Learn & Protect
Understand Your Insurance
What does it cover?
This includes damage and destruction to your residence and/or detached structures. You will receive compensation, up to the limits of your policy, if your house or storage shed is damaged due to a covered hazard. Standard covered circumstances include things like hurricanes and vandalism, but other hazards such as earthquakes and floods are excluded.
PERSONAL PROPERTY LOSS
Includes damage or theft of personal property up to your set policy limits for covered circumstances, which typically excludes flooding, earthquakes, and personal negligence. If your personal property is very valuable (such as collectibles or antiques) you’ll likely need additional “riders” or special endorsements on your policy. Talk to your agent about your personal belongings and valuables, as standard limits may not be adequate to cover a major loss.
If you, your family member, or even your pet causes an accident, injury or property damage, your homeowners insurance can protect you. Whether the issue requires medical care or repair of property, you will typically have coverage up to your liability limits. There are exclusions, such as aggressive acts against a neighbor, so it is important to fully understand your liability coverage.
ADDITIONAL LIVING COSTS
If your house is uninhabitable, your homeowners insurance can pay for alternative living arrangements while your home is being repaired or rebuilt. Depending on your homeowners insurance company and the specifics of your policy, this may be included or may be an optional coverage.
WHAT DETERMINES THE DWELLING COVERAGE FOR MY HOME?
Your dwelling coverage should be sufficient to rebuild your home in the event of a major or total loss. The cost of rebuilding your house is often different than the price you paid for it or the price you could sell it for today. If you live in an area prone to catastrophic damage from Hurricanes, you may want to consider an endorsement that will give you an additional amount of dwelling coverage if needed, as rebuild costs can run higher following a Hurricane due to a spike in the cost of materials and labor.
WHAT IS A DEDUCTIBLE?
A deductible is the amount you’re responsible for in the event of a covered loss. In most covered loss cases, you are responsible for any amounts up to your deductible level, and your insurance would cover anything beyond that up to your coverage limit.
What does it cover?
What it pays: The following expenses, up to your policy's dollar limits, for the people in the other car involved in an accident that you or someone covered by your policy caused:
medical and funeral costs, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering
car repair or replacement costs
car rental for the other driver while their car is being repaired.
Liability insurance also pays your defense costs, including attorney fees if someone sues you because of the accident.
Who it covers:
You and your family members. (Family members include anyone living in your home related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption. This includes your spouse, children, in-laws, adopted children, and foster children.)
Other people driving your car with your permission.
Family members attending school away from home.
Spouses living elsewhere during a separation.
You and your family members might be covered when driving someone else's car – including a rental car – but not a car owned by someone else that you have regular access to, such as a company car.
Some policies – called named driver policies – won't cover people who live with you, including family members, unless they're specifically named in the policy. For these policies, the declarations page must list the names of the people the policy covers.
If you still owe money on your car, your lender will require you to have collision coverage.
What it pays: If the insurance company decides your car can reasonably be fixed, it will pay you the
cost of repairs. If the company totals your car, it will pay you the actual cash value of your car. Actual
cash value is the current value of your car, minus depreciation. Whether the company decides to
repair your car or total it, you’ll get only up to the dollar limits of your policy. Your policy’s dollar limits
are shown on the declarations page of your policy.
Who it covers: You, your family members, and anyone else insured under your policy.
If you still owe money on your car, your lender will require you to have comprehensive coverage.
What it pays: The cost of replacing or repairing your car if it’s stolen or damaged by fire, vandalism, hail, falling objects, or an event other than a collision. Comprehensive coverage might pay for a rental car. Your policy won't pay to replace a stolen car unless you report the theft to police. Payment is limited to your car's actual cash value, minus your deductible.
MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE
What it pays: Medical and funeral bills resulting from an accident.
Who it covers: You, your family members, passengers in your car, and other injured people, including bicyclists and pedestrians, regardless of who caused the accident.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP)
What it pays: Similar to medical payments coverage, plus 80 percent of lost income and the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured person.
Who it covers: You, your family members, and passengers in your car, and other injured people, regardless of who caused the accident.
Your insurance company will automatically give you PIP coverage, but you may reject it in writing if you don’t want it. The company must offer you $2,500 in PIP coverage, but you can buy more from most companies.
What it pays: Your expenses from an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, a motorist who did not have enough insurance, or a hit-and-run driver. It also pays for personal property that was damaged in your car. There is a mandatory $250 deductible for property damage. This means you must pay the first $250 of the expenses yourself before the insurance company will pay.
There are two types of UM/UIM coverage:
Bodily injury UM/UIM pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability. There is not a deductible with this type.
Property damage UM/UIM pays for auto repairs, a rental car, and damage to items in your car.
Who it covers: You, your family members, passengers in your car, and others driving your car with your permission.
Insurance companies must offer UM/UIM coverage. If you don't want it, you must reject it in writing.
TOWING AND LABOR
What it pays: Towing charges when your car can't be driven. Also pays labor charges, such as changing a flat tire or jump-starting your battery.
