FAQs

Home » FAQs

Auto

If you lend your car to a friend and your friend has an accident, it might be your insurance that’s on the hook. It all depends on the insurance company that issued your policy. One company’s policy may state: “the insurance follows the car”; while another company’s policy says the driver’s insurance is the primary coverage even though you own the vehicle involved.

Let’s take a look at the two different scenarios:

  • If the insurance follows the car and you lend your car to a friend, your coverage is considered the primary coverage. If your friend has an accident, it’s your insurance that will pay the claim. If the accident is serious enough to use up all of your policy’s coverage, then your friend’s coverage, which is considered secondary, might also be used.
  • If the insurance follows the driver, coverage is provided the other way around. If you lend your car to a friend and they have an accident, it’s their policy that is considered primary coverage, meaning their insurance company will pay the claim. In this case, your policy would be secondary and wouldn’t pay for anything unless your friend’s policy limits were used up.

All these rules go out the window in many cases if the person borrowing the car happens to be a relative who resides in the same household as the owner. You should read your policy carefully to see what type of coverage applies to you.

Remember these two things: First, always exercise caution when it comes to lending your car. Second, if you’re ever in doubt about whether you or another driver is covered in any given situation, please call us.

If you have collision and comprehensive (“other than collision”) coverages on your own car, you are most likely covered if you’re traveling in the United States, its territories and possessions or Canada (for example, travel in Mexico, the Bahamas or Europe would not be covered).  Most policies (except business policies) cover any rental car that you drive at no additional premium.  Business cars frequently require an extra premium to afford the same coverage.  Give us a call before you leave for your “fun in the sun and/or snow” to confirm your coverage.

You’ve been in an accident.  Here are some general guidelines about what to do next:

  • Stop at once. Never leave the scene of even a MINOR accident.
  • Seek medical assistance and summon police.
  • Do not admit fault. Do not comment about the accident to anyone but your insurance representative and the police.  Never accept or make an offer of cash, check or “private” settlement.
  • Gather accident information. Note the date and time of accident.
  • Obtain information on the other driver including: name, address, phone number, make of car, vehicle license number, insurance company and agent’s name and telephone number.
  • Record a description of what occurred.
  • Draw a diagram of the accident showing the direction of both cars and the point of the accident.  Include street names and location of traffic signs/signals.
  • Report the accident promptly to your insurance agent.

Homeowner

Does windstorm include tornado?
Since the policy specifically refers to windstorm as a covered cause of loss, some residents have wondered what exactly windstorm includes.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, high winds, thunderstorms and blizzards are all included in the definition of windstorm.  Your homeowners policy also provides ‘loss of use’ benefits to cover additional living expenses while repairs are being made to your home.

Please call us with any specific questions regarding your property coverage.  We are always happy to review your current coverage needs.

You are a volunteer soccer coach, a 4-H advisor, a chamber of commerce committee member, on the church board, or you helped raise contributions for the last United Way campaign. Perhaps you have volunteered hundreds of hours this year without a thought of insurance coverage. If someone is injured, who pays for any legal action brought against you in these volunteer activities? If you serve as a board member and are sued for breach of duty, imprudent investments, discrimination in hiring or wrongful termination, are you covered? To answer these questions, there are two places to check: your home insurance and the organization’s insurance. Let’s look at them:

Your homeowners insurance policy gives you liability protection for bodily injury and property damage to others in non-business activities, like a child who is injured when you are the volunteer soccer coach or 4-H advisor. On the other hand, no protection is provided if your volunteer activity is related to a business (chamber volunteer, union, trade or professional association representative, etc.) or if you receive any compensation. Any legal action other than bodily injury and property damage is not covered (an exception: some homeowners policies cover personal injury — libel, slander, false arrest, false imprisonment, etc.).

Also check for coverage under the organization’s policy. Ask the organization leadership for proof of insurance for general liability, directors and officers liability, and employment practices liability. Also check to see if volunteers are covered (named as additional insureds) under those policies. Some other potential loss situations could include:

  • Failure to examine documents signed
  • Silence with respect to improper conduct of fellow officials
  • Improper rejection of bids
  • Failure to exercise diligence in management
  • Incurring unnecessary expenses

Communities are fortunate to have so many volunteers donating their time in a host of different areas. This discussion is not meant to discourage any present or prospective volunteers. Rather, our intent is to help individuals be well-informed, comfortable and adequately protected when it comes to volunteering.

Earthquake, Flood and Sewer Back-up
While not wanting to dampen your anticipation of this long-awaited season, it is a good idea to review some optional coverages you may wish to add to your current homeowners policy. Flood insurance as well as the sewer back-up and earthquake endorsements are worth a brief examination.

Flood
Since flood damage is excluded under your homeowners coverage, you should be aware that flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program. Most communities have qualified for the program that provides coverage for surface flooding only. Structural and contents protection are offered. A $500 deductible applies.

