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My Works

Insurance For Dummies, 2nd Edition

Hi, my name is Jack Hungelmann, and I am the author of Insurance For Dummies, now in its second edition. This book is unique because the author - me - has actually worked with consumers in the trenches for 30 years, solving everyday insurance problems in my role as insurance agent and risk manager. So the information is very practical, full of stories about real people like you with real problems. Not ivory tower stuff.

It is also the only insurance book in print that addresses every kind of personal insurance policy you will need. (see the left margin to glimpse the Table of Contents)

Insurance For Dummies 2nd Edition is written clearly so consumers can easily understand the messages. Yet written so comprehensively than almost any insurance agent would benefit by owning it as a resource for himself and staff. The book has been critically acclaimed by both readers and the insurance industry.

Web Advice Columns Advice Columns

Jack Hungelmann, author of Insurance for Dummies, has written over 100 advice columns for on every type of insurance. Here's the link.

10 tips for buying insurance in 2014

2014 marks the biggest change in health insurance since Medicare. For the first time ever, health insurance is mandatory for most Americans under age 65. The biggest change is that those people with pre-existing medical conditions will now be able to buy quality health insurance without fear of being declined, or facing a surcharge or a waiting period for pre-existing conditions that won't be covered.

Web Site Articles - International Risk Management Institute

10 Steps to a Well-Designed HO 6 Policy

I originally wrote this article 6 years ago, but it is time to revisit the topic. In recent years, townhouse/condominium associations have been choosing higher deductibles on the master policy to keep costs down while simultaneously shifting responsibility for the entire master policy deductible to affected individual unit owners. The insurance industry has just responded with deductible assessment endorsements to the HO 6 policy intended to cover the unit owner's responsibility for the deductible. In some cases today, that assessment can be as high as $25,000 or even $50,000.

Insuring Liability Risks When Motor Homes or Trailers Are Used as a Secondary Residence

When trailers or motor homes are being used recreationally to explore from place to place, the auto policy that covers those vehicles covers liability for injuries and property damage to others, either in an automobile accident or while parked, as long as the injury or damage arose from the ownership, maintenance, or use of the vehicle. The auto policy covering the trailer, however, only covers the trailer while it is hooked up to the insured automobile pulling it. By contrast, the motor home policy covers liability arising from injuries or damage, whether it is being driven or parked. Neither policy covers liability when the vehicles are parked for injuries or property damage occurring on the site on which the vehicle sits. So where does one find that coverage?

Personal Umbrella Insurance 101

An umbrella insurance policy provides additional liability coverage over and above coverage you carry on your personal insurance policies covering cars, homes, boats, etc. Most of these basic policies only provide lawsuit coverage of $300,000 or $500,000 per accident. Yet, if you injure someone seriously, you can blow those limits just in medical bills and/or lost wages. If a judgment is rendered against you for more than your coverage, you will end up paying any excess amount out of your assets and/or future income.

Personal Risk Management: The Insurance Audit

Insurance for Dummies author Jack Hungelmann describes the process he goes through with a new client to audit their personal insurance program. This article is a follow-up to "Personal Risk Management: An Overview," in which he lists 16 value-added commitments he makes to his personal lines clients as part of his personal risk management services.

Homecare Workers: Identifying and Managing Risks

Our population is aging. Baby boomers are just hitting retirement now. With people starting to live longer, home care is often essential for many people before they pass away. Homecare agencies are popping up all over the place.

Managing the Risks of Groundwater Damage

With spring rains and spring flooding, water damage to the interior of homes caused by groundwater is a common problem—the damage from which is universally excluded under homeowners insurance.

Comparing Stand-Alone Personal Umbrella Policies

Most umbrella insurers require that they have one or more underlying policies in order to offer their personal umbrella policy to a customer. Some insurers require all underlying liability policies. But there are a few personal umbrella insurers out there that don't require any other insurance. Just how good are these stand-alone policies? This article attempts to answer that question.

Collision Damage Waivers When Renting a Vehicle: To Buy or Not To Buy?

In the rental agreement that you sign, you agree to be responsible for all the damage to the vehicle while it is in your care. This not only includes accidents—even when the other driver is at fault—but also includes all other damage, including theft, hail damage, storm damage, broken windshields, etc. So, what's a vehicle renter to do to cover this exposure?

"Showhomes" Solves the Coverage Problems of Home Vacancy

Homeowner’s policies typically exclude claims arising from glass breakage, vandalism, and sometimes even arson if a home has been vacant for more than 30 to 60 days. In addition, if the home insurance company discovers that the home is vacant, they will usually cancel immediately midterm, forcing the homeowner into much higher risk pricing and some loss of coverage typically. Businesses like Showhomes have the perfect solution to both problems.

