Personal Insurance

» Auto

» Coverage

  • Bodily injury
  • Carpooling
  • Leasing / Gap coverage
  • Medical payments (PIP)
  • Property damage
  • Rental car
  • Uninsured & underinsured motorist
  • International coverage
  • Trailers

» Auto Safety

  • Airbag safety
  • Becoming a better driver
  • Breakdown safety
  • Child passengers
  • Seniors

» Teen Drivers

  • Airbag safety
» Motorcycle Insurance

» Coverage

  • Liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured & underinsured motorist
  • Passenger coverage
  • Other drivers
» Recreational Vehicles
» Watercraft Insurance
» Coverage
» Homeowners Insurance

» Coverage

  • Liability
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  • Special property
  • The structure of your house
  • Slips
  • Child away in college

» Trampoline Safety
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» Child Safety

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» Rental Property
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» What is Umbrella Insurance?

Personal refers to the type of insurance you can buy to reduce your exposure in the event of a loss. Automobile, home and liability are the common policies you may have. Personal can also refer to the type of professional service you expect and deserve from your insurance agent. There are many benefits in putting your trust in Purmort & Martin Insurance.

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Personal Auto Insurance

We provide coverage for most types of vehicles. We also can coordinate your entire insurance program to include your home, business, and other property.

Auto Safety
Become a better driver
Child passengers
Teenage Driver Safety Agreement

FAQ
Can I drive into another country?
What coverage is provided if I pull a trailer with my vehicle?

Auto Coverage

Have you ever had a question about your auto insurance? We are here to answer your questions and help you make important decisions to be certain that you are properly protected.

  • Bodily injury
  • Carpooling
  • Leasing / Gap coverage
  • Medical payments (PIP)
  • Property damage
  • Rental car
  • Uninsured & underinsured motorist
  • International coverage
  • Trailers

Bodily injury liability

This coverage applies to injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder, cause to someone else. Both yourself and any family members listed on the policy are also covered when driving someone else’s car with their permission.

It’s very important to have enough liability insurance, because if you are involved in a serious accident, you may be sued for a large sum of money. Definitely consider buying more than the state-required minimum to protect assets such as your home and savings.

Carpooling

Environmental concerns, traffic congestion, convenience, desire to relieve driver stress, poor public transportation, lack or expense of parking are all factors that contribute to commuters forming driver groups or carpools. Parents use such arrangements to transport children to school, sports events, and extracurricular activities. It is also common for a student owning a car to carry classmates back and forth between home and school.

Regardless of the name, driver groups, share-the-ride arrangements, or carpools are a permanent part of the American scene. Typically, several drivers take turns assuming the responsibility for driving their companions. It’s common for the turns to last a week and may be switched on a rotating basis. These people frequently live in the same area and work in the same office or plant. They may take turns driving or may regularly ride in one car and pay the owner a reasonable fee for gasoline, maintenance, and wear and tear.

The practice of a parent taking a group of children on an outing, to a “Little League” baseball game, and the like is commonplace. Other examples of group driving exposures are plentiful:

    • Church group activities
    • Book club members driving to their regular meeting or outing
    • Coaches taking players to practices or games

 

Liability Insurance Exclusion

Drivers involved in car pools and other group arrangements may wonder if the situation is covered under their auto policy. This concern is valid as many auto policies have restrictions. Typically, liability coverage under personal automobile policies does not apply to “liability arising out of the ownership or operation of a vehicle while it is being used as a public or livery conveyance.” (A public conveyance is a vehicle used indiscriminately in transporting the public without being limited to certain persons or occasions. A livery vehicle is one that is offered for rental.) There is slight variation in language among policies issued by various insurers, but the intent is the same: to exclude the use of a personal auto for transporting people or property for income. However, this exclusion does not affect coverage for car pool, driver group, or share-the-ride arrangements.

You have already learned that many drivers use different ride-sharing arrangements. The typical automobile insurance policy covers these arrangements because the driving exposure is essentially the same. The common policy exclusion that refers to “public or livery conveyances” is to prevent coverage for business situations. Using a car or SUV that is insured by a personal auto policy to transport people or goods for hire is unfair to insurers. The premium a company charges for personal use is inadequate to cover “public or livery conveyances” that are typically:

  • Driven more miles
  • Exposed to worse (i.e., high density) traffic situations
  • Driven under more pressure to meet delivery schedules
  • Exposed to poorer driving conditions

In other words, such use calls for more careful underwriting, different or special coverages, and a higher premium. However, group-driving arrangements are another form of personal use such as using a car for commuting, vacations, personal errands, etc. The result is that a “personal” premium compensates an insurer for most pool arrangements.

Are there other coverage considerations?

Yes. Car owners may worry if their insurance is affected if another member of a pool is driving their car. The answer is that any person using the vehicle with the car owner’s permission is covered along with the car owner.

Persons who drive in carpools may want to discuss the details with their insurance agent. An insurance agent may recommend that you carry higher bodily injury liability insurance limits. Higher medical payments limits may also be in order. Providing full details can help an agent make sure that any fees involved in the arrangement represent coverage for the driver’s operating expenses and not additional income.

Conclusion

In most instances, using a car in a typical share-the-ride arrangement or carpool will not affect the protection under the personal auto policy. The fact that passengers pay a small amount of money to help cover the expense of automobile operation is unlikely to eliminate their driver’s insurance coverage since the car is not being used as a “public or livery conveyance.” However, any fees received by a driver from car pool passengers should only reflect a reasonable share of the gas and oil expense and depreciation on the car.

