FAQ

Buying insurance shouldn't require a college degree, yet a certain amount of knowledge needs to be attained - whether you want it or not. Your home, your car, your business, your health - all are important. Important to you, and important to your insurance coverage. So, there are always questions that beg to be asked - and the more you learn, the more questions that will come up. We don't perceive to be able to answer all of the questions here - but, the few common questions are answered on the following faq pages.

Your agent is a fountain of information - we understand insurance and coverage, what you should have - what you may need, and how it will affect you if you don't have it - that's why we are here. To know the business and help you make the right choices when it comes to coverage that, well, covers you - and your assets.

So, feel free to visit our frequently asked questions section - and if you have a question, please call us.

We are on hand to lend you a hand. That's what we do.


Auto FAQ

Home FAQ
Business FAQ
Health FAQ
Life FAQ
Umbrella FAQ


Auto FAQ

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.
• It is required in most states, including Ohio.

What is covered by a basic auto policy?
Your auto policy may include six coverages. Each coverage is priced separately.
1. Bodily Injury Liability
2. Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
3. Property Damage Liability
4. Collision
5. Comprehensive
6. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Can I drive legally without insurance?
• NO!
• Almost every state requires you to have auto liability insurance. All states also have financial responsibility laws. This means that in a state that does not require liability insurance, you need to have sufficient assets to pay claims if you cause an accident. If you don't have enough assets, you must purchase at least the state minimum amount of insurance. But insurance exists to protect your assets. Trying to see how little you can get by with can be very shortsighted and dangerous. If you've financed your car, your lender may require comprehensive and collision insurance as part of the loan agreement.

What if I lease a car?
• If you lease a car, you still need to buy your own auto insurance policy. The auto dealer or bank that is financing the car will require you to buy collision and comprehensive coverage. You'll need to buy these coverages in addition to the others that m ay be mandatory in your state, such as auto liability insurance.

Is there a difference between cancellation and non renewal?
• Non renewal is a different matter. Either you or your insurance company can decide not to renew the policy when it expires. Depending on the state you live in, your insurance company must give you a certain number of days notice and explain the reason for not renewing before it drops your policy. If you think the reason is unfair or want a further explanation, call the insurance company's consumer affairs division. If you don't get a satisfactory explanation, call your state insurance department.

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Home FAQ

What is in the standard homeowners insurance policy?
A standard homeowners insurance policy includes four essentials types of coverages. They include:
• Coverage for the structure of your home
• Coverage for your personal belongings. Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disaster.
• Liability protection. Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage cause by your pets.
• Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.

Can I get insurance if I rent my home/apartment/condo?
If you rent, you have a choice of the following options:
•H-04 Renter- Created specifically for those who rent the home they live in, this policy protects your possessions and any arts of the apartment that you own, such as new kitchen cabinets you install, against all 16 disasters.
• If you own a co-op or a condo- H0-6: condo/co-op. A policy for those who own a condo or co-op, or provides coverage for your belongings and the structural parts of the building that you own. It protects you against all 16 disasters.
Your level of coverage: Regardless of whether you are an owner or renter, you have the following three options:
• Actual cash value. This type of policy pays to replace your home or possessions minus a deduction for depreciation.
• Replacement cost. The policy pays for the cost of rebuilding/repairing your home or replacing your possessions without a deduction for depreciation.
• Guaranteed or extended replacement cost.

Does my homeowners insurance cover flooding?
• Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But flooding can also occur in inland areas and away from major rivers. Considering buying a flood insurance policy if your house could be flooded by melted snow, an overflowing creek or pond or water running down a steep hill. Don't wait for a flood season warning on the evening news to buy a policy there is a 30-day waiting period before the coverage takes effect. The federal flood insurance program provides only limited coverage. If you need more coverage than the federal program provides, additional coverage known as excess flood insurance is available from specialized insurance companies. Depending on the amount of coverage purchased, an excess flood insurance policy will cover damage about the limits of the federal program on the same basis as the federal program replacement cost for the structure and the actual cash value for the contents.

What type of disasters are covered?
• Floods- You can purchase flood coverage directly from you homeowners insurance agent. However, the policy is provided by the Federal Flood Insurance Program.
• You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners.
• Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It is available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority.
• In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.
• Maintenance damage. It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

Is there a difference between cancellation and non renewal?
• Non renewal is a different matter. Either you or your insurance company can decide not to renew the policy when it expires. Depending on the state you live in, your insurance company must give you a certain number of days notice and explain the reason for not renewing before it drops your policy. If you think the reason is unfair or want a further explanation, call the insurance company's consumer affairs division. If you don't get a satisfactory explanation, call your state insurance department.

