Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
- Auto Insurance
- Boat Insurance
- Homeowners Insurance
- Renters Insurance
- Business Insurance
- Student / Recent Graduate Insurance
Why do we need insurance? Insurance helps you:
- Own a home, because financial institutions and mortgage lenders want to know that your home is protected.
- Own a vehicle, because auto insurance protects you from being left with thousands of dollars in expenses if you are in a collision or accident. Also, in most states you need minimum liability coverage to drive legally.
- Protect your current standard of living if you are in an accident, become disabled or develop a critical illness.
- Cover health care costs like prescriptions, dental care, vision care and other health-related issues.
- Protect loved ones by lessening financial strain in the event of a death.
- Own and run a business by managing the risks of ownership.
- Travel without being concerned about cancellations or other issues.
What are things that determine how much you pay for insurance?
- Claims History. Obviously, the fewer claims you have made the lower your premium will be. More specific factors are subject to the policy type. For example, with auto insurance, age and gender of the driver as well as make model and year of the vehicle factor in.
- Operating Expenses including rent, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, office supplies, equipment, and furniture help determine business premiums.
- Value of property and its contents.
AUTO INSURANCE AND BOAT INSURANCE
What factors affect my auto insurance premium?
- Whether or not you get collision and comprehensive coverage.
- Driving record – This is obvious. The more claims, tickets and DUIs you have, the higher your insurance premium will be.
- Your deductible
- Your maximum liability insurance coverage
- Model of car insured – The fancier the car, the more you’ll pay.
- Insured location – The location of your vehicle is an important factor when determining your insurance rate.
- Credit score
- Type of driving Whether you use your car for business, pleasure, or commuting can affect insurance rates.
- How much you drive.
- Age Young drivers under 25 usually pay much more than drivers over 25.
- Gender Males between 16 and 25 typically pay more than females. Why? In general, women take fewer driving risks.
- Car Features Safety features and theft prevention devices lower car insurance premiums.
Do all states require me having to buy Liability insurance?
Liability is required in every state unless you can prove financial responsibility otherwise. Requirements for financial responsibility and minimum liability requirements can be found on your state insurance commissioner’s page. Limits vary widely from state to state and, if you carry the minimum limits, when you drive into another state you will automatically assume that state’s minimum liability requirements
How do I help keep my insurance from being cancelled?
By maintaining a clean driving record, investing in special safety and security features for your car and paying your premium you can help assure that you retain coverage. Additionally, if you’ve been in an accident you can take a defensive driver course.
What happens if I let someone borrow my car? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?
The answer is usually yes. In general, coverage follows the vehicle, not the driver, which means that the coverage you purchased for your vehicle will cover the car regardless of who’s driving it. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries caused in an accident. The same principal applies if you were to borrow someone else’s vehicle. Your coverage follows you in whatever vehicle you are driving.
Am I covered during natural disasters or what the fine print calls “Acts of God”?
An “act of God” is a term used to describe destructive events beyond our control. Floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, snowstorms and hail, among other natural events, all fall in the category. Comprehensive insurance, which covers you for theft and fire, usually protects you when these types of events cause damage. If you have specific concerns about the safety of your vehicle in natural disasters, contact your Mallory Agency service rep for information on catastrophic coverage.
How do I challenge my insurer if they refuse to pay my claim?
Typically, companies that refuse to cover a claim have a good legal reason for doing so- even if you don’t agree. Contact Mallory Agency if you feel like you are being treated unjustly. Your agent is your strongest supporter in these matters. However, if your agent exhausts all options and you want to take legal action you may need to hire a lawyer.
How can lower my auto premiums?
Call Mallory Agency and talk to an agent about ways to reduce your auto insurance premiums. Some possible discounts include:
- Multi-policy discounts are given when you have more than one policy with the same insurer (i.e. Home and Auto).
- Safe driver discounts for those that remain claim-free.
- Safety features such as anti-lock brakes, air bags, and anti-theft devices may help lower your premium.
- Higher deductibles on comprehensive and collision coverage can lower your premium.
- Defensive Driver and Driver Training courses can help, especially if you are a student or have been in an accident.
- Pay in full discounts offer up to a 10% reduction in cost when you pay your premium in full.
What is meant by “full coverage”?
