When Should You Update Your Homeowner and Auto Insurance Coverage?

Changes in your life often show up as changes in your home and cars. And they could impact your coverage.  So it’s a good idea to update your homeowner and auto insurance to make sure your policy reflects these changes.  We recommend doing an annual review.

To help jump start your thinking on what’s changed, following are some of the things that can impact your homeowners and auto insurance coverage.

6 Things that Impact Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage

1. Remodeling or Renovation Work

Did you finally get the kitchen of your dreams, or add on a Master Suite, or replace the roof?  Home improvement projects often increase the value of your home and may require more coverage.

2. Your Dream Pool or Backyard Playground

Pools, spas, trampolines, and other fun features that turn your backyard into an entertainment center, come with increased risk of injury.  So while you’re thinking fun, these kinds of things are labeled as an attractive nuisance by insurance companies.  Your liability insurance may need to increase to protect you from an accident on your property or a lawsuit.

3. Wood-burning Stoves

A wood-burning stove can add ambiance and help out with your energy costs.  But that cozy atmosphere may impact your homeowner’s premium.  It’s a good idea to call and find out what steps need to be taken to avoid or reduce a premium increase.

4. A New Dog

You love your new dog. Most of the time the liability portion of your homeowner’s insurance helps to protect you if you’re sued because Fido attacked or bit a guest at your home.  But there are some breeds of dogs that some insurers will not cover under your homeowner’s policy.  So it’s a good idea to call and check with your carrier.

5. Home-Based Business

If you work from home, you may have equipment, computers, supplies, and other material goods associated with conducting your business. Don’t assume that these assets are covered under your homeowners or renters policy. You may need to purchase an endorsement or a specific in-home business policy.

6. Art, Jewelry, Antiques

Whether you have inherited or purchased new valuables, they should be added to your policy.  Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

4 Things that Impact Your Auto Insurance Coverage

1.  Marriage

Combining your policies may reduce your costs.

2.  You Moved

You may have only moved one mile from where you lived.  But if it’s a different zip code that may impact your coverage.  Also, policies and regulations vary from state to state. So be sure and give us a call when you are moving.

3. A New Teen Driver

When you add a new teen driver to your auto policy, it’s your rates may go up. In addition to auto insurance, this is a good time to add an umbrella policy for additional liability protection.

4.  Uber or Lyft Driver

If you’ve added “Driver” to your resume, you will need additional coverage.  Not only is the insurance carrier taking on more liability, so are you as the hired driver.

What happens if You Don’t Change Your Coverage Levels

You are insured based on the policy that you have in place.  So if the unexpected happens, and your coverage has not been adjusted to reflect changes to your home or auto, your claim will be based on your coverage.  That means there will probably be a financial gap between your claim and the value of your assets.

A yearly review of your insurance coverage may result in an increase or decrease in your premiums.  Either way, you have peace of mind that your family and assets are protected.

Please call Aspen today at 303-777-2991 to schedule your insurance review.

Auto Insurance for Teens

Summer is Over… and that Means More Teens on the Road!

Summer will officially be over on September 21, but most kids in Colorado have already started the school year. While most parents can’t wait for their children go back to school, some who have teens are a bit apprehensive. Why? Because many teens will be driving themselves to school for the very first time. This can make parents of new drivers very nervous and makes auto insurance for teens top of mind.

It’s Important to have the Right Auto Insurance Coverage when You Have a Teen Driver

Not only are your teens new drivers, but navigating a high school parking lot can be overwhelming for teenagers. Any time hundreds of young drivers are grouped together in a parking lot, accidents are sure to happen. This is just one reason it’s important to make sure you have adequate auto insurance when you have teen drivers. In other words making sure you have adequate auto insurance for teens at this time of year is especially important!

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, “Young drivers, ages 15- to 20-years old, are especially vulnerable to death and injury on our roadways – traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.”

Here are some other scary facts about teen drivers:

  • Teens (16-19) are 2.5 times more likely to get into an accident than the next highest risk age group (20-24).
  • The likelihood of a teenage driver’s being in an accident increases with each additional passenger in the car.
  • Youthful drivers pay the most for auto insurance because they are the highest risk.

So, Mom and Dad… get ready for your rates to go through the roof when your teen is a fully licensed driver! But auto insurance for teens can be kept under control if you are careful.

