Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Personal Insurance
My home value is less than the amount shown on my homeowner insurance policy. Why is there a difference?
In almost all cases, we insure homes to their full replacement value rather than their market value. Market values can differ based upon geographic location, the economy, etc. and the cost to reconstruct a home after a total loss is almost always higher than the market value of the home prior to the loss. Therefore we attempt to provide an adequate limit of insurance to properly reconstruct your home and/or put it back to the condition it was prior to the loss.
How much water backup coverage do I need?
This depends on the amount of contents you have in your basement/lower level as well as whether or not your basement/lower level is finished. For areas that are finished, it is not uncommon to see claims that easily reach $10,000 (or more) to simply dry out the space and replace damaged flooring as well as drywall. The replacement of damaged contents is in addition to this figure. Therefore claims can quickly reach $25,000, $50,000, or even more depending on the severity of the claim and the amount of property that is damaged.
Does my homeowner policy cover jewelry?
Yes it does but there will be a limit built into the policy, typically anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000. In addition, it will be subject to your homeowner policy deductible. The best way to insure your jewelry, fine arts, or other valuables is to schedule them onto an inland marine policy that will provide agreed value coverage for your valuables. Plus, in most cases there isn’t a deductible on inland marine policies!
What is agreed value loss settlement?
This type of loss settlement, which is most often seen on scheduled personal property policies covering jewelry, fine arts, collectibles, and other valuables, is structured so that the insurance company will pay out an agreed amount in the event a covered item is lost, stolen, or misplaced. For example, if a ring is scheduled for $5,000, at the time of a loss the insurance company will write a check for $5,000 rather than attempt to replace the ring with something similar (at a potentially lower cost).
Should we let you know if our mortgage company or mortgage servicing company has changed?
Absolutely, especially if your homeowner insurance premiums are escrowed. If we don’t update this information on your homeowner insurance policy and the invoice goes to the wrong address, the premium may not be paid and your policy could be subject to cancellation for non-payment.
A roofing contractor stopped by our house and said it looks like we have damage to our shingles. What should I do?
Start by asking yourself if the assertion makes sense. Did you have a storm recently or any high winds that could have potentially caused damage? Is the contractor local or from another city (or even another state)? If the information seems legitimate, then give us a call to turn the claim in so that a claims adjuster can further investigate. However, be cautious of out-of-town contractors, contractors who tell you that a roof claim won’t affect your insurance rates, or contractors who tell you that they can take care of your deductible for you as part of the claim.
If my vehicle is stored in my garage and my house catches on fire, will my homeowner insurance policy cover my damage vehicle?
No, it will not. You need to have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle in order to protect it against fire, even if it is being stored for the winter.
I rent the house where I live. Doesn’t my landlord cover the house and my contents under their insurance program?
Your landlord will most likely have insurance coverage for the house but your contents – as well as your personal liability – are yours to cover! Renters insurance policies are often very inexpensive and can be purchased in many cases for under $200 a year.
What is the difference between “liability only” and “full coverage”?
“Liability only” is when your car is covered only for bodily injury and/or property damage to others that you cause as the result of an accident. Liability coverage does not cover any physical damage losses to your own vehicle.
“Full coverage” means your car has liability coverage as well as physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision coverage) that covers your car in the event it is damaged.
When should I add my teenage driver onto our auto insurance policy?
You should contact us as soon as your son or daughter obtains their temporary driving permit. Some of our insurance companies require that we add new drivers once they obtain their permits while others don’t require any driver additions until the driver obtains his or her license. Your agent or account manager can tell you when your teenage driver needs to be added to your auto policy. Of course, make sure you notify us once your child passes his or her test and obtains their actual license!
Why are rates for my teenager so high?
Younger drivers who have less driving experience are the most likely to have accidents. A recent study showed that drivers who were 15 to 19 years of age were the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a crash. In fact, 71% of young drivers admitted to texting while driving.
I’m buying a new car and the dealership said they would contact my agent with the information. Will they take care of this for me?
Maybe, as some dealerships are better than others when it comes to informing us of new car purchases. However, we recommend that you contact us with the information on your new car or truck even if the dealership said they would handle it for you. Please keep in mind that it is ultimately your responsibility – not theirs – to let us know if you have purchased a new vehicle. Also, please let us know if you traded in a vehicle as part of the new purchase.
My auto dealer said I have 14 days of automatic coverage for the new car I just purchased, so is it OK if I wait a week or so to let you know about my new car?
Please don’t wait to let us know about your new vehicle, as you could potentially have a gap in insurance coverage! Depending on how many cars you have and what type of coverage you have on them, you might not automatically receive physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision) on your new vehicle.
My auto dealer said that I can purchase “gap” insurance and add it to my loan or lease. Should I do this?
Gap insurance certainly provides valuable protection since it covers the difference between what your car is worth and how much you owe on it in the event the car is totaled in an accident. However, it is less expensive to purchase gap coverage on your auto insurance policy than it is through the dealership!
Does my auto insurance cover rental cars or moving trucks?
It depends on the insurance company you are with, as some companies offer broader coverage in this area than other companies. Give us a call to review how your insurance policy will apply to this type of situation.
What is an umbrella policy?
Umbrella policies are insurance policies that provide excess liability coverage over your personal liability, auto liability, rental property liability, and/or watercraft liability. In short, these types of policies provide protection in the event of a large claim involving bodily injury or property damage to another party.