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What to do after an Accident

Each year more than 21 million motor vehicle accidents occur on our nation's roadways according to the National Safety Council. Therefore, the odds of being in at least one accident in your lifetime is extremely high.

This information, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, contains helpful tips so you know what to do if you are involved in one of these unfortunate incidents.

Stop! Do Not Leave The Scene

Call the police immediately to report any accident, no matter how small, which results in personal injury or vehicle damage.

Notify the police as to any medical assistance that may be needed or any vehicle that is not drivable.

Warn other motorists by turning on your vehicle's flashers and setting up flares or other reflective devices starting 50 feet behind your vehicle. Signal for assistance by tying a handkerchief or anything white to the vehicle's antenna.

Do not accept responsibility or otherwise discuss the accident with anyone except police authorities and your independent insurance agent. Do not accept any monetary settlement at the accident scene.

Remain calm and courteous.

Exchange Information With The Other Driver

Write down driver's license number, license plate number, and state. Get the insurance company name and policy number plus make, model, year and description of vehicle. Lastly, record the name, address and telephone numbers of the driver.

Write down the name and address of all passengers, injured persons or anyone with property damage.

Get the name and contact information for at least two witnesses if possible. This is very important when the fault of an accident is questionable.

Diagram The Accident Before Leaving The Scene

Note time of day, weather and condition of roadway (wet, icy, dry).

Show position of all vehicles before and after the accident--plus location of signs, streets and medians.

Note any apparent damage to not only your vehicle but all vehicles involved in the accident.

Write down any details you feel are important

Date:
Time:
Location:
Weather and Road Conditions:
Emergency Phone Numbers:
Police:
Fire:
Ambulance:
Your Doctor:
Your Independent Agent: Kszepka Insurance

A Final Note

After you have taken care of everything at the scene of the accident, immediately notify Kszepka Insurance.  Be sure to save copies of all documents relating to the incident.


Insuring your recreational vehicles

Boats, jet skis, ATVs and recreational vehicles are exciting modes of transportation. They provide a great means of escape on weekends and vacations, but ownership of these thrill-seeking vehicles creates the need for special insurance to protect you, your passengers and others.

While all recreational-type vehicles can be protected by the same basic coverages, each one has its own special requirements and restrictions. This brochure, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, offers some basic information about insuring the vehicles you use for sports and recreation.

BASIC COVERAGES

At a minimum, boats, jet skis, ATVs and recreational vehicles need "liability" and "comprehensive" insurance coverage. Liability protects you if your vehicle injures someone or damages someone else's property, and comprehensive insurance protects your property in case of vandalism, damage or destruction caused by theft or fire. Depending on the age and value of your investment, you may want to purchase collision insurance, which provides coverage for damage you cause to your own property.

BOATS

The amount you pay for your boat insurance will depend on many factors including the boat's value and the value of your boating equipment, the engine's horsepower and whether it's in-board or out-board, and the length of the boat.

You may purchase additional coverages for such things as such as Fuel and Other Spillage Liability, your boat trailer, medical payments, personal effects and liability to protect you from an uninsured boater. You may be eligible to receive lower rates if you hold a captain's license or have completed safety courses provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron Courses. You may also receive discounts for having safety equipment on board or providing protective storage for your boat during non-use or off-season.

JET SKIS

The price of insuring a jet ski varies depending on its engine power and value. Your insurance costs will typically be higher for a jet ski with more than 500 cc. You also may obtain insurance to protect your trailer or to pay you for medical payments if you're in an accident.

RECREATIONAL VEHICLES

You may want to purchase an automobile policy to cover this type of vehicle. This policy will provide you with liability, medical payments and physical damage coverage for

Other coverages you may want to discuss with your independent insurance agent are Towing and Labor or Emergency Expense Allocation insurance. Special rates may apply if you are more than 45 years old and have a good driving record.

A FINAL NOTE

All recreational-type vehicles can be protected by the same basic policy. Kszepka Insurance can provide you with more details about this special insurance and guide you in purchasing the best coverage to maximize your enjoyment and meet the insurance needs for your recreation equipment.


Taking and Inventory of your Home

No one plans to lose their valuables and other belongings in a burglary, a fire or a natural disaster. If one of these unfortunate events destroyed your home, would you be able to report exactly what you lost to the police, to the Internal Revenue Service or to your independent insurance agent?

It's easier to do an inventory of your home now rather than sitting down afterward and attempting to remember a lifetime worth of purchases. Prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, this information will help you begin your household inventory.

