FAQ

Auto, Business & Homeowners Insurance


To get the best advice and answers, we encourage you to call or visit us with your risk management or insurance questions. However, we understand there are some simple answers we can provide here that will help you prepare for that conversation and save time.

When you call, also ask us about how we can assist with life insurance, health & group insurance, disability and long-term care and retirement planning. If it’s insurance, we’ll get you what you need.

Are you covered if….?

  • Your car skids unexpectedly in the rain and you hit another car. The passenger in that car is injured and doesn’t return to work, resulting in years of lost wages.
  • The deliveryman with your wide-screen television slips and falls on the steps of your home and sues you.
  • You take the boat out and hit another person’s boat when trying to dock the boat.
  • You volunteer on the board of directors for your condominium association. The board installs a playground with a faulty swing, and a fellow association member’s child is injured.
  • A guest unknowingly dives into the shallow end of your pool and suffers a devastating injury.

Common Insurance Questions

Your Auto Accident Check List

Accident Protocol

  • Exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, makes of vehicles, license of drivers.
  • Sketch Accident and take a picture with your cell phone or camera
  • Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all passengers and witnesses.
  • Get names, addresses and phone numbers of all injured parties of other vehicle
  • Do not discuss the accident at the scene with anyone other than police.
    • Get police officer’s name
  • Gather following at the scene:
    • Date, Time, City, location of accident
    • Road conditions and weather
    • What direction were you going? Speed?
    • What direction was the other vehicle going? Speed?
    • Witnesses’ Name, Phone, Address, City/State
  • Other Vehicle
    • Owner’s Name
    • Insured by X company, policy number
    • Vehicle make and license plate number & state
    • Day phone #, evening Phone #
    • Address, City and State
    • Owner’s driver’s license number
    • Driver’s name (if other than owner) and birth date
    • Describe damage to other vehicle
    • Describe damage to your vehicle
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Common Auto Questions

Q: When purchasing automobile insurance what should I consider?
A: There are several things you should consider when purchasing automobile insurance that your Nicholas / Tobin adviser will help you with. Here are a few:

  • Purchase the amount of liability coverage which makes sense for you
  • Select the optional coverages you want such as rental car coverage
  • Decide which company to purchase insurance from
  • Don’t base your decision solely on price. Other factors like service and claim response are extremely important in selecting the right insurance

Q: Does my insurance policy cover a friend if I loan him/her my car?
A: When you loan your car to a friend or an associate, he or she will be covered under your automobile insurance policy.
If you have a business auto policy, be sure anyone who drives your vehicles regularly is named in your policy.

Q: What is collision physical damage coverage?
A: Collision is the loss you incur when your automobile collides with another vehicle or object like a telephone pole.

Q: What is comprehensive physical damage coverage?
A: Comprehensive provides coverage for direct physical damage losses you could incur to your car from something like a hailstorm.

Common Homeowners Questions

Q: What is homeowners insurance?
A: Homeowners insurance is a form of personal lines insurance. The typical homeowners policy has two main sections: 1) covers the property of the insured and 2) provides personal liability coverage to the insured.

Q: What do I need to know when purchasing homeowners insurance?
A: Get the amount and type of insurance that you need. Determine the amount of personal property insurance and personal liability coverage that you need. Select any additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. For example, do you want the personal property replacement cost endorsement?

Q: What is “actual cash value”?
A: When “actual cash value” is used in a policy, a policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property.

Q: What is replacement cost”?
A: When “replacement cost” coverage is used in a policy, a policy owner is reimbursed an amount necessary to replace the article with one of similar type and quality at current prices.

Q: Where and when is my personal property covered?
A: Coverage C of a homeowners policy provides named perils coverage. This applies to all your personal property (except property that is specifically excluded).

Q: Should I purchase flood coverage?
A: If your property lies in a flood plain as determined by US Government Flood Maps. Ask your Nicholas / Tobin adviser about a flood quote.

