FAQs

Select questions below for answers to the most frequently asked questions.

With Functional Replacement Cost, after a partial claim you will receive today’s building materials. For example, plaster walls might be replaced with drywall. Or, individually hand-laid oak floor boards might be replaced with oak laminates. You will receive materials similar to what can be bought at Menard’s or Home Depot. After a total loss, you will receive the insurance amount or the market value of the dwelling, whichever is LESS.

With ACV coverage, after a partial claim you will receive exactly what you had at the time of loss. For example, 30 year old kitchen cupboards would be replaced with the value of 30 year old kitchen cupboards. Any claim would be depreciated.

After a total loss, you will receive the insurance amount or the market value of the building, whichever is less. Customers are usually not very happy after a claim with this type of coverage, but it can be a way to provide catastrophic coverage for an investment property that might not be worth having a great deal of coverage on.

A flood policy allows someone to purchase coverage for their contents, however the premiums are very expensive and most people don’t do it.

Most people purchase flood insurance because their mortgage company requires it. On the lowest level of the property, a flood policy only covers mechanicals such as a furnace or water softener. If you have a finished basement, you will never receive a payment for drywall, carpeting, or furniture. If you do purchase contents coverage, a policy restricts furniture. For example, you might only be allowed to claim one couch and one coffee table, not necessarily everything that was destroyed in the flood.

Flood policies have a unique characteristic in that a buyer of your home can take over your policy. If you purchased your flood insurance at a time when your property was in a less hazardous zone or maybe in no zone at all (which is even better), a home buyer can take over your policy and enjoy a lower premium than what they would pay with a new policy. If you cancel your coverage, it could hinder the resale value of your home because the new property owner would take into account the expense of the flood insurance. If your home is in a higher rated zone since you purchased your flood insurance, we would never recommend cancelling your policy.

Many insurance companies now require an elevation certificate before you can purchase a flood policy. This is a document performed by a surveyor that will show your home in relationship to sea level. Naturally, the higher your property is, the better rate you will enjoy. An elevation certificate will show that.

Insurance company statistics show that someone with good credit history has life characteristics that parallel insurance company profitability. For example, someone with good credit history might be more apt to own a home with a garage that the cars sit in instead of being left in a parking lot of an apartment complex when hail hits. In addition, someone with good credit history will replace tires instead of attempting to get through another winter with no traction.

Industry statistics show that young, single drivers under age 21 have three times more accidents than married drivers between the ages of 25-65. In addition, young males are driving faster when they have an accident compared to girls. With this in mind, young male drivers are the most expensive demographic to insure. It doesn’t take much at a body shop to incur a bill of several thousand dollars. This doesn’t even include the liability cost when someone is injured or property is damaged.

There are many factors that go into auto premiums. While the age of driver, credit history and MVR are probably the three most important factors, these are other things that can reduce your rates:

  1. Combine auto and home
  2. Make sure young drivers have a B average or better
  3. Work closer to home (less distance to work each day results in a lower premium)
  4. Owning American-made cars can be cheaper to insure because parts come from Detroit rather than Japan
  5. Paying premium in full can avoid installment fees

Motorcycle rates are based on the climate of the insured’s geographic location. For example, someone in California will pay double the premium of someone in Illinois. With this in mind, insurance companies will no longer allow someone to reduce coverage during the winter months.

Every good motorcycle policy will cover injuries sustained to a passenger if the motorcycle driver is at fault.

Motorcycle rates can be reduced by insuring your cycle with the same company that provides your home and auto insurance. In addition, many insurance companies will give a discount if you pay in full. In some situations, someone that drives their motorcycle more frequently will pay a lesser premium than someone who rarely drives the bike.

An ATV/golf cart can be insured on a standalone policy or as a rider to a homeowners policy.

Insuring an ATV/golf cart will provide coverage wherever it goes. If it is listed on a homeowners policy, liability is restricted to the premises listed on the policy. If a golf cart travels to a golf course, it usually needs to be listed as a separate location. Someone who travels with a golf cart more frequently will usually have a standalone policy.

