A Common Insurance Mistake Made By Churches & Religious Organizations

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
  • After service, a member drives their own vehicle to pick up  coffee to bring back to the church. There’s an accident…
  • A member volunteers to drive their minivan to take youths to a weekend camp. There’s an accident…
  • The church rents a van or bus to drive members to visit another church. There’s an accident…
In all three of these instances, the church may be held liable for damages.

Non-Owned & Hired Auto – Why Churches Should Have It

Fortunately, there’s a very inexpensive endorsement churches can add to their policy for coverage.

For coverage against accidents caused by vehicles you hire or vehicles owned by others, your church can purchase non-owned and hired auto insurance. Also known as hired/non-owned auto.

Typical non-owned and hired auto insurance coverage protects your church against liability and defense cost which arise from vehicles you hire or vehicles owned by others.
Hired non-owned auto doesn’t cover the physical damage of the vehicle. Physical damage is covered under the insurance of the vehicle involved.
This is important for churches who rent vehicles.
A church who carries hired/non-owned auto coverage has no coverage for physical damage to the vehicle. Thus, it makes sense to purchase the rental agency’s physical damage coverage.
Hired/non-owned auto coverage is available to both churches who have auto insurance (whether it’s a car, van, or bus) and those churches who carry no vehicle insurance.

Hired/non-owned auto coverage a very inexpensive endorsement typically added to the general liability portion of a church’s insurance policy.

Learn more about how Weiss Insurance Agencies offers affordable coverage for church’s, at our church insurance quote page. Or get a quote by visiting our sister website, ChurchProtect.com

Moving? Here’s A Checklist To Keep Your Finances Organized For Illinois Residents

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

While moving is exciting, it’s also stressful. Very stressful.

There’s always more to do. More to pack. There’s more junk laying around than you thought. There’s another phone call to make. Another estimate to get.

It’s important throughout all this chaos, to stay as organized as possible.

There are dozens of small, but very important tasks to take care of.

Forgetting one can be costly.

I learned when moving within Chicago, that PeoplesGas needs A LOT of time to simply turn on your gas. Calling a week ahead wasn’t enough.

When juggling multiple projects, it’s easy to forget that a five minute phone call can save you time and money. Plus, allow you to have heat and take warm showers. (:

In these situations, it helps to work with a checklist…

…A checklist you can simply run down to make sure you’re not forgetting anything.

The focus of this checklist isn’t the moving itself (hiring movers, packing, etc…) but it’s a checklist of what you need to do to keep your finances organized during the move.

So you’ll avoid the late fee on the credit card statement because you didn’t get the bill. Avoid a bank statement going to your previous address. Avoid a package shipping to your old address.

A Checklist To Keep Your Finances Organized For Illinois Residents

Banking – Change addresses

  • Checking & savings accounts

  • Credit card providers

  • Loans – Student loans, car loans, personal loans,

Bills & Utilities – Stop service, Start service, change address

  • Gas

  • Electric

  • Trash

  • Water

  • Phone

  • Internet

Employer/Work – Change of address

  • Notify HR – Ask about who is responsible for changing the address for each benefit provider (health, dental, vision, life insurance, 401K, etc…)

  • Notify any professional groups or associations of address change.

Investment Accounts – Change of address

  • 401K (old and new)

  • IRAs

  • Individual investment accounts

Insurance – Cancel, purchase, update, and change address

  • Home and Auto (See final Save Time, Save Money below)

  • Health

  • Life – (If you’re buying a home, do you need to update the amount of life insurance you need?)

  • Any other insurance (disability, dental, etc…)

Medical – Change address for billing or ask for recommendations for a new provider

  • Doctor

  • Dentist

  • Veterinarian

  • Or any other medical professional you see often

Post Office & State of Illinois

Subscriptions, Services, and Shipping – Change address or cancel

  • Magazines

  • Newspaper

  • Lawn maintenance

  • Pest control

  • Anywhere online you order from frequently such as Amazon, Netflix, and eBay


  • Keep all your receipts for moving expenses, as they may be tax deductible

Save Time, Save Money

30+ items…

…and that’s not even including the physical act of packing and organizing the move itself!

Moving is costly and time intensive.

So, when a shortcut (a way to save both time and money) presents itself, it makes sense to take advantage, right?

At Weiss Insurance, since 1905, we’ve been Chicagoland’s shortcut to saving money on home and auto insurance.

Normally, to get the best rate on insurance you have to call multiple insurance companies, go through a tedious application process, then, call them all but one back to explain that you went with someone else.

But when you work with an independent agent like Weiss Insurance, we provide you quotes from over ten different home and auto insurance companies.

