Metro Weekly

Schaefer Insurance Services

Getting the Right Coverage

RESOLUTIONS 2007: A New Year, A New You
  Get In Shape     Awaken Your Spirituality
  Organize Your Closets     Plan Your Life
  Get the Right Insurance     Check Out Cosmetic Surgery

So you’ve gotten the required insurance on your car and you think you’re taken of. Or now that your homeowner’s policy is in place, you’re protected should some calamity befall you. Right?

Unfortunately, you may not be as protected as you think you are. As you’re resolving to take steps to improve yourself and your life in the new year, you definitely want to take the time to protect the assets and property you’ve worked hard to earn.

Tim Schaefer, whose worked closely with the gay community for years as part of his family’s Schaefer Insurance business, says that one of the most common misconceptions about insurance is not knowing what can happen should you find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

”Whether it’s a car accident or a slip-and-fall in front of your house [where someone is injured], if you don’t have enough liability coverage, you’re personally responsible,” says Schaefer. So if you’re sued for $1 million as the result of such an accident, but only have $100 thousand in liability coverage, you’re on the hook for the difference. And that puts everything you own and have worked for at risk.

”If you have assets to protect, whether a home or investment properties, you can lose all that from one car accident,” says Schaefer.

That’s why many of his clients come to him on referral from their financial planners — they need to find ways to protect themselves.

As an independent insurance agent, Schaefer can help those clients — or any other person looking to protect their assets — put together the right package of coverages, including an umbrella policy that provides additional liability coverage up to $1 million. Schafer says that, unlike a large insurance company, he can offer package deals from a number of insurance providers, and make sure that the best discounts apply.

He also notes that insurance isn’t only an issue for homeowners — it’s also something that should be carefully considered by gay and lesbian couples.

”When you’re married, you have spousal protection,” he says, pointing out that that protection doesn’t apply for gay couples. ”The trap that a lot of gay couples fall into is that the house is in one partner’s name, and they assume they’ll claim everything on that partner’s policy.”

But, given the legal status of the relationship, the other partner may be viewed as a renter or boarder — and if they accidentally cause damage or such to the home, they may be held liable for the costs. That’s why it’s important for both partners to hold liability policies, says Schaefer.

Also, renters shouldn’t discount the importance of protecting themselves, he says. One fire can mean a loss of your possessions and uncertainty about where your living expenses will come from. Renters insurance, which can run less than $150 a year, can provide coverage for your property and pay for a hotel.

Insurance comes down to what you need to protect what you have.

”Call us us and we’ll talk about your needs,” says Schaefer. ”Then you’ll be educated and you can make your own decisions.”

Visit Schaefer Insurance online at