Auto Insurance

Yes, to register and lawfully operate a vehicle you must have at least state minimum insurance coverages.

  • Minimum coverage in Rhode Island and Connecticut: liability coverage at $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 – this covers bodily damage to another party for $25,000 per person to a maximum of $50,000 per incident and $25,000 damage to another person’s property.
  • To best assess your minimum requirements, it’s best to discuss with your agent as often the minimum liability limits are exceeded in an accident, leaving you to pay the balance.

There is no sense in lying about your driving record as the agent with run what is known as an MVR (motor vehicle record) check when submitting the application to quote. Lying is considered a “soft fraud” and the insurance company can deny you services and cancel your policy.

Premiums increase for a host of different reasons and usually involve a change to your policy such as:

  • You moved. Where you live has an impact on your policy based on data regarding theft, vandalism, and accidents
  • Adding a driver. The history or lack of in the case of a new teen driver can increase your policy.
  • Removing a vehicle. Losing the multi-car discount when removing a vehicle could increase your policy, especially is the car removed had minimum coverage.
  • Good student? Many insurance companies offer a discount for young drivers who maintain a certain GPA so long as you submit their grades regularly.

A deductible is your financial share so to speak of a covered event. If you are in an accident and your insurance is responsible for paying the damages, you have a certain amount ($250/$500/$1000/etc.) that you pay before insurance pays. If the accident total is $12,600 and your deductible is $500, the insurance company will pay $12,100.

The deductible factors into the overall cost of the premium, so the higher your deductible the lower the premium. It’s best to find the happy medium between what your budget can pay out in the event of a claim and how much you can afford for your premium.

Collision coverage pays to repair or pay out on a totaled vehicle when you collide with another vehicle or an object such as a wall or telephone pole. If you hit a wall and do not have collision coverage, your insurance will pay for the damage to the wall (liability) up to the limit of your policy but not to repair your vehicle.

Comp or comprehensive coverage provides coverage for your vehicle should it be stolen or damaged by something other than a collision or rolling over. For example, damage caused by hail, fire, wind, flood waters (but not you driving into a flooded area, that is considered a collision), theft, vandalism and hitting an animal all fall under comprehensive coverage.

So long as your friend is legally licensed and has your permission to drive your vehicle, yes. The insurance policy covers your vehicle and those allowed to use it.

That depends. A standard policy will only pay for the value of the vehicle at the time of the claim. This may not be the amount that you owe on the vehicle depending on how you financed it. The car will be assessed based on a standard valuing tool, such as Kelly Blue Book for its actual cash value (ACV). You can purchase additional insurance called “Gap” coverage that will pay the difference between what is owed and the ACV of the vehicle.

Insurance companies do not require adding your teen until they receive their full driver’s license. While your child is in their permit phase, coverage is extended as if they are any other driver you have given permission to use your vehicles.

No, this is a myth. Car insurance agents/companies do not ask the color of your vehicle; therefore, it is not a factor in your rates.

Home Insurance

Yes and no. If you have a mortgage, your bank or finance company will mandate that you have homeowner’s insurance. If you own your home outright, the decision is yours. But without home insurance you risk losing your largest asset to any number of loss situations.

That will depend on the reason you are replacing the roof. If the roof needs to be replaced or repaired due to covered damage such as a storm ripping it up, yes. But if you are looking to replace the roof as regular maintenance, no.

No, it is your home, so you need to be in charge of the insurance. This allows you to choose the right agent who can get you the best policy available for your situation. In the event the you refuse to act on getting insurance on your own, your mortgage company can “force place” your insurance with a company of their choosing. Not an ideal situation for you and your home.

Home insurance limits are based on the cost to rebuild your home not the value of the home on the real estate market. The costs are based current day costs to rebuild your home to its previous state.

Yes, up to the limits of your policy. If you have items of high value that exceed the standard limits of your homeowner’s policy, you will want to discuss this with your agent. You can list these items individually and have them covered for their value. There is a small fee and you need to provide a certified appraisal from your jeweler.

