Frequently Asked Insurance Questions
General Insurance FAQs
By using an agent to purchase insurance, the policyholder receives more personal service. An agent with whom there is direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim. A local, independent agent is able to deliver quality insurance with competitive pricing and local personalized service.
In this litigious society, insurance issues are very complex. It takes many years for an individual to acquire the knowledge as to what coverage is needed to protect a business and how to handle the different situations that occur. Most business owners are experts in their field. How can you try and run your business and be an insurance expert at the same time? Our staff is constantly taking continuing education to provide you with the best possible knowledge in any given instant. It is also important that you have a buffer between you and the insurance company. We know how to handle claims and audits. We work for you to make sure you are treated fairly from the original purchase of the policy and during any potential claim. As an independent agent, we can decide year to year if you might be better served to move the coverage to a different carrier. We can review all the options for you and make the best choice. You are not locked into one insurance company.
Personal Insurance Lines FAQs
There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance. The easiest thing to do is get a comprehensive review of your policy and needs from your local agent.
It is not surprising to find quotes on homeowners insurance that vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same home. When you shop, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering the same coverage.
Another way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to look for any discounts that you may qualify for. For example, many insurers will offer a discount when you place both your automobile and homeowners insurance with them. Other times, insurers offer discounts if there are deadbolt exterior locks on all your doors, or if your home has a security system. Be sure to ask us about any discounts for which you may qualify
Another easy way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible from $250 to $500 will lower your premium, sometimes by as much as five or ten percent.
The typical homeowners policy has two main sections: Section I covers the property of the insured and Section II provides personal liability coverage for the insured. Almost anyone who owns or leases property has a need for this type of insurance. Usually, homeowners insurance is required by the lender to obtain a mortgage.
There are a number of factors you should consider when purchasing any product or service, and insurance is no different.
Here is a checklist of things you should consider when you purchase homeowners insurance:
- Determine the amount and type of insurance that you need. The coverage limit of your house should equal 100% of its replacement cost. If your policy limit is less than 80% of the replacement cost of your home, any payment from your insurance company will be less than the full cost to replace your home – you’ll have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. Also, decide if the personal property and personal liability limits are adequate for your needs.
- Determine which, if any, additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. For example, do you want the personal property replacement cost endorsement, an earthquake endorsement or a jewelry endorsement?
- Once you have decided on the coverage you want in your homeowners insurance policy, consult us. We will be able to help you determine if there are any gaps in coverage you might not have been aware of, explain the details of the policy’s exclusions and limitations as well as recommend an insurance company that will live up to your expectations.
Personal property (except property that is specifically excluded) is covered anywhere in the world. For example, suppose that while traveling, you purchased a dresser and you want to ship it home. Your homeowners policy would provide coverage for the named perils while the dresser is in transit – even though the dresser has never been in your home before.
The standard insurance policy does not pay for direct damages caused by “earth movement.” “Earth movement” is a much broader term. It includes sinkhole, earthquake, volcanic activity and other earth movement. This coverage may be available by endorsement for an additional charge. If you live in an area that is more likely to have an sinkhole, you’ll pay more than if you live in an area that is unlikely to have an sinkhole.. We can help you weigh the costs and benefits of this coverage before you decide to purchase.
There are a number of factors you should consider when purchasing any product or service, and insurance is no different. Here is a short list of things you should consider when you purchase homeowners insurance. First and foremost, purchase the amount and type of insurance that you need. Remember that if your policy limit is less than 80% of the replacement cost of your home, any loss payment from your insurance company will be subject to a coinsurance penalty. Also, determine the amount of personal property insurance and personal liability coverage that you need. Second, determine which, if any, additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. For example, do you want the personal property replacement cost endorsement, the earthquake endorsement, etc..?
A renters policy provides named perils coverage. This means that the policy only pays when your property is damaged or destroyed by any of the ways specifically described in the policy. These usually include:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
- Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current
- Volcanic eruptions (but this doesn’t include earthquake or tremors)
- Renters coverage applies to your personal property no matter where you are in the world. This means you’re covered when you are on vacation as well as at home.
Standard renter’s policies cover only you and relatives that live with you. If your roommate is not a relative, each of you will need your own renter’s policy to cover your own property and to provide you liability coverage for your own actions.
