How was your Valentine’s Day?
Of those who didn’t buy shiny things for Valentine’s Day, many purchased electronics, artwork, antiques, wine and furs. All totaled, Valentine’s Day spending equalled approximately $17.6 billion of retail sales, with $4.1 billion of that being spent on jewelry, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Trends report.
Whatever the purchase, be sure to take steps to safeguard and insure your valuables. Homeowners insurance generally covers valuable and precious items such as jewelry, but usually has limits, so it’s important for you to check with us or a Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to make sure you are covered.
While most homeowner’s insurance policies cover risks such as fire, lightning, and windstorm, they may exclude many events that create financial losses- for example, a claim that is submitted because “my three-year-old dropped my new diamond earrings into the toilet and flushed” may not be covered under a typical policy. To cover these kinds of incidents—or other situations that the insurance industry has dubbed “mysterious disappearance” —you’ll need what’s known as a valuable articles personal property endorsement on your homeowner’s contract. Some homeowner’s insurance carriers also sell stand-alone valuables policies.
Another reason to contact us or your Trusted Choice agent? Typically insurance policies restrict the dollar amount of coverage for individual valuable items in the case of theft ($1,000- $1,500), so you want to make sure that if jewelry is ever stolen, you’re not stuck with coverage that is less than the value of the item.
With valuable items, two of the biggest snags that consumers run into at the time of a claim are proving that an item is missing or stolen and establishing a value for the items. In fact, insurance carriers, when contacted for a claim, sometimes even ask consumers to get a police report for the missing item, even if the loss was not thought to be a theft.
Proving the value of items is very important when it’s time to file a claim. Claims are simpler and faster for consumers when they have photos of valuable items and collections, receipts or appraisal reports, and a written inventory.
Most additions to your homeowners policy or a separate valuables policies can provide:
Coverage for mysterious disappearance as well as flooding or breakage.
$0 deductible, which means that the entire replacement cost of that engagement ring is covered.
Blanket coverage for groups of valuables such as jewelry, crystal, or fine arts.
“Scheduled” coverage (meaning that items are individually listed) for valuables.
Coverage for valuables purchased but not yet reported to the insurance agent or carrier.
Need to know what’s best to protect your Valentine’s Day gift? Ask us.
By C. Ross Turner, III
Fifty years ago, my Dad decided he had enough of being a traveling salesman. He and Mom were ready to start a family. He was very interested in the insurance industry and was close to signing a contract with State Farm Insurance.
Back then, the company field representatives would sit with you to map out your finances and sales goals. When the State Farm guy looked at my Dad’s numbers, he told my Dad that he needed to take his monthly tithe to the church out of his monthly budget. And that was the end of State Farm. Fortunately for Dad (and for me), the end of State Farm turned into the beginning of a contract with Travelers Insurance, and the rest is history.
I tell my Dad all the time that I am very blessed that at the age of 30, he left a good job to go out on his own. I don’t know that I would have had the guts to do it if I had been in his shoes.
I was looking at what was going on the year he started the business. It was 1962 and two years before I was even born. Here are a few interesting facts about 1962:
- Year end Dow Jones was at 652
- Average annual income was $ 5,662
- Average house price was $ 12,500
- It was the Year of the Cuban Missile Crisis
- Annual tuition at Harvard was $ 1,520
- Release of the Beatles first recording “Love Me Do”
- Johnny Carson hosted his first Tonight Show
- Gas was $.28 per gallon
Dad did not have a calculator and he had no computers. He had a belief that he was doing what was best for his family and also what was best for his clients. He sold his first life insurance policy to C. Dan Joyner, who was a great friend to us and to all. We will miss C. Dan very much.
There is no way a local, family owned business reaches 50 years if it doesn’t put clients first. While we have moved locations a few times, added on to our team, become way too dependent on our cell phones and computers, and expanded to offer all forms of insurance, our primary goal is still to protect what matters most to you.
We thank you all for helping us achieve this milestone and look forward to sharing some great stories from the last 50 years with you throughout the year.
NOTICE TO ALL SOUTH CAROLINA EMPLOYERS: You must verify all new hires through E-Verify effective January 1, 2012.
Amendments to the South Carolina Illegal Immigration and Reform Act were signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley on June 27, 2011. The amended law requires all employers to enroll in the U.S. Department for Homeland Security’s E-Verify System beginning 1/1/12 and to verify the legal status of all new employees through E-Verify within three business days. Failure to enroll in and use E-Verify to verify new hires will result in probation for the employer or suspension/revocation of the employer’s business license.
To download a copy, click here.
We doubled the recipe and added a little garlic. In addition, we did not use the full amount of chicken broth, which made it thicker. We let it simmer in a crock pot.
You can find this recipe along with Jennie McElveen’s Chili Recipe by clicking here and going to Main Dishes.