There’s one application, one person to talk to, and it’s absolutely free.

If you’re looking to find the best possible coverage, at the lowest possible price, there’s no easier way.

Even if your move is weeks ahead, I invite you to complete our instant quote request form on our home and auto insurance page today.

One of our local, personal insurance consultants will then reach out to collect the necessary information to provide comparisons from over ten different, A+rated insurance carriers.

The New, Faster Way of Saving Money On Home Insurance

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

In 2011, the average home insurance premium rose by 7.6%! In 2012, the average premium rose by 5%. In 2013, it increased by 5.1%*.

To put this in perspective, a homeowner paying $1,000 at the beginning of 2011, is now paying $1,187. A difference of $187 a month. Equal to a new car payment or a nice dinner or two out with the family.

Most homeowners have simply absorbed this increase into their monthly budget.

Partly because shopping your home insurance is time consuming.

The approach many use to shop their home insurance is calling around to a couple of local agents, completing applications with each agent. Then, they compare the coverage and prices by themselves.

Not exactly the highlight of their day.

Or, to try to save money on home insurance you can shop and buy online. But again, you still have to go to multiple websites and fill out multiple applications to do so.

Yet, for the DIYers who prefer to shop online, without a local agent to guide them in their decision making, many homeowners end up making costly mistakes. A recent survey by Marshall Swift/Boeckh reported 67% of homeowners are underinsured by an average of 18%.

When it comes to shopping home insurance, how can you:

  1. Compare multiple quotes, without multiple phone calls and applications?
  2. Compare quotes instantly online with A-Rated insurers?
  3. Have a local agent help you compare policies? So, you don’t have to end up underinsured like 67% of homeowners.

Weiss Insurance Agencies, Chicagoland’s trusted agent since 1905, is excited to launch its new online quoting system.

As an independent agent, we give you access to over 10 quotes from different home insurance companies. And now, you can discover how much money you can save, instantly using our new online quoting system.

Our online quoting system allows you to easily compare 10 home and auto insurance quotes instantly.

All you have to do is enter some basic information about your home and you get instant access to 10 different insurers.

Best of all, one of our local agents (we’re located in Wayne on Army Trail Rd.) will follow up with you to make sure your information is accurate and you completely understand your coverage options.

The rate that home insurance rates are climbing doesn’t seem to be slowing. But, you don’t have to settle for a home insurance increase, double the rate of inflation.

Click Here: Discover How Much You Can Save Now.

“After suffering a major casualty loss insured by a major insurance company with little compensation. A close friend recommended I check out Weiss Insurance Agencies. It was the best suggestion ever given me. The agent spent countless hours finding the best fit for my circumstances and in the end saved me more than a thousand dollars bundling all my personal insurance needs. Weiss has found a lifetime customer in me.”

– Walter J. – Home Insurance

*Data gathered from The Insurance Information Institute and Perr&Knight.

High Net Worth Homeowners’ Insurance Mistakes – Six To Avoid

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

When it comes to high net worth homeowners insurance, it can get complicated.


But…it doesn’t have to be.


High net worth homeowners tend to make these six self imposed mistakes, that make their situation more difficult to insure.


Fortunately, by avoiding these mistakes, a high net worth individual could also save a substantial amount money.


Here are the six most common…


1.     Lack of Organization – You have acquired your assets over time, so it’s not uncommon to insure these assets in different ways. Your cars, for example, may be with a different insurance carrier than your primary home. Your jewelry may be insured independently from your cars. You secondary home, independently from your primary. Whatever the combination, the end result is fragmented, making insurance more difficult and expensive to manage. This unorganized approach could also cause gaps in coverage that aren’t revealed until a claim is denied.

2.     No or Lack of Liability Insurance – Today, nearly 1 in 10 law firms has suffered a liability loss of $5 million or more over the past 5 years. Like it or not, it’s the culture we live in. Yet, shockingly, most higher net worth individuals still do not carry umbrella insurance. Not only are high net worth individuals targeted in lawsuits, they often have more liability due to the individuals they have in the home. Maids, landscapers, personal assistants, home health aides…these type of workers often carry little to no insurance. Potentially, leaving the high net worth homeowner responsible for damages. Often, a personal umbrella is just an afterthought when it comes to home insurance. Ironically, the addition of an extra $1,000,000 umbrella can be just $30 to $40 a month.

3.     An Underinsured Home – High net worth individuals tend to make constant upgrades to their homes but forget to tell their agent. Therefore, not only is there home underinsured at the beginning of a policy, the gap expands the longer they stay with their current company.