What You Can do to Reduce Your Policy Rates for Auto Insurance for Teens

  • Enroll your teen in a driver education class. Completing this type of class can often result in an auto insurance discount.
  • Make sure your teen focuses on school. Good grades can earn your teen a “good student” discount with most insurance carriers.
  • Avoid high risk cars. Although your teen might think it’s cool to drive a fast sports car when they are in high school, it can  drive up your rates.
  • Limit your teen’s passengers. Only allow your teen to drive alone or with a maximum of one other person in the car. Fewer people in the car means fewer distractions.
  • Do not allow your teen to use a cell phone while driving. No texting either!
  • Encourage your teen pay for his or her own auto insurance – or at least part of it. If teens pay for it, they’re likely to show more respect for their driving privilege.

Colorado Driver’s License Requirements
for Teens

In order to obtain a driver’s license in Colorado, a teen must:

  • Hold a permit for at least 12 months
  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Complete and sign a drive time log
  • Get a 6-hour behind the wheel certificate if they are younger than 16 years, 6 months
  • Pass a driving test
  • Provide their social security number to the Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Show their proof of address

If your teen is just getting behind the wheel, please call us to review your auto insurance. We appreciate the stress parents feel with new teen drivers.  Our goal is to increase your peace of mind by helping you have the right auto insurance in place to protect your teen and manage your risk.   Call us at 303-777-2991 or e-mail us today.

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

by Cindy Chase

Unfortunately there are many drivers on the road without any type of insurance coverage. Some drivers have coverage but not enough to cover the damages from a serious accident. You may wonder what happens if you’re involved in an accident with one of these uninsured drivers. Will you be able to get the money needed to pay for damages?

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection (UI/UIM) was created for this purpose.  They are two separate issues but often purchased and grouped together on a policy. UI/UIM can protect you in an accident if the other driver has no coverage or inadequate coverage on their vehicle.

The other driver must be deemed legally responsible for the accident in order for UI/UIM to kick in. The coverage can pay for damage to your vehicle as well as medical bills for physical injuries received by you or your passengers during the wreck.

What is an Unisured/Underinsured Driver?

A driver is considered uninsured if he or she:

  • has no insurance coverage
  • has coverage that does not meet state liability requirements
  • has insurance with a company who refuses to pay

A driver is considered underinsured if he or she:

  • has insurance coverage with payment limits too low to cover the accident

Unfortunately not everyone is aware of UI/UIM and may not include the coverage in their policy. According to the Insurance Research Council, close to 25% of drivers may not have UI/UIM in some states. In fact, it isn’t even required in every state.

Colorado Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Colorado does require drivers to carry UI/UIM at a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 up to the amount of bodily injury liability limits selected. You are allowed to reject the coverage but it must be done in writing.

At Aspen Insurance, we always advise our clients to carry the Colorado state required UI/UIM minimums.  We also encourage our clients to evaluate their risk of loss in the event of the unexpected. In today’s world, the Colorado minimums are really just that, and an increase in coverage is often needed to protect your assets.

It’s hard to imagine but you could end up losing your hard earned assets if you’re in an auto accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist.  We drive every day so the right amount of UI/UIM coverage  provides  peace of mind to know you are financially protected in an accident.

If you would like to review your auto policy, please call us at  303-777-2991 or send us an e-mail. We’re happy to do a review of your current UI/UIM coverage to ensure your peace of mind.

Colorado Auto Insurance: How Much Coverage Do You Need?

by Cindy Chase

In all my years of running Aspen Insurance Agency, this has always been a challenging question.  Working with many clients, I’ve observed it’s  a balancing act between protecting your families and assets versus “paying the insurance company more money.”

Here are the minimum Colorado Auto Insurance requirements:

  • Liability coverage of $25,000/$50,000 per accident for injuries caused by you to others
  • Property damage in the amount of $15,000

Is that enough?  Every individual and family situation is different. It really comes down to risk and protection of your assets.

We drive our cars every day.  Each time we pull out of our driveway, we’re trusting ourselves and other drivers. When you really stop and think about it, when you get in your car, you’re putting your life and assets at risk.

CO Auto Insurance: Understand Your
Level of Risk 

How much insurance do you need?  I always advise my clients to understand the risk or impact of the unexpected such as an accident. If you’re in an automobile accident that causes injury to others, your personal assets could be at risk.

On the other hand if you were hit and injured by a motorist that only had the minimum Colorado auto insurance state requirements, you could have significant risk for loss of income and medical bills.

When clients ask me how much coverage to buy, my answer is always as much as you can afford to protect yourself.  The first step is to evaluate increasing the minimum Colorado auto insurance coverage for liability and property damage.