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Business FAQ

What does a business owners policy cover?
• Insurance companies selling business insurance offer policies that combine protection from all major property and liability risks in one package. (They also sell coverages separately.) One package purchased by small and midsize businesses is the business owners policy (BOP). Package policies are created for businesses that generally face the same kind and degree of risk. Larger companies might purchase a commercial package policy or customize their policies to meet the special risks they face.

Do I need a business interruption insurance?
• Business interrupting insurance can be as vital to your survival as a business as fire insurance. Most people would never consider opening a business without buying insurance to cover damage due to fire and windstorms. But too many small business owners fail to think about how they would manage if a fire or other disaster damaged their business premises so that they were temporarily unusable. Business interruption coverage is not sold separately. It is added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy.
• A business that has to close down completely while the premises are being repaired may lose out to competitors. A quick resumption of business after a disaster is essential.

How do I file a business insurance claim?
When a fire, accident or theft occurs at your business:
• Contact your insurance agent and company right away. Any burglaries or theft should also be reported to the police immediately.
• Read your insurance policy so that you know what your responsibilities are to your insurance company after a loss.
• After a disaster, take steps to protect your property from further damage by making temporary repairs. If immediate repairs to equipment are necessary, save the damaged parts in case the claims adjuster is interested in examining them.
• Get at least two bids on the cost to repair or replace damaged property.
• When filing a business interruption claim, be able to show the income the business was generation both before and after the loss. Keep detailed records of business activity and the extra expenses of keeping your business operations in a temporary location during the interruption period. If you are forced to close down, include expenses that continue during the time that the business is closed, such as advertising and the cost of utilities.

Do I need workers compensation insurance?
• Employers have a legal responsibility to their employees to make the workplace safe. However, accidents happen even when every reasonable safety measure has been taken
• To protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace accidents and to provide medical care and compensation for lost income to employees hurt in workplace accidents, in almost every state, businesses are required to buy workers compensation insurance. Workers compensation insurance covers workers injured on the job, whether they're hurt on the work premises or elsewhere, or in auto accidents while on business. It also covers work related illnesses.
• 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.

Is there a difference between cancellation and non renewal?
• Non renewal is a different matter. Either you or your insurance company can decide not to renew the policy when it expires. Depending on the state you live in, your insurance company must give you a certain number of days notice and explain the reason for not renewing before it drops your policy. If you think the reason is unfair or want a further explanation, call the insurance company's consumer affairs division. If you don't get a satisfactory explanation, call your state insurance department.

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Health FAQ

What kinds of health insurances are there?
There are essentially two kinds of health insurance:
• Fee-for-Service and Managed Care. Although these plans differ, they both cover an array of medical, surgical and hospital expenses. Most cover prescription drugs and some also offer dental coverage.
Fee-for-Service- Plans generally assume that the medical professional will be paid a fee for each service provided to the patient. Patients are seen by a doctor of their choice and the claim is filed by either the medical provider or the patient.
Managed Care- More than half of all Americans have some kind of managed-care plan. Various plans work differently and can include: health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs) and point-of-service (POS) plans. These plans provide comprehensive health services to their members and offer financial incentives to patients who use the providers in the plan.

How do I pick a health plan?
• If your employer gives you a choice of plans or you need to purchase you own coverage, it is crucial that you understand your health insurance choices and pick the insurance that is best for you and your family.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself when choosing a health insurance plan:
What is the monthly premium I will have to pay?
Should I try to insure most of my medical expenses or just the large ones?
What deductibles will I have to pay out-of-pocket before insurance starts to reimburse me?
After I've met my deductible, what percentage of my medical expenses are reimbursed?
How much less am I reimbursed if I use doctors outside the insurance company's network?
Does the insurance plan cover the services I am likely to use?
Are the doctors, hospitals, laboratories and other medical providers that I use in the insurance company's network?
If I want a doctor outside the network, will the plan permit it?
How easily can I change primary-care physicians if I want to?
Do I need to get permission before I see a medical specialist?
What are the procedures for getting care and being reimbursed in an emergency situation, both at home or out of town?
If i have a preexisting medical condition, will the plan cover it?

