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 info@dostalkirk.com.

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 info@dostalkirk.com.