Having a baby can be a very exciting, emotional, and exhausting experience for a family, and while most parents remember a lot of the preparation details — such assembling the crib and installing child-safety locks — updating their insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Pictured to the left is our own Robin Hawkins and her new baby, Reese.
Whether you’re expecting, a new parent, or you know someone who is, it’s important to have the right insurance. The Turner Agency wants you and your growing family to be protected from all life’s possibilities, so we’re providing you an insurance checklist – no assembly required! – for expecting parents.
1. When you find out you’re pregnant, make sure your health insurance plan covers prenatal and maternity health costs. (An employer with 15 or more employees is required by federal law to provide coverage for pregnancy-related expenses.)
2. Check your policy to find out if you need preauthorization for certain prenatal or maternity health costs, such as ultrasounds and amniocentesis.
3. Call your health insurance company to ensure your obstetrician, doctor, and/or midwife and hospital or birthing center are both in-network. If they’re out-of-network, there may be additional charges for your health-care expenses.
4. Contact your insurance provider to find out how to add your new baby to your insurance plan.
1. If you and your spouse don’t already have a life insurance policy in place, a new baby is a good time to take out a policy. Most parents have a term life insurance policy, which usually is the least expensive option and provides coverage for a fixed amount of time at a set premium. Usually the beneficiary of this type of policy is a spouse. However, single parents may want to list a child or a family member.
2. If you or your spouse become disabled and one of you is the primary breadwinner for the household, you may want to consider long-term disability insurance. This type of insurance will provide your family with financial support if you are disabled and cannot work. Some employers offer this coverage, but you should check to make sure you’re covered and find out if you have enough coverage.
A baby comes with a lot of new stuff, which means you probably need to update your homeowner’s insurance policy to includ enough coverage to replace everything in your nursery. If your new bundle of joy doesn’t have a state-of-the-art crib or fancy diaper genie, you may not need to increase your coverage, but you should check with The Turner Agency or your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to find out.
Unlike other types of insurance, which go up with a new addition, your auto insurance will likely stay the same. However, a major life milestone, such as having a baby, can be an indicator of increased responsibility, which can actually lead to a decrease in rates. If you’re expecting or a new parent, contact The Turner Agency or your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent to find out if your rates can be reduced.
If you have any questions, need help getting coverage, or simply want to double-check your insurance policies, we or your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent are happy to help … as long as you don’t ask us to baby-sit! (Well, Anne Turner would probably accept…)
How safe is private information when stored electronically?
You may not want to know the answer to that question. But if you’re just a bit curious, consider visiting www.privacyrights.org/data-breach.
The site allows you to scroll through a frequently updated chronological list of reported breaches of private data. Some data is lifted from large companies that most people have heard of. What’s surprising is how many of the breaches occur at smaller organizations.
The information on this site should serve as proof that when it comes to the safety of personal data, businesses big and small must be on alert!
While it’s the large breaches that make headlines—think Citigroup or Bank of America—smaller businesses may be at a greater risk. They often lack the infrastructure and resources to protect from cyber criminals.
What does a cyber crime cost? According to the Ponemon Institute’s First Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study, published in July 2010, a business can expect to pay an average of $204 per customer record that is lost or stolen.
Cyber Crime Defined
According to the Ponemon study, the list of cyber crimes is rapidly growing. While many are aware of common cyber crimes, such as identity theft, the list also includes other crimes that can cause damage to a business’s electronic infrastructure. Examples include: theft of a business’s intellectual property, the creation/distribution of viruses and malicious code, and the publishing of private data in a public forum online.
Business owners may struggle to keep up with these often-sophisticated threats. Such threats place a tremendous burden on business owners to prevent these losses. Many states have turned to legislation that requires business owners to spend money notifying consumers when a potential breach has occurred.
And some such laws go as far as to require the business owner to help pay the cost of the consumer’s data recovery. In March 2010, Massachusetts became the first state to pass comprehensive legislation requiring business owners to take preventative measures to protect data before the loss happens. Failure to do so can result in fines against the business owner.
Business owners in other states also may be impacted by this law, as it’s designed to protect residents of Massachusetts regardless of where the breach occurs. That means your business, even if located in another state, may be subject to fine if your records contain private information on Massachusetts consumers and those records are breached.
Protecting Your Firm
There are a number of insurance products available to help business owners to deal with the cost of cyber crime. Policies may address both first and third-party losses.
What is a first-party loss? This is a cost the business owners may absorb to cover the firm’s own expenses caused by a cyber crime. Examples may include:
- Notification and credit-monitoring for compromised individuals. (Most states currently have laws in place requiring the business to pay the cost of notifying all consumers that may be victimized by a breach. Most laws require these costs to be paid regardless of whether or not the consumer has suffered financial damages resulting from the breach.)
- Cost to restore data that has been stolen or damaged.
