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Are you Covered? Q&A with Kasie Ricart Named ‘Best Insurance Agent’ by D Magazine

Maybe you’re trying to ‘have all your ducks in a row‘ by the end of January. After a year of devastating natural disasters in the US from hurricanes, California wildfires to the deadly mudslides in Montecito this month, have you wondered what would happen if you’re home was threatened or destroyed in a natural disaster? It’s easy to ignore insurance until you need it.

What if you want to start a small business, or you’re renting an apartment, or getting a new dog? What is covered by insurance, and what’s not? I had the pleasure to interview Kasie Ricart, CEO of Ricart Insurance, who I became friends with after moving to Texas. Last year she was named one of the ‘Best Insurance Agents of 2017’ by D Magazine and we recently caught up over coffee at The Crescent in Dallas. Here is my Q&A with Kasie and why you need to know her (especially if you live in DFW). Her tips will help whether you live in San Francisco and had your car broken into, or if you’ve ever wondered about pet or rental insurance. Here is my Q&A with Kasie below…

photos of Kasie by Megan Weaver

Q. If you want to get renters insurance, do you need to ask your landlord first? Also, do all roommates need to have it, or can you get insurance if you’re just renting a bedroom in the home?

Kasie – ‘Most landlords or apartment leasing companies require a renters insurance policy. It is important to ask your landlord or review your lease to determine the minimum amount of liability coverage they require you have as a tenant.

Each individual roommate should carry a separate renters insurance policy to make sure their belongings and individual liability is covered up to the amount that is sufficient and unique to them. However, if you are living with a spouse or child, by most policy definitions, they will also automatically be covered under the same policy.

***Make sure to disclose your roommate situation to your insurance agent so that they can help guide you on getting the policy setup properly!’

Pet insurance? Flashback pic of my sister from my ‘Real Housewives of Mendocino County’ post

Q. Should people consider pet insurance? Why do you recommend this for people with dogs and are there any dogs that cannot be insured?

Kasie – ‘As a pet owner, you are responsible for their actions and any damage they may cause to someone or something. Just like apartment complexes and landlords can have breed restrictions, depending upon your property insurance company they may also have limitations or exclusions for coverage depending upon the animal or breed.

Most people don’t realize that if your pet bites a neighbor or friend, and you/your animal is found liable for the resulting medical and property damage, as the owner you will be financially responsible to pay for those damages. Home insurance and Renters insurance policies typically offer Liability coverage as a part of the policy. It is the limit your policy will pay if you are found liable for an incident as a homeowner or as a pet owner.

***Be aware that certain animal breeds, birds and exotic pets (pythons, cobras) may be excluded from your insurance policy, which can result in your claim being denied. Dog breeds that may be excluded are Akita, Chow, Doberman, Pinscher, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Wolf hybrid, or any mixture of these. As a homeowner with a pet or someone who frequently entertain guests, it is important to have sufficient liability coverage. Speak to your insurance agent about a personal umbrella policy.’

pic via Readers Digest

Q. Spring and summer travel plans are coming soon. This probably applies more to people traveling from California and Texas to Mexico, but I wanted to ask you about this email from State Farm last Spring about policy changes:

‘Mexico: – Very minimal coverage.  Call us for options if taking your car out of the country.’

What happens if you drive your car to Mexico and have a car accident?

Kasie – ‘When traveling outside of the U.S. it is important to check with your insurance provider beforehand to determine how far your policy will cover you. If you’re driving your own vehicle, the coverage outside the U.S. could be very minimal, if at all, or it could provide coverage into Mexico and Canada. Each company will vary. Check with your individual company to make sure understand the boundaries and the limitations to liability coverage and coverage for your vehicle while on your trip.

Q. When renting a car on vacation, is it better to use personal insurance or pay for the insurance offered by the rental car company?

Kasie – ‘This comes down to personal preference, as car rental companies continue to add on to the fine print seen in the rental agreement. Most consumers will not read every line before signing the line. Check with your insurance agent prior to renting the vehicle to find out the limitations of your car insurance policy.

It is possible that the extra coverage through the rental car company is not needed if you carry sufficient limits on your own car insurance policy. However, if you carry minimum liability coverage on your own personal vehicle, check with your insurance agent to confirm this will be sufficient to protect the rental vehicle.

