Category Archives: Personal Insurance

LLC vs. Individual – Rental Property Owner

 LLC vs. Individual – Rental Property Ownermeter

Should you form an LLC if you own rental property? The decision to form an LLC is complicated and each landlord’s situation is different. The first LLC came into existence in the U.S. in 1977 in Wyoming, since then all 50 states have enacted LLC legislation.  Here are some pros and cons to  help you decide if an LLC is right for you.

PROS

  • Protect your personal assets from lawsuits: If someone sues you when set up as an LLC, your personal assets are protected. Only the LLC’s assets are at risk.
  • Pass-through taxation: Pass-through taxation is an IRS related ruling allowing LLC profits to be passed directly to the owner. Taxes are paid on by the individual, avoiding double taxation.
  • Easier management responsibilities: LLCs are much more easily managed than corporation or partnerships and many states offer reduced fees.

CONS

      • It costs money to set up an LLC: You can set up an LLC with the State Corporation Commission and pay a small fee. Many people choose to use an attorney or hire a services company. These options cost from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
        • Keep your money separate: It is important that you never mingle your LLC money with your personal money. The slightest infraction could cause a litigant to claim the LLC is not a separate entity, causing you to lose any LLC protection.
  • Mortgages can complicate: If you already have a rental dwelling with a mortgage on it, changing to an LLC could look like a sale to your mortgage company. If you have a due-on-sale clause in your mortgage it may cause the mortgage company to require payment in full.

 

The decision to form an LLC is complicated and each landlord’s situation is different. Consider the above information and consult with your CPA or attorney to see if an LLC benefits you. Then let the experts at Cobb-Hall provide insurance solutions designed specifically for your needs.

Dangers of a Personal Auto on a Business Policy

Dangers of a Personal Auto on a Business Policy 

Young Asian Engineer working with laptop computer while sitting on car trunk at parking lotWhile It is true that using a vehicle for business while insured on a personal policy could potentially void all coverage, there are also pitfalls insuring your personally owned and titled vehicle on your business policy. Consider the following:

  • If a vehicle is NOT titled in the company name, but the insurance coverage is in the business name, coverage can be denied. This includes both physical damage AND liability protection for you or others.
  • No-fault personal injury protection may not be included.
  • Coverage may not extend to other drivers
  • Liability protection might not follow you when driving vehicles other than your own the way a personal policy does. This can apply both when you borrow and rent a vehicle.

Depending on your specific situation, there are various ways to make sure you are not left financially vulnerable. The insurance professionals at Cobb-Hall may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Endorsements to your business policy are available to close gaps between business and personal insurance policies. These include “drive other car” and “hired and non-owned”.
  • It is best for family members in your household to have a personal policy instead of adding their car to the business policy.
  • Often a personal insurance policy, with multi-policy discounts, is more cost effective.
  • Many times legal gaps can be avoided by contracts and leasebacks. A professional can provide the needed forms to sign.

Contact  Cobb-Hall to help you with determine the best solution for you.

 

 

Essential Info. Renter Insurance

 Renter InsuranceI can't wait to unpack

Whether you are just moving in, or have rented for a while, Renter’s insurance is necessary and very affordable. Avoid financial hardship by examining the variety of coverages provided in a renter’s policy and choosing the right option for you. Here is a brief explanation to help you determine your need for protection.

.Personal Property – Renter insurance will cover loss of your personal property from many causes, including wind, fire, theft and vandalism. Personal property is commonly thought of as all the contents of your home.A simple way to think of this is to imagine turning your house upside down and shaking it, everything that falls out is considered contents.

Replacement Cost – We recommend you cover your contents for replacement cost versus actual cash value. The cost is not much more and provides you replacement value for items claimed rather than depreciated value. This can make a huge difference after a loss.  For example: if your sofa is destroyed in a fire, replacement cost on contents coverage would allow the company to reimburse you the cost of a new sofa.  Actual cash value coverage limits the company payment to the amount your old sofa was worth if you were to sell it.

Away from Premises – A percentage of your coverage also applies away from your home. This is important to know when traveling or normal daily activities take you away from home.

Valuables – You have the option to list (schedule) valuables on your policy. This provides coverage for almost ANY kind of damage including losing the item.   This is very affordable (usually under $2.00 per $1000 of value) and well worth considering. The most common items scheduled are jewelry (including engagement rings), computers, smart phones and other high value objects such as hearing aids.

Liability – Renter policies include coverage for defense cost and injury or damage to others if you are sued or determined to be legally liable. Examples include if your dog bites a neighbor or damage if your child breaks a friend’s expensive Chinese vase. Consider your assets when deciding on a liability limit; $500,000 sounds like a lot, but is very affordable and litigation is more expensive than most people consider.

Contact Cobb-Hall today to help you determine the insurance protection that best fits your needs.

