BPA Insurance Agency

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is auto insurance?
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy. Auto insurance provides property, liability and medical coverage


Can I drive legally without insurance?
NO! Almost every state requires you to have auto liability insurance.


What determines the price of my policy?
There are many factors that influence the price you pay for auto insurance. The average American driver spends about $850 a year. Your premium may be higher or lower, depending on:

  1. Your driving record.
    The better your record, the lower your premium. If you've had accidents or serious traffic violations, you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you haven't been insured for a number of years.
  2. The number of miles you drive each year.
    The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents. If you drive a lower than average number of miles per year, less than 10,000, you will pay less. For instance, some companies will give discounts to policyholders who carpool.
  3. Where you live.
    Insurance companies look at local trends, such as the number of accidents, car thefts and lawsuits, as well as the cost of medical care and car repair.
  4. Your age.
    In general, mature drivers have fewer accidents than less experienced drivers, particularly teenagers. So insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car.
  5. The car you drive.
    Some cars cost more to insure than others. Variables include the likelihood of theft, the cost of the car, the cost of repairs, and the overall safety record of the car.
  6. Your Credit.
    For many insurers, credit-based insurance scoring is one of the most important and statistically valid tools to predict the likelihood of a person filing a claim and the likely cost of that claim. Credit-based insurance scores are based on information like payment history, bankruptcies, collections, outstanding debt and length of credit history. For example, regular, on-time credit card and mortgage payments affect a score positively, while late payments affect a score negatively.
  7. The amount of coverage.
    Of course, like anything else, the more coverage you have, the more you pay. However, you may qualify for discounts.

 

What is homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance provides financial protection against disasters. A standard policy insures the home itself and the things you keep in it.

Homeowners insurance is a package policy. This means that it covers both damage to your property and your liability or legal responsibility for any injuries and property damage you or members of your family cause to other people. This includes damage caused by household pets.

Damage caused by most disasters is covered but there are exceptions. The most significant are damage caused by floods, earthquakes and poor maintenance. You must buy two separate policies for flood and earthquake coverage. Maintenance-related problems are the homeowners' responsibility.


Are there different types of policies?
Yes. A person who owns his or her home would have a different policy from someone who rents. Policies also differ on the amount of insurance coverage provided.


Can I get insurance if I rent my home?
Renters insurance provides financial protection against the loss or destruction of your possessions when you rent a house or apartment.


Do I need special coverage for jewelry and other valuables?
A standard homeowners policy includes coverage for jewelry and other precious items such as watches and furs. These items are covered for losses caused by all the perils included in your policy such as fire, windstorm, theft and vandalism.


Flood Insurance
Standard homeowners and renters insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy


What is an umbrella liability policy?
If you are ever sued, your standard homeowners or auto policy will provide you with some liability coverage, paying for judgments against you and your attorney's fees, up to a limit set in the policy. However, in our litigious society, you may want to have an extra layer of liability protection. That's what a personal umbrella liability policy provides.


Why should I buy life insurance?
Many financial experts consider life insurance to be the cornerstone of sound financial planning. It can be an important tool in the following situations:

  1. Replace income for dependents
    If people depend on your income, life insurance can replace that income for them if you die. The most commonly recognized case of this is parents with young children. However, it can also apply to couples in which the survivor would be financially stricken by the income lost through the death of a partner, and to dependent adults, such as parents, siblings or adult children who continue to rely on you financially. Insurance to replace your income can be especially useful if the government- or employer-sponsored benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.
  2. Pay final expenses
    Life insurance can pay your funeral and burial costs, probate and other estate administration costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance.
  3. Create an inheritance for your heirs
    Even if you have no other assets to pass to your heirs, you can create an inheritance by buying a life insurance policy and naming them as beneficiaries.
  4. Pay federal “death” taxes and state “death” taxes
    Life insurance benefits can pay estate taxes so that your heirs will not have to liquidate other assets or take a smaller inheritance. Changes in the federal “death” tax rules between now and January 1, 2011 will likely lessen the impact of this tax on some people, but some states are offsetting those federal decreases with increases in their state-level “death” taxes.
  5. Make significant charitable contributions
    By making a charity the beneficiary of your life insurance, you can make a much larger contribution than if you donated the cash equivalent of the policy’s premiums.
  6. Create a source of savings
    Some types of life insurance create a cash value that, if not paid out as a death benefit, can be borrowed or withdrawn on the owner’s request. Since most people make paying their life insurance policy premiums a high priority, buying a cash-value type policy can create a kind of “forced” savings plan. Furthermore, the interest credited is tax deferred (and tax exempt if the money is paid as a death claim).


How much life insurance do I need?
In most cases, if you have no dependents and have enough money to pay your final expenses, you don’t need any life insurance.

If you want to create an inheritance or make a charitable contribution, buy enough life insurance to achieve those goals.


What are the principal types of life insurance?
There are two major types of life insurance—term and whole life. Whole life is sometimes called permanent life insurance, and it encompasses several subcategories, including traditional whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life.


What are the types of disability insurance?
There are two types of disability policies: Short-Term Disability (STD) and Long-Term Disability (LTD):

  1. Short-Term Disability policies (STD) have a waiting period of 0 to 14 days with a maximum benefit period of no longer than two years.
  2. Long-Term Disability policies (LTD) have a waiting period of several weeks to several months with a maximum benefit period ranging from a few years to the rest of your life.


How can I insure against loss of income?
If you were disabled and unable to work as a result of an accident or illness, what would you and your family do for income?

Disability income insurance, which complements health insurance, can replace lost income. Forty-three percent of
all people age 40 will have a long-term (lasting 90 days or more) disability event by age 65.


What is 'long-term care'?
Because of old age, mental or physical illness, or injury, some people find themselves in need of help with eating, bathing, dressing, toileting or continence, and/or transferring (e.g., getting out of a chair or out of bed).


Should I buy long-term care insurance?
If you need long-term care services and have to pay to obtain them, what financial resources could you call on? Do you have enough to pay for four or more years in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or home health care?

If you’re over 65, don’t rely on Medicare or private health insurance. Medicare doesn’t pay for custodial care, and private health insurance rarely pays any of the cost of long-term care.

 

 
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