4.     Incorrect Valuable Articles Coverage – An insurance company who specializes in insured’s with custom built homes have distinct coverage available for fine art, jewelry, wine, antiques, and other collectables. Just as important, they have appraisers who know how to value these items. One common mistake is to include your valuables in a blanket coverage, which can diminish their protection. Regardless of your overall policy limit, standard homeowners’ policies generally cap limits on “contents” coverage leaving many homeowners wide open to losing their most valuable possessions.

5.     Not Knowing What’s Excluded – Unfortunately, the time most insured’s find out what’s not covered under their home insurance, is during a claim. Have you had an expert review your coverage with you lately to define what is and what’s not covered? If not, you’re not only leaving yourself at risk for being surprised when you do file a claim, you could be missing out on opportunities to file a claim because you didn’t know you had coverage.

6.     Lack of Options – More and more insurance companies are entering the high net worth space. This competition creates many advantages for a homeowner like yourself to save money. If you’ve been with the same carrier for many years, there’s never been a better time for high net worth individuals to shop their home insurance.


Thanks to Tim Dodge of the Independent Agents and Brokers of New York for including this article in the Cavalcade of Risk.

Online Password Management Best Practices and Tips

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
If you played 20 questions with members of your closest friends and family, would they be able to guess a password to an online account of yours?

If you answered yes or even maybe, I have some bad news for you, you’re at risk.

As more and more private information comes online, more and more hackers are trying to steal your information.

On August 5th, CNET reported on a potential data breach of 1.2 billion username and password combinations. While information is still leaking about the potential breach, the fact is, breaches are becoming more common.

Here’s the scary thing…if a hacker has one of your passwords, he could have all of them.

Too many consumers’ password combinations are incredibly easy to hack, especially if they figured out just one of them.

The purpose of this blog post is to discuss the best practices for password management.

While you can’t control if a company you do business with gets breached, you can control how valuable your password is to the hacker.

So here are 8 best practices you can use to protect your passwords:

  1. Never use the Same Password on Separate Sites eBay, LinkedIN, Target…those are all companies that have had data breaches recently. If your password was the same on there as it was for your email or bank account, you’d be very vulnerable to having more private information stolen.
  2. Make Your Passwords Strong – Try to include all of the following; capitals (not necessarily the first word), lower case letters, numbers, and special characters such as @,#,$ signs. Plus, make them long, a minimum of 7 characters is a good rule of thumb.
  3. Use a Password Manager – Personally, I work across multiple computers, so a cloud based password management system works best for me. I use LastPass. LastPass allows me to have one master password across all my accounts. Then, this allows me to use a different password for each account I don’t have to remember or write down. It’s a huge time saver and a great boost in productivity. Obviously, the password to your password manager must be incredibly strong and not correlate to any of your other passwords.
  4. Have a Password on All Portable Devices – Make sure your phone, tablet, laptop…all have strong passwords on them.
  5. Require a Password on Any Apps – As another layer of security, make sure any applications on your phone or tablet are password protected.
  6. Never Share your Password over Email – Never share your username and password to any of your accounts over email. Email archives are incredibly easy to search for. Plus, while you may take precaution when it comes to protecting passwords, you can’t know for sure how the person on the other end of the email handles their privacy.
  7. Don’t Forget To Change Your Passwords – It’s easy to use the same password over and over again for years. But, the more sites you use the same password on for an extended length of time, the more vulnerable you are.
  8. Use Different Email Addresses – For low level security sites, such as free registration for a local newspaper, have a special email address just for it. Then for higher level of security sites such as credit card, bank, home, auto, and life insurance use a separate email address.

Townhome Insurance Coverage 101

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

If you’re looking to insure your townhome, the first thing you need to find out is what the master policy covers.

The master policy is the policy owned by your townhome association. Most townhome associations have one, and if yours does, ask for a copy.

When reviewing the master policy, find out what exactly what the townhome association does and doesn’t cover.

Most master policies provide coverage only for the exterior of your unit. In addition, coverage for common areas such as parks, pools, club houses, etc…

As the owner of a townhome, in most cases, you own only the inside of the unit and share ownership in all common areas. Thus, you’re insuring the interior of the dwelling (including your contents), the structure, and the property it’s built on. Much diffrent from a typical homeowners insurance policy.

If this is the case, you’re looking for an HO-6 policy, which is the fancy insurance term for townhome insurance you may come across.

Townhome Insurance Coverage Tips

Due to the complexity of townhome insurance, it’s best to talk to a local agent familiar with state laws, and maybe even, your specific townhome association.

There are a lot of finer points you need to review with an expert. Plus, a good agent will be able to explain other risks you may face such as liability and assessments.

