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Understanding insurance policy endorsements

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Aug 4, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Insurance policy additional coveragesWhile West Bend designs our home and auto insurance forms to be coverage rich, we do practice restraint in automatically including bells and whistles. This is because we want to keep it affordable and competitive and provide you with options.

That said, you can request to add a number of these bells and whistles, also known as additional coverages, to your Home and Highway® policy. Here are three of the more common coverages you may purchase for your home and three for your auto(s). Some of these coverages are for losses that are more likely to occur, while other coverages are for losses that are less likely but more costly.

Let’s start with the Personal Auto Policy since most people own a car and most states require you carry insurance on it.

TravelNet® Emergency Roadside Assistance (aka towing and labor)

This coverage provides emergency roadside assistance if your vehicle becomes disabled due to a flat tire, no fuel, dead battery, lock out, and other minor repairs. We offer limits up to $150 per disablement.

In addition, if the disablement occurs more than 100 miles from your home and you’re stuck elsewhere overnight because of necessary repairs, this coverage provides up to $250 for lodging, meals, and alternate transportation.

The TravelNet dispatch facility is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you’re familiar with AAA, this coverage is similar. If you’re already a AAA member, you may want to compare those benefits before adding TravelNet.

Auto Loan/Lease Coverage (aka GAP)

This provides coverage for the difference between an outstanding balance on a loan or lease and the actual cash value of the vehicle at the time of a loss or accident. If you have a trade-in or a solid down payment, you may not need this coverage. But if you’re financing a new model year car with no or little money down, this coverage offers great protection for the expected depreciation on the vehicle. Dealerships often recommend or offer this with financing. We find our coverage is equal to theirs and less expensive.

Car Damage Replacement Coverage (aka new car)

If an accident results in a total loss to your vehicle, this coverage changes the claim settlement from actual cash value with deduction for depreciation to replacement cost. This means we’ll replace the damaged vehicle with a new vehicle of the same make and model. If the exact model is no longer in production, we’ll replace it with a new vehicle of similar size, class, and equipment. So if you’re concerned about depreciation on your vehicle or about having to find a good used vehicle if yours is totaled, you may want to consider purchasing this coverage.

This option expires when the vehicle is five model years old and is not available on a leased vehicle.

Now on to Homeowners insurance.

Protector Plus is a package option that includes four popular coverages. These can also be purchased individually but are priced more competitively when purchased as a package.

  • Identity Protection Coverage

Identity theft crimes are on the rise. Our ID protection program offers services to help you avoid these crimes, including tax fraud, as well as other situations in which fraud may occur like travel, disaster recovery, medical, relocation, military, marriage, child risk, and estate.

If your identity is stolen, the service also aids in resolution. While the service alone can often remedy an event without any cost to you, there is a $30,000 limit for expenses related to an identity theft crime. This can help cover attorney fees, lost wages, phones bills, and other related costs and fees. 

  • Mortgage Extra Expense

This is an important coverage if there’s a total loss to your home and you must rebuild and secure a new mortgage. It will pay the difference in your mortgage interest rate if the new rate is higher. 

  • Special Personal Property Coverage

This endorsement broadens the coverage for your personal property from specific named perils to all-risk coverage, subject to certain exclusions. Here are some examples.

Your accidentally throw your gaming system controller through the TV shattering the screen.

The power company is working on the lines outside your home and blows a transformer. The surge causes damage to everything plugged into your outlets!

Due to its weight your crystal chandelier falls from the ceiling onto your mahogany dining table scratching and denting the solid wood.

The possibilities are endless therefore this coverage should be added your policy!

  • Water Backup and Sump Overflow Coverage

If water backs up or your sump pump overflows causing damage to your home, mechanicals, or possessions, you’ll have coverage up to the selected limit. We have limits up to $125,000 available! This type of loss happens more frequently than flood. Water can travel fast and far, causing a lot of damage, making this another coverage you’ll want!

For those who rent, three of the key coverages listed here - Identity Theft, Special Personal Property Coverage, and Water Backup and Sump Overflow - are available to add individually to a renter’s policy.

Protector Grand adds increased limits and peril coverage to both your home and contents. It’s great protection for minimal cost!

  • Additional $5,000 of coverage for your jewelry for a total of $10,000.
  • Coverage if your home collapses due to hydrostatic pressure (ground water).
  • Landslide coverage. Wisconsinites may remember when Lake Dalton disappeared and took several homes with it. This CAN happen in the Midwest!
  • $1,000 of coverage to protect sports and hobby equipment.
  • Waiver of your Homeowners deductible if you suffer a loss to your personal property while traveling.
  • $500 for food stored in a refrigerator or freezer that spoils during a power outage.
  • $10,000 for your share of a loss assessment. This is especially important for those who are members of a condo or homeowners association.
  • $2,500 of coverage for an owned golf cart.

Underground Service Line Coverage

Underground service lines consist of exterior pipes and wiring that provide services to a home, such as electrical, heating, gas, water, waste. These lines can be damaged by causes not covered by the standard Homeowners policy (or your municipality) like freezing, corrosion, tree roots, and rodents or insects, for example. We now offer coverage up to $15,000 to repair or replace the underground service line, including excavation costs and damage to your trees, plants and lawns, and driveways and walkways.

West Bend offers many options to customize your insurance policies and meet your specific needs. I truly had a difficult time narrowing it down to just the ones mentioned here. As always, we recommend you discuss this with your trusted independent insurance agent. Your insurance advisor is qualified to answer your questions and help manage your risk.

*Please note that all coverages will be subject to eligibility and policy language – including limits, perils, exclusions, conditions and a deductible may apply.

Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice. Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance. Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility. All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.

Topics: Home Insurance, Auto Insurance

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