Please see common questions and answers below. For a detailed answer or to request changes, please contact your agent or account manager.
1. Question: When do I add my son/daughter as a new driver on my auto policy?
Answer: Add your young driver as soon as they receive their new driver’s license. Having a learner’s permit or taking driver’s education classes requires no change on your auto insurance, but once the new driver’s license is issued we need to add your son or daughter to your policy.
2. Question: My son/daughter moved out of the house. What changes should we make to our auto insurance?
Answer: If your son/daughter is not a full-time college student and not living in your house any longer, your young adult should have their own auto insurance policy. (If your child is a full-time student living away from home they should remain on your auto insurance.) Your auto insurance provides coverage for “resident relatives” who are named on the auto policy, and for autos listed on the policy that are garaged at your home and owned by you. Coverage can be denied for an auto insurance claim for young adults living away from home and no longer students/dependents. If you have questions or would like to issue a separate auto insurance policy for your young adult, please contact us.
3. Question: I am renting a car on vacation. Does my personal auto policy cover a rental? Should I buy the insurance offered by the car rental company?
Answer: Whether you buy auto insurance through the rental car company is a personal choice. You should know that your personal auto insurance policy automatically extends coverage for a car you rent and drive in the United States. The coverage extended to the rental car is the same you carry on your personal auto policy for bodily injury liability, property damage liability, personal injury protection, and physical damage – collision and comprehensive. However rental car companies will also charge you for “loss of use” and “diminished value” if their rental car is damaged. Your auto policy does NOT automatically provide “loss of use” and “diminished value” and rental car company charges can be expensive. Your auto insurance policy can be endorsed to add this extra coverage for about $60 per year.
4. Question: I bought a new car with a loan. What is the cost/benefit of GAP coverage?
Answer: GAP coverage is extra physical damage coverage for your auto. If you have a total loss and find the actual cash value settlement paid to you is less than your loan balance, that is the “Gap”. In this event, GAP coverage pays the additional amount needed to pay off your auto loan. Similar coverage can be purchased for a leased car. The cost for GAP coverage depends on the value of your car and other factors but $100 per year is a general estimate.
5. Question: I have an older car. When should I remove collision/ comprehensive coverage?
Answer: The cost of physical damage (collision and comprehensive) should be compared to the market value of your car. Remember the insurance company will only reimburse you up to the current market value of your car. For example, if the 12-month cost of your collision coverage is $350 and comprehensive coverage is $50, you are paying $400 per year to insure your car for physical damage. If the value of the car is only $1,500 and you carry a $500 deductible, then the most you could recover is $1,000 if the car is totaled or needs major repairs due to an accident. Spending $400 per year to carry physical damage in this case does not make sense. However, if the car has a much higher value then it is best to keep physical damage coverage in place.
6. Question: Can I lower my auto insurance cost with special discounts?
Answer: Our companies offer the following auto discounts: favorable “insurance score” similar to a credit score, good student, good driver, claim free, auto-home, auto-life, auto-umbrella, multi-car, anti-theft, ABS brakes, air bag, group discounts such as professional-alumni-senior and others, pleasure use or less than a three-mile distance to work, high deductibles, excess medical vs. full medical, single-pay 6-month or 12-month installments by check, EFT, or credit card. Please contact us with questions or updates.
7. Question: Is flood coverage included in my homeowner’s insurance?
Answer: No. Damage from flooding is excluded in all home owner’s insurance policies. Please see Bruce’s explanation on flood insurance on page two of the newsletter.
8. Question: Do valuable jewelry and expensive collectibles need special coverage?
Answer: Your homeowner’s policy typically provides a maximum of $1,000 or $2,500 for theft of jewelry. Listing an item on your policy with a detailed description and/or appraisal will insure a piece of jewelry for its full value, with no deductible. This approach will also provide broader coverage including mysterious disappearance, unintentional acts, and a stone falling from its setting. The annual cost is approximately $4 per $1,000 value. Other valuables to consider adding include guns, artwork, rugs, rare coins, musical instruments, sports equipment and other collectibles.
