I work in (non-health) insurance. It occurred to me that there are a lot of misconceptions about property and car insurance. No one cares or thinks about insurance until something goes wrong. *Note- These are not secrets or inside information. I’m not trying to risk my job for a blog. However there are some common questions that you would never know the answer to until you’ve been through the process. Hopefully you won’t need the advice, but just incase… here are some tips:
Before we begin, here’s a disclaimer: All of these tips are generalizations and ever situation is different. Especially when it comes to insurance. Everyone can have a different policy that covers different things. One company and policy can be very different from the next.
Trees– We always get calls that go something like this, “I’m so mad, my neighbor’s tree fell in my yard and damaged my fence. They won’t return my call. Can you go after their insurance company to pay for the damage?” For the most part, your neighbor (or their insurance company) is not responsible for the tree even though it came from their property. If it falls during a storm, it’s usually considered an ‘act of god.’ You or your insurance is stuck with the bill. The one exception is if your neighbor knew the tree was dead and neglected to anything about it. Then you may have a case.
Renting a car– Car rental companies always try to get you to buy their insurance when you rent a car. Be aware, your own auto insurance may cover damage to a rental. But like anything else, if you make a claim on your insurance your rates can always go up.
Know your deductible– Your deductible is the amount of money you are responsible for before insurance will start paying. In the car insurance world, a common deductible is $500. So, if it’s going to cost $700 to fix your car, insurance will send you a check for $200. Your deductible is important when deciding if you want to make a claim or not. If you make a claim, there is a good chance your rates will go up. It’s a pro and con list of whether it’s worth it for a claim. Sometimes people decide just to pay it out of pocket.
Car accidents– You can file a claim on another person’s insurance. However, to do so you’ll need some basic information. Whenever possible, be sure to always get names, phone numbers, policy numbers, and addresses for everyone involved.
Condos– If you live in a condo complex, you could be hit with a loss assessment. Basically that means you own a fat some of money to the condo complex to pay for upkeep and improvements. For example: my sister had an special assessment because her condo complex needed new roofs and siding. Call your insurance company because they may be able to help.
Power Outage– If your power goes out and you loose a freezers worth of food… guess what… you may have coverage under your homeowners or renter policy.