Why do I need to buy insurance?
- Protects your assets against attachment as a result of a court award.
- Provides for cost of defense when you are sued.
- Allows you to purchase such high value items as a car or a home by insuring the collateral on behalf of the financial institution that lent you the money.
- Provides financial security for your family in the event of your death.
- Provides for the health care of you and your family through systematic payments.
- Allows you to save for retirement while deferring interest payments to a time when your income is lower, thus reducing your tax payments.
- Allows you to remain financially solvent when you’re ill and can’t work.
What factors affect the insurance premiums I pay?
- Claims activity including such costs as medical care, auto body repair, construction, legal defense, jury awards, claims adjustment, and insurance fraud.
- Overhead including rent, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, office supplies, equipment, and furniture.
- Investment income.
How will Automobile Competitive Rating affect me in 2008?
Competitive rating took effect on April 1, 2008. Up until that time, auto insurance rates were set by the State of Massachusetts. As of April 1, on all renewal policies our insurance commissioner has allowed limited competitive rates to be filed by all Auto Insurance carriers in MA. Although rates will vary from company to company, many factors will apply to your rates savings.
New credits will be allowed by all companies but differ for each. Some include: accident forgiveness, disappearing deductibles, vehicle replacement coverage, GAP coverage, multi policy discounts, more credits for good drivers, good student discounts, senior discounts, good payer discounts, low mileage discounts and more. MOST IMPORTANTLY, ALL OF OUR COMPANIES NOW ALLOW FANTASTIC DISCOUNTS ON YOUR AUTO AND HOME FOR HAVING BOTH POLICIES AT BURNHAM AND NALE. THEY DON’T EVEN NEED TO BE IN THE SAME COMPANY TO QUALIFY!
To assure that my clients will receive competitive fair rates as of April 1st, I will continue to do business for Auto and Home insurance through Encompass Insurance, (an Allstate Company), Plymouth Rock Assurance and Commerce Insurance and Vermont Mutual. With these auto and home insurance carriers, we will offer the best rates and claim services to our clients.
How does where I live affect my premium?
Where you keep your car directly affects your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism. The likelihood of encountering these problems increases in larger, more densely populated cities, while such incidents remain relatively low in rural areas.
Additionally, the time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions, and the quality of local medical services can affect regional insurance rates. Some insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area (how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, out of court settlements, and their amounts).
Do all states require some kind of Liability insurance?
No. Although not every state requires Auto insurance, some have “financial responsibility” laws mandating all drivers to be able to pay for any damage or injury they might cause. However, Liability insurance is still the best way for you to meet your state’s financial responsibility requirements.
By law, all states offer UM and UIM policies, including no-fault states. In fact, some states require all motorists to carry this coverage in order to gain protection from inadequate insurance coverage of other drivers.
How do I keep my insurance company from canceling my policy?
Besides maintaining a clean driving record, consider investing in special safety and security features for your car. If you’ve been in an accident, consider taking a defensive driving course. And, most importantly, payments need reach the insurance company prior to the due date on your bill to avoid cancellation. Like a good driving record your payment record is just as important. Higher steps like 10 and above make you eligible for the Insurance Pool in MA called the MAIP. Fortunately, our great companies keep you out of the pool and the higher rate whenever possible.
What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?
Yes. Whatever limits of Liability and coverage for Physical Damage (i.e. Comprehensive and Collision) that you carry on your car will follow your car as a secondary coverage under certain instances. This additional coverage will NOT follow your vehicle if you are operating a household member’s vehicle or a vehicle you operate on a regular basis. (Regular Basis has been interpreted by some companies as once a week or the 2nd Tues of every month so be sure that all operators who will drive are listed on your policy.) In addition, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.
The same rules apply when you borrow someone else’s vehicle; your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you’re driving. But the vehicle owner’s policy is the key coverage in the event of an accident.
Am I covered for natural disasters or “Acts of God”?
Comprehensive insurance, which covers you for fire and theft, generally covers you against damage by flood, earthquake, hail, and other natural perils, except when your car is overturned (which is technically considered a collision). If you have specific concerns about the safety of your vehicle in natural disasters, contact us for information on catastrophic coverage.