Can I buy an individual policy?
Yes, If you are unemployed, self-employed, or decide to return to school you may want to buy an individual health insurance policy.
Here are a number or options that you may consider:
• Ask your insurance company if you can convert its group policy to an individual policy. You will pay a higher rate than you did before and your benefits may be limited, but the terms will still probably be better than if you were to buy your own policy.
• If you are married, see if your spouses employer will add you to its group plan.
• Try to join a group health plan through a trade association or alumni group or professional associate may offer reasonable rates. If you are over the age of 50, you can join the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which offers an extensive plan. Evens some credit card companies offer health insurance coverage.
• As a last resort, you can buy an individual policy. The rates will be high and coverage limited, but it is important that you be protected against financial catastrophe if you or your family are hit with a major illness or injury. If you are self employee, most of the health insurance premium will be tax-deductible.
• To find the best policy, contact a health insurance agent or broker who will help you find the contract that gives you the most for your money.

If I change jobs or become unemployed, can I bring my coverage with me?
• If you switch employers, you have the right to carry your group health coverage with you to a new job for up to 18 months under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget reconciliation Act (COBRA).
• You must pay the full premium, but at group rates that are far cheaper than the individual rates you would pay for similar coverage. Health insurance under COBRA is available if you are in the following situations:
1. You leave the company and become unemployed or self employed for up to 18 months
2. You are a widow or widower or child of an employee who dies while working for the same company for three years or more.
3. You are the divorced spouse or child of an employee who has left the company he or she was employed at for at least three years.
4. You are a child of an employee who left a job an have no yet reached age 23.
NOTE: If you need COBRA benefits, you must fill out the appropriate forms from your employers benefits department within 60 days of leaving your job. If you do not act within that time, you may be denied coverage.

Where can I get more information regarding health insurance?
• Feel free to call our office Monday - Friday from 9am-5pm and speak with any of our agents.

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Life FAQ

Why should I buy life insurance?
Many financial experts consider life insurance to be the cornerstone of sound financial planning. It can be important tool in the following situations:
• Replace income for dependents. If people depend on your income, life insurance can replace that income for them if you die. The most commonly recognized case of this is parents with young children. However, it can also apply to couples in which the survivor would be financially stricken by the income lost through the death of a partner, and to dependent adults, such as parents, siblings or adult children who continue to rely on you financially. Insurance to replace your income can be especially useful if the government or employer-sponsored benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.
• Pay final expenses. Life insurance can pay your funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance.
• Create an inheritance for your heirs. Even if you have no other assets to pass to your heirs, you can create an inheritance by buying a life insurance policy and naming them as beneficiaries.
• Pay federal "death" taxes and state "death" taxes. Life insurance benefits can pay estate taxes so that your heirs will not have to liquidate other assets or take a smaller inheritance. Changes in the federal "death" tax rules between now and January 1, 2011 will likely lessen the impact of this tax on some people, but some states are offsetting those federal decreases with increases in their state-level "death" taxes.
• Make significant charitable contributions. By making a charity the beneficiary of your life insurance, you can make a much larger contribution than if you donate the cash equivalent of the policy's premiums.
• Create a source of savings. Some types of life insurance create a cash value that, if not paid out as a death benefit, can be borrowed or withdrawn on the owner's request. Since most people make paying their life insurance policy premiums a high priority, buying a cash-value type policy can create a kind of "forced" savings plan. Furthermore, the interest credited is tax deferred (and tax exempt if the money is paid as a death claim.)

How much life insurance do I need?
•In most cases, if you have no dependents and have enough money to pay your final expenses, you don't need any life insurance.
• If you want to create an inheritance or make a charitable contribution, buy enough life insurance to achieve those goals. If you have dependents, buy enough insurance so that, when combined with other sources of income, it will replace the income you now generate for them, plus enough to offset any additional expenses they will incur to replace services you provide (for a simple example, if you do your own taxes, the survivors might have to hire a professional tax preparer). Also, your family might need extra money to make some changes after you die. For example, they may want to relocate, or your spouse may need to go back to school to be in a better position to help support the family.
• You should also plan to replace "hidden income" that would be lost at death. Hidden income is income that you receive through your employment but that isn't part of your gross wages. It includes things like your employer's subsidy of your health insurance premium, the matching contribution to your 401(k) plan, and many other "perks," large and small. This is an often-overlooked insurance needs: the cost of replacing your health insurance and retirement contributions could be the equivalent of $2,000 per month or more. Of course, you should also plan for expenses that arise at death. These include the funeral costs, taxes and administrative costs associated with "winding up" an estate and passing property onto heirs. At a minimum, plan or $15,000. Other sources of income. Most families have some sources of post-death income besides life insurance. The most common source is Social Security survivors' benefits. Social Security survivors benefits can be substantial. For example, for a 35'year old person who was earning a $36,000 salary at death, maximum Social Security survivors' monthly income benefits for a spouse and two children under age 18 could be about $2,400 per month and this amount would increase each year to match inflation. (It drops slightly when the survivors are a spouse and one child under 18, and stops completely when there are no children under 18. Also, the surviving spouse's benefit would be reduced if he or she earns income over a certain limit.) Many also have life insurance through an employer plan, and some another affiliation, such as through an association they belong to or a credit card. If you have a vested pension benefit, it may have a death component. Although these sources might provide a lot of income, they rarely provide enough. And it probably isn't wise to count on death benefits that are connected with a particular job, since you might die after switching to a different job, or while you are unemployed.

