Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have coverage for water in the basement?
As you may be aware, your homeowner policy does not reimburse you for damages if water enters the lowest level of your house due to a general surface water flooding condition. Even a flood insurance policy is fairly restrictive about the coverage afforded in the basement. Some of our companies can offer some protection if you have water coming into the lowest level of your house and it comes in through a sump pump opening or a drain. The Backup of Sewers and Drains Endorsement can be added to your policy for an additional premium. Call your agent to discuss the possibilities.
Are liabilities associated with my business in the home covered by my homeowner policy?
The number of home-based businesses has increased dramatically. It is important to understand that a homeowner policy provides very little coverage for a business. Business Personal Property on the homeowner is limited to $2,500 on premises and $250 off premises. There is no liability protection for the homeowner if a client or business associate comes to the home office or if there is a business employee in the home. Protect yourself and your business with a Businessowner’s Policy (BOP). Talk to us about the many coverages you can obtain for less than $500 a year.
Are claims involving mold a big issue?
Insurance companies have become aware that a homeowner claim involving water damage can lead to a future mold claim. We have seen two ramifications of that. Some of our companies will refuse to insure a home being purchased if there has been a previous water damage claim on that house. The report can be obtained on the internet by the seller at Choicetrust.com. If you are purchasing a home, you will want to be sure that the realtor or seller obtains a CLUE Personal Property report on the house before you sign an agreement. The other result of the increasing number of mold claims is that companies are issuing new forms or endorsements limiting the amount of coverage in a mold claim. Please talk with us if you have any concerns. For more information read: Mold: The Newest Environmental Hazard
When I rent a car, should I buy the rental coverage?
When you rent a car in your personal name while on vacation, you will be asked if you want to buy Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) to pay for damage to the car in the event of an accident. Your personal automobile policy may provide some coverage. However, the rental agreement may hold you responsible for items not covered by insurance policies, such as: administrative fees charged by the rental car company to process the claim; daily rental rate for the days the vehicle can not be rented due to repairs/destruction; depreciated values of the vehicle after repair. We recommend that you purchase the LDW/CDW making sure to comply with the rental agreement requirements.
How do I get coverage on a new car?
When buying a car, don’t leave coverage to chance. Auto dealers sometimes tell their customers they will call our agency to tell us about a new vehicle and, in some cases, that call never comes. That happened to one of our customers, the call never came and our insured was involved in an automobile accident in the car that was not listed on the policy, months after the purchase. Please call to tell us that you are purchasing a vehicle. Speak with an Arthur Hall representative, don’t leave it to chance!
Does changing a name or business name affect coverage?
Many times businesses change from a sole proprietorship to a corporation as they grow. New buildings are purchased as a separate partnership or corporation. The name on the deed to a home may change to a different family member. If your business entity or the title or deed to your property changes, call us immediately. You will not have insurance coverage unless the named insured on the insurance policy is the same as the deed or title. Insurance policies are very specific on whom they will cover in the event of a claim. Generally, only the person or entity named on the front page, as the named insured, has coverage. What a difference a name makes!
What do I as a contractor need from my subs to protect my interests?
Business owners often hire subcontractors to help complete a job. In addition to hiring competent subcontractors, you can also protect yourself by obtaining: Certificates of Insurance; an Additional Insured Endorsement; and a Hold Harmless Agreement. The Certificate of Insurance will show that the subcontractor maintains general liability and workers compensation insurance. The liability limits should be equal to or greater than yours. The sub’s workers compensation insurance will mean that his payroll will not be added to your payroll as if he were your employee. Request to be named as an Additional Insured on your subcontractor’s general liability policy and request a copy of the endorsement before work is begun. Your attorney will help you draft a Hold Harmless Agreement wherein your subcontractor agrees that he will be responsible for any bodily injury or property damage resulting from his negligence.
- Certificates of Insurance
- Additional Insured Endorsement
- Hold Harmless Agreement
How has catastrophic loss changed since the terrorist attack of 9/11?
Carriers have limited exposure to catastrophic loss. The destruction of the World Trade Center has proven to be the largest single insured event in history, with loss estimates ranging as high as $70 billion. The magnitude of this event dwarfs the second largest event, the $19 billion of destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. In order to protect themselves, insurance companies have been rushing to add exclusions to their policies. Terrorism, as with other causes of loss such as lead or asbestos, have the potential to cripple or make an insurance company insolvent overnight. To fill the gap between what the insurance companies can afford to cover and what is needed, the federal government has been reviewing several proposals. So far they have failed to reach an agreement. The exclusion form most often used seeks to expand the definition of war. War is already excluded on all policies. However, this exclusion does not take effect until the loss exceeds $25 million in damages or more than 50 persons are killed or severely injured. These exclusions appear in both the property section of the policy and the liability section. For more information read: The ISO Terrorism Exclusions: Background and Analysis
Am I covered from employee theft?
Although most business insurance policies cover strangers stealing from you, they do not normally cover theft by your employees. Coverage for theft by employees, also known as employee dishonesty or crime coverage, can be endorsed onto some policies. It can also be purchased as a separate policy. This coverage is also associated at times with ERISA regulated retirement plans. Employee dishonesty can be more than just theft of money. It can also include your equipment, supplies, or raw materials. Once an employee theft is discovered, most policies immediately suspend further coverage on the dishonest acts of that dishonest employee. Employers must take action immediately upon discovering an internal theft. The cost, scope and availability of this type of coverage varies greatly. It is important to discuss the appropriateness of this valuable coverage with your insurance advisor.
Can I just send an email to get the coverage I need?
How does my insurance needs change now that I am an empty nester?
How do I protect myself from identity theft?
Rings of criminals have become very sophisticated in their intent to use stolen personal information to commit fraud or theft. We need to guard carefully our names, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, driver’s license numbers and other information that we use to make financial transactions. Protect yourself by: giving out your personal information only on a need-to-know basis; carefully screening emails before opening them; giving personal information on the phone only if it is a call you initiated where the recipient is known and trusted; and by shredding all credit card, utility and bank statements and credit card offers before you put them in the trash. Keep copies at home of your driver’s license and credit cards. If you find yourself a victim of identity theft, contact the police; the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov or 1-877-IDtheft); the companies whose cards were stolen; and place a fraud alert on your credit reports by calling the three major credit bureaus. The numbers of the credit bureaus are:
- Equifax: 800-525-6285
- Experia: 888-397-3742
- Trans Union: 800-680-7289
We take very seriously our obligation to keep your personal information private, as you will see in the Privacy Notice we enclose with our newsletter and post on this web site. We also want you to know that several insurance companies now offer coverage for the costs associated with clearing up the results of the identity theft, such as mail charges, phone calls, legal costs, time lost from work and cost of denied credit due to identity theft. Contact us for more information.