Frequently Asked Questions

General Insurance

What kinds of questions should I expect to answer when I am applying for an insurance policy?

When applying for an insurance policy, you can expect to answer a range of questions to help the insurance company determine your risk level. Some of the questions you may be asked include the following:


Personal information: You will be asked for your name, age, gender, and address, as well as your occupation, education level, and marital status.

Driving history: The insurance company will ask about your driving history, including any accidents, tickets, or violations you have had.

Vehicle information: If you are applying for auto insurance, you will be asked for information about your vehicle, such as its make, model, and year, as well as any safety features it may have.

Coverage needs: You will be asked about the coverage you need, including the type of policy you are interested in, the limits and deductibles you prefer, and any additional coverage options you may want.

Insurance history: You may be asked about your insurance history, including any previous claims you have made and any coverage you currently have.


The questions you are asked will vary depending on the type of insurance you are applying for and the specific requirements of the insurance company. It’s important to answer these questions truthfully and accurately to ensure that you receive an accurate quote and appropriate coverage for your needs.

What are the benefits of using an agent to purchase insurance?

There are several advantages to using an agent to purchase insurance. 


  1. Personalized service: By using an agent, policyholders can receive more personalized service. An agent can help you assess your insurance needs and provide guidance on the coverage that is right for you. This can be particularly useful if you have unique circumstances or insurance needs that require tailored solutions.
  2. Direct contact: When you purchase insurance through an agent, you have direct contact with a knowledgeable professional who can answer your questions and help you understand the terms and conditions of your policy. This direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim.
  3. Local expertise: A local, independent agent has a deep understanding of the insurance landscape in your area. They can provide you with local expertise and guidance, including information on state-specific insurance requirements and regulations. Additionally, a local agent can provide you with personalized service and support that you may not get from a larger, national insurance company.
  4. Competitive pricing: An independent agent can offer you a range of insurance options from multiple carriers, allowing you to compare prices and coverage options. This can help ensure that you get the best possible coverage at a competitive price.
  5. Claims support: If you need to file a claim, an agent can help guide you through the process and provide support every step of the way. This can help make the claims process less stressful and more manageable.

Auto Insurance

I have an older car that's not worth a lot of I really need to have auto insurance?

The state of Pennsylvania requires all drivers to have some form of automobile insurance to make sure that you receive compensation if you are the victim of a car accident caused by another person. If the cost to repair your car is greater than the value of the car, it is likely that your insurer will “total” the car and give you a check for the car’s market value minus the deductible. If you are at fault in an accident, without insurance, you could be held personally responsible for paying for those damages out of pocket. 


Before you decide to eliminate comprehensive or collision coverage, talk to your agent. They can help you weigh the value of the car against the cost of insurance and make sure that you are getting the best value for your dollar. 

What is the difference between collision physical damage coverage and comprehensive physical damage coverage?

Collision and comprehensive coverage are two of the most common types of physical damage coverage.


Collision coverage is a type of insurance that covers the losses you incur when your car collides with another car or object. For instance, if you were to hit another vehicle while driving on the road, the damages to your car could be paid under your collision coverage.


Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, provides coverage for most other direct physical damage losses you could incur that are not related to collisions. This type of coverage includes damages caused by natural disasters, such as hail storms or floods, falling objects, vandalism, theft, or other non-collision related events. It is essential to note that comprehensive coverage only covers glass breakage and not other collision-related damage to the windows, such as from a car accident. Some examples of events that could be covered under comprehensive insurance include damage caused by animals, such as hitting a deer, and damage caused by falling tree limbs or other objects. Comprehensive insurance can also cover car theft or damages incurred during an attempted theft.


Essentially, collision coverage protects against damage caused by collisions with other vehicles or objects, while comprehensive coverage protects against most other direct physical damage losses such as natural disasters, theft, and vandalism.

When I rent a car, do I need to buy the insurance that the rental company offers?

