Auto Insurance FAQ’s
How much Auto Insurance do I need?
Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of Liability Insurance coverage and also provide proof of insurance to register a vehicle or renew your license. In the case of an accident, the minimum Liability Insurance required by the state may not be enough coverage to pay for the damages that result after an accident. In this case, the driver responsible for the accident may have to pay additional expenses out of pocket. To determine how much Auto Insurance you need, consider:
- The value of your assets
- How and when you drive
- What you drive
- Who is in the car with you
How much Auto Insurance does the State of Colorado require?
To ensure everyone on the road is covered in case of an accident, Colorado requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of Liability Insurance that is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for Bodily Injury, and $15,000 for Property Damage. Drivers must also have the ability to provide proof of insurance to register a vehicle or renew a driver’s license.
How do insurance companies assess my risk?
Insurance companies assess your risk by using a Risk Assessment Indicator, which is a numerical score based on credit report and other information. These Risk Assessment Indicators are highly predictive of future claim activities, helping insurance companies charge a rate that is appropriate for the risk of the insured individual.
What can I do to lower my Auto Insurance costs?
While there are a number of factors that contribute to the cost of your premium, there are some things you can do to help reduce it. The car you drive will greatly affect your premium. To lower your Auto Insurance costs, you may consider switching automobiles and driving a safer, slightly older, or less valuable vehicle. The more your vehicle is worth, the more it can cost to insure it. If you don’t want to change cars, you can modify your vehicle to make it safer or lower-risk by adding anti-theft devices or features like anti-lock brakes. In addition, selecting a higher deductible and ensuring that your coverage doesn’t lapse may help you keep your Auto insurance costs down. You can also consider changing your driving habits. Your driving record is one of the most important factors considered when determining your premium. You can also try cutting down on the miles you drive and getting other insurance policies with our agency to save you money.
How do I find the best Auto Insurance for me?
Deciding on an Auto Insurance policy can seem overwhelming. It is important to choose a local agent who can help match you with just the right coverage for you and your vehicle. When getting an Auto Insurance quote from us our agency will help you every step of the way to choose an Auto Insurance policy that makes sense for you.
Why do insurance companies use my prior insurance information?
Some insurance companies may review your history of insurance coverage with previous auto carriers to determine whether you qualify for coverage and others may use it to establish your premium or to determine whether you are eligible for discounts. This information also verifies whether you have had continuous auto liability insurance coverage and your prior liability coverage limits. Prior insurance information is often used to predict the likelihood of future accidents and coverage lapses.
Homeowner Insurance FAQ’s
How does my local Fire Department impact my homeowner’s policy?
Each fire protection agency (including your local fire department) is reviewed by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and ranked based on their fire protection services, such as fire equipment, staffing and available water supply. The ranking is called the Public Protection Class (PPCTM) with 1 being the best score and 10 being the worst score. Many insurance companies use the PPC rating and the distance your home is from the nearest legally responding fire department to determine whether they will insure your home and how much to charge. For more information on PPC, please visit www.isomitigation.com or contact our agency.
What is LOCATION® FireLine™ and how does it affect my homeowners insurance?
Depending on the location of your home, the risk of wildfire may be a significant concern. In Colorado, the number of wildfires is increasing and the exposure to damage for homes near a high risk area is substantial.
Several insurance companies use a detailed rating and eligibility tool called LOCATION® FireLine™ from Verisk Analytics. This tool helps insurers assess wildfire risk at the address level. It uses advanced remote sensing and digital mapping technology to determine the impact of three factors that contribute to wildfire risk: fuel, slope and road access. Your property’s FireLine score can potentially impact not only your ability to obtain homeowners insurance coverage, but also the amount of premium you pay for your insurance policy. If you live in or near an area with an increased wildfire risk, it is important to reduce the risk and improve the overall safety of your home. To learn more about your home’s FireLine score and the steps you can take as a homeowner to reduce your exposure to wildfires, please visit http://www.veriskclimate.com/solutions/riskscape/wildfire-risk-scoring-fireline or contact our office.
How much would it cost to rebuild my home at today’s prices?
Your home is probably the single largest investment you’ll ever make. By insuring your home, you are helping to protect your investment.
