Category Archives: Blog Articles

liable for internet slander

Could you be Guilty of Internet Slander? How to Cover your Assets with a Personal Umbrella

It’s very common  to take to the Internet when you have a negative experience with a business.

But could you be held liable for what you post online?

When one Dallas couple took to social media to fight a business grievance, it ended up costing them 1.08 million in damages.

It all started more than two years ago over a $125 disagreement between the couple and their wedding photographer. According to the lawsuit filed by the photographer, the couple used their social media platforms and the media as a “smear campaign,” to “destroy” her business.

The charges were defamation, disparagement, and civil conspiracy, and on August 2nd, “A Dallas County jury found… that social media posts made by Neely and Andrew Moldovan against photographer Andrea Polito amounted to defamation.”

Yikes.

It’s enough to give us pause about our own online activity, like Yelp reviews and Facebook posts.

A recent analysis on Yelp reviews found that out of the million studied, “12.8 percent were 1-star reviews.” The analysis also revealed that customers “tend to leave reviews based on their own personal feelings about their experience, rather than through an objective analysis.” This could be interpreted to mean that when reviews are based on emotions and subjective experiences rather than hard facts, they’re likely to have inaccuracies.

But can we be held liable for a negative social media post?

It’s very possible.

According to a Slate.com article, “Whether a person makes a defamatory statement on a blog, in a newspaper, or on Twitter or Facebook, he or she can be held legally liable for it.”  Furthermore, even “an email sent to a single person can be libelous.”

There is a distinction between slandering a public or private figure. In regards to public figures, “malice” must be proven, but, “In order to be liable for libel against a private figure, a person must have simply been negligent, which means not acting with a reasonable level of care in making the statement in question.”

Even if our own online behavior is squeaky clean and we’re just posting family photos and funny cat videos, we could be held liable for our kid’s online behavior, too.

Your home insurance can include personal injury, and while it’s not standard on most policies, it can be added on and it includes liability. Another option is to have an umbrella policy for this type of liability protection as it covers everything on the under line.

If you have questions about your current policies or you’d like to learn more about adding an umbrella policy to your existing coverage, please contact Cappuccino Insurance.

Airbnb Short Term Vacation Rental Insurance

Hosting on Airbnb? Get Short-Term Vacation Rental Insurance

More homeowners are connecting with sites like Airbnb to rent out a room or their entire house for extra income, but before taking the rental plunge, homeowners need be aware of the risks involved and how their homeowner’s insurance is affected in such enterprises.

Renting on sites like Airbnb can bring potential income but can also come with a whole host of problems. According to one Airbnb host, “There’s one risk that’s even more expensive than vacancy: destruction. If your guest trashes your home, you could (theoretically) lose tens of thousands…”

Horror stories abound, like the story of one Californian women who was left holding the bag for thousands of dollars in legal fees when one guest refused to leave and refused to pay. And according to The New York Times, while Airbnb does come with insurance “for hosts with every stay, the policy has numerous exclusions, and Airbnb requires a host to file a claim within 14 days of a guest’s departure, or before a subsequent guest arrives, whichever is sooner.”

It’s not just damages and potential legal fees that homeowners need to mitigate risks for but liability coverage as well.

Homeowner’s insurance comes with personal liability, which is designated for residential, but by renting the home on Airbnb, the home has become a business. Also a regular home insurance policy won’t cover theft or vandalism caused by renters. Perhaps most poignantly, if the insurer discovers that the home is being rented out on Airbnb or a similar service they may drop the policy and claims might be denied.

To mitigate risks, and not get dropped by their homeowner’s policy, people that are renting their homes out on Airbnb need a special policy: short-term vacation rental insurance. At Cappuccino Insurance, we work with several companies that offer short-term vacation rental insurance. Cost varies by size of home and how much coverage you desire. Please contact us to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving for Uber or Lyft? Learn about Gap Coverage!

Driving for Uber of Lyft? What you need to know about Gap Coverage

If you or someone on your policy is driving for a Transportation Network Company, like Uber or Lyft, you need to know about gap coverage and transportation network endorsement.

Most insurance companies will not issue a policy for personal insurance coverage when they know that driver works for Uber or Lyft. Upon discovering your employment they can cancel and/or not renew the policy, or even worse, deny a claim.

