Here are a few of the most common questions we hear from our clients.  It’s important to know that each policy varies, so you have to consult your specific policy to know what’s covered and what isn’t.  But while these answers can’t replace the value of consulting a licensed insurance professional, we hope they’ll get you pointed in the right direction. Still have questions?  Call us and speak to one of our licensed insurance professionals today.

We like to keep things simple, so let’s start with collision coverage.  As the name would imply, collision insurance is the coverage on your policy that typically pays for repairs to your vehicle when it is damaged by striking a vehicle or stationary object, or by being struck by another vehicle.

“Comprehensive” is a somewhat misleading term because it sounds like it covers everything, so at Comma we prefer the term “Other Than Collision” coverage.  But whether you call it Comprehensive, or Other-than-collision, this coverage typically pays out for damages to your vehicle that aren’t covered by collision insurance such as glass breakage, fire, theft, hail, flooding, and animal damage.

Generally, both of these coverages will be subject to a deductible, which should be clearly outlined in your policy.  Speak with one of our licensed insurance professionals today to learn more.

The mortgage industry uses the term “hazard insurance” to refer to homeowners insurance in the case of owner-occupied properties, and landlord insurance (also known as “Dwelling Fire Insurance”) in the case of rental properties.  Hazard insurance will be required by your lender prior to closing on your home, and we’re here to help with that!  

The home or landlord policy one of our licensed insurance professionals helps you select will satisfy the hazard insurance requirements for your loan.  As part of your mortgage, you agree to insure the property according to specific guidelines, and our team helps you take care of that important responsibility.  If your current policy has lapsed or cancelled, we can help you repurchase the right insurance so that the mortgage company doesn’t purchase a much more expensive policy on your behalf and add those premiums to your monthly house payment. 

Contact us if you’d like to learn more. 

In full disclosure, we aren’t mortgage experts (we can introduce you to one of those if you need it!), but insurance is a big factor in mortgage escrow accounts and we definitely know insurance.  If your loan is escrowed, your escrow account is set up by your lender at closing, and your monthly mortgage payment will include principal (payments toward the amount you owe), interest (how the lender makes money), and escrow. The escrow portion of your monthly payment accrues throughout the year, and when your homeowners policy renews, your lender uses those escrow funds to pay the insurance renewal on your behalf.  The escrow account is typically also used to cover your property taxes.

Because rising insurance rates impact your escrow account, work with one of our professionals today to make sure you’re paying the right price for the right coverage so your house payment isn’t bigger than it should be.  Additionally, it is very important that we have up to date mortgage information, so if your loan is sold to another mortgage company, please update that information with your account manager.

Think of a deductible as the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance policy’s coverage kicks in.  So if you carry a $1000 deductible on your homeowners policy, and an $800 bicycle is stolen from your porch, even if your policy includes coverage for theft, you wouldn’t want to turn in that claim because the amount of the theft doesn’t exceed the deductible that applies first.  Your policy will always list these deductibles by the type of claim they apply to.  One thing to watch out for is that a policy can have multiple deductibles—for instance, an auto policy could have a $500 deductible for Collision and a $1000 deductible for Other Than Collision (Comprehensive); or a home policy might have a 1% deductible for wind or hail claims, and a $1000 for other types of claims. 

Contact a Comma insurance professional if you have questions or would like to learn more.

The proper insurance answer is to tell you that you have to “read the policy”–and that’s true.  But we know reading a policy can be tricky and confusing, so our next best answer is to contact your Comma insurance professional!  We are always happy to help you review your policy to better understand your coverages prior to filing a claim with your carrier.  But if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try it on your own, your policy’s Declarations page, sometimes called your “Dec” page, is a great place to start, as it lists most of the larger, more common coverages your policy includes, in addition to the amounts covered.  You can generally find this information on your online account summary or in your policy paperwork. And if you’re a Comma client, we’re always happy to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

You can log in to your online account by clicking the “My Account” button at the top of your screen, download the Comma app (Apple and Android), or call us.  We’ll be happy to email, fax, or mail a copy to you!

Most importantly, if someone is hurt, call 911 first!

There are two convenient ways to file a claim.  As a policyholder, you can always file a claim directly with your carrier via phone or carrier app.  

The alternate route is to call our team.  If you call us first, we’ll always be happy to help you determine the right next step such as in the case of an auto accident, whether to call your carrier or the other driver’s, or in the case of a potential home claim whether to have a contractor inspect or assess the damage and needed repairs prior to filing the claim, in case it’s something that won’t meet your policy deductible amount.

