Tenant Coverage

October 29, 2015 at 2:33 PM | Posted in Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property, Regulations, Renters, Specialty Policy, tenant, tenant policy | Leave a comment
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While renting an apartment, a house or condominium, the dwelling or structure may not be your responsibility but you still have property to protect. The landlord does not carry any coverage on their property policy for you. A tenant policy is also known as HO4 policy, for the tenant who opts to buy coverage to protect their personal property and to obtain personal liability coverage. Most insurance carriers allow coverage as low as $20,000 for personal property and can be purchased for approximately $200 annually. A general guide to determine the amount of coverage needed is to multiply each full room by 10,000 and make necessary adjustments to that figure. Also keep in mind this is a property policy and makes you eligible for the account discount if you also write your auto policy with the same insurance carrier, or with an affiliated company. This policy could respond by replacing your household items, such as clothing and furniture, from loss caused by fire, theft or vandalism.

Ask yourself the following questions:

What if there is a fire in the building? Or if your apartment is vandalized or burglarized?

  • Could you afford to buy your own replacement items?
  • Could you also afford to relocate while building repairs are being made?

The police report will be on file, the fire department will extinguish the fire, but neither will replace your belongings.  If you had purchased a tenant policy in these scenarios, you would need to pay the policy deductible for a covered loss and would be eligible to replace your items up to the limit of coverage you had purchased.

Call us at (888) 850-9400 to obtain the annual rating of this valuable coverage.


Tips to Help You Navigate a Claim

February 26, 2014 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Auto, Frequently Asked Questions, Home, Insurance Claims, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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This is the time of year when you are more likely to suffer a home or auto loss. We have recently seen everything from ice dams and house fires to broken windshields and auto accidents. No matter what type of claim you have, you should know the steps to take in the claims process:

  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible.  Make sure you understand the basics of how this claim will affect you. Some of the questions you may want to ask them:  Is the damage covered? How long do I have to file the claim? Will the deductible apply? Do I need an estimate? How will this affect my future insurability?
  • Submit the claim. You can contact your insurance company directly to report the claim or you may contact your agent. Don’t be surprised if your insurance agent transfers you to the company to file the first report, because the insurance company will most likely want a direct statement from you with the details of what happened in the loss and may even record your statement. Keep copies of all forms that you send to the company or your agent. Most likely a company adjuster will be sent out to inspect the damage and help settle the claim. There is no charge for this service. You may also be contacted by a Public Adjuster who has no relationship with your insurance company. Public Adjusters charge you a fee for their services that can be as much as 15 percent of your claim settlement. Be advised, they can’t get more money for you than what is stated in your policy.
  • Document the loss. Create a file for your claim. The better organized you are the easier the entire process will be. Write up a summary of what happened, take pictures, and keep lists of damaged items. Write down the name of everyone you speak with at your agency or company, along with the date you spoke to them.
  • Know who to contact for claims assistance. If you have questions on any aspect of your claims process, your assigned insurance company adjuster is the best person to ask. If you are still not happy with any aspect of your claim, contact your insurance agent and they will get involved on your behalf. Most consumers find that their claim is paid quickly, easily, and fairly.

It is in the insurance company’s best interest to pay claims quickly and fairly to keep their customers happy. Most companies stake their reputation on how they handle their claims. Because our agency recognizes claims handling is the most important aspect of insurance, we have a dedicated Claims Advisor on staff to advocate for our customers. You should never be expected to know every aspect of how the claims process works – that’s our job.

Call Protector Group at 888-850-9400 if you need claims guidance.

Pothole Damage to Your Vehicle

June 12, 2013 at 9:09 AM | Posted in Auto | Leave a comment
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The roads are getting worse and worse as towns run out of money to repair the damage to the roads from the winter. Some of the potholes out there are getting pretty big and unavoidable. The damage they can cause to suspension, steering, undercarriage, tires, and rims can be extensive.

Here is a list of signs that you may have pothole damage:

  • The vehicle rolls or sways on turns.
  • The front end dives when braking.
  • The rear end squats when accelerating.
  • The vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding road.
  • The vehicle bottoms out or thumps when going over a bump.
  • There is a loss of directional control during sudden stops.

The best way to prevent damage is to avoid the pothole altogether. With so many potholes out there, sometimes that is hard to do. If you can’t avoid them:

  • Lower your speed. More damage occurs at higher rates of speed.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Don’t apply the brakes when driving over a pothole. Applying the brakes tilts the vehicle forward and places stress on the front suspension, which is the first part of the vehicle to hit the pothole.

Any sudden and accidental damage your vehicle sustains from hitting a pothole is covered but unfortunately, the loss would be considered a single vehicle accident. This means the deductible would apply and you could end up with a surcharge on your driving record for the next six years.

Massachusetts Law concerning potholes and road defects can differ depending on whether the problem road is a city, town, or state road.  If your vehicle suffers pothole damage you may want to check with the city or town that the damage occurred in to see what their Pothole liability and reporting procedures are.

If you have questions on damage you may have due to potholes, call Protector Group at 888-850-9400.