Common Excess Liability/Umbrella Questions

Q: I don’t have many assets so why would I need an umbrella policy?
A: Should you be sued for damages from an auto accident, a jury is not allowed to know how much insurance you have purchased. Thus any award that is made will be made on the perceived damages caused to the other party. Any amount awarded above your insurance limits is obviously your responsibility. If you do not have the funds to pay the award the court can and will garnish your wages until you pay the amount.

Q: Does my homeowners and auto policy cover me while I am traveling overseas?
A: No. If you travel overseas at all it is always a good idea to have an umbrella policy. Homeowners and auto policies are typically domestic policies and only cover you against suit brought against you in the U.S. and Canada. An Umbrella policy extends your liability to cover overseas exposures.

Q: How much umbrella do I need?
A: Our answer is what would someone else perceive your net worth to be? Or more importantly, what will your future net worth be?

Young people are most at risk as they have a whole lifetime of income ahead of them and they usually buy the least amount of coverage.

Those with titles, such as; doctors, business owners, partners, etc. are even more at risk as they will be perceived by a jury to have more assets. Unfortunately for many of them, most earn the same as everyone else, but those with titles are just perceived differently.

Common Business Questions

Certificates of Insurance

Are you interested in printing out your own certificates? We offer you a choice. Call us for an ID and password to allow you the freedom to print your own any time of the day or night – 24/7. Call 860.354.4466 to get started. Or we can process them in our office for you, whatever works best for you or your company.
Certificates of Insurance
– Click the tab at the top of the homepage for online account access
– Once you see the log in screen enter the user name and password that our staff created for you.
– Click on Certificates of Insurance
– Click on 10-11 Master tab on top
– Input the information requested. Enter the email address you want it to go to.
– The hit the submit request bottom.
– If you don’t have the email address for the other parties, you can email it to yourself, print it and either mail or fax it.
– NOTE: You are not able to amend the description. If you need additional insureds, please give us a call.

Q: What is General Liability?
A: General Liability provides coverage if you are liable for damages to other individuals arising from your premises, general operations (ongoing and after completion) and products manufactured or sold.

Q: What is Business Interruption/Extra Expense coverage?
A: Business Interruption/Extra Expense coverage provides coverage for income loss and the expense of establishing a temporary site during repairs due to damages related to a fire or compensable loss.

Q: What does 80% co-insurance mean?
A: Insurance carriers require that an insured party insure at least 80% of the property’s value in order to collect a partial loss in full. This is the way the insurance company encourages all insureds to adequately insure their property in relation to other insureds.

Q: What is fire legal coverage?
A: Fire legal coverage provides coverage for you if you rent a business space and are held responsible for fire damages to that rented space. It does not apply to all business risks.

Q: What does Products/Completed Operations mean?
A: Products/Completed Operations refers to the liability coverage for damages caused by your operation or products after the point at which you no longer have control of them.

Q: What is the difference between Replacement Cost (RC) and Actual Cash Value (ACV)?
A: Replacement Cost is the current cost to replace property. Actual Cash Value is the replacement cost less depreciation.

Insurance Terms Defined

We know the terms used by the insurance industry can be confusing. That’s why we want to help so that you can clearly understand your options and know precisely what you’re paying for. Here are the terms we use for types of coverage.

Additional Living Expenses

If you can’t live in your home because of a covered loss, most carriers will pay the necessary increase in living expenses, typically for up to 24 months, while damage is assessed and your home is repaired or rebuilt.

C.L.U.E.

C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) 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. It typically contains up to five years of personal auto or personal property claims history. You can order a C.L.U.E. report on your property from:
ChoicePoint Consumer Disclosure P.O. Box 105108 Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5108.
Or call toll free 1 (866) 527-2600.
Or you can request a copy from the seller of a home you are purchasing.

Collision Coverage

Pays to repair your auto, classic auto, motorcycle, RV damages caused by an accident. Your agent can help you determine the limits you need based on the agreed value of your vehicle.