Start Today

Use the form found below to complete your household inventory. Write down any valuable items with their serial numbers (usually found on the bottom or back of major appliances) along with the method of acquisition (purchased, inherited or received as a gift), date purchased and price or approximate value. Attach receipts, if possible.

Remember to include furniture, appliances, carpeting, jewelry, artwork, toys and the contents of your closets, cabinets and drawers. Contact your independent insurance agent with questions or concerns.

Play It Safe With A Videotape

Videotaping each room of your house can make taking inventories easier. Photographs and a tape recorder can substitute for a video camera.

A complete video inventory should contain verbal descriptions of major assets as well as their value. Remember your garage, attic, basement and the exterior of the house, plus your landscaping and fencing. If possible, make it a family project by having everyone take turns describing the objects in your home.

Store the video or photographs along with this inventory in a safe-deposit box and send a copy to a friend or relative.

Don't Forget Important Documents

Extremely important documents should be photocopied. Keep one copy in your home and the original, where possible, in a safe-deposit box. Important items include, but are not limited to, the following:
House--Escrow, title, deed, insurance policy.
Personal--Birth certificates, medical history, passports, insurance certificates, credit card numbers, will.
Automobile--Certificates of ownership, finance contracts, registrations, insurance policy, driver's licenses.
Finance--Account numbers for checking and savings accounts, CDs, stocks, bonds, other significant investments.
Tax--Copies of the first two pages of your state and federal returns for the past five years. Complete returns with appropriate receipts and canceled checks should be kept in a separate file box.

Your Inventory

Click Here for an Inventory Worksheet


A Final Note

Most policies limit the amount of reimbursement for theft of valuable items, such as jewelry, furs, silverware and guns. If you have some particularly valuable items in these categories, you may need to purchase additional coverage called a "floater." These types of policies cover each item individually and are usually quite inexpensive.

This information will only be beneficial if you make use of it now. By inventorying your personal possessions ahead of time, you will save yourself from frustration should disaster strike. Kszepka Insurance can help you determine whether your property is adequately protected.


Filing Your Automobile Insurance Claim

Every year millions of consumers file claims with their insurance agents and insurance companies. The trauma of an auto accident or theft is stressful enough without having to worry about your insurance claim.

The following information, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, is designed to help you understand the claims process. Your independent insurance agent will be there to ensure your claim is handled promptly and fairly.

Taking It To The Road

There are two basic types of claims. The first involves loss or damage to your automobile. The second type is a liability claim which arises when someone else suffers an injury or damage to their property because of something you did or did not do.

For example, if you run a stop sign and hit another vehicle, you could be liable for the damages to that vehicle and any injuries that may have occurred. Liability claims may result in a lawsuit against you. To cover these two key areas, most auto policies subdivide the coverage into the following categories:

Auto liability covers damage to other people's property and injuries to the people.
Collision covers damage to your own vehicle.
"Other than Collision" or "Comprehensive" coverage pays to repair damage to your car caused by fire, theft, vandalism, natural disaster or similar events.
Medical payments, termed "good faith" coverage, guarantees immediate medical payments for you, your passengers and other parties involved in the accident, regardless of who is at fault. The point is to help someone who is injured get the necessary medical attention and deal with the issue of fault and insurance later.
"Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverages protect you if you are injured in an accident with others who themselves do not carry enough insurance or have no liability insurance.

That's It?

No. There are additional coverages such as towing and temporary replacement vehicles available for your auto insurance policy. In fact, just about any contingency can be covered by adding clauses and conditions known as endorsements or riders to a standard policy.

After An Accident

For several reasons, the first conversation you have should be with your independent insurance agent. Chances are your policy includes a stipulation that the insurance company be notified promptly. Conversations with others about the situation can inadvertently waive some of your rights in the case.

When The Time Comes

If you do suffer property damage or injury or incur liability, it is time to file a claim. You will be asked to fill out a claim form--the formal document on which you request benefits to be paid according to the terms of the policy. Be complete and supply as much detail as you can and, of course, be truthful. All this will help your adjuster do his or her job and therefore speed the process.

To support your claim, it may be necessary to supply the insurance company with some documentation such as a "proof of loss" form, auto repair and medical bills, and a copy of the police report.

Be sure to keep a copy of your claim and any associated paperwork for your records. You may need to refer to it in the future.

What Is A Deductible?

When you file a claim for property or loss, the payment made by the insurance company is subject to a deductible. Basically, when you purchase your insurance policy, you agree to pay the first specified amount of any damage as your share of the cost of repair or replacement. The insurance company adjusts its rates accordingly, charging less for those who agree to pay a larger first share--or deductible. For example, if your car should sustain damages costing $2,000 to repair and you have a deductible of $250, you would pay $250 and the insurance company would pay $1,750.