This could be the first issue you run into if you are thinking about driving or are already a driver for a TNC. Almost all personal auto policies exclude livery.

The second important issue in this industry is the gap period. Uber and Lyft provide insurance coverage while the driver has a passenger in the car. But the period while the driver is waiting on passengers or in between passengers has been a point of contention since an Uber driver struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco in 2013. Neither the company nor the insurance providers would take responsibility for the claim.

The whole point of having insurance is so you’re covered.

Now there are several companies whom we work with at Cappuccino Insurance that provide both personal car insurance and who will “endorse your policy” for gap coverage.

If you or family members on your policy are driving for Uber or Lyft, talk to your insurance agent to look over any exclusions on your current policy and learn about the best companies for gap coverage. Cappuccino Insurance is here to answer your questions!

 

 

New California Cell Phone Law

New California Law: Don’t get caught with a cell-phone in your hand!

California drivers have been familiar with laws that prohibit driving while texting (except through voice operated and hands-free features), but as of January 2017, a new law came into effect.

The New 2017 Law

This new law requires your device to be mounted on the windshield, dashboard or center console. The DMV clarifies that “The driver’s hand may only be used to activate or deactivate a feature or function on the device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger, but not while holding it.”

The new law seeks to address recent driving behaviors and newer technology. Many drivers are texting behind the wheel, as well as reading GPS directions, reading news articles, streaming videos and taking photos.

“On average, texting takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds: that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.” CHP officer Jesus Chavez reported to KSBW news that “You’re not paying attention or something happens in front of you by the time your mind thinks about it and you react to it, it is definitely too late.”

Fines and Consequences

In addition to poor driving decisions and possible accidents, the new law carries the consequence of fines.

News source Kron4 reports that “The base fine for a first violation is $20 and $50 for any subsequent violations.”

While $20 or $50 may not sound like much to some, Nolo.com reminds readers that the amount is just the base fine: “The actual amount you’ll pay once assessments are added will be significantly more than the base fine. The total for a first violation will likely exceed $150, and a second or subsequent offense can cost over $250.”

Because the costs of a mount is relatively inexpensive – about the cost of the base fine – it’s well worth the investment to follow the law and purchase a mount.

And while insurance companies don’t currently consider this “non-moving violation” a point on your record, that might change. We want you to be safe and prepared!

Giveaway!

As a gift and incentive to our clients and social media followers, we’re giving away 5 (five) smartphone car mounts.

To be entered into the giveaway, follow the link below to our Facebook page and “share” the post. Please also comment that you have “shared” on the original post so we can be sure to see your shares even if your facebook account is set to private.

  • You may “share” once a week for additional entries.
  • The giveaway ends on May 19th 11:59PM and winners will be announced on Facebook on May 21st.

 

Good luck!

Holiday Tips and Precautions for a Happy New Year

Holiday Tips and Precautions for a Happy New Year!

The holidays and New Year’s celebrations are a time of travel and festivities. And while we hope that the holidays are a time of celebration, nothing could be more devastating during this time than a home break-in or an unexpected accident.

Following proactive procedures can help give you peace of mind.

Travel and Home Safety Tips

When traveling CNET recommends the following:

  • Make sure your home doesn’t look “empty.”
  • Forward your mail and ask a neighbor to collect mailers and newspapers that may otherwise accumulate at your front door.
  • Install motion censored lights on the exterior of the house.
  • Put interior lights on timers that light at varied times.
  • Consider installing security cameras near the doors and in various parts of the home to monitor activity.

Holiday Party Tips and Precautions

Entertaining guests at your home for the holidays? As alcohol is typically served at holiday gatherings, Indiana.edu offers a number of helpful suggestions for pacing the drinking at your home soiree.

Most notably, don’t allow intoxicated guests to drive home. In recent years apps like Lyft and Uber have grown in popularity so that they are readily available in major cities (and many suburbs) and are ready for pickup in minutes. On your party invitations and correspondences, suggest that your guests download the app on their smart phones pre-party. Also have the number for the local taxi service on-hand.

A Homeowners Policy and Rental Insurance Offer Peace of Mind

Both a homeowners policy and renters insurance can help you cover your property and possessions if they are damaged or destroyed – or if your valuables are stolen.

