Archive for April, 2016

The Need for Renters Insurance

The Need for Renters Insurance


If you live in a rental home or apartment, chances are you don’t have the proper insurance. Despite the fact that rented homes are more likely to be burglarized than owner-occupied properties, nearly 60 percent of renters don’t have a renters policy.

Why does it matter?

“If you rent a house or apartment and think that your landlord is financially responsible when there is a fire, theft or other catastrophe—think again,” warns the Insurance Information Institute*. “Your landlord may have insurance to protect the building you are living in. But your landlord’s policy won’t replace your personal possessions or pay for your living expenses while the building is being repaired. The only way to protect yourself financially against disasters is to buy a renters insurance policy.”
Renters insurance covers your possessions, liability and additional living expenses. Let’s take a look at these three types of protection:

Standard renters insurance protects your personal belongings against damage from fire, smoke, lightning, vandalism, theft, explosion, windstorm, water and other disasters listed in the policy. Floods and earthquakes are not covered.
To decide how much insurance to buy, you need to know the value of all your personal possessions—including furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, kitchen utensils and even towels and bedding. The easiest way to figure this out is to create a home inventory, a detailed list of all of your personal possessions and their estimated value.
There are two types of renters insurance policies for your possessions:

Actual Cash Value pays to replace your possessions minus an amount for depreciation (the reduction in the value of items due to age and use) up to the limit of your policy.
Replacement Cost pays the full cost of replacing your possessions (with no deduction for depreciation), up to the limit of your policy. The price of Replacement Cost coverage is about 10 percent more than Actual Cash Value coverage, but can be well worth the additional cost.

Note that a standard renters policy offers only limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silver, furs, etc. If you own property that exceeds these limits, it is recommended that you supplement your policy with a floater. A floater is a separate policy that provides additional insurance for your valuables and covers them for perils not included in your policy such as accidental loss.

Standard renters insurance policies also provide liability protection in the event you or members of your familiar cause injury to others or damage their property.  It also pays for damage your pets cause.
If you are sued, the liability portion of a renters policy may pay for both the cost of defending you in court and for court awards, up to the limit of the policy. Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Your policy may also provide No-Fault Medical coverage. If visitors are injured in your home, regardless of fault, you can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not however, pay medical bills for your own family or your pets.

Additional Living Expenses
Many people are pleasantly surprised to learn that Additional Living Expense (ALE) coverage is typically included in a renters insurance policy. If the home or apartment you are renting is damaged or destroyed and you need to live elsewhere while it is being repaired or rebuilt, renters insurance will cover your additional living expenses—namely the difference between your regular living expenses and the additional costs incurred by having to live away from your home, such as hotel bills, temporary rentals, restaurant meals, etc.

Need help deciding what coverage is best for you and you live in Michigan? Contact us today at (800) 968-1497!

*Insurance Information Institute, September 30, 2009


Content provided by Safeco Insurance Company

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Automobile Medical

Automobile Medical


This week Matt discussed some state-specific information in regards to medical coverage for automobile accident claims in Michigan. Matt was hit by a motor vehicle as a pedestrian earlier this week and the priority sequence for medical coverage came up.

Here in the state of Michigan there is a sequence of coverage when it comes to injuries relating to automobile accidents:

  1. Patient’s Auto Coverage – if you have a personal automobile policy, your injuries are covered when you are driving in an automobile, a passenger in an automobile, as a pedestrian, or as a bicyclist.
  2. Household Auto Coverage – If you do not have a personal automobile policy and there is one in the household (resident relative, roommate, etc.), your injuries would be covered by an auto policy in the household.
  3. The Car’s Auto Coverage – If neither of the above apply, the owner of the vehicle you were driving, riding in, or hit by’s automobile insurance would cover your injuries.
  4. The Driver’s Auto Coverage – If the vehicle does not have automobile insurance, the driver of the vehicle’s automobile insurance coverage would cover your injuries.
  5. Michigan’s Assigned Claims Plan – If there is no coverage elsewhere, you may be able to get your injuries covered by the MACP.


