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Alta Vista Insurance Agency

1020 S Santa Fe Ave, Suite K
Vista, CA 92084

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No Worries Podcast Ep. 2 Lumber Prices, Inflation, And How It Effects Property Insurance

In this episode our agent, Seth Arruda talks about some of the serious effects of inflation and construction costs on property insurance. The cost of building has risen and we’re seeing that reflected in new construction, but it can also effect the cost to rebuild, especially after a large catastrophic wildfire.

Update: lumber prices have come down recently but that doesn’t mean they will return to pre-pandemic prices. Also the with inflation and with the additional higher costs involved in building those costs are being passed down to the consumer.

So let’s dive into how the rising costs of building materials and inflation are effecting replacement cost and being properly insured to value.

Want to look at a plan for your personal or commercial insurance? Schedule an appointment!

Do it! do it now! - Dwight Meme | Meme Generator
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Alta Vista Insurance Was Chosen As One Of The Best Homeowners Insurance Agencies in Vista, California By Expertise.com

Expertise.com scored 65 agencies in Vista, California and selected the top 8 for 2021!

Recognition as a subject matter expert in homeowners insurance in San Diego, California shows how dedicated we are to helping our clients protect their lifestyles and their most valuable assets, their homes. So, when Alta Vista Insurance was selected as one of the top 8 personal lines insurance agencies in Vista, California for homeowners insurance by expertise.com we were very excited to be recognized for the amazing service we provide to our San Diego community and throughout California.

Our goal is to be an expert in real estate asset protection in San Diego, California. Focusing on property insurance is one of the cornerstones of our clients’ asset portfolios and that’s where we shine. Providing the proper education about the importance of financial protection gives our clients a solid foundation to build wealth and achieve financial freedom. Partner that with a subject matter expert that specializes in personal insurance like homeowners insurance, auto insurance, landlord insurance, flood insurance and earthquake insurance along with commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, commercial auto insurance, workers compensation, and cyber liability insurance in California and you have a healthy ecosystem to protect your personal and commercial assets.

“We want to give our clients the personal guidance and advice, so they feel empowered to make educated choices about their insurance. Be the guide in their story. We want to guide our clients through their insurance protection and put a plan together that leads our customers to success, so they can reach new heights. We invite our clients into a story where they have peace of mind and all their assets are properly protected.”

This is another feather in our cap and award to put on our mantel. The last two years, 2019 and 2020 Alta Vista Insurance was selected as Agency For The Future with Safeco Insurance and Liberty Mutual!

“This group includes some of the most innovative agencies in the entire independent agent channel. While they are all unique – each with their own distinct value proposition, customer focus and company culture – what they have most in common is in just how prepared they were to tackle the challenges of 2020 head on. They quickly adapted to the changing market conditions brought about by the pandemic, fully embraced digital to ensure the customer experienced remained strong, and continued to cultivate great corporate cultures to keep their teams engaged.”

-Tyler Asher, President of independent agency distribution for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance.

The “proof is in the pudding”. I could go on and on and tell you all about the great work we do for our clients but it’s better to hear their stories. Check out some our client testimonials on our Google Business Page.

As an independent agency here in Vista, California since 1978, we’re no stranger to the neighborhood. Ever since then we’ve focused on personal and commercial property in San Diego, California working with real estate investors, property owners, homeowners, and new home buyers to give them the right plan to protect their lifestyles. We also focus efforts on helping other strategic partners in San Diego, California grow their businesses through our expertise and knowledge as an insurance guide to help them reach new heights in their businesses and provide their clients with a personal risk manager. We form long lasting relationships throughout Vista, California and all of San Diego with real estate agents, commercial real estate agents, property managers, mortgage lenders, bankers, CPA’s and attorneys.

We work strategically with business partners, especially real estate agents, to help those individuals grow their businesses, save time, and save money. One of our main focuses is to help agents close their transactions smoothly and on time and provide their clients with the proper protection they need for their lifestyles so they can live their best life. Insurance is a relationship business. Our goal is to build long lasting relationships with our clients, business partners, and our community.”

