Insurance Frequently Asked Questions
What factors affect the premium I pay for automobile insurance?
Several factors can affect the premium you pay for your automobile insurance.
Characteristics that affect the cost of your insurance include the type of car you drive. Using your car to commute to work or school, your driving record (Motor Vehicle Record on file with the State), where you garage the car, and your credit worthiness can all affect how much your automobile insurance will cost you.
What is the difference between collision coverage and comprehensive coverage?
Collision losses occur when your automobile collides with another car or object. When that happens the damages to your car will be paid under your collision coverage.
Comprehensive provides coverage for most other direct physical damage losses you could incur and include damage to your car from a hailstorm, theft, vandalism, glass breakage etc. will be covered under comprehensive coverage.
The deductibles under the collision and comprehensive coverage are often different.
What factors can affect the cost of my automobile insurance?
Some factors that affect the cost of your insurance include the type of car you drive. If you use your car to commute to work or school, your driving record, where you live, even how you use credit can affect how much your automobile insurance will cost you.
What are some things I can do to lower my automobile insurance rates?
When shopping for auto insurance make sure each insurer is offering the same or comparable coverage. Many insurers use the “Insurance Services Office” (ISO) policy forms, but this is not always the case.
An easy way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to increase the deductibles on your Comprehensive and Collision coverage. Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $500 or $1,000 will lower your premium. You need to determine how much of any loss you can comfortably retain based on the financial resources you have available.
Another way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to look for any discounts that you may qualify for. For example, many insurers will offer you a discount if you insure multiple cars under the same policy, or if you have had a driver education class in the last five years. Be sure to ask your agent or your company about their discount plans.
What should I consider when purchasing automobile insurance?
- First and foremost determine what the financial responsibility requirements are for your state. In some states Automobile insurance is mandatory and may include No fault coverage for medical claims. There also may be minimum limits that you are required to carry. Your insurance professional will be able to provide this information.
- Base your decision on value and not on price alone. Consider the quality of the company’s claims service and consumer education. The company you choose should be rated A- or better by A.M. Best, as they are the authority for insurance company rating.
- Purchase the amount of liability coverage, which makes sense for you. While minimum limits may allow you to comply with state regulations they may not provide the protection you need to protect other assets you own.
- You should decide which optional coverage you want. For example, do you want optional physical damage coverage or is the market value of your vehicle too low to warrant purchasing this coverage. Physical damage coverage will be required if you have an outstanding loan on your vehicle.
What are some practical things I can do to lower the cost of my homeowners insurance?
When shopping for homeowners insurance, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering comparable coverage. Many insurers use the “Insurance Services Office” (ISO) policy forms as a starting point and add many additional and/or optional coverages. Your insurance professional will be happy to review and explain the differences between companies and coverages.
Another way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible from $250 or $500 to $1,000 or higher will lower your premium. You need to determine how much of any loss you can comfortably retain based on the financial resources you have available.
Another way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to look for any discounts that you may qualify for. Many insurers will offer a discount when you place both your automobile and homeowners insurance with them. Insurers may also offer discounts if your home has a security system. Be sure to ask your insurance professional about any discounts that you may qualify for.
What factors should I consider when purchasing homeowners insurance?
Here are a few things you should consider when you purchase homeowners insurance.
- One of the most important things to consider is how much it would cost to replace your home. Most companies require that you insure your home for 100% of its replacement cost. The replacement cost is different than the purchase price or the tax assessed value. In the event of a loss, some companies may apply a co-insurance penalty if you underinsure your home.
- Determine the amount of property insurance coverage that you need to cover your personal belongings. Many companies automatically extend a certain percentage of the dwelling amount to personal property. This may or may not be increased/decreased depending on the company.
- Determine the amount of personal liability coverage that you need. Choosing higher limits such as $500,000 or $1,000,000 is usually a bargain as the cost is very minimal.
- Determine any additional endorsements you may want to add to your policy. For example, do you want the personal property replacement cost endorsement or earthquake coverage?
- Homeowner policies have maximum limits for some specific categories such as jewelry, furs, fine arts etc. If you own property in these categories, you may want to consider insuring them separately
Will homeowner’s insurance help me if, for instance, someone gets hurt on my property?