What if I lease a car?

If you lease a car, you still need to buy your own auto insurance policy. The auto dealer or bank that is financing the car will require you to buy collision and comprehensive coverage. You’ll need to buy these coverages in addition to the others that may be mandatory in your state, such as auto liability insurance.

  • Collision covers the damage to the car from an accident with another automobile or object.
  • Comprehensive covers a loss that is caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as a fire or theft or collision with a large animal.

The leasing company may also require “gap” insurance. This refers to the fact that if you have an accident, and your leased car is damaged beyond repair or “totaled,” there’s likely to be a difference between the amount that you still owe the auto dealer and the check you’ll get from your insurance company. That’s because the insurance company’s check is based on the car’s actual cash value which takes into account depreciation. The difference between the two amounts is known as the “gap.”

On a leased car, the cost of gap insurance is generally rolled into the lease payments. You don’t actually buy a gap policy. Generally, the auto dealer buys a master policy from an insurance company to cover all the cars it leases and charges you for a “gap waiver.” This means that if your leased car is totaled, you won’t have to pay the dealer the gap amount. Check with the auto dealer when leasing your car.

If you have an auto loan rather than a lease, you may want to buy gap insurance to protect yourself from having to come up with the gap amount if your car is totaled before you’ve finished paying for it. Ask your insurance agent about gap insurance or search the Internet. Gap insurance may not be available in some states.

Medical payments (PIP)

This coverage pays for the treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car. At its broadest, personal injury protection, or PIP, can cover medical payments, lost wages and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an auto accident. It may also cover funeral costs.

Property damage liability

This coverage pays for damage you (or someone driving the car with your permission) may cause to someone else’s property. Usually, this means damage to someone else’s car, but it also includes damage to lamp posts, telephone poles, fences, buildings, or other structures your car hit.

Collision

This coverage pays for damage to your car resulting from a collision with another car, object, or as a result of flipping over. It also covers damage caused by potholes. Collision coverage is generally sold with a deductible of $250 to $1,000—the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your collision coverage will reimburse you for the costs of repairing your car, minus the deductible. If you’re not at fault, your insurance company may try to recover the amount they paid you from the other driver’s insurance company. If they are successful, you’ll also be reimbursed for the deductible.

Comprehensive

This coverage reimburses you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object, such as fire, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, hail, flood, vandalism, riot, or contact with animals such as birds or deer.

Comprehensive insurance is usually sold with a $100 to $300 deductible, though you may want to opt for a higher deductible as a way of lowering your premium.

Comprehensive insurance will also reimburse you if your windshield is cracked or shattered. Some companies offer glass coverage with or without a deductible.

States do not require that you purchase collision or comprehensive coverage, but if you have a car loan, your lender may insist you carry it until your loan is paid off.

Do I need insurance to rent a car?

When renting a car, you need insurance. If you have adequate insurance on your own car, including collision and comprehensive, this may be enough.

Before you rent a car:

  • Contact your insurance company
    Find out how much coverage you have on your own car. In most cases, the coverage and deductibles you have on your personal auto policy would apply to a rental car, providing it’s used for pleasure and not business. If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or if it is damaged in an accident.
  • Call your credit card company
    Find out what insurance your card provides. Levels of coverage vary.

If you don’t have auto insurance, you have two choices: you can buy coverage at the car rental counter, or you can purchase a non-owner auto liability insurance policy.

Rental car counter insurance

Rental car counter insurance can provide the following coverage:

  • Collision damage waiver (CDW)
    Sometimes called a loss damage waiver (LDW), this coverage relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. The CDW may be void, however, if you cause an accident by speeding, driving on unpaved roads, or driving while intoxicated. This coverage generally costs between $9 and $19 a day. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you may not need to purchase this coverage.
  • Liability insurance
    This provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance. It generally costs about $9 to $14 a day. If you don’t own a car, and rent cars often, consider purchasing a non-owner liability policy. This costs approximately $200&8211;$300 per year. Frequent car renters sometimes find this more cost-effective than constantly paying for the extra liability coverage.
  • Personal accident insurance
    This provides coverage to you and your passengers for medical/ambulance bills. This type of insurance usually costs about $1 to $5 per day, but may be unnecessary if you are covered by health insurance or have adequate medical coverage under your auto policy.
  • Personal effects coverage
    This provides coverage for the theft of personal items in your car. However, if you have homeowners or renters insurance, you may be covered for items stolen from the car, minus your deductible. You need to have receipts or other proof of ownership. This type of insurance usually costs about $1 to $4 per day.

Some rental car companies combine personal accident and personal effects coverage together as one type of insurance, while others sell it individually.

The cost of insurance at the rental car counter will vary depending on the rental car company, state, and location of the dealer and the type of car you rent.

Some rental car companies may check your credit and driving history and may deny coverage. Check with the rental car company to find out its policy.

Non-owned auto liability insurance

Instead of buying liability coverage from the car rental company each time you rent a car, you can purchase a non-owner auto liability insurance policy from an insurance company for about $300 a year which might be cheaper if you rent frequently.