What it pays: A set daily amount for a rental car if your car is stolen or being repaired. Your company only pays for rental reimbursement if your car was damaged by something that your policy covers, such as fire or theft.
HOW DO I DECIDE ON THE RIGHT COMPREHENSIVE AND COLLISION DEDUCTIBLES?
Because the deductible is the amount you pay in the event of a loss, you don’t want it higher than what you can afford to pay. However, you also need to remember that even small claims will increase your premium, as all companies will factor in a loss when determining the rate at your next renewal. You may want to consider raising your deductible if you don’t plan on making claims less than a certain dollar amount like $500 or $1000.
WHY SHOULD I CARRY HIGHER LIABILITY COVERAGE FOR MY AUTO INSURANCE?
Having sufficient liability limits for your auto insurance is crucial to your financial well-being. If you are found at fault for the injuries of another person in an accident, you will be responsible
for paying for their damages. Unfortunately, the cost of fixing people can be a great deal more than fixing cars. A seriously injured person’s medical bills can cost well over $100,000 and sometimes far more. If your auto liability limit does not cover the costs you will still be responsible for these charges. If you injure an high income person you may also be responsible for their lost wages while they are recovering. While bankruptcy may provide you relief, it is much less expensive to pay a little more to have higher limits. You might be surprised to see how you can get 5 or 10 times the coverage per person for a slightly higher premium.
Flood insurance coverage includes protection for your home building and its foundation. It will also cover things like electrical and plumbing systems, certain HVAC equipment, and built-in appliances. The coverage amount is equivalent to either the cost to rebuild or the actual value of your home, depending on which is lower.
PERSONAL PROPERTY LOSS
In addition to building coverage, flood insurance also includes protection for personal property. Items such as clothing, furniture, electronics, curtains, and food items are all included. Claims for these kind of items are paid on an actual cash value basis.
WHY DO I NEED FLOOD INSURANCE?
Floods are the most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars of damage every year. Because most homeowners and renters policies don’t cover flood damage, it is a very important coverage to have. Flood losses are often large losses so it is necessary protect yourself.
WHAT IF I DON'T LIVE IN A HIGH RISK FLOOD ZONE?
More than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zones. While high risk zones indicate a higher risk you certainly can be flooded outside of these zones.
CAN I GET FLOOD COVERAGE TODAY?
There is generally a 30 day wait after purchasing a flood policy before coverage begins, so don’t delay. There are some exceptions to this rule.
If you purchase flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending,
or renewing your mortgage loan, there is no waiting period.
If you select additional insurance as an option on your insurance policy renewal
bill, there is no waiting period.
If the building is newly designated in the high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area
(SFHA) and you purchase flood insurance coverage for it within the 13-month
period following a map revision, there is a 1-day waiting period.
Umbrella insurance protects you in the event your home or auto policies' liability limits come up short. The extra coverage protects you in two ways:
Increases the dollar limit of liability coverage for primary policies: Say your auto insurance liability coverage limit is $300,000. If you purchase an umbrella policy of $1 million and cause an accident that exceeds your $300,000 auto insurance liability limit, your umbrella insurance can cover the remainder, up to a total of $1.3 million.
Covers claims excluded by primary policies: Most liability policies don’t cover damage claims resulting from false arrest, libel, slander or defamation of character. Should one of these nightmare situations occur, your umbrella policy
can help you tackle the financial burden.
CAN ANYONE QUALIFY FOR AN UMBRELLA POLICY?
Most umbrella policies require you to have high liability limits on the underlying policies. Normally, insurance companies determine eligibility for an umbrella policy by reviewing loss and driving history for drivers in the household over the past 3 to 5 years. They may also look at the profession of the insured and look to see if there are any risky activities or hazards on the underlying auto and home policies.
IS AN UMBRELLA LIABILITY POLICY EXPENSIVE?
Umbrella liability policies are relatively inexpensive compared to the coverage they provide. Most will pay between $150-$300 for a $1,000,000 policy.
Common Coverage Types
GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE
Covers third party liability claims for injuries to other people.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY AND MALPRACTICE INSURANCE
Covers professionals against loss due to negligent professional duty, wrongful acts, and advice and services that lead to another person’s loss or injury.
PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE
Covers against faulty products and damage, illness, injury or death that may occur from using a faulty product.
Covers loss and damage to your commercial business property due to fires, storms, and other causes.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE INSURANCE
Covers commercial vehicles and drivers for collision, liability, property damage, personal injury and comprehensive (now known as other than collision) claims
Covers your employees if they become ill or injured while working on the job
LOSS OF INCOME
Covers your business expenses such as rent and employee wages if you can't operate your business
KEY PERSON INSURANCE
Covers loss of income that may result from the head of the business or other key personnel becoming incapacitated or passing away (also known as key man insurance)
Provides protection for risks arising from internet use and other forms of online communication
RECORDS RETENTION POLICIES
Covers loss of important data and financial records
Insurance that covers various specific business risks, such as those of landlords, farmers, and commercial operations that put on one-day events, such as seminars or concerts.