Friday, October 25, 2013

Protect Your Home and Everything in it with Homeowners Insurance

Dostal & Kirk Insurance & Financial Services is your source for the right home insurance in Powell, Galion & Bucyrus, Ohio.

One fact of home ownership is that you need to protect your property. Your mortgage lender will require it, and peace of mind does too. Homeowners insurance provides that protection.

Another fact is that when you work with Dostal & Kirk you will understand your coverage and get the service you expect. When a water pipe bursts, we will be there to help you get the repairs necessary to bring back peace of mind.

Homeowners Insurance Explained 
There are many parts to any homeowners insurance policy, but the four main coverage components are:

Building. Coverage usually includes unattached structures such as garages, sheds, retaining walls, fences and more. It insures against most perils that could cause damage to your home, including fire, lightning, explosions, theft, vandalism, smoke, snow, ice, water overflow, vehicle crash, falling objects and others. Common exclusions are flood and earthquake, which may mean you need to add coverage, depending on your location.

Contents: Your personal property and contents of the home are protected from the same perils as the building. The total value of your belongings is determined as a percentage of the home’s structure coverage, which means if you own many valuables, you will likely need additional coverage for the contents of your home.

Liability: Coverage will compensate for medical costs and legal expenses associated with damages or injuries to others caused by you or family members on your property or away from home, up to a certain limit. Liability coverage is what protects you when your dog or other covered animal bites a neighbor.

Temporary Living Expenses: If your home is damaged, this will cover your housing, meals, car storage and other expenses while your home is repaired or rebuilt. It usually pays up to a certain percentage of the total amount your home is insured for.

Types of Home Insurance Coverage 
When you purchase insurance to protect your home and contents, you can choose from three types of coverage: 

Actual cash value: Covers the value of your home plus your personal property after depreciation. You won’t be reimbursed for what you spent on your possessions, in other words, but rather for what they are worth before you need to file a claim. 

Replacement cost: Covers actual value of your home and contents without factoring depreciation. It may be more expensive than Actual Cash Value but it guarantees you can repair or rebuild your home and replace everything you’ve lost, no matter the age or condition. 

Extended replacement: Coverage provides protection against inflation by insuring your home will be rebuilt or repaired, no matter what the cost. 

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost
As with all types of insurance, there is not a standard price for homeowners insurance since no two homeowners have the exact same needs. So let’s talk about factors that influence the cost of your homeowners insurance to get a better understanding of how costs are determined. 
It starts with how much your house is worth and where it is located. Is the neighborhood subject to much crime, is there a fire hydrant nearby, how far will firefighters have to travel to get to your house? The age of the home speaks to condition of plumbing, heating and electrical systems. A home’s claims history will be considered, including those by previous owners. Your credit history will also be a factor. Insurance industry studies show that people with better credit tend to be more responsible homeowners who file fewer claims. 

Ways to Lower Homeowners Insurance Premiums 
Homeowners insurance may be required, but paying more than you need to for coverage is not. 
Here are some things you can do to save money on your premiums: 
  • Raise your deductible 
  • Multi-policy discounts if you use one company for both home and car insurance 
  • Age discounts, based either on your age or the home’s 
  • Home security discount (home alarms, smoke detectors, deadbolt locks, etc.) 
  • Claims-free discounts if you don’t file a claim for a certain number of years (varies by insurance company) 
Review Your Policy Annually 
Once you have purchases homeowners insurance, it’s smart to review your policy every year since changes do occur, and you always want to be sure you are properly protected. For example, have you made changes to the property or added an expensive antique that needs a policy amendment? Did your credit rating improve, or have you experienced other life events that could mean you qualify for additional discounts? 

Document Your Belongings 
You’ve worked hard for your home and possessions, so take an extra step and create a home inventory. Photograph, videotape or otherwise document the entire contents of your home. Store the photos, data file or videotape in a fireproof box. Then, should disaster in one form or another strike, you’ll be prepared for the claims process if you can readily provide proof of home contents to the insurance company. 

Dostal & Kirk Is Here To Help
Whether it’s your home or your car or your small business you need to insure, we will be with you every step of the way. On your behalf, we work with several insurance companies so you know you’re getting the best possible coverage at the best possible price. Call us today at (877) 562-6801. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Make Sure Your Valuables Are Covered with Homeowners Insurance

You don’t have to be a millionaire to have high value assets. Perhaps you own fine jewelry, a grand piano or a prized collection? Your keepsakes with high monetary value — family heirlooms and other personal belongings — are important to you.

Owning expensive things can be enjoyable for you and your family but also carries some risk. To protect what you own, it is necessary to understand what coverage your homeowners insurance offers for your high value property.

