Below are some answers to common questions from our customers about insurance coverage.
We hope you will always feel free to contact us with any question about our products, coverages, or services. You can e-mail your question, call 413-534-7355, or fax us at 413-536-9286. We welcome your questions and will answer them promptly.
A. You need a title, a bill of sale, and a full description of the vehicle, and the vehicle’s current mileage. You also need to pay the insurance down payment, registration fees, and sales tax. Then you’re ready for the Registry; the process should go smoothly.
A.No. A newly licensed driver, according to Massachusetts law, cannot transport anyone under 18 years of age. (NOTE: Children driving with learner’s permits do not need to be added as listed operators on your insurance policy until they pass their licensing exam.)
A.Companies require information that enables them to evaluate the chances of a claim occurring. Favorable information supplied by you, can result in a lower insurance cost. The more favorable the information, the more comfortable a company feels about taking on the risk that is involved.
A.If you make a claim, you will not normally see a change in your costs. Companies generally focus on the frequency of your claims. If you make several claims within a 3-5 year period, you’ll probably impact your costs. Claims are normally made for payment of calamitous events.
A.You can save money if you and any other drivers covered under your policy have not had an at-fault accident or moving violation for the past 6 years.
A.You’ll save 5% on your collision, comprehensive and liability coverages (Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9) when a husband and wife insure all of their vehicles with the same insurance company.
A.Seniors (over the age of 65) can save as much as 25%. The discount is the result of several factors that relate to the age group: less exposure to the pressures of rush hour, commuter traffic; more conservative lifestyles; less driving time and mileage and so forth.
A.You save money on your car insurance, if you take the train or subway to work. For more details, call or e-mail us.
A.If you drive less than 7,500 per year, you may save on certain parts of your car insurance.
A.If your vehicle is equipped with safety devices such as airbags or passive restraint seatbelts, you earn an additional savings on your auto insurance.
A.If you have both your auto and your homeowners insurance with us, you may be eligible for a discount of 10% or better on your homeowner’s premium.
Q.Should I use my real estate tax evaluation as a basis to choose the amount of insurance for my home?
A.No. The tax evaluation simply reflects the assessor’s estimate of the sales value of your home. You want to choose an amount that will allow you to rebuild or restore your home, should a loss occur. You need to determine the cost of labor and materials in today’s dollars to do this. We will be glad to appraise your home’s replacement cost for you at no charge.
A.This is an important question in this era of the mobile society! The answer is “Yes”, but. The “but” is: you are only covered for the perils insured against in your Homeowner’s Policy. For broader coverage during a move, consult with us. Your possessions are automatically covered at your new home for 30 days.
A.When a claim occurs, you are required to pay the first portion of the cost to repair or replace the insured property. This fixed amount is the deductible you selected. The insurance company pays the remainder of the claim. Deductibles are used as a method to stretch your insurance dollars. The greater the deductible amount you agree to pay for each claim, the lower your insurance premium. This can sometimes add up to a significant savings. However, you must decide how much of any claim you are willing and able to pay for to determine your deductible. We’d be glad to help you re-assess the deductibles you’ve chosen to see if they match your current needs.
A.Receipts are helpful in establishing a value for a lost item, but the insurance companies don’t require them. In most cases, the insurance company will ask you to compile a list of the lost or destroyed items and their approximate value. The company will then adjust your claim for “depreciation” based on that list. Your best guard against depreciation is choosing the replacement value option on your insurance. We’d be happy to discuss this option and to help you put together a Home Inventory, which can save valuable time and effort in case of a loss.
A.Comprehensive covers all perils except collision. Examples: losses by theft, fire, windstorm, flood, vandalism, falling objects, earthquake, hail, glass breakage, and more. Collision covers only one peril…collision. But it is the one peril (don’t you love that word) that causes the most damage. That’s why it is more expensive.
A.You don’t need to list your child as an operator of your car until he or she actually passes the driver’s exam and becomes a licensed driver. A child with a valid permit can operate your car accompanied by a licensed operator up until he or she becomes a licensed driver without being listed. If you have a son or daughter with a permit, please let us know. We have some useful information on young people and their impact on your auto insurance.
A.If you have a home-based business, you should review your insurance needs immediately. Your homeowner’s policy specifically excludes liability for a business conducted at your home. Although your policy provides $2500 of coverage for business personal property on your premises, there is only $250 away from your home. You have three choices: (1) endorsements to your homeowner’s policy so that your business equipment and liability and business interruption protection needs are met; (2) a special in-home business policy; or (3) a small business owners package policy.
A.You can earn a Home Account Discount by having both your auto insurance and your Homeowners Insurance with the same company and the same agent. We have a Home Discount Program that offers a substantial savings on your home insurance. If you would like to know how to take advantage of the savings, call us or E-mail and ask for “Home Discount information”
A.Long Term Care provides financial assistance for individuals who are unable to care for themselves. They need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, transferring, toileting and eating. Also, they may have cognitive impairment. The cost of special care, even if provided at home, is high. Most group medical plans and HMOs don’t cover this type of care. One solution is the purchase of Long Term Care insurance.
