Original Fire Insurance Policy

Today when you receive your homeowner policy in the mail it comes as a thick packet usually about 40-50 pages in depth.  Each year the policy renews, you get a similar package delivered to you.  On and on this goes until you sell your current house and then get another.  Once again, however, as you setup your homeowner policy on the new house you get yet another 40-50 page packet.  I mention this because it was not always this way.  Like every other industry, things used to be simpler.  The photo that is with this article is of a fire policy dating back to 1833 that hangs in our office.  During the time of this policy there was only one page to the insurance packet.  It held the logo of the insurance company on the top and then the rest of it was the contract language.  When you sold your home you did not go out and purchase another policy.  Instead you would go get the insurance policy from the prior homeowner and have it signed over to you.  If you look closely at the photo you will see where there is writing all around the document which shows the different transfers of ownership.  Ah, the simpler times.

One thing to note though, this policy only covered you for fire.  Damage from wind, theft, water leaks, liability, etc. had not been invented yet.  Though they were simpler times the coverage was not nearly as good as it is today.

Tornado Truths That Can Help You Stay Safe

Tornadoes have caused severe and irreparable damage to tens of thousands of Americans and their property in recent years. On top of the physical and emotional fallout, many have also lost their lives as a direct result of a tornado.

Although you can never control the weather or the outcome of a destructive storm, there are steps you can take to help you and your family remain protected in the event of a tornado. Those steps of action begin with knowing fact from myth.

Here are a few tornado truths that could help keep you and those you love safe:

 
When indoors, shut all windows and doors. Do not leave them open in an attempt to follow the mythical need to “pressurize” your home because the result would more likely be debris flying through the window and causing severe harm, or wind pressure working to lift the roof off the house from the inside.
 

If you are inside your home or other structure, retreat to the lowest level (a basement is ideal) or the room closest to the middle of the home or farthest from windows and doors. Do not seek a “corner” of the structure for your retreat; instead, go to the center-most point, away from windows and anything heavy that could fall on your head.
If you’re outdoors, find the lowest spot, such as a ditch or dry river bed, and lie flat on your stomach, covering the back of your head with your hands.  Do not follow the myth of seeking shelter underneath a bridge or overpass because it could collapse on top of you or large debris and winds could come rushing underneath and potentially sweep you up into the tornado itself.
If you are in a vehicle, abandon the vehicle and try to find shelter in a structure or outdoors in a low place where you should lay stomach-down and cover the back of your head with your hands. Most importantly, do not attempt to drive away from the storm unless it’s very obviously far away and moving in the opposite direction. 
Do not take shelter near a road or foothill and expect the tornado to miss you. Some myths say that tornadoes will reverse their directions when nearing a road or foothill, but a tornado doesn’t discriminate and will keep on its path.
Keep head gear handy. Head protection can be the number-one most important factor in remaining protected from flying debris—indoors or outdoors—so know where bike, football, batting, boxing and other helmets are in the house, and make them easily accessible.
 

At Fey Insurance we want to help you know the tornado truths that will help keep you and your family safe. For more tornado safety tips, visit the Storm Prediction Center’s comprehensive guide at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html.

New Ohio State Wide Texting Law

On June 1st Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a state wide texting while driving ban. The law will go into force in 90 days from June 1st. This new law has tougher restrictions on those under 18. If you are under 18 you are not allowed to use a cell phone at all in a car when you are driving, hands free or not. Those over 18 are still allowed to make phone calls on their phones and are allowed to use the phone to dial while driving. They are just not allowed to send or read texts while driving. Also, for those under 18 the phone use law is a first offense meaning if a police officer sees a person under 18 using a phone while driving they can be pulled over and ticketed just for that offense. Those over 18 can only be ticketed for texting while driving if they were also pulled over for another violation such as speeding, running a red light, etc.

The law is a misdemeanor for drivers with fines up to $150. If you are under 18 you’re first offense could be $150 fine with a 60 day license suspension. A second offense for those under 18 is $300.

My Tree, Their Vehicle… Whose Insurance (Repost from 10/23/09)

About a year ago I received a call from my neighbor. He sounded as if something was wrong; “Where are you” he asked? I informed him that I was away from home at the moment but was there something I could help him with. “Yeah, you can come get your huge tree limb off my SUV!” I immediately turned around and headed home. Once I got there I saw what is pictured here in this blog post. Because of heavy winds my huge front yard tree had dropped a limb and totally smashed the top of my neighbor’s vehicle. He and I spent the whole next day cutting away at the tree limb so that we could eventually tow his car to a body shop.

