FAQs

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FAQs

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Why do I need to buy insurance? A few reasons:

  • Protect your assets against attachment as a result of a court award.
  • Provide for cost of defense if you are sued.
  • To be able to purchase such high value items as a car or a home by insuring the collateral on behalf of the financial institution that lent you the money.
  • Provide financial security for your family if you die.
  • Provide health care for you and your family through regular payments.
  • To save for retirement while deferring interest payments to a time when your income is lower, thus reducing your tax payments.
  • To provide an income when you’re ill and can’t work.

What factors affect the insurance premiums I pay? A few reasons:

  • Claims activity including medical care, auto body repair, construction, legal defense, jury awards, claims adjustment and insurance fraud.
  • Overhead including rent, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, office supplies, equipment, and furniture.
  • Investment income.

AUTO INSURANCE

How does where I live affect my premium?

Where you keep your car directly affects your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism and so affects your rates. These problems increase in larger, more densely populated cities, while such incidents remain relatively low in rural areas.

Additionally, the time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions, and the quality of local medical services can affect regional insurance rates. Some insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area.

Do all states require some kind of liability insurance?

No. Although not every state requires auto insurance, some have “financial responsibility” laws mandating all drivers to be able to pay for any damage or injury they might cause. Liability insurance is still the best way for you to meet financial responsibility requirements.

By law, all states require uninsured/underinsured motorist policies, including no-fault states. In fact, some states require all motorists to carry this coverage in order to gain protection from inadequate insurance coverage of other drivers.

How do I keep my insurance company from canceling my policy?

Maintain a clean driving record and consider investing in special safety and security features for your car as well as taking a defensive driving course.

What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?

Yes. Liability and coverage for Physical Damage always follow your car. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.

The same applies when you borrow someone else’s vehicle; the vehicle owner’s policy is the key coverage in the event of an accident and your own insurance covers you.

Am I covered for natural disasters or “Acts of God”?

Comprehensive insurance, which covers you for fire and theft, generally covers you against damage by flood, earthquake, hail, and other natural perils, except when your car is overturned (considered a collision). Contact us for information on catastrophic coverage involving natural disasters.

How can I challenge my insurance company if they refuse to cover a claim?

Usually, insurers that refuse to cover a claim have a strong legal reason for doing so — even if you disagree. First, contact us if you feel you’re being treated unfairly. Your agent is your strongest advocate in insurance matters. But if it’s a legal problem, you might have to hire a lawyer.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE

Who decides on the type of insurance, the mortgage company or me?

You do. The mortgage company collects a set amount from you each month in order to protect their investment. This money is put in escrow and covers your insurance and taxes. However, the policy is still yours and you might select the insurance you feel offers the best coverage at the best rates.

What exactly does a Homeowners policy cover?

“Exact” coverage is impossible to define because there are different policies and about 900 insurance companies writing Property/Casualty business in the United States. However, all Homeowners policies cover two important areas: Property and Liability.

Property insurance covers your structures and possessions. Personal Liability insurance covers you if you’re legally obligated to pay money to another person for actions caused by you, your family or your property. Coverage can extend to medical payments to others for injuries caused by you or your family.

Are floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters covered?

Most catastrophes are covered. Flood and earthquake damage, however, are not covered by a standard policy and both perils are more common than many people realize. We can advise you on such normally excluded conditions as floods and earthquakes.

Are there exclusions I should know about?

Policy exclusions might include neglect, intentional loss, “earth movement,” general power failure and even damage caused by war. If you fail to take care of your property (e.g., a leaky roof), you might not be covered. Obviously, if you intend to lose an object or damage your property, there’s no coverage.

One other exclusion that can be costly is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. Governmental building codes that drive up the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs might not be covered by your insurance policy. If current laws require higher grade or more expensive materials than those you’re replacing, the extra expense might not be covered.

RENTERS INSURANCE

How expensive is renters insurance?

It is typically available for as little as $100 a year.

Does my landlord’s insurance protect me?

Generally, no. The property owner’s insurance covers the building itself and seldom a tenant’s possessions or liability. Clarify this with your landlord before signing a lease.

BUSINESS INSURANCE

I’m just getting my business started. Do I need insurance immediately?

Yes. Your chance of suffering a loss begins with the first day of business. Without insurance or with improper or insufficient coverage, your insurance agent cannot help you if you suffer a loss. Also, many state and local governments require business insurance. And if you rent space, your landlord probably requires you to obtain insurance.

I don’t have any major business assets. Why do I need insurance?

Every business has some property, and it needs to be protected from loss, damage and liability. In addition, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income.

Does insurance coverage vary for different businesses?

It can. Many small businesses opt for package policies that cover the major property and liability exposures as well as for a loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Business Owners Policy (BOP).

Generally, BOPs provide more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. We can help you decide which policy or policies are right for you. You can also purchase additional coverage for perils or conditions otherwise excluded (e.g., flood protection) as endorsements to a standard policy or as a separate, second policy called a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy.

STUDENT/RECENT GRADUATE INSURANCE

I’m a college student. Am I still covered by my parents’ policies?

It depends on the policy and its terms. For example, most health insurance policies cover insureds’ children up to age 18, or up to 22 if the child continues as a full-time student. If you’re over 18 and not a full-time student, you’ll need your own health insurance policy.

What kinds of risks do college students face?

College students face risks such as theft of personal property, auto accidents, and risks related to attending and giving parties.

How extensive are these risks?

College campuses aren’t immune to property crime. A 1995 FBI study revealed more than 100,000 property crimes at colleges nationwide, including burglary, theft, car theft and arson that cost victims an average of $1,251 in losses. At least one in 10 college students had caused an auto accident in the last two years, and one in four had a speeding ticket or other moving violation. These and other risks signal the need for insurance coverage for students.