Insuring "Zipcars"

With increasing fuel costs, concern over the environment, and the difficulty and expense of parking in a major metropolitan area, a new type of business, referred to as "car sharing," is growing in popularity in major cities. It's a hybrid between car renting and car ownership.

Reducing Umbrella Risks by Having One Agent

From a risk management perspective, consumers are better off having all their personal liability insurance coverage with the same company. If that is not possible, then consumers should at least have all their liability insurance with the same agent.

Personal Risk Management—An Alternative to Insurance as Usual

Jack Hungelmann explains why traditional insurance isn't working for most people. He cites examples and encourages agents with expertise in every type of personal insurance policy become personal risk managers for their clients.

Creating a Personal Umbrella Coverage Checklist

Jack Hungelmann has been comparing personal umbrella policies for several years to identify what each policy covers that is not generally covered under primary policies. This article shares the checklist that Jack Hungelmann uses with his own clients help identify liability exposures that are not covered by primary policies that can be covered by umbrella policies. He then takes those risks identified on the checklist and attempts to place the client in an insurance company with an umbrella policy that covers those risks.

Managing the Risks of a Vacant Home

Jack introduces strategies to prevent a home vacancy and avoid the glass and vandalism exclusions completely. If that is not possible, then Jack introduces a case study from his files comparing coverage and pricing for vacant homes in a specialty market versus a surplus lines market.

Risk Management for Weddings

Whether the word "wedding" brings back memories of joy or whether it was one of the most stressful days of your life, weddings bring with them special risks not always covered by auto, home, or even umbrella policies. The challenge in personal risk management is to first identify the property, liability, vehicle, and contractual risks associated with a wedding and then to decide with a client the most effective way of treating each risk.

Jack reviews the different risks that are unique to weddings and offers suggestions on best to manage each. Risks like the contractual risks assumed when renting a vehicle for out of town guests. Contractual risks assumed in a typical reception hall rental. Wedding presents. Rings. Liquor liability.

Choosing the Best Umbrella Policy: Case Study

In Plugging Liability Insurance Gaps with the Personal Umbrella Policy, I introduced you to many common liability exposures not covered by primary auto and homeowners polices, and the four-step process I use to do my own comparisons. In Creating and Using a Personal Umbrella Comparison Form, I shared my 5-page spreadsheet and showed how to use it to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Progressive's newly introduced umbrella policy. In this final part of the series, I use a case study to show you how to help a client choose among the umbrella policies to best cover liability risks not covered by primary policies.

Managing Personal Automobile Insurance Risks Following Death

When a married named insured on a personal auto policy dies, the coverage and rights of the policy usually transfer automatically to the spouse. But what about an unmarried named insured? Who has rights on this policy? Is the common practice use of the car by family members covered? If not, what strategies should be adopted to avoid uninsured losses?

Time To Standardize Personal Umbrella Insurance Policies

Over the years, umbrella policies have become more and more restrictive and more and more difficult to analyze and compare with the competition. In this article I make a case for standardizing these policies. I appeal to the insurance industry collaboratively or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) legislatively to create universal standardized umbrella policies so that both agents and consumers will know exactly what they are buying just by the policy form number (much like homeowners policies).

Risk Management: Protecting Assets When Home Ownership Is Transferred to a Trust

In the case of a residence ownership transfer, the former homeowner, the "grantor" of the trust, is usually allowed to continue to reside at the residence and use the personal property at his discretion for life. However, what may be a good move for estate preservation from taxes exposes the entire estate to some serious potential uninsured claims.

Insurance for the California Wildfires

The big insurance issue in the news recently is the wildfires raging in California and other drought stricken states, having destroyed thousands of homes already. This article provides answers to several questions of interest to homeowners affected by this type of natural disaster.

Creating and Using a Personal Umbrella Comparison Form

Jack Hungelmann introduces his personally created Personal Umbrella Comparison Chart, and he explains each of the component parts and their relative importance in comparing personal umbrella policies in his agency. He further illustrates the wide disparity of coverage between policies that neither the consumer nor most agents are aware.

Managing the Risks of a Household Move

This article shows you what those added risks are—focusing on three different types of moving scenarios—and recommends how to best manage those risks.

Helping Clients Make Good Group Insurance Decisions

One of the benefits of fee-based personal risk management over traditional insurance sales is the ability to coach clients on insurance decisions on policies purchased elsewhere. In this case study, Jack Hungelmann helps a client evaluate the health insurance options available to the family under both spouse's employers' group programs, help make a decision as to whether or not to accept group insurance disability benefits on a pretax or post tax basis, and make a decision as to whether or not to buy the supplemental term life insurance from the employer. As a result of Jack's counsel, good decisions are made. This kind of help with group insurance decisions is simply not available anywhere else in the insurance industry.