An ATV is a single-rider vehicle, where a UTV (utility task vehicle) can seat between two and four people and is designed for rougher terrain, hauling, and more work-related tasks. ATVs have handle bars, while UTVs have a steering wheel. However, they would still be insured on the same type of policy.

Snowmobile rates are based on territory. Someone in central Illinois will pay a cheaper premium than someone from northern Wisconsin, because the season is longer in Wisconsin and the industry expects the vehicle will be used more frequently. This means that most companies will not allow to you suspend coverage during the offseason, because this time when the snowmobile is not being used is already taken into account in your premium.

In short — no. Most policies exclude competitive events, which includes racing, time trials, and other competitions while riding a snowmobile. In most situations, coverage cannot be purchased for events like these.

Many snowmobile policies lack Uninsured Motorist coverage. When you are hit by someone who has no insurance, and you are injured, this coverage will pay for the damages to your snowmobile and any expenses related to your injuries. However, Uninsured Motorist coverage is not an inexpensive premium because many snowmobiles don’t carry the correct liability coverage.

Most RV policies cover liability claims while the vehicle is in motion, or claims inside of the vehicle while parked. Claims also can occur outside the vehicle at a campfire, for example. Few policies will cover a claim like this. However, the liability portion of your home or renters policy extends worldwide and would cover you in a case like this.

Many insurance companies have no interest in insuring recreational trailers that have the wheels removed and become permanent in an RV park. Some people will build decks around the trailer, add sunrooms, and make it more of a home than a trailer. If your unit sits in the same place for more than a few weeks, it’s important that your policy reflects that. Most companies will classify this as a mobile home rather than an RV.

The physical damage premium on an RV is based on the approximate market value of the vehicle. For example, a vehicle with a $30,000 value should have a premium that is three times higher than a vehicle with a $10,000 value. The amount on your policy is only a guide. Even if you insure a vehicle for $30,000, but its current value is only $10,000, you will only receive $10,000 in the event of a total loss. Therefore, make sure when you speak with your agent you give an estimate of the current value of your RV.

A collector policy allows someone to insure a vehicle for the market value at the time of application. If a total claim ensues, they receive that amount of coverage. This is contrary to a typical auto policy, where you would only receive NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) book value. Stated amount coverage is always superior coverage to actual cash value coverage, which is how a typical auto is insured.

Most classic auto policies have zero deductibles for both comprehensive (deer, vandalism, fire, hail) and collision. Claims are rare, and the industry has found that this is a nice benefit for people who insure their vehicles in this special program.

The leading companies for classic automobiles are Hagerty, Condon & Skelly, and American Modern. Although other companies exist, these three seem to insure the majority of the marketplace.

After a devastating claim, most businesses would like to continue to pay their staff even though they have no place to work. Business Income can provide a stopgap coverage that allows a business to make payroll, advertise a new location, print new letterhead, and pay other expenses that would not be covered in other parts of the policy. A BOP will usually include Business Income coverage.

A BOP policy will usually provide a small amount of coverage for signs that are attached to the building or hanging separate from the building. Signs can be expensive; a BOP may not totally cover the expense to replace a sign, but may provide some.

Even though BOPs are special policies created for main street businesses, very few will provide protection for professional liability claims. Errors and Omissions, also known as Malpractice insurance or Professional Liability insurance, are separate policies that need to be purchased on a standalone basis.

Hired & Non-owned Auto Liability is a must-have if your restaurant does delivery. Many companies will not offer this coverage, so it is always something you should bring up to your agent. When a delivery driver, in his own vehicle, injures someone, your restaurant is certain to get sued. Every auto policy in America includes a business use exclusion, unless it is rated appropriately. When the driver’s personal insurance company denies the claim, Hired & Non-owned Auto Liability coverage will step in and protect your business.