There are several ways to view your policy premium:  You can go to your carrier’s website or mobile app, you can click the “My Account” button at the top of your screen, you can download the Comma mobile app (Apple or Android), or you can call or email our office and we’ll be happy to review your premiums with you! 

An independent insurance agent has the ability to work with several different insurance carriers in order to find the best rate and coverage for you and your loved ones, rather than working for a single insurance company and only offering you one option.  At Comma, we believe independent is the only way to go, because how could we give you the honest advice you’re looking for if we’re tied to one carrier and can’t offer you alternatives?  

The other great thing about an independent agent like Comma is that we are also able to help you review your policies each time they renew so you can be confident you continue to get the right coverage, at the right price, year after year!

Big picture, the goal of insurance is to get you back to where you were before the negative event happened.  So, in the event of a car accident, a good insurance policy will either repair your car, or give you enough for your damaged car that you can replace it with a similar car (less your deductible).  Or in the event of a house fire, whether it is a kitchen fire that causes mostly smoke damage or an electrical fire that burns the structure to the ground, you’d expect an insurance policy to pay out enough to either restore the home or rebuild it.  Because of this goal of getting you back to where you were before, it’s very important that a home insurance policy includes enough coverage to build a similar home to yours, in today’s dollars. 

In certain areas, you might pay much more for a home than what it would cost to rebuild today—this is sometimes due to the historic nature of the home, but more commonly driven by the location of the real estate (as realtors often say, “location, location, location”).  In other areas, you might find a home that would cost much more to rebuild than what you can purchase it for today—this is common in suburban and rural areas with older, non-historic homes.  Sometimes, even when the home you’re purchasing or building is brand new, the amount of insurance may not match exactly—this could be due to the value of the lot it’s built on, builder discounts, or custom modifications you or your designer picked out. 

Insurance carriers typically use certain characteristics of your home such as finish grade, square feet, garages, number of bathrooms, etc. to estimate what it will cost to rebuild your home in today’s dollars.  Your Comma insurance professional will help you walk through this so you can be confident you are insuring your most valuable asset for the right amount.

Flood insurance is typically only required by your lender if the home you’re purchasing is in a flood zone, as determined by FEMA.  However, just because your lender may not require it doesn’t mean flood insurance isn’t an important coverage for you to consider purchasing.  While most homeowners policies include coverage for water damage from burst pipes (with certain exclusions), they typically do not cover damage from rising water, or flood. 

The way we like to simplify how to think about flood insurance is that it is largely designed to cover “rising water”.  For example, if a severe thunderstorm passes through your area and blows shingles off your roof, causing rain to leak through and damage the interior of your home, that sort of water damage would likely be covered by a homeowners policy; yet, if that same thunderstorm takes its time to move through your area very slowly, dumping lots of rain which doesn’t drain properly away from your home, but instead seeps under doorways or through walls and damages your baseboard and flooring (or more), that type of damage typically is not going to be covered by a homeowners policy–you would typically need a flood insurance policy to cover this.  

Just because your home isn’t in a FEMA flood zone doesn’t mean you should ignore the valuable coverage and benefits a flood policy could provide.  Our team would be happy to help you find flood insurance options for your home–we’re only a call, click, or email away.

Service Line coverage is a newer coverage option that more and more homeowners insurance carriers are beginning to offer.  It is designed to insure against damage to the power, sewer, gas, and water lines between where the City or utility company’s maintenance responsibility ends and where those lines enter your home, something that is not covered by most homeowners policies.  This is an affordable coverage option you should consider adding to your policy, as it usually comes with a minimal deductible and offers valuable protection for your home.  

Talk to a Comma insurance professional about adding this coverage to your policy.

Many homeowners policies don’t include coverage for damage that occurs from water overflowing from a drain or sump.  Adding a “Water and Sewer Backup” endorsement to your policy can be an affordable way to obtain coverage for this type of scenario, typically sold in increments of $5,000 of coverage.  While many people assume this problem only comes into play on older homes, we have seen clients with homes less than five years old that experience sewer or drain issues, so this is an important coverage to consider including on your policy, regardless of your home’s age.

