RESOURCES

Here are some helpful informational resources

What is covered by basic automobile insurance?

Your automobile insurance may include 6 coverages:

  1. bodily injury liability
  2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and/or medical payments for injuries and lost wages
  3. property damage liability
  4. collision
  5. comprehensive
  6. uninsured and underinsured motorist.

For an explanation of each type, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/what-covered-basic-auto-insurance-policy

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 even in a state that does not require liability insurance, you need to have sufficient assets to pay claims if you cause an accident. If your car is financed through a lender, they may require comprehensive and collision insurance as part of the loan agreement.

What is ``gap`` insurance?

If you “total” your car before you finish paying for it, there will likely be a gap between what you owe and what the insurance company will pay you. This is because the insurance company’s check is based on the car’s actual cash value which takes into account depreciation. Whether you have an auto loan or a lease, you may want to buy gap insurance to protect yourself from having to come up with the gap amount in the event of a total loss.

For more details, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/insuring-leased-car

Can a newly licensed driver transport any age passenger?

No. According to Massachusetts law, a newly licensed driver cannot transport any one under 18 years of age.

How is family auto insurance coverage handled when students are away during the school year?

All household members need to be listed as operators of family vehicles. While students are away at school, they may be excluded as operators. This saves premium dollars for the parents. But they must remember to call us and add back student operators during holiday breaks, spring break, summer, etc.

Do we need to buy insurance from a rental car company when we’re on vacation?

If you have collision and comprehensive insurance on your personal auto, you automatically have the same coverages, subject to your deductible, under the physical damage insurance. You are NOT covered, however for the soft costs. That is, your personal policy will not pay for any lost business income for the rental car company while their damaged vehicle is being repaired. We recommend that you buy the insurance from the rental company.

Is personal property in my car covered by my auto policy?

Stolen or damaged items like laptop computers or cell phones aren’t covered by your auto insurance. You’d have to file a claim on your home insurance. Most home insurance policies cover smaller, less expensive items. However, if you carry expensive items such as computer equipment, ask us about the need for a rider on your home insurance policy.

If a tree falls on my car at home, does my homeowner’s insurance pay for the damage?

No. At home or away from home, you are only covered if you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy.

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 will need to buy these coverages in addition to the others that may be mandatory in your state, such as auto liability insurance, nor will your personal auto policy pay for the reduction in the vehicles value due to an accident or the administrative fees charged by the rental car company.

For more details, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/insuring-leased-car

What type of insurance do I need if I start an in-home business?

If you decide to start a home-based business, you should review your insurance needs immediately with us. You have three choices: (1) endorsements to your existing homeowner’s policy; (2) a special in-home business policy; or (3) a small business owners package policy called a BOP. Options 2 and 3 are recommended. Why? Because in-home businesses can involve MANY risks, including increased liability risks if you have customers and suppliers coming to your home business site. Also, there may be special coverages needed for equipment, materials, inventory, business interruption, etc.

Why do I need liability insurance?

Good liability risk management can reduce the chances that your business will be sued, but it can never eliminate the risk entirely. You or a member of your organization can make a mistake that injures someone or damages property. Your mistake could harm the reputation or interfere with the privacy of a customer, client, competitor or member of the general public. When such injuries occur, you may be legally liable to pay damages to someone who suffers a loss due to your actions or inaction.

Depending on the degree of harm and the number of people injured and/or value of property damaged, a lawsuit could bankrupt your business. Even if your organization is ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, a determined plaintiff can keep you tied up in legal proceedings for a long time, entailing significant cost to defend yourself. Liability insurance pays the cost of your defense and protects your assets.

For more details: http://www.iii.org/publications/insuring-your-business-small-business-owners-guide-to-insurance/specific-coverages/liability-insurance

Do I need professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance is a specialty coverage for service providers such as lawyers and consultants. Professionals that operate their own businesses need professional liability insurance in addition to an in-home business or businessowners policy. This protects them against financial losses from lawsuits filed against them by their clients for negligence or failure to perform contracted services as expected.

For more details, click: http://www.iii.org/article/do-i-need-professional-liability-insurance

What does a Businessowners Policy (BOP) 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 mid-sized businesses is the businessowners 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.

For a list of BOP coverages, click: http://www.iii.org/article/what-does-businessowners-policy-bop-cover

Are there different types of homeowner policies?

There are basically three general types depending whether you own a single family home, a co-op or condo or if you rent your home. All three types qualify for a home/auto combination discount that can save you money if you insure both your home and auto through the same company.

For more details click here: http://www.iii.org/article/are-there-different-types-policies

Is my Home Insurance Replacement Value the same as its market value?

An emphatic NO! Your Home Replacement Value relates to what it would cost to rebuild your home if you had a total loss of the insured structure(s). This figure, of course, does not include the land value. Market value relates to your home’s worth to prospective buyers. Assessed value is determined by your local community for property tax purposes.

NOTE: If you haven’t had a Home Insurance Replacement review recently, call us. We provide a free review service.

What is the difference between “replacement value” and “actual cash value” for my personal possessions and valuables?

The answer is an important one. If you suffer losses, Replacement Cost provides you with a dollar amount needed to replace an older item with a new item of similar kind and quality. An Actual Cash Value settlement pays you for the amount needed to replace the item minus depreciation.

Click here for more details: http://www.helpinsure.com/home/documents/acvvsreplace.pdf

Does my homeowners (or renters) policy cover flooding damage?