***You can also check with your credit card company to see if they offer any coverage.’

Q. Do you recommend people starting a small business get business insurance or to wait until the business grows?

Kasie -‘Small businesses, especially new businesses that are still learning and improving with experience, need to have insurance from the beginning. As a new business, mistakes will be made, and if a large mistake is made it could cost the business everything to pay out losses and damages, causing owners to have to close their business.

It is vital to have the right insurance in place, especially if you are making a product, selling others products in a retail or online environment, consulting or offering any type of advice, selling real estate or insurance, or if you have employees. If you lease a space, often times landlords will require the tenant to have General Liability insurance.

***It is also important that any property owned by the business, or used or business purposes such as computers, equipment, inventory, etc. should be accounted and covered for in a Commercial Property insurance policy so that if the business suffers a loss due to fire, theft, wind/tornado, etc, that there will be coverage for those items. Some companies offer a business package that includes both General Liability and Property coverage which can offer better pricing and bundling discounts.’

Ugh, a sight you never want to see in your car. pic via Civiccx.com

Q. If your car is broken into and personal items are stolen, what kind of insurance will cover this? (Sidenote- One thing I do not miss about San Francisco is how often my car was broken into, vandalized, bumped, etc. If you go to SF, don’t leave anything in your car and hope for the best).

Kasie –Typically speaking, items that are traditionally stored in your home/apartment, but are stolen from your vehicle would be covered on  your home insurance or renters insurance policy, subject to your deductible.

***Policies can have maximum limits on payout for “off premises” claims, so you will want to check with you agent to be certain you understand the amount of coverage you have for your belongings when “off premises” or not inside your home.’

Q. Any advice about engagement ring insurance?

Kasie –Yes! With something as special and valuable as an engagement ring, make sure that you have the proper coverage to protect it in all scenarios. Most renters or home insurance policies can be “endorsed”, or changed, to add special coverage for valuable items such as jewelry, watches, fine art, etc.  This is typically different than the warranty that your jeweler offers at the time of sale.  You’ll want to present your insurance agent with a recent appraisal of your ring, adding the special scheduled coverage allows for agreed value coverage.

Agreed Value ensures that you will be given the amount listed on your insurance declarations page, which should match the appraisal amount. Often times, scheduled coverage does not have a deductible if a claim is filed after the ring is lost, missing, or has “mysteriously disappeared”, so there is no out of pocket cost to replace the ring at the time of loss.

***Center stone diamonds and entire engagement rings go missing all the time, so this is a very important coverage that will allow  you to replace your ring should something happen, without having to pay out of pocket to replace it.’

Q. If you’re thinking about driving for Uber or Lyft, do you need to change your car insurance plan?

Kasie – It is imperative that you are honest with your insurance agent about how and when you are using your vehicle. If your car insurance excludes coverage for picking up passengers for a fee (Uber or Lyft), also known as livery, they will have the right to deny a claim should you have an accident or collision. Some insurance companies will provide coverage for this providing these type of ride services, there is typically an extra fee charged.

***Some companies like Uber also provide coverage at certain points while driving for them, but there are very specific guidelines, so make sure to understand them clearly. You want to make sure you and your vehicle are protected at all times, with or without riders.’

Kasie-Ricart-D-Magazine-best-insurance

Kasie has been a huge help and resource for me since moving to Texas and she is so knowledgeable and truly cares about her clients. If you’d like to contact Kasie directly, check out her website, Ricart Insurance Agency here or email info@ricartinsurance.com. A few more tips below.

Thank you for reading and special thanks to Kasie for her Q&A!

~xo

Any other tips or major insurance changes in 2018 to know about?

Kasie – Severe weather, increase in cost to repair technology savvy vehicles, and distracted drivers continue to cause price increases in home and car insurance across the US. I encourage you to shop your insurance rates every 6 months to 1 year, to make sure you are getting the best pricing.

Using an independent insurance agent like myself, can help save you time as independent agents have the ability to shop multiple companies for you, taking that task off of your plate. With ever changing insurance policies and options, it is important that you have a professional agent that you can rely on and trust to help guide you to the best coverage and pricing. I would encourage consumers to not base their decision solely off price, as a cheap yet basic policy, will end up costing you more in the end when the coverage offered is not adequate, costing you more out of pocket. Ricart Insurance Agency would be happy to help you shop your insurance needs!

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1 Comment

Comments

  1. Dale, this was so informative! It really answered questions that many don’t think about. Learned a lot from this. Great post!
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