Insurance Agency Frequently
Asked Questions

What is renters insurance and why do I need it?

If you’ve considered it all, you might think that the possessions you own aren’t worth that much. However, imagine how costly it would be to replace everything you own. Buying a new bedroom set, clothing, or a computer can cost much more than you think. Imagine taking your apartment/home, flipping it upside down, and shaking it. Everything that falls out is your personal property. Once you have decided on the value of your personal property, that is what you should list as the amount on your renters policy - for example, $20,000.

Renters insurance also provides you with personal liability coverage. Personal liability protects you in the event that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage caused by your negligence. For example, this could result from a slip-and-fall accident that occurs on your premises, a dog bite incident or injuries caused by your child to someone else at school or elsewhere. Additionally, renters insurance often offers large discounts to your auto policy sometimes making renters insurance not only free, but a net positive financially.

renters insurance

What is the liability coverage on my homeowners policy?

Personal liability protects you in the event that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage caused by your negligence. For example, this could result from a slip-and-fall accident that occurs on your premises, a dog bite incident or injuries caused by your child to someone else at school or elsewhere. This coverage is also typically worldwide and can also cover such things as liability due to a skiing injury or something similar.

homeowners insurance

Why did my premium go up if I had no accidents/if my car got older?

A Massachusetts auto insurance policy consists of 12 parts, only 2 cover your vehicle. The rest cover other people and property. Unfortunately, the costs of auto repair and medical expenses related to injuries have only been going up. In addition, insurance as a whole is not an individual matter. We all pay for each other. So although you have had no incidents, if your particular risk class (zip code, age bracket, etc.) have been experiencing increased losses, you too will experience increased premiums. This is not however only a negative-if you experience a large loss your insurance premiums may never cover that loss. Thankfully, insurance is a team effort.

Does my car insurance cover rental cars?

If you have substitute transportation coverage on your auto policy, your policy will pay for a rental car while your car is in the shop after an insurable loss up to the policy limits. Your policy, however, will not pay for a rental car for recreational purposes. A Massachusetts automobile policy will cover the insurance with the same coverage that is on your policy for a vehicle that you rent throughout the US and Canada. If you do not have adequate coverage on your policy or are renting a vehicle outside the US or Canada you will need to purchase their insurance.

What is accident forgiveness and how does it work?

While accident forgiveness programs differ between carriers, the overall idea is that should you have an accident your insurance premium will not go up on the following renewal due to that accident. Please keep in mind that renewal premiums are often impacted by many factors and loss history is just one. Regardless, purchasing accident forgiveness coverage is an excellent way to help predict your insurance premiums and to keep them stable despite the risks associated with operating a motor vehicle.

Will my rates go up if I had a not-at-fault accident?

Depending on your auto insurance carrier and your overall driver history, it might. Many carriers have moved to a rating system that takes into account overall incidents. Actuarial science is complicated but it has been statistically proven that even not-at-fault accidents are a strong indicator of future risk which drives insurance premiums.

How long do points stay on my driving record?

This varies by state and insurance carrier but in Massachusetts, the system has been well developed. The MA registry of motor vehicles has an excellent explanation that can be found here:

How will my premium increase if I get points on my record?

This question is nearly impossible to answer as it depends on your coverage, overall driver profile, zip code, and many other factors. As a very rough rule of thumb though, you can expect a yearly increase of approximately $150/year per point.

Why do all my household members have to be listed on my auto insurance if they do not drive my car?

Per Massachusetts (and most other states) law, your auto insurance policy must list all licensed drivers living in your household who are related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption, including drivers already covered by their own insurance policies. You should also list any person who occasionally drives your car. While the policy only requires you to list "customary" operators, insurers often interpret this term broadly, and some require that you list anyone who may use your vehicle. Typically, drivers who have their own auto insurance policies can be listed on your policy as "deferred operators” at no additional charge. If you fail to list any "customary" operator or licensed household member, your insurance company might refuse to pay your claim, even if you were driving at the time of the accident. You can find more information about at the Mass.Gov website here: Understanding Insurance

What is Umbrella insurance and do I need to carry it?

Umbrella insurance provides additional liability above and beyond the underlying policies that it covers. The biggest reason to get umbrella insurance is for a true catastrophe. For example, the maximum coverage provided for liability on an auto policy is $250,000/person and $500,000 total per accident. In the event of very serious injuries, even this amount is not enough (we have seen claims go well over $1,000,000). Imagine the costs of a helicopter medevac, surgery, inpatient hospital stay, etc. That alone can easily hit $250,000. Then you have years of physical therapy, lost wages and a lawsuit for pain and suffering. In addition, if the person was a high wage earner they can even sue you for loss of future wages. That’s one person; if multiple people are seriously injured in an accident, even $1,000,000 may not be enough. Umbrella insurance is a very valuable and affordable coverage. If you have a substantial amount of personal net worth you should seriously consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy to protect yourself and your family.

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