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Frequently Asked Questions

from PLC Insurance

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions and information. If you have a question that is not addressed here, or if you need more information, please contact us.


General

Car Insurance

Homeowner Insurance

Renters Insurance

Business Insurance

Students / Recent Graduates

Home and Renters Insurance

Life and Health Insurance


General

Why is insurance important?

State law or other institutions such as your mortgage company require you to have some types of insurance, such as your homeowners or car insurance.

Insurance is necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones against the risks in life – talk with your agent about how much to invest in your insurance.

  • In the event a court decision is made against you, insurance can protect your assets against attachment from the award.
  • Helps reduce the cost of defense if you are sued.
  • Insures the collateral on high-value items (e.g., house and car) on behalf of the lending financial institution.
  • Provides health care coverage for you and immediate family members through regular monthly payments.
  • Provides you with methods to save for retirement and reduces the tax burden on those savings.
  • Protects the financial security of your family and you in the event of your death, serious illness, or unemployment.

What does insurance cost and why?

Car and Driver Factors

  • Type of car
  • Age of driver(s)
  • Driving and claims history
  • Auto body repairs
  • Location of home and length of commute

Aspects of Buildings and Property

  • Building type and age
  • Foundation
  • Grade
  • Type of heating
  • Renovations
  • Roof
  • Claims

General Health Factors

  • Age
  • Health
  • Risky behaviors
  • Prescriptions
  • Number of dependents

Discounts and Premium Reductions

  • Credit score
  • Good-driver records
  • Good-student discounts
  • Membership in some associations
  • Number of policies with one company

Expenses for Insurance Companies

  • Medical care
  • Automobile repair
  • Construction
  • Legal fees and defense
  • Judgments and jury awards
  • Claims adjustment
  • Investment income
  • Fraud
  • Overhead (e.g., rental costs, utilities, employee salaries and benefits, supplies and equipment, furniture).

Car Insurance

Will I pay a different insurance premium based on where I live?

Your likelihood of having an accident or having your car stolen or vandalized is linked to where you keep your car.

The chances of encountering these problems go up in densely-populated areas, such as cities, and go down in relatively low-populated or rural areas.

Other factors include:

  1. Estimated response times of the local police and law enforcement
  2. Road conditions in your area
  3. Traffic conditions in your area
  4. Local medical services
  5. Litigation rates (e.g., how many lawsuits are filed, go to trial, are settled out of court, the award amounts)

Do all states require some kind of liability insurance?

No. Not every state requires auto insurance; some have laws requiring drivers be able to pay for any damage or injury they cause in the event of an accident.

However, purchasing liability insurance is a good way for you to meet the financial responsibility laws in your area.


How do I avoid cancellation of my insurance policy?

Maintaining a driving record free of accidents, tickets and moving violations is the most effective way to prevent an insurance company from canceling your policy.

Consider taking a defensive driving course to reduce your likelihood of causing an accident and improve your safety.


Will my policy cover another person if I loan them my car?

Yes. Liability, Comprehensive and Collision coverage is connected to your car; if the driver of your car is injured, that driver’s policy can also cover the cost of damages and injuries.

The same is true if you borrow someone else’s vehicle. Your own insurance follows you regardless of the automobile you drive, but if you are involved in an accident while driving that car, the owner’s insurance provides the key coverage for damages and injuries.

If you have a relative, friend or household member who regularly drives your car, make sure you give their name and driver’s license number to your insurance agent.


Am I covered for natural disasters or “Acts of God”?

Coverage for natural disasters or “Acts of God” (such as wind damage) is generally provided by the same comprehensive insurance that protects you against file and theft. However, flood and earthquake need to be on a separate endorsement – be sure to ask your agent about these coverages.

Comprehensive covers you, except in situations such as your car being overturned during a natural peril, which is covered by your liability insurance.

If you have specific questions or concerns regarding insuring your vehicle against natural disasters, please contact our offices for more information regarding catastrophic coverage.


What happens if my insurer refuses to cover a claim?

Usually, when insurers refuse to cover a claim, they have a strong legal reason for doing so (though you may disagree with that reason). If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, please contact your Balcos Insurance representative.