Auto Policy Enhancements You Want to Consider

November 14, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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Your auto policy can provide much more coverage than basic liability and physical damage.  The following are some enhancements that you want to consider when reviewing your coverages:

  • Accident Forgiveness – forgives your first at fault accident.
  • Roadside Assistance – gives you 24/7 access for emergency roadside assistance.
  • Rental Car Coverage – can extend or upgrade the initial rental car coverage you purchased on the policy depending on the company you are insured with.
  • Disappearing Deductibles – reduces your deductible for each year of incident free driving.
  • Accidental Airbag Deployment Coverage – repairs or replaces an airbag that accidentally deploys.
  • Waiver of Depreciation – waives deductions for wear and tear items at the time of a claim up to a certain limit.
  • Trip Interruption Coverage – covers reasonable expenses incurred due to a covered loss when 100 miles or more away from home.
  • Personal Belongings Coverage – covers personal belongings in the vehicle damaged in an accident that would normally be excluded.
  • Pet Injury Protection coverage for pets injured in a covered loss.
  • Loan/Lease Gap Coverage – pays the total due on a vehicle loan in the event of a total loss, even if the Actual Cash Value is less than the loan amount. 

Call Protector Group at 1-888-850-9400 to review which of the coverage enhancements are available on your auto policy to meet your specific needs — before you need to file a claim.

Understanding the Claims Process

October 17, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Posted in Insurance Claims | Leave a comment
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Filing a claim can be stressful and time consuming.  That is why we have a dedicated Claims Advisor on staff to help navigate you through the claims process. Knowing what to expect and what is expected of you alleviates a lot of the stress and help things run smoothly.  Here are the common steps in the claim process:

Auto Claims

  1. File the claim by calling your Agent or the Insurance Company directly.
  2. Get an appraisal of damages – If you carry collision coverage, arrangements will be made to see your vehicle within 3 to 5 business days.  If you go to a “drive-in appraiser” you can usually be seen sooner.
  3. Once the vehicle has been appraised you will be contacted by the Insurance Claim Adjuster and receive a copy of the appraisal with a list of preferred repair shops. The deductible could be held pending a determination of liability, however, if liability has been determined in your favor, your deductible will not be held.
  4. If you take the vehicle to a preferred repair shop to be repaired, the work is guaranteed.  If you go to a non-preferred repair shop, the work cannot be guaranteed at the same rate on the appraisal and you could have out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. At this time, any rental coverage would be approved based on the number of days the vehicle will be in the shop.  If you do not have rental coverage and the other party is at fault, a third-party claim would need to be set up for rental with the other company.
  6. You can set up a direction to pay with the repair shop and the Insurance Company will pay them directly.  Otherwise, you will receive a check.
  7. When the repairs of the vehicle have been completed, a repair Certification form or visual inspection may be required.

Home Claims

  1. Take whatever steps are necessary to minimize the damage in the affected area of loss.
  2. If immediate professional cleanup is required to prevent further damage due to fire, water, soot, or any other type of claim you can contact a restoration company directly.
  3. File the claim by calling your Agent or the Insurance Company directly.
  4. The adjuster should make contact with you within 24-48 hours to get a statement and make sure arrangements have been made for any necessary cleanup.
  5. Home claims are always settled on an Actual Cash Value basis even if you carry Replacement Cost.  Your initial check will be for the Actual Cash Value and once the repair or replacement is complete you would submit receipts and be reimbursed for the difference between the actual cash value and the replacement cost.
  6. A final inspection of the completed repairs may be required.

If you have questions concerning your claims coverage, contact Protector Group at 888-850-9400. No matter what type of claim you have, whether it is large or small, our Claims Advisor is on staff and ready to help you.

Choosing the Deductible That Works For You

October 10, 2012 at 9:42 AM | Posted in Insurance Policy | Leave a comment
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In almost every claim situation a deductible applies, and can add up to a costly out-of-pocket expense at the time of a claim. However, by choosing a higher deductible you can keep your insurance premium costs down.  Here is some information that you should consider when choosing your deductible: 

Comprehensive coverage includes fire, theft, falling objects, damage caused by animals, and glass coverage.  The deductible you choose is always applied in a comprehensive claim with the exception of a glass only claim.  Most agents write comprehensive coverage with no glass deductible because the savings for applying a glass deductible is very minimal.   For other damage, beyond just the glass (for example: when a side view mirror casing housing the glass is also damaged), the comprehensive deductible will apply to the entire loss. 

Collision deductibles are always applied in the event of a claim.  Most agents automatically apply collision waiver coverage.  The cost of this endorsement (usually about $14 a year) is minimal in comparison to the policy deductible.  This coverage waives your deductible when you are not at fault in the accident and can identify who hit you, even if they are uninsured.  Most companies offer some form of disappearing collision deductible coverage for an additional fee.  Each year you are incident-free your collision deductible is reduced so the next time you have an accident and the deductible applies, you will not have as much out-of-pocket expense. 

Home policies always apply the deductible to a claim.  Unfortunately, at this time there is no optional coverage that reduces your home deductible.  However, there are some companies who now apply a single loss deductible when both your home and auto policies are written with them and when the damaged is due to the same loss.  