Expertise.com based their selections on a number of different criteria. They also looked at our online presence and social proof. They even took the time to test our strengthens with their surprise “mystery shopper” calls to ensure their list of insurance agencies are of the highest quality. Let’s just say, we passed with flying colors! Our staff was friendly, accommodating and answered all questions about bundling personal insurance and available discounts. Their selection criteria consists of five major categories.

Top Homeowners Insurance Agencies in Vista

1. Availability

Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

2. Qualifications

Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards.

3. Reputation

A history of delighted customers and outstanding service.

4. Experience

Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

5. Professionalism

Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect.

Recognition and awards tell a story that we’re doing things right and putting our clients in San Diego, California first and we’re just getting started. Leveraging technology and our systems to create a seamless positive customer experience is a big focus as we look at new ways to meet the needs of our customers in the 21st century. We’re using more video and social media to educate our clients throughout the customer journey. Text messaging alerts and automation to keep clients informed about policy notifications and upcoming renewals has been a great addition to our client experience. During COVID-19 we’re able to reach our customers through virtual meetings using Microsoft Teams and book appointments using our online virtual calendar. If you’re looking for a better insurance experience and a personal guide to keep you informed about how to protect your lifestyle, we’d like to welcome you to Alta Vista Insurance.

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How California Homeowners Protect Their Real Estate Assets

I’m embarking on a new journey this year. Over the last thirteen years I’ve helped homeowners, new home buyers, and real estate investors in California protect their lifestyles and stay out of harms way so they can keep their assets in their pockets.

Very early on I saw the importance of being a problem solver and educating my clients so they could make the right decisions about their insurance protection. It sounds sexy, but it’s not. In fact, most people when you say the word “insurance” they immediately check out and look for the nearest exit.

WHY? I get it. Insurance is boring. Most consumers have no interest in it, until something happens in their life that changes their perception of what insurance actually does and the value it brings.

Insurance is a great tool and when used properly it can create a strong foundation to protect your income, your family, and your health.

I have said before,

the foundation to building wealth starts with financial protection. Understanding how to protect what you already have is one of the primary concepts to achieve financial freedom.

Many of these ideas have to do with the proper mindset. Mindset is everything. Without the right mindset you end up “running for the hills” when someone talks about insurance.

This is where the industry and many of my peers underdeliver. They constantly focus on price and the cost of insurance and overlook the importance of the proper protection. They do consumers a huge disservice by focusing so much of their time and resources on lowering the cost to squeeze every dollar out of the policy that it loses its value. And when the time comes when you need it the most the coverage doesn’t protect your lifestyle.

That is my goal as a personal risk manager. I want to change your mindset and the way you look at insurance. I want to invite you into a story where all your assets are protected, you have peace of mind, and you have the proper plan to achieve financial freedom.

Starting with a plan to be financially protected is the part of the story where we begin our journey. Insurance agents play an important role in guiding their clients in the right direction so they can make educated decisions about the proper protection they desire. That is very valuable to consumers seeking to protect their assets and their real estate investments.

In California, having an insurance agent that works closely with your real estate agent, CPA, and CFP creates a healthy ecosystem of “subject matter experts” that provide holistic solutions to their client’s problems.

Want to learn the benefits of adding a personal risk manager to your team?

Book an Appointment

https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/SethArruda@aviains.com/bookings/

And as your needs change they play an intricate role guiding you through different stages of life making sure you stay on the right path to building wealth through real estate.

No matter where you are on your journey through life it’s always best practice to educate yourself on the best way to protect yourself, your family, your income, and your health and well being. You don’t need a million dollars in the bank to start learning how to be financially protected and build wealth.

So let’s start making insurance exciting! Well, maybe not. How about we start with changing the mindset when it comes to insurance. This year I want to lay a foundation starting with some basic strategies that you can implement right now to help you create a plan for you and your family.

Whether you’re buying your first home in California or adding another investment property to your portfolio, this information will help you understand exactly how to protect your lifestyle.