It depends on your existing auto insurance policy. The best thing to do is call your agent before you rent a car. Coverages vary between policies, so it’s important to clarify with your agent what exactly is covered by your policy. Your agent can help you understand the specifics of your policy and whether you need to purchase the insurance offered by the rental company.

What factors can affect the cost of my automobile insurance?

Several factors can influence the cost of your automobile insurance. Some of these factors are under your control, while others are beyond your control. The following are some of the factors that can affect the cost of your automobile insurance:

Type of car: The type of car you drive is a significant factor in determining the cost of your automobile insurance. Generally, expensive and high-performance cars cost more to insure than older, less expensive cars.

Car usage: The purpose for which you use your car can also affect your insurance premiums. If you use your car for business purposes, your insurance premiums may be higher than if you use it for personal use only.


Driving record: Your driving history is an essential factor that can significantly affect the cost of your automobile insurance. If you have a history of accidents or traffic violations, you will likely pay more for insurance than drivers with a clean record.


Location: Where you live can affect your automobile insurance rates. If you live in an area with a high rate of car theft or accidents, your premiums may be higher.


Marital status: Studies show that married individuals tend to have fewer and less costly accidents than single individuals. As a result, married individuals may receive lower insurance premiums than single individuals.


Other factors that can impact the cost of your automobile insurance include your age, gender, and credit score. By understanding these factors, you can make informed decisions about your insurance coverage and take steps to reduce your premiums.

Homeowners Insurance

Is there anything I can do to lower the cost of my homeowners insurance?

Here are some practical tips that can help you save money on your policy:


First and foremost, talk to your local agent and get a comprehensive review of your policy. You might be surprised to find quotes on homeowners insurance that vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same home.


Now, let’s talk about discounts. Many insurers offer discounts that you might qualify for, like placing both your automobile and homeowners insurance with the same insurer or having safety features like deadbolt exterior locks and security systems installed in your home. So, don’t hesitate to ask your agent about any discounts that you might be eligible for.


Another way to lower your homeowners insurance cost is by raising your deductible. Keep in mind that choosing to raise your deductible means you’ll have higher out-of-pocket expenses during claim time, but it’ll save you money on your premium in the long run.


To reduce your risk of damage or loss, invest in safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and burglar alarms. Doing so will not only make your home safer but can also help lower your insurance premiums.


Lastly, maintaining a good credit score can help you get a lower premium since many insurers use credit-based insurance scores to determine your risk level. So, keep your credit score in check to save some money on your homeowners insurance.


By following these tips, you can lower the cost of your homeowners insurance without sacrificing coverage. Remember to review your policy periodically and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that you have the best coverage at the most affordable price.

What is the difference between “actual cash value” and “replacement cost”?

When it comes to homeowners insurance policies, there are two common ways to calculate coverage for covered losses: actual cash value and replacement cost. Actual cash value refers to the depreciated value of the damaged property, which takes into account the age and wear and tear of the item. This means that the policy owner would receive less money for an older item than a newer one.


On the other hand, replacement cost coverage reimburses the policy owner for the full cost (subject to policy limits) of replacing the damaged item with a similar one of comparable quality, regardless of its age or condition at the time of the loss. This means that the policy owner would receive enough money to purchase a brand new item to replace the damaged one, without having to account for depreciation.


It’s worth noting that replacement cost coverage is generally more expensive than actual cash value coverage, as it provides a higher level of protection. However, it can be a wise investment for items that are expensive to replace. Additionally, some insurance policies may offer a hybrid option that provides a combination of both actual cash value and replacement cost coverage, which can be a good compromise between cost and protection.


In summary, while actual cash value coverage takes into account the depreciation of damaged items, replacement cost coverage provides full reimbursement for the cost of replacing those items with new ones.

What factors should I consider when purchasing homeowners insurance?

First and foremost, you need to determine the amount and type of insurance you need. This includes calculating the coverage limit of your house, which should equal 100% of its replacement cost. This means that if your house is completely destroyed, you’ll have enough coverage to rebuild it from scratch.


