Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Scary Stuff

Well, back to our ongoing discussion about the Long Island and New York homeowners and flood insurance situation, and hurricanes in general. CBS News has an article today in their online version that has some scary information. Check it out here. I didn't realize that because of various geographic and weather issues, it would not take a category 4 or 5 storm, only a category 3 to really do some major damage to our area.

I live 2 blocks south of Sunrise Highway, and I bought flood insurance a couple of weeks ago. Coverage in those areas that are not considered high hazard is reasonably priced ($352 for the FEMA maximum of $250,000 on the structure and $100,000 on contents) and it's worth it for the peace of mind.

The one thing this article really points out is that the insurance companies, municipalities, and residents are basically in denial and are using the 'keep your fingers crossed' method of preparing for the inevitable. It might not happen this year, or next, but at some point it will.

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Topic - Vacation Car Rentals

This week we will take another break from talking about the Long Island homeowners and flood insurance situation and talking a little about a question we still get a lot at our office. That would be the one about what insurance you have to buy from the rental company when you go on vacation and rent a car.

A number of years ago, in response to car rental companies trying to add $10-20 per day onto the cost of a rental vehicle through things like 'collision damage waiver', the State of New York came up with mandatory coverage to be included on every New York car insurance policy so that NY residents would not have to pay the extra charges.

So now, every New York auto insurance policy contains a 'rental vehicle coverage endorsement' providing coverage for actual damage to or loss of a rental vehicle. The coverage extents to rental of a passenger car, station wagon, van, or pickup, anywhere in the U.S., its territories or possessions, and Canada. So right away, note that coverage does NOT apply to a truck larger than a regular van or pickup, such as the type you might rent from U-Haul to move your stuff, for example. And coverage does NOT apply to rentals in Europe or anywhere outside the U.S. and Canada.

Note that the coverage specifically DOES apply to 'loss of use' of the rental vehicle. That means that if you have an accident, and the rental company loses 3 weeks worth of rental income while the car is repaired, that loss is also covered. That's because once the rental companies lost the extra daily rental charge, they tried to come up with other things to add on that were not covered under the NY auto policy. So the state included additional coverage.

Please note that you must read your own policy and/or talk to your insurance agent to make sure your policy has the exact same wording, but basically on something like this where it's required by the State, the wording has to match the State standards and so should be standard. So when you rent a car on vacation, and comply with the restrictions set out in your policy, the bottom line is that you do NOT have to buy any extra insurance for the damage to the rental car.

For more info on this or any of your other insurance questions, please feel free to contact us through our web site at www.NYInsuranceWithService.com.