Frequently Asked Questions

Automobile Insurance

What is uninsured motorist coverage?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and the people in your car in the event another driver hits you with inadequate insurance coverage or no  auto insurance at all.

What is the difference between comp and collision coverage?

Comp (a.k.a Comprehensive or Other Than Collision) and Collision are physical damage insurance coverages on a personal or business auto insurance policy.

Collision coverage provides reimbursement for damage to your vehicle after you’ve been in a car accident in which there is no fault or you are at-fault, minus your deductible. Comp provides reimbursement for a set of named perils that include, fire, hit an animal, falling object, and more, minus your deductible.

How does full glass coverage work?

Full glass coverage is an additional physical damage coverage which can be purchased on a personal or business auto insurance policy from some auto companies. Full glass coverage does not cover mirrors on most policies. You will need to check with your agent to see if your company offers this.

What is “med pay” coverage on a car insurance policy?

Medical payments or “med pay” coverage on the auto insurance policy is a regardless of fault coverage that pays for medical expenses after a car accident for you and those in your vehicle.

If my car breaks down, will my auto insurance carrier cover a rental car?

This is a very specific insurance carrier question as every insurance company handles rental car coverage different. Some give a small amount of coverage as a default feature if you have a covered loss and others do not. This is generally termed rental reimbursement or transportation expense and if your car breaking down is not a covered claim there would be no coverage for a rental car.

If my garage burns down, will my homeowners insurance cover my car?

If your car is parked in your garage and there is a fire that causes damage to the car your homeowner’s insurance policy will NOT cover the loss to your car.

In order for your car to be covered you must carry comprehensive physical damage coverage on your auto insurance policy.

Does my auto insurance cover a hit and run accident?

If this happens to you there is no way to get insurance money from the other person (You don’t know who they are). So you have to go to your own insurance company and submit an uninsured motorist claim. Your policy indicates if you have this coverage and your agent will help you determine the next steps if this happens to you.

Does my car insurance cover me when I rent a car?

Please call your agent for a verbal discussion on this topic. There are too many variables to provide an overall general answer to this question.

What is other than collision coverage?

Other-than-collision on your auto policy is the new name of a physical damage coverage you are probably very familiar with – comprehensive coverage.

There are two types of physical damage coverage on most auto insurance policies: collision and other-than-collision.

Also known as “comp coverage”, it covers occurrences such as hitting an animal with your car, a tree falling on your car, your car starting on fire, lightning hitting your car, fire, theft, vandalism, and other-than-collision.

When do I file an auto insurance claim?

The most important thing to remember about filing an auto insurance claim is to make sure you call EMS or 911 first.

That may sound crazy but making sure a situation is safe and the proper authorities have been notified is important.

The insurance company is going to want to see a police report especially if there was another vehicle or someone else’s property involved in the accident. Although it may seem like the easiest thing to do is to exchange information and be on your way, a police report will most likely be necessary if there is a question as to who is at fault.

As far as when you should file: Calling the next day is fine but the sooner the better. Remember you can always call your agent to make sure the claims process is handled properly.tent

Does my auto insurance pay if someone else is driving my car?

Auto insurance follows the car. If you give a friend permission to take your car to the store and he is involved in an accident, coverage will be based on the policy for that vehicle – not the driver. This is a risk you take by loaning your car to someone.

Most Insurance companies require that policy holders declare all drivers in a household, and it can cause problems in the event of a claim if a household driver was not disclosed to the insurance company. After the insurance pays the claim, the company may have the right to cancel the insurance on renewal because the policyholder misrepresented himself when applying for coverage.

What happens to my comp and collision premium as my car loses value?

Over time as your car loses value the premiums you pay for physical damage coverages Comp and Collision should go down.

Unfortunately the decrease in premium is not going to be directly related as you might like and there may be other factors that influence the direction of your premium like your age and the use of your vehicle.

I have an older car that currently has a very low market value. Do I really need to purchase automobile insurance?

Most states have insurance laws that require drivers to have automobile liability insurance.  These laws were enacted to ensure that victims of automobile accidents receive compensation when their losses are caused by the actions of another individual who was negligent.

If you still make payments on your vehicle (have a loan on it) that bank or financial institution will require that you keep physical damage insurance coverage on your vehicle until the loan is paid off.

What factors can affect the cost of my automobile insurance?

A number of factors can affect the cost of your automobile insurance, some of which you can control and some that you can’t.

The type of car you drive (year, make and model) and any customizations, the purpose the car serves, your driving record, your age, and how far you drive each year.

Homeowners Insurance

What are some practical things that I can do to lower the cost of my homeowners insurance?

There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance.  The easiest thing to do is get a comprehensive review of your policy and needs from your local agent.

It’s not surprising to find quotes on homeowners insurance that vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same home.  When you shop, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering the same coverage and credits.