9. Question: Golf cart, ATV, or snowmobile – do I have liability coverage if I hurt someone?
Answer: Liability coverage for unlicensed recreational vehicles including a golf cart, ATV, and snowmobile is NOT covered while operating off your residence premises. Liability coverage can be added to your homeowner’s policy for as little as $25 per year. This important endorsement expands your homeowner’s personal liability insurance to protect you if someone is injured during the operation of your unlicensed recreational vehicle.
10. Question: Golf cart, ATV, or snowmobile – does my home policy cover collision and theft?
Answer: Physical damage and theft of a recreational vehicle is excluded unless collision and comprehensive coverage is specifically added to your policy. Please contact us with questions or requests.
11. Question: Water source shut off – is it a good idea for a long weekend or vacation?
Answer: It is a very good idea to turn off the water inside your home whenever you leave for an extended time. Water damage can be as devastating as a house fire. Damage can occur from a frozen pipe during a cold spell. Other causes can occur anytime such as a broken water heater, a broken hose on a washing machine or refrigerator/freezer, or vandalism to an inside or outside faucet.
12. Question: Can I lower my home insurance cost with special discounts?
Answer: Our companies offer the following homeowners policy discounts: favorable “insurance score” similar to a credit score, new home, new roof, central alarm system, smoke alarms, fire extinguisher, deadbolt locks, nonsmoker, claim free, mortgage free, higher deductible, age of insured, home-auto, home-life, home-umbrella, group discounts such as professional-alumni-senior and others, single-pay 12-month installment by check, EFT, or credit card.
Personal Umbrella Liability
13. Question: What does a personal umbrella liability policy cover?
Answer: A personal umbrella policy provides an added $1 million or more of personal liability insurance “above” (like an umbrella) your underlying policies such as auto, home, boat, motorcycle, rental dwelling etc. The policy also provides legal fees to defend you in a covered lawsuit. Umbrella policies can routinely be issued with liability coverage of $1 million up to $5 million.
14. Question: Given my circumstances, should I have one? If so, what is the cost?
Answer: Adding this coverage can be important to protect your assets from a lawsuit related to bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. The cost of the policy is generally inexpensive at $150 – $250 per year for a $1 million policy. The cost will vary based on your number of cars, number of drivers, and secondary or rental homes you may own.
Life Insurance and Disability Income Insurance
15. Question: How much is enough coverage?
Answer: One “rule of thumb” for life insurance is to carry 10 x your annual income for a young family breadwinner – husband or wife. The idea is to pay-off debts, provide for children’s education, and replace lost income so the family can continue. Life insurance policies for business owners also play a role in paying off business debt or providing buy-sell funding among business partners. We can help you determine the “right amount” to meet your needs. Then you can compare the types of insurance such as level term (and for how long) vs. permanent life insurance, or some combination of the two. Your current health, height/weight, age, smoking status, family health history etc.…will play a big role in your pricing.
Disability income insurance provides a monthly payment if you are unable to work due to a serious illness or injury. The monthly payment amount can be up to 60% of your earned income and the benefit period is typically 2 years, 5 years, or to age 65. A waiting period of 30, 60 or 90 days is typical for long term disability income. If you have no employer provided long term disability insurance, or if you are self employed, this can be important coverage to consider. Please contact us with any question, we are here to help.
16. Question: What are the options and what kind should I buy?
Answer: There are many options. We can help you find the right fit based on your situation and your preferences. Contact us and we will be happy to discuss with you.
17. Question: What are my options for individual or group medical insurance?
18. Question: What are my options for Medicare supplements?
19. Question: Is there a special contact at CIA that I can talk to?
Answer: We bunched these last three questions into one answer. Please see Tony Ventimiglia’s health insurance section on page two of our newsletter. Tony and his assistant Amy will be happy to help you find solutions.
- Please note – all answers above are for general information purposes. Your insurance policy language will determine coverage.