GENERAL INSURANCE QUESTIONS

Why do I need insurance?

To protect your family and assets in a claim situation.  Insurance helps you pay for property damages (for your property or someone else’s) and health/medical expenses related to an insured event.  In order to drive a car you own, you must have insurance by law.  The state also requires you to have insurance when you have a loan or lease on a car or home.  In addition to these legal requirements, insurance can help in the event that you are sued.

What should I insure?

Common things people insure are cars, boats, homes, personal belongings such as jewelry or other valuables, and businesses.  You can also purchase life insurance, health insurance, disability  coverage, and personal or commercial liability insurance.  Call us to determine the right coverage for your situation.  We will help you protect the important things in your life.

What constitutes “personal insurance”?

Personal insurance covers things like your home, automobile, motorhome, jet ski, motorcycle, watercraft, recreational vehicles, fine art, jewelry, or special events (such as weddings).  Basically anything that is not business-related.

What is a deductible?

When you are getting your car repaired or home damage fixed the deductible is the portion of the damage that you pay.  Once you have paid your deductible, your insurance pays for the rest of the damage.  For example, if you have a $500 collision deductible on your vehicle and are involved in an at-fault accident, you would pay for $500 of the damage and the insurer would pay the remaining amount to fix your car.  You can see how this is beneficial in cases of significant damage.  A low deductible means you pay very little before your insurance kicks in.  However, having a higher deductible is one way to lower your overall premium (your monthly payment).

Why is purchasing protection through Phillips Insurance better than going directly to a major carrier?

Phillips Insurance is an independent agency that is better-equipped to cover your specific needs.  Many major carriers will set you up with a one-size-fits-all package.  Because we sell from a variety of carriers, we can “mix-and-match” your policies to give you the best protection at the lowest price.  Because we are small and local, we take time to get to know our customers and their individual insurance needs.  We are available to coach you through confusing situations and answer insurance questions.  In addition, not all insurance carriers sell directly to clients.  We provide a vital link between you and policies that would be otherwise inaccessible.

What information does my agent need to access when he or she underwrites my policies?

Personal lines policies are based on factors such as your credit, where you live, the type of home or vehicle you possess, your age, your claims history, etc.  If you have made previous insurance claims, they are filed on a database called CLUE: Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange.  CLUE is a claims history database created by ChoicePoint that enables insurance companies to access consumer claims information when they are underwriting or rating an insurance policy.  We will also run your driving record for tickets and accidents.

If I have a claim, should I call Phillips Insurance first, or contact my carrier directly?

It is up to you, but we recommend that you call Phillips first.  We will have better knowledge of your specific situation because we’ve worked with you before.  We have all your policy information on file.  We serve each customer on a case-by-case basis, understanding that no two situations are alike.  We listen and we really do want to help you in your time of need.  Of course, you are always welcome to contact your carrier directly.  Click here to access providers’ direct lines.

What is liability?

Liability is your legal responsibility for damages.  For example, when you are at fault in an accident, you have liability to pay for the damages and injuries caused to others involved.

HOME INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What is personal liability coverage for?

For homeowners, this coverage applies if someone is injured or property is damaged and you are to blame. When choosing liability coverage for your home, auto, boat, personal watercraft, or RV, consider how much money you make and what you own. The level or limit of coverage should be high enough to protect all your assets if you are sued.  An umbrella policy can be purchased to extend even higher liability limits over all of your personal policies.

Is flood insurance included on my homeowners policy?

No.  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, we would help you file a claim.  Give us a call and we can find out if you are in a flood zone. If you live in a high risk flood zone we recommend you get an Elevation Certificate.

Are my personal belongings (furniture, clothes, sports equipment, etc.) covered by homeowners insurance?

Yes, the part of homeowners insurance known as personal property coverage helps repair or replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed in a claim situation.

Are jewelry, art, antiques, comic book collections, musical instruments, or collectibles covered by Personal Property Coverage?

There are limitations to what insurance covers if these types of items are stolen.  These special possessions can be covered by Scheduled Personal Property Coverage.  Talk to your agent about additional coverage.

Do I need insurance if I am renting a home or apartment?

You may not own the place where you live, but you still need insurance protection. Renters insurance will protect your belongings (furniture, etc. inside the building), your liability, and relocation lodging 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 can be a multi-policy discount.

What is “Umbrella” Coverage?