What Is A Claims Adjuster?

Once you have reported your claim to your agent, he or she will contact your insurer's claims adjuster--usually within the hour. The adjuster will begin the settlement process, the length of which will depend on the cooperation of the other party, if any. While some claims are relatively easy and straightforward, others are more complicated.

Your adjuster is charged with investigating the claim and then making a recommendation to the insurance company. The recommendation can be to accept the claim and pay the full amount requested, accept part of the claim and make a partial payment, or refuse the claim and make no payment. The insurance company will then make a decision regarding your claim and notify you of its final decision.

A Final Note

The amount of compensation offered can vary according to the adjuster's analysis of your claim. Keep in mind, if you feel it is too low, you do not have to accept the first amount offered. While you may have to do some research to prove a higher payment is valid, it may be worth it.  Kszepka Insurance is able to assist you in reaching a fair settlement.


Filing your Home Claim

Every year insurance companies pay more than $75 billion in claims resulting from losses suffered during fires, hurricanes, robberies, dog bites, falls and other incidents. The trauma of a burglary or severe damage to your home is stressful enough without having to worry about your insurance claim.

This following information, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America (IIAA), is designed to help you understand the claims process. Your independent insurance agent will be there to ensure your claim is handled promptly and fairly.

Where Do I Start?

There are two basic types of claims. The first involves loss or damage to property such as your home or your possessions. The second type is a liability claim which arises when someone else suffers an injury or damage to their property because of something you did or did not do. For example, if someone falls while visiting at your home, you could be liable for any injuries that may have occurred. Liability claims may result in a lawsuit against you.

On The Home Front

If you own your home, chances are you have a homeowners insurance policy. Homeowners insurance covers damage to your property--structures and your possessions--within specified limits. This coverage extends to possessions that you carry for personal use when you travel. You usually have coverage for damage to both structure and personal property caused by:

Fire or lightning
Windstorm or hail
Explosions
Riot or civil commotion
Aircraft
Vehicles
Smoke
Theft or vandalism
Falling objects
Weight of ice, snow or sleet
Freezing of a plumbing, heating air conditioning or other such household system.

If you should experience damage from an above listed caused, you can make temporary repairs (e.g., to the roof) to prevent further damage to your property. Remember to keep all receipts for the insurance company, and do not sign any deals with contractors or lawyers until you have spoken with your independent insurance agent.

Suitable Coverage

Unfortunately, there are other risks involved in everyday living besides loss or damage to your property. That old tree you kept meaning to remove may come crashing down during the next storm right on your neighbor's garage. Or that pesky skateboarding teenager down the street may pick your sidewalk to have a spill and break a bone.

If you find yourself involved in a situation where you may be held liable, it is important to notify your independent insurance agent. You may talk to the skateboarder's "nice" parents or with your neighbors, but leave the insurance discussion and negotiating up to the professional. For several reasons, the first conversation you have about the incident should be with your independent insurance agent.

Chances are your policy includes a stipulation that the insurance company be notified promptly. Plus, in chatting about the situation you can inadvertently waive some of your rights in the case. More importantly, by inviting the insurance company in early in the process, the company can sometimes offer an early settlement that avoids a lawsuit. After all, the insurance company has a team of experts--claims adjusters, appraisers, lawyers, and medical experts--who have probably been down this road before and know exactly how to get mutual satisfaction for both sides without straining neighborly relations.

That's It?

No. There are additional coverages such as flood and earthquake damage for your home. In fact, just about any contingency can be covered by adding clauses and conditions known as endorsements or riders to a standard policy.

When The Time Comes

If you do suffer property damage or injury or incur liability, it is time to file a claim. You will be asked to fill out a claim form--the formal document on which you request benefits to be paid according to the terms of the policy. Be complete and supply as much detail as you can and, of course, be truthful.

To support your claim, it may be necessary to supply some documentation. Pictures of your tree atop the neighbor's garage, details on the sofa, chairs and CD collection destroyed in the fire, and so forth. The better you document your property beforehand with pictures, receipts and other evidence, the more likely your claim will be processed smoothly.

Figuring Out The Costs

How much financial settlement the insurance company offers you of course varies with the situation. However, for property damage, it helps to know that there are two basic ways to value your property:

Actual Cash Value--The replacement cost of the item minus depreciation. For example, a new television set may cost $500. If your 7-year-old TV set gets damaged in a fire, it might have depreciated 50%. Therefore, the televisions remaining value would be $250
Replacement Coverage--The cost of replacing an item without deducting for depreciation. So today's cost for a TV set with features similar to the 7-year-old one damaged by fire would determine the amount of compensation. If the similar new television costs $500, that would be the amount of your coverage.

