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General Insurance FAQ’s

General

  • Why do I need insurance?

    Buying insurance is buying peace of mind. When you have something of great value, like a house or a car, you want to make sure you have the financial capability to fix or replace it when something bad unexpectedly happens to it. Insurance helps share the risk you take when buying something of great value. It is impossible to avoid accidents and claims, but having insurance will allow you the peace of mind to know you are covered in the event of a loss.

  • How does insurance work?
    Insurance is like a safety net for unexpected events in life. When you pay your regular premiums, you are chipping in with a bunch of other policyholders, creating a pool of money. Then, if something covered by your policy happens, like a car accident or a house fire, the insurance kicks in to help you out. It’s like having a financial backup plan to soften the blow when you have an unexpected event.

  • What are the different types of insurance?
    Various insurance types include auto, home, life, health, renters, business, and specialty insurance, each tailored to address specific needs and risks. Insurance is a variable business. This means that every single person or business that needs insurance will end up with different coverages, catered to their individual needs. Being that McMichael Insurance has been in business for so long, we have the experience to know how to cater to those individual needs.

  • Can I have multiple insurance policies with different providers?
    It’s totally fine to have multiple insurance policies with different providers. Just keep in mind that it’s a good idea to think about how they work together. You’ll want to make sure the costs and coverage align well to make sure you have all your bases covered.

  • How can I bundle insurance policies to save money?
    You can reduce your insurance costs by bundling multiple policies with the same insurer. This often results in discounts and simplifies managing your coverage. With an independent agent like McMichael, we take all of the guess work out of this. We will find you the best coverages for the right price.

  • What is the benefit of dealing with an independent insurance agent?
    An independent insurance agent, like McMichael Insurance Agency, is your personalized guide in the insurance world. We are unlike agents tied to one specific company, such as those that work at large national brands (State Farm, Allstate, etc.) that pump billions into advertising. We have the freedom to offer policies from over 30 “A” rated insurers. This means you get a professional agent who’s seen various situations and dealt with thousands of claims, and recommend the right insurer for your particular situation. We are here to recommend the right coverage for you and your family, and/or for your business. We will also provide you with ongoing support after the sale, including guiding you through filing a claim and assisting in making changes to your policy. We think you deserve a dedicated representative, not a toll-free number with people you don’t know.

  • How can I find the best insurance rates?
    Your best bet is to enlist the help of an independent agent, like McMichael. We have the advantage of shopping among all the top-rated carriers we collaborate with, ensuring you get insurance at a fair rate. What sets us apart is not just finding the best deal but also leveraging our extensive knowledge to guarantee you have the optimal coverage, fully safeguarding both yourself and your assets.

  • What is a deductible in insurance?
    A deductible in insurance is the out-of-pocket amount you’re responsible for before your insurance coverage kicks in during a claim. It plays a crucial role in defining the extent of your financial responsibility in the context of insurance.

  • How can I lower my insurance deductible?
    You can change your deductible by calling your carrier or agent to do so. It is important to keep in mind the cost and benefit of lowering your deductible. Once lowered, you will have to pay less out of pocket in the event of a claim but you will pay more premium. We can help you decide if this is is a wise decision or not.

  • How do I decide if a higher deductible is right for me?
    A higher deductible means you will have to pay more out of pocket in the event of a claim. In exchange for this, however, you would be paying less premium for the coverage associated with this deductible. It is important to weigh the extra cost or savings in premium with the change in deductible amount. This is something we can help you decide.

  • What if I want to cancel my insurance?
    You have the freedom to cancel your insurance policy at any time. Just keep in mind that the process might come with penalties or involve receiving a refund for any unused premiums. The specifics depend on the terms and conditions set by your insurance provider. We can help you obtain this information.

  • How does a lapse in insurance coverage affect me?
    A lapse might lead to higher premiums because of the loss of continuous insurance discounts that were initially applied. Contact our office as soon as possible so we can work through your options.

  • How do I file a claim?
    When you face a loss or damage, filing an insurance claim is your way to use coverage. Just get in touch with your insurance company, share the required information and documents, and then follow their specific claim procedures. It’s like reaching out for help, and they’ll guide you through the rest. McMichael is also able to help you through the claims process if you do not submit it directly to your insurance company.