- Lost income resulting from down time caused by a damaged network, lost information or data breach.
How about a third-party loss? When a cyber crime occurs against a business, other parties also could be impacted. A third-party loss describes costs that appear when others incur expenses that can be attributed to the cyber crime. Examples may include:
- Defense costs.
- Judgments and settlements for lawsuits brought by customers, employees and other third parties—such as a company claiming its network was damaged by a virus from another infected network.
- Costs associated with fines or penalties imposed by a regulatory body.
Why Coverage is Critical
Cyber insurance is designed to protect a business when costs are incurred due to a cyber crime. Business owners should note that common insurance policies such as commercial property, business income, and general liability often restrict—and in many cases exclude—cyber-related damage.
Business owners beware: You should be skeptical of enhancements to such common policies designed to address the cyber exposure. These so-called “cyber enhancements” are often very limited and should not be relied upon without thorough examination of an insurance professional.
If you’re a business owner, threats to your data come from a variety of sources. Whether you’re the victim of a random hack, disgruntled former or current employee, angry competitor or anyone else, cyber crimes can serious damage your business. Worse, if the crime results in a breach of private consumer data, state law may impose significant fines that could devastate your firm’s bottom line. For more information about insuring against these growing exposures, call your us or your Trusted Choice Independent Agent day. Note: The Turner Agency offers an in house seminar on Cyberbilabilty if you are interested in learning more.
The holidays are a popular time of year to travel – whether it’s to visit family and friends, relax on the beach, or hit the slopes – but taking a vacation during this time of year often means hauling a lot of extra luggage, such as skis, golf clubs, and holiday gifts. The chance of your luggage getting lost or stolen isn’t high – less than one percent of travelers reported mishandled luggage, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2009 Air Travel Consumer Report. Yet baggage-handling accidents and thefts do happen, which is why it’s important to have the proper insurance in place before your depart for your destination.
Fortunately, if you already have a homeowner’s renter’s insurance policy in place, you’re probably covered if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during travel. Most homeowner’s (and renter’s) insurance policies cover any property you own anywhere in the world. While most policies offer protection for your belongings regardless of your location, you may need to purchase additional coverage in the form of a floater or endorsement to your policy if you’re taking valuables, such as jewelry, gifts, or sporting equipment, that may have limited coverage under your policy. If you’re unsure about your policy limits, The Turner Agency or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent can determine if you have the right coverage to protect your luggage and provide you with additional coverage options if needed.
If the worst-case scenario happens and your luggage is lost or damaged, most domestic flights do have a baggage reimbursement limit of $3,300 per person. (The limit varies for international flights based on your destination.) You may need to submit proof, such as receipts, photos, or electronic records, of the current value for the lost items in order to get reimbursed by the airline. It’s also important to remember that the airline will only pay you for the current value of a lost item, not the original price you paid for the item. Many airlines do offer “excess value” protection if your luggage is worth more than the limits, however, you probably don’t need the coverage if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers your bags.
Another important consideration is that most airlines have a list of items they will not cover if lost or stolen, such as money and jewelry. So, if you’re worried about something of high monetary or sentimental value going MIA during a trip, it’s probably best to leave it at home or stow it in your carry-on.
If you’re unsure of what your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers, don’t hesitate to contactus or your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent who will be happy to review your policy and answer any of your questions. Safe travels!
The holidays are in full swing, which means stores and malls are bustling with holiday shoppers looking for presents to put under the tree. While some people enjoy the adventure of going from store to store in search of that perfect gift, others seek refuge from the holiday crowds by buying their gifts online.
While shopping online can be a less stressful and often money-saving alternative, the convenience of shopping from the comfort of your home comes with some risks. Cyber attackers and scammers are just waiting to prey on those who don’t properly protect their personal information, such as credit and debit card numbers and bank account information.
If you’re planning to be one of the millions of people who shop online this holiday season avoid the holiday blues by following these cyber shopping safety tips.
• Shop only on secure website. To determine if a site is safe, look at the address box for an “s” in https:// and check the lower right corner of the page for a lock symbol. Both of these things indicate that a site is safe to use for purchases. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) for information about a company’s reputation and customer satisfaction rating.
• Use credit, not debit. Credit cards provide additional protection from theft that many debit cards don’t offer. If your credit card information is stolen, you’re only responsible for up to $50 in charges as long as you report the theft within 30 days (reporting time varies by company). If your debit card is stolen, a thief can empty your bank account without your knowledge and it can take a substantial amount of time to recover the stolen money.
• Keep track of your receipts and credit card statements. When you make a purchase online, save the receipt and a copy of the confirmation page for your records. Check this documentation against your credit card statements to make sure there aren’t any suspicious or unauthorized transactions. Keeping proof of a purchase also helps resolve any issues that may arise with the order.
