Personal Insurance FAQs
When you apply for an insurance policy, some information that can assist your agent in quoting coverage will be your current policy declarations pages, name(s), date(s) of birth and drivers license # for all drivers on the auto policy, and a conversation with you where you may be asked a number of additional questions which will be used to determine how likely you are to make a claim.
When an insurance company is deciding whether or not to offer home and/or automobile insurance to a potential customer, they will want to know about the person’s previous home claims, driving record, whether they have any recent accidents or tickets, and what type of car is to be insured.
Insurance companies have different programs for different customers. Adults with good driving records will generally pay less for auto insurance than a young driver with traffic tickets will. In order to determine which program you qualify for, an insurance company needs basic information about you.
The insurance company will also need information about the vehicle you drive and how often you drive it to determine a fair price. For example, a larger luxury SUV costs more to repair and/or replace than a compact car and someone who commutes 30 miles each way is more likely to be in an accident than someone who has a shorter commute or only drives for pleasure.
If you are driving a golf cart or ATV on the street, it should be driven by a licensed driver and you should have insurance on it. In some cases you can add coverage for your golf cart or ATV to your existing personal auto policy. Some insurance companies due require a separate policy just for the golf cart and/or ATV. They are normally very affordable premiums.
The first steps to take after a car accident are:
- Try to remain calm and then call the police and EMS (if you or the other driver or passengers are in need of medical attention), take pictures (if you are able to), exchange insurance information with the other driver, get a police report number and the name of the police officer taking the report. The police will arrange a tow for your vehicle if your vehicle is not drivable.
- Call your insurance agent. If you cannot reach your insurance agent, you can call the insurance company directly to start the claims process. If you call the insurance company directly, make sure to let your insurance agent know so they can assist you throughout the claim process and help advise you as well as advocate for you if necessary. Your agent or insurance company can assist you with the next steps in the process such as arranging a rental car. It is important to know that you have the right to choose which auto body shop/mechanic repairs your vehicle. You should not have repairs done until a claims adjuster from the insurance company has been able to look at your vehicle first.
An umbrella liability policy is designed to increase your liability protection. This policy acts as an “umbrella” over all of your other personal liability policies so that you have a higher liability limit than in your underlying home, auto and recreational vehicle policies. Sometimes, an umbrella policy may provide personal liability coverage that is otherwise excluded from your other policies such as providing coverage anywhere in the world, whereas your auto policy usually provides coverage in the U.S. and Canada only.
General Insurance FAQs
What are the advantages to using an independent agent rather than a captive agent or online and 1-800 insurance companies?
By using an independent agent to purchase insurance, the policy holder receives not only more personal service, but access to more than just one insurance company. This allows the agent to find you the most competitive pricing without sacrificing coverage. An agent with whom there is direct contact with 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.
A captive agent can provide you with personalized service, but they can only offer insurance coverage through the insurance company they represent. They do not have access to several different insurance companies to be able to provide you with competitive options.
Buy using an online or 1-800 insurance company, you may possibly save a few dollars, but you do not know if you truly have the proper coverages in place because you aren’t getting the personalized service that a local agent can provide. You will also never deal with the same person when you have questions, claims or policy changes since you will be getting service through a call center. Similar to a captive agent, an online or 1-800 insurance company can only sell their company insurance products and do not have access to other insurance companies products and pricing.
Your business risks should be reevaluated periodically with your insurance agent. A review should be done before your insurance renewal which is typically yearly. Some other times to consider a risk review with your insurance agent, would be if your company is getting larger or smaller, has changes in nature of the business, the business has added more products or is diversifying into other markets or is adding a new line of business. Other risk evaluating circumstances would be a relocation of the business or adding additional locations.
Some types of risks to be evaluated or considered would be:
- Risk of property damage or loss/damage of inventory
- Risk of loss from employee theft
- Risk for business interruption
- Risk of cyber security
- Risk of death or disability of the business owner or a key employee
- Risk from Errors and Omissions liability
- Risks involved with worker’s compensation, employee benefits or employment practices liability
When does my company need to be listed as an Additional Insured and when do I list another business as Additional Insured on my business policy?
Additional Insured refers to a person, business or organization who is not the original policyholder but is also protected by the insurance policy. The Additional Insured typically have a financial stake in the insured policy and can file a claim if sued.
Here are some examples of who to add to your policy as additional insured or when your business should be added to another business’s policy as additional insured:
- A general contractor should require subcontractors to name the general contractor and owner on the subcontractor’s insurance policy.
- A landlord of a commercial building will often require that the tenant name the landlord as additional insured on the tenant’s insurance policy.
- Manufacturer’s may have the sellers of their product(s) as additional insured under the manufacturer’s liability policy.