A good restaurant policy will include coverage for spoiled food. If on Friday at 6 p.m. you realize the contents in the cooler are spoiled (filet mignon, lobster tails, etc.), this will cause a lot of problems for the restaurant and its employees. This coverage will pay to replace these items and possibly the income lost because they weren’t sold.

If a windstorm knocks power out to your community for more than a few days and your restaurant can’t open, utility services coverage can reimburse you for lost income because your restaurant was not in business. This can include gas, electric, internet, and water.

Road or Utility Construction is one of the most painful problems that a business owner can face. A road project can cripple a business. Unfortunately, it is not a covered peril on most insurance policies.  Some municipalities will compensate a business for their troubles, but not all will do this.  Since insurance won’t pay, requesting help from the city might be the only thing available to a storefront business.

General Liability policies exclude coverage for intentional acts of wrongdoing.  This is similar to an automobile policy which denies coverage if you are the perpetrator of road rage.  If you are intentionally causing trouble, your insurance might not be willing to pay. Every policy is different and you should talk to your agent.

Generally speaking, if you sell a product under the business name stated on the policy, you are most likely covered in the event of a claim, even if the company was unaware of what you are selling.  They reserve the right, however, to go back to the policy inception and collect any additional premium that this product may have generated.  If your product is illegal (for example, a flower shop selling marijuana on the side) you are probably not covered.

A General Liability policy excludes coverage for intentional acts of wrongdoing.  If you don’t lease your apartment to someone because of his or her skin color or religion, for example, you may or may not be covered.  Your company will most likely defend you in the event of a claim, but if they determine that you have demonstrated this pattern over and over, you might be in trouble.

Landlords usually purchase apartment buildings as an investment.  When that investment sustains a claim, and the property is incapable of generating income, you better have this coverage. Loss of Rents continues the income stream even though a property is uninhabitable after the loss.

When a tenant clogs the toilet and water floods your building, you will be thankful that you required your tenants to purchase renters insurance.  More important than the amount a tenant can collect on their clothing and furniture is the liability coverage that’s included in any policy.  This will reimburse YOU for damage that they unintentionally cause to your building. Leaving windows open in the summer (and rainwater floods in), too many Christmas lights plugged in to the same outlet (causing a fire), hot grease that bursts into flames on the stovetop, or a number of other examples can let you sleep well at night … knowing that your tenants carry renters insurance.

If you own your building, one of the most important coverages to consider is Building Ordinance Coverage.  There are 3 types of Coverage: A, B, and C.

A:  The Undamaged Portion
B:  The Demolition
C:  The Increased Cost of Construction

Building Ordinance Coverage is usually NOT included in a Commercial Package, but it is a very important coverage in many cases. Talk to your agent and make sure you have coverage if necessary.

Unlike a BOP, where Business Personal Property (contents) are always covered under Special, a Commercial Package requires you to choose how you would like your property covered.  Basic covers Fire and Wind; Broad covers Fire, Wind and a few other perils;  Special covers virtually everything.

A CPP will never cover Directors and Officers Liability (also known as D&O), Health or Disability coverage, life insurance, or Workers Compensation.  These would all have to be purchased separately on their own respective policies.

If you work as a subcontractor and don’t provide the general contractor with proof of Workers Compensation coverage, the general contractor is charged by his or her insurance company as if you are his or her employee. Showing a certificate of insurance with matching coverage shows your status as a truly independent contractor and will allow the general contractor to continue using you at little or no cost insurance-wise.

If your employees use tools owned personally by them, a separate rider will need to be secured to provide coverage for theft or other types of loss or damage.

Generally speaking, an insurance company is only willing to provide coverage when you are operating in one of the states in which they are licensed. There may be exceptions, but usually a company will ask you to find other coverage if you are operating outside of their territory.

A volunteer acting on behalf of a non-profit becomes a named insured. Therefore, claims caused by the volunteer would be covered. For example, volunteers who are preparing a meal for a church event would be covered if food poisoning occurred. Injuries to volunteers, however, are typically not covered under Workers Compensation because they are not receiving pay.

