Nashville insurance insight: fast facts about water damage

Nashville insurance insight: fast facts about water damage

I try to pay a lot of attention to what the average Nashville homeowner and renter doesn’t know about their home, or their insurance coverage. If I grasp that, I can help share information, and get my clients better prepared, and protected.

So the new Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey from Chubb caught my eye. If you’re a Nashville homeowner, I’d point toward its findings for two main reasons:

It underlined a dramatic rise in water damage for homeowners, and a dramatic lack of education and preventative measures.

Since I know digging into a detailed insurance study can be a little tedious, here are a few fast facts that stuck with me:

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Nashville insurance insight: insuring an event or festival

Nashville insurance insight: insuring an event or festival

What with Nashville being one of our nation’s finest entertainment hubs, you can just about find a dozen events or festivals all across town, every weekend, all year. Local organizers and entrepreneurs cover it all, from live music to craft beer to crafts, from free weekly celebrations to ticketed annual confabs.

One thing they all have in common: the significant amount of risk that comes with planning an event.

Organizing an event or festival generally requires a pretty good investment, from venue deposits to marketing materials. To make good on that investment — and to make a profit — you depend on everything going off at least mostly without a hitch, come the day/weekend of the event.  

It’s impossible to predict and avoid all the things that can derail an event, unfortunately. Something as big as an act of nature or as small as a disorganized vendor can knock things off course, and put your profit in peril. Which is why we have insurance.

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Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about flood insurance

Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about flood insurance

The main thing on my mind this week, as south Texas is struggling in the wake of Hurricane Harvey: researching ways I can help from here in Nashville, like contributing to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Harvey relief efforts and to All Hands Volunteers, who are putting helping hands on the ground as we speak.

Given what I do for a living, I also can’t help but think about how many Houston homeowners will be struggling not only with having their lives turned upside-down, but with the added financial difficulties that come with not having flood insurance in place.

 

Must-know flood insurance facts

 

Many of our neighbors were unfortunately surprised by this fact during the 2010 flood in Nashville: Standard homeowners insurance and renters insurance policies don’t cover flood damage.

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Nashville insurance insight: protecting yourself and your home against fire damage

Nashville insurance insight: protecting yourself and your home against fire damage

As a native Tennessean, I’ve been watching with awe as Gatlinburg has regrouped and rebuilt in the wake of the late-2016 wildfires. Tennesseans are tough and resilient and inclined to pitch in and help each other, and that catastrophe put that into the foreground once again.

Months later, we’re seeing a more clear picture of the damage that occurred as those wildfires moved through 16,000 acres around the Great Smoky Mountains.

The most heartbreaking: 14 lives lost. The fires also damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 structures, and led to upwards of $1 billion in damages. Fighting the fire cost more than $8.8 million, and in just the month of December, tourism revenue in the area was off by $19 million.

Some Gatlinburg residents and business owners still face extra struggles, too, because of uninsured or under-insured properties.

Every part of that is heartbreaking to me, but the latter is where I think I can be of some help, in sharing information about getting adequate insurance, and helping my neighbors in Nashville understand (and get) the coverage they need.

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Nashville insurance insight: craft brewery coverage

Nashville insurance insight: craft brewery coverage

I wrote a post recently about how focused small-business insurance options are available for just about every industry you can imagine.

One of the industries that I have a lot of personal love for — and which has some of the most complex insurance needs: craft breweries.

A lot can go right when you open a craft brewery in Nashville, and that’s been especially clear over the past decade or so.

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Nashville insurance insight: cool ways technology is changing the insurance industry

Nashville insurance insight: cool ways technology is changing the insurance industry

I’ve read more than my share of news stories claiming the insurance industry hasn’t changed much. And there’s a little truth to that — the fundamental function and approach, calculating risk and charging customers based on that risk — is pretty similar to the plans that protected London homeowners back in the mid-1600s.

That said, our industry, like every industry, is shifting and changing with technology. It’s often in really cool ways, too — ways that are directly beneficial to both insurers and insurees. I think that’s only going to become more true in the years to come.

Chronicling all the ways technology is changing (and improving) insurance would take a fairly lengthy book. So here, I’ll share just a few things that have grabbed my attention, and that I think are worth keeping an eye on.

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Nashville insurance insight: protecting yourself from car theft

Nashville insurance insight: protecting yourself from car theft

It’s already proving to be a busy year for car thieves here in Nashville — by mid-June, we’d seen an astonishing 87 percent jump in the number of stolen cars, year-to-date.

