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Archive for August, 2016

Pokemon Liability

August 25, 2016 Leave a comment

Pokemon Liability

 

Pokemon Go has become an international phenomenon, the mobile game where people can walk around and “catch” virtual Pokemon in the real world. From hatching Pokemon eggs while walking to battling it out at Poke gyms, the game has inspired several generations to get outside and get exercise.

There is a downside to the game, however. People are getting robbed, beaten, & even injured while playing the innocent game.

While the game maker has done a little to help promote safety within the game (warnings appear while the game boots reminding players not to play while driving & be aware of their surroundings), property owners find themselves with a big liability issue as far as insurance when it comes to zealous players out to “catch’em all”.

The game falls under what the insurance industry calls an “Attractive Nuisance”, which is a legal term as defined by Wikipedia as:

“The attractive nuisance doctrine states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object on the land that is likely to attract children.”

It states children, but can also apply to adults as well. The more well-known “attractive nuisances” in the insurance industry are equipment such as swimming pools, trampolines, & as of late – zip lines. Such equipment is often excluded from liability insurance coverage or precautions are required for coverage to be extended to them. Many insurance companies require fences to be erected around the equipment to help control who has access to it and to help cut down on property trespassing.

With Pokemon Go, however, since it is a “virtual” game that takes place in the real world, it is difficult for a property or business owner to protect themselves from avid players looking for Pokemon. One homeowner has gone so far as to start a class-action lawsuit against the game makers because of the amount of traffic his property has received due to the game.

While you might think the homeowner is just a crotchety old man that doesn’t like kids, his concern is really a valid one. For property owners, the liability insurance covers just about anything that could occur on their property – even if it isn’t their fault.

Most home/condo/mobile home/renter policies offer 2 separate liability coverages. The first being Personal Liability which coverage value ranges from $50,000 all the way up to $1,000,000. This coverage comes into effect when you are found liable for someone’s injuries on the property. Not properly maintaining a walkway where someone falls down and similar scenarios are an example where Personal Liability comes into play.

The other coverage, and the one most-likely to pay out in Pokemon Go-related incidents, is the Medical Payments to Others. This is essentially a no-fault coverage, in that neither party needs to be found at fault for the injury in order to receive coverage. This coverage often starts out at $500 and can often be raised to $10,000. I have seen instances where a fight between neighborhood gangs ended up on an owner’s property and the injured person from the fight received $1,000 from the property owner’s home insurance policy. Another where a homeless man was beaten on the front lawn of a home, the owner was not home at the time, and he received $1,000 for the injuries he sustained. Both of these were covered under the Medical Payments to Others coverage on the property owner’s insurance policy.

So you can see how the game Pokemon Go could be a big liability issue for property owners. There unfortunately isn’t much that can be done to protect the property owner from such claims, but there are steps that can be taken to avoid turning a Medical Payments to Others claim into a Personal Liability claim.

  1. check your property and make sure there are no hazards present. Maintain the yard, getting rid of debris or other objects that can be tripped over, fill any holes in the lawn, tamp down any hilly areas.
  2. post at least one “no trespassing” sign in an obvious place where someone can easily see it.
  3. If you’re a business owner and you wish to protect your business liability, post a “No Pokemon Go Playing Inside Business” sign in the front door/window of your establishment.

Pokemon Go is a great game for kids and adults to get exercises, converse, & have fun with. But with that fun comes responsibility, be safe.

 

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Back to School

August 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Back to School

Around the country kids & college students are heading back to classes, with many having already started. It’s not too late to make sure your student is properly covered as far as insurance. Grange Insurance has provided an article on how to insure your college-bound student.

Their suggestions as far as your auto insurance policy are:

  • Make sure the garaging location is added to your auto policy for the vehicle your student is taking to school. This is to ensure that there is no question as to coverage if an accident occurs.
  • Lecture your student on safe driving habits and not allowing roommates or other drive the vehicle.
  • If your student isn’t taking a vehicle to school, you may qualify for a Distant Student Discount if the student is away at school over 100 miles.
  • Many carriers offer a Good Student Discount for students up to age 24, they require a copy of the prior term report card. The savings could be as much as 15% with some carriers.

When it comes to the home/condo/renters insurance policy, they recommend:

  • Check the Personal Property coverage on your policy to see how much is offered for “locations other than the residence premise”. Most insurance companies offer 10%, so for $50,000 in coverage on the policy – $5,000 would be extended to a dorm room or student apartment. If more coverage is needed, we recommend purchasing a renters insurance policy.
  • Consider scheduling “big ticket” items like laptops, cameras, & other electronic equipment.
  • Lecturing your student on taking care of their belongings and go over what might/might not be covered in case of a loss with your hometown insurance agent

Life insurance may be helpful as well. Getting a term life insurance policy would help your children with funds to remain in school in case of your passing or if getting a policy in their name would help with student loans they have taken out.

Double-check your health insurance coverage to make sure it’s up to date. Children can remain on your health insurance policy up to age 26. Some health insurance carriers may have geographical limitations or exclusions for certain types of injuries (such as sports-related), so it’s best to check with them to see what’s covered/not covered for your student.

 

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized

Rover on the Road

August 11, 2016 Leave a comment

Rover on the Road

Grange Insurance Company is one of the insurance carriers we represent as an independent Insurance Agency. This week’s show is based on an article they have on their website on how to protect your pet while driving.

The full article with all the tips can be found HERE.

Keep your pets safe while driving around, they may be animals to some – but to us pet lovers, they are family!

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

 

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Sturgis Bound

August 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Sturgis Bound

 Whether you’re taking your Harley and heading across country, or just hitting the Northwest back roads, we want you to be safe on the roads this summer. Here are a few top tips:

No one’s too old to wear a helmet

A motorcycle rider not wearing a helmet is forty percent more likely to sustain a fatal head injury in a crash than a rider with a helmet.* A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study reports that “helmets saved 1,658 motorcyclists’ lives in 2006, and that 752 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”* Buy a full-face helmet for the best protection for your head and eyes. Wear other protective gear as well: heavy leather or synthetic gloves, long pants and jacket, and over-the-ankle leather boots.

In a crash, the SUV wins

When cars and motorcycles collide, it’s usually because the driver of the car failed to see the cyclist. With more SUVs on the road, it’s even more critical to take extra steps to become more visible. Use your headlamps—both night and day—and wear yellow, red or orange jackets to make yourself easy to see. Make a point of positioning yourself in your lane for visibility.

Training saves

One out of four motorcycle drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006 were driving with invalid licenses.* Safeco offers discounts to riders who attend the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s safe riding courses or are active in one of 10 approved groups that promote safe riding. Do both those things and you can reduce your premium.

New Gear? Update your policy

Some companies, including Safeco, offer special coverage for custom parts and equipment—but you have to make sure each piece of equipment is listed on your policy. Any time you buy new leathers or safety equipment or customize your bike, call your insurance agent before you head out on the highway.

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & Vander Plow Insurance Agency, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at 616-396-1497 or send us a note at marsiljeins@gmail.com. We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Categories: Uncategorized