Another way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to look for any discounts that you may qualify for.  For example, many insurers will offer a discount when you place both your automobile and homeowners insurance with them.  Other times, insurers offer discounts if there are deadbolt exterior locks on all your doors, or if your home has a security system.  Be sure to ask us to look into these discounts for you.

Another easy way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your deductible.  Increasing your deductible from $250 to $500 will lower your premium.

What is back up of sewers and drains failure insurance?

Water back up and sump pump failure coverage is an endorsement to the homeowner insurance policy that provides coverage to property damaged by water that backs up into the home through pipes, drains, sewer, water-service, sump pump and any other type of fluid transfer system from the house.

Water backup is very common in areas where the public water systems are old.

It is important to understand the water back up and sump pump failure coverage is an endorsement to the homeowners insurance policy. This coverage does NOT come standard. You have to add the coverage and in most cases pay an additional premium otherwise you do not have coverage for this type of loss.

What is renter insurance?

ConRenter insurance is an insurance policy built to suit the needs of individuals and families who do not own the property they live in.

In many ways a renter insurance policy is similar to a homeowner insurance policy except the building coverage has been removed. However, there is still coverage for personal property and personal liability among other important coverages.

For the amount of insurance contained within a renter insurance policy the cost is very minimal not to mention with most insurance carriers you get the same multi-policy discount on your auto insurance as you do with a homeowner insurance policy.tent

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

Owners of apartment complexes buy insurance policies for their liability exposure as a landlord and to cover their buildings for physical damage such as fire, wind, lightning.  However, these policies do not cover any of the tenant’s personal property or liability.  By requiring their tenants to have renters insurance, the apartment owner is assured that the tenants will not mistakenly believe the apartment complex owner’s policy will provide coverage for a tenant’s property or personal liability. We recommend that you purchase renters insurance regardless of what your landlord requires.

How does a renters policy protect my personal property?

Most renters policies provide “named perils coverage”.  This means that the policy only pays when your property is damaged or destroyed by any of the ways specifically described in the policy.  These usually include:

  • Fire or lightening
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism or malicious mischief
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • and more

Contact us for more information.

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

Standard renter’s policies cover only you and relatives that live with you.  If your roommate is not a relative, each of you will need your own renter’s policy to cover your own property and to provide you liability coverage for your own actions.

What is personal property insurance on a homeowner insurance policy?

Personal property insurance coverage is most often listed on the homeowner’s insurance policy as “Coverage C”. Personal property coverage is a separate limit of insurance from the building coverage on the home itself.

Personal property includes your possessions including tables, chairs, clothes, dishes, electronics, jewelry, art work, etc (anything in the house you own that is not permanently attached). However, it is important to understand that certain types of personal property like jewelry, coins and silver  have special sub-limits that limit coverage with regard to theft.

It is important to be aware of these sub-limits and make sure that each meets your unique need.

What is coinsurance and how does it affect my building insurance?

Co-Insurance can have a significant effect on how an insurance loss is valued. The company expects that you will insure your building for a certain percentage of its replacement cost estimate. If you are under this estimate the company could apply a penalty at the time of your loss for being under insured. Each policy is different and you should consult your agent to be sure that you are properly insured.

What insurance covers my jewelry for theft?

Theft coverage for jewelry is included on most homeowners and renters insurance policies. However, the coverage included a homeowners or renters insurance policy that does not have additional endorsements can be very limited.

If you want to coverage a piece of jewelry for it’s true value than you need to do one of two things:

Specifically schedule the piece of jewelry onto your homeowners or renter insurance policy by providing the necessary documentation and photos to the company.

Buy a separate inland marine insurance policy for that piece of jewelry.

In both cases you will need to get the jewelry appraised and give the appraisal to your insurance agent.

How does bank escrow work with my homeowners insurance payments?

You can escrow your homeowner’s premiums time through your mortgage company or financial lending institution if they allow it. Basically what happens is you pay your homeowner’s premiums inside your mortgage payment.

The mortgage company or financial lending institution collects the homeowner premiums monthly from you and then pays the bill in one shot at the beginning of the policy every year.

Do I need boat insurance or is my boat covered by home insurance?

In a very limited capacity some types and sizes of boats do have coverage under a homeowner’s policy.

However, I want to stress the LIMITED COVERAGE. Hoping that your boat is covered under your homeowners insurance is not prudent.

The proper way to insurance boat is a separate policy designed specifically for a boat.

How is condo insurance different from homeowner insurance?

Condo insurance has some very significant differences from traditional homeowners insurance. The notable is how the Dwelling or Building is insured.

When you purchase a condo you are purchasing the air inside the building. The majority of the structure is not yours. Therefore the insurance you purchase does not need to cover the entire building.