Estimating the cost to rebuild your home will help you decide the amount of insurance you’ll want to purchase. The primary factors that’ll determine the cost to rebuild your home include:
- Local construction costs
- The square footage of your home (and the number of bathrooms and other rooms)
- The type of exterior wall construction – frame, masonry (brick or stone) or veneer
- The type of roof
- The number of floors (one to four stories, bi-level or split level)
- Special features like attached garages, fireplaces, exterior trim and arched windows
- Quality of materials and finishes throughout the home
Can you provide some tips for estimating the value of my home?
Here are some tips to help you estimate your home’s value:
Every year, take the time to check the value of your insurance policy against rising local building costs. Our agency is available to assist you with your review of your coverage.
- Check the latest building codes in your community. If your home is severely damaged, you might have to rebuild it to comply with new building code standards which may require a change in design or building materials.
- Do not insure your home for the market value. The cost of rebuilding your house may be higher (or lower) than the price you paid for it or the price you could sell it for today.
- Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. Make sure it’s also enough to cover the cost of rebuilding.
- Increase the limit of your policy if you make improvements or additions to your house. You may upgrade features in your home to fit your tastes and lifestyle. These enhancements can significantly increase the replacement cost of your home. We are available to help you in your determination as to whether additional coverage is needed.
What would it cost to replace the contents or personal belongings of my home?
If the unexpected happens, losing your home contents could be distressing as well as financially devastating. Your Homeowners, Townhouse, Condo and Renters policies cover the loss of your personal belongings, subject to the policy limits and conditions. Many people make the mistake of underestimating the value of their home contents. This mistake is easily made when you consider the amount of new items we purchase each year. Under-insurance can lead to heartache and inconvenience should the unexpected happen. We are available to assist you with insuring your home contents.
What is a deductible?
A deductible is the amount you’re responsible for in the event of a covered loss. In most covered loss cases, you are responsible for any amounts up to your deductible level and your insurance would cover anything beyond that up to your coverage limit.
For example, if you select a $1,000 deductible and have a $4,200 covered loss, you would receive a claim payment of $3,200 after deducting the $1,000.
A homeowners deductible applies to each claim. If you have more than one claim in a policy period, you will be responsible for the deductible amount for each individual claim regardless of the number of claims you have during that policy period.
How is my premium affected by selecting a higher or lower deductible option?
If you select a higher deductible, you will be responsible for paying more out of pocket. However, you’ll typically pay a lower policy premium. The opposite is true if you select a lower deductible option: because the insurer will pay a larger portion of any loss, you’ll typically pay a higher policy premium. We can review available deductible options with you to help you decide what option is best for your individual situation.
What kind of protection do I need against liability claims?
Nothing is worse than the feeling you get when you are responsible for damage to someone else’s property or for someone else’s injuries. We can assist you with your selection of coverage to help you alleviate this financial worry. This coverage is part of your homeowners insurance policy. It protects you and your family against property damage or bodily injury claims for which you are legally responsible. Liability insurance covers you, for example, if someone slips and falls on your property or if your dog bites someone. Today, when multimillion-dollar lawsuits are common, your homeowners policy may provide substantial liability limits, but it may not be enough. A Personal Liability Umbrella policy is available to supplement your present policies and provides additional coverage in increments of $1 million.
What is Personal Liability Umbrella coverage?
Lawsuits are common today. If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, you could be sued. And more and more, juries are awarding very large verdicts. Your homeowners, property and auto policies may provide substantial liability limits, but juries can award sums that exceed those limits. Personal Liability Umbrella insurance acts like an umbrella, providing additional coverage on top of your auto and homeowners liability policies. It supplements your existing policies to provide additional personal liability protection. The Umbrella policy goes into effect after the underlying liability limits on your homeowners or auto policy is exhausted. Therefore, your base auto and home policies must have certain limits in order to qualify for an Umbrella policy.
The policy provides:
- Liability insurance that adds to the limits of your automobile, homeowners and recreational vehicle or boat liability policy limits.
- Coverage for unknown or unexpected exposures that are excluded in typical auto, homeowners, recreational vehicle or boat liability policies.
- Coverage for the cost of your legal defense. This includes court costs, interest on judgments and premiums on necessary bonds.
Does my liability coverage extend to vacant land I own or rent?
You may extend your personal liability coverage from your home and umbrella policies to vacant land you own or rent.
A neighbor slips on my sidewalk and threatens to take me to court for damages. Does my homeowner policy protect me?
Yes. Homeowners insurance will pay for damages, if the accident is the result of your negligence. It will also pay for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Also, the medical payments part of your Homeowners policy will cover medical expenses arising from an injury to a neighbor or guest.