Personal Insurance Protecting Your Home

I’m going to start with some basic tips on how to help you get the best value out of your homeowners insurance in California. These are benefits you can include if you own a home or you’re a first time home buyer!

  • Make sure your home in California is insured to value and your policy has extended dwelling replacement coverage. Replacement cost is a MUST. Your home has to be insured up to the replacement cost of the structure. How much would it cost to rebuild? That’s replacement cost or insurance to value. I recommend a minimum of 150% extended dwelling replacement. That will come into play if the cost of materials increase or labor costs increase after a covered peril.
  • Loss of Use. If you have a claim and you cannot live in your home while the repairs are being completed, you need additional living expense coverage. If you have a total loss from a fire you could be displaced from your home up to 1-2 years. This is why having adequate loss of use limits for your lifestyle are critical. Most people overlook this coverage and most agents will reduce this type of coverage to lower the rate. Purchase the maximum amount of loss of use that is available from your insurance company. In California, you can activate this coverage if your home is in a mandatory evacuation zone. Lodging, food, gas, and transportation costs can be covered under additional living expenses.
  • Liability for your residence premises. If you’re sued due to negligence this will keep your assets in your pockets. In some cases, this coverage can be activated for personal injury as well. Remember, you don’t have to be a millionaire to be sued like one. If you live in California, your property is one of your most valuable assets. You should purchase at least $500,000 in liability on your homeowners policy. Some insurance companies are offering up to $1 Million limits.
  • PRO TIP: I would also purchase a personal umbrella policy. This is a separate policy you can purchase that provides an additional layer of protection for your assets. It will cover your home, autos, toys, and rental properties and provide you with legal defense in case of a large lawsuit.

Get a quote for your home today

Go to https://www.altavistainsurance.com/compare-quotes.html?t=Home

Some of my peers say insurance is like defense and if you played sports defense was never very glamourous. But, a good defensive strategy always wins championships. That’s how I want you to start thinking about your insurance protection. As a defensive strategy to help you win so you can live your best life.

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Barbecue for Labor Day 2020

Labor day marks the end of summer and usually the return to school. But here in California it also means the beginning of fire season. Sadly, this year is no exception with over 1.2 million acres burned so far this year nationwide.

Here in San Diego is the Valley Fire near Alpine having burned 17,665 acres as of 9/10/2020. (For more recent updates check the Cal Fire website https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/

What does this mean for insuring my property? Many insurance carriers are on new business binding moratorium. Meaning they have closed zip codes where there are active fires. If you are shopping for home insurance, or in escrow and trying to close, this can mean delays in the transaction process.

How else should I prepare? Consider making sure your policy protection is up to date. Standard homeowners insurance policies cover fire and your contents, but more and more frequently we are seeing the standard carriers declining homes for brush. Luckily there is a program set up through the state called the California Fair Plan. However, California Fair Plan policy only covers the structure for fire, and does not provide liability, loss of use, or contents coverage. For that you will need another policy called a “Difference in Conditions” or DIC policy. With the two policies together, you have similar coverage to a normal homeowners policy.

What Are My Next Steps? To learn more about insuring your home in California start by comparing home insurance quotes on our website. If you would prefer to speak to a licensed insurance guide; book an online appointment with one of our agents.

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Coronavirus Insurance Relief

California Department of Insurance Orders All Insurance Companies to Offer Relief Refunds

In these rapidly changing times one thing remains constant, protecting your lifestyle. Taking care of our clients, our employees and our community is our top priority. I am proud to see that our industry is taking the necessary steps to provide financial relief to consumers and business owners throughout California. Since the shelter in place order many consumers and businesses have been doing their part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Now, the insurance companies are providing a little more relief from paying insurance premiums for specific lines of business. We’ll breakdown the latest bulletins from the Department of Insurance highlighting which types of policies are getting relief refunds. It’s important to contact your agent or insurance company and inquire about the steps each company is taking to implement their refunds to policyholders.