Standard homeowners insurance often has limits on the amount of coverage available for valuable property. If you own things that would be expensive to replace, your homeowners insurance may not provide the full coverage you need to pay for costly replacement items. Limitations can apply to individual items and categories of items. When the value of a collection is high, additional high value assets insurance can be needed to adequately cover its worth.

How High Value Assets Insurance Can Benefit You
While standard homeowners insurance has limits on the amount of coverage available for individual personal items, your policy can be tailored to cover your high value property. High value assets insurance can protect your valuable personal property in ways that standard homeowners insurance cannot. Coverage for high value assets can be provided for all risks, including breakage and theft.

It is important to understand the full value of items and protect what you own. High value assets insurance can be used to provide full coverage for a wide range of items, including:

 Antiques
 Artwork
 Cameras
 Collections: stamps, coins, wine, figurines
 Electronics
 Fine jewelry, watches
 Firearms, guns
 Furs
 Golf equipment
 Memorabilia
 Musical instruments
 Silver, silverware

Many people own valuable property and are unaware of just how much it is worth. Maybe you did not even purchase your keepsakes; they were inherited or given to you. Even if you purchased a valuable item, its value can fluctuate over time. A credible appraiser can be helpful. Although some cost is involved with a formal appraisal, this can be money well spent for any serious collector.

Make an Inventory of Your Valuable Assets
A thorough and accurate assessment of your valuable property today can make handling a claim a much more efficient process should the need ever arise. First, compile a list of all of your valuable possessions. Make a detailed list of everything valuable you own, take photographs of the items and store the list somewhere outside of your home in a safe deposit box or at a friend or relative’s residence.

Record all valuable items as you go through your part of your house room to room, including the basement and garage. List the name of the item and a description as well as brand name if applicable, the date purchased and any appraisals. This same process can also be used to provide an overall home inventory for your regular homeowners insurance that includes more standard possessions.

Once you have completed your home inventory taking note of high value items, a yearly assessment can update changes in your possessions and their value. Updated information about your possessions can keep your high value asset coverage fitted to your changing needs.

Insurance Protection Brings Peace of Mind
High value assets insurance offers coverage when broader protection is required. It can be reassuring to know that your most valuable possessions have full coverage in the event of unexpected loss due to fire, theft or damage.

Learn More about How to Protect Your Valuable Property
Don’t make assumptions about how your high value assets are insured. Contact Dostal & Kirk today to assess your high value asset risk and form a comprehensive insurance plan. Our greatest priority is to make sure that you have the right insurance coverage for all of your property.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tips to Boost Your Credit Could Lower Your Insurance Premiums

More and more you hear that your credit rating can affect how much you pay for auto and
home insurance. Have you ever wondered why? What do your spending history and credit
cards and money habits have in common with insurance? The concept is debatable, but it is a
fact that your credit rating has a significant impact on your auto insurance rates.

It may make sense if you know that insurance companies determine insurance rates by
classifying people in groups, based on age, gender, location, accidents, violations, credit history
and more. Research shows that as a group, people with lower credit scores pose a larger risk to
the insurance companies that are protecting them (Insurance Information Institute). Perhaps
they are distracted and have more accidents. On the other hand, people who manage their
credit tend to be more responsible and file fewer auto and home claims.

How Can I Improve My Credit Score?

It’s important to monitor your credit score, so get yours, either online or by phone. You are
entitled to a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies every
year. To improve your score over time:

  • Pay your bills on time. Automatic bill pay might help you avoid missing deadlines. 
  • Be aware of your total debt. Pay down any credit-card balances so they are significantly less than half of your total credit limit.
  • The length of your credit history matters, so think about that before closing old accounts.
  • If you see an error on your report, take steps to have it removed.

You will be glad you made the effort to boost your credit score. Not only will you save on 
insurance premiums, but a good rating can lower interest rates on your credit cards and other 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Community Involvement

Power of the Purse
American Red Cross of Delaware County

On May 10th, Dostal & Kirk attended the 2nd annual Power of the Purse fundraiser, which was held at the Scioto Reserve Country Club in Powell. This event helped raise $33,000 for the American Red Cross of Delaware County. Our very own, Jane Kuraly, is on the American Red Cross board and served on the Power of the Purse Committee. Dostal & Kirk was an event sponsor. Pictured below is our team and family enjoying the night. 



Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio 

On Friday, May 17th, Dostal & Kirk participated in the 23rd annual Junior Achievement (JA) Bowl-A-Thon.  This year's theme was Beach Blanket Bowling and we were rockin' all night with live music from Sinister Midget.  The event was able to raise a total of $3,447 which will allow 114 students to receive the JA programs.  JA teaches students about smart money management and business leadership skills.  

Friday, May 31, 2013

What Is Loan / Lease Gap Auto Insurance?