Life Insurance – What Do You Need? How to Know

Dime

Life Insurance – How do you know what you need?

While life insurance is not fun, it may be necessary for the good of your family. One popular simple guide to help you decide how much life insurance you need uses the acronym “DIME”. Add these four categories together to help you determine the total amount of life insurance right for your family.

D – Debt   How much debt do you have? The amount you owe is passed on to your family.  This amount should also include funeral expenses as well as credit card, car payments and student loans

I – Income  One of the main purposes of life insurance is to provide your family with income. Many people multiply their yearly income by the number of years until their youngest child is 18.

M – Mortgage   The remaining balance of your mortgage loan should be included to make sure your family does not  face the hardship of losing their home.

E – Education   If you have children, include the cost for their college education. Figure a minimum of $100,000 for a four  year degree for a state school for tuition and dorm fees. The cost will be more if you are considering private or out-of-state schools.

There are a number of options for the type of Life insurance that best fits your needs. Two of the most popular are:

Term Life Insurance  Term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, or term, that you choose. When the time period is over, it expires similar to an auto insurance policy. This can provide an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries.  Variations include guaranteed renewal plans or options to convert to another type of policy. It’s important to remember that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.

Permanent Life Insurance  These policies provide a lifetime of coverage and build up cash value that remains available to the policyholder. Permanent policies include Universal and Whole Life Insurance. This is the most cost effective long-term option because of stable premiums and the availability to access money invested in the policy.

Many people benefit from a combination of Term Insurance to cover higher debt when they are young and Permanent Insurance to keep rates low with age. Contact the experts at Cobb-Hall Insurance to assist you with your decisions.

Consider Life Insurance Young – Here are the Reasons

Woman enjoying the weekend in the shopping mallReasons the young should consider Life Insurance

Insurance requires proactive planning rather than a reactive mindset.  Many people do not consider life insurance until they are older with larger financial obligations. While true that it becomes most necessary then, there are huge advantages for those who consider life insurance young.

A few facts to consider are:

Insurability Young and healthy is always the best time to buy insurance. Serious illness and increasing age are factors that can make insurance unavailable or cost-prohibitive. Permanent policies do not expire and Term policies can be purchased with options that guarantee renewal for decades.

Insurance As devastating as it is when someone young dies, life insurance can remove additional financial burdens that add stress to already grieving family members. Financial obligations can include funeral expenses, medical costs and student loans.

Cost The younger the age of the insured, the lower the price. This can be true for decades in the future and, depending on the option you choose, even for life

Cash Value Not knowing the future can prevent people from making decisions. Some policies, in addition to providing traditional life insurance benefits, build up cash value that remains available to the policy purchaser. In addition, money invested and future death benefits may serve as funds to borrow against in times of financial hardship.

Let the experienced professionals at Cobb-Hall assist you with your insurance decisions.

Drive Other Car Coverage

Drive Other Car Insurance

If you have a company vehicle and do not have a personal auto policy, you are at risk if you rent, Driving at sunset. View from the driver angle whileborrow, test drive or lease another car. A commercial policy ONLY covers you while driving the assigned company vehicle. Many business owners save money by insuring their private vehicles on company policies, not realizing they have NO COVERAGE if they drive another vehicle.

If you are an executive of a partnership or corporation, Drive Other Car coverage can be added to your existing commercial policy to protect you and your spouse. When using a vehicle other than your company vehicle, this coverage provides the same protection to vehicles you use that you have on your company vehicle.

With Drive Other Car coverage in place, if your neighbor lends you his pickup truck, you will have coverage to protect yourself, in the case of an accident, if you are injured or sued for injury to someone else. This coverage will also apply if the owner has low liability limits.

Commercial Insurance can be complicated, contact the experts at Cobb-Hall Insurance for innovative solutions designed specifically for your needs

 

WAIT! Something Changed?

You Make Changes – Keep Your Insurance Up To Date

For your insurance to protect you properly, it may be important to update your coverage.Businessman trying to catch the train

Here is a list of  common changes that may require updating your insurance policies.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, but have not made sure your policy has been updated, be sure to call your insurance agent.

