Frequently Asked Questions
Personal Insurance Resources
Auto Insurance FAQ
Q: How do I obtain an auto quote online?
A: To begin your online quote, click on Request a Quote at the top of any of the website pages. You can also go to Personal Insurance/Auto Insurance and Request a Quote from that page. You will receive an instant quote online. Remember, if you combine your auto policy with a homeowners or renters policy, you often receive a discount on your policy.
Q: How can I lower my automobile insurance rates?
A: There are several ways you can lower the cost of your automobile insurance.
One way is to check for competitive pricing. Our independent agents work with many insurance carriers and can provide you comparative rates, based on your specific needs.
Another way to lower the cost is to change your deductible. By raising your deductible, you may lower the cost of your automobile insurance almost 10%. (You will need to be prepared to pay the deductible amount in case of a claim.) You can also look for discounts that you may be entitled to. Some examples of discounts that may be available are: multiple cars under the same policy, having a homeowners or renters policy with the same insurance company, or paperless discounts. Finally, by paying your premium in full, or even quarterly, you will enjoy premium savings and avoid installment fees.
Q: Are there discounts for students with good grades?
A: Yes! Good student discounts can be a great way to save money on car insurance for drivers in their teens or early 20s.
Because statistics show that students who get good grades are less likely to get into a car accident, car insurance companies see them as lower risk and, in turn, offer savings on their rates.
Exactly how much gets taken off the student’s car insurance premium will vary amongst companies, so it’s a good idea to talk with our Auto Insurance Specialists to see who offers the most substantial savings.
In order to get the insurance discounts available to good students, most car insurance companies require that the student currently:
- Be younger than 25 years old.
- Be enrolled full-timeat a high school or college/university.
- Maintain at least a B average(3.0 grade point average), or be on the honor roll or Dean’s List. The following items will typically be accepted as proof of good student status:
Letter signed by your school administrator
NOTE: Keep in mind that qualifications might vary somewhat with carriers and states. You may need to provide proof of good student status every time you renew your policy to continue receiving the discount.
Q: Are there student discounts for resident students away for school?
A: Students who are going to be attending college far away from their home city/state (for example, 100 miles or more) may qualify for a “resident student discount.”
This discount only applies if the student is planning not to drive the insured vehicle while away at school, but may use it during the months when she is home.
The proof required for a resident student discount is determined by the insurance company, but will likely include at least the address of the college/university where the student will attend.
If you are a parent of a teenager going away to college, consider asking about the resident student discount. It may lower the premium on your car insurance coverage.
Q: What is the difference between Collision and Comprehensive coverage for my automobile?
A: Please see below for the difference between collision insurance and comprehensive coverage:
Collision insurance laws may vary by state, but generally, collision insurance covers a loss to the insured’s vehicle caused by its impact with another vehicle or object.
Comprehensive Coverage (also referred to as “Other than Collision”)
Comprehensive insurance laws may vary by state, but generally, this insurance protects against any loss or damage from missiles or falling objects; fire; theft or larceny; explosion or earthquakes; windstorm; hail, water or flood; malicious mischief or vandalism; riot or civil communication; contact with bird or animal; or breakage of glass.
Q: Does my insurance policy cover a friend if I loan him/her my car?
A: When you loan your car to a friend or an associate, generally, he or she will be covered under your automobile insurance policy. You should consult with your insurance specialist, as some policies do have exclusions on them.
Q: What is the difference between an insurance score and a credit score and how are they calculated?
A: While insurance scores predict insurance losses, credit scores predict credit delinquency. Both are calculated from information in a credit report, such as outstanding debt, bankruptcies, length of credit history, collections, new applications for credit, number of credit accounts in use, and timeliness of debt repayment. Insurers or scoring agencies then calculate the insurance or credit score by taking the information in the credit report and assigning positive weights to the favorable information and negative weights to the unfavorable information. Information such as income, ethnic group, age, gender, disability, religion, address, marital status, and nationality are not considered when calculating an insurance score.
Homeowners and Renters Insurance FAQ
Q: What information do I need to get a homeowners policy?
A: Our Homeowners Insurance Specialists will ask you a series of questions to determine the appropriate level of coverage you should carry. Questions will address square footage, age of the house, construction type and material (siding, brick or stone), type of roof, and other specifics needed. If you are purchasing a home, most of this information can be found in the inspection report.
Q: How do I obtain a Homeowners or Renters quote online?
A: To begin your online quote, click on Request a Quote at the top of any of the website pages. You can also go to the Personal Insurance/Homeowners Insurance page or Personal Insurance/Renters Insurance page and Request a Quote from those pages. You will receive an instant quote online. Remember, if you combine your auto policy with a homeowners or renters policy, you often receive a discount on your policy. You can also call your local Kinney Pike office and talk with one of our Home/Renter Insurance Specialists, who will be happy to assist you.
Q: What does homeowners insurance cover?
A: Homeowner insurance covers damage from incidents such as fire, theft, and vandalism to your house, adjacent structures like a garage or shed, and your personal belongings. It covers living expenses if your house becomes temporarily unusable, and liability in case you or a member of your household injures someone or damages their property.
Q: What does renters insurance cover?
A: Renters insurance covers your personal belongings – both on and off premises. It covers living expenses (e.g. lodging and meals) if there was a covered loss and you were temporarily unable to stay in your residence. It also gives you liability coverage, for accidents which you’re liable for.
Q: Are any items in my home not covered by my policy?