If you’re like most people, you take out a loan when you buy a car. Like most of us, you also probably think that if your new car costs $25,000, it is still worth $25,000 the next day when you show it to your friends. Well, think twice because the minute you drive your car off the car dealer’s lot, it depreciates in value. Within weeks you may have a gap between the loan amount and the value of your car.

When You Buy/Lease a New Car, Do Not Ignore Gap Coverage
Guaranteed auto protection, also known as Gap Insurance, covers the gap between what you owe on a car and the actual cash value if your car is totaled or stolen in a covered loss. With a car lease, the same principle applies; your car may be worth less than the lease amount. Gap coverage is not a substitute for your regular car insurance policy; it is an additional coverage.

Do You Need Gap Insurance Coverage?
When you take out a loan or lease a new vehicle, you may need Gap coverage since most
vehicles depreciate in value — and quickly — from the moment you leave the dealership.
Typically, a car depreciates in value approximately 30% within three months of purchase. If your car is totaled in a covered loss, you'll have to pay out of your own pocket the difference between what you owe and what your vehicle is worth on that day.
Gap coverage will close that gap. You may not need GAP if you make a large down payment on your vehicle as the value of the car may not be more than the value of the loan or lease. If you paid cash for your car, you do not need GAP insurance.

What Gap Insurance Can Do
Let’s say you swerve to avoid a deer and end up driving down an embankment and total your car. Although no one's hurt, the cost to repair your vehicle is higher than its actual cash value (ACV). Your insurance company determines the ACV is $20,000. If you have a $500 deductible, your insurance company will pay $19,500 to settle your claim. You bought your car a few weeks earlier for $24,000 and haven't even made the first payment yet, so you will still owe the full amount to your lender. You are responsible for paying the remaining $4,500 to your lender. Gap coverage will pay the $4,500 which includes your deductible, but be aware that not all Gap policies cover your deductible.

How Do You Buy Gap Insurance Coverage?
You buy Gap coverage at the time you purchase or lease the new vehicle in either of two ways. You can ask your independent insurance agent to add Gap to your car insurance policy or you can ask the finance/leasing company. Generally, the cost might be higher if the coverage is purchased within the finance agreement because you are paying for the coverage plus some fees. The price the finance company can charge is not regulated, but the cost of the coverage through your auto insurance policy is regulated by the state. Often leasing companies include Gap coverage in their contracts; make sure you review your lease contract so you don’t pay twice.

What to Look for When Purchasing Gap Insurance
 Gap insurance coverage is similar from insurance company to insurance company. However, you should check with your independent insurance agent as there potential exclusions and limitations such as:

 Overdue lease/loan payments
 Security deposits not refunded by the lessor
 Costs for extended warranties
 Deductions for wear and tear, prior damage, towing, and storage
 Equipment added by the buyer

What You Should Do

As your independent insurance agent, Dostal & Kirk works to find you the best coverage at the most competitive rates. Contact us when you decide to purchase a car and we will help you decide whether you need Gap insurance. We take great pride in providing professional customer service to you as we handle all your insurance needs.  Please call (877) 562-6801 to discuss your options and review all of your coverages.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Preparing for Natural Disasters: Floods, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, and Earthquakes

Disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes can occur
in almost any area of the country…..even Ohio, so it’s a good idea to prepare for them.
Organize your home to minimize damage, create emergency plans, and
make sure you have emergency supplies. You should also plan what you
would do in case of a natural disaster and discuss it with your family to
make sure you are all as prepared as possible.

Possible disasters
Any disaster that has occurred in an area can happen again, and other disasters
are always a possibility. To find out which disasters to prepare for in your area
and how to handle them, contact your local emergency management center, civil
defense office, or American Red Cross chapter. Also, learn about your
community’s warning signals: what they sound like and what you should do
when you hear them. The following are some types of disasters that may affect
your community:

·         A flood or flash flood is the overflow of water to a normally dry area. A flood can
occur when water slowly rises following prolonged rainfall or rapid melting of
snow. A flash flood may occur when sudden, heavy rainfall creates too much
hillside runoff, overflowing dams, levees, and dikes. If you live in a flood plain
near a river or stream, or in an area surrounded by mountains or hills, your
home may be at risk during heavy rains.

·         A hurricane is an intense tropical storm that spirals around a calm center, called
an eye, and gains strength and speed over the open water of an ocean or gulf.
When wind speeds reach 74 miles per hour, a tropical storm becomes a
hurricane. This type of storm mostly affects coastal areas, especially in the
Southeast, and usually occurs between June and December. A hurricane may
bring high winds (up to 220 mph), heavy rains, high tides, and inland flooding.

