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Frequently Asked Questions

Auto: Do I really need auto insurance?

Auto insurance is designed to protect you financially. If you are responsible for injuries, you may be held liable for the injured person’s vehicle repairs, medical expenses, therapy and loss of wages.

All states require you to be financially responsible when driving a car. Depending on the state, you may be legally required to have auto insurance.

Auto: Who is covered under my auto policy?

It depends on your policy.  Often, your spouse, children or others with permission to drive your vehicle are covered.  Be sure to check with us for your particular policy.

Auto: What coverage options are available?

Most states require that you carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Liability insurance pays for damages if you become legally liable due to resulting body or property damage. Beyond that, you have many choices, ranging from different types of coverage, the amount of coverage and deductibles.

Auto: What factors may affect my auto insurance rates?

A number of factors can affect your auto insurance rates:

  • Your driving record
  • Where you’re vehicle is garaged
  • The make, model and year of your vehicle
  • Your age and / or gender
  • Youthful operators
  • How you use your vehicle / daily miles to work etc.

Auto: How can I reduce my rates?

There are a variety of ways you can reduce your auto insurance rates:

  • Increase your deductible.
  • Drive safely.
  • Meet the requirements for one of the many discounts: multiple auto, multiple line, good student, etc.

Auto: What factors can change my rates?

Your insurance cost can increase or decrease depending on your personal situation and the level of risk. Your rates can change because of changes in:

  • Marital status
  • Number of people in your family
  • Change in use of vehicle
  • Driving records

Auto: If I’m in an accident, can I get a rental car?

Yes, if it is included in your policy. To verify if you have rental coverage please contact us.

Homeowner’s: What’s the best way to inventory my belongings?

Keep detailed records of personal property including receipts, serial numbers, appraisals and the name and addresses of appraisers with these descriptions.

  • Don’t forget to inventory what’s in your closets, attic and basement.
  • Videotape or photograph your inventory.
  • Take a photograph with your closet door open to indicate the quantity of your clothes.
  • Keep your inventory up-to-date.

Homeowner’s: Does homeowner’s insurance protect me if someone gets hurt on my property?

Typically homeowner’s insurance covers your liabilities if a guest falls and requires medical care. The amount of liability coverage is determined by your policy limits.

Homeowner’s: Am I required to carry homeowner’s insurance?

Unlike auto insurance you are not required by law to have homeowner’s insurance by your mortgage company may require it.

Homeowner’s: What is not covered by typical homeowner’s insurance?

There is a wide variety of damages, conditions, and costs that are not covered by homeowner’s insurance. For example:

  • Your claim exceeds your maximum stated coverage amount.
  • You have flood damage.
  • You have losses related to business activities in your home and you do not carry incidental business insurance.
  • Your claim is covered by other insurance
  • Someone else who is intentionally insured under your policy caused your claim.

Renter’s: If I rent but don’t own can I still get coverage?

Yes. Renters can purchase policies very similar to homeowners that cover personal property, liability, medical expenses etc., the renter’s policy simply does not cover the actual dwelling.

Business: What is property insurance?

Property insurance protects your buildings and equipment, stock, furniture and fixtures. Some policies include equipment breakdown and business income coverage. Basic property insurance will generally cover your business for losses in the event of a fire or lightning strike and will pay the cost of removing property to protect it from further loss. Additionally, a standard small business insurance policy will usually cover losses from windstorm, hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion and damage caused by aircraft, automobiles or vandalism.

Business: How much property insurance does my small business need?

Property insurance can be purchased on the basis of the property’s actual value (the replacement cost minus depreciation); its replacement value (the cost of replacing the item without deducting for depreciation); or an agreed-upon amount.

Business: How does liability insurance coverage protect my small business?

There are many different types of third-party liabilities to be covered for a business. Business liability insurance may protect you from claims arising from someone’s bodily or personal injuries. Other items that could be covered are damage to the property of others, products-completed operations, advertising, premises operations, fire, legal liability and related legal defense costs. For instance, liability insurance will not only pay the cost of covered damages but also the attorney fees and other costs associated with your defense.

Business: What does the term “bodily injury” in a liability insurance policy mean?

This refers to the injury, sickness, disease, or even death, of any person that occurs during the policy period.

Business: What does “personal and advertising injury” mean in general liability insurance coverage?