  • Have you changed your address recently?
  • Is your home vacant or rented to someone else?
  • Have there been any changes to the name on your deed? (Trusts, Estates)
  • Have you improved, added on to your home or finished the basement?
  • Could there be over $5,000 in damage if water or sewer backed up in your basement?
  • Do you have items of value over $250? Special items may need to be listed “scheduled” on your policy. (jewelry, guns, camera, computer equipment, musical instruments, collectibles)
  • Do you own or rent property not listed on your policy?
  • Do you have a woodstove in your home?
  • Do you run a business or keep business property at your home?
  • Do you farm or sell produce/ livestock?
  • Are the liability limits on your policy adequate to protect all your assets?
  • Do you have vehicles or household residents not listed on your policy?
  • Do you have autos on your policy not titled to you?
  • Does your policy only list liability coverage, but you need coverage for damage to your vehicle?(Comprehensive, Collision)
  • Does your healthcare policy pay before your auto policy in case of injury due to an accident?
  • Do you have a company car?
  • Do you use your vehicle for business?
  • Do you choose NOT to wear a helmet when riding your motorcycle? (additional medical coverage required)
  • Do you own other vehicles not listed on your policy?(snowmobiles, golf carts, RV’s motorcycles, scooters, recreational vehicles, antique vehicles)
  • Is the amount of your life insurance less than double your annual salary?
  • Do you need life, health or disability coverage?

Contact the caring experts at Cobb-Hall Insurance for more details.

Cobb-Hall Insurance: Agency of the Year Award

Cobb-Hall Insurance is honored to be named Agency of the Year by National Underwriter Magazine.  Click link to read full article.    Cobb-Hall Insurance Agency of the Year

Life Insurance Decision Guide

Life Insurance – How to Decide

Many people don’t know where they are going or how to get there when discussing life insurance.  yogi berra The following information can help you make decisions.

Basic Life Insurance Information

Whether you are married or single, a death can create financial hardship. Remember to consider expenses such as childcare, college, funeral expenses, and mortgage when determining your needs.

There are two basic types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. The type of life insurance policy that best suits you will depend on your unique needs.

Option #1: Term Life Insurance

Just as its name implies, term life insurance covers you for a specific period of time, or term, that you choose. Since it offers a death benefit but no cash value, term life insurance is an inexpensive way to protect your beneficiaries for a specified period of time.

Renewal term life insurance can be renewed at the end of the term, at the option of the policyholder for a limited number of successive terms. It can also be converted, or exchanged for a permanent insurance policy, down the road. It’s important to note that rates generally increase along with the insured’s age.

Option #2: Whole Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is any form of life insurance other than term. Examples are whole life, universal life and variable life. These policies combine term life insurance with a long-term, tax-sheltered savings plan.

Whole life is the most basic type of permanent life insurance. It provides coverage that lasts a lifetime and builds up a cash value that you can borrow against, withdraw or use to pay future premiums.

A life insurance policy with a cash value is ideal for those who have a lifetime need for insurance protection, prefer stable premiums over the life of the policy, want a policy that allows them to build tax-deferred values, and value the high degree of coverage the policy affords. While rates for a whole life insurance policy remain stable over the life of the policy, premiums are initially more costly than for term insurance.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

To find the right amount of coverage, it’s important to consider your dependents’ current lifestyle and needs against future sources of income and assets.

Contact the caring experts at Cobb-Hall Insurance for more details.

 

Best Home Video – Home Inventory

Best Home Video – Home Inventory

Imagine trying to list every possession you own along with each item’s worth after your home as beenhome video photo destroyed by fire or a natural disaster.  The task will feel overwhelming.  Having a detailed home inventory can make the difference between a paid and a disputed claim. Do not rely solely on your memory.

Consider these tips

  • Discuss your homeowner’s policy with your agent. Are you covered for the replacement value on your possessions or only the depreciated value? You may need special coverage if you have expensive collections or unique items like musical instruments, firearms, golf clubs, etc.
  • Take photos and/or videos.
  • Photograph the outside of your house from at least four angles. Be sure to photograph your home’s landscaping, outdoor furniture and decorations.
  • Make a room-by-room photographic inventory. Take as many pictures as needed to inventory every room in your house. Be sure to document items in closets, cupboards and drawers, noting when and where items were obtained and the cost. If possible scan receipts to keep with your home inventory. Clothes, shoes, purses and jewelry can add up. Take separate photos of items over $350 in value.
  • Electronics are major purchases. List and photograph model and serial numbers for electronics including televisions, stereos, computers and mobile devices.
  • Lay out a full set of your china, silverware or other valuables and photograph. Include a picture to show the brand and pattern. Then count and photograph where the items are stored to show the number of sets you own.
  • Take photos of things that cannot be replaced.(family photographs. mementos, heirlooms) Although these items are irreplaceable, make copies so you will have a record of the items. Remember to discuss rare or high end items with your agent and photograph separately.
  • Inventory the garage. Document bicycles, sports equipment, tools, lawn mowers and other items stored in your garage.
  • Remember to inform your agent of major updates. Include photos of window coverings, hardwood floors, finished basement, decks etc.

Store the home inventory off premises. E-mail a copy to yourself and use cloud storage to keep copies electronically or save on a flash drive and keep it in a safe deposit box. Don’t save the inventory only on a computer drive that could be destroyed.

Contact Cobb-Hall Insurance for solutions designed specifically to meet your needs.