Now my neighbor lives next door to an insurance man so he was already well versed in whose insurance takes care of the damages to his SUV but for those of you that are not as privileged to live next to an insurance man I thought I would explain. Even though it was my tree that caused the damage my homeowner policy would not be involved in paying for the damages. In order for me to be responsible I would have to be negligent in some way but since it was an “act of God” (wind) negligence could not be pointed at me. Therefore, the coverage for the damage to his vehicle would fall under his personal auto policy. More specifically it would be his comprehensive or “other than collision” coverage. Since this coverage usually has a deductible (the amount the policy holder has to pay out of pocket before the insurance company takes care of the rest) I offered to help pay the amount he would have to pay out of pocket. I was not required to do this but since I like my neighbor and it was my tree, I felt it was the right thing to do.

There is, however, one situation that could have made the tree limb fall my fault. If for some reason my neighbor felt that my tree was unhealthy and dangerous he could compose a letter and “send receipt” a letter to me (meaning upon delivery I would have to sign a document stating I had received the letter). In the letter he would have to state that he felt my tree was in danger of falling and causing damage to his property. If that had been the case and my neighbor had sent me the letter he could have had grounds that I was negligent. This in turn would cause my homeowner policy to pay out for his damages and not his personal auto policy.

By the way, my tree is very healthy so there is no need for my neighbor to write a letter.

Password Protection

Internet security firm Imperva of Redwood Shores, Calif., recently analyzed 32 million passwords that were exposed in a security breach for an online company in Dec 2009. They not only identified the most common passwords, but also suggested effective methods for creating secure ones.

The hacker in this 2009 breach only posted the member’s passwords to the Internet, and was more interested in exposing the company’s lax security. If complete usernames, email addresses and passwords were revealed, the ultimate damage could have been devastating. The reason: many people use the same username and password for all online dealings, including banking. Imperva reported the five most common passwords were: 1234, 12345, 123456789, password and iloveyou.

It seems that little has changed over the last 20 years. A review of the 1990 study of Unix password selections found remarkable similarities to the passwords revealed by this recent security breach. The study revealed about 50 percent of the users had the same username and passwords for access to multiple Web sites. Just 10 years ago, hacked Hotmail passwords showed the same passwords selection tendencies in their users.

The short, simple passwords make users susceptible to very basic password attacks. As hackers continue to rapidly adopt smarter password cracking software, consumers and companies will be at greater risk.

Imperva recommends passwords contain at least eight characters and a mix of four different types of characters (upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols). It should not be a name, word or contain any part of an email address.

If you have any questions about including identity theft protection in your insurance policy, feel free to get in touch with us.

Rental Car Coverage

The Holiday Season brings on a lot of travel.  People are either taking advantage of time off to go on vacation or they are traveling to see loved ones in other areas of the country.  Either way they often rent a vehicle during the Holiday Season so we thought it would be a good idea to post our thoughts on whether to buy or not buy rental car insurance.  
The first question we get from customers asking about rental cars is “does my insurance cover a rental car that I rent?”  Our answer is always a “gray” answer because it just depends on the coverage they selected on their personal insurance policy, what state they will be traveling in and what rental car company they are using.  Because of this “gray” response we always recommend at least take out Collision Damage Waiver from rental car companies.  Here are four reasons why this is always a safe option:
1.  Chance of claims is higher when traveling:  In our opinion the chance of a claim when you are driving around an unfamiliar city are much higher then when you are around your hometown.  You are not often sure of where you are going so you may spend more time looking at road signsor GPS devices instead of focusing on other vehicles.  
 
2. Claims paid out by your own policy can cause your rates to increase:  As mentioned in item 1, the chance of a claim is higher when in unfamiliar areas and if you were to have a claim and did not buy the Collision Damage Waiver than the payment of the claim would come from your personal auto policy.  This could cause your rates to increase.  If, however, you had purchased the Collision Damage Waiver from the rental car company the damages to the rental car would be paid by the rental car company and not your personal auto policy.  This would help preserve your claims history.
3.  Your auto insurance deductible would apply:  If you have a claim and need to go under your own insurance, often your auto policy deductible would apply.  If, however you take out the Collision Damage Waiver there would be no deductible.
 
4.  Dealing with out of state accidents is difficult:  If you were to cause an accident while on vacation you would have to work with the rental car company on getting their car fixed by your insurance company (again, assuming you didn’t purchase the Collision Damage Waiver).  You also run the risk of them automatically charging the damages to your credit card which some rental car contracts let them do.  If you did have the Collision Damage Waiver, however, you would just simply turn the car over to the rental car company and they would then deal with all the repairs and not bother you with getting payment for the damages.
It is because of these four points that in Fey Insurance Service’s opinion it is always good to purchase the Collision Damage Waiver from the rental car companies.  If anything it gives you peace of mind during your Holiday travels.

