Atlanta Home Insurance 101

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

Find out the basics of home insurance in Atlanta.

So, you’re looking into buying a new home. You, as well as your bank, will want to protect your investment. If you’re a first-time home buyer, insurance companies can throw a lot of terms and paperwork your way that you may not understand the basics of. So, to help you make an informed choice about the home insurance you need, here’s a crash course in homeowners’ insurance 101.

What is home insurance?

When a disaster or unfortunate accident happens, home insurance is a great way to make sure you have the funds to rebuild. There are plenty of different types of home insurance, but at their core, most homeowners’ insurance policies will include ways to help you cover the costs of property damage, medical expenses if someone is hurt on your property, and legal fees if that person decides to sue. So, let’s dig a little deeper into home insurance in Atlanta:

What does home insurance cover?

There are multiple types of home insurance, but most plans will provide these basic types of coverage:

Liability

Homeowners’ liability coverage is built to help you cover the medical expenses and legal payments that might come up if someone was hurt at your home. For example, if your teenager and their friend decide to try a few backflips off the roof and your child’s friend breaks a bone, the friend’s parent could sue you for the cost of the medical bills.

If a court determines that the injury was caused by your negligence, your home insurance’s liability coverage could help you pay out the friend’s medical fees, the legal fees of defending your case and court, and any other settlement payments that may arise out of the case.

Physical Structure

What would home insurance in Atlanta be without being able to actually cover damages to your home? The property damage portion of your homeowners’ policy can help you cover damages to the actual structure of your home caused by:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling Objects
  • Explosions
  • Damages from vehicles/aircrafts

Depending on your particular home insurance policy, you may be covered for more perils than those that are listed here. Some policies, like HO-3s, will have a strict list of named perils, which means that the plan won’t cover damages caused by anything outside of the listed situations on the policy. However, some policies – like HO-5s – can also include an open perils section, where your insurance could help you cover damages due to anything that isn’t explicitly listed on the policy as not covered.

Home insurance in Atlanta covers a variety of perils.

Personal Property

Homeowners insurance can also usually help you replace the personal belongings inside your home if they’re damaged by the above perils. There are two ways to insure your personal property – for its actual cash value (ACV) and for its replacement cost value (RCV).

If you insure your belongings for their actual cost value, your insurance can only reimburse you for the value of your belongings at the time of loss – meaning its depreciated value. However, if you insure your personal property for its replacement cost value, your insurance can help you cover the cost of replacing the item with a similar model at today’s prices.

However, there’s only so much that your insurance company can help you replace if they don’t know what they have to replace. So, make sure you make a home inventory of your personal belongings so you’re not stuck replacing everything in your home in an unfortunate situation.

Other Structures

Your home insurance can also help you cover the other structures on your property if they’re damaged. The other structures portion of your policy can help you cover damages to things like:

  • Detached garages
  • Fences
  • Poolhouses and pools
  • Sheds
  • Gazebos
  • Guesthouses
  • Barns
  • Outdoor dining huts
  • Your patio
  • And even your driveway

It’s important to know, though, that even if other structures coverage is included in your home insurance policy, the coverage limit may not reimburse you for the full amount it takes to repair the structure. Again, that’s why it’s important to review your policy to make sure your other structures are insured for their replacement cost value and not their actual cost value.

Loss of Use

Your homeowners’ policy can also help you with expenses and a place to stay when you can’t physically live in your home. Additional Living Expense (ALE) or Loss of Use coverage can help you with the additional costs of living somewhere else if your house is uninhabitable due to a covered loss. This part of your home insurance can help you cover costs such as:

  • Extended hotel, motel, or AirBnB stays
  • Eating out at restaurants
  • Doing laundry
  • Storage costs for your personal belongings
  • Moving if you’re displaced by a natural disaster
  • Boarding your pet if they can’t live with you during your temporary living situation
  • Gas costs for relocation
  • Renting furniture that you’re used to having every day

Keep in mind, though, that your insurance company will want proof of the cost of your normal standard of living. They’ll also want proof of the additional costs gathered while you’re not living in your house. This is because ALE is only built for the cost of maintaining your lifestyle outside of your home. So, if you’re used to making and eating modest meals in your home, your ALE probably isn’t going to cover ordering lobster dinners every night while you’re away. So, keep plenty of receipts, especially for things like groceries, hotels, gas, etc.

It’s also important to note that your ALE coverage can only help cover the additional amount you’re paying while you’re away. For example, if your mortgage payment is $1,200/month and you have to live in an Extended Stay hotel that charges $1,800/month, your insurance can only help you cover the additional $600 you would be paying for shelter per month, not the full $1,800.

Home insurance in Atlanta can cover other structures.

What doesn’t home insurance cover?

So, with everything that home insurance in Atlanta can help you cover, you may be wondering what home insurance policies exclude. Usually, home insurance policies won’t include coverage for:

While most homeowners’ insurance policies may not include these types of coverages normally, you can usually add on an endorsement or purchase a separate plan for perils and objects you would like to cover.

