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Utah Insurance

Purchase Flood Insurance Before Flood Season Starts

Heavy winter snows create potential for flooding in Utah neighborhoods.

A number of powerful snowfalls in early 2019 brought plenty of snow to Utah’s mountain ranges. The state’s snowpack totals are averaging more than 130 percent of normal, and as spring temperatures increase, the potential for flooding increases with it. The threat is serious enough that Governor Gary R. Herbert declared March to be Flood Safety Awareness Month. For many Utah homeowners, even a small flood could mean disaster.

“Many homeowners don’t realize that flood coverage is not included in their home insurance policy,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Flood insurance is a separate policy that must be added onto an existing homeowner’s policy, and it becomes effective 30 days after the policy is added.”

Flood season in Utah generally runs from April through May as mountain snow starts to melt. Homeowners should act now to protect their property from excessive spring runoff. “Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing when flooding will start in any given year,” says Kiser. “That makes it critical for homeowners to talk to their insurance agent about flood coverage well in advance of a spring thaw.” Not all insurance agents write flood insurance, but the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP, floodsmart.gov) has resources to help you find an agent who does.

Now is a good time to create a home inventory. A home inventory can help you determine the types and level of coverage you need before disaster strikes, and it can make it easier to file a claim after a major loss. Creating an inventory can be as simple as taking photos of your belongings and writing them down in a spreadsheet. (The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a good one available at insureuonline.org).

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Purchase Flood Insurance Before Flood Season Starts

UID Releases 2018 Health Insurance Market Report

For most people, health insurance is the financing mechanism to manage personal health care costs. Health insurance protects against the risk of financial loss that can occur from unexpected accidents and illnesses. It also provides a way for chronic health problems to be treated and managed in ways that many people could not otherwise afford. Because health insurance is so important to the citizens of Utah, it is in the interest of the State to monitor and maintain a stable health insurance industry.

An important purpose of the Insurance Department is to ensure that Utah has an adequate and healthy insurance market. The purpose of this report is to provide an annual evaluation of Utah’s commercial health insurance market as required by Utah Code § 31A-2-201.2.

The 2018 Health Insurance Market Report is available on the Department’s Reports page and is linked below.

PDF Version
2018 Health Insurance Market Report

Insurance Checklist for the New Year

Five policies to review as you head into 2019

The start of a new year is a great time to reevaluate your insurance coverage needs. Changing circumstances may require updated policies. Did you have a baby? Get married? Purchase a new home or car? If so, you’ll want to check whether you have the right protection.

“It’s a good idea for everyone to review their insurance needs with their agent at least once a year,” says Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Needs and situations can easily change during the course of a year. Your agent can help determine whether your coverage is adequate or if you need to make adjustments.” Even if you haven’t experienced a life changing event, you could be eligible for discounts or new insurance products that may better serve your needs.

Life Insurance

Changes — such as a birth, divorce, remarriage or even a new mortgage or new job — are indicators that you might need to make changes to your life insurance. Read your policy carefully and answer these questions:

  • Do the total benefits grow over time?
  • Do premiums change over time?
  • What happens if I quit paying premiums – do I maintain some of the benefits?
  • Can the policy be converted into another form of insurance or annuity?

In the case of the birth of a child or a new marriage, you may want to consider increasing your death benefit. Check with your agent to see if your insurance company requires a physical exam before increasing your coverage levels.

Homeowners/Rental Insurance

Make sure you’re properly covered for disasters such as floods, earthquakes and wildfires. These disasters can be costly, and may not be covered under a standard policy. Discuss the possibility of adding coverage for these perils with your agent or insurance company.

The start of a new year is also a great time to update your home inventory and make sure your homeowners or rental policy is up-to-date. Take photos or video of your prized possessions and include as many details as you can. You may need special coverage for valuable antiques, artwork or jewelry, so call your agent to discuss changes for your policy.

Auto Insurance

Tell your agent about any changes in your driving habits to ensure your auto policy will cover you in case of an accident. Also take some time to check your auto insurance policy by following the guidelines below:

  • Make sure your coverage is appropriate for your life situation. If your liability insurance is too low, you may be legally exposed for any damages above your liability limits.
  • Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage. This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver. Raising or lowering this amount can affect your premium.
  • Make sure you have a copy of your insurance card and your insurance agent or company’s number in your vehicle at all times.