“Rule of thumb” suggests an amount of life insurance equal to 6 to 8 times annual earnings. However, many factors should be taken into account when determining the right amount of life insurance for you and your family.
Important factors include:
- Income sources (and amounts) other than salary/earnings
- Whether or not you are married and, if so, what is your spouse’s earning capacity
- The number of individuals who are financially dependent upon you
- The amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and from an employer-sponsored life insurance plan
- Whether any special life insurance needs exist (e.g., mortgage repayment, education fund, estate planning need, etc.)
Calculating the correct amount of life insurance to buy is not as simple as it appears. We recommend contacting us for help determining the right amount of coverage. As independent agents, we are unbiased advisors that will help you avoid buying too much, show you appropriate optional coverages for your need and recommend a company that will best serve your interests.
This is a difficult question – one whose answer will vary depending on your personal circumstances.
First, recognize that in any life insurance purchasing decision, two questions must be answered:
- “How much life insurance should I buy?”
- “What type of life insurance policy should I buy?”
The first question should always be resolved first. For example, the amount of life insurance that you need may be so large that the only way you can be afford is through the purchase of term insurance, since term insurance has a lower premium.
If your ability to pay life insurance premiums is such that you can afford the desired amount of life insurance under either type of policy, it is then appropriate to consider the second question – what type of policy to buy. Important factors affecting this decision include your income tax bracket, whether the need for life insurance is short-term or long-term (e.g., 20 years or longer), and the rate of return on alternative investments possessing similar risk.
The face amount under mortgage protection term insurance decreases over time, consistent with the projected annual decreases in the outstanding balance of a mortgage loan. Mortgage protection policies are generally available to cover a range of mortgage repayment periods, e.g., 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Although the face amount decreases over time, the premium usually remains the same. Further, the premium payment period often is shorter than the maximum period of insurance coverage – for example, a 20-year mortgage protection policy might require that level premiums be paid over the first 17 years.
The personal umbrella liability policy is designed to increase your liability protection. This single policy acts as an “umbrella” over all of your other personal liability policies – home, auto, boat, RV, etc. – so you have a higher personal liability limit than what would otherwise be available. In certain circumstances, an umbrella policy may provide personal liability coverage that is otherwise excluded from your other policies. For example, an umbrella policy provides coverage anywhere in the world, whereas your auto policy usually provides coverage in the US and Canada only.
Commercial Insurance Lines FAQs
Business insurance is required by law, but only under certain conditions. The following business insurance is required by law if it is applicable to your situation: Workers compensation insurance: If your business has employees, you are most likely legally obligated to carry workers’ compensation insurance, either on a self-insured basis or through a commercial insurance carrier or a state worker’s compensation program. Workers compensation laws vary by state. Professional liability insurance: Some states require specified professionals to carry insurance against professional liability.
Depending on the nature of your business and any insurance which you are legally obligated to carry, the following types of business insurance should be considered essential: General liability insurance: Coverage against accidents, injuries and negligence claims Product liability insurance: Coverage against product defects Professional liability insurance: Covers professionals against malpractice, negligence or errors Commercial property insurance: Covers against damage to your business property, such as from fire or a severe storm Business interruption insurance: Protects your business if you are no longer able to conduct your business because of a loss Home-based business insurance: Covers against general or professional liability. Employment practices liability insurance: Coverage against claims for labor violations and harassment. Cyber liability: Coverage against breaches of privacy and cyber crimes Because commercial insurance is subject to various exclusions, it needs to be tailored to each business based on risks and exposures. It is critical to work with an agent who will get to know your company and ensure that your coverage adequately protects your business investment.
A standard homeowner policy provides very limited coverage. Loss of business property is normally limited to $2,500 in coverage and will barely replace your computer and media coverage in the event of a loss. Normally, this business property coverage is limited to your premises only and is not covered if inventory is taken off the property. There is no coverage for a liability loss under your homeowner’s policy. Therefore, if you have clients visit your home or even if your mailman falls and injures himself delivering business as well as personal mail, your homeowner’s policy will not respond to cover the business if named in the suit. You need to either purchase a rider on your homeowner’s policy, if available for your type of business, or a general liability insurance policy.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance provides protection for any vehicle designated for business use against both property damage and liability. Whether you drive a vehicle that is for dedicated business use or drive a personal vehicle for business, it is important to have commercial auto insurance, as your vehicle will not covered under a personal auto policy