(See also our Home and Auto FAQ sections.)
Need insurance protection for your home, automobile, watercraft, recreational vehicles, fine art, jewelry, or special event? We’ll present you with a broad range of options and coverages from some of the best insurance companies, then work with you to design solutions that fit your needs, lifestyle, and budget. Consider the following a brief primer introducing some of the concepts and vocabulary you’ll become comfortable with as you work with one of our experienced agents to determine the best coverages for you.
The right auto insurance policy can help get you back on the road quickly if your car is damaged or destroyed by accident, fire, theft, or other covered event. Your policy also provides protection against medical and legal expenses resulting from injury, loss of life, or property damage caused by an accident involving your vehicle.
What kind of insurance do I need?
In some states, to drive you must carry:
- Liability coverage – to pay for losses you cause others
- No-fault coverage – to pay you and your passengers for medical and related expenses caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of who is at fault
- Both coverages
Even in states where coverage isn’t required, drivers must, by law, be able to pay for losses they cause others. Having insurance is the simplest way for most people to comply. To finance a car, it is usually necessary to have insurance which covers damage to your vehicle. This includes:
Collision insurance coverage pays for damage caused to your vehicle in an automobile accident in which you are at fault. Standard collision coverage will pay for any repairs up to the fair market value of your car. Collision coverage usually also comes with an insurance deductible. It’s the amount of money you pay toward repairs before your collision insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible you’re willing to pay, the less the collision coverage will cost.
Comprehensive (Other than Collision)
Comprehensive coverage is very similar to collision coverage, with one principal difference: comprehensive covers damage caused to your vehicle by any unknown party or act of God. Vandalism, flood, hurricane, theft, windshield damage and fire are all usually covered by comprehensive automobile insurance. Like collision, comprehensive will pay up to the fair market value of your car (less your insurance deductible). Although it’s not legally required by any state, you will probably need it if your car is financed.
Whether you own or rent, insuring the place you call home can help protect you financially if you suffer a loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other covered events. Depending on where you live — a house, apartment, or condominium — and whether you rent or own, are a landlord, or hold the home as a secondary residence, the right home insurance policy can provide you peace of mind as well as the money you need to repair or replace your home and/or belongings. It will also cover you in the event someone is injured while on your property and wins a legal judgment against you.
The Homeowners Policy
Homeowners policies differ by which losses are covered, which coverages you choose, and what type of residence you own. You choose which policy is best for you, whether it’s a comprehensive policy that cover losses such as fire, hail, smoke, falling objects, vandalism and theft of personal property, or whether it’s a policy that covers only specified losses.
Types of coverages
The four types of homeowners’ coverage are:
- Structural — Covers damage to your home or dwelling.
- Personal Belongings — Covers damage to items in or on your home or dwelling.
- Liability Protection — Covers your legal responsibility for injuries or damage to other people or property.
- Additional Living Expenses — Covers costs for temporary housing, meals, etc., while your home is being restored or rebuilt.
Structural and personal belongings coverages are available on an actual cash value (ACV) basis or at full replacement cost. ACV coverage considers the current market value of an item based on its age and condition. So, if you purchased a television for $400 four years ago, the value today would be significantly less than it was when you purchased it. ACV coverage would depreciate the item’s value to determine the current value. Full replacement cost considers the current cost to replace an item.
Make an inventory of your home and personal belongings. If possible, make a list and take photos or video — using two inventory methods can help expedite the claim resolution process. Keep this list somewhere other than your home. Keep in mind that your policy doesn’t cover damages caused by poor or lack of maintenance on your part.
You may not own the place where you live, but you still need insurance protection. Renters insurance will protect your personal property, your liability, and moving expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable because of an insured loss. As an added bonus, if you have renter’s insurance with the same company that holds your auto insurance, there is an additional discount.
Flood insurance is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program. Although the government actually provides the coverage, Phillips Insurance issues the policy and, in the event of flood damage to your insured property, would help you file a claim.
Umbrella or Excess Liability Policy
If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, you could potentially be involved in a costly lawsuit. Verdicts amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars are being awarded by juries across the country in increasing numbers. Even though your underlying policies may provide substantial liability limits, it is not uncommon today for juries to award damages that exceed those limits. Umbrella coverage provides you higher coverage limits and peace of mind.
A Boatowners Policy can insure you against most risks of owning and operating your boat, its motor and its trailer. Just as importantly, it can protect you against liability lawsuits, should you injure someone with your boat or damage their property.
Phillips Insurance insures apartment buildings, dwellings rented to others, and condominium units held for rental. We offer policies tailored to each of these rental situations. Coverage includes buildings, liability protection, and loss of rental income insurance. Loss assessment protection is available to owners of residential property in condominiums, homeowners associations, and other planned communities. We’ll be happy to walk you through the wide range of available options and coverages and help identify the best fit for your needs.