Next, consider two cost effective options that are often overlooked but provide more complete coverage and asset protection, in the event of an auto accident.

Add an Umbrella Insurance Policy to Increase Protection of Your Assets

An umbrella policy is an extra layer of insurance that can pay for medical, court or other expenses you may be required to pay after basic home and car insurance policies stop.

This coverage is nominal in price for the protection it provides.  For example, a $1M dollar umbrella policy on average costs $200 per year.  This fee is dependent on the number of drivers and vehicles in your household, so the exact cost will vary.  But the point is, it’s very inexpensive coverage that provides additional liability protection for everyone in your household…should you need it.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist
Liability Protection…is a Must

Colorado requirements are called minimum for a reason.  The high cost of medical care and potential loss of income due to inability to work would quickly exceed the minimums.  And if the motorist has no insurance, you are at increased risk.  I advise all my clients to have this insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Liability Protection is necessary for your own piece of mind and protection.

This two part series on Colorado auto insurance was inspired by my own recent auto accident.  You can read part 1 here.  I’m happy to say that I am feeling much better, my car is back like new and I experienced an easy and pleasant claims experience with my carrier.  It’s not often that one gets to experience what they sell and do for a living as “the client”.

I hope that the tips and ideas I have shared help you should the need ever arise.  And most importantly I want to encourage your to review your auto policies and make sure that you are adequately covered to protect your assets.

And yes, if you would like to discuss your current auto coverage and requirements for protecting your assets, please call me at 303-777-2991.

Colorado Auto Insurance: Be Prepared for Car Accidents

by Cindy Chase

Colorado auto insurance.  We all take our auto insurance for granted.  Even me. And I am in the business of selling multiple kinds of insurance including automobile coverage.

But…crash, in a split second I ran into a concrete pole in a parking garage. I sat there stunned not knowing how this happened. Trying to get to my exercise class, I was in a rush because I left the office late. Now I had the opportunity to be “the client” of my own policy.  This experience created a renewed sense of appreciation

Crash: Wake Up Call to Be Present

It happened so fast.  I was going 10 miles per hour, when I hit the pole. Suddenly all of the airbags went off, people stopped and the parking garage attendants called the fire department. In that moment I realized I had not really been paying attention to driving.  I was focused on getting to my class.

We often hear talk about teenage safety and senior safety driving courses.  The reality is, that we all need to be more present behind the wheel no matter your age. This was a big wake-up call for me.

The good news is I was not hurt.  Once the fire department confirmed I could walk and talk, the process of cleaning up my mess started.

Colorado Auto Insurance:  Helpful Tips for…
Auto  Accidents

You might find the following tips that I learned in the process helpful:

1. Carry a current insurance card and vehicle registration in your glove box.

I know this seems like common sense. But through the years, many clients have called from the scene of an accident to get their automobile insurance information.  Having it available, saves time and lowers stress.

2.  Put an extra pair of reading glasses in your glove box.

Print on insurance cards is small.  In my shock, I wasn’t able to read the card.  Fortunately, people had stopped and helped me.

3.  Airbags deploy with force.

Boy did I learn that.  My shins, ankles and knees had extreme bruising from the trauma. Make sure your seat is properly adjusted for driving.

4.  Check your auto policy to ensure you have enough medical pay coverage.

Medical pay coverage is for first dollar expenses, regardless of fault. Everyone in your vehicle is covered.  It’s optional coverage in Colorado, but worth the fee.  Many of us have other people and children in our cars.  Medical pay covers them as well.

5.  Talk directly to your insurance carrier.

I called my carrier the next morning and was guided through the process by the claims person.  Yes, this took a few minutes of time, but I was able to provide exact details of my accident. In my experience, the more people involved in the communication process, the more deluded the story becomes.  Miscommunication is the root cause of most claim problems.

The process of repair has started…me nursing my bruised body and my beloved auto taken away to be repaired. This experience gave me a firsthand view of the stress and trauma with the unexpected

I gained a renewed sense of appreciation for the value of insurance and the support I received.  Not only from my carrier, but the fire department and people who stopped to help me.

Yes, I’m in the business.  But this experience reinforced my commitment and passion to why insurance matters.  And the Aspen Insurance commitment to clients to protect them before they need it.

You may be wondering if I had enough insurance. Turns out the 30 days of rental coverage was not enough.  How much auto insurance is enough is a question that I frequently discuss with my clients.  Read part two of this series, where I share my perspective.