frequently asked questions
INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS
Who does an Independent Insurance Agent work for?
The independent insurance agent works for their clients. They have the advantage of having numerous companies to choose from for the most competitive coverage and price.
What kind of insurance companies does an independent insurance agent write with?
Independent agencies are appointed with many insurance companies. Each company specializes in products tailored to a variety of business types.
Why are insurance rates cheaper at an independent insurance agency?
Insurance is a competitive market and insurance companies are always tweaking their rates to find the perfect balance. Independent insurance agents understand this. Because they are appointed with multiple companies, they have a broader understanding of insurance rates. As a result, they can take advantage of changes in the market on behalf of their clients.
Are independent insurance agents more knowledgeable about insurance in general?
Independent insurance agents must educate themselves on coverage and enhancements to best fit the needs of their clients. This is an extensive process and requires a high level of attention to detail and strong carrier relationships. Clients benefit from these partnerships to secure tailored coverage and not a one size fits all approach.
Does my business need cyber insurance?
While there are many steps you can take to protect your business from cyber attacks, a successful attack could be devastating. 90% of cyber attacks affect small businesses with an average cost of $116,967. Now, couple that damage with the loss of customer trust and it’s no surprise that 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a data breach.
That is why cyber liability is so important; it can protect both your business and its reputation with very affordable rates.
Why does it take longer to get a business insurance quote than a personal insurance quote?
Most personal insurance involves coverage for a single home, a small amount of autos, high worth valuables or recreational items. The amount of information needed is generally less and the quotes provide a value to replace or rebuild. With a business there are several more points to consider. The type of business, the various locations, the specialized endorsements and coverage needed to help you secure contracts or jobs are just a few examples of the added complexity of a business insurance quote. It’s a thorough analysis that helps the carrier design an insurance program that best fits your needs.
Why are workers compensation rates so expensive?
Workers Compensation rates are based on employee classification (with regards to the type of work they perform). The premium rate itself is expressed in dollars and cents for every $100 of payroll within each class code.
There are 3 factors that will impact your workers compensation rate:
- Size of employer’s payroll
- Employee job classification
- Employer’s claim experience
How does my loss ratio affect business insurance premiums?
For most businesses, loss ratio has the most obvious effect on workers compensation insurance premiums. However, over time, the loss ratio for liability and property insurance claims can impact premiums as well. Factors such as the frequency and severity of losses are considered when an insurance company is determining premiums. Your agent and carrier will partner with you to help reduce losses. This partnership is another great advantage of having an independent insurance agent.
I am an individual. Do I have to carry workers compensation coverage?
If you are an individual, and you do not have any employees, you do not need to have workers compensation insurance. However, you need to check with your health insurance provider to see if they will cover you if you are hurt on the job. Health insurance may not cover job related injuries, even to an individual.
I have subcontractors. Do they need to have their own insurance?
Yes, all subcontractors need to have their own insurance. Additionally, the subcontractors should provide you with a certificate of insurance. If they do not provide a certificate, the carrier will classify them as your employees and add their payroll to your audit.
Do I need to buy additional insurance when I rent a car?
That depends on the scenerio…
- No: If the car you are “replacing” has full coverage and will not be used while you are renting another, then no.
- Yes: If you are letting someone borrow and operate that car while you are renting, then yes.
Keep in mind that rental car contracts may hold you responsible for “down time” if the rental car is involved in an accident and cannot be rented. Therefore, it is always best to check with your individual auto insurance carrier or agent to see how coverage would be extended.
Does my auto policy cover a rental vehicle?
In most cases, yes.
If you’re driving a rental car of similar value to the car you own, then your auto policy should be enough to cover the rental vehicle. However, always confirm with your insurer before declining the optional rental car coverage’s so you’re clear on what coverage your policy does provide.
- Liability coverage covers third-party vehicle damages.
- Personal Injury Protection(PIP) covers the medical bills for you and the other party.
- Renters or homeowners insurance should extend to cover stolen belongings.
- Collision or Comprehensive Coverage waives your financial responsibility in the event the car is damaged or stolen. It’ll also cover loss-of-use charges while the car’s being repaired.
Again, confirm with your insurer before declining any rental car coverage types so you’re clear on what coverage your policy does and doesn’t provide.
Should I schedule items on my homeowner policy?
You could benefit big in the event of loss to some personal items if they are “Scheduled” on your insurance. Here are some items that are popular to schedule.
Many homeowners policies limit coverage for certain categories of valuables, jewelry often being one of them. It could be wise to get an insurance rider for, say, your luxury watch, diamond engagement ring, or sapphire necklace you inherited from your great grandmother.
A personal stamp or coin collection, beer can collections, vinyl record collections, and so on are great items to schedule. By scheduling your are establishing a value for that item and are paying to have it insured to that value.
- Fine art
If a valuable piece of art is destroyed in a fire or stolen. It is frequently difficult or impossible to establish the value at the time of loss. By scheduling the value is established. Of course, you will want to monitor the value if it fluctuates during the life of the policy.
The value of an antique is frequently in the eyes of the beholder. While you may be required to get the item(s) appraised, you will know what the value is in the event of a loss.
- While you may be oblivious to how much the hidden treasures you’ve inherited, acquired at flea markets, or that seemingly materialized out of thin air in your basement are worth, you could have something truly valuable on your hands. Whether it’s old vases, oriental rugs, or hand-carved furniture, antiques are investments you want protected.
- Quirky collections
A personal stamp or coin collection is usually worth very little … until it isn’t. If a collection grows big enough or features the right rare pieces, its value can suddenly skyrocket, making a rider a worthwhile purchase.
- Dining/drinking sets
If you’re like most people, you haven’t used (or seen) your fine china, sterling silverware, or crystal wine goblets in years. You may have even forgotten they exist. But they’re there, tucked away in a hutch, delicate floral patterns wilting under dust — and they can often be shockingly valuable.
- Electronic/home office equipment
Your policy may also limit coverage for the “home office” category, and things like printers, scanners, computers, and fax machines don’t come cheap.
- Even if it’s not used in a home office, electronic equipment, such as cameras or audio accessories, can often be some of the most expensive stuff in your place.
- Cell Phone
Are you paying your service provider big bucks to insure your phones with a huge deductible? Frequently your homeowners insurance can provide the coverage for a fraction of your current cost with a much lower deductible, frequently a zero deductible.
- Hearing Aids
Frequently excluded on the standard homeowners, but each hearing aid can run into thousands of dollars. By scheduling hearing aids you are protecting that investment in case of loss or destruction.