Each state is different, but usually the term “full coverage” includes your state’s legally requires liability coverage as well as comprehensive and collision coverage. This is often times packaged with UM/UIM coverage as well as medical coverage. “Full Coverage” type policies typically includes Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist, Damage to a covered vehicle, theft, fire and any other coverage available such as: rental car towing, road service or additional equipment coverage. You can find out what coverages you have by looking at your policy declarations page or by calling your Mallory Agency representative.
When renting a vehicle, do I need to purchase the insurance coverage offered by the rental company?
If you have auto insurance protection on your personal vehicles, you do not need to buy extra insurance.
If my car needs repairs and I need to rent a temporary vehicle, is the rental car covered on my auto insurance policy?
Rental car coverage is only for vehicles that have been in an accident, not for cars with mechanical problems.
When my child gets a driver’s license do I need to add them to my policy?
Yes. All licensed drivers living in the household need to be listed on the auto policy unless they have their own auto insurance elsewhere.
Who is covered by auto insurance liability?
An auto insurance liability policy typically covers the following people:
- Named insured – the person or people named in the policy, no matter what car they are driving.
- Spouse – even if the spouse of the named insured is not named on a policy, liability insurance almost always covers him or her, unless the couple does not live together.
- Other relative – anyone living in the household with the named insured related to the insured by blood, marriage or adoption, usually including a legal ward or foster child.
- Anyone driving the insured vehicle with permission — someone who steals the car is not covered.
How can I lower my Boat Insurance premiums?
- Liability levels: The insurance rates increase with the protection required. Boat owners need to be aware of their coverage needs so that they can obtain an optimum coverage mix at the best cost without compromising on the security of the boat.
- Deductible: Deductibles for boats can range from $ 50 to $ 500. The cost of insurance reduces as the amount of deductible rises.
- Safety equipment and safety courses: Insurance providers offer discounts if the boat is provisioned with safety equipment such as GPS, Ship to Shore, VHF, Fume detector, etc. The Coast Guard certification course or other approved safety courses qualifies boat owners for a discount on the insurance costs.
- Type and age of boat: The age, size, cost, power, etc are factors that can either raise or lower the insurance premium on a boat.
- Use and area of navigation: Boat owners should keep their area of navigation low and stay away from dangerous waters. The rates also vary with use that may be for personal, commercial, or charter purposes.
- Past driving record: The past driving record and accident claims of the boat owner can affect the premium paid.
What kinds of records are needed to substantiate a homeowner claim?
Mallory Agency recommends that you keep records detailing items in your home or a videotape of your personal property. Keeping a complete record of your possessions could save you thousands of dollars in the event of a loss. You should keep these records in a location outside of the home such as a safe deposit box or with your insurance agent. Please contact us for more details or questions. Specific records should include:
- Receipts of major purchases or home renovations and additions
- Detailed China and Silverware descriptions, pictures and receipts or appraisals
- Detailed Jewelry descriptions, pictures and receipts or appraisals
- Detailed Artwork descriptions, pictures and receipts or appraisals
Who decides on the insurance company for my home – the mortgage company or me?
You do. The mortgage company collects a set amount from you each month in order to protect their collateral. This money is then placed in an escrow account 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.
What exactly does a Homeowners policy cover?
There are six types of home insurance coverage offered in standard policy:
- Dwelling coverage protects against the damage and possible loss of your home’s structure in the event of a covered claim. (Separate policies are required for flood and earthquake coverage.)
- Other Structures includes coverage for detached garages and other detached buildings on your property. The usual amount of coverage for other structures is 10% of your dwelling coverage. You can request higher amounts if necessary.
- Personal Property coverage protects your personal items and household contents in the event they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other peril covered in your policy. These items may include, but are not limited to, furniture, clothing, jewelry, artwork, and sports equipment.
- Loss of Use coverage provides for your living expenses in the event that you cannot live in your home due to a covered claim. This type of coverage typically covers hotel and restaurant bills and other living expenses you may incur while your home is being repaired.
- Personal Liability Protection covers you in the event that a lawsuit is presented against you or covered family members for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical Payments coverage (often referred to as MedPay) helps cover medical expenses that you might be held responsible for due to an injury sustained on your property when there is no lawsuit.
What’s NOT covered by my homeowner policy?
There are some costly disasters that are excluded from your basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Thankfully, in most cases, you can purchase additional coverage to make sure you’re protected.
- Earthquake – Unless you have a special endorsement or policy just for earthquakes, you aren’t covered.
- Other earth movement – Other earth movements including sink holes and landslides are not covered by a basic policy.
