Insurance Information

Below are some of our frequently asked questions. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Am I Covered by my Homeowners Policy if I have a Business in the Home?

If you’re an Avon salesperson, a bookkeeper, or you’re selling MaryKay out of your home, then more than likely your homeowners policy specifically excludes any liability arising out of a business venture.  Some homeowners policies do provide a limited amount of coverage. Be sure to tell your agent about your “Home” business, so they can be sure you’re properly protected.

What type of insurance is required to purchase and maintain a Florida license plate and registration?

Florida’s minimum coverage is $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) as long as you have a valid Florida license plate.  Be sure to speak to your agent about additional insurance needs.

What is the difference between a Wind Deductible, Named Storm Deductible and a Hurricane Deductible?

Wind Deductible

This deductible is applied to all wind and hail events regardless if caused by a named storm, hurricane or just a windy day and a tree falls on your roof,  the claim would be subject to the wind deductible.    The amount could be a value such as 1000, 2500 or a % of the insured amount.   Your policy might have a 1%, 2%, 3%, or 5% Wind deductible.

Named Storm Deductible

This deductible applies when a weather event has been declared by the U.S. National Weather Service to be a tropical storm or a hurricane.   The force of wind must have been caused or resulted from the “Named Storm” event.   The most common Named Storm deductibles are 1%, 2%, 3% or 5%.

Hurricane Deductible

This deductible applies when a weather event has been declared by the U.S. National Weather Service to be a Hurricane only.   Deductibles usually range from 1%-5% as well.

If you have a Named Storm Deductible or a Hurricane Deductible and you sustain wind or hail damage not as a result of a Named Storm or Hurricane,  your policy would be subject to the “All Other Perils” deductible which usually start at $500.

What is Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance is an insurance policy that protects you financially in the event that your home and property is damaged in a covered peril, or in the event of a covered lawsuit.

Perils that are typically covered by a standard home insurance policy include fire, wind, lightning, hail and theft. While no one plans on losing their home or possessions to any of these perils, it unfortunately happens every day. Ask yourself this: If your home was ever destroyed in a fire, for example, how would you pay to rebuild your home? That’s where your homeowners insurance comes in.

Homeowners insurance protects the investment you have made in your home by providing you with coverage for specific hazards.

But your home insurance doesn’t stop there. In the event that someone was filing a lawsuit against you for accidental damage you caused to their property, how would you pay for the costly legal fees? Standard homeowners insurance also contains liability coverage that protects you and your family against lawsuits where another party finds you liable for damage to their property or person.

Typically, a standard home insurance policy includes the following coverage:

Standard Home Insurance Coverages
Coverage A – Dwelling
Coverage B – Other Structures on Your Property
Coverage C – Personal Property/Contents
Coverage D – Loss of Use
Coverage E – Personal Liability Protection
Coverage F – Medical Payments

What is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value?

Replacement cost is how much it would cost to replace your property with new materials at current prices in the event of a loss. Actual cash value (ACV) is the value of your property at the time of a loss. ACV may be determined as the replacement cost minus depreciation.

What is covered by a basic auto policy?

Your auto policy may include six coverages. Each coverage is priced separately.

1. Bodily Injury Liability
This coverage applies to injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder, cause to someone else. You and family members listed on the policy are also covered when driving someone else’s car with their permission.

It’s very important to have enough liability insurance, because if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Definitely consider buying more than the state-required minimum to protect assets such as your home and savings.

2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.

3. Property Damage Liability
This coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings or other structures your car hit.

4. Collision
This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible. If you’re not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver’s insurance company. If they are successful, you’ll also be reimbursed for the deductible.

5. Comprehensive
This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, flood, vandalism, riot, or contact with animals such as birds or deer.

Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though you may want to opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering your premium.

Comprehensive insurance will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage with or without a deductible.

6. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This coverage will reimburse you, a member of your family, or a designated driver if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage will also protect you if you are hit as a pedestrian.

As always, talk to your insurance agent about all your insurance needs.

Do I Need a Personal Umbrella Policy?

No one can tell you whether or not to purchase an umbrella policy; it is a matter of personal preference. We would recommend that you purchase an umbrella, as the cost is very reasonable, generally as low as $200 for $1,000,000 for a typical homeowner with two cars. The umbrella provides coverage in increments of $1,000,000 over and above your home and auto coverages and can even extend coverage for you as a director or officer of a non-profit organization.

