Road Trip


Standing at the rental car counter one ponders whether to take that mysterious outrageously expensive insurance package offered by that cute but not very knowledgeable customer service rep. Certainly if you don’t own a car of your own, one should load up on physical damage and liability right there on the spot-because there is nothing to fall back on. If you own a car, your auto policy will most likely provide physical damage (collision and other damage to the vehicle) and excess liability-as if you owned the rental car outright. Coverage would mirror your policy. Some insurance companies are a bit more generous and will agree to cover the rented vehicle for its entirety with no deductible. Rental companies are fussy about who is doing the driving so be sure to include on the agreement any other person that may take the wheel. If you rent a vehicle outside the U.S. or Canada, you are really on your own since your domestic auto policy will not protect you. Because of this it is best to rent from a major rental service where the rental documents are standard. Most personal umbrella policies will provide worldwide excess liability over what is provided by the rental. This is not universal so check with your insurance professional. If possible, have a rental official sign off on the condition of the car when you return it. Even if you have back up coverage for a rental, consider purchasing their insurance with no deductible-especially if the rental is short term. You will be driving a car you are not used to in unfamiliar territory and thus the possibility of a mishap is enhanced. So happy motoring and if you are really confused and apprehensive, take the train.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.


“Nanny State”



With so many parents both working these days, there has been a proliferation of mother’s helpers, nannies, and live-ins to help with the kids. If you are at a fancy cocktail party the term, of course, is “au pair” to refer to these employees. Yes, they are employees if they are “regularly” working for you and, as such, are entitled to workers compensation benefits from you, their employer. Unfortunately, the Ct. workers compensation statute doesn’t define the term “regularly”. You don’t have to worry about the occasional baby sitter or the boy that mows the lawn but it is an issue for those who are putting in an average of 26 hours a week. If those in the latter category were to be injured for any reason while on duty, they are entitled to full medical benefits and loss of pay. The homeowner policy will not respond because there is exclusion for those entitled to workers compensation. The solution is to purchase a domestic workers compensation policy, which will provide the benefits mandated by statute. The cost is usually around $1000 a year. The cost for a caregiver nurse is usually higher. If you get the person through a service, the latter may provide a policy for you. The policy will provide benefits for any employee you may have. It does not require names. At the end of the year the insurance carrier will review with you the final tally of salaries paid and may charge an extra premium if it is more than forecasted.

So if you are going to hire that cute girl from Norway, call your agent and discuss the necessity of workers compensation.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.


Safe Driving Tips for Everyone

As an insurance agent I get to see that magical progression into adulthood when the offspring of my clients receive their driver’s license. With this rite of passage comes an awesome responsibility on the part of the youngster. It is also important for the new motorist as well as the seasoned driver to understand and respect the dangers and risks involved in using an automobile. This might seem elementary, dear Watson, but most of us take driving for granted and lose focus on loss preventative techniques that will help keep us out of harms way.

The following are a few tips which should benefit both the novice and experienced drivers:

1. Alcohol is the number one contributor to accidents. Don’t use a mind altering drug when you drive and assume that most motorists on the road after midnight have been drinking.

2. Do not use a cell phone while driving, it is illegal in Connecticut. If you have to talk to someone, stop the car and do it.

3. Your mirrors are a great visual aid but don’t trust them entirely. Most have blind spots.

4. Antilock brakes usually don’t work well in wet or icy conditions.

5. When the light turns green at an intersection, don’t gun the accelerator. The other driver may be running his red light.

6. Pass trucks quickly. Truckers may not see an auto that is just behind their mirrors.

7. You may know the order of rotation at a 4 way stop but you can bet that most have forgotten. Show how courteous you are and let the others go first.

8. Drowsiness from lack of sleep is becoming epidemic – especially in teens. A car can go 100 feet with the blink of an eye. If you find yourself falling asleep behind the wheel, get off the road immediately. Take a nap or get some exercise and make an honest assessment of  whether you should continue driving.

9. It’s okay to go the speed limit.

Our crowded roadways and frantic lifestyle has exacerbated the risks of driving. Relax, give yourself plenty of time, and happy motoring.

To learn more about how we can keep you safe on the roads, contact Guy Hatfield at 203 .256.5660 today.

An Umbrella for Stormy Weather

umbrella policy

All of us have the potential of experiencing “stormy weather” when it comes to insurance claims. Even careful drivers could find themselves negligent in a car accident where bodily injury claims reach staggering amounts. Although severe accidents are rare, it is advisable to “load up’ on insurance coverage for our protection against liability claims from others you may injure. A good way to do this is to purchase what is referred to as an “umbrella” policy. Many think that the term “umbrella” is some mysterious all-encompassing insurance contract that will cover everything imaginable. The umbrella is merely a policy that provides excess liability insurance. It is additional insurance beyond what is provided by other policies you may have. For instance, if you have an auto policy that has $300,000 of liability limits and you purchase an umbrella for $1,000,000, your total protection is $1,300,000. The umbrella will provide excess liability over a variety of insurable interests such as auto, home and investment (non business) properties, and boats. The cost of an umbrella is surprisingly low. The premium for a $1,000,000 contract providing excess liability over two cars and a home is approximately $180 a year. Personal insurance umbrella limits are available up to $10,000,000 usually.

Umbrellas are frequently used in business insurance as well. Limits could exceed $100,000,000 for some industries where there is a possibility of catastrophic loss. Movie theatres and other businesses where a large number of people congregate in a confined space purchase high limits.

Umbrellas normally provide the same coverage found in the underlying policy and some provide expanded coverage such as automobile liability while driving in other countries.

Ask your insurance agent to design an umbrella program that is right for you.

For further information about the personal and commercial umbrella and other insurance matters contact Guy Hatfield at 203.256.5660.

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