Comprehensive Coverage

Pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in some way other than in a collision. Includes loss from fire, cracked windshields, floods, falling objects, and wind.

Custom Parts & Equipment Coverage

Many motorcycle owners like to customize their rides, and some carriers’ coverage pays for customized parts and equipment, often at no extra charge. Ask your agent for details.

Deductible

When you get insurance, you agree to pay up to a certain amount out-of-pocket in case of a loss. This amount is called your deductible. The deductible you choose often affects how much you pay for your premium. For example, a higher deductible usually means a lower premium. In the case of a covered loss, you’ll only be required to pay your deductible, and the insurance company usually covers the excess, up to the applicable limit for that loss under your policy.

Emergency & Roadside Assistance

For auto, boat and personal watercraft, emergency assistance pays for the cost of towing or emergency service. For RVs, it also covers housing and transportation costs if your RV becomes uninhabitable and covers the loss of personal property in your RV.

Excess Liability

Sometimes used interchangeably with umbrella, excess liability refers to extended liability coverage. 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.

Fidelity Coverage

Companies and businesses often purchase this coverage to protect them against loss from employee dishonesty (such as theft of money, equipment, or other assets).

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open accounts or incur charges without your permission. Thieves can access your personal information in a variety of ways, such as stealing your personal mail, your wallet, or hacking your computer files. The thief then uses your identity to rack up debt in your name or perhaps to issue fake IDs. For more information on identity theft and tips on prevention visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Site.

Indemnity

Providing indemnity means to financially restore someone after a loss, through payment, repair or replacement.

Insurance Score

A Credit Based Insurance Score (CBIS) is derived from information on your credit report. It is a number that measures likelihood of having an insurance claim, not a measure of credit worthiness. Insurers use CBIS along with a number of other factors, including driving records, claims history, and the type of home or vehicle owned, to evaluate new and renewal auto and homeowner insurance policies.

Medical Coverage (Home)

Covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, and in certain cases covers people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover healthcare costs for you or other members of your household.

Medical Coverage (Auto, Boat & Personal Watercraft, Motorcycle, RV)

Provides for your passenger and your medical expenses that are the result of an accident.

Liability & Personal Liability Coverage

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 things like how much money you make and your net worth (what you own and have in investments). Your liability coverage should be high enough to protect your belongings if you are sued.

Personal Property Coverage

Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, sports equipment, and other items that mean a lot to you. This coverage helps repair or replace these items if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of an insured event.

Personal Watercraft

(PWC) A personal watercraft (PWC) is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. Models have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering. Because they are relatively cheap and provide a lot of freedom to owners, they are widely used for recreation.

Physical Damage Coverage for Watercraft

Pays to repair the damage done to your watercraft due to an accident. It also generally pays to repair or replace your watercraft for insured situations such as theft, fire, vandalism or other non-collision damages that occur in or out of the water

Premium

Simply put, a premium is the payment you make in exchange for one term of policy coverage.

Property or Dwelling Coverage

Typically pays to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by an insured event.

Scheduled Personal Property Coverage

If you have special possessions such as jewelry, art, antiques or collectibles, you may want to talk to us about this additional coverage. Many policies are inexpensive and provide much broader coverage than if just covered on your contents coverage. It is further important to know the many homeowners policies have strict limitation on valuable and are subject to your deductible.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance is the coverage that may kick in when your losses under other insurance policies, such as homeowner’s and auto coverage, have exceeded policy limits. To understand what is the right amount of umbrella coverage to have, you can call us; we are here to help.

Underwriter/underwriting

Underwriting is the process of assessing risks when deciding whether to issue a policy of insurance.

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. It also covers you if you are hit as a pedestrian.

Unattached Equipment Coverage

Pays to repair or replace equipment that isn’t permanently attached to your boat or personal watercraft. This includes items like life jackets and water-skis.