Yes. Homeowner’s insurance covers your liabilities if a guest is injured and requires medical care and you are deemed responsible. The amount of liability coverage depends on which options you choose.
What is homeowners insurance and who should buy this type of coverage?
Homeowners insurance is a necessity for most people since their home is their single largest asset. The typical homeowners policy has two main sections: Section I covers the building and personal property of the insured and Section II provides personal liability coverage to the insured. Almost anyone who owns, rents or leases property has a need for this type of insurance. Most Lenders require homeowners insurance as part of their requirements to obtain a mortgage
What do I do if my business changes?
If your business changes, please contact BOLT at 1-800-216-4171 and a BOLT agent will help you make the necessary adjustments to your coverage.
What information do I need to get started?
To get started, you need to provide some general information about your business. BOLT recommends having your existing policy in front of you for reference. If you do not have an existing policy or the necessary information handy, you may save your information and come back later to finish.
How long will it take to complete the quote process?
It should take 12-15 minutes to obtain a quote for one line of business. Quotes will be available 3-5 minutes after submitting the application.
What is Umbrella Insurance?
This type of insurance supplements your existing General Liability and Business Property and Commercial Auto policies to cover certain catastrophic liability claims. This means that if losses exceed the limits of your general liability coverage under your General Liability and Business Property or Commercial Auto policies, an Umbrella policy may cover the remainder, up to a specified limit. Although the coverage provided under Umbrella policies vary, these policies generally cover a variety of business liability risks.
What is Commercial Auto?
This type of insurance covers certain legal liability resulting from bodily injury or property damage caused by the vehicles used in your business. Coverage can extend to vehicles that are leased, rented, or borrowed. You can also insure your commercial vehicles against physical damage from hail, fire, and other risks.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
This type of insurance covers employees against job-related injuries and illnesses, as well as certain medical expenses, lost income, and rehabilitation expenses. It also pays a death benefit to heirs of an employee who dies from a job-related injury or illness. This insurance is usually required by every state although the requirements vary by state.
What is General Liability and Business Property?
This type of insurance combines general liability and business property insurance for your business. General Liability and Business Property insurance is a way for small businesses to purchase a combination of coverages at a reasonable price. This insurance covers certain losses resulting from property damage, suspended operations and liability resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others. A General Liability and Business Property Policy is generally available for businesses with up to $3 million in revenue and is designed to meet the insurance needs of most small businesses.
What types of business insurance policies are offered by BOLT SM Insurance Agency?
General Liability and Business Property Insurance, Workers’ Compensation, Commercial Auto, Umbrella Insurance, Errors & Omissions, Directors & Officers, Employment Liability and Flood. More products are available through BOLT licensed agents at 1-800-216-4171, Mon–Fri, 8am–6pm ET.
How do I determine what coverage is right for my business?
The coverage type and the amount of coverage your business needs depend on many criteria. First, for the type of coverage, ask yourself: would you like to protect your employees? Your vehicles? Your business property against damage and lawsuits? Do you need additional insurance to cover any potential losses that exceed the limits of your general liability? Second, the level of coverage is determined by, among other things, industry, revenue, location, regulatory requirements, business requirements, trade associations, number and type of employees, and assets. The goal is to maximize the protection of your business while minimizing insurance premiums.
Is insurance coverage different for different businesses?
Because businesses vary, it is impossible to have a standard policy to cover all contingencies. Also, some businesses, regardless of their size, do not fit the profile of a standard policy. For example, restaurants, wholesalers and garages have special liability needs that are not met in the standard policy. Many small businesses are now insured under package policies that cover the major property and liability exposures as well as loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Business Owners Policy (BOP). Generally, these package policies provide the small business owner more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. Your BOLT Insurance Specialist can help you decide which policy or policies are right for your business. Additional coverage for property, liability or perils or conditions otherwise excluded (e.g., flood protection) can be purchased as endorsements to a standard policy.
I don’t have any major business property. Why do I need insurance?
Every business has some property. And, when you think about it, your business is your property. Just like your home and your car, your business needs to be protected from loss, damage and liability. In addition, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income. Generally, there are two types of insurance — property and liability. Property insurance covers damage to or loss of the policyholder’s property. And if somebody sued for damages caused by you or your possessions (other than a vehicle covered by your insurance policy), the cost of the suit — both defending it and settling it, if necessary — would be covered by your liability insurance.
