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Auto Insurance

What is auto insurance?
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.

Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage:
    •    Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
    •    Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
    •    Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.

An auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you're financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.

Most auto policies are for six months or a year. Your insurance company should notify you by mail when it's time to renew the policy and to pay your premium.

Why do you need auto insurance?
It's really all about protecting yourself financially.
    •    If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
    •    If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
    •    If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
    •    Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.

Questions to ask your agent:
Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
    •    How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
    •    What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
    •    What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver, multiple policy and student discounts.)
    •    What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

 

Homeowners Insurance

What is Homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowners insurance is a package policy.
This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.

Why do you need homeowners insurance?
It is really all about protecting yourself financially if something unexpected happens to your home or possessions. That's important because chances are your home is likely one of your largest investments.
  •     If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you'd need money to repair or replace it.
  •     If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
  •     If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, it can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
  •     If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.

It is important to know that homeowners insurance is meant to cover unexpected damage, not routine maintenance. Ask your agent to talk about what is covered and be sure to read your policy so you know exactly what's included and what is not.

Things to consider and questions to ask your agent
Here are few things to discuss with your agent that will influence your decisions.
  •     How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed? (Ask your agent to talk you through your home's features and the things you own so you can make an informed decision about coverage.)
  •     Does the insurance company have a good reputation for customer service? Is it known for paying claims fairly and promptly?
  •     What discounts are available? (Ask about multiple policy, security system and fire resistance discounts.)
  •     What's the process for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)

 

Business & Commercial Insurance

Commercial Auto
Whether you need to buy a business auto insurance policy will depend on the kind of driving you do. A good insurance agent will ask you many details about how you use vehicles in your business, who will be driving them and whether employees, if you have them, are likely to be driving their own cars for your business.

While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects. Ask your insurance agent to explain all the differences and options.

General Liability
General Liability pays losses arising from real or alleged bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury on your business premises or arising from your operations. Broad Range of General Liability Protection

    •    Bodily Injury, including the cost of care, the loss of services, and the restitution for any death that results from injury
    •    Property Damage coverage for the physical damage to property of others or the loss of use of that property
    •    Products-Completed Operations provides liability protection (damages and legal expenses up to your policy's limit) if an injury ever resulted from something your company made or service your company provided
    •    Products Liability is a more specialized product liability insurance that protects your company against lawsuits from product-related injury or accidents
    •    Contractual Liability extends to any liability you may assume by entering into a variety of contracts
    •    Other coverage includes: Reasonable Use of Force; Borrowed Equipment; Liquor Liability; Non-Owned Vehicles (such as aircraft and watercraft); Fire, Lightning or Explosion Damage; Water Damage Liability Protection; Legal Defense Costs; Medical Payments; Personal Injury; Advertising Injury; and specialized liability protection for specific business types

Workers Compensation
Workers compensation provides payments to injured workers, without regard to who was at fault in the accident, for time lost from work and for medical and rehabilitation services. It also provides death benefits to surviving spouses and dependents.

Each state has different laws governing the amount and duration of lost income benefits, the provision of medical and rehabilitation services and how the system is administered. For example, in most states there are regulations that cover whether the worker or employer can choose the doctor who treats the injuries and how disputes about benefits are resolved.

Workers compensation insurance must be bought as a separate policy. Although in-home business and business owners policies (BOPs) are sold as package policies, they don't include coverage for workers' injuries.