Excess Liability.  Sometimes used interchangeably with “umbrella,” “excess liability” refers to extended liability coverage.  If you accidentally injure someone or damage their property, you could potentially be involved in a costly lawsuit. This coverage is meant to supplement your insurance coverage if the damages exceed your liability coverage. Be sure to talk to your agent about what your excess liability covers.

Is homeowners insurance the same thing as dwelling coverage?

Dwelling coverage is the portion of the homeowners policy which protects the structure (house) itself if it is damaged or destroyed by a covered peril.

Do I need a different type of policy if I rent out my home?

Yes, landlord dwelling home policies provide special liability coverage to protect you as a landlord from your tenants.  It is important to make sure you switch your policy to landlord insurance if you yourself no longer live in the home.

AUTO INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What is the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage?

Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle in an at-fault accident; comprehensive insurance covers physical damage to your vehicle in situations such as a collision with a deer, a rock hitting your glass, theft, etc.  Read more about each type by clicking on the links.

What happens if I am involved in a motor accident with someone who is uninsured?

As long as you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or collision coverage, your insurance will cover the damages to your vehicle.  Only uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages associated with bodily injury or death from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver (as defined by the law in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred) who is at fault.  There is a $100 deductible if you know who caused the damage and a $300 deductible if you do not.  There is no deductible for bodily-injury-only claims.

What is included under “personal” auto insurance?

Beyond the required liability insurance, personal auto insurance is flexible depending on your needs.  You must have auto liability insurance in order to drive.  This covers bodily injury or property damage when you injure someone else or their vehicle.  You can purchase additional coverages – uninsured motorist, personal injury protection (PIP), comprehensive, collision, etc. – in different combinations to complete your personal auto insurance package.

  • Underinsured motorist coverage will take care of bodily injury and property damage when you are not at-fault in an auto accident.  This coverage takes care of you when the other driver doesn’t have insurance or runs out of coverage.
  • Personal injury protection is medical coverage for you and all passengers regardless of accident fault.  Comprehensive insurance covers theft, vandalism, glass claims, etc. to your car.
  • Collision covers damage to your vehicle.  Collision coverage can be used in a not-at-fault claim if you have no underinsured coverage.
  • There are also rental reimbursement, roadside, and towing coverages that can be purchased additionally.

Is car insurance always a sub-category of personal insurance?

Auto policies can also be commercial.  You may need a commercial policy if you drive for work.  Delivery drivers (food or newspaper, for example) that use their personal vehicles need a commercial policy to cover their work.  Taxi drivers need this coverage as well.  Personal policies specifically exclude coverage for this sort of use.

What is the difference between Medical coverage and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection is coverage for any person in your vehicle that is injured in an accident – whether you are at-fault or not. PIP coverage is more extensive than medical coverage which only covers medical expenses. PIP can be used to cover rehab or chiropractic costs, replace lost wages, or cover services such as laundry or housecleaning while you recover. PIP also covers you if you are hit as a pedestrian or cyclist, and covers funeral expenses in case of death.

COMMERCIAL INSURANCE QUESTIONS

What does E&O stand for?

Errors & Omissions.  This is a type of professional liability insurance that covers businesses and employees in case of inadvertent harm to their clients.

How is D&O different than E&O?

Directors and Officers liability insurance (D&O) covers directors and officers of a company or non-profit for negligent acts or omissions and for misleading statements that result in lawsuits against the company. There are a variety of D&O coverages.

What does a bond cover?

A bond is an obligation of the surety company (the company issuing the bond) to protect one person (a.k.a. Obligee) against financial loss caused by the acts of another (a.k.a. Principal). Some common bonds are Performance Bonds, Notary Bonds, and Dishonesty Bonds:

  • Performance Bonds are to insure that the contractor performs the work they are contracted to perform.
  • Notary Bonds allow a person to notarize documents.
  • Dishonesty Bonds protect a housekeeper, maid, or janitor against claims that the housekeeper stole or broke a client’s property.

What is professional liability?

Professional liability is for specialists who are usually licensed in their field.  Insurance agents, doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects etc. can be held liable for claims arising out of their error related to their professional services.  General liability does not cover this exposure.

What is a certificate of insurance?

Often when a business enters a contract with another entity (landlord or project contract) they must provide proof of their insurance.  The agent creates a dated document showing your most current insurance coverage limits.

What is an “additional insured”?

A contract will often require that your business not only provide a certificate of insurance but also that the company or person hiring you be listed as an additional insured on the policy for a certain project or time-frame.  This gives the hiring entity coverage under your business insurance in relation to a claim that comes from your work performed.

Call us with any additional questions! (425) 485-8660