Sewer Back-Up
This endorsement provides protection for direct loss caused by water that backs up through sewers, drains or sump pump wells. Just as flood insurance excludes coverage for sewer back-up, this endorsement excludes any coverage for damage due to flooding. Coverage is subject to a deductible.

Earthquake
Coverage is available with the premium determined by the structure of your home or building. Because it will better withstand an earthquake, a frame structure is less to insure than a masonry one. A substantial deductible (often a percentage of the amount of insurance that applies to the destroyed or damaged property) is in effect.

For clarification of your current policy or information regarding the above coverage’s, please contact us. We welcome the opportunity to evaluate your present needs and to discuss possible insurance improvements for you and your family.

Your Home Business: Know Coverage
Test your knowledge of your homeowners insurance:

Are you covered?
? While caring for a child for a fee, the child is injured in your home.  The parents expect you to cover the hospital bills.
? You replace your friend’s car brakes for a “few bucks” and the car is damaged or your friend is hurt in some way.  He expects compensation.
? A friend slips on an icy walk or trips on a toy while picking up the craft item she paid you to make.  She expects you to cover medical bills.
? You use your detached garage for a small woodworking business and the garage is damaged in a windstorm.  You want your garage rebuilt.
? You do word processing for a fee from your home.  Your computer is stolen.  You want it replaced.
? You are a self-employed sales representative with an office in the home.   While entertaining a client in your home, the client is injured and expects compensation.

In each situation described, the answer is probably “not covered” unless you have added specific coverage to your policy for this home business. Take away the compensation, or business aspect, and each would probably be “covered”. Situations like those described can be covered in one of three ways:

  • Your employer may cover it if your business is conducted on behalf of your employer.
  • A business insurance policy may be purchased to cover it.
  • Your home insurance policy can sometimes be broadened to cover it.

If you have any concerns about a business-type activity in your home, call us. We’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Just how broad is your insurance coverage? Will it cover sunken tractors? This true story has occurred several times: our client parks his riding mower on a hill, dismounts, and the tractor slips out of gear and rolls into the pond. Covered? Only if you have an HO15 endorsement on your policy.

You don’t have a riding mower or a pond you say? The HO15 endorsement broadens a homeowners policy so that it also covers other personal property lost due to extraordinary situations. Consider these other covered losses:

  • Lost jewelry or gemstones falling out of jewelry not specifically insured (subject to a policy dollar limit).
  • Loss in value when a gemstone is scratched or cracked (subject to a policy dollar limit).
  • Cameras or other personal items falling overboard from a boat or a capsized canoe.
  • A hot iron falling on and scorching an area rug.
  • A deer crashing through a sliding glass door causing extensive damage to household contents as it struggles to deal with the unfamiliar surroundings of a family room.
  • Raccoon damage (rodents and vermin are not covered).
  • Lost hearing aids, eyeglasses, telescopes, cameras, etc.
  • Spillage of paint, India ink, nail polish, acid, bleach, and other chemicals that damage household contents.

Most home insurance policies list 17 or 18 different perils of coverage for household contents that do not include the above or numerous other bizarre possibilities. The H015 will cover most of these — subject to your policy deductible.

Taxes

If you’re a previous client of ours, no need to worry, we will automatically file an extension for you, even if we do not hear from you. If you are a new client coming to us needing an extension we will file it for you.

Business Taxes will be due on September 15th

Personal Taxes will be due on October 15th

No, it only extends the time to file the paperwork NOT any monies that are due.
7 to 10 business days from the day we electronically file your tax return, if the money is direct deposited into your bank account.

Payroll

A subcontractor is an “entity” you hire to complete a portion of a job under your authorization. Subcontractors make there own schedule and are not told what time to be at the job. You pay them through your payroll and no taxes are withheld. At the end of the year they will receive a 1099, which we will produce for them on your behalf.
A W4 is given to each employee when they are first hired. It tells the employer the employees tax filing status and number of exemptions they are claiming.
Yes, we have a few different packages available, but we can collect the taxes from you everytime we process your payroll and then we will pay the IRS or State on your behalf. We will also prepare and file your Federal and State Reports on your behalf.
Every business with employees is required to issue each employee a W-2, which states their total wages and taxes paid into the IRS for the year, which in turn they use to complete their taxes. Diversified will complete all W-2’s on your behalf for a small fee and have them ready for you to issue to your employees by January 31st of the following year.
$7.25 and $4.23 for tipped wait staff

Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is taking care and keeping track of money that flows in and out of your account(s). To be most effective it should be tracked in an electronic format, such as Quickbooks.
Definitely monthly. This way you are not hit with a large bill at the same time your taxes are due. And more importantly, it only benefits you as the client. You will receive monthly financial statements that will show your income/loss, where you spend the most money, where you need to cut back, etc. And in the end keeping your tax return as accurate as possible.
Diversified will need to receive on a monthly basis all bank account statements, all credit card statements that pertain to business, any cash receipts, check stubs or check register. And notations on any income or other monies that have “special circumstances” ie: loans.