How much home insurance do I need?

When considering how much home insurance you’ll need, you’ll want to make sure that your coverage limits can help you restore your home and your belongings back to normal. So, it’s important to know the ways that carriers can choose to cover your structures and belongings.

Market Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

The first thing to know is that your home’s market value is not the same as its replacement cost.

Your home’s market value is the amount that your home would sell for. Your home’s replacement cost is the amount it would take to rebuild your house from the ground up – including the building materials, contractors, plumbers, electricians, permits, and more. That’s why you might end up getting home insurance for an amount that’s different than what you bought your house for.

Generally, you’ll want to insure your house for its replacement cost value to make sure that you have the right amount of home insurance. You’ll also want to talk to your agent if you’re considering an addition to your house, a structural addition to your property, or if you’re thinking about upgrading your pipes or your electrical system (which may even qualify you for a discount).

How much does home insurance cost?

So, here’s the big question – how much does home insurance in Atlanta actually cost? The true answer is that there are tons of factors about your individual house and situation that will determine your home insurance rate. So, your individual rate depends on:

So, it’s important to shop around for your insurance. Different carriers assess risk differently, so one carrier may price you differently from others.

So, these are the basic facts you’ll need to know about home insurance! Hopefully, you feel armed with knowledge when you’re shopping around for coverage. However, there’s a lot more that goes into getting your perfect home insurance for a great rate. That’s where our insurance experts can help!

We have tons of experience with home insurance in Atlanta. So, we can take the hassle out of finding customized home insurance quotes. We’ll help you get the exact types of affordable coverage and limits you need. All you have to do to get started is call us today or fill out our easy online form.

6 things insurance agents want you to know about home insurance

There are a lot of things insurance agents want people to know about home insurance.

There are a lot of things insurance agents want people to know about home insurance.

Shopping for Atlanta home insurance can seem like a monster of a task if you don’t know where to start. Plus, what many people think of as insurance basics may not be the ones that are the most important to your agent when they consider your particular situation. So, we’ve put together the top six general ideas that insurance agents want you to know when you’re shopping for your homeowners’ insurance.

Read more6 things insurance agents want you to know about home insurance

Can I insure my engagement ring?

You can get insurance for your engagement ring.

You can get insurance for your engagement ring.

Congratulations! Your soon-to-be spouse has popped the question! But there’s another big question that you should be asking now that you own such an expensive piece of jewelry: How can I protect my engagement ring? Fortunately, there are tons of different types of insurance for covering different kinds of investments, including your engagement ring. So, we’ll give you a rundown of how to get insurance for your engagement ring and what engagement ring insurance truly is.

Can I insure my engagement ring?

Insurance isn’t just for your car or home anymore. You can insure your pet, your party, and yes, even your new engagement ring. But just like other types of insurance, you have to make sure you have the right coverage and limits to truly protect your ring.

Why should I insure my engagement ring?

In short, an engagement ring is a huge investment. It’s also rather small, and depending on what it’s made of, it can be very fragile. So, if it drops down a sink drain while you’re washing dishes or the stone falls out of its setting or the gold band has been twisted and warped beyond recognition, you’re going to want something that can help you make up some of that loss – at least money-wise.

How can I insure my engagement ring?

Your Atlanta home insurance policy may have limited protection for jewelry or valuables, so you might need extra coverage to insure your engagement ring.

There are two ways that can make sure you have enough coverage for your engagement ring. A common way is by adding an endorsement to your homeowners or renters’ insurance policy. Be aware, though, that you need to make sure you have enough insurance added to your home insurance policy to fully protect your ring.

The second way is to get an entirely separate valuable items policy. However, to get an entirely separate policy for any type of valuable item, it must be worth over $10,000 individually or part of a collection that’s worth $50,000 or more.

In either case, your insurance agent will need either a sales receipt for the ring or proof of appraisal to determine the coverage limits that are right for you. However, you’ll need to consider whether you want to insure your engagement ring for – its actual cash value (ACV) or replacement cost value (RCV).

Actual Cost Value vs. Replacement Cost Value

When insuring their personal property, a lot of people assume that their insurance will completely replace the items lost in a pinch.  However, there are two ways that your insurance covers property – for its actual cash value or for its replacement cost value.

If something is insured for its actual cash value, it’s insured for the amount that you bought it for minus depreciation. For example: Let’s say that your engagement ring was worth $3,000 when you bought it. If you insure it for its actual cash value and lose it three years down the road, your insurance may only help you pay for a depreciated value of $2,200.

However, if you insure your ring for its replacement cost value, your insurance could reimburse you for the full $3,000. This is why it’s important to get your ring appraised or keep the sales receipt when insuring it.

What does engagement ring insurance cover?

