InsuranceNet is here to answer any of your insurance questions and make you feel confident in your insurance decision-making. We've listed some of our Frequently Asked Questions below for you to browse. If you've still got questions, don't hesitate to reach out to us.

Auto Insurance FAQs

Am I covered for natural disasters or ?Acts of God? under my auto policy?

Comprehensive insurance, which covers you for fire and theft, generally covers you against damage by flood, earthquake, hail, and other natural perils, except when your car is overturned (which is technically considered a collision). If you have specific concerns about the safety of your vehicle in natural disasters, contact us for information on catastrophic coverage.

How can I challenge my insurers if they refuse to cover an auto claim?

Usually, insurers that refuse to cover a claim have a strong legal reason for doing so ? even if you disagree. First, contact us if you feel you're being treated unfairly. Your agent is your strongest advocate in insurance matters. But if it's a legal problem, you might have to hire a lawyer.

How do I keep my auto insurance company from canceling my policy?

Besides maintaining a clean driving record, consider investing in special safety and security features for your car. If you've been in an accident, consider taking a defensive driving course.

How does where I live affect my auto insurance premium?

Where you keep your car directly affects your chances of having an accident or becoming a victim of theft or vandalism. The likelihood of encountering these problems increases in larger, more densely populated cities, while such incidents remain relatively low in rural areas.

Additionally, the time and efficiency of police response and law enforcement, local road and traffic conditions, and the quality of local medical services can affect regional insurance rates. Some insurers even factor in the litigation rates in a given area (how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, out of court settlements, and their amounts).

What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my auto policy? Am I still covered?

Yes. Liability and coverage for Physical Damage (i.e. Comprehensive and Collision) always follow your car. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.

The same rules apply when you borrow someone else's vehicle; your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you're driving. But the vehicle owner's policy is the key coverage in the event of an accident.

Homeowners Insurance FAQs

Are deductibles required and if so, what are they?

Yes, most homeowners forms contain deductible provisions applicable to losses occurring under Section I (Section I losses include (a) dwelling, (b) appurtenant structure, (c) unscheduled personal property, and (d) additional living expenses). The type and amount of deductible varies by company. Deductible provisions do not apply to Section II losses (Section II losses include personal liability [bodily injury and property damage] and medical payments to others). Some companies offer an optional deductible applicable only to wind or hail losses. Most offer higher deductible options such as $500 or $1,000 at a reduced premium.

The food in my freezer went bad because I lost power in my home. Does my homeowners policy provide coverage for this?

The basic homeowner policy usually does not. However, this is a popular coverage for insurance companies to offer and you may be able to buy this coverage for a nominal additional premium. There is also the issue of where the power was lost. Some policies are limited to coverage for electricity lost in the home or where the electricity enters the home. Others will limit coverage to within so many yards from the home. Your agent should be able to tell you about the availability of coverage and how much it would cost.

What property and perils are excluded from most homeowner policies?

Most homeowner policies provide coverage that does not apply to animals, birds, fish, automobiles and business property; for loss or damage caused by flood, surface water, water which backs up through sewers or drains, earth movement, nuclear damage, war, etc. Section II coverages (personal liability and medical payments) do not apply to the operation, ownership, use, etc., of any aircraft, automobile, recreational motor vehicle, water craft powered by more than 50 horsepower motor; bodily injury or physical damage caused by an intentional act of the insured. It must be noted that these are a mere sample of property and perils not covered. A complete review of your policy is the only way to determine what property is covered and what perils are insured against. Also, there are specific limits of coverage on property insured under the homeowner?s policy such as money, securities, water craft, theft of jewelry, silverware, and/or guns.

When can an insurance company cancel my homeowners coverage during the policy term?

Generally, your policy can be cancelled for these reasons:

  • Non-payment of premium;
  • Material misrepresentation/Fraud;
  • Conviction of a crime arising out of acts increasing the hazard insured against. (For example, conviction for illegal storage of fireworks);
  • Discovery of willful or reckless acts or omissions by the insured increasing the hazard insured against. (For example, not getting a gas leak fixed);
  • Physical changes in the property insured which result in the property becoming uninsurable. (For example, should the home become vacant for more than 60 consecutive days, a greater exposure to vandalism and damage is assumed to exist); and
  • A determination by the Commissioner of Insurance that continuation of the policy would place the insurance company in violation of the law.

