Insurance Resources

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I file a claim?

Follow these steps: Call your insurance agent as soon as possible, regardless of who is at fault. Find out whether you're covered for this loss. Even if the accident appears minor, it is important that you let your insurance company know about the incident.

Ask your agent or company representative how to proceed and what forms or documents are needed to support your claim. Increasingly, companies allow you to monitor the progress of your claim on their website.

Auto Insurance

What is auto insurance?

Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an automobile accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.

Can I drive legally without insurance?

NO! Almost every state requires you to have auto liability insurance. All states also have financial responsibility laws. This means that even in a state that does not require liability insurance, you need to have sufficient assets to pay claims if you cause an accident. If you don't have enough assets, you must purchase at least the state minimum amount of insurance. But insurance exists to protect your assets. Trying to see how little you can get by with can be very shortsighted and dangerous. If you've financed your car, your lender may require comprehensive and collision insurance as part of the loan agreement.

Home Insurance

What is in a standard homeowners insurance policy?

A standard homeowners insurance policy includes four essential types of coverage. They include:

  1. Coverage for the structures on the property
  2. Coverage for your personal belongings.
  3. Legal liability protection.
  4. Additional living expenses in the event you are temporarily unable to live in your home because of a fire or other insured disaster.

How do I take a home inventory and why?

Would you be able to remember all the possessions you've accumulated over the years if they were destroyed by a fire? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.
Start by making a list of your possessions, describing each item and noting where you bought it and its make and model. Clip to your list any sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals you have. For clothing, count the items you own by category -- pants, coats, shoes, for example –- making notes about those that are especially valuable. For major appliance and electronic equipment, record their serial numbers usually found on the back or bottom.

Life Insurance

Do I need life insurance?

You need life insurance if anyone depends on your income. In such cases, life insurance solves many personal and business financial problems.

Personal needs: If you are a young parent, you may need life insurance on your own life to enable a surviving spouse to raise the children. When you are older, you may need life insurance if you are financially responsible for an aging parent or want to provide funds to take care of final expenses, debts or taxes.

A general rule suggests buying protection equivalent to FIVE TO EIGHT TIMES YOUR ANNUAL INCOME. Your needs may vary according to your financial assets and liabilities.

How much life insurance do I need?

To help you decide how much and what type of life insurance you need, you have to evaluate your family's financial needs.

Organize your family's financial information and estimate what your family would need after you have died and are no longer producing income. Include ongoing expenses such as day-care, tuition costs and retirement savings, as well as immediate expenses at death such as medical bills, burial costs and estate taxes.

You should also count on additional money to help your family readjust to the changed situation. For example, the family may want to move to another home or your spouse may need to be retrained for another job to support the family.

As a general rule, you should buy protection equivalent to five to eight times your annual income. But your needs will vary greatly according to your financial assets and liabilities, income potential and level of expenses.