According to the Department of Insurance’s Bulletin 2020-3, to protect consumers and to provide consistent direction to the insurance industry regarding misclassifications of risk resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and to address certain issues raised in CFC’s petition, Commissioner Lara hereby orders insurers to make an initial premium refund for the months of March and April to all adversely impacted
California policyholders in the following lines of insurance, as quickly as practicable, but in any event no later than 120 days after the date of this Bulletin:

  • Private passenger automobile insurance
  • Commercial automobile insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Commercial multiple peril insurance
  • Commercial liability insurance
  • Medical malpractice insurance
  • Any other line of coverage where the measures of risk have become substantially
    overstated as a result of the pandemic.

Commissioner Lara grants each insurer reasonable flexibility in determining how best to quickly and fairly accomplish the refund of premium to policyholders. Insurers may comply with the premium refund order by providing a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment.

It’s important to check with your individual insurance company to inquire about their method of premium adjustment. 

Read the full bulletin from The CA Department of Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara


CA Dept of Insurance Bulletin 2020-3

California Department of Insurance Requirement to Accept, Forward, Acknowledge, and Fairly Investigate All Business Interruption Insurance Claims Caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic

Business Interruption insurance is an optional coverage that may be purchased as part of a comprehensive multi-peril commercial policy, business owners’ policy, or on a stand-alone basis. Many small and large California businesses purchase Business Interruption insurance to protect against the loss of income and other losses caused by an interruption to the normal operations of the business.

The California Department of Insurance (Department) continues to encourage businesses to review their policies, including policy exclusions, coverage limits, and applicable deductibles, and contact their insurance companies to determine what their policies cover as each insurance policy is different and the coverage varies. However, despite the Department’s on-going guidance to businesses statewide during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has received numerous complaints from businesses, public officials, and other stakeholders asserting that certain insurers, agents, brokers, and insurance company representatives are attempting to dissuade policyholders from filing a notice of claim under its Business Interruption insurance coverage, or refusing to open and investigate these claims upon receipt of a notice of claim.

Therefore, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara finds it necessary to issue this Notice to ensure that all agents, brokers, insurance companies, and other licensees accept, forward, acknowledge, and fairly investigate all business interruption insurance claims submitted by businesses.

After conducting a thorough, fair, and objective investigation of the claim, the insurer must accept or deny the claim, in whole or in part, immediately, but in no event more than 40 days after receipt of the proof of claim. The amount of the claim accepted or denied by the insurer must be clearly documented in the claim file unless the claim has been denied in its entirety. (Regulations, section 2695.7(b).)

If you’re a business owner that has been physically impacted by COVID-19, we highly recommend reviewing your policy along with any exclusions, coverage limits, deductibles and endorsements and contact your insurance company to determine if there is appropriate coverage provided.


Business Interruption Insurance Claims Caused by the COVID-19

We’ve compiled a list of our insurance companies we represent and their claims department information. If you do not see your insurance company listed, refer to your current insurance policy. 

Liberty Mutual 

  • Small Business Claims 844-325-2467 
  • Mid/Large Business 800-362-0000

CIG 800-986-9974

Travelers 800-238-6225

Mercury 888- 313-6372

Nationwide 800-421-3535

Progressive 800-274-4499 

Safeco 800-332-3226

Encompass 800-588-7400 

Kemper 888-252-2799

Chubb 800-682-4822

American Modern 800-375-2075

First American Property and Casualty 800-348-3782

Mapfre 877-627-3735

Stay healthy and safe. Practice social distancing, wear a mask when entering retail establishments, and wash your hands. Everyone is doing their part to flatten the curve. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to assists families, local businesses, and their communities. Thank you for being a part of Alta Vista Insurance

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COVID-19 Relief and CARES Act Bulletin

In this challenging situation, we remain committed to our clients and doing everything we can to keep the lines of communication open. This is our first blog post about the coronavirus which includes a summary of resources to help our clients and local Southern California business owners navigate through these uncharted waters. There has been a ton of information that has been provided by many credible sources. We collected some of the top resources here for you to access. Here is some basic information on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) signed into law on March 27, 2020.  There’s also some new tax aids. We’ve provided some links for business aid loans through SBA and San Diego County.