Personal Risk Management: Making A World of Difference at Claim Time

A very important part of helping clients manage risk is helping manage the claims process when they have a claim by preparing them upfront on how to best document their claim, steps that they can take to facilitate the claims process, and when there is a problem that needs an intervention, using the agent’s coverage expertise to be an effective advocate in reversing the insurance company’s opinion and getting the claim paid properly for the client.

Plugging Liability Insurance Gaps with the Personal Umbrella Policy

The personal umbrella policy is flat out the best value in the insurance business—$1 million of insurance coverage for under $200 a year. Additional millions are available for less than $100 a year. Most people buy an umbrella policy for its excess coverage, including defense costs. It has, however, far greater value as a risk management tool than just excess coverage. A well-chosen personal umbrella policy can plug many of the liability insurance gaps in the underlying insurance program. This article describes about 20 of those gaps.

Writing Your Own Newsletter

Jack Hungelmann, who has been writing his own newsletter for personal and small business clients three times a year for the past 20 years, explains why he considers it a vital part of the 16 added commitments he makes to clients as part of the risk management services he provides them. Included is a step-by-step process agents can use to simplify writing their own newsletter.

Managing the Nanny Risk

More and more families are hiring nannies to care for their children, a practice which creates unique exposures. Whether that nanny is hired through a service or directly as an independent contractor also has an impact. In this personal risk management column, Jack Hungelmann looks at the exposure created by the hiring of a nanny rather than using a nanny service and offers possible solutions.

Personal Risk Management: An Overview

This is the first of a series of articles Jack Hungelmann is writing for International Risk Management Institute on personal risk management. Jack believes that insurance agents can offer personal risk management services in addition to insurance policies to their clients in exchange for a risk management fee. Jack explains each of the 16 value added commitments he makes to his fee paying risk management clients and how the clients benefit from each.

Web Site Articles - American Agent and Broker

In Praise of Personal Umbrellas

Jack Hungelmann has been comparing personal umbrella policies for years. Here he details a score or more of gaps in primary policies that can be covered by the right umbrella policy.

Plugging Coverage Gaps for Owners of Small Businesses

This article was written for very small business owners whose needs often get overlooked by the insurance industry. This article is targeted towards those needs of small, closely held companies, including business owners that work from home. Identifies the property and liability risks that face small business owners and Jack Hungelmann’s recommendation on how to protect themselves from each of them.

Adapting the HO-6 To Cover Higher Association Deductibles

With the large number and size of recent storms, insurance pricing for townhouse and condominium property insurance has gone through the roof, forcing associations to raise their deductible on property losses from the traditional $1,000 to $5,000, $10,000 or even $25,000! In addition, many associations are making the unit owner responsible for the entire deductible if a claim is confined to their unit. Most unitowner policies may only up to $1,000 for assessments for the deductible. Jack Hungelmann gives his opinion on how agents can solve this problem for their clients.

An Equitable Solution To The 'Matching Problem'

Wind and hail storms often damages only part of a structure, like half the siding or half the roof. Replacement cost coverage under a Homeowners policy pays the cost to replace only the damaged area, even if the new materials don't match the undamaged old materials, due to weathering or being no longer produced. This leaves the unhappy homeowner having to either live with two-tone roof or siding, or to pay to replace the undamaged but mismatched materials out of his own pocket.

Author Jack Hungelmann shows how the little known pair and set clause used almost exclusively to resolve matching problems for personal property claims can be used to get the homeowner some additional claims benefits for the loss in home market value caused by a structural mismatch.

Articles Written for Other Publications

Umbrella Insurance: An Interview with Author and Insurance Expert Jack Hungelmann

In this interview, Jack answers questions regarding umbrella insurance. The interview covers issues ranging from what umbrella insurance is, premium costs, how much coverage is needed, and other pertinent information.

What Young-Onset Parkinsonians and Caregivers Need to Know about Insurance and Insurance-Related Government Programs

People who contract a chronic illness during their working years become essentially uninsurable for health, life, disability, and long-term care insurance. In this article, Jack Hungelmann provides information to these people and their care partners on all kinds of government related insurance programs and laws such as COBRA, HIPAA, Social Security, etc. He then provides information and advice on group and individual insurance options to help with long-term insurance planning. This article was written specifically for the National Parkinson's Foundation but the information and advice applies to anyone with chronic illness of any kind.

Finding and Hiring a Nanny

If you are a new parent or a soon-to-be parent you may be thinking about when it comes time to return to work what childcare options will best suit your needs and give you peace of mind. It is natural to want to find the very best type of care for your little one and you may find the idea of hiring a nanny quite appealing. Yet the process of finding a quality candidate, hiring and managing a nanny and protecting yourself from any possible risks that may be associated with employing a nanny may seem a bit intimidating.