The rising car-theft rates have been consistent across all of Metro Nashville’s police precincts in 2017, with the biggest jumps in Madison (168 percent) and Hermitage (128 percent).

I bring all this up not to bum my neighbors out, but to bring up something important: A surprising majority of vehicle thefts happen because we make it way too easy for thieves.

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Nashville insurance insight: Errors and Omissions Insurance, and why you might need it

Nashville insurance insight: Errors and Omissions Insurance, and why you might need it

Across every business and every industry, all entrepreneurs have something in common: We’re human. We err. We err personally, and we err professionally.

The former is complicated enough; the latter brings the possibility of a lawsuit.

As diligent a professional as we all might be, we have to accept that oversights and unintended mistakes can happen, and that we need to protect ourselves against that possibility. That means Errors and Omissions Insurance.

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Nashville insurance insight: small business insurance shaped for your needs

Nashville insurance insight: small business insurance shaped for your needs

A useful entrepreneurship tidbit to know: Across the United States, independent business growth is in a good place. From the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity:

“In 2013 the Startup Activity Index was at its lowest point in the last 20 years. Today it has gone up three years in a row, reaching close to the peak before the Great Recession drop.”

As an independent insurance agent/small businessperson, that’s a factoid I’m happy to see. Unfortunately, here at home in Nashville, figures are a little less sunny.

Nashville, disappointingly, was on a downswing in Kauffman’s Metro Rankings, dropping from from a city rank of 16 in 2016 to 29 in 2017. We were one of the biggest drops among the cities cited.

I certainly can’t pinpoint what’s making the startup rate in Nashville stall, but I do know one thing: Starting a business is difficult, and complicated, with a grab bag of different pieces that need to be in place for things to start, stabilize, grow and thrive.

Having the right small business insurance in place is, to me, one of the most important parts of entrepreneurial housekeeping.

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Nashville insurance insight: You’re wrong about life insurance

Nashville insurance insight: You’re wrong about life insurance

I like to read insurance-industry studies — in part out of curiosity, but more so I can understand what my insurance clients in Nashville do and don’t understand, where their assumptions lie, and what they want from an independent insurance agent like me.

A few I read recently really opened my eyes. Largely to the fact that insurance brokers like me, in Nashville and everywhere else, need to do more to dispel false assumptions about life insurance.

Life insurance is valuable, and if you have a family, a business or considerable assets, I’d call it a must. But a lot of Americans are apparently skipping it, based on assumptions that are out of date, off-base or simply not true.

So I’d like to clarify a few things, and hopefully make getting life insurance in Nashville seem more approachable. 

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Nashville insurance insight: updating your home insurance policy

Nashville insurance insight: updating your home insurance policy

If there are two key things I want to try and drill into my Nashville neighbors’ minds, it’s this:

— It’s worth it to shop for and compare insurance policies.

— Don’t just set and forget your insurance — you need to keep things updated.

On the latter point: Let’s talk about home insurance.

I can’t tell you how many homeowners I’ve met in Nashville who find a home insurance policy when they purchase their home, then ignore it forever, unless they have to make a claim.

There are a bunch of reasons that’s not the best idea. First, you could be missing out on better rates by not shopping around. But more importantly, you could be leaving yourself with inadequate coverage that doesn’t reflect your home or your situation anymore.

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Nashville insurance insight: insuring your old car

Nashville insurance insight: insuring your old car

This week, I read a story from Nashville’s NewsChannel 5: “Why a fender bender can total your old car.” It’s a car-insurance story I’ve heard plenty of times before, and I know I’ll hear again and again.

The crux, in case you don’t feel like reading the whole story: A Nashville driver with an older car gets in a wreck, and has his dented-but-functional vehicle totaled. Which leaves him with a problem: The blue-book value payout isn’t enough for a reasonable replacement, but getting a “salvage” title and repairing the old car isn’t financially ideal either.

I really feel for the guy. The biggest bummer with all this: There’s no perfect solution, insurance-wise.

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Nashville insurance insight: storm damage and your homeowners policy

Nashville insurance insight: storm damage and your homeowners policy

Although spring tends to be the peak season for major storms here in Tennessee, we’re still getting a healthy share in Nashville now that summer’s rolling in. And the steady parade of downed trees in my neighborhood keeps that in the front of my mind.

 

Also at the front of my mind when winds are howling and thunder’s rolling: how these major storms affect my clients.