Download The Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act provided by the US Small Business Administration.


Click Here

California Department of Insurance Bulletin April 3, 2020

Extension of Policyholder Deadlines that Impact Claims or Coverage Due to the current State of Emergency Caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak


Read Bulletin From CA DOI

Stimulus Checks

The Act has provided for certain middle to low income taxpayers to receive $1,200 per adult person and $500 per child (under 17). The key factor in determining whether you qualify for the check is what your adjusted gross income (AGI) on your household’s tax return.  This is line 7 on your 2018 form 1040 and line 8b on your 2019 form 1040. The limits are based on this AGI:

Single Filer          $75,000-$99,000

Married                $150,000-$198,000

Head Of Household   $112,500-$148,500

To receive a payment, there is generally no action you must take. As long as you have a valid social security number, the IRS will calculate your allotted stimulus check amount. You do not have to have filed your 2019 tax return yet. If there is no 2019 return, the IRS will go to 2018 filing. If you do not qualify based on 2018 or 2019 income but will in 2020, then you will receive the money as a credit when you file your 2020 return. If you end up making too much in 2020, then you will pay it back on your 2020 tax return. This money is an upfront credit. It is NOT taxable. All dependent children under 17 will earn the $500 no matter what your income level as parents is. Dependent children over 16 will not receive any money. The IRS estimates the checks to go out in 3-4 weeks. Taxpayers with a bank account on file with the IRS will have their checks automatically deposited. Others will have checks mailed to them.

See this Stimulus Calculator to see what amount, if any, you will receive.


Stimulus Calculator

San Diego County Rent Forgiveness:

Some local businesses can ask for rent relief. Please see
the site below to see if you qualify.


SD County Rent Forgiveness

Small Business Guidance and Loan Resources

Phase II Relief Programs for Business Owners

This loan program through the SBA is for small businesses affected by the coronavirus in presidential and SBA declared disaster areas. This program provides loans up to $2,000,000 with 3.75% interest rates for profit businesses. Businesses can get loans to pay for payroll costs, accounts payable, rents, and other fixed debts. Customer Service number is 800-659-2955.

Apply directly to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela and select Economic Injury as your reason. 


Apply Now

Phase III Relief Programs Small Business Interruption Loans

NOTE: If you received a Phase II loan it may make you ineligible for this

This is a forgivable loan program through SBA 7(a)  lenders.  Eligible businesses (including sole proprietors and self-employed) with less than 500 employees. The business MUST have been substantially affected by COVID-19. The program will loan the lesser of $10 million or 2.5 of average total monthly payments (payroll, rent and debt) over the last year period. The money from the loan may be used for employee salaries, payroll support (up to $100,000 per employee) including costs related to health care benefits and sick and family leave, rent or mortgage payments, utilities and debt obligations incurred before the loan. This loan is eligible for forgiveness  (which will not be taxable) if the employer maintains continued payroll and other allowable costs for a covered period. In order to apply for this loan, please consult the banker in which your business has a relationship. The SBA will be overloaded and is reaching out to have banks help them through this process.

Other CARES Act Tax Incentives

Retirement Accounts:

  • If you are under 59 and a half you may withdraw up to $100,000 from your retirement plan or IRA without the 10% withdrawal penalty. You may put the monies back before year end for no tax consequences.
  • You can also borrow double the amount (up to $100,000) from your retirement accounts or 401k. 
  • Retirees can waive their required minimum distributions for 2020 so as not to take money out of the market.

Tax Credits:
Small businesses who pay employees sick leave for two weeks for quarantine or sick family member or children at home due to school closings or up to 3 months of family or medical leave for the same reasons. Contact your payroll service for the coding for this.
 