Here are some quick examples that an umbrella policy actually paid a claim:

  1. Eye Injury: $379,000
  2. Pellet Gun: $600,000
  3. Dog Bite: $679,000
  4. Boat Accident: $1,500,000
  5. Slander: $312,000
  6. Water Skiing: $1,800,000
  7. Drowning in a pool: $479,000
  8. Hunting Accident: $529,000

Am I required to let the insurance company inspect my home?

Yes. The insurer is entitled to be familiar with the property being insured. Most inspectors will call for an appointment, especially if they want to inspect the inside of your home. If an insurer issues “loss control recommendations” as a result of the inspection, you must make the necessary repairs or changes to make the property insurable and to reduce the chances of loss. If you do not comply with these recommendations, the insurer may cancel your policy.

Why are contents replacement cost coverage and building replacement cost coverage so important?

Replacing your home and your furnishings, clothing and other possessions could be very expensive. Contents replacement cost is a critical part of your homeowners coverage. Why? If your television is stolen, your standard homeowners policy would cover the purchase price less depreciation applied to the stolen set. Under a policy with replacement cost coverage you are covered for the cost to replace the set. You do not have to worry about depreciation or inflation. Most of your personal property may be covered. However, antiques and rare items are subject to the actual cash value provisions of the policy.

Why buy renter’s insurance?

Just like homeowner’s insurance, renters face risks of loss. Sure, since a renter does not own the dwelling unit, she does not risk the residence itself. As a renter, the greatest risk is damage to or loss of personal property. Renters can also be liable to third parties that are injured while at the residence. If you rent, insurance acts as a risk transfer device to protect you against a catastrophic loss. In exchange for payment of a premium, you transfer the risk of property loss and liability to third parties to an insurance company.

I have a very valuable piece of jewelry. Is this covered by my basic policy?

If you own a item of specific value, you can add an endorsement, called Scheduled Personal Property (SPP), which acts like a mini-insurance policy on the specified and listed item or add Extended Coverage, which increases protection on jewelry, watches and furs (up to an aggregate limit for all of these items together which is specified on your policy). Both provide all-risks coverage (except for a few exclusions). Many people get extra protection on jewelry, cameras, coin and stamp collections, fine arts, furs, golfing equipment, guns, musical instruments, outboard motor boats, and silverware/goldware.

Does my homeowners insurance policy cover floods?

No. Flood damage is not covered by a homeowners insurance policy.

If my home is flooded, won't federal disaster assistance pay for my damages?

Not necessarily. Federal disaster assistance typically comes in the form of a low interest loan to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the president formally declares a disaster and must be repaid along with any existing mortgage.

Do I really need flood insurance?

Even though flood insurance isn’t federally required, anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. In fact, people outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file nearly 25% of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.

I'm just getting my business started. Do I need insurance right away?

Yes, because the chance that you could suffer a loss begins with the first day of business. You can’t get help after the fact. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, there is very little, if anything, your agent can do to help you. You must be prepared for the risks that are inherent in any business and the losses, sometimes catastrophic, that they can cause.

Also, many states and local jurisdictions require that businesses be insured to begin operating especially workers compensation insurance. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires that you be adequately insured as well.

I don't have any major business assets. Why do I need insurance?

Every business has some property. And, 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.

Generally, there are two types of insurance-property and liability. Property insurance covers damage to or loss of the policyholder’s property. And if somebody sued for damages caused by you or your possessions (other than a vehicle covered by your auto insurance policy), the cost of the suit-both defending it and settling it, if necessary-would be covered by your liability insurance.

Now that my business is established, I think it is time to offer my employees some benefits. What do I need to know?

Employee benefits generally include health insurance (sometimes including dental and vision benefits), term life insurance, and possibly a retirement program. Group disability insurance is also available, although employers and employees opt for this benefit less frequently.

Employers can provide coverage for their employees alone or for the employees and their families. Cost is usually the determining factor. With the high cost of health insurance in the United States today, employers are more likely to ask employees to pay some or all of the costs of health insurance for their families and sometimes for the employees themselves.

Will I need to protect my employees in the event they are injured on the job?

Yes, and in most states there are legal requirements that must be met, and for which you may be responsible. State laws vary, but most states require that you carry some form of workers compensation insurance. This protects the employee and also offers you, the business owner, and some immunity from lawsuit by an injured employee.