 

There’s good reason for someone in my line of work to be thinking about that, since weather leads to the bulk of homeowners insurance claims — 51 percent of all losses are traced to weather-related damage.

 

Are you clear on what is/isn’t covered at your place, and with your policy? Just in case, here’s a quick rundown of the most common stuff.

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Nashville insurance insight: What musicians, photographers and other creatives should know

Nashville insurance insight: What musicians, photographers and other creatives should know

Nashville is a unique place to live for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being our healthy congregation of professional musicians, songwriters, photographers and other creatives.

Even those of us with straight-laced jobs know how hard of a slog it is to stabilize a creative career, and I have immense respect for neighbors who make it happen, and appreciation for a city that supports the hustle.

A funny, frustrating thing about creative jobs like these, though: It’s necessary to amass loads of expensive equipment, and usually just as necessary to haul it around to less-than-locked-down locations, like dark rock clubs, open parks and Motel 6 parking lots.

The kicker:

Creative professionals tend to be chronically under-insured, and people in my industry don’t reach out to musicians and artists enough to change that.

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Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about condo insurance

Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about condo insurance

Whether you buy a single-family home or a condo in Nashville, you’re a homeowner, pure and simple. But that doesn’t mean your experiences and needs are the same.

As a single-family homeowner, your responsibilities run from the roof to the foundation, so your insurance coverage needs to be just as broad.

Condo owners are a little different. Everything inside your unit is yours to maintain and repair, but the shared parts of the property — anything from the lobby to the plumbing that runs from the street — fall under the HOA’s purview.

That means you need a more specific home-insurance option, tailored to what a condo owner needs to protect. 

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Nashville insurance insight: The future of car insurance

Nashville insurance insight: The future of car insurance

If I could see into the future… well, I’d probably be in pretty high demand in the insurance industry. Since I can’t, I rely on studies and data to try and understand trends, and pass information along to my clients.

One thing I get asked a lot lately: “Why does it seem like car insurance rates keep going up?” The short answer: Because car insurance rates keep going up.

From Forbes: “Since about 2012, rates to insure vehicles have gone up in all states and for all drivers, even including those with spotless driving records and no claims.”

I know that’s not fun and/or reassuring, but I think it’s worth at least knowing why things are trending in that direction, how we can work with it, and what we can expect from the future.

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Nashville insurance insight: Quick renters insurance facts

Nashville insurance insight: Quick renters insurance facts

Earlier this year, I wrote a little about renters insurance in Nashville — what it covers, what it usually costs. I think the post is well worth a read if you rent a home or apartment in Nashville, whether you’re a young professional just getting your footing or a retiree feeling out whether or not you’d like to buy a home here.

 

While I covered the “what” and the “how” about renters insurance pretty thoroughly there, the “why” could probably use a little more explanation. Because “why” might be the most important part of renters insurance, and I don’t think people in the insurance industry are getting it across effectively.

 

Stats that lead me to that conclusion: While 95 percent of homeowners in the U.S. had homeowners insurance, according to a 2016 poll, only 41 percent of renters had renters insurance.

 

Mortgage requirements notwithstanding, that 59 percent of uninsured renters is disheartening to me, considering how cheap and simple renters insurance is and how much protection it provides.

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Nashville insurance insight: Are you a ‘preferred risk’? You might be due drastically lower rates

Nashville insurance insight: Are you a ‘preferred risk’? You might be due drastically lower rates

People I meet from out of town often ask me, “What are the car insurance rates like in Nashville?” “How do home insurance rates in Tennessee compare?”

 

They’re funny questions, honestly, because I can’t answer them. At least not accurately.

 

If you want numbers that mean anything, we’d need to get a little deeper, and talk about insurance rates based on risk levels. Which is something worth talking about, if you’re shopping for insurance in Nashville. A lot of people don’t realize it, but if you’re considered a “preferred risk,” you have a serious bargaining chip that you can and should be making smart use of.   

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Nashville insurance insight: What’s an umbrella policy, and why would I need it?

Nashville insurance insight: What’s an umbrella policy, and why would I need it?

There are lots of insurance options most of us have no need to learn about. Prize indemnity insurance. Political risk insurance. Equine Liability Insurance.

 

But if you’re shopping for insurance in Nashville, and you don’t already know the ins and outs of umbrella policies, I’d definitely encourage you to brush up a little (and I’m glad to help you do so).

 

It’s not complicated, just lesser-known to many Nashvillians (many Americans, really). And it can be significantly valuable, while not being significantly expensive.

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