Neighborhood Advisors

570.784.1673 | Claims Center

Insurance 101

Why are some cars more expensive to insure than others?

A variety of factors influence how much you pay for auto insurance, including your age, driving record, gender, how many miles you drive, where the car is garaged, and the vehicle’s make and model.

Does my car insurance cover someone who borrows my car?

Yes, car insurance covers someone who borrows your car with your permission. Say, for instance, your brother-in-law asks to borrow your vehicle. If he caused a fender bender, your car insurance liability coverage would pay for any damage he caused up to the policy’s liability limit. Your collision coverage, if you had it, would pay to repair any damage to your vehicle.

If the person who uses your car lives in your household, however, he or she should be listed on your car insurance policy. For instance, you must include on your policy your teenage children who drive and who live with you. You can’t assume that your kids are covered, just because you have insurance and they have permission to use your car.

What is Bodily injury liability insurance? 

Pennsylvania requires this coverage because it protects an innocent third party if you cause an accident. Bodily injury liability pays for the injuries of someone that you hurt, if you’re at fault in an accident.

This coverage does not pay for your own injuries or for your passengers’ injuries even if you are at fault. Your injuries would be covered by the first party medical benefits or your own health insurance. Your passengers’ injuries would be covered by their own health insurance.

What is Property damage liability insurance?

Pennsylvania requires a minimum limit of $5,000 for this coverage. It pays for damage to another vehicle or to other property if you are involved in an at-fault accident. This coverage only pays for damages to another person’s property caused by you. To protect your car, you need collision coverage.

How much liability car insurance should I buy?

When deciding how much bodily injury liability coverage to buy, it’s important to understand that this coverage protects your personal assets – your savings, your property and even your future earnings – if you cause an accident and are held legally liable for injuries to other people or property such as another car, a mailbox or a streetlight.

What is Collision coverage?

If your car collides with a vehicle or another object, collision coverage pays for the damage to your vehicle or the cost to replace it, if it cannot be repaired. A deductible applies for collision coverage.

Collision coverage may also apply to a rental car when you are on vacation. Check with your company before you rent, so that you can decide whether you need to purchase additional coverage.

What is comprehensive coverage?

Comprehensive (other than collision) coverage covers damage to your vehicle from non-collision mishaps involving your vehicle, such as flood, fire, hail, animals, birds, falling trees, windshield damage, theft and vandalism. A deductible applies for Comprehensive coverage also.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is the amount you must pay out of pocket for each physical damage claim before your insurance company pays the claim. You can choose from a wide range of deductibles from $0 to $1,000 for your auto insurance. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium. Your decision on your insurance deductible should be based on your personal finances and your ability to pay that deductible if you must make a claim.

My son enters college this fall. Are there insurance issues I need to consider?

As long as your child lives on campus, your renters or home insurance covers the personal belongs he takes to college. Be aware that the policy’s coverage limit might be too low to cover pricey items, such as a laptop, flat-screen TV, iPod or sports equipment. Contact us to discuss whether you need to purchase additional coverage. If your child lives off campus, he’ll need a separate renters insurance policy to cover his belongings.

Let the insurance company know if your child takes a family car to college. Insurers base premiums partly on where cars are garaged, and failing to report the change could jeopardize coverage. If your child is attending college over 100 miles from home and does not have a car, ask about discounts that may be available.

Whose insurance pays, if my neighbor’s tree falls on my fence?

You would file a claim on your home insurance policy, because that’s the policy that covers your property. Your neighbor’s insurance covers only his or her property, not yours.

If the tree fell because of bad weather, your insurer would pay to fix the fence, and you would be responsible for the deductible if you filed a claim. However, your insurance company could go after your neighbor’s insurer if there was strong evidence that the neighbor was aware that the tree was diseased and needed to be removed, but neglected to do so. In that case, the neighbor’s insurance company might have to pay for the repairs and your deductible.

Does home insurance cover jewelry and fine art?

Yes, homeowners insurance covers personal belongings, but there are limits on certain items, such as jewelry, fine art, antiques and other valuables. If you have a valuable item, you may need to buy additional insurance to provide full coverage. Check your insurance policy to see how much coverage it provides for valuables. Contact our office to discuss whether you need to buy additional protection.

Replacement Cost vs Market Value

“My home’s worth only $120,000. Why does my insurance company want to insure it for $275,000?” One of the biggest questions we have regarding homeowner’s insurance is regarding the amount to insure the dwelling (home) for. When purchasing a house, the mortgage company requires the homeowner to obtain insurance prior to closing. Most people assume the amount of dwelling coverage will be equal to the amount they paid for their house. In many cases this is incorrect.

There are different methods to determine the value of a house. Market value is the price paid for your house or the market value. Replacement cost is the cost it will take to rebuild your house in the same spot, same size, and same quality of construction… at today’s costs.