When talking to an agent, make sure to get answers to the following questions:

  1. What exactly does my townhome association’s master policy cover?
  2. What exactly would my policy cover?
  3. What are the common exclusions in the master policy, that may leave me paying a big assessment?
  4. What are the common gaps that are not covered by my policy or the master policy?
  5. What types of water damage am I protected against and how much coverage do I have?
  6. What discounts am I eligible for?

2014 Data Breach Statistics

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

For nine years, IBM has sponsored an annual Cost of Data Breach Study.

I referenced the study in blog posts on the definition of cyber liability and cyber liability claim scenarios. But there’s more good data breach statistics contained inside the study for business owners.

Today, I wanted to give you a 10,000 foot overview on the current trends occurring in data breaches.

If you want to dive in more, you can download the report for free (registration required).

  • The United States had the 2nd highest cost of data breach among the 10 countries participating. On average, a data breach cost a company in the U.S. $195 per record.
  • The United States was home to the largest quantity of data breaches in 2013. Compromised or exposed records totaled 29,087 in the United States.
  • The costliest data breaches on average were malicious and criminal attacks. In the U.S., the average cost of a malicious and criminal attack was $246 per compromised record.
  • After an attack, in 2013 a U.S. business could expect to lose 2.8% of its customers on average.
  • The factors that increased the cost of the data breach were: the attack was caused by a lost or stolen device, third party involvement, quick notification, and engagement of consultants.
  • The factors that decreased the cost of a cyber claim the most were: having a strong security posture, an incident response plan, and a CISO appointment. This reduced the cost by $8.98 per record.
  • The risk of a U.S. business incurring a data breach was the third lowest at 2%. India and Brazil were the highest at 30%.

For the complete statistical analysis, download it for free at IBM’s website.

Home Insurance: Sewage Backup Insurance 101

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

If water comes into your home through surface water, that’s considered a flood claim.

Flooding, as discussed before, is not covered under standard home insurance. To have coverage for flood, you must buy a separate policy.

But what if there’s no surface water and water still comes in your home? Specifically, what if the water comes up through your drain via a backup of a sewer or drain.

That’s where sewage back up, also known as sewer backup or water backup coverage comes in.

Sewer back up is coverage for damages that occur when there’s no surface water or flooding.

What’s important is…

…sewer backup is not covered on a standard home insurance policy.

Instead, it’s added in on most home insurance policies as a rider. Also, most have a separate limit and sometimes even a separate deductible.
How Much Sewage Back Up Coverage Is Enough?

When it comes to sewer back up, I find most homeowners don’t have enough coverage.

Limits average between $5,000 and $10,000.

If you have a finished basement, $5,000 may not even be enough to cover the fee for the removal of the dry wall. Let alone, reimburse you for damaged contents. And if you have a high value home, damage can easily get in six figures.

Keep in mind, sewer back up isn’t limited to homes with basements. Backup of drains can occur on any floor. Causing damage to areas in your home with the highest value per square foot.
What Type of Homes are Most at Risk of Sewer Back Up?

A page on the city of Chicago’s website reads:


With an abundance of buildings, streets and parking lots, urban areas have very little green space to absorb or slow down the onslaught of water in a heavy rain. It’s especially a problem in the City of Chicago, a city built on a swamp. The high water table contributes to slower absorption rates and more water flowing overland to fill the city’s sewers – an interconnected system carrying both storm runoff and sanitary sewer waste.


When Mother Nature decides to dump four inches of rain in little over an hour, it’s difficult for any man-made system to handle such a rain event. Private lines may be blocked or damaged. Downspouts add millions of gallons of clean water to the sewers. Streets fill up and water flows overland, sometimes causing flooding.


While cities are modern miracles, they’re not perfect. Take note if you live in an urban area where there is nowhere for water to go besides your basement.
Summary – Sewage Backup Insurance

Insurance is best used to protect against financial catastrophe. A sewer back up problem isn’t uncommon and has potentially to cause thousands in damage.

What is common is for homeowners to be caught by surprise by the lack of coverage they had.

So, review your policy today.

When reviewing your current policy or comparing a new one, it’s important to review your coverage for sewer back up.

First, check to see if you have coverage.

Second, check the amount you’re covered for and adjust if necessary.

Third, check your deductible.

Possibly related posts:

What factors can affect homeowner’s insurance premiums?
What’s the difference between canceling and non-renewing a homeowner’s insurance policy?
Townhome Insurance Coverage 101
What parts make up a homeowners insurance policy?
17 Little Known Home and Auto Insurance Discounts