  • How long does it take to process an insurance claim?
    The processing time for an insurance claim varies depending on the complexity of the claim, the insurer, and the type of insurance. Simple claims may be processed within days, while more complex cases may take several weeks.

  • What is umbrella insurance, and why might I need it?
    Think of it as an extra layer of liability coverage beyond your regular policies. It steps in for substantial claims or lawsuits. It’s especially key for folks with significant assets or those seeking an added layer of security. We always recommend that you purchase an umbrella policy to have that extra peace of mind.

  • What is an insurance underwriter?
    An insurance underwriter is the risk expert in the insurance world. They evaluate risks and figure out the nitty-gritty details of insurance policies—deciding on terms and pricing. They play a crucial role in helping insurance companies make smart choices about who to insure and what kind of terms to lay out.

  • What is an insurance declaration page?
    An insurance declarations page provides very important information that is specific to you. This includes your name, address, policy number, coverage term, property insured, and limits of insurance and/or deductibles. A declaration page only one part of what constitutes the insurance contract. To properly understand coverage, the policy must be understood in the entirety of the forms and endorsements that make up the policy.

  • How does insurance cover theft and vandalism?
    Coverage for theft and vandalism depends on your policy type and terms. Many insurance policies, such as homeowners and auto insurance, provide coverage for these types of losses, but the extent of coverage can vary.

  • What is an insurance endorsement, and when is it needed?
    An insurance endorsement is a policy amendment that adds, modifies, or removes coverage. It is used when policyholders need to make specific changes to their existing insurance policies, tailoring them to their evolving needs.

  • What is subrogation in insurance?
    Subrogation is the process by which your insurer seeks reimbursement from a third party who is responsible for causing a loss or damage that your insurance company has covered. It helps the insurance company recover some of the funds they’ve paid out.

  • What is co-insurance, and how does it work?
    Co-insurance is the percentage of costs you share with your insurer after meeting your deductible. It’s an arrangement where you and your insurance provider split the expenses for covered services, often with you paying a specific percentage.

  • What is an insurance exclusion, and what should I be aware of?
    Think of an insurance exclusion as the “not covered” section of your policy – it’s situations or items specifically left out. To safeguard your coverage, it’s crucial to give your insurance policy a thorough read so you know exactly what’s excluded. These exclusions can be significant, so being aware of them is key to understanding the full scope of your coverage.

Home Insurance FAQ’s

Home

  • What is homeowners insurance, and what does it cover?
    Homeowners insurance is a vital protection for your home. It doesn’t just cover your house but also extends to your personal belongings. Additionally, it offers liability coverage, safeguarding you in case of damage, theft, or legal matters. This type of insurance is crucial for securing your most substantial investment – your home.

  • How do I determine the right coverage for my home?
    To figure out the right home insurance coverage, start by calculating the rebuilding cost of your home and evaluating the value of your possessions. Make sure your policy sufficiently protects all your assets. For personalized assistance, consider having one of our insurance professionals guide you through the process to ensure you get the coverage that suits your needs.

  • What is renters insurance, and do I need it?
    Renters insurance is a safeguard that shields your personal belongings and provides liability protection for renters. It ensures financial security in unforeseen events such as theft, fire, or accidents. Whether you need it depends on your unique situation, but in general, it’s a smart choice to guarantee peace of mind and protect your possessions in rental situations.

  • If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, whose insurance covers the claim?
    If your neighbor’s tree falls on your house, your insurance policy would cover the claim for the direct damage to your home. It doesn’t matter whose tree it is; your insurance takes care of the repairs. In the event that your neighbor is found responsible for having a knowingly unsafe tree, your insurer may seek reimbursement from them for the expenses they covered on your behalf. This way, your coverage addresses immediate concerns, and any responsibility issues are dealt with afterward if needed.

  • How much coverage do I have if my trees are blown down in a wind storm?
    If your trees are blown down in a windstorm, it’s worth noting that most homeowners’ policies usually exclude coverage for the damage to the trees themselves. However, there’s typically a provision for up to 5% or $500 for debris removal of trees if their fall results in damage to a covered structure. So, even though the policy may not directly cover the fallen trees, there is an allowance for the removal of debris to address any damage caused to covered structures. For precise details on coverage limits and conditions, it’s recommended to review your specific policy.