In addition, if you’re thinking of buying an umbrella liability policy, a non-owner auto policy may meet the underlying auto insurance policy requirements. Umbrella liability insurance provides high limits of liability coverage above basic policies. Most insurers will not issue an umbrella liability policy unless the basic policies meet certain dollar limits of coverage.

A non-owned auto insurance policy covers you for damage you may cause to someone else’s car and liability for injuries to its occupants, or to pedestrian, in the event of an accident. The policy will also provide medical payments coverage for you and your passengers, and underinsured and uninsured coverage. This pays for the cost of an accident involving a hit-and-run driver or a driver who has little or no insurance.

However, non-owned auto insurance does not provide collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage to the car you’re driving if you crash into another car or object or the car rolls over. You have to buy this from the car rental company. However, some credit cards provide collision coverage if the rental car is paid for with the card or check with your credit card company first.

Note: If you’re renting a car abroad, you may need an international drivers license.

Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage

This coverage will reimburse you, a member of your family, or a designated driver if one of you is hit by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.

Underinsured motorist coverage comes into play when an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance to pay for your total loss. This coverage will also protect you if you are hit as a pedestrian.

Can I drive into another country?

Most personal auto policies provide coverage for driving in Canada. However, we recommend that you check with us before taking your car across the border.

Mexican law requires that you purchase separate liability coverage from a Mexican insurance company prior to operating your vehicle in Mexico. Your personal auto policy may provide some limited coverage but this coverage must meet the insurance requirements of the Republic of Mexico. Failure to purchase the proper Mexican liability insurance could result in a substantial fine if you are involved in an accident while driving in Mexico. Again, we suggest that you check with our office prior to taking your vehicle across the border.

What coverage is provided if I pull a trailer with my vehicle?

In most cases, if the vehicle pulling the trailer is covered under the policy, the liability coverage will be extended to the trailer if you own the trailer. However, physical damage (comprehensive or collision) must be purchased separately. You will need to review your policy for exceptions.

Auto Safety

Your safety is our highest priority. Learn how you can make your life safer.

  • Airbag safety
  • Becoming a better driver
  • Breakdown safety
  • Child passengers
  • Seniors

Airbag safety

Air bags save thousands of lives each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In frontal crashes, air bags reduce deaths among drivers by about 30 percent and among passengers by 27 percent.

Air bags, however, can be dangerous. If small children sit unbelted in the front seat, they can be catapulted into the path of a deploying air bag, which inflates with great force. This risk also applies to small adults (who must sit close to the steering wheel in order to reach the pedals), to pregnant women, and to the elderly. Infants in rear-facing safety seats on the passenger side can be severely injured because their heads are in the direct path of an inflating air bag. If your airbag is stolen or it deploys, you must get a new one, but you will be reimbursed under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy.

Preventing air bag injuries

Drivers should have all children sit in the backseat wearing a safety belt. Infants should be placed in rear-facing car seats and put in the backseat. Small adults should move the seat back so that their breastbone is at least 10 inches from the air bag cover.

If this is not possible, air bag switches can be installed so that the vehicle owner has the option of turning the bag on or off, depending on the situation. In January 1998, NHTSA allowed auto dealers and repair shops to begin installing air bag cut-off switches. Before the switch can be installed, vehicle owners must complete a four-step process:

1. Obtain an information brochure and request form from NHTSA, dealerships, or repair shops
2. Return the form to NHTSA
3. Receive authorization from NHTSA after it reviews the case
4.Take the vehicle to the service shop along with the authorization from NHTSA which certifies that the owner has read the brochure and met one of the four eligibility classifications:

  • Rear-facing infant seat can be in the front (necessary if the vehicle has no back-seat)
  • Driver’s seat cannot be adjusted to keep more than 10 inches between the driver and the steering wheel
  • Putting a child 12 or under in the front seat can not be avoided
  • Having a medical condition that puts them at risk of injury when an air bag deploys.

Become a better driver

American drivers are pointing fingers again. A recent survey bears some grim news: the other guy or gal behind the wheel is ruder, more aggressive, and is causing more accidents. A recent survey sponsored by several motorist and insurance organizations discovered that:

  • Most drivers have recently operated their car, truck, or SUV in a risky manner
  • Many drivers think that other classes of drivers should have their driving skills regularly tested
  • The majority of drivers think that their driving habits are fine — everyone else is the problem

It is time to stop pointing fingers. Let’s put our hands back on our steering wheels. Regardless who is at fault, the number and severity of accidents and road tragedies are increasing. The only thing that is under your control is your own driving behavior. While you can’t predict what another driver is going to do, you can make a stronger effort to make the roads and streets safer.

Obey traffic lights, signs, and road markings. All of these are important methods to control traffic and minimize accidents. Just try to figure out how much time you “save” by tailgating, lane changing, and running traffic lights. If you save anything, it’s seconds, not minutes. Also, if you are involved in an accident, you’ve just lost any time ever gained by risky driving. Insurance paperwork and accident reports can claim hours and days of your life. If time is important to you, then take the time to pay attention to the rules of the road.

You will also find it healthier and safer to avoid paranoia. The other drivers in the other cars and trucks are not out to get you. Don’t take things personally since the silly things that happen in cars are usually mistaken or mindless, not malicious. Just relax and concentrate on your own driving. Yield right of way to others, stop for school buses, and watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. The more patient, respectful, and attentive drivers there are on the road, the better it will for all of us (and our insurance rates).