A well-written social service policy will include Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability Coverage. The “Non-owned” portion of this endorsement covers employees acting on behalf of their employer while using their own personal vehicles.

Believe it or not, social service agencies have more claims for Sexual Abuse and Molestation than any other industry. This industry has more volunteerism than any other in the country, which magnifies the potential for a claim in this category. This coverage is a must for any organization that is chartered as a 501(c)(3).

You can purchase coverage called Income from Dependent Properties. If your customer has a fire and isn’t manufacturing any products, they probably will stop their purchasing materials from you. You can purchase this coverage which will replace your income lost because of your customer’s claim.

Most insurance companies will cancel a policyholder that is involved in manufacturing for the aviation or automobile industries. However, there are a handful of companies that know this industry and are actively writing coverage for these types of risks. Eckburg is fortunate to represent most of these companies.

You will receive a discount on your policy if your machine shop or building has sprinklers, but it is not mandatory to have them installed to have coverage.

A good garagekeepers policy will have no limit when your customers’ cars are damaged on your property. Companies that doesn’t specialize in  this industry will often cap the payout on a policy. If you have numerous vehicles in your possession at the time of a fire (God forbid) it might not be enough coverage to pay the entire claim. An uncapped limit will ensure that there is no shortfall.

Towing operations can be expensive to insure, however, one or two tow trucks as part of a garage operation are easy to include. It’s important that coverage be furnished not only for the liability of the truck but also damage that may occur to any vehicle while it is on hook. In addition, if you operate a separate lot where cars are taken for storage, it must be listed separately on your policy or you may not have coverage.

Legal covers damage to your customer’s vehicle only when you are legally at fault.

Excess provides coverage that is excess to any other coverage your insured may have on their vehicle.

Primary provides coverage for your customer’s vehicle no matter who is at fault and what other insurance exists. This is the best type of coverage for your customers’ vehicles.

General Liability premiums are derived from up to four different categories.

Payroll: usually used in construction and other industries where services are provided off-site.

Receipts: retail and other businesses where must activity occurs onsite.

Area: often used for land and lessor’s risk

Units: apartment buildings and vacant building lots

Every policy  will exclude intentional acts. For example, blatant failure to lease a property to someone because of their religion will never be covered. However, an accusation may be defended, especially when you’ve had no track record of such behavior.

General Liability covers property damage or bodily injury to a third party. For example, a window washer’s ladder crashes through a customer’s window. That would be an example of a covered claim under General Liability because it is secondary to why the window washer was there. However, if the product the window washer was using on the windows etched the glass on the windows, this would be covered under professional liability because it was directly related to the job that the window washer was hired to do. Professional Liability is a separate coverage that must be purchased.

Coinsurance is an insurance term referring to when a customer is penalized for not maintaining a minimum amount of coverage on a building or business contents. For example, a Replacement Cost policy written with an 80% coinsurance requirement on a $1,000,000 building will require a customer to carry at least $800,000 of coverage. As long as a customer carries this amount, covered claims will be paid at 100%. Falling below this 80% requirement will result in a penalty. For 75% coverage, the insurance company would only be required to pay 75% of the claim. This only affects partial claims, which is 99% of all claims.

Building Ordinance and Law coverage will protect your property in case there is a municipal ordinance or law that requires certain specifications be followed that an insurance company would not normally cover. There are three categories:

A: The Undamaged Portion covers you if you need to entirely reconstruct a building that was only partially destroyed.

B: The Demolition would pay for the demolition costs associated with tearing down the undamaged part of your building.

C: The Increased Cost of Construction would pay for mandatory building enhancements. If the city requires sprinklers or elevators that the building did not have before the loss, this coverage would pay to bridge the gap.

After a claim, most insurance companies will usually pay a reduced amount in initial payment. Once you have repaired your damage, you will receive a second check for the difference. This prevents customers from taking the money and not making the needed repairs. Typically the first check will be 50% of the total. Adjusters often do a poor job of explaining that a second check will be written once the damage is repaired.