The standard deductible is now $500 for auto and home although some companies are now requiring homes to carry at least a $1,000 deductible in some situations.  

Call us at 888-850-9400 if you need additional assistance reviewing the deductible options that are the perfect choice for you.

Homeowner Insurance Trends for 2012

February 22, 2012 at 9:54 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance | Leave a comment
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Since the Ice Storm of December 2008, we have experienced hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, and hail. Even though some areas were hit harder than others, many people were affected by each storm and insurance companies paid out millions of dollars in claims. As a result, the following are some of the changes we can expect to see in homeowners insurance beginning this year:

  • Increased Minimum Deductibles. A homeowner policy is meant to cover you in the event of a catastrophic loss. It is not designed to respond to the losses you may incur that could be considered maintenance or seasonal (such as tree limbs falling, but not damaging a structure, due to the weight of ice and snow ). In the near future you will see standard home deductibles for new and renewal policies at a minimum of $500 or $1,000 to reduce the frequency of small claims being filed. Even though the deductibles are increasing, the rates are typically lower when a deductible higher than $500 is applied to the policy.
  • Homeowner Rates. Homeowner insurance rates have been increasing over the last couple of years, and are expected to continue for the next few years. However, most insurance companies are also increasing discounts such as the account credit (combining both your home and auto insurance together) to offset some of the increases.

If you have any questions or concerns about your homeowner policy, call your Client Service Representative at 1-888-850-9400. We are here to help you get the most out of your insurance.

Are Your Holiday Gifts Protected?

January 4, 2012 at 9:09 AM | Posted in Home, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance, Personal Property | Leave a comment
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Scheduling items such as jewelry, furs, and fine arts will insure them for the full replacement cost, regardless of the reason for the loss. There are two ways to list these items on your policy:

  1. Blanket Coverage – Items are placed in a category with a total dollar amount, which usually does not require an appraisal; or
  2. Individual Coverage – Schedule each item separately using the appraised value.

No deductible applies to either method.

We recommend having your valuables appraised on an annual basis to ensure they are properly covered.

Call us at 1-888-850-9400. We will be happy to help you determine the best method to protect these valuable items.

Part III: A Guide to the Optional Physical Damage Coverage on Your Auto Policy

October 26, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Posted in Auto, Insurance Policy, Personal Insurance | Leave a comment
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Optional physical damage covers your vehicle, towing and labor, and car rental. The value of your vehicle and your particular needs determines what physical damage coverage options you should carry.

Part 7:   Collision.
  Pays for damage to your car, less any applicable deductible, no matter who causes the accident. The standard deductible is $500 but other options are available. Collision is always paid on an actual cash value basis at the time of the loss. Other than the value of the vehicle, collision also covers:

  • The initial tow from the scene of an accident if the vehicle is not drivable
  • Storage fees
  • Cleanup of debris or hazardous materials resulting from an accident
  • Unusual circumstances such as winching a vehicle out of a ditch.

Part 8:   Limited Collision.  Also pays for collision damage to your car. You must not be more than 50% at fault and the owner of the other vehicle must be identified. This coverage would not apply in hit and runs or at-fault accidents.

Part 9:   Comprehensive.  Pays for damage to or loss of your car, less the deductible resulting from perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, and striking an animal but not collision. This coverage is also paid on an actual cash value basis. Glass is usually covered with no deductible.

Part 10:   Substitute Transportation.  Reimburses up to $15 a day for rental or transportation costs (up to $450) while your car is undergoing collision or covered repairs. Higher options are available. The number of days allowed to rent will be pre-determined by the amount of damage to your vehicle, and must be approved by your insurance company.

Part 11:   Towing and Labor.  Reimburses you up to $50 for towing and labor charges each time your car breaks down whether or not there is an accident involved. Higher options are available. Some companies now offer Roadside Assistance instead of the standard towing and labor coverage, which works like a motor club membership – they send someone to assist you instead of just reimbursing your expenses.

Remember, only you can determine which coverages you should carry to protect yourself based on your financial situation. Contact us at 888.850.9400 for additional information on what coverage options are available to you.

Four Tips to Lower your Homeowners Insurance Costs

July 6, 2011 at 9:42 AM | Posted in Home | Leave a comment
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  1. Increase your deductible:  Save up to 25% by increasing your deductible from $500 to $1000.  Homeowners insurance is intended to cover major losses, not everyday minor items.  Don’t pay high yearly premiums for something you may rarely need.
  2. Multi-Line Policy discounts:  Purchase your homeowners and car insurance from the same company and you could save up to 22% on both premiums.
  3. Additional Security and Safety: If you have sprinkler systems, burglar alarms, and fire alarms, insurance companies will reduce premiums by as much as 20% …especially those connected to monitoring companies.
  4. Home Improvement Discounts:  Updating an older home’s electrical, heating, and plumbing systems to current standards will usually lower insurance rates because the risk for a potential loss is greatly reduced.

Sometimes saving on your home policy simply means reviewing the policy.  You may be carrying additional coverages you no longer need or your dwelling coverage may be too high.  Call your Protector Group Insurance Agency representative at 888-850-9400 to discuss your particular policy and needs.

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