- Floods – Floods are not covered by your basic policy. Flood insurance can be purchased, but only from the government run National Flood Insurance Program.
- Other water damage – Back-ups or overflows from your septic system or roof leaks from failing to maintain your property are not covered, but you can add a rider to your policy for additional coverage for direct loss.
- Hurricanes – If you live in a hurricane prone area you may need to purchase a separate policy.
- War, Nuclear war, or nuclear accident – While these are man-made rather than natural disasters, you should know that your typical homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover any loss incurred.
- Building Codes- Occasionally building codes established by governmental bodies can increase the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs, and might not be covered by your policy.
How can I lower my homeowner insurance premiums?
Homeowners who guard against theft, accidents and other losses are often times rewarded with lower rates. Here are some things you can do that may provide you with a discount or lower premiums:
- Raise your deductible
- Combine Home and Auto Policies
- Install smoke detectors
- Install deadlocks
- Install a security system with a connection to local police
- Install fire and carbon monoxide alarms that alert the local fire department
- Stop smoking
- Update old wiring and heating systems
- Avoid owning high-risk dog breeds
- Improve your credit score
How much will renter’s insurance cost?
$10 to $15 a month will generally cover about $25,000 to $30,000 worth of property that you have.
Does my landlord’s insurance cover me?
Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your personal belongings, including: jewelry, artwork, furniture, entertainment equipment and other valuable belongings will not be protected. You are also not protected if visitors to your home sustain injuries in the event of a loss.
I’m starting my own small business. Do I need insurance immediately?
Yes, because the possibility that you could suffer a loss starts the first day of operation. 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 Mallory Agency 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.
Additionally, 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 will likely require that you be adequately insured as well.
Why do I need business insurance?
If you own a business, then you will undoubtedly face several potential causes of liability on a regular basis. Even if you don’t think your business has enough assets to be sued, or if your business in incorporated and you think you are protected from personal liability through the “corporate veil”, you still need business insurance. Here are some reasons why:
- Everyone and every business can be sued. Judgments can be collected through wage garnishment, bank account seizures and even corporate formats may not protect you in all instances.
- Every business has assets. Unexpected losses and claims can happen at any time and cause thousands of dollars in damages to your equipment or property.
- Employees can get hurt on the job. You need Workers Compensation if you have employees in order to protect yourself in the case of injuries and disabilities.
- You or your business partners can get hurt or die leaving family members and business partners to sort out that person’s interest in the business.
Do I have the right business insurance for my company?
When choosing business insurance coverage for your company it’s necessary to find a balance between getting the coverage you need and getting a fair price. Call Mallory Agency and speak to a representative who will help you select the optimal amount of coverage at the best rate. Here are the three common types of insurance that most small businesses need:
- Property insurance covers your business’s property and inventory against physical loss or damage by accident, theft or some other cause. Your property is covered even if it’s away from your business location at the time of the loss.
- Business liability insurance protects against the most common types of claims. Most small businesses choose to purchase two types of business liability insurance coverage: general liability and professional liability.
- Comprehensive general liability insurance coverage protects you in the event of claims of bodily injury or physical injury or damage to property.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is required by most states. This type of business insurance coverage pays for medical and disability expenses for employees who suffer injuries or illnesses related to their jobs. Business insurance rates for workers’ compensation are based on your company’s payroll and services.
- Business Owner’s Policies (BOP) combine property insurance and general liability coverage into a single policy, many companies can get appropriate business liability coverage at a lower cost than they would by buying two separate policies.
- We can advise you of the best policy (or policies) to protect you and your business.
STUDENT/RECENT GRADUATE INSURANCE
I’m a college student. Am I still covered by my parents’ policies?
Most health insurance policies cover dependents to age 25 if they are enrolled in school full time. If your parents still claim you as a dependent then your possessions are most likely covered under their homeowner’s policy. Ask your parents to check their policy and call their agent to see if you need an additional renter’s insurance policy.
Why do college students need insurance?
College students typically face new risks when heading off to school, and if not protected, can face losing hundreds to thousands of dollars or property when on an already tight budget. Here are some reasons why you need insurance:
- If you live off campus your parent’s homeowners policy probably doesn’t cover you.
- If you have a lot of things you can’t afford to replace such as computers, televisions, textbooks, etc.
- If you cause damage to your dorm room through fire or water damage you can be held responsible for it.