What is Coinsurance on my Property Policy?

Most commercial policies include a “coinsurance” clause stipulating what percentage of the total value of your property must be insured to be fully reimbursed for a loss, even a partial one. (Most losses are partial.) If you insure for less than that amount, your insurance company may impose a “coinsurance penalty” on your claim.

Here’s how coinsurance works:

Let’s say you have a building insured that you believe would cost $100,000 to replace and a coinsurance penalty in your policy of 80 percent. You insure the building for $80,000, thinking you have fulfilled the coinsurance clause. A fire loss causes $60,000 worth of damage, so you submit a claim. Your insurance company subsequently determines that the replacement cost of the building is actually $150,000. To determine how much to pay on the claim, the insurer divides the amount of insurance you purchased ($80,000) by the amount you should have purchased (80% of $150,000 or $120,000). The result (two-thirds of $60,000 is $40,000) is the amount of your claim the insurer will pay.

Thus, even for a partial loss within the monetary limits of your policy, you will receive only two-thirds of the amount claimed. If the building had been insured for at least $120,000, the insurer would have reimbursed you for the full amount of the loss.

Why do I need certificates of insurance from sub-contractors?

An audit may require you to show proof that sub-contractors had their own insurance coverage. The sub-contractors’ certificates of insurance will prevent you from being charged for their exposure.

What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover?

Commercial auto insurance covers a variety of situations. Options and terms vary from one insurance company to another, so be sure you fully understand what is included in the policy. If you work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network, you can work with your agent to create a completely customized policy that matches your business needs, complete with all available discounts.

Several types of coverage may be included in your commercial auto policy; others are options that you can purchase separately. You will also need to choose the coverage amounts (“limits”) and deductibles. Typical coverage available includes:

  • Property damage liability
  • Liability for bodily injury to others
  • Optional bodily injury coverage for injuries that occur outside of the state in which you reside
  • Personal injury to you, your employed drivers or passengers including medical expenses and lost wages
  • Collision coverage for costs associated with an accident, regardless of who is at fault
  • Comprehensive coverage for damage other than collision
  • Medical payments coverage for the cost of hospitalization, treatment and funeral expenses
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
  • Non-owned auto coverage for when you or your employees drive a rented or borrowed vehicle
  • Loading and unloading liability
  • Substitution transportation when your commercial vehicle is being repaired and you use a loaner from the repair shop
  • Towing and labor costs

Do I need Commercial Auto Insurance to deliver pizza?

If you use your own vehicle to deliver pizza, there are several options you can consider:

  • Buy a commercial lines policy.
  • Get non-owner coverage from the pizza business owner. This will give you liability coverage for injuries and property damage to others, but will not cover property damage to your own vehicle.
  • Obtain coverage from insurance companies that offer policies specifically tailored for personal vehicles used for delivery situations. The insurance company may even discount the rates if you use the vehicle for seasonal use such as a summer job.

One of the best ways to find a commercial auto policy to suit your individual commercial vehicle insurance requirements is to speak with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network who specializes in business insurance. An independent agent can compare policies and rates so you can find a policy you can afford.

What is property coverage?

Building and business personal property (also called contents) coverage protects your buildings and equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures. Some policies include breakdown and business income coverage.

What is business income coverage?

In the event of a covered loss, this coverage may reimburse you for the net income that would have been earned if 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) may be covered.

What is liability coverage?

There are many different types of liability to be covered for a business. Business liability may protect you from claims arising from customer bodily or personal injuries. Other liability that could be covered: damage to the property of others, products-completed operations, advertising, premises operations, fire, legal liability and related legal defense costs.

How can my business be covered for wrongful termination suits or sexual harassment?

Many insurance companies offer employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) as part of their business owners policy or as a stand-alone policy. EPLI can cover wrongful termination, sexual harassment, discrimination, mental anguish and other employment-related litigation.

What is professional liability insurance?

Otherwise known as malpractice insurance or errors and omissions insurance, professional liability insurance protects your business against claims resulting from professional services rendered by you to your clients. This type of insurance covers you and your employees in the event that someone claims you incorrectly performed or failed to perform your professional duties.

When do I need to buy workers' compensation insurance?

In most states, workers’ compensation insurance is required when you have one or more employees. Usually, the state penalties for employers who do not purchase workers’ compensation are very stiff.

How much does workers' compensation insurance cost?

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

What does workers' compensation insurance do?

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

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