Your agent is a strong advocate in insurance matters. However, if you are facing a legal problem, you may need to seek legal counsel.


Is it cheaper to have your car insurance and home insurance combined?

Talk to a Balcos Insurance agent, we can save you up to 37% or more on your insurance premiums by combining your home insurance and car insurance.


What happens if I am in a car accident with a driver that doesn’t have insurance?

You can either

  1. Go through your insurance company through your collision coverage and try to recoup your deductible in small claims court, or;
  2. Not go through insurance and try to collect the entire sum of the damages in court. However, if they don’t have the money to pay for insurance, it’s not likely they will have the money to pay you, either. If you only have liability coverage on your car, then taking them to court is obviously your only option.
  3. Balcos Insurance also offers an option to add a coverage to your car insurance policy for uninsured or underinsured motorists so that you don’t have to worry about it, no matter who hits you in an accident. With many uninsured motorists driving on our roads, it’s best to add the coverage. Talk to your Balcos Insurance agent today.

I hit an animal with my car. Will liability insurance cover it?

No. Liability insurance is triggered when you are at-fault for an accident. It's used to pay for the damage you cause to someone else's property, not your own. Collision with an animal would fall under comprehensive coverage, and isn't considered an at-fault loss. Additionally, in some states, collisions with wildlife are covered by the state. Check with your insurance agent.


I won’t have a car for a couple months until I buy a new one. Should I keep my car insurance?

Yes, but talk to your insurance agent. If you allow your car insurance policy to expire, your rates will likely go up dramatically for having had a lapse in your insurance coverage.


If I go buy a car today, do I automatically have auto insurance coverage?

Yes and no. If you already have car insurance, then you have 15 days to notify us of the new purchase. If your policy has cancelled or lapsed, you will not have coverage until you start a new car insurance policy.


Can I get a discount on my insurance for my kid’s grades in school?

If they are full time students and carry at least a 3.0GPA or better, you qualify for the discount. Additionally, it can be added on as soon as they qualify (not necessarily when they are added to your policy).


Do I need car insurance to drive if I have a learner’s permit?

Yes. All drivers are required to carry financial responsibility. If you’re over 18, you can get your own insurance, otherwise you’ll need to be added to someone else’s car insurance policy.


What should I do if I'm in car accident?

Call 911 if anyone is injured. Then check out our helpful tips on what to do immediately following a car accident.

Homeowner Insurance

Mortgage Insurance: Who decides—the mortgage company or me?

You decide on the type of insurance to cover your home. The mortgage company will require that their investment be protected by insurance.

In most cases, they will collect a certain amount from you each month, which is then placed in escrow and withdrawn only to pay for insurance and taxes. However, the policy is yours and you may select the policy you feel provides the best coverage and protection for the value.


What is covered in a homeowners insurance policy?

With approximately 900 insurance companies writing Property / Casualty policies in the United States, defining the exact coverage provided in a homeowners policy is difficult, if not impossible. However, about 80% of homeowner policies are derived from a standard form and all homeowner policies cover two key areas: property and liability.

Property insurance protects your structures and possessions.

Personal liability covers any money you’re legally obligated to pay to another person for actions caused by you, your family, or your property – this may also include medical payments for injuries caused by you or your family.


Are natural disasters (like floods and earthquakes) covered?

Most natural disasters are covered; however, flood and earthquake damage are not covered by standard policies.

Both of these perils are more common than most people realize - our representatives can advise you on commonly excluded conditions like earthquakes and floods.


What exclusions I should know about?

Common exclusions defined in your policy can include damage due to neglect, intentional loss, “earth movement,” power failure, and damage done by war. For instance, if you fail to take care of your property (e.g., you do not repair your leaking roof), you may not be covered for any resulting damage.

Another common exclusion which can be expensive is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. This pertains to building codes established by governmental bodies which increase the cost of rebuilding/repairing. For example, when replacing damaged property, you may discover that current ordinances require you to use higher grade and more expensive materials than those you are replacing; these new materials may not be fully covered.


Does my home insurance need to be updated if I have a roommate / boarder?

No, but they have no coverage on your policy. Additionally, if they cause damage to the home, it is not covered. It is best that they get their own renter’s insurance policy.

Renters Insurance

What is the cost for Renters Insurance?

