Basements and Storage: What You Need to Know

Basement[1].jpgBasements in homes are a bonus….but do you know what/how you should store things in one? Here are some storage tips from State Farm to keep all your belongings safe!

What not to store in a basement:
Electronics: Stashing gadgets you might use in the future – an old gaming system, for example – in an unfinished basement may seem like a good idea, but evaluate how climate-controlled your space is. If you’ve not finished any of the space, bulky and pricey electric items such as power drills or kitchen stand mixers are better off on ground level or above. If your basement is finished, make sure that any TVs or other electronics are in a moisture-free space, off the ground.
Artwork: Still figuring out what to do with that painting you purchased on a whim? Don’t leave it in an unfinished basement. Humidity and poor ventilation can damage delicate paintings, photographs, and other items.
Flammables: Many DIY materials such as paint and other home supplies – think extra propane tanks – pose a fire risk, particularly if adjacent to gas-powered appliances. Follow manufacturer recommendations for storage.
Books and documents: Poor ventilation and humidity can wreak havoc on anything with a paper component. Unless your space is finished and not subject to big climate variations, store books above ground and in sturdy, leak-proof containers. Store hard-to-replace documents such as birth certificates and Social Security cards higher than the basement in a locked fire box.
How to store things in a basement
If your basement gets damp: Invest in mold-proof storage containers to store anything that might attract moisture, including books and clothing.
If your basement is unfinished: Install shelving units so you can keep items you’re storing in the basement off the floor.
Clothes: Keep extra or seasonal clothing in sealed containers off the basement floor, if possible.
Furniture: Place foldable items stacked neatly against a wall so they’re accessible but retrievable. Any fabric or foam pieces, such as cushions, should be cleaned and stored off the basement floor.
Bulk household and kitchen supplies: Larger quantities of necessities, including toilet paper, paper towels, disposable dishes, and any other household items, should be stored on shelving off the ground. That way, even if your basement floor does get damp, it won’t damage these items.
Non-perishable food: As with bulk household supplies, stash the extras on shelves off the basement floor.
Outdoor accessories: The basement is a good spot for yard accessories or other gardening supplies. However, heavier outdoor furniture can remain outside under all-weather covers.


So you got an expensive Valentine’s Day gift? Now what?

Did you receive a lavish Valentine’s Day gift today?

insure-your-love-valentines-day-intelliquote2[1].pngWhether it’s a diamond engagement ring or other posh jewelry, after you’ve thanked your sweetheart, don’t forget to protect your precious gift with the right insurance.
This insurance should give you some financial protection to soothe your sadness if the piece gets damaged or disappears.

Thanks to U.S. News, here are seven facts to know about insuring your most beloved belongings.

1. Sentimental value is not insurable. Gifts from your valentine might seem priceless to you, but insurers won’t share your passion. They allow you to insure a personal possession for its actual or appraised value only, not its sentimental value.
2. Homeowners or renters insurance may not cover the full value. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your dazzling Valentine’s Day gift will be completely covered by your homeowners or renters insurance. Standard policies come with caps, such as $1,000 or $2,000, on certain types of high-value items, such as jewelry, watches, furs and fine art. So, if your gift is worth more than your policy limit, you could fall far short of the cost to replace it.
3. Homeowners or renters insurance doesn’t cover an accidental loss. If you need to make an insurance claim on an expensive belonging, the type of loss you experience is important. For instance, if your gift is damaged or lost due to a peril that’s covered by your policy, such as a theft, fire or windstorm, you’ll get a payout up to the cap, minus your deductible. But what about mishaps, like accidentally flushing a diamond ring down the drain, finding a large gemstone missing from its setting or having a valuable ring slip off your finger in the ocean? Unfortunately, these upsetting misfortunes won’t be covered – unless you buy an add-on to your policy, which goes by different names, such as a rider, floater or endorsement.The extra coverage increases your home or renters premium, but covers any type of calamity that might occur to your gift, including maddening accidents. The additional rate depends on various factors, including the insurer, the item and where you live, but could range from $10 to $85 per $1,000 of value.
4. Riders don’t require a deductible. While adding a rider slightly increases your homeowners or renters insurance, the good news is that it doesn’t come with a deductible. That means that if your Valentine’s Day gift mysteriously disappears, you won’t have any out-of-pocket costs to replace it, up to your coverage limit.


