Med Pay? PIP? Dec pages? Insurance terms, explained:
With all kinds of different coverages for all kinds of different needs, insurance can be very confusing. And to make it even more challenging, at times it probably seems like insurance websites and policy documents are written in a completely foreign language.
Of course, that's why we recommend working with an independent agent—someone who is on your side during the process and who can explain everything you need to know.
Even if you do work with an independent agent, however, it's good to have a little basic knowledge about insurance. Below are definitions for some common terms that will help you understand your coverage a little better.
General Insurance Terms:
- Actual cash value: This type of coverage pays according to what an item was worth at the time it was damaged—it takes depreciation and wear and tear into account. For example, if you could have sold your couch for about $200 just before it was damaged, that's the actual cash value, even if a similar new couch would cost $1,000.
- Actual replacement cost: This pays the amount it would cost to replace a damaged item with a new one (such as the $1,000 couch above). It does not factor in depreciation or wear and tear.
- Adjuster: A person who works for an insurance company to evaluate losses and settle claims.
- Additional insured: Someone who is not the policyholder, but is still covered by an insurance policy.
- Declarations page: This is what creates a contract between you and the insurance company. It describes who owns the policy, what property is covered and for how much, etc.
- Deductible: The amount you agree to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if the cost to fix your car is $2,000, but your deductible is $1,000, you would pay $1,000 of the total cost. Typically, a higher deductible means a lower premium.
- Endorsement: This is a change to your insurance policy's coverage, usually made through a special form.
- Exclusion: Something specifically listed in your policy that is not covered by the policy.
- Liability: Your responsibility for injuries or damage to other people or property. You purchase insurance to protect against liability and other risks.
- Loss of use: When damage from an accident or other cause prevents someone from being able to live in their home or drive their car.
- Med Pay (medical payments): This pays for medical expenses for those covered by your policy in the event of an auto accident, regardless of fault. It also covers medical expenses for guests if they are injured on your property, but unless it is a car accident, it usually does not cover injuries someone suffers on their own property.
- Premium: The amount you pay for an insurance policy.
- Subrogation: When an insurance company pays a claim, and then seeks damages from a third party who was responsible for causing the damage or loss. For example, your insurance company might pay for your car to be fixed even though an accident wasn't your fault—and then pursue reimbursement from the person who was at fault.
- Term: The period of time your insurance policy is in effect, usually six or 12 months.
- Umbrella: A policy that provides additional liability coverage. It kicks in after your other insurance policies have reached their coverage limits.
- Underwriting: The evaluation process insurance companies use to determine if they will provide coverage to a customer.
Auto Insurance Terms:
- Aftermarket parts: Vehicle parts made by a different company than the one that manufactured those originally included with the vehicle.
- Bodily injury coverage: Covers expenses for physical injuries, such as hospital bills or medical care.
- Collision coverage: This pays for damage to a vehicle caused by you or someone else covered by your policy.
- Comprehensive coverage: If your vehicle is damaged by something you could not control, such as fire or a tree falling, comprehensive coverage applies.
- PIP (personal injury protection): This pays medical expenses for a policyholder or additional insured, and their passengers, if they are hurt in an auto accident, regardless of fault.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM): Pays for your damages and expenses if another driver is at fault in an accident but does not have enough insurance to cover your costs.
Homeowners Insurance Terms:
- Additional living expenses: Coverage for expenses above your usual living expenses, such as if you have to stay in a hotel because you can’t live in your damaged home.
- Catastrophe: A disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, that impacts a specific area and results in significant damage.
- Flood insurance: Typically, standard homeowners policies do not provide coverage for flooding—it must be purchased separately.
- Home contents: These are the things inside your house that aren't fixed to the structure, such as your furniture, appliances, etc.
- Peril: A specifically defined risk, such as hail, flooding, wind, etc.
- Scheduled personal property: Separate coverage for high-value items, such as expensive jewelry, that exceed the limits of your policy or are otherwise excluded.
If something isn't clear when you're buying or considering insurance, don't be afraid to ask questions! Your independent agent is there to help you get the coverage you need—and make sure you understand it, too.
Were you one of the lucky ones that got a new piece of jewelry for Christmas? This new gem can bring some sparkle into your life and you want to make sure to always keep it that way!
You want to ensure that in an event of a burglary, or worse a fire or other disaster that you have enough insurance to replace your jewelry.
Here is how it works: Homeowners policies typically only cover valuable items such as jewelry and watches up to a specific amount. For example, if your limit is $5,000, but you have a $15,000 diamond ring, you'd be on the hook for an extra $10,000 in order to replace it. There might be other issues as well, such as whether your policy covers each individual piece of jewelry at a set amount, or provides coverage for your collection as a whole.
This all might sound complicated, but it's really not—especially when you work with an independent agent who can explain your options and make sure you get the right coverage. No matter how you buy your insurance, though, below are a few things you'll want to consider.
- Do you need more coverage? Look at your policy language, or ask your agent to explain your coverage. Do you have one or two expensive pieces, or a number of smaller items that when added together exceed your limits? You probably need to purchase additional protection.
- What kind of coverage should you get? This depends on your lifestyle. You may want to consider whether items are covered no matter where they are (such as if you travel internationally). You'll also want to ask about actual cash value versus replacement value, and if you would be required to actually replace the jewelry in the event of a loss or if you could just keep the cash payment.