Renters Insurance can be purchased for as little as $100 per year.


But I’m protected by my landlord’s insurance policy, right?

In most cases, the property owner’s insurance only covers the building. Seldom does this policy cover the tenant’s possessions or liability. When in doubt, you should ask your landlord prior to signing your lease.

Business Insurance

Do I need business insurance right away?

Yes. Many states and local jurisdictions require a business have insurance before they begin operating. If you rent space, your landlord may require you to obtain adequate insurance.

Your chance of suffering a loss starts on your first day of business; if you have no insurance or insufficient coverage, your agent, most likely, will be unable to help you.


Why do I need business insurance, if I don’t have any major business assets?

Each business has property, and your business itself is property. Like your car and your home, you need to protect your business from loss, liability, and damage.

Also, your business is your source of income; in the event of damage, loss, or liability, you need protection from the potential loss of this income.


Are there differences in coverage options for businesses?

Yes, coverage options vary radically depending on your business needs.

Often, small business owners choose policies which cover major property and liability exposures and protect against loss of income. One such common package policy (used by many small businesses) is the Business Owners Policy (BOP).

BOPs typically provide a more complete coverage at a greater value than do individual policies for each category of insurance that you need. You may also purchase policies to cover conditions commonly excluded (e.g., flood protection) as endorsements to a standard policy or as a second, separate policy, the Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy.

A Balcos Insurance representative can help you sort out the right coverage for your business protection—and make sure that your coverage keeps pace with your business as it grows.


I have a home business. Do I still need insurance?

Yes. You need to have home business insurance, otherwise losses can go against your personal assets. Home insurance does not cover home-based businesses, which leaves you open for losses with equipment, liability, malpractice, data, and disability.


I have to close my business for a week. Is the loss of income covered by my business insurance policy?

This depends on the type of business insurance policy you bought, and the reason you closed. If you are unsure about what type of coverage you have for this, please call us to talk to one of our business insurance agents.


What type of business insurance do I need?

You need a policy that can address your risk of exposure to loss. A business insurance agent can help you to indentify these exposures and help you decide which coverage you should purchase or if you can afford to self-insure that exposure. Going through your home or car insurance agent that “does business insurance” is not the same. It leaves you vulnerable to financial disaster. To talk to a business insurance specialist. Call Balcos Insurance today.


Am I insured if I drive the company car for personal use?

You may be covered for personal use if you are the owner and your insurance carrier is aware that this vehicle is used personally. We can review your policy to be sure you do have coverage.

Students / Recent Graduates

Are college students covered by their parents’ policies?

This depends on the policy and its terms. Most health insurance policies, for example, cover the insured’s children up to age 18, or up to age 22 if the child is a full-time student.

If you’re over 18 and not a full-time student, you will need your own health care insurance.

With auto insurance, most of the time, a young driver will have their own policy once they obtain their license to drive. If the vehicle and driver have been enrolled on the parent’s policy, they will be covered in the event of a loss.

However, when they move into their own residence, they’ll need to acquire their own policy.


What are the risks that college students face?

College students face risks including theft of personal property, auto accidents, and risks related to attending/giving parties.

Because college students are not always accustomed to the expanding responsibilities of being on their own, it is important for them to be covered adequately and have conversations with their parents and their insurance agent to make sure they are adequately protected.


What is the extent of these risks?

According to a 1995 FBI study, there were more than 100,000 property crimes on college campuses nationwide. These crimes include theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

On average, thieves stole $1,251 worth of property per offense in that same year.

Home and Renters Insurance

What happens if I don’t have home insurance / renter’s insurance and someone gets hurt on my property?

They could sue you for whatever damages, medical bills and pain and suffering, they incurred. They could, theoretically, take everything you have.

Life and Health Insurance

When should I buy life insurance?

We advise that you purchase life insurance as soon as you have dependents (children, significant other, or other dependents). Without life insurance coverage, should the unexpected happen, it will help pay for things like rent, mortgage payments, tuition, funeral expenses, debt, etc. Life insurance protects your loved ones from financial ruin. Call us today to get a quote and help ensure their future.

PLC Insurance, LLC - Serving the Greater Seattle Area and all of the Pacific Northwest

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