·         A tornado is an extremely violent, localized storm in which winds up to 200 mph
whip around a central vortex. This type of storm may accompany thunderclouds
in certain atmospheric conditions, and appears as a funnel cloud that stretches
from the ground to the sky. Tornadoes can occur in any state (especially east of
the Rockies), and usually travel from southwest to northeast.

·         An earthquake can be caused by the sudden shifting of rock plates beneath the
earth’s surface or from the pressure of rising magma in volcanic areas. They
usually occur along fault lines (where the rock plates that form the earth’s crust
meet), or in volcanic areas. The shaking may be very slight, or it may be quite
violent. Loud rumblings often accompany earthquakes, along with significant
structure damage, power outages, explosions, or fires.

Disaster-proof your home
Try to learn about the building where you live. Is it safe and able to withstand
disaster? Search for danger, and remember, in a severe storm, ordinary items in
the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or
cause a fire is a potential hazard. To minimize damage to your home in a

· Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
· Fasten shelves securely and brace overhead light fixtures.
· Avoid placing beds in front of windows. Hang pictures and mirrors away from
· Secure water heater and oil tank to wall studs.
· Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
· Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
· Clean, repair, and maintain chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
· Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
· Anchor heavy appliances, bookcases, and furniture to wall studs or floor.
· Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
· Keep hanging plants to a minimum. Use plastic pots instead of ceramic, and
  close or tie hooks and hangers shut.
· Store dishes, glassware, and pots in closed, latched cabinets instead of hanging or
  displaying them.
· Check hallways, exits, doors, and windows for hazards and obstructions. Keep
  the key easily accessible near locked doors or passages. Do not permanently bar,
  nail, or paint windows or doors shut.

Create an emergency plan
The best defense from any disaster is good preparation. Once you are aware of
what types of disasters might affect your community, you may want to hold a
family meeting to discuss the need for preparation. Explain the dangers of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes to children in terms they can understand. Explain that planning ensures that the family will stay together in case of an emergency. Plan to share responsibilities and work as a team.

· Meet with household members to discuss the types of emergencies that may
  affect your area. Explain how to respond, and find safe spots in the home for
  each type of disaster.
· Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
· Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
· Show family members how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main
  switches when necessary.
· Post emergency phone numbers near phones. Teach children how and when to
  call 911, police, and fire.
· Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
· Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call
  if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the
  disaster area). Teach these phone numbers to each family member, including
  children and older adults.
· Pick two emergency meeting places
- a place near the home in case of fire
- a place outside the neighborhood in case family members can’t return home
· Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
· Keep family records in a waterproof and fireproof container.
· Create a Disaster Supplies Kit. Include a flotation vest for each member of the
  family if the area is prone to floods.
· Keep fuel in your car at all times and stock it with a Car Emergency Supplies

Create a disaster supplies kit
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet all basic needs for at least three
days. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items that you might need if you are
homebound or forced to evacuate. Store these supplies in sturdy containers such
as backpacks, duffle bags, or covered trash cans. Prepare a smaller Car
Emergency Supplies Kit and keep it in the car trunk.

Disaster supplies kit
· A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person, per day) and food that won’t
  spoil. Include a manual can opener, and any pet food and supplies you might
· One change of clothing and footwear per person, and one blanket or sleeping
  bag per person
· A first aid kit that includes prescription medications
· Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, plenty of extra
  batteries, and a utility knife
· An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler’s checks
· Personal care supplies (toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, etc.)
· Any special items or equipment for infants, or for older or disabled family
  members (formula, diapers, denture or eye care supplies, etc.)
· An extra pair of eyeglasses
· Important family documents in a waterproof container
  Car emergency supplies kit
· Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
· Blanket
· Booster cables
· Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
· First aid kit and manual
· Bottled water and non-perishable, high-energy foods like granola bars and
· Maps, shovel, and flares
· Tire repair kit and pump

What to do during a flood or hurricane
In a flood or hurricane, follow these precautions:
· Tune in a battery-operated radio for instructions from the Emergency Broadcast
· Disconnect electrical appliances and turn off the main circuit breaker or switch.
· If instructed to evacuate, take your Disaster Supplies Kit along.
· In a flood, move to the highest point in your home. If flood waters are rising and
  you can’t evacuate, be sure to have flotation vests.
· In a hurricane, move to the center of the house, preferably to a small room
  opposite the direction from which the wind is blowing. Stay away from windows.