Additionally these policies can cover your assets if you are sued for negligence that caused an accident.

At Cappuccino Insurance wish you happy holidays and a happy new year. If you have questions about your coverage, please contact us!

Dog Ownership and Home Insurance

Dog Ownership and Your Homeowner’s Insurance: What You Need to Know

A dog is known as man’s best friend for a reason, but as dog owners know, owning a dog is accompanied by many expenses and responsibilities. When people pick out their perfect companion they might not have homeowner’s insurance on the mind, but if you own a home, having coverage and being proactive about your liabilities is a priority.

The type of breed you have, your dog’s personal history, and the insurance company who covers you are all factors in what type of coverage you can have, but some dog owners may not be eligible for coverage at all.

Dogs do bite and can cause bodily injury

An average of $32,000 was paid for dog bite claims in 2015 in the US.

In some states the average is higher, like in California where the average dog bite claim is $43,000.

What owning specific breeds means for your homeowner’s policy 

Many policies do not cover specific breeds, like Akitas, Chows, wolves (and wolf mixes), Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, and Pit Bull mixes.

If you have a dog on that list you need to pay more attention to your policy. This list can vary state by state and by insurance company, so it’s best to consult with your agent and pay attention to the language in your policy.

It’s important to stress that if you have one of those breeds and don’t report it to your agent, your insurance will be dropped.

If you have a dog on that list, you may still be insured by some companies, but those incidents aren’t covered, yet some companies may not insure you at all. It’s best to consult with your agent and review the language in your policy.

 Key Points for Dog Owners:

  • When signing up for homeowner’s insurance, your insurance agent has to ask if you have a dog and document the breed. Be honest.
  • When adding a new dog to your household, keep your agent abreast of what kind of breed it is.
  • The insurance agency will send out an inspector to your property to verify the breed.
  • Make sure your policy provides coverage for that dog breed.
  • Pay attention to the language in the policy.
  • If your dog has a personal history of biting and/or a bite claim, then no company will insure you.

In terms of dog ownership and pet ownership, honesty is the best policy. Also is being proactive about your pet ownership.

  • Be aware of the dog that you’re buying and/or adopting.
  • Take your dog to training and make sure it is well behaved

August 26th is National Dog Day, so we hope you celebrate with your pooch!

To review your existing policy or to create a new one contact Cappuccino Insurance Agency for a consultation.

 

 

Why Teen Drivers make Umbrella Policies a Necessity

Car Insurance

The following story was related to us from one of our partners… 

“Mark’s summer internship in the city was a dream come true for a 17-year-old — especially because he got to drive there every day in his very own car.

TAKING THE WHEEL
His parents made sure he bought the car with his own money and also paid for the insurance, so this job definitely helped. Mark carried state minimums since that was all he could afford.

TEEN DRIVERS ARE INEXPERIENCED
While parallel parking early one morning, Mark accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake pedal while in reverse. Just then, Erica, age 32, stepped off the curb to cross the street between the parked cars and became pinned between them. The accident led to the amputation of Erica’s legs.

She was flown to a nearby hospital to receive treatment and after her extensive inpatient care, she required a special amputee rehabilitation team to aid in her recovery process. Her post-acute treatment included physical rehabilitation, expert fitting and custom-manufacture of a prostheses to help her regain function and mobility and psychological services.

HOW A PERSONAL UMBRELLA HELPED
Mark’s minimum coverage for Erica’s medical bills was quickly exhausted since he was underinsured for this type of accident.

Since Erica had a $2 MM standalone personal umbrella policy with $1 MM excess UM/UIM, it kicked in after the underinsured motorist on her auto was exhausted to take care of her outstanding medical bills.”

Claim: $1.5 MM

An umbrella policy is a stand-alone policy that allows you to both protect your assets and protect yourself from the underinsured.

Even if your teen is already insured under your policy, you may want additional protection.

Those who don’t have teens are still in need of a policy that protects them from underinsured motorists. You can’t rely on others to have the proper insurance.

New teen drivers are hitting the road this summer. Contact us today to find out how our standalone personal umbrella policy with limits up to $10 MM can help protect your insured.