If you’re wondering about the specifics of what your engagement ring insurance will cover, there’s not a cut-and-dry answer. Different insurance carriers cover different situations. So, it’s important when finding coverage for your ring to talk to your agent. Find out if your policy will cover things like theft, accidental damage, and accidental loss. Learn how your coverage will be provided; it can be in the form of a cash reimbursement, replacement ring, or a new ring from a jeweler of your carrier’s choice.

How can I protect my engagement ring?

Although engagement ring insurance can come in handy, no one likes the feeling of losing something so precious or filing an insurance claim for that item. So, to keep your ring safe, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always store valuable items in a secure place, and don’t leave them out in the open.
  • If you’re not going to be wearing your ring much, invest in a small safe or safety deposit box.
  • Secure your home at night. (If you have a home security system, you may even be able to get a discount on your home insurance.)

So, that’s the nitty-gritty on engagement ring insurance. Overall, it’s a great type of inexpensive coverage that can save you a bit of heartache in the long run. Plus, our insurance experts can help you find the rider or policy that perfectly fits your needs.

Day in and day out, we help tons of people find customized and affordable  Atlanta home, renters, and auto insurance to protect the things that matter the most. To start saving money on the protection you need, all you have to do is give us a call or fill out our online form.

10 Atlanta auto insurance terms to know

Find out what different auto insurance terms.

Find out what different auto insurance terms.Sometimes, all of the terms and phrasing in car insurance policies can make your head spin. There can be tons of different names referring to the coverage you need, but how do you know what they mean? How do you know you’re getting the right auto insurance? Here are 10 basic Atlanta auto insurance terms to help you crack the car insurance code.

Auto insurance terms to know.

1. What does at-fault mean?

“At-fault” is basically who is responsible for an accident. It might give you someone to blame, but for your insurance company, it’s a way to determine which auto insurance carrier will pay who. If you’re at-fault, your insurance company will have to pay the other driver or their carrier. If the other driver is at-fault, their insurance company pays you or your carrier.

2. What is a covered loss?

A covered loss is an incident that your insurance can help you pay for, such as an accident or a tree falling on your car. This is a section you really want to pay attention to on your insurance policy because each type of car insurance policy doesn’t cover the same things. Plus, not every car insurance policy covers every type of damage to your car.

For instance, your auto insurance may cover the cost to repair your vehicle if you’re in an accident with another car. However, it may not pay for certain windshield repairs if it’s damaged by something other than a crash.

3. What is a declarations page?

The declarations page of your insurance is what gives you a basic run-down of what and how much your car insurance covers. It will usually include information like:

  • The types of coverage you have
  • The limits for each type of coverage
  • The cost of each type of coverage
  • Which vehicles are covered by your policy and how much coverage they have under your policy.

Your entire policy will go into more detail, but your declarations page can be a quick way to know what and how much your insurance actually covers in a sticky situation.

4. What is a deductible?

If you’ve ever had to file a car insurance claim, you’ve probably wondered why you have to pay anything out of pocket if you have insurance. Your deductible would be the reason why. Your car insurance deductible is the amount that you’ve agreed to pay out of pocket if you have a claim. (So it’s another one of the auto insurance terms on the list that has to do with money.)

For example, let’s say that your policy has a $500 deductible. If you hit a deer, and it causes $4,000 worth of damage, you would have to pay $500 out of pocket. Then your insurance would pay the rest of the repair amount, $3,500.

It's helpful to be familiar with various auto insurance terms.

5. What is a coverage limit?

Your coverage limit is how much money total your insurance company is willing to pay out in a given plan year. Usually, each state has a required limit that your insurance has to cover. For Georgia, the easiest way to remember the coverage limit requirement is 25/50/25, which means you have to have at least:

  • $25,000 in bodily liability coverage per person (what your insurance can pay out to another driver if you’re at-fault for an accident)
  • $50,000 in total liability coverage per accident (the total amount that your insurance company can pay out to everyone in the other car in the accident)
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage (the max amount that your insurance can pay to fix the other vehicle if you’re at fault in an accident)

Again, this is just the minimum coverage limit you’ll have to have to legally drive in GA. However, these limits may not be enough to fully cover someone else’s medical bills and car repair costs. So, it’s probably a better idea to get more than the minimum requirements for coverage.

6. What is an MVR?

MVR stands for Motor Vehicle Report. It’s the report that an insurance company looks at to determine how risky you are to insure and thus, what your rates should be for the year. The report is a record of your license status, traffic violations, license suspensions, and accidents.

7. Who is the named insured?

The named insured on an auto insurance policy is just who the main person who is covered on the policy.

8. What is primary use?

This is just another term for the main purpose you use your car for. Your insurance company is going to need to know this info so that they can insure you properly. Even if you use your car for personal and to travel/transport things for business, your carrier will need to know since insuring a car for that type of use is different than insuring a driver that only uses a vehicle to run errands.