What to do during a tornado
In a tornado approaches, follow these procedures:
· Stay indoors and move to the basement, if there is one. Duck under the stairs or
  a heavy work table. Don’t stand under heavy appliances or furniture on the floor
· If there is no basement, go to a small room in the center of the house, on the
  ground floor. Get under a sturdy table, desk, or bed.
· Use a pillow, blanket, books, or your arms to protect yourself from wind-born

What to do during an earthquake
In case of an earthquake, protect yourselves using the following guidelines:
· If you are indoors:
- Move away from windows, glass, and breakable or loose objects. Beware of
  falling, flying, and sliding objects.
- Brace yourselves in a doorway or inside hallway, or slide under a sturdy table,
  desk, or bed.
- If you can’t move to a safer area, sit down where you are and protect your head
  and body with your arms, pillows, blankets, books, or any nearby object. For
  anyone in a wheelchair, lock the brakes.
· If you are outdoors, move to an open area away from trees, buildings, poles, or
  walls that could break apart or fall in an earthquake.
· If you are in a car, stop, park, and apply the parking brake. Stay in the vehicle
  until the tremors stop. Avoid trees, bridges, and power lines.
· If you are in a high-rise building, get under a desk or a table. When the shaking
  stops, evacuate calmly using the stairs (avoid the elevator).

What to do after a disaster strikes
If a disaster does occur, do the following:
· Check for injuries and apply first aid. Call for help if needed.
· Put on heavy shoes in case of broken glass.
· Turn on a battery-operated radio and listen to the Emergency Broadcast System
  for information and instructions.
· Gather emergency supplies for evacuation, if necessary. If the home is damaged,
  seek emergency shelter. If you evacuate, post a message telling where you are
· If you leave home, do not return until you hear official notice that it’s safe.
· If you remain at home, use your Disaster Supplies Kit.
· If you smell gas, open all windows, turn off the gas at the main valve, and exit the
  home through escape routes.
· If you suspect damage to water pipes or the electrical system, turn off water or
  electricity at the main valve or circuit breaker.
· If you have pets, confine or harness them safely; if they are frightened they may
  run away, risking injury.
· Clean up potentially harmful material (broken glass, spills of gas, chemicals, or
  cleaning agents).
· Check house, roof, and chimney for damage.
· In the case of an earthquake, open closets and cupboards carefully in case
  contents have broken or shifted.
· After an earthquake, be prepared for aftershocks.
· If there’s been flooding, do not drink tapwater until authorities say it’s safe.
  Don’t use plumbing unless the sewer lines are intact.
· Do not eat food contaminated by flood water.
· Avoid using electrical equipment in wet or flooded areas. If electrical equipment
  has gotten wet, let it dry and have it checked for safety before using it.

The above suggestions include basic information to help you design an
emergency or disaster response system. You can also obtain more information
from your local government office of emergency services, fire department,
American Red Cross, National Weather Service, Federal Emergency
Management Agency, local utility companies, and local public library.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Do I Need Rental Car Reimbursement Insurance?

Protect yourself from paying to drive when your car is in the shop.
You drive to and from work every day. You take your kids to the ballgame. You go shopping.
Have you ever wondered if your car were in an accident, how you would be able to survive
without a car? We have the answer. It’s Rental Car Reimbursement Coverage to the rescue. The
good thing about car insurance is that you can buy a number of endorsements for additional
protections and rental car reimbursement is one of them.

What Rental Car Reimbursement Covers
Rental reimbursement provides financial protection for you if you need a vehicle when your car
is damaged in an accident covered by your Comprehensive or Collision coverage. Some
policies cover car rentals when your vehicle undergoes mechanical repairs. Rental
reimbursement is generally available only with policies that include collision and comprehensive

How Do I Know if I have It
The first several pages of your insurance policy are called the declarations pages. These pages
contain the declarations of the coverage you have purchased for each of your vehicles and
include the specific description of your vehicle(s). Look for a line item listed as “Rental” or “Extended Transportation,” with a dollar amount listed to the side of it. You have purchased this
insurance only if there is a dollar coverage amount next to it and there is a policy premium
amount listed for the insured vehicle. You may purchase the coverage for one vehicle but not
for another, at your option.

How Rental Car Reimbursement Works
The optional rider offsets the daily cost of a rental vehicle for a specific time period and up to
the specific daily limit you purchased. You can generally purchase limits of $20/day and
600/30days or $30/900 or $40/1200. The first number indicates the daily maximum coverage and
the second is the maximum coverage for 30 days. For example, if you purchase 30/900, the
policy would pay up to $30 per day for up to a maximum of 30 days or $900, whichever comes
Most insurance carriers have pre-arranged agreements with several car rental agencies that
may include direct bill and pre-negotiated rates. Remember, if you exceed your policy limits,
you are responsible for the difference. You should select a rental rate based on the type of car
you need. If you have a family SUV, you should select a daily rental rate for a comparable

How Do I Know When I Am Covered?
If you purchased the coverage, you are insured while the vehicle is in the shop being repaired
after an accident or breakdown, up to your coverage limits. If your vehicle is not drivable, you
may be able to get a rental vehicle before your vehicle is being repaired, but always check with
your agent first. If your vehicle is stolen, call the insurance company or your agent immediately
after calling the police to report the car stolen since most have a clause in the policy that does
not cover a rental vehicle for the first 48 hours after the reported loss.