In this instance it may be best to just pay the repair costs and eliminate filing a for such a small amount. The number of claims you file can have an impact on whether your insurance company will renew your policy year-to-year. An excess of even small claims could put you on the non-renew list.

Yes, most insurance companies will offer you a discount for installing an alarm on your home. You will need to provide a copy of the certification from the alarm company to your agent.

The proximity to a fire hydrant can have a significant impact on how quickly the fire department can get to saving your home. The closer you are to a hydrant, the better, it’s the same with being near the fire house.

Maybe. Standard home insurance policies have very limited water coverage for your home. IF the flooding is due to a storm (heavy rains, hurricane, storm surge, sewer overflow, etc.) then there is no coverage, you would need a separate Flood Insurance Policy. However, if your water damage comes from within the home, there is coverage. For instance, you have a burst pipe, your washing machine overflows or a robber who leaves all the faucets on and plugs the drains as they leave. These events are likely covered (but not the repair of the broken washer). Water damage from having a fire extinguished would also be covered.

Exclusions are items specifically NOT covered by your policy. This does not mean that coverage is not available for the situation, just that is not a standard coverage. An example would be the “Ordinance or Law” exclusion pertaining to changes in building codes that could drive up the costs to repair or rebuild your home after a loss. For instance, if your home was built in 1985 and you have a covered event (fire) the claim payment would not take into consideration the increased cost to install upgraded wiring or plumbing under 2019 building codes. BUT you can add an “endorsement” to provide this coverage.

There are certain insurance companies that will not insure a homeowner with certain breeds of dogs that are categorized as “dangerous”. Other companies will want to know if the dog has a bite history regardless of breed. This goes to liability exposure and can be a factor in the pricing of the policy. According the Insurance Information Institute, in 2017 there were 18,522 dog related insurance claims for a total of $686,300,000.

A hurricane deductible is a percentage of the dwelling coverage you carry. For example, if your policy has a 2% hurricane deductible and your home is insured for $400,000 your hurricane deductible will be $8,000. This deductible only applies for “named” storms declared by the National Weather service. In the case of Superstorm Sandy, your hurricane deductible would not apply because when Sandy hit our area is was not a “named storm”. In this instance, your regular deductible would apply.

An umbrella policy provides additional liability coverage over and above the personal liability coverage afforded on your homeowners, dwelling fire (landlord), personal auto, motorcycle, watercraft or other personal insurance policies.

Claims

This is going to depend on the insurance company as well as whether it was an at-fault accident. There are companies that will not penalize you for one at-fault accident. But it’s not unusual for an insurance company to non-renew or increase premiums on clients who have numerous accidents (at-fault or not).

Does my insurance company just take my word? The easiest way to ensure that you are reimbursed is to have a home inventory. This can be as simple as a detailed list of everything you own, with any receipts you may have. Or you may want to video or photograph your home as a physical record of your belongings. The more documentation you have, the easier and quicker your claim can be settled.

That all depends on the type of coverage you chose, actual cash value (ACV) or replacement costs. ACV will calculate the actual value of the item damaged/stolen at the time of the claim. So, the $800 sofa that you bought three years ago may only have an ACV claim value of $600. Replacement cost coverage would account for you being able to replace that same couch at current prices.

  1. This is where your “loss of use” coverage will kick in. This coverage will pay for temporary lodging, immediate personal purchasing needs such as clothing, toiletries, food, etc. up to the stated limit.
  2. Do I have to pay my deductible if I’m not at fault?

Yes, IF the items are permanently installed in your vehicle. So, the fancy stereo you had installed would be covered, but the laptop that was in the trunk would not be covered (you would file this loss on your home/renters policy).

Life Insurance

Most life insurance coverage through your work would be lost if you leave their employment. If you own your own policy, the only way the coverage terminates is if you choose to cancel it. While your coverage through your employer MAY be enough, it depends on what your needs are and if you have other means to take care of obligations after you die.

YES, if you use tobacco, whether it’s smokeless or you smoke it, you are still considered a tobacco user. Depending on your age, the rates are double or triple that of a non-tobacco user.