The simple answer is NO. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP (888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers. The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of the home and $100,000 for personal possessions. If you are interested in learning more about flood insurance or if you would like a quote please give us a call.

For more details, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/does-my-homeowners-insurance-cover-flooding

Does my policy cover damage from fallen trees?

The short answer is, yes. The coverage is quite straightforward: if a tree hits a home or other insured structure, such as a detached garage, standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the damage the tree does to the structure and the contents in it. This includes trees felled by wind, lightning or hail.

For more details, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/trees-and-insurance

Are my trees and shrubs covered for damages by my homeowners policy?

Your trees and shrubs are covered for losses by vandalism, theft and fire by standard (HO-3) homeowners policies. But NOT for losses from wind damage. However, if a fallen tree damages your home or blocks access to it, you may be covered for its removal- generally up to a $500 limit.

Does my homeowner policy cover other structures on my property?

Yes, BUT the standard limit of coverage is 10% of the amount of insurance on your main house. So if your house is insured for $400,000 then your outbuildings are covered up to $40,000. The definition of “other structures” includes your garage, sheds, pool, pool house and fences. If it would cost more to replace these than the 10%, you may want to increase your limit to cover their replacement cost.

Do I need a special policy for jewelry, collectible or other high value items?

There is limited coverage for items such as jewelry, silverware, furs, antiques, artworks or collectibles. The limit is typically $1500-2500 for loss and theft. If you have high value possessions you will need either a floater policy or endorsement to specifically cover them over and above the standard limits.

For more details, click here: http://www.iii.org/article/floaters-and-endorsements-special-coverage-valuables

I am planning on installing a pool. Do I need special insurance?

Above ground and in-ground swimming pools pose special risks to homeowners. Mostly they are a liability risk if someone is injured while in or near your pool. This is typically covered by an Umbrella Policy that provides additional liability coverage, typically in one million dollar increments, for a reasonable additional cost.

Why should I do a home inventory?

Having an up-to-date home inventory with photos of the contents is a huge help if you need to file a claim. The photos not only identify the items but verify their condition. Keeping a record of when items were purchased and how much you paid is also important. Keep the receipts from big ticket items like electronics and appliances.

Click here for a free inventory format: http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/home-inventory-forms.html

We purchased and moved into a new home, but have been unable to sell our previous house. Does my homeowner’s policy cover my vacant house?

Insurance companies will only cover a vacant home for up to 60 days. After that, important coverages are dropped. A home is defined at “vacant” if it does not contain enough furniture for someone reasonably to live there. There are two problems with a home that is vacant greater than 60 days:

  • Vandalism and glass breakage are not covered at all. In fact, newer homeowners forms often exclude any ensuing loss started by vandalism (i.e., vandals burn the house down!).
  • Most homeowners insurers won’t continue to insure a vacant home. If your policy is canceled or nonrenewed for vacancy reasons, there are only a handful of insurers willing to insure a vacant home. For the customer, either the coverage is very limited but the premium is reasonable, or the coverage is as good as the homeowners policy but the premium cost is 4-5 times greater.

Another strategy if you are actively trying to sell the property is to ask your realtor to “stage” your house with rented furniture. A house staged attractively will sell faster and usually at a higher price than a vacant property. So while the property may be unoccupied, it does not meet the definition of vacant and you can continue regular coverage.

For more information visit: https://www.irmi.com/articles/expert-commentary/managing-the-risks-of-a-vacant-home

We have an RV sitting in our yard. Is it covered for damages by our Homeowner’s Policy?

No! For example, if a tree or limb falls and damages your RV, you are
not covered by your homeowner’s policy. Physical damage is not automatically covered. An RV must have specific collision and comprehensive insurance to pay for damage losses. Call us for more information about the benefits and cost.

Is boat insurance required for my leisure boat?

Currently (as of January 2012) there are no state or federal laws that require a boat owner to have insurance on a boat. The state of Massachusetts does not require insurance on a boat before registering. It is entirely up to the boat owner whether or not the boat is insured. However, if you have a loan using the boat as collateral the bank will require insurance coverage listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest in your boat. Some states may require that you carry liability coverage, so please check with your local law agencies to see if your state has any requirements. Also, most marinas will require that you maintain boat insurance in order to keep your boat at their facility.

Is ATV insurance required?

No – ATV insurance isn’t mandatory. Its purpose is to help protect your finances in case of an ATV -related accident. However, if you have a loan using the ATV as collateral the bank will require insurance coverage listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest in your ATV.

Why should I buy an ATV insurance policy?

Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will often provide liability coverage while operating your ATV on your covered premises only. Coverage does not generally extend beyond your premises. Also your homeowners policy will not cover physical damage to your ATV. In addition many state owned and public parks require ATV insurance in order to ride on their trails.

Is snowmobile insurance required?

No – snowmobile insurance isn’t mandatory. Its purpose is to help protect your finances in case of a snowmobile-related accident. However, if you have a loan using the snowmobile as collateral the bank will require insurance coverage listing them as a loss payee to cover their interest in your snowmobile.

Why should I buy a snowmobile insurance policy?

Your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will often provide liability coverage while operating your snowmobile on your covered premises only. Coverage does not generally extend beyond your premises. Also your homeowners policy will not cover physical damage to your snowmobile. In addition many state owned and public parks require snowmobile insurance in order to ride on their trails.

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