How can I challenge my insurers if they refuse to cover a claim?
Usually, insurers that refuse to cover a claim have a strong legal reason for doing so — even if you disagree. First, contact us if you feel you’re being treated unfairly. Your agent is your strongest advocate in insurance matters. But if it’s a legal problem, you might have to hire a lawyer.
Who decides on the type of insurance, the mortgage company or me?
You do. The mortgage company collects a set amount from you each month in order to protect their investment. This money is put in escrow and covers your insurance and taxes. However, the policy is still yours and you might select the insurance you feel offers the best coverage at the best rates. You are required by your mortgage company to purchase at least and amount of coverage to cover their mortgage. Your insurance company will require you to have at least 80% of replacement value but in most cases 100% gives you better coverages and rates.
What exactly does a Homeowners policy cover?
“Exact” coverage is impossible to define because there are different policies and about 900 insurance companies writing Property/Casualty business in the United States. However, 80% of Homeowners policies are based on a standard form. All Homeowners policies cover two important areas: Property and Liability.
Property insurance covers your structures and possessions. Personal Liability, as its name implies, means you’re legally obligated to pay money to another person for actions caused by you, your family, or your property. That liability extends to medical payments to others for injuries caused by you or your family.
Most companies require that your home be insurance for at least 80% of the Replacement Value of your Home. If you are underinsured and have a partial loss you may suffer a huge penalty for being underinsured. Speak with myself or my staff for more information.
Are floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters covered?
Most catastrophes are covered. Flood and earthquake damage, however, are NOT covered by a standard policy and both perils are more common than many people realize. We can advise you on such normally excluded conditions as floods and earthquakes. Ask us about adding these coverages.
Are there exclusions I should know about?
Exclusions listed and defined in your policy might include neglect, intentional loss, “earth movement,” general power failure, and even damage caused by war. If you fail to take care of your property (e.g., a leaky roof), you might not be covered. Obviously, if you intend to lose an object or damage your property, there’s no coverage.
One other exclusion that can be costly is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. Building codes established by governmental bodies that drive up the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs might not be covered by your insurance policy. Thus, if you discover when replacing damaged property that current law demands higher grade or more expensive materials than those you’re replacing, the new materials might not be covered fully.
How expensive is renters insurance?
Renters insurance is typically available for as little as $175 a year for $20,000 of contents coverage.
Does my landlord’s insurance protect me?
No. The property owner’s insurance covers the building itself and never a tenant’s possessions or liability.
I’m just getting my business started. Do I need insurance immediately?
Yes. Your chance of suffering a loss begins with the first day of business. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, your insurance agent can do little, if anything, to help you.
Also, many states and local jurisdictions require businesses to have insurance to begin operating. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires you to obtain adequate insurance.
I don’t have any major business assets. Why do I need insurance?
Every business has some property. When you think about it, your business is your property. Just like your home and your car, your business needs to be protected from loss, damage, and liability. In addition, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income.
Does insurance coverage vary for different businesses?
It can. Many small businesses opt for package policies that cover the major Property and Liability exposures as well as for a loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Business Owners Policy (BOP).
Generally, BOPs provide more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. We can help you decide which policy or policies are right for your business. You can also purchase additional coverage for perils or conditions otherwise excluded (e.g., flood protection) as endorsements to a standard policy or as a separate, second policy called a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy.
We can advise you of the best policy (or policies) to protect you and your business.
I’m a college student. Am I still covered by my parents’ policies?
It depends on the policy and its terms. For example, most Health insurance policies cover insureds’ children up to age 18, or up to 22 if the child continues as a full-time student. If you’re over 18 and not a full-time student, you’ll need your own Health insurance policy.
What kinds of risks do college students face?
College students face many new risks as they head off to school: theft of personal property, auto accidents due to driving long distances, and risks related to attending and giving parties.
How extensive are these risks?
College and university campuses aren’t immune to property crime. A 1995 FBI study reported that there were more than 100,000 property crimes on college nationwide, including burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Thieves took an average of $1,251 of property per offense that same year.
At least one in 10 college students revealed that they had caused an auto accident in the last two years. One in four had a speeding ticket or other moving violation. These and other offenses contribute to higher Auto insurance premiums for students.