9. What is a car insurance premium?

This is one of the auto insurance terms you’re probably most concerned about. Your premium is the monthly payment you make just to have the insurance policy. It doesn’t count toward your deductible and is determined by different factors, such as:

  • Your driving history
  • Where you live
  • What kind of car you drive
  • How old you are
  • The primary use of the car
  • The types of coverage and deductible you’ve chosen
  • Your credit score

Different car insurance companies will usually determine your risk and rates in different ways. So, if you’re shocked by the sticker price of one insurance carrier, shop around for a quote. You may be pleasantly surprised. Also, be sure to ask your agent about any car insurance discounts you may qualify for. It can help you save on your monthly premium and give you room to get the auto insurance you truly need.

10. Who is the principal driver?

The principal driver is going to be the main person who’s driving the insured car, or who is using the car the most. Your insurance company may also ask about any secondary drivers, especially if you’re married, but the principal driver is usually the one that’s listed on the car title.

Now that you know some of the basic auto insurance terms, you’re ready to make informed decisions about which kind of coverage to choose. However, there are a lot more factors that go into finding the right auto insurance specific to your needs.

That’s why our agents are here. We’ll use our expertise to find you quotes on great coverage for the best possible rate. We specialize in breaking down the nitty gritty parts of car insurance that are too complex to cover here (including going into more detail about auto insurance terms.) That way you know why your quotes make sense for your unique situation. To make sure you’re not missing out on the best car insurance coverage you can get, give us a call today, fill out our online form, or live chat with an agent today!

What kinds of insurance coverage do tow trucks need in Atlanta?

Get the right insurance coverages for your tow trucks.

Get the right insurance coverages for your tow trucks.

Towing can be a risky business to get into. So, whether you’re starting up your own Atlanta tow truck business or you’ve been in business for a while, you want to make sure that you’re properly insured. However, a lot more goes into insuring tow trucks than covering your drivers and your towing hook. So, here’s a rundown of the major types of insurance coverage you’ll need for a tow truck.

What insurance coverages do I need to tow cars in Atlanta?

Auto Liability Insurance

The auto liability portion of your tow truck insurance is a vital part of what protects your business in an accident. Auto liability insurance is usually broken up into two parts: Bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

The bodily injury portion of this coverage can help you cover the medical bills of another driver if you’re in a wreck. It can also help you pay the legal fees that come along with the accident if the other driver decides to sue. The property damage portion of auto liability can help you pay for the cost of repairs or the cost to replace the other driver’s car.

In the state of Georgia, all tow trucks are required to have:

  • A $100,000 coverage limit per person for bodily injury or death
  • A $300,000 limit per accident for each person injured or killed in an accident, and
  • $50,000 in property damage coverage per accident.

Although these are the minimum limits for tow truck auto liability in Georgia, your towing contracts may have different coverage requirements. So, be sure to check with the people you’re contracted with and tell your agent about these limits when getting insurance quotes for your business.

It’s very important to note, though, that auto liability for tow trucks only covers the damage done to the other vehicle. So, what do you do if your tow truck is damaged in an accident?

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damage insurance is the part of your coverage that can help you cover repair and replacement costs for your tow trucks. This type of insurance is also usually broken up into two parts: collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage for tow trucks can help you cover the costs of repairing your truck specifically if you’re involved in an accident. Comprehensive coverage can help you handle expenses from basically every other incident that could befall your tow trucks, including: fire, vandalism, theft, lightning, hitting an animal, hitting an object (like a tree or building), and more.

On-hook/in-tow coverage

Regardless of the type of towing contract you have, if something happens to a client’s car, you could be held liable for the damages. Auto liability and physical damage coverage won’t help you cover that kind of risk. That’s what on-hook-in-tow coverage is for.

Let’s say that you’re driving to your yard with a client’s vehicle and it’s raining hard. Something happens and your tow truck loses traction. The truck itself and the driver are safe, but the client’s car got tossed in the chaos and has severe damage. You could be held liable for these damages, but your on-hook/in-tow coverage can help you cover the cost of the car’s damages.

Again, our insurance agents will be able to take into account the minimum requirements that Georgia has for on-hook/in-tow insurance, the minimum requirements of your towing contracts, and how much coverage you actually need for your business when you call in to get your quotes.

Garagekeepers insurance

Garagekeepers insurance can help you cover your clients’ cars while they’re in your care, custody, and control – for example if they’re on your premises. Garagekeepers will generally help you cover the cost of damage to a customer’s car due to:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Lightning
  • And more depending on your specific policy

For example, if one of the cars in your yard has been tagged with spray paint overnight, your tow truck business’s garagekeepers insurance can help you cover the costs of painting over the damage to the customer’s car. Any tow truck operator in GA must have at least $50,000 in garagekeepers coverage limits, which covers the amount of the stored vehicles and their contents.

Garage Liability insurance

Garage liability coverage, however, is important because it can help you cover the costs of any liability issues that come about because of the services you provide. Similarly to auto liability coverage, this part of your tow truck insurance can help you cover the costs of any property damage or bodily injury that happens because of the services you’ve provided.