Health Insurance

You may have recently enrolled in or changed your health insurance through your employer, Medicare or Healthcare.gov. Make sure you have new insurance cards and paperwork before you visit a doctor.

  • Check your provider lists to make sure your doctor and any specialists are still covered by your policy, as in-network or preferred provider lists change from year to year.
  • Read through your documents and make note of co-pays for in-network and out-of-network providers to avoid surprises.
  • If you’re planning a vacation, check with your insurance carrier to identify urgent care centers and hospitals that accept your insurance coverage. Ask your carrier about applicable co-pays and deductibles if care is needed.

When purchasing an insurance policy:

  • Ask for copies of everything you sign and keep a copy of the initial policy payment receipt or check you gave the agent or company.
  • Call the insurance company if you don’t receive a copy of the insurance policy outlining your coverage and its limitations within 30 days of your purchase.
  • The best way to protect yourself from insurance fraud is to research the agent and company you’re considering. Before writing your check or signing the contract, call us at 801-538-3800 to make sure they’re licensed in Utah.

Find more information about your insurance needs and tips for choosing the coverage that is best for you and your family at insurance.utah.gov.

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Insurance Checklist for the New Year

Safe Scooting

Understanding insurance coverages for electric rental scooters

Electric scooter sharing is a new phenomenon that has led to a new entrant in major city traffic lanes. There are hundreds of scooters in some cities, and that has created new insurance implications for riders, cities and insurance companies. Companies such as Lime, Bird and Spin rolled out scooter rentals in major cities throughout the U.S. during 2018. Scooters began arriving in Salt Lake City just a few months ago. The battery-powered rental scooters reach speeds of 15-20 mph and may or may not require proof of a valid driver’s license.

Are You Covered?

There have been many reports of accidents on motorized scooter rentals in this first year. Before you decide to rent a scooter, you should understand the insurance implications and know whether you are covered.

Unless the company policy indicates otherwise, assume you are not covered in case of an accident. You should rely on your health insurance for any medical injury you sustain. In case of an accident, you might not have any coverage if you are found liable for an accident or damage. Check your insurance policies to determine whether you are covered. Automobile insurance generally omits liability coverage for motor vehicles with fewer than four wheels. Although most homeowners policies provide some liability coverage even while you are away from your residence, it may be limited or excluded because the scooter is a rental.

Like any new trend, these issues may not be specifically addressed in your policy, and coverage will depend on the carrier and the specific language in your policy.

Understanding Your Scooter Insurance Options

Scooter Insurance: Regulations and requirements vary by state — often depending on the engine size. Most scooter rental companies offer rentals with engines smaller than 50cc. While most states do not require insurance for engines that small, they do recommend it. Scooter insurance will often cover damages resulting from a collision, your medical costs in an accident, and protects against damage you do to others or their property while operating a scooter.

Personal Liability Umbrella Insurance: Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance. In addition to riding a scooter, if you frequently ride bikes or have outdoor attractions on your property, you should consider an umbrella policy. It provides coverage for injuries, property damage and some lawsuits.

Contact your insurance agent to determine what coverage might be the best fit for you.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself

  • Wear a helmet: You may not be required to wear a helmet while operating a rental scooter, but it is highly recommended.
  • Operate the scooter in right-hand lanes and bike lanes where possible: Your agreement with your scooter rental company will tell you to use streets and bike lanes. Riding motorized scooters on sidewalks is illegal in most cities, and you can be cited for doing so.
  • Keep the Road Code: Always pay attention to the road. Keep both hands on the scooter at all times, unless using hand turn signals.

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Safe Scooting

Develop Safe Habits to Avoid Distraction While Driving

When you take your focus off the road, you put yourself and others at risk

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities increased by 6 percent from 2015 to 2016. Distracted driving, speeding, alcohol impairment, and unrestrained passengers were the main culprits.

“Distracted driving is dangerous and all too often results in property damage, injury, or death,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Staying safe on the road starts with turning electronic devices off and focusing on driving while you’re in the driver’s seat.”