A: Most items are covered up to stated limits for covered perils like theft or fire. However some items including money, securities, watercraft, trailers, and guns, have coverage limits. If you lose a bracelet or drop a vase, that loss would not be covered unless the item was specifically insured or scheduled (see next question or Scheduled Property Insurance). Damage to your personal belongings that is caused by pets is not covered. Our Homeowners Insurance Specialists can advise you of your policy’s specific coverage limits.
Q: How can I insure special items?
A: By “scheduling” an item on your policy, you obtain broader coverage. When you schedule items like jewelry, silverware, photographic equipment, or antiques, you specifically describe and insure them, and pay an additional premium, depending on the item’s value. Documentation is required and current appraisals are needed for any items over $5,000.
Q: What if my pipes freeze?
A: You are covered for resulting damage to your home and belongings, as well as for damage to the plumbing or heating system. If the damage occurs when your home is vacant, in general, you are covered as long as you have taken the necessary precautions to keep the building heated or have had the water turned off and the plumbing and heating systems drained. Review your policy or consult our Homeowner Specialists, since some policies have provisions you should be aware of.
Q: What’s my coverage if someone has an injury on my property?
A: Most policies have no coverage for injuries you or household members sustain on your property.
The liability portion of your policy includes medical payments to others, with coverage up to a specified limit.
Q: Should I purchase flood coverage?
A: It should be considered, if your property lies in a flood plain as determined by US Government Flood Maps. Ask our Flood Insurance Specialists about a flood quote.
Q: If my child attends college and lives in a dorm, are their personal belongings covered under my homeowners policy?
A: Typically, college students (age 24 or under) enrolled full-time will have full coverage for their belongings if they’re living in a dorm or on campus. If they’re living off campus but still consider their parents’ home their permanent residence, they have up to 10% of the Coverage C on their homeowners policy to cover their belongings. Check with our Homeowners Insurance Specialists for more specifics, as coverage may vary with different insurance companies and different homeowners policies.
Life Insurance FAQ
Q: Who needs life insurance?
A: If someone depends on you financially, you probably need life insurance. If you’re a breadwinner, life insurance can provide critical financial support to your loved ones if you die prematurely. Permanent life insurance can also help you establish a fund you can access for planned life events like college or retirement, or for emergencies and opportunities. Later in life, it can help you transfer your wealth to the next generation.
Q: How do I know how much life insurance I need?
A: You can start by identifying what you want your life insurance to do. For example, if you’re a breadwinner, you probably want your life insurance to replace your income for a certain number of years in case something happens to you. Most experts say you should consider life insurance coverage worth five years of your current income.
Life insurance can also help ensure funds are there for college tuition, final expenses and to cover outstanding debt.
Q: What are the different types of life insurance?
A: Please see below for descriptions of the difference between term life insurance and permanent life insurance.
Term insurance provides coverage for a specific period of time, such as 10, 20 or 30 years. If you die during that period, the beneficiary you name on your policy receives the death benefit amount. When the term ends, so does your protection, unless you select a term policy that gives you the option of renewing your coverage.1
Term policies don’t build cash value as most permanent life insurance products do. Because of this fact, when you buy a term policy you’re paying for pure protection. So most of the time, term insurance is the least expensive kind of coverage you can buy.
Term policies provide protection for your entire life by paying a sum to your named beneficiary upon your death.2 Most permanent policies build cash value over time, and you can access this cash value for emergencies, opportunities or planned life events such as a college education or retirement.
There are different types of permanent policies. Whole Life products usually offer level premiums and strong, traditional guarantees, such as a schedule of guaranteed values. Universal Life products normally offer flexible features, such as the ability to change your coverage amount or your payment schedule after you purchase the policy. Finally, Single Payment Whole Life is a type of insurance you buy with one payment. Because the death benefit is higher than the single payment, this kind of insurance is often a good fit for people looking to transfer wealth.
1 Some term policies offer the option to continue coverage at the end of the level term period. In most cases, premiums will increase annually as you age
2 Many permanent policies endow at age 121.
Q: How much does life insurance cost?
A: For starters, the cost for your life insurance will depend on the type of policy you choose and the amount of coverage you select. Your gender, your age and your health also determine how much you will pay for your individual policy. Whether you use tobacco products also plays a part.
Generally speaking, Term Life Insurance is usually the least expensive type of coverage you can buy.
Many policies offer the option to add riders, which provide additional coverage or benefits in special circumstances, such as when someone becomes disabled. Adding riders will also affect the cost of your coverage.
Because the price of your policy will reflect your own unique situation, it’s best to talk to an agent who can determine what level of coverage fits your needs.
Q: How does mortgage protection term insurance differ from other types of term life insurance?
A: The face amount under mortgage protection term insurance decreases over time, consistent with the projected annual decreases in the outstanding balance of a mortgage loan. Mortgage protection policies are generally available to cover a range of mortgage repayment periods, e.g., 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Although the face amount decreases over time, the premium is usually level in amount. Further, the premium payment period often is shorter than the maximum period of insurance coverage–for example, a 20-year mortgage protection policy might require that level premiums be paid over the first 17 years.
Q: What about purchasing life insurance on a spouse and on children?
A: In certain circumstances, it may be advisable to purchase life insurance on children; generally, however, such purchases should not be made in lieu of purchasing appropriate amounts of life insurance on the family breadwinner(s). It is important that the income earning capacity of the primary breadwinner be fully protected, if possible, through the purchase of the required amount of life insurance before contemplating the purchase of life insurance on children or on a non-wage earning spouse. In a dual-earning household, it is important to protect the income earning capacity of both spouses. Life insurance on a non-wage earning spouse is often recommended for the purpose of paying for household services lost at this individual’s death.
For more FAQs about life insurance, visit http://www.insurance.insureuonline.org/consumer_life_faqs.htm.