Breakdown safety

If you are in an accident or your car breaks down, safety should be your first concern. Getting out of the car at a busy intersection or on a highway to change a tire or check damage from a fender bender is probably one of the worst things you can do. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recommends the following precautions when your car breaks down:

  • Never get out of the vehicle to make a repair or examine the damage on a busy highway. Get the vehicle to a safe place before getting out. If you’ve been involved in an accident, motion the other driver to pull up to a safe spot ahead.
  • If you can’t drive the vehicle, it may be safer to stay in the vehicle and wait for help or use a cell phone to summon help. Under most circumstances standing outside the vehicle in the flow of traffic is a bad idea.
  • Carry flares or triangles to use to mark your location once you get to the side of the road. Marking your vehicle’s location to give other drivers advance warning can be critical. Remember to put on your hazard lights!
  • In the case of a blowout or a flat tire, move the vehicle to a safer place before attempting a repair even if it means destroying the wheel getting there. The cost of a tire, rim, or wheel is minor compared to endangering your safety.

Child passengers

If you regularly carry young passengers in your auto, have you done everything possible to make sure they’re safe? Are you familiar with what is involved in keeping children safe? If you’re not, read on for some tips on what’s necessary to protect the persons most vulnerable to injuries during car accidents.

Guidance from Child Restraint Laws?

While you might think it would be safe to comply with your state’s child safety or restraint law, you would be wrong in many states. The National Safe Kids campaign recently reviewed the states’ child restraint laws and found them to be quite inadequate. Based upon the guidelines of its own model child restraint law, nearly every state inadequately protects its children. How? In most instances state laws fall short in the following areas:

    • Penalties for restraint law violations are too low to encourage compliance
    • Rarely establishes restraint guidelines for children older than eight
    • Too many exceptions to the restraint laws exist

 

How are child passengers best protected?

While you’re likely familiar with the needs of infants and toddlers, the focus of protection usually is upon a child’s age or whether a safety appliance exists. Here are some considerations for protecting young auto passengers:

  • Infants&8212;Should be in well-constructed and padded infant carrier that should be located in a rear seat. Infant seats should be of the type that is made to face the rear of the seat and not the front of the passenger area. Infants must be protected from the chance of being thrown forward into hard surfaces.
  • Toddlers&8212;Should be in well-constructed, padded child carriers that, while facing forward, should only be placed in the rear passenger seats. Again, this is to minimize the chance of hitting hard surfaces (such as a dashboard or a windshield) and to avoid air bags which are designed to protect adults.
  • Pre-schoolers—May move from child carriers to well-constructed and padded booster seats. The purpose of the boosters is to make sure that the seat belts fit properly. As with child carriers, these restraints should be installed in rear passenger seats.
  • Older children — Around age 12, it should be safe to allow children to ride in a car’s front seat. However, the age guideline assumes that a child has become tall and heavy enough to be properly secured by regular restraints. Be careful that shoulder straps either fit these children properly or are properly tied-down so they don’t represent a hazard. Also, be realistic. Age is a secondary consideration to body size. If a child’s small build results in a poor fit for regular seat belts and shoulder straps, continue placing the child the rear with a secure seat belt.

A disconcerting fact from the National Safe Kids campaign survey is the high incidences of children who are allowed to ride in cars without restraints or while improperly secured. This sad fact results in hundreds of thousands of serious injuries and deaths. Every passenger in a vehicle should use restraints that are appropriate for his or her age and size. Don’t depend on a law; depend on what’s needed to keep everyone safe.

Senior drivers

Most of the problems associated with traffic accidents are often related to extremes in ages of drivers. The biggest concern has always been new drivers. Teens will always cause more than their share of accidents because they don’t have the experience or maturity to drive with as much care as they should. But, inevitably, time passes and their driving improves. However, that improvement doesn’t last forever.

All drivers continue to age and, eventually, driving skills will be lost. It is up to us as individual drivers to address how we handle our ability to drive a car, van, truck, or SUV. It is important to recognize that older drivers can make adjustments. It probably comes at no surprise that the easiest way to adjust driving habits is to pay greater attention to traffic signs, signals, and speed limits. Obeying posted instructions will decrease the chance that an older driver will have to rely on deteriorating eyesight and slower reflexes to avoid an emergency situation.

Some states have laws that increase requirements for older drivers to renew their driving privileges. However, such requirements, such as shorter licensing periods and mandatory driving tests don’t occur until drivers are well past 70 years of age. It makes more sense for drivers to change their habits as well as look for ways to objectively assess their current driving skills. Mature drivers should consider the following:

  • Consider restricting driving to non-peak hours whenever practical
  • Avoid driving in poorer weather
  • Stop driving at night
  • Be aware of how any prescription medicines may affect vehicle operation
  • Voluntarily take driving tests so an objective party can evaluate skills
  • Search websites, such as those sponsored by state motor vehicle departments, senior associations, or driving clubs which offer self-assessment questionnaires
  • Reduce distractions while driving; choose minimal or no use of cell phones, audio devices, etc.
  • Be more sensitive to feelings of fatigue and don’t drive while tired
  • When circumstances call for it, consider giving up your license and depend on other means of transportation

Teen drivers

We want to help teens to learn to be safe and to drive safely with articles and videos targeted to both teens and parents.