Additionally, you should evaluate if the personal property and personal liability limits are adequate for your needs. Consider the value of your belongings and your risk exposure to determine the appropriate level of coverage.


Another important factor to consider is which, if any, additional endorsements you want to add to your policy. Endorsements are additional coverage options that can be added to your policy to provide extra protection. For example, you may want to add coverage for water damage or earthquake damage, which are often not included in standard policies. Other potential endorsements include coverage for high-value items like jewelry or artwork.


In addition to these factors, it’s important to choose a reputable insurance provider with a strong financial rating and good customer reviews.


Overall, purchasing homeowners insurance requires careful consideration of your coverage needs, additional endorsements, and insurance provider. Taking the time to evaluate these factors can help ensure that you have adequate protection in the event of an unexpected loss.

Life Insurance

How much life insurance should an individual own?

Key factors are an individual’s income sources and amounts, which can impact the level of financial support needed for dependents after their passing. This includes not only salary or earnings, but also other sources of income such as rental properties or investment income.


Another factor is marital status and the earning capacity of a spouse, if applicable. If a spouse has a high earning potential, this may reduce the amount of life insurance needed to support dependents in the event of the individual’s passing.


The number of individuals who are financially dependent upon the individual is also an important consideration. This can include children, elderly parents, or other family members who rely on the individual for financial support.


Additionally, the amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and employer-sponsored life insurance plans should be taken into account. These benefits may help to supplement the coverage provided by a personal life insurance policy.


Finally, any special life insurance needs should be considered, such as mortgage repayment, education funds, or estate planning needs. For example, if an individual has a mortgage that would need to be paid off in the event of their passing, they may want to consider a policy that provides sufficient coverage for this expense.


Ultimately, the amount of life insurance an individual should own depends on their unique financial situation and needs. An insurance professional can help individuals evaluate their coverage needs and determine the appropriate level of coverage.

What about purchasing life insurance on a spouse and on children?

When considering purchasing life insurance, it’s important to prioritize protecting the income-earning capacity of the primary breadwinner(s) before considering policies for other family members.


If possible, the required amount of life insurance should be purchased to fully protect the income-earning capacity of the primary breadwinner. This means that in the event of their passing, their dependents will have sufficient financial support to cover ongoing expenses, such as mortgage payments, childcare, and other bills.


While it may be tempting to purchase life insurance policies on children or non-wage-earning spouses, it’s important to evaluate the potential benefits of these policies. Life insurance on a non-wage-earning spouse may be recommended for the purpose of covering the cost of household services lost due to their death, but the value of this coverage should be carefully considered.


In a dual-earning household, it’s important to protect the income-earning capacity of both spouses. This means that both spouses should consider purchasing life insurance policies to cover their respective incomes and ensure that their dependents are financially protected in the event of their passing.


Overall, the decision to purchase life insurance on a spouse or children should be carefully evaluated in the context of the family’s unique financial situation and needs. A financial advisor or insurance professional can help evaluate these factors and determine the appropriate level of coverage for each family member.

Can an existing life insurance policy be used to provide for the repayment of an outstanding mortgage loan?

Yes, an existing life insurance policy can be used to provide for the repayment of an outstanding mortgage loan. Both term and cash-value life insurance policies can be used for this purpose, providing a source of funds to pay off the mortgage balance in the event of the insured’s death.


While a lender may offer a mortgage protection term policy to a borrower, this type of coverage is rarely required. Instead, borrowers may opt to use their existing life insurance policies to provide this protection, as it can often be more cost-effective than purchasing a separate policy.


For example, if a borrower has a term life insurance policy with a death benefit sufficient to cover the outstanding mortgage balance, this policy could be used to pay off the mortgage in the event of their passing.


Ultimately, using an existing life insurance policy to provide for the repayment of an outstanding mortgage loan can be a viable option for borrowers seeking to protect their financial interests in the event of their passing. A financial advisor or insurance professional can provide guidance on the most effective way to structure this coverage to meet the borrower’s needs.