5. Separate valuables insurance is an option. If you don’t own a home or have renters insurance to begin with, you can buy a separate policy just for your valuables – although it typically costs more than an add-on policy. Studies show that most renters don’t have a policy and mistakenly overestimate the cost. Coverage for renters is surprisingly inexpensive, so if you’re in the uninsured renters camp, don’t dismiss its ability to protect your finances. A renters policy not only protects personal belongings from theft or damage at home – but also at off-premise locations, such as in your car, storage unit or while you’re traveling. Renters insurance also gives you liability coverage worldwide and pays your living expenses if you are displaced from your place while covered repairs are being made.
6. Gift recipients are responsible for insurance. If you buy an expensive gift for your valentine, you’re responsible for insuring it. But once you give it away, the lucky recipient bears the burden of insuring it. So, make sure to pass along a copy of the receipt or appraisal, so the next insurance company knows the current value of the item.
7. It’s wise to keep a home inventory. It’s a good idea to maintain an up-do-date inventory, including pictures or video of your belongings. Keep it in several safe places, such as a storage account in the cloud, on a flash drive, in a locked filing cabinet or in a bank safe deposit box. While you may never get over the loss of a precious gift, the more documentation you have, the easier it will be to make a successful insurance claim.

We Launched a Podcast!

LogoPod.pngWe are excited to share this with you!
Today, the SCDOI launched a new podcast program titled Insurance Matters. The first episode explores data security within the insurance industry, featuring Director Ray Farmer and host Katie Geer.

This is a project the SCDOI looks forward to growing better and better with each episode and will always be on the lookout for great topics.

Click here to listen to the first episode!

Don’t Fall Prey to Scammers!

Deceiving-man[1].jpgIt is a sad fact, but often times crafty (and not so crafty) scammers target the These schemes take advantage of isolation, ease of trust, higher savings, and lack of tech savvy, among other things.
Sadly, fall prey to these scams. Most of these tricks are played against seniors over e-mail and phone, though some are even done by door-to-door advertising. According to Senior Living, scammers offer all sorts of things…credit cards, charity donation requests, home improvement offers, investment opportunities, banking and wire transfers, insurance offers, health products, and sweepstakes and contests.

The team over at Senior Living have put together a comprehensive document to help protect yourself and your loved ones from being scammed. If you would like to learn more about the scams that prey on the elderly, click here for the full article.

Insuring Hired Workers


Home-Renovation[1].jpgRemodeling or having work done on your home can be tricky business. It can also be expensive if accidents happen to workers inside your home or property – and from time to time, accidents do happen!

If accidents happen to the people you have hired to do work on your home or property you could be held financially responsible. You should understand what type of coverage the company that you’ve hired as, as well as what type of additional coverage might be ideal for you to consider. If you have doubts about your coverage, it is always best to speak with a trusted insurance agent on the matter.

The Insurance Information Institute offers a wealth of knowledge on this topic. Check out their original post for more details and helpful links.

But if you are wanting just a brief overview…here is what you need to know!

Company Contract Workers 
In-home care workers examples:  nurse, physical therapist, cook o21.-Home-Health-Care-Holland[1].jpgr  housekeeper

  • Determine who is the employer: in most cases the worker you hired is an employee of that business and insured under their auspices. If you find you are considered the employer…contact your insurance agent for advice.
  • Get a copy of the businesses certificates of insurance: these will  provide documentation that the firm covers a worker’s compensation. If the company offers health and disability insurance, it is safe to say you can feel comfortable that any worker injured on your property will receive medical treatment at the company’s expense and not any of your own.

Occasional Workers
o-BABYSITTERS1216-facebook[1].jpgOccasionally in-home hire examples:  babysitter, yard worker, small home improvement projects.

  • Check your policies: review your current no-fault medical coverage in your homeowners policy or renters insurance. If someone other than an immediate family member is injured on your property, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company for reimbursement. Make sure your policy limits are adequate to your needs.
  • Know your liability insurance: depending on your current homeowners and renters coverage and your assets, you may elect to raise the amount or buy more coverage through an umbrella liability policy.

Permanent Full- or Part-Time Employees

  • If you hire one or more home workers on a permanent, regularly scheduled basis, working-from-home-how-to-skillfully-lead-remote-employees_1580_40008009_0_14109995_500[1].jpgconsider purchasing workers compensation insurance. Workers comp provides coverage for medical care and physical rehabilitation for an employee who is injured on the job, as well as lost wages if the employee is severely hurt and no longer able to work. In the worst-case scenario, it also provides death benefits.
  • Find out if your state requires workers compensation for the type of employees you’re hiring (ex. housekeeper, gardener, etc.).
  • Determine the mandatory requirements workers comp coverage.
  • Don’t ignore the law. It’s important to note that if you’re required by law to buy workers compensation insurance and you fail to do so, your homeowners or other applicable policies will not pay for any fines, court awards or any other penalties against you.

