A data breach could cost your business up to $50,000 in recovery costs
- Business Interruption: If your day-to-day is interrupted by a power outage or inclement weather, you could lose a lot of money
- Reputation Damage: You could face damage to your reputation if a customers is unhappy
- Vehicle Protection: If you use vehicles to run your business, you need to protect them
These are just a few of the most common risks but your needs, and business insurance costs, will vary based on your business.
A few factors that could influence the cost of your plan include:
- The type of business
- Number of employees
- The types of goods or services you offer
- Your business risks
So, when you’re choosing business insurance, you’re not just picking one policy that could cover every risk you might face. While it can get complicated, you’ll be faced with a number of policies to choose from. On top of the ones we’ve already mentioned, you need to decide if your business insurance will include:
- Commercial Auto Insurance
- Cybercrime Insurance
- Employer Insurance
- And more
You probably need business insurance even if you think you don’t. So, before you start building your business insurance portfolio, it’s best to talk to an insurance agent familiar with the many facets of business insurance.
☐ Inspect roof and foundation for leaks, cracks, and weaknesses. Seal and/or repair early in fall while temperatures are still mild.
☐ Make sure attic insulation is sufficient, not only for energy savings but to prevent the build-up of roof damaging ice dams.
☐ Clean gutters and downspouts once leaves have fallen. Make sure they are properly secured.
☐ Have a professional inspect and clean chimney.
☐ Check for and seal any gaps (foundation/ siding) where critters and cold could enter.
☐ Rake all leaves up so they don’t inhibit spring grass growth. Use them to mulch flower and vegetable beds.
☐ Check shrubs and trees for cracked or broken branches. Have growth over roof and close to home trimmed or removed.
☐ Check all exterior window and door caulking; look for shrinkage and gaps, and repair if necessary. Consider adding weather stripping to windows and door sweeps to the base of doors to keep heat in and cold air out.
☐ Drain all exterior spigots/hose bibs at the shut off, even the frost free ones. Install insulated faucet covers.
☐ Winterize central air conditioning unit.
☐ Check walkways, railings and stairs to make sure they are in good shape and free of debris that could be buried by snow and become a trip hazard.
☐ Install covers on outside electrical outlets.
☐ Replace door screens with storm windows.
☐ Have snow blower prepped and ready for first snow while weather is still mild. Make sure shovels are also in good condition and purchase pet friendly ice melt.
☐ Make sure summer gas operated machinery is emptied of fuel and properly stored.
☐ Clean and properly store all outdoor furniture and summer decorations.
☐ Drain hoses and store them indoors.
☐ Replace furnace and humidifier filters (have the furnace inspected and cleaned prior to use).
☐ Change rotation of ceiling fans.
☐ Test smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries. (Replace detectors every 10 years.)
☐ Test fire extinguishers. Have refilled at authorized facility if gauge is not in green. (Replace fire extinguishers every 12 years.)
☐ In kitchen: Degrease range hood and filter, clean oven and vacuum refrigerator coils.
☐ Make sure vents/openings in crawl space are closed.
☐ Clean under and behind the clothes dryer. Inspect and clean entire length of dryer vent to outside or have it professionally inspected/cleaned.
☐ Wash windows outside while temps are still mild.
☐ Make note of all large/newly purchased items over summer. Discuss with your insurance agent to make sure items are properly insured.
Create or check existing emergency kit:
☐ Have plenty of batteries on hand for flashlights, along with candles and matches.
☐ Stash extra blankets in easily accessible location.
☐ Have several gallons of water and non-perishable food items on hand. (Chocolate and board games optional/recommended.)
☐ Pet owners should have extra pet food on hand.
☐ Make sure emergency kit includes a weather radio.
☐ Consider purchasing extra power pack for cell phone.
☐ Have gas safely stored for generator, if applicable.
Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational and information purposes only. Holt & Dimondale Agency makes no warranties or representations, express or implied, with respect to the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of this information. It is not a recommendation that a particular course of action be followed. Holt & Dimondale Agency does not assume and has no responsibility for liability or damage which may result from the use of any of this information.
Choosing the right car insurance is an important process.
In 2013, the average collision claim was $3,144. Without car insurance, you could be responsible for paying that amount out of pocket. Could you afford that? But it’s not enough to just go out and grab the cheapest policy you can find. Cheap doesn’t always equal affordable since with lower-priced policies you could end up paying more after an accident.
So, how do you pick the right car insurance for your situation? We’ve got some tips to help you get started.
Check Your State’s Minimum Requirements
We aren’t saying to go with the minimum amount you need, but we are saying this is a good place to start. Every state has different requirements and most basic requirements include liability insurance.
The most important thing to remember is that driving without insurance is illegal in most states. Whether it’s legal or not, going uninsured leaves you financially vulnerable and leaves you open to bigger costs in the long run.
Think About Your Deductible
Before you start shopping, have a good idea of how much of a deductible you can afford.
Your insurance deductible will directly affect how much you get paid in a claim. You can save a lot of money in costs if you have a higher deductible but this may not be something you think you could afford if the need arises. It’s all about using the right strategy which means talking to potential agents.
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, you’ll want to shop around and see what options are available. While many articles will advise you to make sure you’re getting the best rate, this isn’t the only thing you should be looking for. You want to best rate for what you need.
Online comparison tools offer a quick look at common rates but for a more personalized quote, you’re going to need to talk to an agent about what you need.
Ask About Discounts
Once you start talking to agents, don’t be afraid to ask for, and take advantage of, all the discounts that could be available to you.
There are different discounts based on different situations. If you are considered a lower risk driver, you could qualify more discounts. This could mean you’re older, married, or have a safe driving record.
You could also save if you have anti-theft devices on your car or if you bundle home and auto insurance. These are also questions you should ask the various agents you speak to before choosing a policy.
Other possible discounts include:
- Low mileage
- Winter storage discounts
- Green car – environmentally friendly discounts
- Retiree discounts
- Student or student away at school discounts
Choose the Right Agency
Choosing an insurance policy is an important decision and so is choosing the person that will help you manage your insurance. The right agent will understand your individual situation and find the best policy to save you money. If you find an agent you can stick with, they will be there when your situation changes and will be able to help you adjust your policy accordingly. A new car might get one rate but when it’s not new anymore, what happens?To find the right agent you can ask around to friends and family, perform interviews, and check into their background.
If you’re not sure which policy is right for you, give us a call. With nearly 60 years of experience as your local, independent insurance agency, you can trust the Holt & Dimondale Agency to find the best products to fit your insurance needs.