You may want to check your policy to see which kind of coverage you currently have. For example, if you would prefer replacement coverage and do not have it, this coverage can be added to your policy for an increase in your premium of about 10% to 15%.

What is A Deductible?

When you file a claim for property or loss, the payment made by the insurance company is subject to a deductible. Basically, when you purchase your insurance policy, you agree to pay the first specified amount of any damage as your share of the cost of repair or replacement. The insurance company adjusts its rates accordingly, charging less for those who agree to pay a larger first share--or deductible. For example, if your home should sustain damages costing $2,000 to repair and you have a deductible of $250, you would pay $250 and the insurance company would pay $1,750.

What is A Claims Adjuster?

Once you have reported your claim to your agent, he or she will contact your insurer's claims adjuster--usually within the hour. The adjuster will begin the settlement process, the length of which will depend on the cooperation of the other party, if any. While some claims are relatively easy and straightforward, others are more complicated.

Your adjuster is charged with investigating the claim and then making a recommendation to the insurance company. The recommendation can be to accept the claim and pay the full amount requested, accept part of the claim and make a partial payment or refuse the claim and make no payment. The insurance company will then make a final decision regarding your claim and notify you.

A Final Note

The amount of compensation offered can vary according to the adjuster's analysis of your claim. Keep in mind, if you feel it is too low, you do not have to accept the first amount offered. While you may have to do some research to prove a higher payment is valid, it may be worth it. Kszepka Insurance is able to assist you in reaching a fair settlement.

Protecting your Small Business

As an owner or potential owner of a small business, you have many important decisions to make about your operations, and insuring your business and protecting your assets is one of the most crucial.

This information, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, is designed to help you in developing an insurance program that will protect you and your small business from the many risks you face in your daily operations.

No Matter What Size

No matter how large or small your business, you face liability, which means that your business could be held accountable when someone else suffers an injury or damage to their property because of something your business did or did not do. General Liability insurance includes:

Bodily Injury--Bodily injury includes sickness, disease or death sustained by a person or persons.
Property Damage--Property damage includes physical damage to someone else's property and loss of use of the damaged property.
Personal Injury or Advertising Injury--Personal injury refers to harm to another person's or business's reputation or basic rights, such as the right to privacy. Advertising injury refers to harm caused by an advertisement, such as an ad slandering a competitor.
Products and Completed Operations Injury--Product coverage is extended to any harm that a business's products might cause, including injury arising from "completed operations" such as repair work or electrical installations.

Carefully consider limits that are sufficient to cover the type of work you are doing, the product you are selling and the amount of interaction you have with the public.

Safeguarding Your Property

Like a standard homeowners policy, most business or commercial insurance policies cover both real and personal property. Real property includes your land and buildings. Some policies cover the main building but not additional sheds, fences and other structures. Some may exclude trees, outside signs and glass. Personal property that belongs to the business such as inventory, equipment, furniture, machinery and the like are usually covered.

Coverage can be provided on an "Actual Cash Value" or "Replacement Cost" basis, and can be as broad as "All Risk" or as simple as "Named Perils." A deductible will usually apply to each loss and can be as low as $250.

Additional types of coverage that can be purchased include boiler and machinery, loss of business income, peak season coverage, valuable papers and records, inland marine coverages for property used off your premises and bailees coverage for someone else's property in your custody.

In fact, because no two businesses are exactly alike, business policies are designed to be tailored for you. Your independent insurance agent can help you in preparing an inventory and determining what coverages and limits you will need.

Special Needs

Where your business is located and the scope of your operations can determine if you may need specialty coverages such as flood, earthquake, umbrella liability and international property or liability.

Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

You will want to provide coverage for your employees in the event of a job-related injury or an illness attributed to the workplace. Required by law in most states, workers compensation coverage provides your employees payment of medical bills and lost wages should they be injured or become ill in the course of their employment, regardless of how the injury or illness occurs. In most states, coverage is also available for you, as the owner of the business. Remember it is important that you comply with the law and provide the best possible protection for your employees.

Vehicles Used In Your Business

Whether your business owns one car or a fleet of trucks, automobile insurance protects your business for damage caused to other people or property by your vehicle, as well as damage to your own vehicle.