Motorcycles are a bit different:

  1. Victim – either medical coverage on your motorcycle policy or have health insurance that would cover motorcycle accidents.
  2. Spouse/Household – if the victim does not have coverage and a spouse or household member may have health insurance that will cover them.
  3. Owner of Vehicle – the owner of the vehicle that was involved in the motorcycle accident would cover the motorcyclist’s injuries.
  4. Driver of Vehicle – if the owner of the vehicle does not have an automobile policy, the driver of the vehicle’s automobile policy would cover the motorcyclist’s injuries.
  5. Association – if none of the above apply, coverage for medical injuries could be covered by the MACP.

Keep in mind that even if the motorcyclist is at-fault in the accident, VSODA will still apply. So if they or their household doesn’t have medical coverage, they can get coverage from the owner or driver of the motor vehicle’s automobile policy.


Thanks for tuning in this week!

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Landscaping Tips

Landscaping Tips


You’ve heard all about the record dry weather across the country, and you’ve probably heard about the increased threat of wildfires, too. But, have you considered the fire risk of your own landscaping here in {city, state or region}?

While there’s no such thing as a “fire-proof” plant, you can make your property safer while still maintaining its appeal. Here’s how:

Within 30 feet of your home, less is more.
In the event of a fire, firefighters need room to work, so space plants widely, and choose low-growing ones. Keep your grass mowed low, and don’t use mulches that burn easily, such as pine bark.

Be choosey about your plants.
According to the California Department of Fire and Forestry Protection, plants that contain a lot of moisture and aren’t resinous are good choices for a fire-wise landscape. As a bonus, many of these will also be drought-resistant. Although the options in your area may vary, here are some general recommendations:
Plants: Rockrose, aloe and iceplant
Shrubs: Sumac, cotoneaster, currant, hedging roses and bush honeysuckles
Trees: Hardwoods, such as maple, poplar and cherry

Not everything has to be natural.
Gravel and rock features, such as stone pathways, can help slow fires. And, colorful garden art and containers can help you add visual appeal.

Plant at the right time.
This varies depending on your region, but typically you want to avoid extreme temperatures on either end of the thermometer. Your local county extension service or nursery can help with options that work well in your area.

Remember, how and where you plant is more important than what you plant. So, try to imagine a fire on your property (we know it’s a rather unpleasant thought). Is there natural fuel that would make it worse? Could it easily spread from the ground to your trees to your roof?

If you’re unsure or if the answers indicate your property has a high fire risk, consider making some changes.

Of course, we’re here to keep your homeowners insurance up to date in case anything were to happen. Please call us any time to check on your coverage. We’re here for you. Call Marsilje & Vander Plow today at (800) 968-1497.

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Vacation Home Safety

Vacation Home Safety


Whether you’re going to hang out at a campground, bask on a sunny, white-sand beach in the Caribbean or take the family to an amusement resort, you have to take precautions to ensure your home stays safe while you’re away. After all, what could be worse than returning from a relaxing break or an active adventure to find a disaster has occurred, such as a break-in, or water or fire damage?

To ensure your vacation doesn’t end in tragedy, follow these tips before you go:

– Check for any leaks and fix them. For example, ensure your refrigerator ice maker is not leaking!
– Set your heater at approximately 50 degrees to ensure pipes and appliances don’t freeze. But if you have pets and they are going to be in the house, set it closer to 72 degrees.
– If you have pets, make arrangements for their comfort and safety: either board them or have a friend come over daily to care for them.
– Turn furnace and hot water heaters down.
– Unplug all appliances, such as coffee makers, toasters and exercise equipment.
– Leave a light or two on so the house doesn’t appear deserted at night.
– Lower blinds and close curtains so that passers-by can’t view your valuables.
– Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbor so they can enter the home in case of emergency.
– Have a friend or neighbor bring in newspapers and mail or cancel delivery for both during  the time when you’ll be away.

If you have the opportunity to get away this year, we wish you happy trails, and hope you come home to a safe and welcoming home!

Contact Us!

At Marsilje & Vander Plow, we can work with you to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need, while at the same time using all possible credits and discounts to make that coverage affordable. Just give us a call at (800) 968-1497 or send us a note at We want to help you meet your goals, and make sure what’s important to you is protected!

Content provided by Safeco Insurance

Categories: Uncategorized