For example: Let’s say that you provide roadside assistance, and you’re called in to help a customer change a tire. You drive out to them, change the tire, then the driver thanks you and drives off. However, a few miles down the road, the tire comes off, which results in an accident. You could be held liable for the entire accident since you changed the tire.

However, your garage liability insurance can help you cover the costs of repairing the cars involved in the accident and the legal fees if any of the drivers decide to sue you. This coverage would be different from your auto liability coverage since the accident did not involve your truck.

In the state of GA, all tow truck operators must have at least a $50,000 coverage limit for their garage liability insurance. Keep in mind that these are only the minimum requirements for garagekeepers and garage liability insurance in Georgia. Depending on the factors of your specific business, such as the type of cars you handle, the size of your business, and your towing radius, you may need more coverage. (But that doesn’t have to mean that your coverage will be more expensive – especially when you work with our agents to find quotes.)

Wrongful repo insurance

If your tow truck business also handles the repossession of vehicles, you’ll need a type of coverage that can protect you against human error. Tons of things can go wrong when repossessing a vehicle (besides a few angry customers):

  • You may not have checked with the bank before you picked the car up. The person may have already made their payment and the bank was a bit delayed in relaying this information to you. Wrongful repo insurance may cover the costs of any legal fees that happen because of the misunderstanding. However, to avoid this mishap, make sure you check with the bank before you leave to tow the car.
  • There was no written notice to you or the customer about the repo. A spoken agreement between you and the bank is not enough to tow the car. So, make sure you have written consent.
  • You could just take the wrong car. Accidents happen, but this oops could have very dire consequences for your business if you don’t have the right coverage.

These may seem like a lot of coverages to have for a tow truck business, but they’re vital for keeping you, your drivers, and your business safe and out of a major financial pickle. It can be tough to look for all of these types of insurance by yourself and get the right amount of coverage for your particular towing business and tow trucks.

That’s why our insurance experts are here to help. Call us at 404.352.0304, fill out our online form, or chat with us to find out why we have a 9.8/10 review on TrustPilot after helping tons of towing companies get the Atlanta tow truck insurance they need.

Source:

http://www.gamccd.net/NctFaq.aspx

Pro tips for filing an Atlanta car insurance claim

Check out these pro tips for filing a car insurance claim.

Check out these pro tips for filing a car insurance claim.

The situations that can cause you to file an Atlanta car insurance claim are never pleasant to deal with. The event itself can be stressful enough without having to worry about paperwork for your insurance company – whether it’s for a car robbery, a cracked windshield, or an all-out car accident. Everything can be overwhelming to handle all at once. So, here are 9 tips to help you breathe easier when filing a car insurance claim.

Pro tips for filing a car insurance claim.

1. Give the police as much information as you can

Call the police, and when they arrive on the scene, tell them exactly what happened. Even if you think you may have been at fault, remain as neutral as possible. The police and your insurance company can determine fault later. For the police report, just give them the initial, factual information. The more detail the investigating officer places on your report, the better your insurance company may be able to understand the situation for your car insurance claim.

2. Take photos (and possibly video) of the damages

Take as many photos as you can of the accident. Capture the damages done to your car, the other driver’s car, and the position of the vehicles if you can. If possible, also take video of the aftermath. To make sure that you can access the photos and footage from anywhere or just to keep them safe, consider uploading the information to a cloud system – either your cell phone carrier’s, iCloud, or Google Drive.  It can help give your insurance agent and any appraisers more of a point of reference for your claim payout.

3. Ask the investigating officer for a copy of the report

After recalling and recording all of the information about the vehicle damage and the accident itself, make sure you get a copy of the police report to show to your insurance company. Some carriers require a copy of the police report to file your claim; some don’t. However, it never hurts to have a copy of the report just in case.

4. Write down the information of any drivers involved

If you were in an accident, take down the information of the other drivers involved, whether it was a one-on-one accident or a pile-up. Remember, the only type of information you need to exchange is:

  • First and last names
  • Best contact numbers
  • License plate numbers
  • The make, model, year, and VIN of the vehicles
  • The name and phone number of the other drivers’ insurance companies
  • Auto insurance policy numbers

However, take care when exchanging information and only give what’s necessary. Some people can use other forms of information to steal your identity. Your insurance company should be able to file your claim only using the information above. However, if they can’t, they’ll ask you or the other driver to provide additional details that will just stay with the insurance company’s records.

5. Write down the information of any witnesses

If there were any witnesses that were willing to stick around when the police showed up, take down their names and numbers as well. They may be able to help your case when filing a claim or if you end up going to court.

6. Try to get the names and badge numbers of the emergency responders on the scene

Ask the police officers and the EMTs if they will give you their badge numbers and names. If you have to refer to someone who was on the scene or who was investigating the incident, it could help you identify the specific person who gave you the original information on the case or your injuries. It could also help your insurance company find any additional information that you could not provide on your own.

