Insurance Topics / FAQ
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Are All Insurance Agents The Same?NO
(NAPS)—To get the best deal on insurance, many people consult an insurance agent or broker. But did you know that there are different kinds of insurance agents and brokers—and the one you choose can make a big difference in the type of service you get and the choices you’re offered?
Here’s the difference:
Captive agents and brokers. Captive agents work with a specific insurance company, and as part of their business agreement with that company, they can offer only that company’s insurance products. They may also be required to sell other products from that company, such as annuities and investment plans.
Independent agents and brokers. Independent agents and brokers can offer products from many insurance companies. This helps them better serve your interests, as they can review multiple options to find a policy and rate that’s right for you. Insurance rates vary from company to company. Independent agents can put together a customized insurance plan.
Insurance Matters Auto Insurance (basics)
(NAPS)—Understanding insurance can often be like trying to learn a foreign language. Many find it confusing and intimidating.
Fortunately, there’s help. Here is a quick reference designed to help you understand some of the most common kinds of coverages.
Liability covers bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD). This covers your legal liability, up to the dollar limits you select, for damages caused to others in a covered vehicle accident. In most states today, liability insurance is mandatory.
Under BI/PD, your insurance company pays for damages to an injured person and for property damage that you are legally obligated to pay as a result of an accident. If your policy covers you in the event you’re sued after an accident, your insurance company will pay for a lawyer to defend you.
Liability limits generally appear as three numbers, for example, 30/60/15 or 100/300/100. The first number refers to the maximum amount, in thousands, that your insurance company is obligated to pay for bodily injury per person. The second number is the maxi-mum that would be paid out for bodily injury per claim and the third number represents the maxi-mum amount your insurance company is obligated to pay for property damage you cause.
Collision. When you buy collision coverage, your insurance company pays for damages if your vehicle collides with another vehicle or object. Collision coverage involves a deductible amount you select when you purchase your policy. This amount is what you are required to pay before your insurance company starts picking up the tab. Remember, the deductible amount is the amount you need to pay in the event of a claim.
Comprehensive covers dam-age caused by events other than a car collision—such as fire, theft, vandalism, hail or flood. It also covers damage caused by your vehicle colliding with an animal. And if your car is stolen, it will cover the cost of a rental, subject to a daily limit. Like collision coverage, a deductible usually applies.
Medical Coverage. Depending on the state in which you live, you may have available to you Medical Payments coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. While these both work differently, they provide coverage for medical care provided to you as a result of a car accident.
Fact vs. Fiction: auto insurance myths
Like a teenager eager to try a new video game, playing before reading the rules, many drivers buy insurance without really understanding what they’re buying.
In the rush to feel “covered,” they can skip the details. That can lead to frustration.
Following are five insurance myths:
Myth: I bought “full coverage” so everything’s paid for.
Reality: There is no such thing as “full coverage.” In most states, only liability insurance is mandatory. There are a lot of other coverage options out there, so select what you need and can afford based on your personal situation.
Myth: I need three estimates before my wrecked vehicle can be repaired.
Reality: Not necessarily. Very few insurers actually require this, although some might. If you decide to use a shop that’s in an insurance company’s “network” of pre-approved shops you may just have to get an estimate from that shop.
Myth: My insurance premium always increases if I’m involved in an accident.
Reality: It depends. Your rate can increase, decrease or stay the same. The information about your accident is combined with other information about you, your car and your driving history to determine your rate.
Myth: If I lend my car to someone and he/she crashes it, I’m covered.
Reality: Not so fast. If you or your friend don’t have optional physical damage coverages, damage to your vehicle generally won’t be covered.
Myth: If I buy a new car, my auto insurance company automatically knows; and my new car is covered.
Reality: No. Most insurance companies require that you notify them or your agent within a specified number of days. Generally, you have 30 days to add the new vehicle to your policy.
“Insurance can be complicated” It’s not something people deal with every day. So the more informed you are, the better choices you’ll make.”
Commercial Auto Insurance (101)
(NAPS)—For many business owners, the road to success cannot be driven without company vehicles. They are a key component of the business’ continued operations and are essential to the company’s livelihood.
