Homeowners Insurance FAQs

How does a claim impact my homeowners insurance premium?

In Tennessee, virtually all claims turned in against your homeowners insurance policy could impact your rate for a period of time. Every insurance company rates and reacts to claims differently. Even if the cause was "an act of God" type of loss, such as a hail storm, you could see your rate increase for turning in a claim. If you expect the damage amount is close to your homeowners deductible, we always recommend determining the cost to repair the damage prior to turning it in to your insurance company. That way, you will not be penalized if you do not need to turn in the claim after all.

How far back do insurance companies look at my homeowners claims history?

Most homeowner's insurance companies look at the number of claims, types of claims, and amount paid for your loss history for the last 5 years. Having too many claims may not just affect the premium, you may not even qualify for a policy!

What determines my homeowners insurance rates?

Dozens of factors go into determining your homeowners insurance rates. Some of the factors include location, age of insured, marriage status, insurance score, size of the home, age of the home, primary material, roof material, roof age, and many many more.

How much of a homeowners deductible should I carry?

Determining the right deductible for you depends on your financial position. Increasing the deductible reduces the cost of the policy but means that you owe more in the event of a loss. Remember though, that the deductible must be paid for each loss, not per year. Therefore, if you had two claims in one year, you would have 2 deductibles to pay. Most homeowners carry a $1000 deductible. However, if your home exceeds $500,000 many carriers recommend or even require higher deductibles of $2500 or more!

How much do I insure my home for?

When insuring your home, the insurance companies insure it for the replacement cost value. This would be the amount it would cost you to rebuild your home should it be totally destroyed. Many people believe that they should insure their home for its market value. However, this is incorrect.

What is the difference between a named peril policy and an all risk policy?

A named peril policy provides coverage for specifically listed, or named, perils such as fire, wind, hail, theft, and several others. An all risk policy, on the other hand, provides coverage for all perils with the exception of those perils specifically excluded, such as flood or earthquake. In terms of which policy covers more types of losses, the all risk policy provides the most coverage of any policy form available.

 

AUTO INSURANCE FAQS

What affects my auto insurance rates?

Literally dozens of factors go into determining your auto insurance rates. Many of these factors are actually out of your control, for instance, the company’s loss experience in a territory, negligence laws in your state, number of uninsured drivers on the road, settlement tendencies of local juries, parts availability and pricing for your vehicle, and many more.

However, there are factors that you do control that can help improve your rates. Factors such as the car you drive, your driving record, credit history, coverage you select, and more, all influence the price of your auto policy.

What happens to my auto rates if I have an accident?

Unless you qualify for accident forgiveness with your carrier, your auto insurance will almost be guaranteed to increase. We do not believe in beating around the bush about this matter and aim to inform our customers to the fullest extent. We wish there was a simple answer to the natural follow up question of “how much will my auto insurance go up after an accident?” However, the impact upon your auto premium differs from company to company and is also influenced by the other dozens of variables making up your price. For example, if you are a 19 year old, single, male at fault for an accident, it will go up by more than if you are a 51 year old, married, male.

Who do I call after an accident, my agent or the company?

You are always welcome to call your insurance carrier immediately if you need roadside assistance or help getting a rental car if the vehicle is not drivable. But as your agent, we hope that you will reach out to us to help you file your claim. We can help you discuss your options, explain the process, potential ramifications of the claim, and help monitor the claim after it has been setup. 

Who determines the at fault party in an accident?

Liability is determined independently by the claims adjusters for each involved party’s insurance company. Each adjuster conducts their own investigation into the accident in as much detail as possible using driver statements, vehicle damage, witness statements, police reports, and anything else that is available to determine liability as best as possible. If the adjusters for the opposing parties do not agree on liability, they present their findings to an independent arbitration board that makes the final decision on liability.

Should I purchase “full coverage,” meaning comprehensive and collision coverage?

If you drive a car that has a lien or is leased, you will likely be required to carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle in order to protect the lien-holder’s interest in the vehicle. But if you own the car out right, you do not have to purchase either. Often times, as a car ages and becomes less valuable, some customers opt not to pay the additional cost. In assessing whether the coverage is worth the cost, the following example can highlight the decision process for you:

 You own a car that is worth $3500. If you get into almost any accident, the vehicle will likely be a total loss. If so, your insurance company will buy the vehicle from you for what it was worth prior to the accident, $3500, less your deductible. If you have a $500 deductible, you would receive a check for $3000.

$3000 could go a long way for a downpayment on a new car. The analysis becomes, how much would it cost you each year for the potential payout of $3000? If the cost of collision coverage costs you $130 per year, that may be worthwhile to you, depending upon your financial situation. However, if you have a poor driving record and that same coverage costs you $660 per year, that may not be worthwhile to you.

