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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

When Evacuating, Take A Minute For Insurance

Photographs are quick and easy — and they make a difference

Utah’s 2018 wildfire season has been particularly severe. As fires continue into fall, the Utah Insurance Department reminds homeowners that preparation is key when it comes to disasters.

“Even homeowners who are facing evacuation as a fire approaches can take action to prepare,” says Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “Knowing what you own is a critical factor in filing a loss claim. Take a few minutes today to photograph your possessions, whether or not you’re in a fire’s path.”

If your home is currently threatened by a wildfire, there are a number of things you can do to simplify the process if you need to file a claim.

  • Update your home inventory. Walk around your home and property and take photos of your possessions with your camera or smartphone. Save them on a portable computer, USB drive, or in the cloud (think services like Google Drive or iCloud). These photos can be used as evidence of your claims when the insurer is determining the value of your overall claim.
  • Plan for evacuation. Know your evacuation route and have a designated place to stay in case you cannot return immediately. If authorities order an evacuation, get out quickly. Remember to take the “Six Ps of Evacuation”: People, Pets, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.
  • Call your insurance agent. Ask them what’s covered under your policy. They can also tell you what to prepare for in the event of a loss.
  • Save all receipts. If you evacuate and need to stay in a hotel, those costs may be recoverable. If your home is damaged, make short-term repairs to prevent further damage and keep those receipts too.
  • Photograph any damage. If you suffer a loss, call your agent or insurer’s claims hotline as soon as it’s safe to do so. Take photos of any damage to your property or possessions, but do not throw anything out until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it.

Commissioner Kiser notes that all homeowners policies include coverage for fires, but they don’t always cover the same things. “It is critical for homeowners to read their insurance policies so they understand what is covered. Some policies cover other structures on the property, while others don’t. Some policies replace destroyed items, while others pay fair market value. Your insurance agent can help you understand how your policy applies to your situation.”

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When Evacuating, Take A Minute For Insurance

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

Insurance Tips for Wildfire Season

Five answers to common fire-related questions

Wildfire season has arrived in Utah. Summer’s higher temperatures and lower precipitation make it easier for fires to start and harder to put out. This can increase the number of damaged structures and homes in areas affected by wildfires.

“This time of year is especially hazardous for homes near wilderness areas,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd E. Kiser. “But taking the appropriate steps early in wildfire season can be helpful if you need to file a claim. I always advise taking the first step of making a home inventory as a general precaution.”

These are some common questions that people ask during wildfire season:

How do I prove what possessions were lost in the fire?

The best way to prove your losses is to have a home inventory. This is a portfolio of your possessions that you can give your insurer during the claims process. With the rise of smartphones, it’s easy to take photos of your home and possessions and save them on a computer or in the cloud (think services like Google Drive or iCloud). These photos can be used as evidence of your claims when the insurer is determining the value of your overall claim.

What do I do after a fire?

Call your insurance agent or the insurer’s claims hotline as soon as it’s safe to do so. Your policy might require notification within a certain time frame, so get your insurance company involved as soon as possible. Describe the damage to your agent as best you can, and take photos of everything. Photos are helpful in documenting the extent of the damage and making sure you are fairly compensated for your losses.

What do I do if someone says they can fix my house?

If someone approaches you offering to fix your property, proceed with caution. Home repair fraud is common after disasters. Be wary of aggressive contractors or demands for up-front repair payment. If you have concerns, contact the Insurance Department at 801-538-3035.

How do I get my house repaired or rebuilt?

Work with your insurance agent. They can give you detailed timelines and requirements for repairs, as well as recommendations for local contractors. Your agent can offer advice and assistance as you go through the process of getting back to normal.

What happens while my house is being fixed?

The first thing to do is find a place to be safe. Many insurance policies will pay for hotel stays after a fire and while a home is being repaired. You’ll want to ask about any limitations — most policies will only pay for a set amount of nights. Secure what’s left as best you can. Your policy may cover losses due to a fire, but not subsequent losses due to weather damage or theft.

Commissioner Kiser notes that all homeowners policies include coverage for fires, but they don’t always cover the same things. “It is critical for homeowners to read their insurance policies so they understand what is covered. Some policies cover other structures on the property, while others don’t. Some policies replace destroyed items, while others pay fair market value. Your insurance agent can help you understand how your policy applies to your situation.”

 

Press Release
Insurance Tips for Wildfire Season

Related Pages
Disaster Prep Guide: Wildfires
Disaster Preparedness
Disaster Claims Process
How to Create a Home Inventory

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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.

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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.