I’m just getting my business started. Do I need insurance right away?
Yes, because the chance that you could suffer a loss begins with the first day of business. You can’t get help after the fact. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, there is very little, if anything, your agent can do to help you. You must be prepared for the risks that are inherent in any business and the losses, sometimes catastrophic, that they can cause.
What is BOLT? How can BOLT benefit my business?
BOLT acts as an on‐line interactive insurance agent that can provide you with quotes from different insurance companies for your business needs. You will then be able to compare coverage, view quotes on‐line, and purchase cost-effective insurance for your business. Insurance rates vary and by comparing on‐line quotes your business may be able to save money by using this service.
My question was not answered here. What can I do?
If your question is not answered here, please contact BOLT directly at 1-800-216-4171.
Will you share or sell my information?
How often will BOLT agents contact me?
Unless there is a servicing or business need, a BOLT agent will not contact you. If you have any questions you may contact BOLT at your convenience at 1-800-216-4171
Who do I contact if I want to file a claim?
If you want to file a claim, you can contact a BOLT agent at 1-800-216-4171 who will help you with the claim process.
Are the BOLT agents licensed insurance agents?
The BOLT agents are licensed insurance agents.
How can I cancel a quote?
If you decide not to complete the online form, you may exit at any point during the process. If you completed the online form and received a quote, you are under no obligation to purchase a policy.
Is there a fee associated with canceling a policy early?
Depending on the insurance company and the type of insurance, there may be a fee for canceling a policy early. You may contact BOLT at 1-800-216-4171 to inquire about your policy.
When does my policy take effect?
Depending on the type of policy you are purchasing, it can be effective anywhere from immediately to 48 hours after purchase. The actual effective date will depend on the insurance company providing the policy and the terms and conditions of the policy you purchased.
Why do I need to review the online quote with a BOLT agent before I purchase the policy?
Reviewing the online quote with a BOLT agent prior to purchasing a policy allows the agent to review the online quote for completeness and answer any questions you may have prior to submitting the online quote to the insurance companies.
Am I obligated to accept a quote?
You are under no obligation to purchase a policy generated by BOLT Insurance.
Does it cost anything to use the service?
There is no charge for receiving quotes through BOLT Insurance.
Will the BOLT agents recommend a policy?
The BOLT agents can help you identify the types of insurance and the coverages that you or business may need. They will not recommend any particular insurance company.
How many quotes can I expect to receive?
Depending on the type of insurance, your location (and your industry if you are seeking commercial insurance), you may receive up to 6 quotes. If you do not receive any quotes, please call BOLT at 1-800-216-4171 to speak to a BOLT agent.
What do I do if I have a question while completing the online quote?
If you have a question about the quote, you can contact a BOLT agent at 1-800-216-4171.
What is the difference between getting a quote online or over the phone?
In most instances there is no difference between getting a quote online or over the phone. Online quotes can be obtained around the clock, 24/7, but quotes over the phone can be obtained only during business hours.
How do I get a quote?
Obtaining a quote is easy. You can get a quote for multiple types of insurance by calling 1-800-216-4171 or completing the online quote.
Why do insurance rates seem to go up or down over time?
Like commercial real estate, the insurance industry has cycles. In some years, major “insurance events,” such as hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes, drive up insurance claims, which can lead to premium increases. In other years, competition and a lack of major claims activity can bring premium prices down.
Who are the insurance carriers with BOLT Insurance Agency?
These companies are rated A- or better by A.M. Best Company, a full-service credit rating organization with more than 100 years’ experience that is devoted to issuing in-depth reports and financial strength ratings about insurance organizations. This rating is an indication of an insurer’s ability to meet its insurance obligations. So the companies are industry leaders from both brand recognition and insurance volume perspectives.
Why is the rating for insurance companies important?
The rating of your insurance company is important for two reasons. First and most importantly, you want to be sure the company can pay any claims that you may have. Second, it can affect the cost of premiums; larger and more cost-efficient insurance firms may be able to offer lower prices. To find out, ask your insurance company for its A.M. Best (www.ambest.com/ratings/guide.asp) or Standard & Poor’s (www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/insurance/en/us) rating.