Payroll Tax Deferral:
If your business did not take advantage of the forgivable loan packages mentioned above, then you are eligible to delay payment of payroll taxes. (50% in December 2020 and 50% in December 2021)
 
Charitable Contributions:
There are 2 significant changes here. If you are a taxpayer that does not itemize, you may in 2020 get up to $300 deduction “above the line” plus your standard deduction. If you itemize the charitable contribution limits will be waived as long as it a direct gift to the charity.
 
Student Loan Payments:
Any federal student loan payments are suspended without further interest accrual until September 30, 2020.
Resource: Katherine M Thompson, CPA and Richard Dally  CPA, Dennis & Dennis LLP Phone (858)487-7232 Kathythompson@dennisanddennis.com

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Coverage vs. Coverage: How does your liability policy stack up?

In the event something happens to someone else your liability insurance can protect you. 

If you own a home, drive a car, own a business, sell something, hire someone for a job, or other related activities, you have exposure to losses. Carrying a liability policy will provide money for damages to other parties in the event you are liable for injuries or expenses associated with a claim like investigation costs, legal representation, or other expenses.  

Liability insurance is a way to protect your lifestyle and assets from being taken in a judgment.

What would happen if someone sued you and they won? 

 

What if a judgment was rendered against you and it wasn’t covered by your liability policy; like your homeowner’s liability or general liability if you own a business? 

You may have to liquidate assets, a lien could be placed on your properties if they are exposed, your wages could be garnished, etc. One lawsuit could completely change your lifestyle. That is why umbrella and excess liability insurance is MUST for everyone.  

Both umbrella and excess insurance are designed as an additional layer of protection above primary insurance policies, like homeowners, auto, commercial general liability, and commercial auto.

Which is better? 
What type of policy do I have?
Should I purchase more insurance?

Let’s look at these policies and see how they stack up against each other.

An umbrella policy has two types of coverage; coverage above other insurance policies (that’s the underlying insurance) and coverage for liability exposures for which there is no underlying insurance.

Watch this short video about the importance of umbrella insurance for your personal assets. 

https://youtu.be/L3mtIEuwBy0

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According to the ISO CU 00 01 insuring agreement for coverage A,

 

“we will pay on behalf of the insured the “ultimate net loss,” in excess of the “retained limit” because of “bodily injury” or “property damage” to which this insurance applies. We will have the right and duty to defend the insured against any “suit” seeking damages for such “bodily injury” or “property damage” when the “underlying insurance” does not provide coverage or the limits of “underlying insurance” have been exhausted.”

The insuring agreement adds two terms that are not seen in general liability policies; “ultimate net loss” and “retained limit”.  

Ultimate net loss” means the total sum, after reduction for recoveries or salvages collectible, that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages by reason of settlement or judgements or any arbitration or other alternate dispute method entered into with our consent or the underlying insurer’s consent. 

Retained limit” means the available limits of “underlying insurance” scheduled in the Declarations or the “self-insured retention,” whichever applies. Self-insured retention is the dollar amount listed in the declarations page that will be paid by the insured before this insurance becomes applicable, like a deductible, only with respect to “occurrences” or offenses not covered by the “underlying insurance”. The self-insured retention applies for the exhaustion of applicable underlying limits.

This policy is the reigning “pound for pound” champion. It combines both technique and talent to protect insureds from loss. 

No matter whether it’s a loss covered by an underlying policy or a loss that is not covered by an underlying policy, the umbrella insurance policy will be victorious and protect the insured. 

Now, let’s look at the opponent, the excess insurance policy. The first disadvantage we can see is in the insuring agreement. This policy only has one skill or insuring agreement. 

“We will pay on behalf of the insured the “ultimate net loss” in excess of the “retained limit” because of “injury or damage” to which insurance provided under this Coverage Part applies. We will have the right to defend the insured against any suit seeking damages for such “injury or damage” when the applicable limits of “controlling underlying insurance” have been exhausted in accordance with the provisions of such “controlling underlying insurance”.  

Again, we need to look at the terms so we can define what is covered. “Ultimate net loss” means the total sum, after reduction for recoveries, or salvages collectible, that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages by reason of:  

  • Settlements, judgements, binding arbitration, or  
  • other binding alternate dispute resolution proceeding entered into with our consent. 