  • My child is going away to college. Do I need renter’s insurance for them?
    Insurance policies for college students can vary among providers. Some may offer coverage equal to 10% of your personal property limit for off-premise locations, while others may limit it to dorm rooms only. If your student plans to rent an apartment or lives away from school, it could be a good idea for them to have their own renter’s insurance. Also, consider liability coverage, especially regarding whether your student’s residence qualifies as an insured location. For personalized advice, feel free to reach out to one of our professionals for guidance.

  • Do I need Sewer or Water Backup Coverage?
    We highly recommend considering Sewer or Water Backup coverage. With the growing construction of homes and shopping centers, existing sewer systems can be strained, particularly during and after rainstorms. When these systems can’t handle the excess water, your home might be at risk. While standard homeowners policies typically exclude this type of loss, we can often add specific coverage for Sewer or Water Backup. This is especially crucial if you have a finished basement, store belongings in an unfinished basement, or have vulnerable appliances like a furnace or hot water tank. Adding this coverage provides an additional layer of protection tailored to potential risks associated with your property.

  • How often should I have my valuables or jewelry appraised?
    It’s a good idea to have your valuable items, especially jewelry, appraised at least every five years. This regular schedule ensures that the values of your possessions stay current. If your valuables appreciate rapidly or if there are significant market changes, more frequent appraisals may be recommended. Taking this proactive approach helps you maintain accurate and up-to-date coverage for your prized possessions, ensuring that your insurance reflects the true value of your valuable items.

  • Why is my Homeowners Insurance limit more than my home’s market value?
    The Homeowners Insurance limit can be higher than your home’s market value because it is calculated based on the reconstruction cost rather than the current market value. The insurance aims to cover the cost of rebuilding your home in case of damage or loss, taking into account construction and labor expenses. This approach ensures that you have adequate protection and won’t face substantial out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim. Despite economic fluctuations affecting market values, insuring your home for its reconstruction cost provides a more accurate and comprehensive level of coverage.

  • How does insurance protect against natural disasters?
    Insurance safeguards against the financial impact of natural disasters by providing coverage for damages caused by events like hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods. The extent of this protection depends on the specific policies and endorsements you have in place. Insurance acts as a financial safety net, enabling you to recover when your property is affected by these natural disasters. It’s crucial to review and understand the specific coverage options within your policy to ensure comprehensive protection against the risks posed by such events.

  • What is an insurance appraisal, and when is it needed?
    An insurance appraisal is an evaluation that determines the value of specific property, often necessary for high-value items such as art, jewelry, or antiques. This appraisal is essential to ensure that you have sufficient coverage and receive appropriate compensation in the event of a loss. By accurately assessing the value of these items, an insurance appraisal helps guarantee that your insurance coverage aligns with the true worth of your valuable possessions, providing you with the financial protection you need.

  • Home Insurance 101: Back-up of Sewers and Drains
    Backup of Sewers and Drain coverage is an optional endorsement which provides protection for your dwelling and personal property losses caused by water that backs up through a sewer or drain pipe. Coverage also applies from water that has entered into the area from a sump pump that has overflowed. For example, the sewer backs up through your drain pipe, releasing water into the basement and ruining furniture, clothing and children’s toys. The damage is covered, less your deductible. There is a limitation in coverage, equal to the limit listed on your homeowner declaration page (ie $10,000). McMichael Insurance recommends you carry Back-up of Sewers or Drains when your lowest level is finished, which includes slab homes and finished basements.

Auto Insurance FAQ’s

Auto

  • Why is it necessary to have auto insurance?
    Auto insurance is crucial because it provides coverage for any damages or liabilities associated with vehicles and accidents. It’s not just about financial protection; it’s also about complying with legal requirements, which can vary depending on your location. Having auto insurance safeguards both your wallet and your legal standing on the road.

Business Insurance FAQ’s

Insurance Coverage Definitions

Can’t find what you’re looking for? No problem, we are always here to help you find answers.