If you advertise yourself as a professional, this can be an important coverage to fill gaps that aren’t covered under a General Liability policy. For example, if you are home inspector and you don’t see a wet basement or poor wiring, you could be held liable by the home buyer. If you’re a dentist and you pull the wrong tooth, you might be responsible for additional dental work that someone shouldn’t have to pay for because of your mistake.

A General Liability policy is usually written on a per occurrence basis. The insurance company providing coverage on the date of the accident, or claim, will be the company asked to pay the claim. Professional Liability, however, is almost always written on a Claims Made basis.  What insurance company is providing coverage on the date the claim is presented? This can often be years after the professional service was provided.

Professional Liability is indeed known as Errors and Omissions coverage. It can also be known as Malpractice insurance.

If you are a one-man contractor working for a general contractor, you  will be required to show a certificate with Workers Compensation coverage. In most states, you  can elect to exclude yourself from being covered on the policy. This certificate, after being presented to the general contractor, will allow them to avoid paying premiums to their insurance company while you work for them. General contractors require this coverage because it shows your true, independent contractor status and not an employee of theirs. This is often referred to as a “ghost” Workers Compensation policy. You are a one-man operation excluded on this policy, essentially providing coverage to no one. If you are in the construction industry, there is a 99% chance that you will be asked to provide this coverage.

Workers Compensation premiums are based on payroll. Throughout the policy period, the insured will pay an estimate of what they think the cost will be. At the year’s end, the insurance company will perform an audit and ask for payroll records. The insurance company will calculate if you have paid more than the amount shown on your policy or less. You may be asked to pay an additional premium or you may receive a refund. This is a mandatory process, and failure to comply with the audit will result in the cancellation of your policy.

If an employee spends one hour a year working in a more expensive class code, the insurance company reserves the right to place 100% of his or her pay in this higher code. For example, a salesman who sells roofing products who declares he climbed on a roof once in the past year could have 100% of his pay placed under “roofing” instead of “sales.” This can be a difference between $40 per $100 of payroll or $1 per $100 of payroll.

No. An umbrella is a form-following policy that provides an extra layer of coverage once the underlying general liability limit is exhausted. If a peril is covered under the general liability policy, it is covered by the umbrella. If a peril is excluded under the general liability policy, it is excluded under the umbrella.

No. Most umbrella policies will only allow General Liability, Commercial Auto, and Workers Compensation to be included. Liquor Liability, Cyber Liability, and in some situations Professional Liability are examples of policies that cannot be included under a commercial umbrella.

Some contracts, particularly in construction, may require a subcontractor to carry an umbrella for as long as five years even though the two parties may not be continuing their business relationship. An insurance company that adds an umbrella will require it to be in the policy until the renewal. However, it is up to the customer to notify the company if they wish to discontinue it. This should come after a conversation with entity that originally required the umbrella.

Most policies will include a cap of $1,000 (usually) for any one item when you maintain a blanket inland marine limit. Insurance companies want customers to itemize any equipment that is valued at more than $1,000.

An installation floater covers materials that have been delivered to a job site but have not yet been installed. This can include roof trusses, windows or even plants that have yet to be planted. The floater will cover these items if they are destroyed or stolen prior to installation. Coverage is usually available in $5,000 increments.

Motor cargo, Builder’s Risk, Electronic Data Processing, and Air and Rail Freight are all individual categories that can be covered under an inland marine policy.

Most performance bonds for small contractors will incur a rate of about $25 per $1,000 of the bid if the contract is under $350,000. For larger contract amounts, the rate can be as low as $15 per $1,000 if the contractor’s financials meet the insurance company’s requirements.

License and permit bonds can be as little as $50 for a $10,000 limit to as much as $100 for a $20,000 limit. Most municipalities will require one or the other.

Most states require notaries to maintain a bond in case a document has been improperly notarized, which results in financial hardship to a victim of fraud. Claims are rare and the bonds are very inexpensive.