Life Insurance FAQs

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much of the family income do I provide?
  • If I were to die, how would my survivors, especially my children, get by?
  • Does anyone else depend on me financially, such as a parent, grandparent, brother or sister?
  • Do I have children for whom I would like to set aside money to finish their education in the event of my death?
  • How will my family pay final expenses and repay debts after my death?
  • Do I have family members or organizations to whom I would like to leave money?
  • Will there be estate taxes to pay after my death?
  • How will inflation affect future needs?

Some insurance experts suggest that you purchase five to eight times your current income. However, it is better to go through the above questions to figure a more accurate amount.

Some life insurance ads claim ?you can not be turned down.? What’s the catch?

Such ads are for "guaranteed issue" policies that ask no health history questions. The company knows it is taking a risk because people with bad health could buy their policies. The company balances the risk by charging higher premiums or by limiting the amount of insurance you can buy. The premiums can be almost as much as the insurance. After a few years you could pay more to the insurance company than it will have to pay to your beneficiary. Such policies may offer only the return of your premiums if you die within the first couple of years after you buy the policy.

Who can take out a policy on my life?

Only someone who has an "insurable interest" can purchase an insurance policy on your life. That means a stranger cannot buy a policy to insure your life. People with an insurable interest generally include members of your immediate family. In some circumstances your employer or business partner might also have an insurable interest.

Insurable interest may also be proper for institutions or people who become your major creditors.

Who Needs Life Insurance?

Your need for life insurance varies with your age and responsibilities. It is a very important part of financial planning. There are several reasons to purchase life insurance. You may need to replace income that would be lost with the death of a wage earner. You may want to make sure your dependents do not incur significant debt when you die. Life insurance may allow them to keep assets versus selling them to pay outstanding bills or taxes.

Consumers should consider the following factors when purchasing life insurance:

  • Medical expenses previous to death, burial costs and estate taxes;
  • Support while remaining family members try to secure employment; and
  • Continued monthly bills and expenses, day-care costs, college tuition and retirement.
Why is term life often called ?temporary? insurance?

Insurance agents sometimes refer to term insurance as "temporary" because the term policy lasts only for a specific period. It is probably no more "temporary" than your auto or homeowner insurance. Just like term, those types of policies provide coverage for a specific period of time, and must be renewed when that period ends.

Commercial Insurance FAQs

Does Business Insurance Cover Embezzlement?

If your business carries commercial crime/theft coverage, your business insurance will cover employee fraud and embezzlement.

There are several different forms of employee dishonesty coverage. For example, you can purchase several types of fidelity bonds, either to protect the business in the event of dishonest acts by all employees, or by named employees.

Is Business Insurance Tax Deductible?

Business insurance is tax deductible, as long as the coverage is for the purpose of operating a business, profession, or a trade. Businesses may not deduct their business insurance premiums if the coverage is for the purpose of a self-insurance reserve fund or a loss of earning insurance policy.

What Business Insurance Do I Need?

Depending on the nature of your business and any insurance which you are legally obligated to carry, the following types of business insurance should be considered essential:

  • General liability insurance: Coverage against accidents, injuries and negligence claims
  • Product liability insurance: Coverage against product defects
  • Professional liability insurance: Covers professionals against malpractice, negligence or errors
  • Commercial property insurance: Covers against damage to your business property, such as from fire or a severe storm
  • Business interruption insurance: Protects your business if you are no longer able to conduct your business because of a loss
  • Home-based business insurance: Covers against general or professional liability.

Because commercial insurance needs to be tailored to each business based on risks, it is critical to work with an agent who will get to know your company and ensure that your coverage adequately protects your business investment.

What Does General Liability Insurance Cover?

General liability insurance provides insurance protection for a company?s assets, financial obligations, legal defense, and any settlements or judgments awarded to an injured party. It may also include claims for copyright infringement, false or misleading advertising, or libel and slander. If a patron is injured in some way in the course of doing business with your company, your general liability insurance will provide coverage.

What Is a Business Owner?s Policy?

A business owner?s policy or ?BOP? is insurance coverage designed specifically for small or medium-sized businesses. Depending upon the insurance company, the size of business that qualifies for a business owner?s policy may be based on revenues or number of employees. A BOP combines several types of insurance coverage in a packaged format, and can be customized to suit a particular business. Generally, this type of policy includes both property and liability coverage.

Policies may also provide coverage to include the following:

  • Property claims
  • Breakdown of equipment
  • Loss of income/business interruption
  • Professional liability
  • Copyright infringement
  • Libel
  • Products and completed operations
  • Premises liability