Ultimate net loss” includes defense expenses if the “controlling underlying insurance” specifies that limits are reduced by defense expenses. 

There are many different types of insurance policies that can provide coverage here. Even policies that include defense costs like cyber liability or professional liability.  

So, an excess policy can provide protection with many different types of insurance policies BUT there must be an underlying policy that provides coverage. If there is NO underlying policy, the excess insurance is powerless. 

Controlling underlying insurance” means any policy of insurance or self-insurance listed in the Declarations under the Schedule of “controlling underlying insurance.” Controlling is critical. It means the underlying insurance controls how coverage applies.

Umbrella and excess insurance policies are additional layers of protection above primary insurance policies. However, when we put them in the ring against each other, we can see they are not the same.  The umbrella is the stronger more well-rounded policy.  

In conclusion, the umbrella policy can be used to cover some losses when there is NO insurance. The excess policy only covers losses that are covered by the other insurance policies that exist as primary insurance.  

Now, it’s always important to read the entire policy. There are exclusions, conditions, and definitions that you should review with your agent in order to determine which protection you need. 

To find out how you can add another layer of protection for your lifestyle or business, schedule an appointment with one of our agents for a FREE needs-based analysis. 


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Let’s Clear The Air About Earthquake Insurance

After the recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake on July 4th and the 7.1 quake on July 5th, more and more residents understand that earthquake risk is REAL in Southern California. The seismic activity was centered around the towns of Trona and Ridgecrest, but the aftershocks were felt from LA to San Diego. 

This last round of earthquake activity has shocked many California residents into rethinking the importance of earthquake insurance to protect their homes and assets.

If you’re looking to fully protect your lifestyle, it is highly recommended you purchase earthquake insurance…Now. 

Other than wildfire, earthquakes are one of the leading natural disasters Californians face. Most residents live within 30 miles of an active fault line and only 10% of California residents carry earthquake insurance. 10 percent!

Does it make a lot of sense to partially insure your most valuable asset, your home? 

Insurance tip: A residential property insurance policy does NOT cover damage due to earthquake or seismic activity. You need a separate earthquake insurance policy.

Watch this short video about the benefits of carrying earthquake insurance. Contact one of our insurance guides and get an earthquake insurance quote for your home today! Call 888-724-2124.



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Can I purchase earthquake insurance after an earthquake? Yes.

The Department of Insurance released a bulletin on July 12th about the requirement of all California Earthquake Authority participating insurance companies to write CEA earthquake policies. 

In response to the Northridge earthquake in 1994, the California Legislature created the California Earthquake Authority (CEA)—a not-for-profit, publicly managed, privately funded entity. Residential property insurers could offer their own earthquake insurance or become a CEA participating insurance company. 

CEA provides two-thirds of the residential earthquake insurance policies sold in California. By selling policies exclusively through these participating insurance companies, CEA has become one of the largest providers of residential earthquake insurance in the world. The CEA is a not-for-profit organization and receives no funding from the State of California, whether for operations or claim liabilities, and is not a part of the state budget. CEA is financed solely through insurer contributions, policyholder premiums, and its own investment returns.

Following the recent earthquakes in Ridgecrest, the Department of Insurance received numerous complaints that some CEA participating insurers were denying applications for CEA earthquake insurance coverage from insureds who already had a residential underlying insurance policy with that insurance company.

Many agents and brokers were misinforming their clients that there is a “moratorium” on selling CEA coverage, even to those insureds who have an underlying insurance policy with that insurance company. 

Image courtesy of California Earthquake Association

That is FALSE. There is NO moratorium on selling CEA coverage.

California Insurance Code Section 10083 requires that offers for earthquake coverage made by a Participating Insurer contain a specific disclosure that includes the statement, “If you choose not to accept this offer within the 30-day period, you may apply for earthquake coverage at a later date.” Refusing to write CEA earthquake insurance coverage for policyholders with a residential insurance policy is not in compliance with state law or the intent of the CEA statute and mission.