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) provides these tips to help you stay safe behind the wheel:

  • Maintain your vehicle. Get regular checkups and make sure your tires are properly inflated and the lights work.
  • Buckle up. Using a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries after a crash. Yet thousands die each year as a result of being unrestrained.
  • Use smart driving positions. Keep both hands on the steering wheel, and position them at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock or 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock (depending on the size and style of your steering wheel).
  • Maintain speed limits. Obey all speed limits and watch out for hazardous road conditions.
  • Follow the 3-second rule. Keep 3 seconds of distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you. That space assures your ability to properly react if something happens.
  • Map out your route. Know where you’re going or program your app before you turn the key — doing so while driving can be a major distraction.
  • Pay attention to the road. Limit your distractions, and never use electronic devices to text or surf the web while driving. Drunk or drug-impaired driving, speeding, and drowsy driving are dangerous. Take the “Keep the Road Code” pledge to be a focused, responsible driver.

WreckCheck App for Smartphones

Auto accidents happen to most people in the course of a lifetime. When it does, take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation with the NAIC’s WreckCheck™. This free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report.

If you don’t have a smartphone you can download a printable accident checklist and other tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.

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Develop Safe Habits to Avoid Distraction While Driving

A Different Kind of Care Package

Review insurance options before sending your student off to college

It’s the end of summer and kids are back at school. For older students, that can mean college in another city or state. A parent’s insurance policy may cover a child even while the child is living outside the home, but not always.

“College is an exciting time in a young person’s life,” says Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Many students experience new things in new places, but that can mean they don’t have mom or dad to turn to for immediate help. Making sure they have the appropriate coverage in an emergency can give them — and you — peace of mind.”

Here are some things to consider when ensuring your student is covered:

  • Health insurance: Dependents are covered until they reach age 26 on any insurance plan that offers dependent coverage. However, out-of-state students could be outside the provider network and would need to travel to get in-network care. Buying a student health plan through the college or university may be a good option. Many schools offer resources to help determine the best course for your student.
  • Homeowners & renters insurance: A parent’s homeowners policy may cover a student and their belongings while they live in an on-campus dorm. A student living in off-campus housing, like a rented apartment, will need renters insurance to secure their possessions and liability.
  • Auto insurance: Auto insurance goes with the vehicle, so a student driving in another state will be fine. Talk to your agent to see if it would be better to keep them on a family policy or to get their own. If a student decides not to drive at school, you may want to discuss with your agent the option of taking them off your policy to potentially save some money.

“You can’t ensure that your kids will get good grades,” jokes Commissioner Kiser, “but the right insurance coverage can take away some of the ‘what-ifs’ that contribute to first-semester jitters.”

 

Press Release
A Different Kind of Care Package

arches liquidation logo

Arches Health Plans News

For the latest updates regarding Arches Health Plans, please visit
Arches Health – In Liquidation
.

On October 27, 2015, the Utah Insurance Department placed Arches Health Plans into receivership. This action was taken to allow the insurance commissioner to supervise the runoff of existing policies.

On January 13, 2016, the Third Judicial District Court of Salt Lake County, State of Utah issued an Order for the Liquidation of Arches Mutual Insurance Company, a Utah health insurance company. Please see the below links for information regarding the liquidation.

penn treaty liquidation logo

Penn Treaty & American Network Insurance Company News

Penn Treaty Network America Insurance Company and American Network Insurance Company are affiliated long-term care insurance companies that went into liquidation on March 1, 2017. Information about the companies’ liquidation can be found on Penn Treaty’s website, http://www.penntreaty.com/Liquidation.aspx.

The life and health insurance guaranty associations in the states where Penn Treaty and American Network were licensed to do business have assumed responsibility for their policies. This includes continuing coverage and paying eligible claims, subject to guaranty association coverage limits and the terms and conditions of coverage. The guaranty associations have contracted for Penn Treaty to continue to administer all policies using Penn Treaty’s staff, existing computer systems, and policy/claim records.

Contact Information: Policyholders with questions about policies, claims, or related to liquidation should call Policyholder Services at 1-800-362-0700.