How can I make sure that I have coverage for my valuables?
There is limited coverage available for your valuables. In most cases, you may want to consider purchasing a Personal Articles Floater, which provides coverage for your personal articles, such as jewelry, furs or fine arts, when their value is higher than the limits stated in your policy. We can help you when you are deciding if you need to purchase this coverage.
Should I consider a recent appraisal for my jewelry items (such as an engagement or anniversary ring)?
Yes. The value of precious metals and gemstones is constantly changing. So even if you’ve had your jewelry appraised before, it’s always a good idea to have it appraised again for its current market value. If, for example, your engagement ring was originally appraised for $3000 five years ago, its value may have increased since then. In the unfortunate event that your ring is lost or stolen, having a recent appraisal handy (with a thorough description of the item being insured) will help with the reimbursement process. Keep in mind that recent appraisals are usually required for expensive pieces of jewelry when you purchase additional coverage, like a Personal Articles Floater. (Depending on the value of the item, you’ll be required to provide a detailed sales receipt or appraisal.)
Will I be reimbursed for additional living expenses if I cannot live in my home due to a covered loss?
If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, we pay for those extra costs of housing, eating expenses, etc. up to the applicable limit.
Does my homeowners insurance cover against losses due to fire, lightning, tornadoes, wind storms, hail, explosions, smoke, vandalism and theft?
Yes. Typically, your homeowners insurance covers a large number of perils, including all those listed.
What does a Home Insurance policy not cover?
Homeowners Insurance policies typically do not cover but not limited to damage resulting from the following:
- Earth movement
- Nuclear hazard
- Neglect or failure to make repairs
- Corrosion, deterioration, decay or rust
- Wear and tear
- Increased cost due to enforcement of any building ordinance or law
- Government actions
- Power failure
- Animals or pests
A pipe bursts and water flows all over my floors. Am I covered?
Yes. Typically, homeowners insurance covers you for accidental discharge of water from a plumbing system. Check your plumbing and heating systems once a year. While you are covered for this type of damage, who needs the mess and hassle?
Am I covered for earthquake damage?
No. Earthquake coverage is available as a separate coverage. To determine whether you should purchase this insurance, talk to us.
When should I think about adding to my Homeowners Insurance coverage?
Generally, you should contact your agent who will assist you in a review of your coverages whenever you change something significant about your home or its contents, for example, you should review your coverage:
- when you put on an addition to your home;
- when you start a business from your home;
- when you make a major purchase, such as jewelry or a computer;
- when you purchase other residential properties either for rental or as a second home.
Why is my home’s estimated reconstruction cost different than the new construction cost?
When reconstructing a home, there are a few key areas that come into play that are not there when building a new home.
When building a new home, your builder can sometimes buy materials in bulk at a discounted price since new home construction often involves multiple home sites. During reconstruction though, materials are bought for a single home and it may not be possible to get the same bulk discount, resulting in a higher price. In addition, inflation increases the cost of materials over time. Labor costs are also typically higher for reconstruction compared to new construction. During reconstruction, workers may need to remove debris, demolish parts of the home, and align new materials with existing home materials. These processes are more labor intensive and as a result, more expensive. Also, new construction builders–especially those building a home as part of a larger development—can sometimes take advantage of economies of scale in hiring workers at a lower rate and more efficiently schedule workers than during reconstruction of a single home. Building a new home starts from the ground up, but reconstruction usually starts with parts of an existing home. Access to the site is harder during reconstruction because there is usually debris to remove, possible demolition, and homes and property nearby to navigate. Often special trucks and equipment are needed to reconstruct a home.
Other differences can exist between new construction and reconstruction. For current customers, you should review your policy documents, including the notice that shows what information is used to calculate your home’s reconstruction cost estimate. It’s important to contact your our office if anything has changed.
How can I make my home safer and possibly save money?
Homeowners who guard against theft, accidents and other losses can often get lower insurance rates and policy discounts. Here are some things you can do to help qualify for lower premiums:
- Secure your home with dead bolts and window locks.
- Install a security system with an outside signal and connection to local police.
- Install and maintain smoke detectors.
- Install a sprinkler system for fire.
- Install a fire alarm that automatically alerts the local fire department.
- Stop smoking.
- Keep walks and entrance ways clear of snow and ice.
- You may also qualify for discounts on premiums when you buy both homeowners and auto insurance.