It’s difficult to take a short drive across town or watch some daytime TV without seeing advertisements from attorneys.  The world we live in today is complex, and our ability to post whatever is on our mind in very public social media spaces with little or no forethought elevates the importance of personal injury coverage.  Adding personal injury coverage to your homeowners policy broadens the personal liability coverage you’re already paying for (which is generally designed to cover liability risks like trip-and-fall accidents, dog bites, etc) to include slander and libel coverage.  This endorsement often includes coverage for both your legal defense as well as some of damages that might be awarded against you.

Even with a good health insurance plan, medical bills after being hit by an uninsured driver can quickly add up. Or if you’re someone who is confident you have the perfect health insurance plan, what about your colleague or friend who hops in your vehicle to grab drinks after work, or the time you pick up your nephew or granddaughter from school?  Uninsured motorist coverage is designed to protect you and the passengers in your vehicle when a driver who does not have any – or enough – liability insurance hits your vehicle or if you are the victim of a hit and run incident.

In most states, and on most policies, Medical Payments coverage is strictly intended to cover medical bills and first aid after an accident.  While this is a relatively broad coverage that can usually pay out regardless of who is determined to be at fault, it generally does not include any coverage for lost wages for you and your passengers after an accident. 

Personal Injury Protection, often abbreviated to “PIP”, usually covers substantially everything that Medical Payments does, but generally adds some coverage for lost wages and can even include coverage for certain other specific items such as funeral costs, in the event of a traffic fatality.  Because these two coverages can vary significantly by state, contact your Comma insurance professional for more details about what’s available in your state.

Because accidents can happen to the best of us, carrying the right amount of Bodily Injury liability coverage is very critical.  The costs associated with an injury accident can be staggering, and you don’t want to get tagged with a personal bill to pay that could have been easily avoided by purchasing the right level of coverage for only a few more dollars each month. 

Only you can determine the right coverage level for your needs, but here are some ideas to help you with that decision.  If you are involved in an accident where someone is seriously hurt or dies, you likely wouldn’t have as large of a liability target on your back as a celebrity like Beyonce, a Billionaire like Bill Gates, or an athlete like Serena Williams would.  But just because you aren’t part of that ½% doesn’t mean you’re off the hook legally and shouldn’t carry the right amount of coverage. 

As insurance professionals, we aren’t attorneys and can’t give you any legal advice, but a good common sense place to start is to at least carry enough to protect your assets plus your income.  So if your income is $35,000/year, you live in a comfortable apartment, and your paid off car is worth $10,000, $50,000 could be a good place to start.  Or maybe your household income is $89,000 and you own a home worth $250,000, you’d likely want at least $350,000 of coverage. 

Speak with a Comma insurance professional today to look at some options with you get the right coverage in place for you and your family today.  This decision is ultimately up to you, but we’re here to help along the way.

Most people pay their taxes and home insurance through their mortgage escrow account. When home insurance increases, it can cause a shortage in your escrow account. In turn, this requires a higher monthly house payment to replenish the escrow account over time.

If your policies include a single loss deductible, and your auto and home are damaged by the same event or storm, you generally have to pay only the largest deductible to cover your loss instead of individual deductibles for each covered claim.  For instance, if your home and two vehicles were all three damaged in the same hail storm, and your policy includes a single loss deductible, you would typically end up paying only the largest deductible after the claims are settled, rather than incurring all three deductibles, which can quickly add up.

Not all policies or carriers offer this option, but you can always speak to one of our licensed insurance professionals to learn more about what’s available in your area and whether this option makes sense for you.

An Umbrella policy, also known as a personal liability policy, is designed to provide additional liability protection above the policy limits of what your home, auto, renters, condo, landlord, motorcycle, RV or boat already provides. For a very affordable premium, you can purchase additional liability coverage of $1 million or more via an Umbrella policy for as little as $12/month. 

The most common time we see umbrella coverage come into play is when someone is involved in crash that causes severe injuries or fatality to others.  It is hard enough to focus on recovering emotionally and physically from a traumatic experience like that without also having to worry about whether you have enough insurance protection.  An Umbrella policy can also offer valuable protection if your pet injures someone (even if provoked) or a guest or visitor hurts themselves while on your property, whether that’s your friendly food delivery driver or your best friend from high school. 

Carriers offer different discounts for bundling policies or carrying coverage over multiple policy types with the same carrier. Contact a Comma insurance professional today to find out how much you can save by bundling your policies.

We offer pet insurance through the Hartville Pet Insurance Program. Hartville offers preventative care policies as well as policies that will cover emergencies with deductible options. You can receive a discount of up to 10% for every additional pet you add.