  • Teenage Driver Safety Agreement

Teenage Driver Safety Agreement

My Driver Safety Agreement

Driving is a privilege that I may lose by violating this agreement or may have suspended for other reasons, such as (but not limited to) unsatisfactory school grades or violations of family trust.

  • I will obey any curfews or restrictions imposed by my driver’s license.
  • I will obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
  • I will not drink and drive, or use illegal drugs, or drive if I am taking any medication that may affect my driving.
  • I will not ride with anyone whom I know or suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal).
  • I will not permit any open or empty containers of alcohol or transport anyone who I know or suspect may be carrying illegal drugs in any vehicle I operate.
  • I will not ride in any vehicle where I know that there are empty or open containers of alcohol or where anyone who I know or suspect may be carrying illegal drugs.
  • I agree not to drive with or transport anyone who is in possession of any weapon.
  • I will always wear my seat belt and shoulder harness. I will not ride in any vehicle in which there are more people than seat belts.
  • I will make certain that I can always hear emergency vehicles and traffic sounds.
  • I will drive defensively.
  • I will not transport passengers unless they are properly secured by a seatbelt.
  • I will always wear a helmet if I am driving or riding on a motorcycle. I will not transport a passenger unless he or she also wears a helmet.
  • I will drive in a manner that respects the safety of myself, my passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.
  • I will ignore peer pressure. While driving, I am in control. I can stop and ask others to leave my vehicle, and, as a passenger, I can ask a driver to stop and let me out.
  • I will not drive unless I feel safe and certain of my ability.
  • I will be especially alert during dangerous conditions such as rain, snow, sleet, wind, heavy traffic, fog, unlit roads, construction zones, and accident scenes.
  • I will always lock every door and take the keys when I leave the vehicle. I will park in areas where I believe the vehicle will be safe from damage or theft.
  • I will obey the driving instructions of my parent(s) and of law enforcement officers.

__________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________

I have read, understood, and will comply with this agreement.

Signed______________________ Witnessed_________________________

Date:_______________________

Motorcycle Insurance

We provide coverage for motorcycles. We also can coordinate your entire insurance program to include your auto, home, business, and other property.

Motorcycle Safety
Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Motorcycle tips & techniques
Teenage Driver Safety Agreement

FAQ
Is my passenger covered?
Are my friends covered if I let them ride?

Motorcycle Coverage

Choosing the right insurance policy is much like choosing the right bike. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle, but at the same time be within your budget. The key to finding which coverage is best for you involves learning about all the options available.

  • Liability
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured & underinsured
  • Passenger coverage
  • Other drivers

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It doesn’t cover you or your motorcycle. Find out if your coverage includes guest passenger liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on the motorcycle. Whether or not this is included depends on the laws of your state and the company issuing the policy.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft, or vandalism. However, just like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and cover only the book value of the motorcycle.

Keep in mind most comprehensive and collision coverages will only cover the factory standard parts on your bike. If you decide to add on any additional optional accessories such as chrome parts, a custom paint job, trailers, or sidecars, you need to look into obtaining additional equipment coverage.

Collision coverage

Collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you are involved in an accident. Your insurance company pays for damages, minus your deductible, caused when you collide with another vehicle or object. Collision insurance usually covers the book value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred.

Uninsured & underinsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical treatment, lost wages, and other damages if a driver who has no insurance hits you. If your uninsured motorist coverage includes property damage, then your cycle would also be covered under the same circumstances. Check with our staff to see if property damage is included or needs to be purchased separately.

Underinsured motorist coverage

Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage, except it applies when the other party has lower coverage limits than you do and damages exceed the other party’s limits.

Is my passenger covered?

In most cases your passenger is covered under the included guest passenger liability insurance. The limits of coverage for your passenger are the same as your chosen bodily injury liability limits. Be sure to check with one of our staff for specifics that apply to your policy.

Are my friends covered if I let them ride?

Yes, as long as the operator of the motorcycle is properly licensed and has your permission to operate the motorcycle.

Recreational Vehicles

When considering recreational vehicles, you should be aware that this broad category of vehicles is composed of different types. They vary from unpowered units that are towed behind vehicles, units that are attached to motorized units (pick-up trucks), and self-powered units. The term sometimes includes motorized off road vehicles. Various state laws determine registration and insurance requirements. We can advise you on the requirements and best insurance options for your situation.

Basic types consist of the following:

  • Bus conversions
  • Fifth-wheel trailers
  • Fold-down trailers
  • Motorhomes (in several classes)
  • Travel trailers
  • Truck campers
  • Van conversions
  • ATVs
  • Quads
  • Scooters
  • Golf carts

Watercraft Insurance

We provide coverage for most types of vehicles. We also can coordinate your entire insurance program to include your home, business, and other property.

Boat Safety
Boat education
Boating safety course
Boating safety resources

FAQ
What is the difference between boat & yacht insurance?
Who is allowed to operate my boat?

Watercraft coverage

Boat insurance covers:

  • Bodily injury—for injuries caused to another person
  • Property damage—for damage caused to someone else’s property
  • Guest passenger liability—for any legal expenses incurred by someone using the boat with the owner’s permission
  • Medical payments—for injuries to the boat owner and other passengers
  • Theft

Most companies offer liability limits starting at $15,000 and which can be increased to $300,000. Typical policies include deductibles of $250 for property damage, $500 for theft, and $1000 for medical payments. Higher limits may be available. Additional coverage can be purchased for trailers and other accessories. Boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy which will provide additional protection for their boat, home, and car.