What It Costs
The cost of rental car reimbursement coverage is generally quite reasonable: under $20 per
vehicle per year. It can bring peace of mind knowing you won’t be forced to go without a
vehicle should something happen to your car.

We Can Help
As your independent insurance agent, Dostal & Kirk can help you select the appropriate
daily rental car reimbursement limit for you. Contact us when you are purchasing your auto
insurance and we can help you find the right insurance company for you. Call (877) 562-6801
or send us an email today.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Protect Your Possessions with Renters Insurance

If you rent your home, your property is not protected by the landlord’s insurance.
If you rent your home or apartment, you may think the landlord is
responsible for the property’s insurance. Guess what? Your belongings are not covered on his
policy. If there’s a fire or water damage or theft, you would likely be forced to leave your home
for a length of time. And you may have to start over in terms of acquiring possessions. At least if
you have renters insurance, you wouldn’t have to pay for those inconveniences.

Dostal & Kirk offers affordable renters insurance protection that every renter should seriously
consider having. It covers your rental property, no matter if it’s a house, apartment, multi-family
residence, duplex, loft, townhome or condo. It covers renters in much the same way
homeowners insurance works, but since it’s not always required, some renters neglect to protect

What Renters Insurance Covers
Renters insurance protects you against a wide range of disasters and damage caused by fire or
smoke, lightning, windstorm or hail, volcanic eruption, ice, vandalism, theft, explosion, plumbing leaks and falling objects. Floods and earthquakes are typically excluded from standard renters

insurance. Most policies cover sports and recreational equipment but not your vehicles, which
would be covered by your car insurance.

You may add extra coverage for valuable jewelry, collectibles, cameras, musical instruments
and more, as an endorsement to your policy. If you operate a business out of your home, you
can add increased business coverage to protect those assets. Renters insurance also offers both
personal liability coverage to protect you against lawsuits and additional living protection should
you need to relocate while the rental property is repaired or rebuilt.

You can usually choose between actual cash value renters insurance, which will replace your
belongings after factoring depreciation, or full replacement cost protection, which may cost
more upfront, but covers the full replacement cost of your possessions.

Whose Possessions Are Covered
Any member of your family is covered under your renters insurance policy. If your kids are in
college, their possessions are covered at school, provided they live on campus and don’t rent
an apartment. You can obtain joint renters insurance with your roommate or unmarried partner
in some states.

Common Myths about Renters Insurance
Let’s address these myths one at a time, and you can decide whether renters insurance is
something you need.

 My landlord is responsible if anything happens to my apartment.
 I don’t need insurance; my stuff fits in the back of my truck.
 I can’t afford to buy renters insurance.
 If my friends get hurt at my house, their insurance will cover them.

My Landlord Is Responsible
There are many advantages to renting rather than owning your home. Your landlord probably
handles general care of the premises and may even cover your utilities. You may have cable TV
as part of your rental agreement. You never need to worry about lawn care, snow removal or
trash collection. You are free to relocate simply by giving notice under the terms of your lease.
Your landlord insures the property and has liability protection enough to cover appropriate

claims. But that protection will not cover you, your belongings or anything occurring inside your

I Don’t Need Renters Insurance 
Many renters believe their belongings could easily be replaced since they don’t have many
possessions. Since most people acquire their things over time, it’s easy to lose track of
cumulative value. But take one look in your kitchen or clothes closet and you’ll likely realize you
wouldn’t readily have the financial resources to replace everything you currently own. Even
renters whose earthly belongings fit in the back of a pick-up truck would be hard-pressed to
replace furniture, appliances, electronics, food, clothes and more all at once if the duplex
burned down.

I Can’t Afford Renters Insurance
Do yourself a favor and contact Dostal & Kirk Insurance & Financial Services for a no-obligation quote for renters insurance.  It’s affordable, and it's money well spent for protection that provides peace of mind.

If My Friend Is Hurt, Their Insurance Kicks In
In addition to insuring your personal property, renters insurance can protect you against lawsuits
with liability protection. If a house guest is injured at your house and sues for lost wages or pain
and suffering, your renters policy can cover the damages.

What to Expect from Dostal & Kirk
 One-stop shop for all your insurance needs
 Multiple policy discounts
 Free, no-obligation quotes
 Choice of insurance companies you can trust
 Efficient claims process
 Testimonials from satisfied customers

Dostal & Kirk Insurance & Financial Services can help you protect yourself and your property with renters insurance.  Contact our independent agents for a no-obligation quote. We can help you discover discounts
you may be eligible for, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Call us today at (877) 562-6801.

Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Tips to Selecting the Right Car Insurance Coverage

Better be prepared with car insurance before you buy your car and drive it off the lot. But finding
the right car insurance coverage is not as easy as 1, 2, 3. There are many parts to the policy and
many different types of coverage and limit options. Dostal & Kirk is here to help.  Here are seven tips you can use when considering the car insurance that’s right for you.

1. Know Your State’s Minimum Required Limits for Auto Insurance
In most states you are required to carry auto insurance and establish minimum liability limits,
including Insureville, Idaho, of course. This protects you and the public. States do not generally
require you to insure for physical damage. You should ask your independent agent what Idaho’s
minimum required limits are and whether owning just the minimum is the right solution for you.

2. Think about the Liability Limits You Buy
Most states typically have minimum liability limits of $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 per
accident and $20,000 for property damage. Just think about how little that amount is should you
cause an accident and seriously hurt others or cause serious damage to someone’s property.
How much liability limit you should purchase depends on a number of factors, such as the value
of your personal assets. Your best bet is to discuss the appropriate limits for your needs with your
independent agent.

3. A Combined Single Limit is Better Than Split Limits
Just think about the split limit scenario above. Let’s say you injure four people in a car accident
and two of the injured require $25,000 for medical care. If you have a $25,000 per-person limit
with a maximum per accident of $50,000, you may be personally sued by the other injured
parties. But if you had purchased combined single limits, you would then have a bucket from
which to pay all injured parties up to the limit purchased. So, it may make sense to purchase a
combined single limit.

4. Purchase Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Just think of the minimum state limits most people purchase. If they cause an accident in which
you are severely injured, would $25,000 be sufficient? Or what if they had no insurance? To
protect yourself and your family, consider buying both uninsured and underinsured coverage
with your car insurance.

5. Protect the Value of your Car with Physical Damage Coverage
If you have an automobile loan or are leasing your car, you will be required to purchase physical
damage coverage to protect the lending institution. If something happens to your car, physical
damage coverage will pay to repair or replace your car. So whether you are required to by your
lender or not, you should consider purchasing this coverage.

6. Select a Suitable Deductible for Car Damage
The physical damage coverage portion of car insurance has a deductible. This means if any
damage is done to your car, the insurance company will pay the amount to repair or replace
your car and you pay the deductible. If you take a low deductible, like $250, the insurance
company will have to pay more to have your car repaired and, consequently, you will pay a
higher premium. The higher your deductible, the lower the premium. Consider choosing the
highest deductible you can afford, but realize you will then have to pay if your car needs a
minor dent repaired.

7. Ask for Car Insurance Discounts 
There are a number of car insurance discounts available to drivers. There is a discount for insuring
multiple cars, for taking safe driving courses, for good student drivers, and there may even be a
discount for having your car insurance policy with the same company that insures your home. To
find out about all the discounts you may be eligible for, ask you independent agent.

Not having the right limits and coverage on your car insurance policy can lead to the loss of
your assets in case of an accident. As your independent agent, we can help you select the
appropriate coverage and limits for you with the most competitive premiums from a variety of
insurance companies we represent. Contact Dostal & Kirk Insurance and Financial Services today to review your auto policy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Medical protection for you when “the other guy” runs out of coverage.

Millions of auto accidents occur every year. Given the high speeds and low weight of cars on
the road, many crashes result in serious injuries. While medical advancements can do amazing
things to treat injuries, treatment comes at a high cost. Medical bills for even minor injuries can
run thousands of dollars.

If you’re hurt in an accident Columbus, OH, you’re going to want treatment and
rehabilitation that restores “normal life” to you and your family. Underinsured motorist coverage
can provide the financial help needed when the at-fault driver’s car insurance runs out.

Underinsured motorist coverage is closely related to uninsured motorist coverage. In some states,
the two are combined and the policy’s definition of uninsured motorist also includes
underinsured motorist coverage. However, the two terms mean different things, and it is
important to understand the distinction when the two are purchased separately.

Both types of coverage apply only if you are injured in an auto accident where another driver is
at fault. Whereas uninsured motorist coverage applies if the at-fault driver either does not have
liability insurance coverage or cannot be found, underinsured motorist coverage applies if the
at-fault driver has liability coverage but does not have sufficient limits to fully compensate you
for damages.

If your state combines the two coverage types, the difference in terms won’t matter. If you’re
hurt in an accident and someone else is at fault, the coverage will pay if the other driver’s does
not; however if your state considers underinsured motorist coverage separate from uninsured,
the distinction can be critical.