How is life insurance sold?
You can buy life insurance either as "individual" or as part of a "group" plan:
Individual Policy: When you buy an individual policy, you choose the company, the plan, and the benefits and features that are right for you and your family. You might be able to buy the policy from the same agent or company representative who sells you property and liability insurance for your home, auto or business. And although you won't qualify for any discounts by buying your life insurance and other insurance from the same representative, working with a single advisor for all your insurance needs can make your financial life simpler. Individual policies are typically sold through insurance agents or brokers. If you buy a policy through an agent or broker, you will pay a commission, also called a "load," that is built into the premium rate. The commission compensates the agent or broker for the time spent advising you on how much and what type of life insurance to buy, for facilitating the application process, and for any further service that's needed in future years to keep the policy up-to-date (such as changing beneficiary designations, arranging policy loans or coordinating your financial plans with your layer and accountant). There are two other ways to buy individual life insurance. In connecticut, Massachusetts and New York, you can buy it from a savings bank. Or you can buy a policy directly from an insurance company or from a fee-only financial advisor-what's known as a "no load" or "low load" policy. Although there is no sales commission on these policies, the company will still have charges built into the premium to cover it's marketing expenses, application processing expenses and subsequent services. Finding an insurance company that will sell you a no-load policy isn't easy; typing in "no load life insurance" on Internet search engines will in many cases lead you to an agent or broker.
Group Policy: You might have life insurance automatically from your employer; many large companies do this. Your employer also might offer you the chance to buy additional life insurance under a group policy. And you might be eligible to buy life insurance under a group policy from a union or trade association or other group you belong to (such as a college alumni association or an automobile club).
• Compared to buying an individual life insurance policy, there are several advantages to buying life insurance under a group policy.
• Group purchase can sometimes offer you a lower rate for a given death benefit either because the employer or other group sponsor subsidizes the premium or because the rates are average weighted by people younger than you.
• There are virtually no health qualifications for getting the group coverage. Premium payment is usually by payroll deduction (for employer-based group coverage) or linked with other payments.

What is a beneficiary?
A beneficiary is the person or entity you name in a life insurance policy to receive the death benefit.
• You can name one person, two or more people, the trustee of a trust you've set up, a charity, your estate.
• If you don't name a beneficiary, the death benefit will be paid to your estate.

What are the types of term insurance polices?
Term insurance comes in two basic varieties- level term and decreasing term. These days, almost everyone buys level term insurance. The terms "level" and "decreasing' refer to the death benefit amount during the term of the policy. A level term policy pays the same benefit amount if death occurs at any point during the term.
Common types of level term are:
• Yearly (or annually) renewable term
• 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 & 30 year term
• Term can be specified to age (usually 65)

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Umbrella FAQ

What is an umbrella policy?
• Coverage for losses about the limit of an underlying policy or policies such as homeowners and auto insurance. While it applies to losses over the dollar amount in the underlying policies, terms or coverage are sometimes broader than those or underlying policies

What are some types of Umbrella Policies?
• Boat insurance, personal watercraft, travel insurance, motorcycle insurance, insurance for college students, insurance for twenty-somethings, insuring your household help, identity theft insurance, wedding insurance.

Should I purchase an umbrella liability policy?
• If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgments against you and your attorney's fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That's what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.
• An umbrella policy kicks in when you reach the limit on the underlying liability coverage in a homeowners, renters, condo or auto policy. It will also cover you for things such a libel and slander.
• For about $150 to $300 per year you can buy a $1 million personal umbrella liability policy. THe next million will cost about $75 and $50 for every million after that.
• Because the personal umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying coverage is exhausted, there are certain limits that usually must be met in order to purchase his coverage. Most insurers will want you to have about $250,000 of liability insurance on your auto policy and $300,000 of liability insurance on your homeowners policy before selling you an umbrella liability policy for $1 million of additional coverage.

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