And just as you’d never consider going on a job without all the necessary tools of your trade, you should never consider driving your business vehicle without the right insurance coverage. But finding the right commercial auto insurance company can be a tricky proposition. There are lots of companies offering commercial auto coverage, so it’s important that you select one that meets the needs of your business.
Of all the factors you’ll want to take into account, the company’s experience with commercial auto insurance and claims service will have the biggest impact on you and your business. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider different commercial auto insurance companies:
Do they have experience with your business type? How long has the company offered commercial auto coverages? Do they understand the insurance needs that are unique to your line of work? A carrier with commercial auto expertise ensures that you’ll get the right coverage for your business.
Do they offer flexible, competitive products? Payment options? Insurance rates can vary a great deal from company to company, so you’ll want to compare. You want flexibility in the types of coverages—and also payment options. Monthly bill plans can help small-business owners maintain necessary cash flow.
Do they have a demonstrated record of claims experience? Keeping vehicle down-time to a minimum is vital to any business. Each minute a vehicle is out of commission affects your bot-tom line. Look for a company that’s known for efficient claims service and fast, fair resolution.
(NAPS)—A motorcycle is a significant investment. Before you get your motor running and head out on the highway this season, you owe it to yourself to make sure your insurance is up-to-date and you’re properly covered.
Just as riding a motorcycle is much different than driving a car, riders should know that their motorcycle insurance needs are different, too.
Here are some tips:
Update your policy. First, verify that all your coverage’s are still in force. Be aware that some companies have a winter layaway period during which some cover-ages are restricted. Check with your insurance company to see if you currently have any type of limited coverage. Next, note any changes such as additional riders or a new garaging address. A quick call to Rider Insurance will ensure coverage that reflects your current needs.
Consider additional liability coverage. If you have significant assets, it may be to your benefit to carry a higher limit just in case you are involved in an accident that causes injury to some-one else or damage to property.
Look into medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage pays your medical bills as well as your passenger’s and is available in limits up to $25,000 in most states.
Make sure custom parts and equipment are covered. Additional parts such as chrome plating, a custom paint job, saddlebags or special rims usually increase the value of your motor-cycle and may not be covered. If you’ve added any custom parts or equipment, you’ll want to check your policy or call Rider Insurance to make sure they’re covered. Know your options. Rates can vary, so shop around to see if another company offers you a better rate or if you qualify for any discounts. If you have comprehensive and collision coverage, consider raising your deductibles. Doing so can help to lower the cost of your policy. Choose a company that specializes in motorcycle insurance. Rider Insurance represents over a dozen top Motorcycle Insurance carriers.
Tips For Smooth Sailing This Season
(NAPS)—Before you take that first pleasure cruise or fishing trip of the season, make sure your boat insurance is shipshape.
Insuring a boat is different than insuring a car or home. Boats require specialized cover-ages. To avoid a sinking feeling about your boat insurance, consider these tips:
Evaluate your specific needs. Some insurance companies provide no-frills boat coverage that is simply added to an existing auto or homeowners policy. While this sounds good in theory, the reality is that your boat may be best covered if you seek out a specialized policy just for boats, not an add-on to your car or house policy. A knowledgeable, independent insurance agent will review all options with you. A specialized boat policy can cover things not likely covered by a homeowners policy, like the cost to replace lost or damaged fishing gear and costly services, such as emergency on-water towing and fuel-spill cleanup.
Consult an agent or broker who provides the most options. Unlike “captive” agents who represent only one company, independent agents and brokers represent several. They can offer a variety of coverage’s, review and evaluate your policies, answer your questions and suggest new coverage options that meet your changing needs. They guide you to the policy that provides you with the best combination of specialized coverage, service and price.
Look for a company that offers specialized boat policies. When there’s a claim, you will appreciate a company that provides specialized coverage and specialized claims handling. Ask other boaters what company they recommend or find an independent insurance agent who under-stands boat policies.
Once you choose a policy, make sure you understand what you’re buying. Your agent should be able to explain, in layman’s terms, what the different options mean. If you are unclear about something, be sure to ask for an explanation.