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In my last blog, I discussed some of the unique insurance needs mobile professionals should consider for protecting their homes, vehicles, and personal items while on the road.

This time, I asked insurance expert Valerie Vollmer to share some pointers on evaluating different carriers. Below are some key factors to consider when shopping for insurance.

Reputation counts

Learn about the company’s history and its financial standing. Vollmer says to check out its A.M. Best ratings, and look for at least an A grade. Also, research its fiscal health. You want a company to have the funds readied in case you need to register a claim.

Geographic coverage

It’s not just about what types of insurance a company sells, but where those policies are honored — especially for mobile professionals. If you’re crossing state lines for contracts, make sure your insurance will go with you. Inquire about where the policy is in effect.

Lapse allowance

Of course, the best way to avoid any loss of coverage is to pay the premiums on time. Still, be informed on what kind of “forgiveness” period is allowed. Vollmer says most companies offer a 10- to 30-day grace period to get your payment on the books. To avoid that situation altogether, set up an automatic withdrawal program; chances are, you already have one with some of your regular bills.

Align with an agent

Because travelers move around so much, Vollmer says developing a relationship with an agent who understands your unique circumstances is even more important than for “regular” customers. Your agent can act as a surrogate in your absence, or at least an informed resource if you have to file a claim while on assignment. A single point of contact helps alleviate some stress or frustration. And, let’s face it; if you’re filing a claim, you’re already in a stressful situation.

Look for loyalty perks

While not every carrier offers every type of insurance, many sell multiple plans and offer discount premiums if you purchase a grouping, like home and auto. Others may reward long-term customers with loyalty discounts.

Good to know

Insurance may not be a topic you think about frequently — that is, until you need it. Regardless, if you’re in the market for a new company or it’s been a while since you reviewed your policies, it pays (or saves) to know that you and your belongings are protected if something happens on an assignment or at home.

Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler Magazine since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

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Photo: dbking via Flickr.com

On Monday, March 26, the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments regarding the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that every American purchase health insurance. Luckily, most staffing companies offer travelers employer-sponsored medical insurance. Still, that’s only one kind of insurance policy.

With auto, home, and renter’s insurance policies available for purchase, there are many types to protect you and your belongings.

For some insight into the finer points of insurance, and how to cater certain policies to a mobile lifestyle, insurance expert Valerie Vollmer offers the following advice.

Automobile

Driving to assignments every few months means spending more time behind the wheel than the average car owner. Vollmer suggests carrying full, comprehensive theft and vandalism, as well as collision with a low deductible. The more time your auto is out and about, the greater risk something could happen — like dings or accidents.

However, don’t neglect bodily injury and property damage liability. This not only covers you, the person you hit, and his/her passengers if they are injured in an accident, but having higher limits also protects your assets in the event that the other driver files a lawsuit against you. The damage element also reimburses others for any destruction of their property you caused.

Vollmer recommends travelers look for policies that provide a temporary rental car so you won’t be out of commission even if your vehicle is. These policies often include roadside services, too.

Recreational Vehicles

If you travel in a recreational vehicle or motor home, then you’re talking about another type of insurance altogether. Vollmer says to ask your agent about certain specifics, like what personal items are and are not covered. Are there comprehensive limits? Does it include breakdown services? Also, find out if a loss-of-use clause compensates you for temporary living accommodations.

Homeowner’s & Renter’s

If you own a home, you’re in luck. Homeowner’s insurance policies protect your belongings even if you are thousands of miles away on assignment. A notable exception is if you’ve turned your home into a rental property. If that’s the case, or if you don’t own a permanent residence, Vollmer suggests taking out a renter’s insurance policy at each new location. Generally speaking, this will replace items damaged or destroyed by burglary, water, smoke, and loss of use.

Travelers may also want to consider a personal article policy insuring valuables such as jewelry, cameras, and computers. However, cell phones, tablets, and e-readers aren’t usually covered.

Did you know that some carriers are dropping dog bite liability from homeowner’s policies? Other companies will exclude that coverage after the first incident. So before taking Fido on assignments, it’s important to know what is and isn’t included in your policy.

Stay tuned

Watch for the second half of this post next month, including tips on how to shop for insurance companies. Special thanks to Valerie Vollmer of Vollmer Insurance Services in Agoura Hills, Calif.

Anne Baye Ericksen has written for Healthcare Traveler since 1996. She resides with her family in Simi Valley, Calif. 

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