If your employee is going to drive your car

asian-girl-driving-car_2560x19201-e1548778728756.jpgWhatever the nature of the employee relationship, it’s important to inform your auto insurance company if the person you hire is going to drive your car. For example, if you’re going to lend your car to a worker to pick up groceries or take an aging parent to the doctor, your insurer needs to know about the additional driver for auto insurance purposes. Whatever the employee car usage, your insurer can explain your options.


Work from Home? What You Need to Know About Insurance.

If you work part-time or full-time from home insurance is something you need to consider if y1280-603314758-working-at-home[1].jpgou have a home-based business.  Having the right type of insurance for your needs can be tricky, especially if you are just starting out, but thanks to the folks at the Insurance Information Institute (III), there is help!

When picking insurance, you should consider the type of at home business you are opening or running. Think of it this way, “if you’re a sole practitioner home-based accountant, you’ll have very different insurance needs than your neighbor who runs a childcare business,” according to an article by III.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when it comes to picking the right insurance:

  • What type of business do I run? What are the potential risks faced by your type of business?
  • What is the value of my business property? Do you have expensive equipment, such as cameras or commercial printers? Do you stock valuable business inventory, such as gemstones?
  • Does my business have employees?
  • Do customers or contractors visit my business at my home?
  • Do I use my car or other vehicles in the course of my business operations?
  • Does my business store customers’ financial and personal information on a computer or through a cloud computing service?

Knowing the answers to those questions, and assessing your financial needs will help lead you to the best option for your business. You should always discuss these matters with a insurance agent that you know and trust before committing to anything.

There are several types of insurance to consider:

Property and liability insurance
This is insurance that will protect the value of your business property from loss due to theft, fire or other insured perils. Liability protection covers any costs if someone is injured as result of visiting your business or using your product or service. Check your homeowners insurance policy as it may provide some protection. But be aware that it may not be adequate for your needs.

  • Options for property and liability insurance for home-based businesses include:
    • Adding an “endorsement” to your homeowners policy
    • Stand-alone home-based business insurance policies
    • A Business Owners Policy—or BOP—which combines several types of coverage


Business vehicle insurance
If you have a vehicle, you probably already (and at least should!) have auto insurance. Personal auto insurance may provide coverage for limited business use of your car. But depending on how much you use your car for business, or if your business owns cars,  you will need business vehicle insurance.

Workers compensation insurance
Workers compensation insurance are for those who have employees working for them and covers any cost incurred by those employs being hurt on the job. This type of insurance covers payment and medical to employees injured on the job, in exchange for not having the right to sue the employer.

As always, contact your local, trusted insurance agent for more information for your unique need. Or you may call the SCDOI Department of Consumer Services at (803) 737- 6180.

Winter Sporting and Insurance


South Carolina is not known for its winter sports, but when the season turns cold, some will venture out to explore the more snowy parts of the world. Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding and skating are great ways to enjoy nature. But do you know if you’re covered out of state in case of an accident? What if your accident involves someone else?

Fortunately for you, the Insurance Information Institute has put together a nice breakdown of what you need to know when it comes to insurance and winter sport claims. Their tips are as follows:

Health insurance: If you are injured in the U.S., your personal health insurance should cover your medical expenses, depending on the specific details of your policy. What if you need to get airlifted out because of a medical emergency? Your health insurance might help cover that, but you should check with your insurance company.
Travel insurance: Your personal health insurance may not cover all your medical expenses if you get injured abroad. (Again, it depends on your policy, so call your health insurer to make sure). That’s where travel insurance can come in handy. Make sure your travel insurance covers emergency medical assistance. This could cover situations like being airlifted off the mountain after a ski accident.
Homeowners insurance: What if you accidentally injure someone else on the slopes? Your homeowners insurance may kick in to cover some of the liability you incur. Ditto renters insurance. But different states determine ski accident liability differently, and your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything, so talk to your agent to find out what your coverage is.
Personal umbrella liability: Liability payments can be expensive. That’s why some people will buy a personal umbrella liability policy, which is basically extra liability insurance. It will cover some types of liability your homeowners insurance excludes – and will also cover higher payments, sometimes up to $1 million (homeowners is often limited to $300,000).