Commercial policies on vehicles used in business share some traits with auto policies on vehicles for personal use and add a few more elements. Both commercial and personal auto insurance cover liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, and comprehensive and collision. A policy covering a vehicle used in business also may cover your employees when they are operating their personal cars for your business.

Crime Protection

Unfortunately, crime is an everyday occurrence in today's business community, but coverage is available to protect your business from theft by burglary, robbery or employees. Your independent insurance agent can help to implement safeguarding measures to prevent these types of losses and provide you with sound advice on how to best cover them if they do occur.

Health, Life And Disability Coverages

These coverages provide personal protection and peace of mind for you and your employees. They can be helpful in attracting and retaining quality employees in your business. A plan may be tailored for your small business to include these coverages, as well as retirement plans and annuities.

A Final Note

No small business should be without an insurance program to provide protection from the risks faced everyday. Your independent insurance agent can help you design a program to effectively protect your small business.

 

Protecting your Home Business

As an owner or potential owner of a small business, you have many important decisions to make about your operations, and insuring your business and protecting your assets is one of the most crucial.

This information, prepared by the Independent Insurance Agents of America, is designed to help you in developing an insurance program that will protect you and your small business from the many risks you face in your daily operations.

No Matter What Size

No matter how large or small your business, you face liability, which means that your business could be held accountable when someone else suffers an injury or damage to their property because of something your business did or did not do. General Liability insurance includes:

Bodily Injury--Bodily injury includes sickness, disease or death sustained by a person or persons.
Property Damage--Property damage includes physical damage to someone else's property and loss of use of the damaged property.
Personal Injury or Advertising Injury--Personal injury refers to harm to another person's or business's reputation or basic rights, such as the right to privacy. Advertising injury refers to harm caused by an advertisement, such as an ad slandering a competitor.
Products and Completed Operations Injury--Product coverage is extended to any harm that a business's products might cause, including injury arising from "completed operations" such as repair work or electrical installations.

Carefully consider limits that are sufficient to cover the type of work you are doing, the product you are selling and the amount of interaction you have with the public.

Safeguarding Your Property

Like a standard homeowners policy, most business or commercial insurance policies cover both real and personal property. Real property includes your land and buildings. Some policies cover the main building but not additional sheds, fences and other structures. Some may exclude trees, outside signs and glass. Personal property that belongs to the business such as inventory, equipment, furniture, machinery and the like are usually covered.

Coverage can be provided on an "Actual Cash Value" or "Replacement Cost" basis, and can be as broad as "All Risk" or as simple as "Named Perils." A deductible will usually apply to each loss and can be as low as $250.

Additional types of coverage that can be purchased include boiler and machinery, loss of business income, peak season coverage, valuable papers and records, inland marine coverages for property used off your premises and bailees coverage for someone else's property in your custody.

In fact, because no two businesses are exactly alike, business policies are designed to be tailored for you. Your independent insurance agent can help you in preparing an inventory and determining what coverages and limits you will need.

Special Needs

Where your business is located and the scope of your operations can determine if you may need specialty coverages such as flood, earthquake, umbrella liability and international property or liability.

Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

You will want to provide coverage for your employees in the event of a job-related injury or an illness attributed to the workplace. Required by law in most states, workers compensation coverage provides your employees payment of medical bills and lost wages should they be injured or become ill in the course of their employment, regardless of how the injury or illness occurs. In most states, coverage is also available for you, as the owner of the business. Remember it is important that you comply with the law and provide the best possible protection for your employees.

Vehicles Used In Your Business

Whether your business owns one car or a fleet of trucks, automobile insurance protects your business for damage caused to other people or property by your vehicle, as well as damage to your own vehicle.

Commercial policies on vehicles used in business share some traits with auto policies on vehicles for personal use and add a few more elements. Both commercial and personal auto insurance cover liability, medical payments, uninsured motorist coverage, and comprehensive and collision. A policy covering a vehicle used in business also may cover your employees when they are operating their personal cars for your business.

Crime Protection

Unfortunately, crime is an everyday occurrence in today's business community, but coverage is available to protect your business from theft by burglary, robbery or employees. Your independent insurance agent can help to implement safeguarding measures to prevent these types of losses and provide you with sound advice on how to best cover them if they do occur.

Health, Life And Disability Coverages

These coverages provide personal protection and peace of mind for you and your employees. They can be helpful in attracting and retaining quality employees in your business. A plan may be tailored for your small business to include these coverages, as well as retirement plans and annuities.

A Final Note

No small business should be without an insurance program to provide protection from the risks faced everyday. Your independent insurance agent can help you design a program to effectively protect your small business.