Did you know?
Here are some insurance facts that many insurance consumers might not be aware of. We hope this gives you some additional insight. As always, we strongly encourage you to read your policy in full and contact our office if you should have any questions.
- Why do I need automobile insurance?
- What are the different coverages offered?
- How much liability insurance do I need?
- Will my automobile policy cover personal items stolen from inside my vehicle?
- Will my policy provide coverage for theft of my automobile if the keys are left in the ignition?
- Will I be surcharged on my renewal for deer claims?
- What is SR-22 Insurance?
- What is uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage?
- Does my automobile policy cover additional equipment and accessories added after it left the factory?
Follow these links to the Consumer's Guide to Automobile Insurance and Homeowner's Insurance provided by the Independent Insurance Agents of America.
Why do I need automobile insurance? Your car has two unique qualities. First, it is probably one of the most expensive things you own. Insurance protects your investment and guarantees you a way of coping with the expense of accidents, vandalism or theft, as well as securing your financial responsibility to the bank or other institution lending the money to buy your vehicle.
Second, when you drive, you are operating a powerful machine, weighing one ton or more and capable of moving at over 100 miles per hour. You are responsible for the safety of your passengers, your fellow drivers, other people's property, pedestrians and yourself. Insurance helps you live up to that responsibility by ensuring your ability to cover the costs of potential damages or injuries.
You are also required to be financially responsible by state laws, which are best satisfied through your insurance coverage.
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What are the different coverages offered?
- Liability covers damage you may cause to other people's property and injuries to the people themselves.
- Collision covers damage to your own vehicle in an accident.
- Comprehensive (i.e., fire, theft and other non-collision damage) covers fire damage to your vehicle, break-ins, vandalism or theft, as well as natural disasters (earthquake, hail, hurricane, flood, etc.--unless the vehicle is overturned, then it is considered a collision).
- Medical payments insurance, usually in the range of $5,000 to $10,000, covers medical expenses for injuries. This "good-faith" coverage guarantees immediate medical payments for you, your passengers and other parties, regardless of who is at fault. It also covers you and members of your household in any accident involving an automobile, whether you are on foot, on a bicycle, in a friend's car, etc.
- Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage protects you if you are injured in an accident with others who themselves carry insufficient or no liability insurance.
- Extra coverages include expenses for towing, labor, temporary replacement vehicles, etc. These are generally defined as add-ons or endorsements to your policy.
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How much liability insurance do I need? We recommend that you purchase as much liability insurance as you can afford. It is impossible to predict how serious of an accident that you will be involved in. The minimum limits available in Alabama include coverage for up to $20,000 per person injured, limited to $40,000 per accident, and $10,000 property damage coverage. Back to Top
Will my automobile policy cover personal items stolen from inside my vehicle? No! The personal automobile policy does not include coverage for such items. A homeowner's policy would provide this coverage. Back to Top
Will my policy provide coverage for theft of my automobile if the keys are left in the ignition? The personal automobile policy does not exclude coverage if the keys are left in the ignition. However, because most stolen cars do occur in this fashion, we strongly recommend that you remove your keys and lock your doors when your vehicle is left unattended. Back to Top
Will I be surcharged on my renewal for deer claims? Deer collisions are paid under the comprehensive section of the personal automobile policy. Comprehensive claims are generally considered "not at fault" and are not surcharged as long as the driver does not leave the roadway and strike any other object during the course of the incident. Back to Top
What is SR-22 Insurance? This is not a special type of insurance. It is, however, a form that is submitted to the Department of Public Safety that proves that a person has liability insurance in force. If the liability insurance cancels, the insurance company will notify the Department of Public Safety that the policy has cancelled. Drivers are often required to provide this SR-22 notification to the Dept. of Public Safety if their license is suspended for a variety of reasons. Under the new Alabama Mandatory Insurance Law, violators will be required to purchase the SR-22 insurance. A small fee is generally charged by the insurance company for filing this form with the Dept of Public Safety. Back to Top
What is uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage? This coverage provides for injuries sustained by the insured or passenger in an accident caused by someone who does not have liability insurance or does not have enough liability insurance to cover the damages. Back to Top
Does my automobile policy cover additional equipment and accessories added after it left the factory? No. Examples of such items include an upgraded stereo system, speakers, CD player, rims, running board, winch, etc. These items must be specifically listed on your policy under "additional equipment." An additional premium is required in order to cover such items. Back to Top
Will my homeowners, mobile owners, or dwelling fire policy cover damage caused by flood? NO! These policies do not provide coverage for flood damage. A Flood Policy should be purchased to cover such occurrences. A separate policy is not required, however, for earthquake coverage. It can be added to a policy for an additional premium. Back to Top
What does a homeowner's policy cover? Because each company's policy is slightly different from the next, it is important to read your policy to determine exactly what is and what is not covered. In general, homeowner's policies cover for loss due to fire or lightning, windstorm or hail, explosions, riot or civil commotion, aircraft, vehicles, smoke, theft or vandalism (sometimes called malicious mischief), falling objects, weight of ice, snow or sleet, freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or other similar system. Back to Top
What about special limits of coverage for certain types of personal property?
Your policy lists the specific monetary limits for personal property under what is called "Special Limits." Consult your policy for these limits as they vary by insurance company. The typical standard limits usually are:
- $200 for money, bank notes, gold and silver (other than goldware and silverware), platinum, coins, and medals.
- $1,000 on securities, accounts, deeds, evidences of debt, letters of credit, notes (other than bank notes), manuscripts, passports, tickets, and stamps.
- $1,000 on watercraft, including their trailers, furnishings, equipment and outboard motors.
- $1,000 on trailers not used for watercraft.
- $1,000 for loss by theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semiprecious stones.
- $2,000 for loss by theft of firearms.
- $2,500 for loss by theft of silverware, silver-plated ware, goldware, gold-plated ware and pewterware.
- $2,500 on property on the resident premises, used for business, and $250 on this property damaged or lost away from the premises.
Are business pursuits covered? Your business activities are not covered under a homeowners policy. If you have an office in your home you need to notify your agent so that this exposure can be property addressed.
How does my fire protection affect the cost of my insurance? The insurance company has to weigh many factors in determining a premium to charge for your policy. One major factor is access to water (fire hydrant) as well as the dependability and nearness of your local fire company and police. Rural homes more than five miles from a water supply are more at risk for severe damage from fire and lightning and are much more expensive to insure.
Having at least one or more fire extinguishers in the home, especially in the kitchen area can reduce your rate by as much as 5% with most insurance companies.
What is an umbrella policy? An umbrella policy provides additional liability coverage over and above the limits of coverage provided on a personal automobile and a homeowner's policy. The umbrella policy can provide additional limits of coverage in $1 million or half a million dollar increments. Back to Top