Boaters should also inquire about special equipment kept on the boat, such as fishing gear, to make sure it is covered and verify that towing coverage is included in the policy.

Boat owners should also inquire about discounts including:

  • Diesel powered craft, which are less hazardous than gasoline powered boats as they are less likely to explode
  • Coast Guard-approved fire extinguishers
  • Ship-to-shore radios
  • Two years of claims-free experience
  • Multi-policies with the same insurer, such as a car, home, or umbrella policy
  • Safety education courses, such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the American Red Cross

Homeowner’s Insurance

We provide coverage for most types of homes. We also can coordinate your entire insurance program to include your auto, business, and other property.

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Home evacuation
Child safety

FAQ
Am I covered if a neighbor slips and sues?
My child is away at college. Does my homeowners policy cover the possessions he took for theft and damage?

Homeowners coverage

There are several standard coverages that make up the standard homeowners policy.

  • Liability
  • Personal belongings
  • Special property
  • The structure of your house
  • Slips
  • Child away in college

Liability

Liability covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your son, daughter, or dog accidentally ruins your neighbor’s expensive rug, you are covered. However, if they destroy your rug, you are not covered.

The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy. You are also covered not just in your home, but anywhere in the world.

Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. However, experts recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of protection. Some people feel more comfortable with even more coverage. You can purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits. Generally, umbrella policies cost between $200 to $350 for $1 million of additional liability protection.

Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. In the event a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. This way, expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage. It does not, however, pay the medical bills for your family or your pet.

Your personal belongings

Your furniture, clothes, sports equipment, and other personal items are covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane, or other insured disaster. Most companies provide coverage for 50% to 70% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. So if you have $100,000 worth of insurance on the structure of your home, you would have between $50,000 to $70,000 worth of coverage for your belongings. The best way to determine if this is enough coverage is to conduct a home inventory.

This part of your policy includes off-premises coverage. This means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world, unless you have decided against off-premises coverage. Some companies limit the amount to 10% of the amount of insurance you have for your possessions. You have up to $500 of coverage for unauthorized use of your credit cards.

Expensive items like jewelry, furs, and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. Generally, you are covered for between $1,000 to $2,000 for all of your jewelry and furs. To insure these items to their full value, purchase a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure the item for its appraised value. Coverage includes “accidental disappearance,” meaning coverage if you simply lose that item. And there is no deductible.

Trees, plants, and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance. Generally you are covered for 5% of the insurance on the house—up to about $500 per item. Perils covered are theft, fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot, and even falling aircraft. They are not covered for damage by wind or disease.

Special property

The typical homeowners policy offers plenty of coverage for personal property, usually offering a limit equal to half of the amount reserved for the residence (ex. your home is covered for $150,000, so your contents and furnishings are covered for $75,000). While this is generous coverage, it doesn’t extend to all types of property for all causes of loss. Certain types of property, because of its high value and liquidity, is far more vulnerable to loss either easily destroyed, easily stolen or both. For instance, an insurer protects your sofa right along with your fur coat for the same basic premium, but the two types of property don’t represent the same chance loss. Recognizing this fact, insurers put more restrictions on the coverage provided by a basic policy.

Theft Coverage Limitations

When property is lost due to theft, coverage under a standard homeowner policy is severely limited (generally between $1,000–$2,500) for the following types of property:

  • Jewelry, watches, furs, and gemstones
  • Dinnerware, serving sets, trophies, and similar property made of or plated with silver, gold, platinum, or pewter
  • For firearms, accessories, and related property

Other Coverage Limitations

Several categories of property are subject to very modest limits (generally between $200–$2,500) of coverage, regardless of the cause of loss (theft, fire, accidental breakage, etc). Specifically:

  • Money, bank notes, coins, medals, gold, silver, and platinum (other than jewelry or dinnerware)
  • Securities, accounts, deeds, tickets, stamps, manuscripts, passports, and similar property
  • Watercraft and related property including their trailers
  • Trailers not used with watercraft
  • Business property located in your residence
  • Business property located away from your residence
  • Certain types of electronic property (CD players, VCRs, TVs, radios, computers, and related accessories) which is lost or damaged while in a car or is located away from your home and used for business

Remind me about homeowners limitations

The typical homeowners policy contains substantial coverage limitations for certain types of property. The modest insurance protection affects property that is highly vulnerable to loss because it is targeted for theft and/or has a high level of value in relation to its size. Examples are gold, money/securities, precious metal-plated dinnerware, jewelry, furs, stamps, electronic property, business property, watercraft, and firearms.

How do you handle the limited coverage situation? – You have to do something extra to your insurance program. Insurance companies are happy to provide more coverage, if they are paid for their trouble. Specifically, limited coverage can be handled using the following methods:

  • Increased Coverage C Endorsement—This form is only appropriate for property saddled with limited coverage for theft losses. This form is attached to a basic policy, and it increases the theft insurance limit (i.e., for jewelry from $1,500 to $5,000).
  • Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement—This form is used for increasing coverage for property that has protection reduced for all sources of loss. The property is removed from the basic policy’s limits and is covered exclusively by the endorsement. This form takes more work since each item of property has to be listed and assigned a particular insurance limit.
  • Inland Marine Property Floater—This method works like the personal property endorsement, except that it is a separate policy. This alternative is more appropriate for persons owning substantial amounts of high-valued property. The coverage must often be purchased from specialized insurers and comes at a high cost. In order to qualify for such coverage, you may need to meet special circumstances such as having a residential alarm system or make use of vault storage.