Term insurance is a life insurance product that provides coverage in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 year increments. Once approved, the rate is guaranteed to stay the same for the remainder of the term. Term insurance can be a wonderful way to buy large amounts of insurance during your child rearing years and when mortgages and other liabilities are at their highest. When the term ends, premiums are usually unaffordable and coverage will end.

Unlike term insurance, which is designed for a specific period of time, permanent insurance should last until a person dies, no matter what the age. Premiums are higher because most plans are structured to guarantee a death benefit.

Yes, you can. But a few requirements exist for most life insurance companies. Your parents must agree to it; there must be an ability to show financial burden if a parent passes; and the ownership of the policy, payer of the policy, and beneficiary of the policy must be agreed upon between the parties.

The time to buy life insurance is when you’re healthy, not when you have a condition that may shorten your lifespan. While some people think purchasing a policy on their children may not make sense, it may be a valuable strategy to securing a policy when the child is healthy. For example, a child who becomes a diabetic may become uninsurable. If they’ve purchased a policy prior to the diagnosis, they can carry the policy the rest of their life.

You may consider an umbrella if you have assets that you would like to protect and/or earning potential for the future.

An umbrella limit should parallel the assets that you want to protect as well as your earning potential for the future. For example, a professional athlete might need the highest limits of a personal umbrella as opposed to a factory worker.

Generally, no. A personal umbrella policy only covers your for activities where you are not earning an income. For example, even though your pickup truck may be included in your umbrella, if you are plowing snow or driving for Uber, you will not be covered. However, volunteering for a local non-profit or serving on its board without pay may be covered under an umbrella.

If you maintain a home or renters insurance policy, it might include a limited amount of coverage for watercraft. However, there will be limitations as to what this automatic coverage provides. For example, it may only cover a boat with 125 HP for liability coverage. There may be a limited amount of physical damage coverage provided, but it would match the perils covered by your home insurance (fire, wind, theft, sinkage).

Competitive events are usually excluded from coverage.

No, not usually. Boat rates are based on the climate in your territory. Someone who lives in the midwest may use their boat six months per year versus someone in Florida who may use their boat 12 months a year. The Florida resident, therefore, would pay double what someone in the midwest would pay. With this in mind, insurance companies generally do not allow customers to reduce their coverage in the offseason.

Identity Fraud does not replace money that has been swept out of your checking account. This coverage pays attorney bills and court costs to repair your credit. Thieves will take out loans or credit cards in your name and often you will not be aware of this until you’ve applied for a legitimate loan. Typically, you are not responsible for the thief’s actions, but you are responsible for the repair to your credit.

On average, the insurance industry charges $30 per year for a $15,000 limit (for all the members of the household) that can be used to make repairs to your credit. Typically this is a coverage that is added to your home or renters insurance policy.

You should take advantage of the free credit reports that the industry provides. Review it for activity that you did not initiate. Furthermore, trolls are surfing through social media looking for your personal information. Social media has always been the platform that thieves have used to harvest information. Never include personal information (such as address or date of birth) on any online profiles.

Most home insurance policies cover $1,500. Some carriers will raise that limit, but usually not by very much.

When you schedule a jewelry item, you will receive All Risk coverage, which includes  mysterious disappearance and breakage, the two most commons types of jewelry loss. In addition, you will usually pay no deductible.

With actual cash value, the insurance company can use their jeweler to replace your item. After a loss, you can elect to receive cash instead of the jewelry item, but you will receive an amount that the company’s jeweler says would replace your item. This may be lower than your local jewelry store.

With Agreed Value, you may elect to receive the amount of insurance you are maintaining or replacement of the item from your jeweler. An agreed value premium is usually about 30% higher than the premium for actual cash value.

Ground water that seeps through a window well, a crack in the foundation, or that comes through the front door will never be covered by this endorsement. These claims would only be covered with Flood Insurance. The Water Backup and Sump Pump Failure endorsement will only pay when water enters a home through the sewer system or due to failure of the sump pump. For example, a lightning storm knocks out the electricity, the sump pump doesn’t work and the basement floods. This would be a covered claim if someone maintains this endorsement.