The CEA has confirmed to the Department of Insurance that it expects all participating insurers to take applications for and bind CEA coverage if requested by an insured who has an underlying residential insurance policy with the insurer. 

A moratorium on earthquake insurance has never been declared by the CEA. Some participating insurers have declared a moratorium on the sale of their own new homeowners and other fire insurance policies in areas of California impacted by the recent Ridgecrest earthquakes. 

And if that company is not writing new property insurance policies then they would not be making the accompanying mandatory offer of earthquake insurance to those homeowners. 

However, this should NOT effect current insureds with a residential insurance policy from a CEA participating insurer. They should be assisted in purchasing a new CEA policy immediately.

“So, if you have property insurance from an insurance company that participates with the California Eathquake Authority you can purchase earthquake insurance NOW.”

Contact us and we can review your home insurance policy and tell you if your company offers earthquake insurance protection with the California Earthquake Authority. We’ll also do a coverage check up to make sure you have the right protection for your lifestyle. Give us a call at 888-724-2124.


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Alta Vista Insurance

Don’t get caught in the new insurance wave

This post was inspired by the CHUBB video shown here.

It’s how experts in insurance view the potential impact of disruptive businesses giving top priority to price over protection.

Chance. It’s why we wear our seat belt; it’s why we get healthy amounts of insurance.

https://youtu.be/euAXEOTQGd0

You’ve probably heard of the marshmallow experiment. Kids had a choice between getting a lone marshmallow or an entire bag. The catch? They had to wait 15 minutes alone with the single marshmallow unpackaged right before them. Mouths watering, some kids were able to make it through, others were not. Why? Their (and our) natural inclination to think short-term stopped some of them from getting the real, more lasting reward…Enduring those 15 minutes required grit and long-term thinking.

Maybe we need to take notes from those 5-year-olds who made it through, especially when the stakes are higher than missing out on marshmallows, like with, say, your beloved wedding ring, your cozy home, sweet subaru, and all your worldly goods.

For example, mass savings on insurance is a GREAT thing when done correctly, as independent agents are able to do. They can save you thousands of dollars without compromising healthy levels of defense through honest means like shopping around, spending extensive time understanding your unique situation and finding the BEST option out there, bundling, etc.

On the other hand, if savings are achieved without caution or are presented as a gimmick, as some disruptive insurance companies do today, you could be financially hurt or ruined.

Far too often, disruptive insurance companies tout inexpensive prices which favors buyers on price but counts on the unlikelihood of a costly claim affecting their clients. Many have gotten burned by this. Presenting a low price simply to create a hollow but more attractive offer is short-sighted, deceitful, and can bring about headache, heartache, and huge issues.

So how can you tell if an insurance company is honest or not? Glad you asked.

1. Read their customer reviews, and not just the ones on their website or their app. Use sites like Yelp!, Facebook, and Google to find candid opinions about their insurance services

2. Read the terms of your quote. 

3. Contact an insurance professional to review what the fine print means and get a second opinion. If you need help, call 8887242124 and one of our team members will be happy to help you sort through the jargon and ensure you have got the coverage you need.

While a disaster is unlikely, it is not improbable enough to bet and thus forfeit your long-term plan, home, and savings.
Cheap but insufficient insurance just won’t cut it in the long term.

At Alta Vista Insurance, an independent agency, a helpful and skilled insurance guide will find you the best prices without compromising quality.
Providing you with insurance that will protect your lifestyle, your future, and your assets since 1978,


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Hobbyists and Full-Time Farmers: Protecting Your Farm

You need the best protection for your hard work and home. 

That can be confusing when you live and work in the same place, like on a farm. 

How do you classify a farm house? A winery or orchard with a dwelling on it?

Click the photo below or click here to read our article that offers a clear explanation for why and when you need a separate policy from your homeowners policy. We’ve also included a tip to avoid lapsing coverage when you buy new equipment.

Check it out!

Hobbyists and Full-time Farmers: Protecting Your Farm

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