FAQ – Personal Lines

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How Much Will it Cost to Add My Teen Driver to my Auto Insurance?

It varies depending on your policy and what state you live in, but you can generally expect an increase of about $1500-$2200 to your annual premium when you add your teen to your policy. Teenage boys cost a bit more than girls, due to their tendency to take bigger risks and drive faster. Keep in mind: many insurers offer a discount for teens who maintain good grades.

How Does a Ticket Affect My Premium?

It depends on your insurance company and the state you live in. Many insurers will let a single ticket slide, but may increase penalties after the second one to the tune of about 25%, or an average of $400 more per year. If your insurer is currently offering you a safe driving discount, you may lose it after a speeding ticket, which would also increase your premium.

How Long Do I Have to Submit a Claim?

There’s no universal deadline. It usually depends on your policy and which state you live in. Many policies just require submission of a claim “promptly” or “within a reasonable time.” Some insurance policies require you to report an accident (which is different from filing a claim!) within 30 days.

A good rule of thumb: file any claim as soon as you possibly can after an incident occurs. Your insurance agent should be able to help walk you through the claims process.

How Long Does a Ticket Stay on My Insurance?

Usually about three years, depending on the insurer and state you live in. Keep in mind that certain types of tickets, like parking tickets, might not affect your insurance rate at all, and more severe speeding tickets can increase it more than if you’re caught driving just a few miles over the limit.

Does My Insurance Cover Me if I Drive for Uber or Lyft?

Generally speaking, a standard auto policy probably doesn’t cover ride-sharing. Uber and Lyft do offer some coverage, but it generally only applies when you’ve actually got a passenger or are on the way to pick them up. The good news is many insurance companies offer ride-sharing coverage as either a standalone product or an add-on for your existing policy.

Does My Car Insurance Cover a Rental Car?

Many auto insurance policies will cover most rental cars with the same coverage limits and deductible. It’s a good idea to check with your agent before you go to see if your policy is sufficient. If you’re renting a particularly expensive car compared to your usual set of wheels or are planning to rent a car outside the US and Canada, you may want to consider a standalone rental car policy for your trip.

What Kind of Discounts Can I Get on My Car Insurance?

Every policy is different, but many insurers offer discounts for customers who are safe drivers, are accident-free, drive infrequently, and who pay annual or 6-month premiums in full. There are also discounts to be had for bundling multiple policies, for young drivers who are good students, and for insuring multiple cars. The bottom line: talk to your agent to see what discounts are available for your policy.

When do I Need to Add My Teen Driver to My Car Insurance?

Generally speaking it’s a good idea to get your teen on your policy as soon as they get their license, especially if they’ll be driving regularly. It can be expensive, but if your teen gets in an accident and isn’t on your policy, there’s a risk your insurance company may deny a claim.

Why is My Home Insurance Value So High?

The cost of home insurance is typically based upon the cost of rebuilding the house if it were completely destroyed, not its market value. High costs for labor and building materials in your area can certainly contribute to your premiums being higher. Insurers look at many other factors as well, like your credit, the home’s age and value, type of construction, where it is, and exposure to potential catastrophes. Your deductible matters, and even your dog’s breed can be a factor in a premium cost.

In times of supply shortages, labor shortages, high fuel prices and general inflation it may be a good idea to pre-emptively adjust your home’s insured value. Otherwise you risk getting paid out for a claim at a rate that doesn’t let you fully rebuild.

Does My Credit Score Affect My Insurance Rates?

Insurers typically don’t take your credit score into consideration when determining rates, but they may look at your credit history. Folks with a history of managing their money well and making loan payments on time are generally seen by insurers as less likely to make a claim, which usually results in lower rates.

Do I Need Flood Insurance?

If you live in an especially high-risk flood area, absolutely (in many cases, it’s required)! Even if you don’t, keep in mind that homeowners policies typically don’t cover flood damage, and 99% of counties in the US have experienced some kind of flooding between 1996 and 2019, and severe storms are becoming increasingly common across the country.

Does My Insurance Cover Air BNB or VRBO?

Unless you’re only renting out your property very occasionally, your homeowner’s insurance likely wont cover claims for damage or liability from AirBnB or VRBO guests. If you’re planning to start a side business renting out your home on these platforms, you should consider looking into a short-term rental insurance policy.

What is Telematics in Car Insurance?

Telematics is a method of capturing data using in-car devices to monitor your driving habits and mileage. These devices report back to the insurance company, which then uses this data to set your rate. This can result in cheaper rates for safe drivers or for those who don’t drive frequently.

What is Umbrella Insurance?

Umbrella insurance is a form of liability insurance that backs up an existing home or auto policy. It’s a good way to protect yourself from the possibility of being on the hook when a claim goes beyond the coverage limits of your existing insurance. Click here to learn more.

What is a Replacement Cost?

Replacement cost insurance refers to a homeowner’s insurance policy that helps with the cost of rebuilding your home or replacing damaged property based on the value of the item without taking depreciation into consideration. For example, if your 5 year old TV got destroyed in a fire, a replacement cost policy would likely reimburse you for a TV of a similar model and quality, regardless of its current resale value after 5 years.