Insurance companies are starting to limit coverage that are caused by tree roots. Often, this is because the tree roots can be as much as a block away and not on the property that the company is insuring. Some companies are excluding tree roots all together, while others might offer a limitation of coverage. Talk to your agent to see if your endorsement is limited by tree roots.

Most claims involving raw sewage are caused by aging infrastructure which technically the city may be responsible for, but they may not have the resources to replace it. Unfortunately, the city will rarely offer you any compensation for your damage. This endorsement may be your only restitution.

Most homes are insured for the cost of rebuilding an identical structure, NOT the market value of the home.  After a total loss, most people want to rebuild their home just like it was before the claim.  If you have beautiful oak flooring, you probably want beautiful oak flooring — not plywood and carpeting. If you had 3 bathrooms, you probably want 3 bathrooms. Typically, the cost to replace a home just as it was before the loss is higher than the home would be sold for.

Years ago, someone with a $100,000 home paid the same premium as anyone else who had a $100,000 home.  Now, however, home insurance pricing is much more sophisticated.  Companies have found that claims data is more impacted by the people living in the home than the home itself.  For example, someone with good credit history will make improvements when they’re needed, not just try to limp something along (like an old furnace or roof).  Other factors can impact the rate, as well.  A 50 year old married homeowner will pay less in premium than a 22 year old who just bought his or her first home.   Finally, combining your auto insurance with your home insurance will save you money.  The home might have a claim or two, but the auto insurance portion might be claim free, giving the insurance company the profit they desire.

A 2nd home, like a vacation property or a condo in the city, is insured the same way as a primary home. Coverage is needed for the dwelling and maybe some personal property, as well as liability coverage.

If your condo association sustains a claim, such as a hail storm that falls below the association’s deductible, they may assess each unit owner with a portion of this loss. With Loss Assessment coverage, you can submit that claim to your own condo policy. For a claim to be paid, it must be a covered peril. Some associations choose to have a high deductible (as much as $25,000) to keep premiums manageable. If your association has a deductible like this one, this can be an important coverage for you.

Unlike a typical dwelling, where you have to insure the outer walls and the roof, with a condo policy you can insure the building for a value much less than the property’s value. You are only responsible for your personal property and the drywall in. Customers are usually surprised that the premiums are so affordable, and they have to be reminded that so much of what makes up a condo’s value is its urban setting as well as the outer walls that are owned by the association.

Just like a normal homeowners policy, you can save money by combining your auto and condo policies. The age of the condo will make a difference in the premium, so the newer the building the cheaper the rate. A unit in a brick building can have a smaller premium as well. Otherwise, the less personal property you need to insure, the cheaper the rate will be.

A typical renters policy covers 10% of your personal property limit for off-premises losses. For example, if you are insured for $30,000 worth of personal property, if your purse or computer is stolen from your car, you would be covered for $3,000. This same rule applies to items kept in a storage unit. 

Most renters policies do not extend coverage beyond those listed on the policy (AKA the named insured). If you’re not married, most companies will not allow you to list anyone else on your renters policy, even if it is a boyfriend or a girlfriend that you live with. They should get their own policy.

Very few insurance companies offer this coverage, but some do. If you have a party at your apartment and someone drinks too much and causes a terrible accident when they should not have been driving home, the injured party may come back to you — the party host who was serving alcohol. Always ask your agent if this is a coverage you are interested in.

To receive the best claims settlement, you will want to insure your building for the cost of rebuilding an identical structure. There are two types of claims: partial claims and total claims. 99% of all claims are partial claims. With Traditional Replacement Cost, you will receive new materials that will match what you had at the time of loss. For example, individually hand-laid oak floor boards would be replace with new individually hand-laid oak floor boards. Or, plaster walls are replaced with new plaster walls. After a total loss, you will receive up to the insurance amount to rebuild an identical structure.

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