Another advantage of special handling – In order to arrange coverage under a schedule or an inland marine policy, the property must be properly valued. This often involves appraising the property. It’s very helpful to have an expert source establish the current value of jewelry, furs or other valuable possessions. In fact, such property should be appraised every two or three years since their values often increase over time.

The structure of your house

This part of your policy pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning, or other disaster listed in your policy. It will not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake, or routine wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, it is important to buy enough to rebuild your home.

Most standard policies also cover structures that are detached from your home such as a garage, tool shed, or gazebo. Generally, these structures are covered for about 10% of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. If you need more coverage, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing more insurance.

Am I covered if a neighbor slips & sues?

The liability portion of your homeowner policy was designed for just this situation. Your insurance policy provides for payment of medical expenses and for the legal costs of defending you against a claim. Be sure to read your policy for complete details.

My child is away at college. Does my homeowners policy cover possesions he took for theft and damage?

Yes. Personal property normally located at your residence but which is at another location is typically covered. Check with your agent for the specific amount of coverage—electronic equipment taken to college can quickly exceed the standard coverage you may have.

Trampoline safety

Home Evacuation

Child Safety

Renters Insurance

Tenants live in non-owned habitational spaces. The lack of ownership by the insured means there is no dwelling structure to be insured. The lease may be in writing or verbal and may be short term or long term.

The major causes of loss are fire and theft. Important considerations include the type of building construction, the location of the building, and the number of tenants. Security of the building is important as is the security to the insured’s particular unit.

Coverage depends on the value of contents (furniture and appliances) as well as personal property such as jewelry, furs, fine arts, electronics, and other items. Appropriate safeguards should be in place and a current appraisal available to substantiate any loss. An inventory and picture record is important to document the existence and aid in recovery.

Personal liability exposure exists via the members of the household (including pets) and conditions related to the insured premises. The age of any children, the type and breed of family pets, the social and civic organizations the family participates in can all impact the loss potential.

Condo

Condominium or cooperative unit owners own only the inside of their units. The outside of their units are owned by the condominium association or the cooperative. All insurance-related issues must be evaluated based on the condominium or cooperative bylaws. The bylaws define ownership, and this determines the required amount of property insurance. It also determines the unit-owner’s liability exposure. This type of shared ownership is expanding to include “landominiums” where the structures are entirely owned by the unit owners but all land is owned and maintained by the association. There are also “dockominiums” where the vessels are owned by the unit owners but the docks and piers are under association ownership.

Property exposure exists primarily of the personal property of the unit owner with additional property exposures defined by the applicable association bylaws. The unit-owner’s responsibility determines the amount of insurance necessary. The unit owner is always responsible for carpeting and painting, but may also be responsible for the dry wall plus the plumbing and wiring within the walls. The responsibility for windows, doors, interior electrical, fireplaces, chimneys, cabinets, counters, and other items are also defined in the bylaws. In addition to all personal unit responsibility, the insured is also responsible for assessments brought by the condominium or cooperative for damage to common property as defined by the bylaws.

Inland marine exposure includes the antiques, jewelry, furs, electronics, and other types of property subject to sublimits and exclusions within the homeowners policy. These items are often attractive theft targets. Locks and alarms are of particular interest along with the off-premise/transit exposures and storage arrangements.

Personal liability exposure exists via the members of the household (including pets) and conditions related to the insured premises. The age of any children, the type and breed of family pets, the social and civic organizations the family participate in can all impact the loss potential. The unit owner’s premises liability is limited to the owned unit as explained in the bylaws. The condominium association or cooperative has the premises liability for the common areas. If a member of the household becomes an officer or board member of the association or cooperative, there is added exposure for decisions made by the board.

Rental Property

Rental property covered under personal insurance is habitational property owned by an individual, not a corporation, partnership or LLC, and rented to individuals. The structure may consist of up to four units and the owner may occupy one of the units in a multiunit structure.

Property exposures start with wiring, heating, and plumbing. The unit should comply with all governmental codes on smoke and fire detection, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. The age and condition of the building, the type of separation or firewalls that exist between units are important. If a one-family residence is converted to a multifamily structure, the conversion should be professionally done with appropriate permits and inspections. Personal property exposure depends on the items supplied by the landlord. These items are subject to theft from outsiders as well as tenants, so: the fewer such items, the better the risk.

Premises liability exposure is limited but still exists. The landlord must provide a secure dwelling. Therefore, tracking keys is very important. All heating units and wiring must be up to code. Carpeting, steps and other potential trip/fall hazards should be minimized. Sidewalks and driveways should be free from defects. A service activity log to document the landlord’s response to tenants’ needs should exist. Because discrimination suits are now being lodged against landlords, a stated procedure should be in place to prevent discrimination. Clear guidelines for tenant acceptability are important. Lead exposure must be considered if the dwelling was built prior to 1980. Window sills are a particular concern.

Flood Insurance

Do you need flood insurance? Well, walk to the nearest mirror and ask the person you see if he or she owns much property that could be damaged or destroyed by water. If the answer is yes, then you should seriously consider buying flood insurance. Most persons who need the protection buy coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If your community doesn’t participate in the program, you’ll have to look into coverage from private insurance companies.

