In an attempt to end Florida’s title as the state with the greatest percentage of uninsured drivers, the Florida legislature has introduced bills that would establish the Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program under the management of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, you are probably aware of the current conditions making this a seller’s market. Like almost every other industry, Covid rocked the real estate world, and its effects are still ongoing. The inventory of new and existing homes is down about 20% from the prior year, mortgage rates are historically low, and home prices rose 15%.
In 2020 Carjacking's more than doubled, 2021 is even worse
Last year, Chicago had over 1,400 carjacking's, which is more than double the amount from 2019. Unfortunately, 2021 is off to a worse start, with 174 carjacking's in January and only two arrests. According to Neighborhood Scout.com, your odds of becoming a victim of a property crime in Chicago are 1 in 33, which is nearly 40% greater than the state of Illinois as a whole.
Carjacking perpetrators focus on people who are unaware or unprepared. Some common-sense tips offered by police departments include:
- Always drive with your doors locked and windows up. Try not to leave your purse, phone, laptop, or other valuables on the front seat, which could lead to a “smash and grab” robbery.
- Do not use a stop light as a reason to check your email, text a friend, or rock out to your favorite song. Keep your head on a swivel.
- Make sure you have enough distance between your car and the car in front of you to escape if needed. Try to drive in the lane closest to the center of the road whenever possible. This will give you more time to react if approached by pedestrians.
- Avoid parking near tall vehicles that can conceal a suspect and be prepared to enter your parked car as quickly as possible.
- Be aware of your surroundings when getting gas. Are there any people loitering near the gas station mini-mart? Use the reflection in your vehicle’s windows to look behind you when you’re at the pump.
- Carjacking crews will sometimes stage accidents by bumping into the back of your car. When you get out to check the damage, a passenger in the car that hit you will get out and steal your car. If you have any suspicions about the person who hit you, stay in your car and insist that they follow you to a police station. This is no time to worry about offending someone by insisting that you go to a safe place.
- Do not try to be a hero. If the perpetrator enters your vehicle or displays a weapon, let them take your car.
Unfortunately, the risk of a carjacking cannot be eliminated entirely
If you are a victim of a carjacking, cooperate with the police and file a claim with your insurance company.
Some insurance companies have also started to offer an endorsement to their home insurance policies that address the mental and physical trauma that can occur from a carjacking or other violent property crime. For approximately $100/yr. these endorsements may cover such items as:
- Medical expenses related to injuries suffered during the event.
- Rest and rehabilitation expenses as prescribed by a psychiatrist, physician, or other health professional.
- Loss of salary as a result of missed days of work, usually capped at 30 to 60 days.
- Other reasonable expenses as approved by the insurance company.
The exact coverages offered, and premium charged will vary from one company to the next, so contact a Plexus representative for more details.
Criminals feel remorse for being caught and not for the crime itself, so they prefer easy targets. Being aware of your surroundings and listening to your inner voice won’t guarantee your safety, but it will make you less likely to becoming a victim.
How do regulations and laws in your state impact your homeowners insurance?
Every state has its own rules and regulations but, every insurance company is audited by each state's department of insurance (DOI). DOI audits look for irregularities and ensure the insurance company isn't discriminating. Insurance companies cannot grant their clients "favors" or "exceptions" no matter how long that client has been with the company. This is why it is critical to thoroughly understand your policy coverages and exclusions. The Plexus Groupe is always focused on client relationships and satisfaction so our associates ensure our clients understand their policies and are aware of any exclusions.
According to the American Pet Products Association, American households include almost 90 million dogs. And even though most dog owners will swear their dogs are friendly (myself included), a 2015 study by the CDC estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.
Author’s note: This article will not delve into the reasons why people purchase a firearm, nor will it provide commentary on the Second Amendment. Instead, it will focus on the personal insurance ramifications of firearm ownership.