- Do you need an appraisal? In some instances, an insurance company will require you to get a piece appraised to determine its value.
- Do you have items with mainly sentimental value, or ones that are irreplaceable? If so, you might not need to purchase any additional insurance at all. But we recommend talking to your agent before making that decision.
- Do you have the ability to increase your deductible? Usually, a higher deductible means a lower premium—so that's an option to potentially offset part or all of the cost of increased coverage for your jewelry.
- Do you have pictures? This doesn't necessarily have to do with your insurance, but jewelers often are able to recreate lost or stolen pieces with the help of a photo.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that you play an important role in keeping your jewelry protected, too: Be sure to store it securely, whether in a safe at home or a safe-deposit box at a different location. After all, having the right coverage is great—but it's even better when those special pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.
The holiday season is a time of celebration, not catastrophe. Do not let a fire ruin your festivities. Stay safe with these top tips:
1. Make sure all decorative lights are set-up and functioning properly. Remember to unplug and turn off your lights when you are away from home.
2. Keep your tree away from a fireplace or burning candles. Pick a clear place in your home to set-up the tree.
3. Dispose of your tree properly and safely. Christmas trees are extremely flammable when dry.
4. Do not leave cooking food unattended. Always turn off the oven or gas/electric burners when you are away from home or sleeping.
5. Never leave a candle burning when you are away or asleep. Do not place candles close to anything flammable (including papers, clothes or your Christmas tree).
6. As a precaution, have a fire safety and escape plan in place.
As much precaution as we take, sometimes disasters are unavoidable and you want to make for certain that you are equipped to handle any scenario if necessary.
Here are also a few home insurance tips:
1. Review and understand your insurance coverage.
2. Insure valuable gifts. Valuable gifts like diamond jewelry and antiques might not be covered under a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy. You must purchase an "endorsement" or separate coverage for these items.
3. Conduct a holiday home inventory. Make sure to note all valuables.
4. Keep all gift receipts. In the case of a fire or theft this might be your only proof of ownership.
Paschall Insurance Group wants to "INSURE" you have a very Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
Even though we are still in the fall season, the winter temperatures we have been experiencing are telling us otherwise. If you haven't yet winterized your home, now is the time. Click here to follow the checklist that will give you an overview of winterizing various systems of your home. From plumbing to the roof, it will walk you through each system and hit the major things to take care of before winter, so you can enjoy whatever the season brings and not worry about your home.
Insurance can be a complicated purchase. You’re not buying bread or milk. You’re buying a promise of protection that could potentially make or break your financial well-being. How do you know that you’re making the right choices about coverage? Are you sure you’re getting the best possible value for your dollar? The options can seem bewildering.
Paschall Insurance Group is a trusted, local Independent Agency with over 100 years of insurance experience under one roof. We have seen first-hand how our advice and advocacy benefits our policyholders. Here are a few reasons why we believe the independent agency experience benefits you:
- CHOICE– Independent agents represent many different insurance companies that offer a wide variety of coverage options and price points. Most on average sell for dozens of different insurance companies. There is no need for you to accept one quote from one company, and there is no need for you to spend time filling out many different online applications to get your own quote comparisons. With their connections and their knowledge of the market, independent agents can often find a better value for your insurance dollar than you might find searching on your own. Independent agents do the shopping. You do the saving. They find you the right blend of price, coverage, and service.
- LICENSED EXPERTS – Independent agents can explain the complexities of insurance in simple terms, helping you make smart decisions. They make a career out of assessing their customers’ insurance needs and matching them with the insurance carrier best equipped to meet those needs at a price the customer can afford. Think about it. While you might research wording for wills on the Internet, you’ll likely go to an attorney to ensure that the document is drawn up correctly. Why wouldn’t you seek the advice of a licensed insurance professional to be certain that your home, your auto, or your business is properly protected?
- PERSONAL ADVISORS – Agents not only find you competitive pricing, they make sure you are adequately covered. Working with you face-to-face, your agent becomes your personal advisor, taking the time to listen to you and understand your individual needs. They know it’s not just about finding a price you can afford; it’s also about making certain you are appropriately covered so that you don’t end up insurance-poor if you do suffer a loss.
- ADVOCATE – If you have a billing or claim concern, or need to change your coverage, your independent agent will be your advocate, working with the insurance company on your behalf.
- ACCESSIBLE – Independent agents are your neighbors…they share your interest in the community where you live, and understand the benefits and challenges of living in your locale. They are often highly involved in the community, sponsoring youth sports teams, buying from your local businesses, supporting school organizations, and voicing opinions at the monthly Chamber of Commerce meeting. They are right around the corner, ready to help.
- ONE-STOP SHOPPING – Independent agents can often meet all of your insurance needs with the companies they represent, providing auto, home, renter’s, and business coverage.
- PERSONAL CONSULTANTS – Independent agents periodically review your coverage. They are there to help you through all the changes in your life, whether you’re going from renting an apartment to buying a home, starting a business, getting married, renovating your home, adding a teen driver to your auto policy, or looking to cover that retirement condo.
- PROTECTION & PEACE OF MIND – Above all, working with an independent insurance agent will provide you with peace of mind, knowing that when you save money on your insurance, it won’t come at the expense of comprehensive coverage. When it comes to protecting your home, family, business and other invaluable assets, relying on an independent agent you can trust is a great place to start.