 

LIFE INSURANCE FAQS

Which type of life insurance is cheapest?

In most cases, term life insurance is going to be more cost effective than whole life or universal life insurance. Term life has fewer available options and is only for a specific, set period of time. On the other hand permanent life insurance products are intended to be carried all the way until the insured’s death; this means that the likelihood of payout is far greater, and therefore the rates are higher to match. So if you are looking for a cheap, effective form of life insurance to protect your family while you have loved ones depending upon you, term life insurance is an excellent option. Get an online term life insurance quote right here or call us today!

What is term life insurance?

Term life insurance is a very straight forward type of life insurance policy that pays the beneficiaries of the policy a fixed amount of money if the insured were to pass away during a set period of time. The policy face amount does not change over time, and on many policies, the annual premiums can be fixed as well. Getting a term life insurance policy has never been easier, but we always recommend doing so before any health or unforeseen consequences occur.

What affects my life insurance rates?

There are a variety of factors that determine your overall life insurance premium. First, the type of policy and the amount of insurance requested play a part in the initial pricing and the level of underwriting scrutiny you will have to go through to get the policy. Next, your age, gender, medical history, and lifestyle all play a role in determining your final rate and eligibility.

Do I have to have a medical exam to get life insurance?

For most life insurance policies, you will likely be subject to a brief medical exam. However, for certain, lower life insurance policy amounts, the medical exam can be waived after answering the medical underwriting questionnaire.

When should I buy a term life insurance policy?

If you have anyone dependent upon your income for survival or lifestyle, you should have a life insurance policy. Typically, most customers come to us when they have a major change in their life such as getting married, purchasing a new home, having a child, or starting a new business. These are all great times to consider life insurance. However, planning ahead of these events can keep the costs down and help ensure that you are eligible for the policy you might need.

 

HEALTH INSURANCE FAQS

Do I have to answer medical questions?

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), medical questions were eliminated from the underwriting process. That means that if you have any kind of pre-existing medical condition, you can not be eliminated from coverage!

What determines my health insurance rates?

The number of factors that determine your health insurance rates has been reduced to just a few, simple variables. Currently, your health insurance rates are determined by the policy features you select, your age, tobacco use, and the provider network that you select to belong.

What is a deductible?

A health insurance deductible is the amount the insured must pay each year before the health plan begins to cover your health related expenses.

What is a maximum out of pocket?

The maximum out of pocket is the maximum amount the insured would have to pay out of their own pocket each year. After your deductible is exhausted, you may still share in expenses such as co-pays. These additional expenses continue to add until you reach the out of pocket maximum. Once it is reached, your health plan will pick up 100% of the remaining, qualifying health expenses for that policy term.

When am I eligible to enroll in an individual plan?

Each year, there is an open enrollment period during which individuals can change and shop for different health insurance plans. The period lasts from November 15th through February 15th of the following year. The enrollment period is designed to prevent people from going without health insurance then purchasing it only when they need it. For this reason, there are only a few specific events that will allow you to purchase health insurance outside of this window.

Does health insurance include dental and vision?

Some policies provide limited pediatric and vision coverage for dependents under the age of 19. But for the most part, dental and vision insurance are written as separate insurance policies with different structures and coverages. For more information or to get a free quote, please feel free to give us a call!

What if I have pre-existing conditions?

If you have pre-existing conditions, you no longer have to worry about whether or not you can get health insurance or not! With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing conditions are no longer part of the underwriting process. Only a few factors now go into determining your health insurance rates.

 

BUSINESS INSURANCE FAQS

Do I have to carry workers compensation insurance?

In the state of Tennessee, employers are required by law to provide workers compensation insurance to their employees if the company has 3 or more employees. However, just because you have less than 3 employees does not mean that you do not have any responsibility. You could still be sued and required to pay for the injured and impacted employee’s incurred expenses.

I have just started a new business, what type of insurance do I need?

The type of commercial insurance you need depends on the type of business you are in, assets it possesses, and whether or not you have any employees. There is no “one size fits all” insurance policy for businesses. So finding an agent that you can comfortably partner with to fully explain your business and its goals will ensure that you get the right coverages for your business.

What affects my business’s insurance rates?

A wide variety of factors impacts the cost of your various commercial insurance policies. Initially, the type of business and your business assets dictate the type of policies your business needs. From there, the rates that impact the pricing of each policy are determined by a variety of factors. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the type of business, how large your business is, your prior loss history, market impacts, and issues affecting your industry.