If you own your own car, you probably already know a little about car insurance. You may have heard the words deductible or premium. But, do you truly understand the different parts of an auto insurance policy and do you know how to choose the best coverage?
Below are some simplified descriptions of common auto insurance coverages. All coverages are subject to the limits, terms and conditions of the actual policy you purchase.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage pays damages for injuries to the driver and passengers of the other vehicle when you are responsible for an accident. It provides coverage to defend you and protect your assets if you are sued. Your policy will show two limits (for example $100,000/$300,000). The first is for any one person; the second is the total coverage limit for one accident.
In Massachusetts there are two coverages that are easy to confuse: Bodily Injury to Others which is always covered at $20,000/$40,000 limits. It provides coverage for injury or death to others only if the accident occurs on Massachusetts public roadways (parking lots excluded). Optional Bodily Injury allows for higher limits of coverage and covers accidents that occur both in and outside of Massachusetts. It is called “optional”, but we do not recommend you skip this coverage.
Property Damage Liability Coverage pays for damages to another person’s property when you are responsible for an accident. It also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued because of an auto accident.
Some states – including Massachusetts – have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in place of, or in addition to, medical payments coverage. This is also known as “no-fault coverage”. PIP can generally pay for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of income and other expenses for injuries or death due to bodily injury sustained as the result of a car accident for you or anyone you let operate your vehicle, any household member, passengers and pedestrians regardless of who causes the accident.
Medical Payments Coverage generally covers you, household relatives and your passengers for medical expenses that result from injuries sustained in an auto accident. It also covers you as a pedestrian if you are hit by a vehicle.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage pays for damages for bodily injury to you, your household members, and your passengers when caused by another in an auto accident and the person legally responsible either has inadequate or no insurance. This coverage varies greatly by state. In some states it may be a combined coverage, while other states may offer it as two separate coverages (e.g. one for uninsured motorists and one for underinsured motorists).
Collision Coverage pays for damage to your car if it hits another car, object, or overturns. A deductible may apply to this coverage.
Comprehensive Coverage pays for damage to your car if it is stolen or damaged by certain causes other than collision, such as fire, theft, hail, falling objects, collision with an animal, earthquakes, vandalism, etc. This is also the coverage that is involved when you have a broken or damaged windshield or other auto glass. A deductible may apply for this coverage.
Emergency Road Service/Towing requires that you have comprehensive coverage. Usually a big help for events such as getting locked out of your car, when you need towing, jump starts, etc. Check your policy or speak to your insurance specialist for details.
Rental Reimbusement – requires that you have comprehensive coverage. Pays toward the expense for alternate transportation while repairs are being completed for a covered loss. Recommended for any family that does not have a replacement vehicle.
Here at Frank Smith Insurance we offer several options for your homeowner insurance allowing for you to get the best pricing and coverage with the company that best suits your needs, while still benefiting from our A+ customer service.
What is Homeowner insurance? It provides financial protection in the case that your home or its contents are damaged. It can also provide coverage if you or a resident family member are legally responsible for the injuries of another or their properties. Mostly, it is peace of mind for you, the homeowner.
There are many levels of homeowner insurance. They may range from a basic policy, to those that will provide a much broader range of protection. Not all policies are created equal, so it is important you find the policy that best fits your situation and budget.
A Standard Policy usually covers the following. Coverages may vary by state and by insurance carrier. Always check your individual policy documents or speak to your insurance specialist for any exclusions and/or conditions.
Dwelling Coverage: The house – including electrical wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning – if damaged by covered loss. Dwelling coverage typically includes attached/built-in structures like your garage, porches, decks, etc.
Other Structures: These are the stand-alone structures not attached to the home; sheds, fences, detached garages, in-ground pools, etc.
Personal property Insurance: Your personal items in the home including furniture, clothes, electronics, clothes, etc. Not all personal property is covered or some may be limited like jewelry or money. For some valuables or collectibles there are also special coverages with added benefits.
Loss of Use Coverage: Pays for additional living expenses if you have to move out due to a covered loss while property being restored. For rental properties your policy may also cover loss of rental income.
Liability Insurance: Protects your assets and cover defense costs in event of lawsuit because you or your resident family members are responsible for causing injury or damage to other people or their property.
Medical Payments: payments for medical services of other people from accident at your home.
There are also a number of special coverages and endorsements. When you meet with your insurance specialist, they will ask questions to identify where you need coverage and how much you may need to be adequately protected.
You may have been told in the past that you need an Umbrella policy – but do you really need one?
Umbrella insurance provides coverages when your homeowners, auto, and boat policy limits are exhausted such when you have a complicated claim, when there is significant property damage for which you are responsible, or when someone was seriously injured due to your actions or negligence. An umbrella policy may also provide coverage for claims that may be excluded on your underlying policies such as false arrest, libel, slander, malicious prosecution, or even if you are sued for mental anguish. Always refer to your policy documents or speak to your insurance specialist as coverage may vary by company and by policy.
Here are some examples of where an Umbrella policy could protect a policyholder:
Example #1 – John caused an accident on the highway that involved 2 other vehicles. The operators of the other two vehicles were both injured and required transport to the hospital by ambulance. Thankfully, one driver suffered only minor injuries and was released that day. John was responsible for the damage to his vehicle and the ambulance to the hospital. The other driver required surgery and was out of work for several months and sued John for the medical costs, damages to his vehicle, and lost wages.
Example #2 – You have a New Year’s Eve party at your home. You provide the food and most of the drinks to celebrate, including acoholic beverages. As usual, that college friend of yours doesn’t know her limits. You don’t notice when she leaves the party and drives herself home. She is in a terrible accident and a passenger in the other vehicle is killed. The family sues you and your found liable for serving the friend too much to drink.
Example #3 – Your teenage son cannot stand his math teacher who does seem to have it out for him. Unbeknownst to you, after a particularly frustrating day, he logs onto his social media page and says some pretty damaging things about his teacher. The teacher sues and is awarded $500,000.
These examples are not unusual occurances and would likely exceed one’s underlying auto or homeowner’s policy limits. Umbrella policies are very reasonably priced considering what they cover and when the unexpected happens, they can be the difference between losing everything and maintaining your financial stability.
Here at Frank Smith Insurance we have several companies to insure your watercraft. Whether it is a jet ski, a small antique sailboat, or new luxury yacht., we can find the right protection for you vessel, its passengers and offer some extras as well.
Watercraft Insurance can insure you against most risks of owning and operating your boat, its motor and its trailer.
These risks can include:
The property covered under boat insurance can include equipment permanently attached to the boat as well as:
- Electric Trolling Motors
- Extra Fuel Tanks
- Detachable Canopies
- Seat Cushions
- Life Preservers
- Skis and Tow Ropes
Here at Frank Smith Insurance we pride ourselves in offering the broadest insurance coverage possible. However, there are some situations where coverage is limited or excluded. One such situation is Flood Insurance.
A standard homeowner policy does not insure against such water damage as storm surge, flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, water which backs up through sewers or drains (unless your policy is endorsed to provide such coverage) and water below the surface of the ground. Please visit The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) site to gain further information on the government based insurance.