7. Write down as many details about the incident as soon as you can after the accident.

Time can do a lot of things – heal, fly by, bring a lot of changes – but it can also play tricks with your memory. So when you have to file a claim to your car insurance, your account of events right after the incident will probably be the truest to form and have the most detail.

So as soon as you get to a computer or a pen and paper, write down everything about the incident exactly as you remember. If you feel so inclined, you could even record yourself retelling the story and time-stamp the footage. In either case, no detail is too small. If your insurance company or a court only wants certain details, you’ll have the very least that they’re asking for. Having an account of the accident can’t hurt when it comes to filing a car insurance claim.

8. Keep track of all the correspondence you have about your claim

Whenever you speak to your insurance company, your lawyer, your car repair service, your rental car service, or anyone else you’ve had to speak to as a result of a car-related incident, take notes. With every interaction, make sure you note the date, the name of the person you spoke with, and their title. Take notes on important information about the conversation and keep it all in one place.

If you’re in an accident, do NOT talk to anyone else about the accident itself besides your lawyer, your insurance company (not the other drivers’), and the police. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you directly, you can politely decline and ask them to speak with your insurance company or your lawyer.

9. Keep track of any expenses that come about because of the accident.

Find out what type of parts will be used for your repair BEFORE any repairs take place. Your insurance carrier is going to need to know if your vehicle is being repaired using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts or aftermarket parts so that they can properly compensate you for the repairs. Also, keep track of other expenses that might come up because of the accident.

Navigating the process of making a car insurance claim can seem a little overwhelming. Hopefully, these tips can give you a framework to work from when keeping track of the process. However, when you’re looking for more detailed help, it helps to have an experienced insurance agent on your side.

Our insurance specialists know how to protect you before an incident with the right insurance. We can help you make sure that you have the coverage you need and save you money. Call us today or fill out our online form to make sure you’re not missing out on the best, affordable Atlanta auto insurance coverage you can get.

Car insurance: What’s the difference between nonrenewed and canceled?

If your car insurance is nonrenewed, find out why.

If your car insurance is nonrenewed, find out why.

Since driving without car insurance is, well, illegal, it can be more than a little stressful if you suddenly find yourself without coverage. Among the things that can make you lose car insurance coverage, the ones that could have a huge impact on your future insurance needs are if your policy is canceled or nonrenewed. There’s a big difference between the two, and one can cause a lot more mayhem for your future insurance coverage than the other. So, let’s take a look at the differences.

Read moreCar insurance: What’s the difference between nonrenewed and canceled?

What is UM/UIM coverage, and why is it important?

UM/UIM coverage can help protect you if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance.

UM/UIM coverage can help protect you if you're hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance.

Everyone wants to save money on car insurance. Maybe you’ve done the research, and now you have the exact types of coverage you need for the lowest price you can get. However, some people settle for the bare minimum of car insurance coverage to save money, or they just don’t get insurance (despite that being extremely illegal).

What do you do if you’re in an accident with someone who cut corners in their coverage? Carriers have actually come up with a great solution: Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist insurance. Here, we’ll tell you what it is, what it does, and why you should consider adding it to your policy.

What is Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

When you’re in an accident, whoever is at fault has a legal duty to the other driver to help cover any repair fees, medical bills, lost wages, etc. resulting from the accident. If the driver’s car insurance policy doesn’t have a high enough coverage limit to do that, then how do you get the extra money to handle the damage?

In comes Underinsured (UIM)/Uninsured (UM) coverage. This part of your policy can help pick up the slack from what the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover.

What’s the difference between an UNinsured and an UNDERinsured motorist?

An UNinsured motorist Is someone who just doesn’t have car insurance, whether they’ve had it lapse, they haven’t paid for a plan, or they just didn’t apply for a policy in the first place.

“Wait, isn’t it illegal to drive without car insurance?” Yes. Very. However, the Insurance Research Council reports that about 1 in 7 drivers still don’t have car insurance. So, while they’ll have their own set of problems to deal with (including fines and possible jail time), it’s important that you have UM/UIM coverage so that you can minimize your own issues after an accident.

UM/UIM coverage can protect you if you're hit by a driver without enough insurance.

An UNDERinsured motorist is someone who just doesn’t have enough car insurance to pay for the damages of an accident. An underinsured driver may just have the legal minimum of liability coverage for their car insurance. While that may legally give them insurance coverage, the liability limits of minimum requirement car insurance are rarely enough to help cover your medical bills or damage to your actual car.

Will my insurance cover a hit-and-run?

Say someone hits your bumper in a parking lot or scrapes the side of your car when they’re pulling out of a parking space, or just slams into the side of your car and takes off. In cases like these, you have no way of contacting the driver, nor getting ahold of their insurance (unless you’re a mind reader). So, in insurance terms, you were hit by an uninsured motorist and would need UM/UIM coverage to help pay for the damages.

Am I required to have UM/UIM coverage in Georgia?