Personal and advertising injury means being responsible for libel, slander or any defamatory or disparaging material, or a publication or utterance in violation of an individual’s right of privacy; wrongful entry or eviction, or other invasion of the right of private occupancy; false arrest, wrongful detention, false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution; which occurs during the policy period.

Business: What’s the difference between claims-made coverage and prior acts coverage?

While claims-made coverage applies to a claim which is made during the policy period, priors acts coverage offers protection for wrongful acts that happened before the inception date of an insurance policy…but have yet to become known. For example, a buyer of E&O insurance may want to extend coverage for a period of time prior to when the coverage becomes effective…just in case.

Business: How does an umbrella insurance policy work?

A policy designed to provide protection against catastrophic losses, the umbrella insurance policy is generally written over various primary liability policies, such as a general liability insurance policy, business auto policy and employers’ liability coverage. Once the underlying limits of these primary policies are exhausted, the umbrella liability policy would provide further coverage beyond the limits of those policies.

Business: When do I need to buy workers’ compensation insurance?

In most states, workers’ compensation is required when you have one or more employees. There are a few states that do not require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

Business: How does Worker’s Compensation Insurance work?

Workers’ compensation pays for the rehabilitation, recovery and medical bills of employees work-related injuries, as well as lost time when they are unable to work because of a work-related injury. Workers’ compensation is not a substitute for health or medical insurance, since employees are only covered for on-the-job injuries.

Business: Where do I buy workers’ compensation?

Almost all states are “open market”, which means the coverage is underwritten by private insurers; and some states are “closed” or “monopolistic” – the coverage is underwritten by a state-sponsored fund (ND, OH, WA, WV, WY). In states that are open, rates can vary between insurance carriers depending on the type of business the carrier is attempting to attract. In an open market, the rates for workers’ compensation are competitive.

Business: How much does workers’ compensation insurance cost?

Workers’ compensation pricing is based upon your employee payroll, the number and job classification of the employees, classification of your business and past loss experience. The employer pays for the cost of the workers’ compensation.

Business: Why should I purchase commercial auto insurance?

Many personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage if a vehicle is used mainly for business. A commercial auto policy provides coverage for autos owned by a business if these vehicles are in an accident. The insurance pays to repair or replace the vehicle and the vehicle of the third party damaged by the employee. It also pays for the medical expenses of those injured in an accident.

Business: Will my employees’ personal cars be covered under a commercial auto policy if they are using their cars for business?

Most commercial auto insurance policies cover the liability for a business if employees use their own cars for business, provided that the business owner has purchased coverage for non-owned liability. Separate non-owned physical damage coverage is available to cover actual damage to the auto. However, the employees’ personal auto policy would be the primary coverage for damage to their automobiles.

Business: What is errors & omissions insurance?

Errors & omissions insurance provides coverage for people who give advice, make educated recommendations, design solutions or represent the needs of others. “E&O” is also referred to as professional liability or malpractice insurance. This type of liability insurance would cover you and your employees in the event someone claims you incorrectly performed or failed to perform your professional duties

Business: What is business owner’s policy or a “BOP”?

A BOP is a customized policy for small businesses that combines property insurance and liability insurance in one policy, and generally includes additional coverages at little or no additional premium. So it allows you to have broad coverage at affordable premiums. Most insurance carriers have customized BOPs for particular industries and services.
Even if you have a BOP, though, most small business owners should consider adding coverage for conditions that might not otherwise be covered. Additional coverages tailored to your industry are often available, such as temperature changes, equipment breakdown, or computer equipment failure.

Business: What is business income insurance?

This insurance may reimburse you for the net income that would have been earned if, for example, a fire or other covered causes of loss had not occurred. Losses due to down time or extra expenses needed to restore operations (such as additional property rental) also may be covered.

Business: What is employment practices liability insurance?

Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) is designed to protect employers against claims of employee sexual harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination and other employment-related litigation. Many insurance companies offer employment practices liability insurance as part of their business owners’ policy or as a stand-alone policy.

Business: What is inland marine insurance? Why do I need it for my business?

Despite its misleading name, inland marine is a broad type of insurance which covers articles that may be transported from place to place as well as via bridges and tunnels. Specifically, this type of insurance protects a wide range of high risk, mobile items, including: specialized contractor’s tools and equipment, electronic data processing systems, from mainframe computers to laptops, fine art objects and jewelry.

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