How Important Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
How many people do you think carry sufficient liability coverage to pay medical bills for serious
injury? Many states only require $25,000 in liability limits, which is amazingly little when you
consider the potential for serious injuries. In reality, bills from even a short hospital stay can
surpass the limits of many drivers’ liability coverage, and your underinsured motorist coverage
may be needed to pay the difference. When you consider the relatively low minimum auto
liability limits required by most states, it’s easy to see that your potential costs from an accident
with an underinsured motorist can be very significant.

In states that require no-fault (or Personal Injury Protection) coverage, the comparatively low
limits required prevent those with minor injuries from having to sue to recover their damages, and
the no-fault limits are almost never adequate to pay the costs of hospital stays. Most medical
insurance plans include significant deductibles and co-payments for hospital care and can
leave a patient with substantial out-of-pocket costs. Underinsured motorist coverage can fill
these gaps. All of this exposure is multiplied when multiple family members are being covered on
a single policy.

How Much Coverage You May Need
The rule of thumb is that underinsured motorist limits, if provided separately, should be the same
as the liability (and uninsured motorist) limits on the policy. The legal damages from an injury or a
death in an accident can include areas like loss of income and other costs of recovery. These
can exceed the direct bills from the doctor and hospital. A death claim can also include
potential future earnings and loss of care and services to survivors.

Considering the potential damage from an accident with an underinsured motorist, if you don’t
already have high limits on your medical coverage, you should seriously consider buying as
much coverage as you can afford and is allowable by the insurance company.

Protect Yourself if Someone Else Is at Fault
The two terms ‘uninsured motorist’ and ‘underinsured motorist’ sound similar but mean entirely
different things. The fact that some states combine the two and others separate them only adds
to the confusion. Once the difference is clear, it is apparent that each is important to protect
you from the costs associated with injury from an auto accident that is someone else’s fault.

As your independent insurance agent, Dostal & Kirk specializes in cutting through the
confusion of auto insurance policy language and helping you get the protection you need.
Contact us today to determine if you need separate underinsured motorist coverage on your
auto policy. Call us today at (877) 562-6801 or send us an email at

Friday, April 12, 2013

7 Tips to Selecting the Right Independent Insurance Agent

Selecting the right independent insurance agent to take care of your insurance needs should
not be an “eeny, meeny, miny, moe” decision. You are looking for a long-term relationship with
someone you can trust. You wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around, and you shouldn’t
select an independent agent without doing some research too. So what should you look for?

1. Know the Difference between Independent Agents and other Insurance Agents
An independent agent may be a small-business owner who represents a number of different
insurance companies. In contrast, agents who represent large, national insurance companies
are employees of their company and only sell products from that company. A direct insurance
company sells directly to you without an agent, typically online. An independent agent has the
opportunity to best match price and coverage for your needs, and if an insurance company is
competitive one year but not the next, your independent agent can quote other carriers. That is
why they are called independent.

2. Ask for Referrals
Referrals from family, friends and colleagues are a good place to start. When you ask around,
find out why they like their independent agent. Ask about their customer service and follow through, if the agent is friendly and knowledgeable. Is their policy reviewed annually?

3. Decide If Location Is Important to You
It may be important for you that your independent agent has offices in your community. You
have the convenience of being able to stop by to ask questions or help with a claim and
develop a trust relationship. Many independent agents are deeply committed to their
community and are actively involved as coaches, scout leaders or civic leaders.

4. Visit Their Websites
Websites are full of information. Read about the history of the agency, the staff’s bios, their
customer testimonials. See if their website provides insurance information and easy access to
price quotes, either online or via telephone. Websites can give you a feel for the personality of
the agency, what they think is important, and the type of customer service they provide.

5. Look for Credentials
A knowledgeable independent agent can provide the advice you need when deciding what
coverage and limits you need to protect your family and you. Look for independent agents who
have letters next their name on their business card. These represent professional designations,
such as Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter
(CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM). To maintain these credentials, independent
agents must take continuing education classes.

6. Interview the Independent Agents
You should interview the independent agents you are considering. Personality is important since
you should like the agent you are going to work with, potentially for several years. You should
feel respect for their knowledge and get a sense about their integrity.

7. Knowledge and Trust Are Key
It is not so simple to determine knowledge and trust because these qualities are established over
time. But you can start by asking the independent agents you are considering to explain the
products they sell and how they determine which products, coverage and limits you need. This
will give you a good feel for how the agent does business.

Remember that your relationship with a good independent agent is likely to last a a long time, so it
pays to take the time to choose the right one for you.

As your independent agent, our job is to help you select the best coverage and limits and with
the most competitive premiums from a variety of the insurance companies we represent. Contact Dostal & Kirk Insurance & Financial Services today at (877) 562-6801 or