You’re not technically required to have UM/UIM insurance in GA but consider this: The minimum requirement for insurance in GA is only 25/50/25. This means that the minimum amount of coverage required is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage.

So, if the person who hits you only has that $25,000 to cover bodily injury liability, some of that money can be taken out for their court fees if you decide to sue them. So, you’ll only be compensated for less than $25,000 to help pay for your hospital bills, follow-up doctor visits, physical therapy, and other medical expenses resulting from the accident.

With UM/UIM coverage, your insurance can help fill in that gap between the other driver’s coverage limit and the actual cost of your medical expenses. So, the peace of mind can be worth the extra policy or endorsement to your personal umbrella insurance policy.

Keep in mind that UM/UIM insurance also has a minimum coverage limit that may still be less than the bodily injury and property damage bills you incur. So, the best course of action for determining the UM/UIM coverage you need is to get a policy that offers the same amount of coverage as your normal car insurance policy.

So, why should you get UM/UIM coverage? The simple answer is peace of mind. When you first started driving, you may have heard the adage that you have to drive for you and everyone else on the road. So, that can also include parts of your insurance coverage.

If you’re worried about the cost of adding this policy to your car insurance, don’t be! Our insurance experts are the best at asking the right questions to help you save money on the auto insurance you need. So, call us today or fill out our online form to start your free, easy quotes.

Atlanta home insurance: What is an HO-3 Insurance policy?

The HO-3 policy is one of the most common home insurance policies in the US.

When you’re shopping for home insurance policies, a lot of people don’t know that there are actually different types of policies available to them. Each type of homeowners’ policy has its pros and cons. The home insurance policy that your neighbor has may not be the best one for you. Here, we’ll go over the most common homeowner’s insurance policy in the U.S. – the HO-3 insurance policy. Find out what it covers and if going this route is best for your Atlanta home.

What is an HO-3 homeowners insurance policy?

An HO-3 insurance policy is a type of homeowners insurance that will cover your home and belongings within certain named perils and open perils restrictions. This may seem confusing if you have no idea of what named perils or open perils are. So, here’s a quick rundown:

What is a named perils policy?

Most insurance policies, regardless of the type of property it is, will have a list of certain disasters and events that your home can be damaged by. If your home or something in your home is damaged by something on that list, it is covered, and your insurance company can help you with the costs that it will take to repair or replace that item. If something is damaged by an event that is not listed, then you’re left covering the cost of the repairs yourself.

There are 15 named perils that are usually found on most home insurance policies:

  • Fire & lightning damage
  • Wind & hail damage
  • Damage due to the weight of snow or sleet
  • Accidental discharge from plumbing or air conditioning (which does not include flood damage)
  • Smoke damage
  • Explosions
  • Freezing
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Riots
  • Vehicle damage (i.e. if someone hits your house with their car)
  • Falling objects
  • Sudden & accidental tearing, burning, or bulging
  • Sudden and accidental damage from electrical currents

What is an open perils policy?

On the other hand, an open perils policy can cover any disaster you can imagine except specific exclusions. So, anything that is listed on an open perils policy is not covered by your insurance, and you would have to pay for the damages in that instance.

So, what’s covered under my HO-3 policy?

The certain items and structures covered under your HO-3 policy will depend on your specific policy and what your carrier usually covers in their particular plans. Still, these are the general types of things that an HO-3 insurance policy will cover.

Your actual house

You have a homeowner’s policy for a reason – to protect your house! So, any type of home insurance is going to cover the actual structure of your home if it’s damaged by a covered peril. Most HO-3 policies will cover the replacement cost of your home instead of the market value, which is great. The replacement cost is how much it would cost to rebuild your home from the ground up if it were destroyed by something like a fire.

The replacement cost of your home might be about the same or more than the market value of your home, especially if you’ve done some renovations since you’ve bought your house. However, it’s important to look over your policy so you know which one you’re insured for.

Your belongings

An HO-3 will also usually come with personal property coverage to help with the cost of replacing your stuff. However, it’s important to make sure you have the type of coverage that fits your needs. You’ll also want to make sure that you take a home inventory of all your belongings to make the claims process and recovery of your items as easy as possible.

Most policies will insure your things for their actual cash value (ACV) instead of the replacement cost value (RCV). Actual cost value accounts for depreciation of your items over time. So, if you have an oven that you paid $900 for 5 years ago, ACV coverage may only reimburse you for a depreciated value of $600. If you want to make sure that your insurance can help reimburse you for the RCV of an item, make sure you talk to your agent about the type of personal property coverage that comes with your HO-3.

If you have a lot of expensive jewelry, artwork, or special collections, you may also want to purchase a rider to your policy that will specifically cover these items.

Liability

An HO-3 insurance policy will also cover a certain amount ofliability that you have as a homeowner if someone is injured on your property. The liability portion of your home insurance can help you cover the cost of the injured person’s medical bills and the cost of any legal fees should that person decide to sue you.

