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Hobe Sound, Florida 33455

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When Your Living Room Becomes a Lake

| May 01, 2017
Your home is underwater, and it's not about its market value. Literally, your home has been consumed by floodwaters. Now what? 

Whether the cause is a storm or a flooded river, take the following three steps in this order.

Stay safe: It may be tempting to rush in to salvage your belongings, but water can create hazardous conditions. Check for a weakened structure as well as damage to gas or electric lines. It might be extremely dangerous to walk on cracked floors or wade through standing water near electrical shorts. If you even suspect the property is unsafe, don't enter. If you can safely turn off electrical sources and/or gas, do it before you go in.

Document everything: Take photos (or a video) of the damage before draining the water, removing items, or making repairs. For insurance purposes, it will help to have an accurate depiction of the extent of the damage. 

Contact your insurance provider: Notify your agent as soon as possible. Some flood damage is not covered by typical homeowners insurance policies. Communicate with your provider to discover what, if any, coverage is available. Let them know of any repairs you intend to make. Your agent can advise you if you need to wait for an adjuster to inspect your property first. If you do make repairs, document the process with pictures and receipts.

Throughout this process, it's important to stay in touch with your insurance provider, particularly if yours is not the only property impacted by a flood. 

The insurance company can also provide contact information for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will be an important source of information if your flood is part of a wider problem. Should your region be declared an official "disaster area" by the government, you may receive additional financial assistance. 

Check with your insurance company for information about these and other resources.


Symphony in F Flat: Ding, Click, Beep

You start your car. It dings repeatedly until you fasten your seatbelt. You open the door, and you hear an alerting chime. You might have hit that deer, but your car's collision warning alarm shrieked at you. 

Did you know car manufacturers invest significantly in choosing these sounds? They're not simply random noises added to your vehicle. According to CBS News, it's someone's job to find just the right tick, click, or beep for each situation. These "vehicle harmony engineers" hope to ensure the noises you associate with their vehicles enhance their brand; if you find your car's chirps annoying, your next vehicle may be from another manufacturer. 

As cars become more complex, these noise engineers have their work cut out for them. Today's vehicles require a lot more than turn signal clicks and horn honks. Advanced safety alerts and luxury climate systems all add new pings and pongs to the musical melody of your car's interior, and manufacturers may spend up to a year trying for the perfect sound. They even consult Hollywood sound engineers to produce these ideal jingles and jangles. So remember, the next time your car clicks, time and money went into that noise.


Unsure About the Future? You May Still Need Insurance

We know that the main reason individuals buy life insurance is to provide financial support to their loved ones after their death. 

But researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, recently discovered the reason behind the reason people buy life insurance. And it says a lot about human behavior.

According to the Max Planck Institute, when considering the future, risk-averse people are more likely to bury their heads in the sand instead of seeking out the appropriate information to deal with future risks. 

And these people are more likely to buy life insurance than those who aren't as risk-averse.

Would you want to know?

The Max Planck researchers surveyed 2,000 people about what they would want to know about the future, if they had the chance. More than 85% of respondents said they would not want to know when a negative event - such as a divorce or the death of a loved one - was coming. (Interestingly, many also said they would prefer to remain ignorant of positive events. Only 1% of participants consistently wanted to know about future events - positive or negative.)

The researchers then tested several scenarios arising from these findings, including the notion that the people who would rather not know are more risk-averse and more likely to buy life insurance. The testing proved that to be true.

We can all learn from this. If you are inclined to avoid thinking about the future, particularly potentially negative events, you may be more likely to invest in life insurance. The opposite may also be true.

Not afraid of the future?

Life insurance is important. As noted above, it provides essential financial support to your loved ones after your death. Even if you aren't risk-averse and you don't have life insurance, you may want to discuss you're your advisor whether it's appropriate. Your loved ones' future may depend on it.


Is Separate Coverage Required for Suits vs. Claims?

You've heard of employees filing a suit against their company. You've also heard of people making a claim against their employer to demand financial compensation. So what's the difference? Are these the same? Do you need separate insurance policies to cover claims and suits?

Suit definition: A suit is a proceeding involving damages due to personal injury, property damage, or bodily injury. It is a civil action, not criminal. Suits also may involve arbitration proceedings and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. 

Claim definition: A claim is a "demand" for damages. If a lawsuit involves demands for damages, it is considered a claim. However, not every claim is a lawsuit. Some claims are "requests" for damages, as occurs when an employee doesn't file a lawsuit but has sent a letter with a complaint requesting money for specific damages. If the request is not met (or not met by a specified date), the employee may then file a lawsuit.

Insurance Coverage: Both claims and suits are typically covered by general liability policies. However, specific circumstances may require endorsements that protect against those particular scenarios. 

It's important to respond promptly to either a suit or a claim made against your company. If you are faced with one, it's also essential to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to determine your coverage. Often, providers must approve settlements, such as those made in arbitration, for coverage to kick in. 

Ensure you have the proper policies in place by discussing options with your agent.