Kidproof

The temptations and dangers to today’s children are unfortunately ever growing. The news will attest to this with stories of abductions, kidnapping, facebook driven depressions, internet bullying, etc. It is important that kids and parents today be proactive against such dangers. Being in the business of risk management we are always looking for ways to mitigate and avoid risk. One way to do this when it comes to kid’s safety is through courses put on by Kidproof. Kidproof is an organization that puts on safety courses for children. The courses are geared toward kids ages 5 to mid teens.

Some examples of their courses are:

Cybersafe which teaches kids how to safely use the internet. They teach them how to see warning signs and unsafe situations online.

Another course is all about avoiding being bullied or how to deal appropriately with a bully. The course is called Bully Proofing.

Their most popular class is the Babysitter Training course. This course helps kids develop the skills needed to take care of other children.

Knowledge and education are always a good defense against certain dangers. Kidproof’s classes are a great way for parents to help make children aware and educated on today’s dangers. Visit www.kidproofsaftey.com today.

Kidproof is always looking to expand to help get the word out to parents in different communities in North America. If anyone wishes to start their own Kidproof franchise then contact Darian Richardson of RMC Franchise. Visit his website at www.rmcfranchiseconnect.com.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips from NFPA

Here is an article from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on Thanksgiving Safety Tips.  From our family here at Fey Insurance Services to yours, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! 

THANKSGIVING SAFETY TIPS
The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Safety tips:

•Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

•Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

•Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.

•Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.

•Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

•Keep knives out of the reach of children.

•Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

•Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

•Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.

•Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button

Auto Insurance Basics

States have laws requiring drivers to carry auto insurance, sometimes referred to as financial responsibility laws. There are a number of ways a driver can show his ability to pay for injuries and damages. By a wide margin, auto insurance is the most common form of financial responsibility compliances and is the most frequently purchased form of insurance.

The two basic components of auto insurance coverage are liability and physical damage coverages. Liability coverage will pay for your negligence resulting in bodily injury and or property damage. Claims for bodily injury could include claims for medical expenses, lost wages, consequential damages including pain and suffering. Property damage coverage pays for the damage you may do to the property of others. Liability coverage includes the cost of defending yourself against liability claims. A companion coverage that is of great value is uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects you if you are injured by an uninsured driver.

Physical damage coverage can provide collision and or comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage provides payment for damage to your automobile as the result of a collision with an object. Comprehensive coverage pays for the damage to your auto by causes other than collision. Collision and comprehensive coverages are optional and not required by law. If you have a lien on the automobile, the lender will require you carry these coverages.

Douglas M. Fey

Fey Insurance Services morns the loss of Douglas M Fey who served those in our agency as an owner, brother and uncle.  We will greatly miss him and his warm spirit around the office.  Below is his obituary.

FEY, Douglas Michael age 64, went home to be with the Lord on Friday, September 27, 2013. He was born on December 30, 1948 in Cincinnati, OH, the son of Ralph N. Fey and Ruth Yvonne Curpen “Bonnie” Fey. He attended school in Oxford graduating from Talawanda High School and later attending Miami University in Oxford where he was awarded a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1971. While at Miami he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity where he served as Chapter Treasurer. Following graduation he entered the U. S. Army serving in the Finance Branch in the United States and for 18 months in South Korea. Upon completion of his military service he returned to Oxford to begin working in the family insurance business with his father, older brother, his sister-in-law and later his nephew. Doug was Vice President of Fey Insurance Services. He loved to fly and held a commercial instructor’s rating, and at one time he owned a vintage 1946 Piper Cub which he hangered at his family’s farm. In addition, he was at various times a member of the Oxford Presbyterian Church, the Oxford Kiwanis Club, the Oxford Rotary Club and the Oxford Country Club. On October 17, 1993, Doug married his beloved Paulette, and they moved to Lebanon, OH where he lived the rest of his life. Doug and Paulette loved to travel and spend time with their children and grandchildren. He leaves his brother, Thomas Curpen Fey (Cathy) of Oxford, Ohio, Paulette’s daughters Amber Mitchell (Jon) of New Carlisle, Ohio, Kim Martin (Zach) of Loveland, Ohio and Laura Hockett of Lebanon, and thirteen grandchildren including Samantha Mitchell, Milo Mitchell, Ulyana Mitchell, Ilia Mitchell, Anastasia Mitchell, Slava Mitchell, Olga Mitchell, China Martin, Nova Martin, Cherokee Martin, Zion Martin, Ivy Hockett, a niece, Elizabeth Fey Mundy (Al) of Cincinnati, Ohio and nephew, Brian Douglas Fey (Kate) of Cincinnati, Ohio and their children. He was preceded in death by his parents. Visitation will be held on Wednesday October 2nd from 10:00-12noon at Oswald-Hoskins Funeral Home with a service immediately following. Interment will take place in Lebanon Cemetery. Arrangements were made by Oswald-Hoskins Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.hoskinsfh.com