What’s the likelihood of suffering a flood loss?

The chances of your business, home, or personal property being damaged by a flood depends primarily upon where you live. They also depend on other factors such as:

  • How much of a flood warning you receive
  • The level of flood precautions you take (such as moving personal property from lower levels to higher levels)
  • The precautions taken by your community (such as the use of flood controls in construction standards or sandbagging threatened areas). Since floods are related to weather conditions and tend to affect very wide areas, your chances of a flood loss may be higher than a loss from fires or windstorms. Many people have the obsolete belief that flood insurance is only needed if you live in a flood prone area

What is a flood zone?

If you have ever heard the term “flood zone,” you may think that it refers to locations that are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Wherever you live in the USA, you live in a flood zone. While your area may have a lower chance of flooding than a coastal area or a location situated near a body of water, your area could still experience flooding. A very dry part of the country can be susceptible to flash floods; hilly locations may be harmed by drainage; snowy locations may suffer from heavy snow thaw; other areas may suffer deluges or flooding due to a heavy rain season which has soaked the surrounding soil. So, if you’ve insured yourself against fire, wind, and other causes of loss, it certainly makes sense to also protect yourself from the potential of a flood loss.

Why worry when disaster coverage is available?

You may believe that even if you suffer from a flood, your loss may be taken care of when the government declares your location to be a disaster area. However, you’re still taking a couple of large risks. First, your flooded locale may not be deemed a disaster area. Second, being designated as a disaster area is not a bargain. Disaster area status only gives citizens access to government disaster loans. If you qualify for assistance, you have replaced insurance protection with an obligation to pay off a large, long-term loan. Is it worthwhile to gamble on an opportunity to pick up more debt? You’ll find flood insurance to be a cheaper and much more valuable alternative.

Don’t be “all wet”

You don’t have to leave yourself unprotected. We can help you with detailed information on the National Flood Insurance Program. You can also ask for help in getting the coverage you need to “keep dry” and secure in the face of a flood.

What is Umbrella Insurance

Are you getting excessive?

Okay, you have a policy for your home and the cars driven by your family. You have just the right policy for the apartment you rent out to others as well as special coverage for your boating excursions. Your homeowners policy even has a special, added coverage to handle the business that your spouse runs out of your home. Yes, it looks like you can breathe a sigh of relief and be confident that you have all the coverage you need. Or should you have an umbrella? An umbrella is the term for a liability policy that fits over your primary policies on an excess basis (and sometimes provides protection that is not available under your primary coverage).

Doesn’t “excess” mean too much?

Not in the case of carrying umbrella coverage. Umbrellas are designed to be carried over a person’s primary or underlying liability coverage. A person’s primary coverage is typically part of his or her personal automobile and homeowner’s coverage. Primary refers to the fact that in the event of a loss, the liability portion of your auto or homeowner coverage is the first to respond. Umbrellas or excess liability policies respond to an eligible loss only after the primary insurance has paid its limit.

It’s quite possible that your primary insurance limits provide more coverage than you’ll ever need. However, circumstances could involve a type of loss that is not completely covered by a primary policy. For instance, your newly licensed child is driving the family car and slides on an icy highway. He ends up causing a chain collision damaging several cars and injuring a dozen drivers and their passengers. Or maybe you often volunteer to help transport members of your son’s first grade class on field trips and you have an accident because you tried to beat a yellow light. If you don’t have enough primary coverage, any shortage may have to come out of your personal assets.

Umbrellas generally provide additional liability coverage for the following underlying policies:

  • Personal automobile
  • Homeowners/Farmowners
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Watercraft
  • Personal liability

A traditional umbrella offers broader protection, covering primary policies as well as a variety of typically uncovered exposures. For instance, you may have to go to court after being accused of slandering another person. The liability section of your homeowners policy may not cover this type of loss (this type of loss is called personal injury). An umbrella policy might include coverage for personal injury, so you’ll be covered if that situation were to come up. You may also need a traditional umbrella to handle unusual situations such as hobbies or activities that may increase the likelihood of facing liability losses. For example:

  • You have an in-home hobby of training guard dogs, and a neighbor’s child is attacked
  • You publish a newsletter on the Internet covering local or state politicians, and one issue wrongly accuses a state senator of committing crime
  • You collect rare instruments, and, as a part of the hobby, you also repair and restore such property for other people. One day you drop an antique mandolin which shatters when it hits your garage’s concrete floor

Generally, umbrellas provide coverage for any amount of a loss that exceeds the primary policy’s deductible. However, when handling a loss that is not covered by primary insurance, a special kind of deductible called a self-insured retention (SIR) may apply. An SIR is the dollar amount you have to pay before the umbrella coverage is triggered.

Of course, umbrellas don’t always work as named. Your policy may just provide additional amounts of coverage to supplement existing protection. This is how an excess policy performs. Excess policies respond the same way as a primary policy. In such cases, an umbrella may “follow the underlying coverage.” This means that the umbrella covers only the situations covered by its underlying coverage. In this case, the umbrella also excludes a loss that’s excluded under a primary policy. While in many instances umbrellas provide broader coverage, only a careful evaluation of the actual policy wording will reveal the extent of the additional protection. So, do you feel any rain drops?