Common insurance questions, answered.

Got insurance questions? We’ve got the answers to the most common questions we are asked, everyday. And to make navigating the answers easier, we’ve broken the frequently asked questions into several categories. Nice and simple.

Personal Insurance

Should I have my home and auto insurance with the same company?

Absolutely YES! If you can package your home and auto together with the same insurance company you should do it. There could be significant cost savings involved, in addition to other benefits.

Do claims and tickets affect my insurance premiums?

Yes. Claims for homes and claims and violations for autos do make a difference in the rating of your policy. The impact depends on the severity of the claim and if you were at fault. Tickets and accidents will impact your premiums for a three-year period while major tickets such as DUI’s and careless driving can impact your rates for five years.

Is my credit considered when rating my policies?

Yes. Your credit will be checked when an insurance company is rating a home or automobile policy for you. This is an insurance score, which is slightly different than your credit score. The insurance score does not show as a “hit” on your credit, like other credit inquiries (multiple credit inquiries can actually lower your credit score).

Why do I need to insure my home for more than I paid or can sell it for?

In the event of a loss, you want the entire home to be rebuilt, not just part of it. When you insure for less than the actual cost to rebuild, you run the risk of a co-insurance penalty and may not receive adequate payment to rebuild completely. While real estate values may have declined the past few years, the cost of labor and materials has not. Demolition, debris removal and the added cost of workers working in a partially destroyed home also add to the rebuilding costs. Insurance agents use a construction cost program to determine the cost to rebuild your home.

How do I insure a motorcycle properly?

While on the surface, it may seem simple, however, not too many cycles on the road are exactly as they were when built. Many times chrome has been added, seats upgraded and installed and custom wheels may have been added. Make sure to advise your insurance advisor about the cost of the upgrades you have made to the cycle in order to properly insure the bike and allow for these upgrades being considered in the event of a total loss. Also, Pedestrian First Party Benefit coverage is required at a minimum of $5000 which covers pedestrians and passenger on the bike.

Why Jewelry should be scheduled on a homeowner’s policy?

Most homeowner’s policies have a limit on coverage for personal valuables, and you could fall far short of replacement value if the valuables are lost or stolen. Jewelry Floaters are the best way to insure valuable jewelry. Items insured under a floater are normally covered for any type of loss at the value indicated on the floater. A Jewelry floater also called a rider is an endorsement attached to an insurance policy to add coverage for a specific items of jewelry. Insures will request photos and current appraisals to accurately establish value.

Importance of recording or videotaping your homes personal possessions.

Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster and with less stress. Recalling your possessions from memory and substantiating them to an adjuster after a fire loss is challenging and subject to recollection errors. Moving from room to room, listing items as you go, don’t forget to include the items in your attic, garage, basement and any detached structures. Keep this information in a secure place such as a bank safe deposit box away from the property.

What’s the difference between Term Life and Whole Life or Universal Life Insurance?

There are a lot of differences, both are good policies but are generally used for different reasons. Term Life Insurance is normally used for a temporary need, a need that has a start and an end, for instance to provide the money needed to pay off a house mortgage during the loan term. Whole Life (Universal Life) Insurance is normally used for permanent needs, needs like final expenses, income replacement, estate tax payments, or wealth creation to name a few. Term Life has no cash value and is much less costly than whole life. However, whole life develops cash value over time. There are considerations and benefits about both that are too numerous to get into here. Ask a licensed agent for more information before making a decision.

I’m going to rent a car on vacation, should I buy the insurance the car rental people offer?

That insurance can cost almost as much as the daily rental cost of the vehicle, and yes, you probably should buy the coverage. Your personal auto policy usually does not cover all the costs incurred in a rental car accident. Coverage might be provided by some credit cards and can provide protection but that may be conditional to other coverage in force at the time of the accident creating delays in payment and hefty loss of use charges. If you want to consider not buying the coverage at the rental desk be sure to read your rental agreement carefully to know what you’re responsible for, your credit card rental insurance coverage agreement so you understand what and how they will cover you and your auto policy carefully so you understand how they will work together. Always call us to discuss it ahead of time.

Business Insurance

Is Business Insurance Tax Deductible?

Business insurance is tax deductible, as long as the coverage is for the purpose of operating a business, profession, or a trade. Businesses may not deduct their business insurance premiums if the coverage is for the purpose of a self-insurance reserve fund or a loss of earning insurance policy.

What is the difference between general liability and professional liability?

At a 10,000 foot view general liability is slips, trips and falls meaning bodily injury and/or property damage to a 3rd party. Professional liability is protecting your business against bad advice or guidance. Any time you give professional opinion, advice or guidance you are opening yourself up to a professional liability claim.

Should my small business have business income insurance?

Business income provides reimbursement for lost revenue after a covered insurance loss. For a company that does not have a physical address that is crucial to its business, such as a contractor, business income is probably not necessary. For store front or main street businesses, like a coffee shop, business income is a must.

My experience mod went up and now my workers compensation premium costs more. What is that?

An experience mod factor is specific to workers compensation insurance and is one element in the formula that calculates the premium. It is an adjustment to rates primarily based on the claims made by a customer’s workers in prior years, aka your previous loss history. Usually three years of loss experience are used to determine the experience mod. The three years typically include not the immediate past year, but the three prior. The more losses a business has, the higher the experience modification factor, the fewer claims the lower the factor.

What is business income and extra expense coverage?

Business income coverage provides for specific ongoing expenses that a business continues to incur as a result of a slowdown or suspension of its operations after a covered property loss. Examples might be the rent, leases, insurances, and some salaries that continue to need to be paid during the time rebuilding and repairs are being made. Extra expense is coverage for approved expenses that the customer might incur to set up temporarily at a new location so business can continue during the rebuilding period. Both business income and extra expense have limits and timeframes in which benefits can be paid and they are negotiable according to the customer’s needs.

General

What is an Independent Insurance Agent?

What defines an Independent Insurance Agent is our ability to shop your insurance through multiple insurance companies. Our job is help you create the best coverage package to meet your needs and then go to the market and find the most competitively priced insurance company for those coverages.

Does changing my insurance company affect my credit score?

Changing your insurance carrier has NO effect on your credit score. You can change as often as you like and it makes no matter to your credit score.

I had a claim, now what?

We know that “stuff happens” and there will be the unfortunate instance where you will have a claim to report. The majority of our companies have 24/7 claim centers and we would first advise you to call your insurance company in which you had the claim and report it to an authorized representative. That being said, there are some advantages to calling our office to speak to us about your claim. Our dedicated agents can advise you on what the effects of filing your claim would be, and explain how the claims process works. Hopefully taking the headache out of what already is a painful process. If it is an emergency, you should call your insurance provider directly, to expedite the process.