Renters Insurance

Why would I want to buy renters insurance?

There are good reasons why you may want to buy renters insurance. First, renters insurance can provide financial protection for your personal belongings in the event of theft, fire, or other covered perils. This means that if your personal property is damaged or stolen, you may be able to receive compensation to help replace or repair the items.


Also, renters insurance can provide liability protection. If you or a guest is injured while on your rental property, renters insurance can help cover medical expenses and legal fees in the event of a lawsuit. This type of coverage can also provide protection if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s property while away from your rental unit.


Last, many landlords require tenants to carry renters insurance as a condition of their lease agreement.

Overall, renters insurance can provide valuable peace of mind and financial protection for tenants. It can help to ensure that you are able to recover financially in the event of a covered loss, and may help to protect your assets and financial future.

Why do some apartment complexes require tenants to have renters insurance?

There are several reasons why some apartment complexes require tenants to have renters insurance. First, requiring tenants to carry renters insurance can help protect the property owner’s assets and reduce the risk of costly legal disputes in the event of a loss. If a tenant causes damage to the rental unit or the building, or if a guest is injured on the property, the property owner may face liability claims or costly repairs. Renters insurance can help to protect against these risks by providing liability coverage for the tenant.


Second, requiring renters insurance can help ensure that tenants are able to recover financially in the event of a covered loss. If a tenant’s personal property is damaged or stolen, renters insurance can help cover the cost of replacing or repairing the items. This can be particularly important for tenants who may not have the financial resources to replace their belongings out of pocket.


Thirdly, requiring renters insurance can help encourage responsible behavior among tenants. When tenants are aware that they are responsible for protecting their own personal property and liability, they may be more likely to take steps to prevent losses or accidents. This can help to reduce the risk of property damage, injury, or liability claims.


Overall, requiring tenants to have renters insurance can provide valuable protection for both the property owner and the tenant. It can help ensure that tenants are able to recover financially in the event of a loss, reduce the risk of liability claims or costly repairs, and encourage responsible behavior among tenants.

What if I share my apartment with a roommate? Do we both need to have renters insurance?

If you share an apartment with a roommate, it’s important to understand that standard renters insurance policies typically only cover the policyholder and their immediate family members. This means that if your roommate is not a relative, you will each need to have your own renters insurance policy to ensure that your personal property and liability are protected.


Having separate renters insurance policies for each roommate can provide several benefits. It ensures that each individual’s personal property is covered in the event of damage, loss or theft. Without individual policies, it can be difficult to determine who is responsible for the loss or damage, and the coverage limits of a shared policy may not be sufficient to cover the value of both roommates’ belongings.

Umbrella Insurance

What is a personal umbrella liability policy?

A personal umbrella liability policy is an insurance policy that provides an additional layer of liability protection beyond what is covered by your existing personal liability policies. It essentially acts as an “umbrella” over your other liability policies, such as your home, auto, boat, or RV insurance, to provide a higher level of protection.


With a personal umbrella liability policy, you can increase your liability coverage beyond the limits of your other policies. This can be especially important if you are found liable for damages or injuries that exceed the coverage limits of your other policies. For example, if you are involved in a serious car accident and the damages exceed your auto insurance policy limits, your personal umbrella liability policy can provide additional coverage to help protect your assets and future earnings.

How do I know if I need a personal umbrella liability policy?

Determining whether you need a personal umbrella liability policy depends on various factors. One factor to consider is your net worth. If you have substantial assets, such as savings, investments, or property, you could be at risk for a lawsuit that could exceed the limits of your existing insurance policies. Another factor is your level of risk exposure, which may depend on your occupation, hobbies, or even social media activity. You should also consider the amount of coverage provided by your existing insurance policies and whether it would be enough to protect your assets in the event of a lawsuit. Finally, it’s worth noting that lawsuits can happen to anyone, regardless of their income level or assets. With the increasing frequency of lawsuits in today’s society, a personal umbrella liability policy can provide an extra layer of protection for you and your assets.