Archive | April, 2011

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Tenant Vandalism?

What happens when your tenant destroys your home? Will your insurance policy cover the damages?

BMR Insurance recently encountered a situation up in Laguna Beach, where a tenant of a property stripped down the home to the bare drywall and inflicted $1.5 million worth of damage.  The tenant took fireplaces, railings, lights, windows, doors and every other fixture imaginable!  What are homeowners and landlords to do in such a situation?  We see many predicaments such as this (fortunately most are not as severe as the one we depicted), and our clients always wonder: Does homeowner’s insurance cover acts of vandalism and theft?

The answer is that standard homeowners insurance policies will generally not cover any damages inflicted by tenants; Homeowners insurance policies only cover residences lived by the actual homeowner, or to put it simply, covers only the property in which a homeowner lives.  Rental properties require a different policy under a rental homeowner’s policy known as a “dwelling fire policy”.  Under the dwelling fire policy, normal wear and tear damage is not covered, but preempted vandalism is.  However, in order to claim vandalism, homeowners must file a police report and press charges against the offender.

Again, all insurance policies are different, so BMR Insurance recommends all homeowners and landlords to check with their insurance companies to review their policies and get a better understanding of what is and isn’t covered under their premium.

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Surety Bonds: What Are They?

Construction contractors often go through surety bonds when dealing with their clients. Image courtesy of Freefoto.com.

What is a surety bond?

A surety bond is a type of guarantee between a contractor and client.  Unlike regular insurance, which is a transaction between two parties, a surety bond actually involves three parties: the obligee, the principle (party in charge of the obligation or contract) and the surety (party who assures the obligee that the contract will not be broken).  Through a surety bond, the surety seeks to uphold the contract for the benefit for the obligee, and if everything works out, the process succeeds in showcasing the credibility of the principal party and its ability to complete its responsibilities and fulfill its contractual agreements.

Contractors who proceed on contracts without a surety bond are at risk to offer up monetary values as a form of a collateral.  Surety bonds keep assets separate, so that contractors won’t have to sacrifice any payments up front.

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Going Through Significant Life Changes? You Need to Review Your Insurance Policies!

Just married? New spouses can qualify for combined, lower insurance premiums.

Have you reviewed your insurance policies lately?  At BMR Insurance, we recommend our clients to go through their insurance policies with an agent at least once every six months to ensure that everything is up to date and clear.  However, there are also significant events in our lives that warrant an immediate policy review. Read on to see what important life changes constitute sitting down and reevaluating your insurance policies.

Just Married

Changes in marital status could affect all realms of one’s insurance policies.  For example, did you know that married couples could qualify for lower auto insurance premiums by combining their policies?  On the other hand, one’s traffic record can also adversely affect his or her spouse’s policy.  Check with your insurance agent to see which option is best for you and your spouse.  BMR Insurance recommends for married couples to combine their health insurance premiums to lower their costs, especially if one of the spouse’s employers offers family member coverage.  For couples that are moving together into a new apartment or home, remember to look into homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance to protect your newly combined assets.

New baby

Welcoming a new addition to the family is an exciting time, and during this period couples should make sure that their newcomer will be adequately covered with proper health and life insurance. Depending on each insurance company, babies are usually covered under their mothers’ insurance premiums for a short amount of time.  However, it is wise to begin looking into these separate policies as early as possible.

Changes in Your Career

Discuss with your new employer’s Human Resources department to see what types of health coverage they offer for their employees.  Your new employer might be able to offer lower premiums or even extend your coverage to your family members.  If your employer does not offer any health benefits, check around with private health insurance companies and consider joining your own plan.

Going through one of the above life changes and need to review your insurance policy? Give BMR Insurance a call today (714) 838-1911 for a free insurance consultation.

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Do Nuclear Reactor Sites Have Insurance?

It's a frightening scenario, but what do nuclear reactor sites, like Japan's Fukushima facility, do when in a crisis?

The Japanese government recently reported that its insurance companies will issue a record-high amount of payouts due to the damage inflicted by the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters.  This series of disasters, not to mention the issues with the volatile nuclear reactors, have also caused quite a stir of anxiety over here in California.  In the past several weeks BMR Insurance has written a number blogs about earthquake insurance and what to do when preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters.  Recently, we have received requests on covering what to do in terms of insurance dealing with nuclear radiation and nuclear reactor plants.

Unfortunately, any incident relating to nuclear radiation in terms of insurance is very ambiguous. In the United States, there are a total of 104 nuclear reactors across the country.  Like any other business or corporation, these nuclear power reactors do have liability for any accidents, which is outlined in the Price-Anderson Act.  The Price-Anderson Acts stipulates that all nuclear reactor sites must have adequate funding to satisfy any liability claims.  On average, in order to meet the demands of this law, nuclear reactor sites pay around $375 million a year for a premium.  An example of when the Price-Anderson Act was called into action was during 1979, when Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island had a nuclear meltdown, resulting in the evacuation of thousands of local residents.  Under the Price-Anderson Act, the insurance companies were able to cover living expenses and reimburse damages for the people affected by the incident.

While the insurance pool of a nuclear reactor site might seem like a lot, in the event of a full-blown nuclear explosion, the nuclear plant reactor’s insurance would hardly suffice in covering the thousands of lives a nuclear meltdown could affect. Furthermore, nuclear fall out is generally not covered under individual property insurance or life insurance.  BMR Insurance highly advises everybody to check with their insurance companies and review their insurance policies.  All insurance companies are different and policies can vary.  Even if you do not live near a nuclear reactor plant, BMR Insurance still encourages you to review your insurance policy! It is always best to know exactly what is and isn’t covered in your insurance, so you will not run into any surprises if disaster ever strikes.

If you need to review your insurance policy, give BMR Insurance a call today (714) 838-1911 for a free insurance consultation.

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