Additionally when you own a condo you will most likely be part of a condo association. If there are problems with the building or public space you can be assessed as part of association to fix damages.

Coverage on your condo policy for loss assessment can generally be added.

Is debris removal covered on homeowner insurance policy?

Debris removal is covered under most homeowner insurance policies. However, the amount of debris removal coverage you receive is going to vary depending on the carrier.

Most often debris removal is going to be coverage within the Dwelling Coverage or Coverage A on your homeowners policy. This is important to understand and why ensuring your policy has adequate coverage is so important. Rebuilding your house could use up all your coverage.

Then you’re stuck paying for debris removal out of pocket.

Personal Insurance

How does an umbrella insurance policy work?

An umbrella insurance policy works exactly as the name describes. The umbrella policy sits over the top of underlying insurance policies and provides an extra layer of liability insurance.

In the case of a personal umbrella underlying policies would include auto insurance, homeowners insurance, boat insurance, recreational vehicle insurance, rental property insurance if the policy is in your name not a corporation, etc. If the limit of liability is exhausted on a covered loss on the underlying policy then the umbrella kicks in to provide additional coverage.
Umbrella insurance policies are an important part of every insurance program.

Why do you need an umbrella policy?

Because we live in a society where people sue each other and when you have that worst day… When something really awful happens you want to make sure that your assets are protected.

An umbrella policy helps with that.

Flood Insurance

Do I need flood insurance?

The public website www.floodsmart.gov will help you determine if you need flood insurance on your property.

If you apply for a mortgage the mortgage company or lending institution may require that you purchase flood insurance depending on its location and flood map detail.

How does my flood zone effect flood insurance premium?

It’s true. The flood zone your home is located in will impact your flood insurance. Please visit www.floodsmart.gov for more information you may enter your specific address there for information. You may also call an agent that can help explain this to you.

Is flood covered under homeowners insurance?

Flood loss is absolutely NOT covered on your homeowners insurance. Flood is covered by a separate individual policy which can be written by standard insurance carriers but is run by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Rates are set by the federal government so the individual carriers like Travelers Insurance for example just administer the program.

If you are worried about a flood affecting your home you should buy a flood insurance policy and can be done through an agency that sells flood insurance. There is an agent locator on the website www.floodsmart.gov. We at Odell Insurance agency sell flood insurance for properties located in Vermont and New Hampshire.

General Insurance Questions

Should I package my home and auto insurance with the same insurance carrier?

Absolutely YES if possible! If you can package your home and auto together with the same insurance carrier you should do it. However there may be reasons to your advantage not to do so.
What is replacement cost?

Replacement cost is a method for valuing the reimbursement of property on an insurance policy.

The most important concept to understand in regards to replacement cost is “new for old, like kind and quality.” The insurance company is going to give you the amount of money (up to your policy limit) that it takes for the materials and labor to replace your home.

What is the importance of being the first named insured on an insurance policy?

The importance of having the first named insured listed correctly on any insurance policy is because of the rights and responsibilities associated with first named insured status.

The first named insured has the right to be notified upon cancellation and also is entitled to any refunded premium dollars.

Additionally, the first named insured is responsible for any premium obligations in the event there is money owed to an insurance company after cancellation.

It is crucial that the first named insured be listed properly on all insurance policies and that it matches the name on the deed of the property.

Does how I pay for my insurance affect my premiums?

Most insurance carriers have multiple payment options including but not limited to:

  • EFT (Electronic funds transfer)
  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Paid in Full

Some companies will even give a discount if you Pay-in-Full. If you don’t pay-in-full, most every insurance company will charge you a per payment fee. The amount of the fee depends on the company.

How do I insure a vacant building?

Vacant homes can be tricky to place insurance on. This is because most of the well-known standard insurance carriers do not want to write insurance for vacant homes.
Statistically speaking vacant homes are much more likely to have a loss than an occupied home.

You want to make sure that you disclose that the building is going to be vacant, what the procedures are for securing the building and how long you plan for the building to be vacant.

What are the advantages to using an agent for your insurance protection program?

By using an agent to purchase insurance, you the policyholder receives more personal service. An agent with whom there is direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and helpful when filing a claim. A local independent agent is able to deliver quality insurance with competitive pricing and local, personalized service to assist in identifying your unique insurance exposures as you journey through life’s phases and offer insurance protection for those exposures identified.

Do I need earthquake coverage, and how can I get it?

The standard insurance policy does not pay for direct damages caused by earth movement. “Earth movement” is a much broader term than “earthquake”. It includes earthquakes and other types of earth movement. This coverage may be available by endorsement for an additional charge. If you live in an area that’s more likely to have an earthquake, you’ll pay more than if you live in an area that is unlikely to have one. We can help you weigh the costs and benefits of this coverage before you decide to purchase.