It’s important to note, though, that the incident that resulted in injury or property damage has to be your fault due to negligence or your actions. If someone was just a little careless or clumsy, that’s a job for their medical insurance.

Other Structures

The other structures to your home are also normally covered by an HO-3 insurance policy. Depending on your carrier and specific plan, this can mean that spaces such as pools, guest houses, sheds, detached garages, fences, and more are covered under your home insurance.

Expenses if you can’t live in your home while it’s being repaired

HO-3 policies can have clauses for loss of use expenses, or additional living expenses, if you’re not able to live in your house due to a covered loss. If you have to stay in another house, an AirBnb, or an extended stay hotel while your home is being repaired, housing and food bills can start to pile up. So, with the right home insurance policy, your carrier can help reimburse you for the additional costs you’ve gathered by not being able to use your home.

It’s vital to understand, though, that your insurance will only help you pay for additional costs of living while you’re away. For example, if you spend $250 in groceries for a typical week, and you have to spend $300 per week on fast food or restaurants while your house is uninhabitable. Your insurance can only reimburse you for the additional $50, not the full $300. This is why it’s also important to keep track of any receipts or bills you have while you’re away. Then, you can show your insurance company exactly how living away from your home has affected your everyday costs and get reimbursed for the proper amounts.

So, this is the general rundown of how an HO-3 policy works. Keep in mind that the HO-3 policy is just the most common home insurance policy in the U.S. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best plan for you. There are also HO-5, HO-6, and a bunch of other types of homeowners policies that offer more or less coverage than an HO-3. That’s why it’s important to shop around for coverage and ask your agent what type of insurance will be best for you.

Our insurance agents are experts at identifying your specific risks to find the home insurance coverage you need at the lowest prices. Call us today or fill out our online form to start getting multiple, free quotes on the proper insurance for your home.

Does my Atlanta car insurance cover a rental car if I’m in an accident?

If you need a rental car after an accident, you'll need rental reimbursement coverage.

If you need a rental car after an accident, you'll need rental reimbursement coverage.

So, you’ve been in an accident, and you need to take your car to a mechanic or a collision center to be repaired. But there’s still tons of stuff you need to do that all depend on your car – you need to get to school or work, you need to get the kids to practice or lessons, or you just need to be able to get your weekly groceries. In any case, you’re dependent on your dependable transportation. So, you get a rental car.

The problem is, rental cars can cost you hundreds of dollars a week, and you may not have that kind of money lying around. So, how can you get help in paying your rental fees? For that, there’s rental reimbursement coverage. Here’s how it works.

What is rental reimbursement insurance?

Rental reimbursement coverage is just like it sounds – it can help reimburse you for the costs associated with renting a car while your car is in the shop after an accident. However, this type of coverage isn’t automatically included in your car insurance. It can usually require you to have an endorsement to your policy. In other words, you have to have this coverage on your car insurance in order for your rental car to be covered if you’re in an accident.

How long will my insurance help pay for my rental car?

Well, it is a rental car – you can’t just keep it forever, even if you do like it more than your regular ride. Your policy will usually have a per-day and a per accident limit which will vary based on your coverage. In Atlanta, your typical rental car can cost about $20 – $30 a day, depending on the type of rental you get. So, your rental reimbursement coverage may only cover about $20 a day and up to $900 per accident.

For exact coverage numbers, it’s important to talk to your agent or look at your auto insurance declarations page. You agent or carrier may also give you some recommendations for rental car companies they’ve worked with for an even smoother reimbursement process.

How much does rental reimbursement insurance cost?

Rental reimbursement coverage usually isn’t that expensive in relation to your current monthly rates. It depends on your plan, your insurance carrier, and your driving history, but even with the worst driving record it’s not going to cost you a lot to have that peace of mind.

If you’re looking for the absolute lowest rates on car insurance, you may be tempted to skip rental reimbursement coverage. However, if you’re in an accident, a few dollars more on your policy is probably going to be more appealing than spending around $200-300 a week on a rental car. And that’s on top of any repair costs you may have to pay before you meet your car insurance deductible.

How can I save money and afford rental reimbursement coverage?

If you’re still worried about the added cost of rental reimbursement coverage, there are tons of ways to save on your original auto insurance policy:

  • Make sure you have a good driving record – it makes you seem less risky to the insurance company.
  • Ask about discounts (especially bundling)
  • Ask your agent if your car’s safety features can lower your premium
  • Boost your credit score
  • Shop around for car insurance

These tips can help you save some money on your car insurance so that you can add rental reimbursement coverage. It may seem like a pain to shop around for a great car insurance rate, but the peace of mind will ultimately pay off. After all, the whole point of car insurance is to be able to take care of your needs in a worst-case scenario.

That’s why our agents are insurance experts. We’ll use our knowledge and exclusive connections to get you customized quotes for the coverage you need. And we’ll save you money through it all! To start getting your free auto insurance quotes, give us a call or fill out our easy online form.