A.The chance of a serious earthquake in Boston or Bridgewater is less than in Seattle or San Francisco that’s for sure. But nonetheless, there is some risk. What’s more, the solid bedrock that underlies most of the Eastern U.S. is an excellent shock transmitter so that areas far removed from the quake center could be affected. Your basic homeowners insurance does not cover earthquake damage. In fact, your basic policy specifically excludes coverage for any damage caused by any type of earth movement or shifting. A simple phone call or e-mail is all you need do to add this coverage. We’ll immediately add a special earthquake endorsement to your homeowner’s policy. The average cost is $75 a year, about $1.44 a week.
Q.If you travel to Canada by car, how do you prove to border guards that you have the required auto insurance?
A.You need to contact your auto insurance agent and ask for a Canadian insurance card. The card must be stamped and signed by your agent.
A.Interest in life and disability insurance has risen sharply since the events of September 11th. A popular rule of thumb amount cited is 5 times your household income. But it really depends on your overall financial situation and objectives. If you’re concerned about having adequate coverage for your family, call or E-mail us.
A.No. Many homeowners mistakenly think their ATVs are fully covered. A separate ATV policy is required. However, the premium rate for ATV insurance is relatively modest.
A.No. Special coverage is required under a separate insurance plan. If your town has flood plain zoning in place, you may be eligible for insurance through a special federal government program.
A.It is a life, credit life or disability income insurance policy specifically designed to pay off the unpaid mortgage loan balance or make the monthly payments on a mortgage, if you are injured, ill or die.
Q.I am an avid skier. Are my skis covered by my homeowner's insurance against theft when I am at the slopes?
A.Yes. But the loss amount that is paid is subject to a deductible. You may want to consult with us on this. In any event, it pays to safeguard your valuable skis wherever they are!
A.They are valid road users and have all the rights and responsibilities of other vehicle drivers. They must drive on the right with the flow of traffic and use proper hand signals before making a lane change or turning.
A. No. At home or away from home, you are only covered if you have comprehensive coverage on your automobile policy.
A.The key factors are: (1) financial strength and stability of a company; (2) types of markets served (home, auto, business, special properties, etc.; (3) competitiveness (range of coverages offered, pricing levels and overall cost-value of policies); (4) quality of claims service provided to our customers.
A.Stolen or damaged items like compact discs aren’t covered by your auto insurance. You’d have to file a claim on your home insurance. Most home insurance policies cover smaller, less expensive items. However, if you regularly transport expensive items such as computer equipment, ask us about purchasing a floater on your homeowner’s policy.
A.If you have collision and comprehensive insurance on your personal auto, you automatically have the same coverages, subject to your deductible, under the physical damage insurance. You are NOT covered, however for the soft costs. That is, your personal policy will not pay for any lost business income for the rental car company while their damaged vehicle is being repaired. We recommend that you buy the insurance from the rental company.
A.All household members need to be listed as operators of family vehicles. While students are away at school, they may be excluded as operators. A signed exclusion form needs to be filed. This saves premium dollars for the parents. But they must remember to call us and add back student operators during holiday breaks, spring break, summer, etc.
Q.Is there a difference between a homeowner's insurance replacement value figure and the town's evaluation figure for tax purposes?
A.Absolutely! There is also a difference between your home’s market value figure and insurance value. Your insurance value is based on the cost of replacing losses to physical property structures and possessions only. Land value is excluded. NOTE: You may want to check with us about the current replacement value amount in your homeowner’s policy. A recent report by a leading insurance valuation authority reported that about 60% of all American homes were undervalued by an average of 25%. Two major reasons: rise in construction costs, failure to report home improvements and additions to insurance agents.
A.No. Flood insurance does not cover finished walls, floors, carpeting, and personal belongings. It does cover your foundation. Also, functional items such as plumbing, furnace, water heater and circuit breakers are covered under your policy’s building coverage. Other limited items such as washer or dryer or a freezer are covered under your policy’s contents coverage, which must be purchased in addition to building coverage.
A.Yes. But the standard limit of coverage is 10% of the amount of insurance on your main house. If your house is insured for $200,000, your other structures are covered up to $20,000. Other structures include your garage, sheds, pool, fences et al. What would it cost you to replace “other structures?” You may want to increase your limit to fit their replacement cost. If so call us.
A.No! For example, if a tree or limb falls and damages your RV, you are not covered by your homeowner’s policy. Physical damage is not automatically covered. An RV must have specific collision and comprehensive insurance to pay for damage losses. Call us for more information about the benefits and cost.
A.Both services involve your overall financial security and well-being (asset protection and asset building.) In addition to one-stop convenience, we believe we offer the benefits of well-coordinated strategies, more product choices and personal local service.
A. An emphatic NO! Your Home Replacement Value relates to what it would cost to rebuild your home if you had a total loss of the insured structure(s). This figure, of course, does not include land value. Market Value relates to your home’s worth to prospective buyers. Assessed Value is determined by your local community for property tax purposes.