• Do your online shopping at home. Don’t use unsecured Internet connections available in many coffee shops, libraries, and other public places where your information is not secure. Also, avoid using public computers for online shopping since you don’t have control over the computer’s spyware or malware software.
If your credit card or personal information is stolen, your homeowner’s policy may cover your liability. Check with us or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent to find out if you’re protected from this type of loss or if you have any other questions regarding your policy.
In the midst of the festive and hectic holiday atmosphere, it is easy to forget the serious responsibility involved with hosting a party at your home or business. In many states, individuals and employers hosting holiday parties can be held liable in cases where a guest or third party is injured in an accident related to alcohol consumption at your event. Hosts have been held responsible for medical bills, vehicle repair costs, lost time from work, and even wrongful death.
Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents such as The Turner Agency recommend that those planning to host holiday parties this year review their homeowners, renter’s or comprehensive general liability (CGL) insurance policy and ensure they have adequate liability coverage if sued and found liable for the actions of a guest who drank at their home or business. While all holiday partygoers and hosts alike should be responsible and know their limits, consumers need to acknowledge that most risks cannot be eliminated entirely. But planning ahead and learning about what’s involved in hosting a reception is the best defense.
Liability Coverage Tips:
• If hosting a holiday party, individuals should look to the liability portion of their homeowners or renters insurance policy to provide them protection if they are sued and found liable for an accident involving a guest who drank at their home.
• Employers need to make sure that their comprehensive general liability (CGL) policy provides them coverage for third-party liquor liability policy before hosting that holiday office party.
• Charging employees for alcoholic beverages in the home or office may not always be the best solution for business parties. It is important for businesses to remember that once they charge a fee for alcohol, they have technically entered the alcohol sales business, even if only for one night. That carries with it requirements for a liquor license and an array of special liability protection needs. It by no means lets these employers off the hook.”
• Purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy—that can provide $1 million or more in additional coverage over the limit offered by a standard homeowners or renters policy—may be a prudent move for the frequent party host. This type of coverage can cost as little as $125 a year.
Party Host Safety Tips:
• Limit guest list to those you know.
• Provide filling food for guests and alternative non-alcoholic beverages.
• Schedule activities or entertainment not involving alcohol. If the party centers around drinking, it is likely that guests will drink more.
• Arrange transportation or overnight accommodations for those who should not drive home.
• Stop serving alcohol well before the time the party is to end.
• Do not serve guests who are visibly intoxicated.
• Review your insurance policy with us or your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent before the event to ensure proper liability coverage.
• Consider hiring an off-duty police officer to discretely monitor guests’ sobriety or handle any alcohol-related problems as guests leave.
• Stay alert yourself, always remembering your responsibilities as a host.
Haul out the holly, string up the lights, and hang the stockings by the chimney (with care)! The holiday season is here, and we are decking the halls with all kinds of festive decorations.
As your Trusted Choice® independent insurance agent, we want to ensure your holidays are as merry and bright as possible, so before you adorn your mantle with garland and dangle mistletoe over your door, please read these holiday decorating safety tips.
Christmas trees: Trimming the tree is the main decorating event in many households, but the tree can become a fire hazard if it’s dried out. Remember to replenish the water in your tree stand on a daily basis, so that your tree remains healthy and hydrated for the duration of the holiday season. Holiday foliage: Poinsettias, holly, Jerusalem cherries, and mistletoe are all toxic if ingested. If you have pets or small children in the house, avoid using these decorations or opt for the artificial versions.
Holiday foliage: Poinsettias, holly, Jerusalem cherries, and mistletoe are all toxic if ingested. If you have pets or small children in the house, avoid using these decorations or opt for the artificial versions.
Artificial snow: If you’re longing for a white Christmas, spraying windows with artificial snow can give your house a frosty glow – even if you live in a warm climate. However, spray-on snow can irritate your lungs, so make sure to follow the directions carefully and only use the spray in well-ventilated area.
Fireplaces: Adorning the mantle with garlands, stockings, and other decorations is a holiday tradition in many households, but keep these trimmings clear of working fireplaces. You should also be careful when using fire salts, which produce colored flames, since they are highly toxic if ingested.
Lights: Before hanging lights indoors or outdoors, check the strings for cracked sockets, broken bulbs, or frayed/bare wires. Also, only use lights that are approved by a national testing lab, such as UL or ETL/ITSNA. Do not use electric lights on metallic trees because faulty lights can cause branches to become charged and possibly electrocute someone. If you’re using outdoor lights, make sure they are approved for that use and plugged into a ground-fault circuit interrupter device.
Candles: Flickering candlelight can give your home a cozy, warm glow, but candles cause more than 11,000 fires every year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you’re using candles to decorate for the holidays, keep a close eye on them when they’re lit, and don’t leave the room without extinguishing the flames. Never put a lit candle on a tree.