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Insurance FAQ

Auto Insurance

What is auto insurance?
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss in case of a car accident. It is a legal contract between you and the auto insurance company. You pay a premium and in return, insurance pays for losses as outlined in the policy.

Why is auto insurance important?
Your car may be a valuable asset, if it is damaged it can be expensive to repair or replace. The auto insurance company pays for damages to another vehicle or property due to your driving.
Car insurance protects against legal liability due to your driving. The degree of the injury or damage caused may lead to excessive liability in which case the insurance company would pay for any damage, up to the liability coverage amount specified in your contract. If sued, the auto insurance company would pay for your legal defense fees. However, without the liability protection insurance coverage, your personal assets could be at risk.

What are the premium limits on what a car insurance company can charge for insurance?
Car insurance companies have a specific range for auto premium levels that are based on numerous factors that are measured at the time of an application submission. The factors insurance takes into consideration are your driving habits such as, regular miles driven and if your car is used for business, history, and vehicle model and year. In addition, the auto premium depends on your age and health condition.

Can an auto insurance policy be canceled for any reason?
Certain issues outlined in your auto insurance contract have to be met in order for the insurance company to cancel your policy. Some state laws limit or prohibit exceptions for reasons of cancellations not outlined in your insurance contract. Usually, insurance policies can only be cancelled for failure to make timely premium payments, fraud, or serious misrepresentation(s) by the policyholder.

Is a policy cancelable at any time and without penalty?
Generally, you can choose to cancel an auto policy with proper notice to the insurance company. Sometimes, there are penalties for early policy cancellation.

Is insurance mandatory, if you own a car?
Most states require auto insurance. When you register your car or renew a license plate you display your capacity to pay certain levels of damages. Hence, you meet the state government requirement by having a minimum amount of vehicle insurance coverage.

Which government agencies regulate insurance companies?
Auto insurance companies in the country are mainly regulated by individual states. However, there is no federal agency that oversees and regulates insurance companies. The state insurance regulatory agencies are known as “Insurance Bureau,” “Department of Financial Services,” “Department of Insurance,” or “Division of Insurance.”

Can you retain your car insurance policy, if you receive a cancellation notice for missing premium payments?
For auto policies, state laws may require a minimum of 10 days advance written notice before canceling. If a car insurance company accepts your missing payments the policy will remain in force. But if the insurance coverage is terminated, the auto insurance company may elect to reinstate the policy, this is not guaranteed.

What should occur during a claim?
The lessening and transmission of risk is the reason why consumers get insurance. Under legal contractual terms, the insurance company must make payments of any claims if the claim meets certain criteria. The insurance company and the policyholder should work in cohesion to help make the claims process as convenient as possible.

Home Insurance

Do you need to purchase home insurance?
Two main reasons to get home insurance:

1. Mortgage lenders necessitate it for part or the whole term of your home mortgage

2. You want to guard your most expensive financial investment, in case of loss or damage

Do you need to purchase renter’s insurance?
Renter’s risk is not associated with the damage of the rented dwelling unit, but the risk of damage to or loss of personal property. Remember, renters can be held liable by third parties injured while at the dwelling. 

What risks does home insurance and renters insurance protect against?
The critical risks offered by home insurance are:

1. Loss or damage to the home, as well as to other related structures on the land

2. Loss or damage to personal property in the home and related structures

3. Injury to third parties at the home

The critical risks covered by renters insurance are damage or loss to personal property at the home and liability protection from third party injuries at the dwelling.

Who does the home policy cover?
It covers you and the home’s family members against loss of the home and its contents. The liability part of the homeowner’s policy protects you from third party injuries at the home.

Does renters insurance cover a roommate?
Renters insurance only covers you. Even if you share the home with a roommate, the property of the roommate is not covered.

What is the difference between home insurance and title insurance?
Home and title insurance offer protection against different types of risks.

Homeowners insurance protects against loss or damage to the home, related structures, the personal property items of the home, and third party liability.

Title insurance offers protection for homeownership interests in the real property. It guarantees a good and marketable title to the real estate property so that your interest in the property asset is above all others.

Is title insurance necessary?
Title insurance is critical in protecting your full legal ownership real estate property rights. If an issue arose in the future regarding legal ownership of the property which wasn’t discovered during the title search, the tile company will pay all associated costs with defending the title.

What is mortgage insurance?
Mortgage insurance protects the mortgage lender against the nonpayment risk by the homebuyer. This is different than mortgage life insurance, in which insurance pays off the remaining mortgage in the event of the insured homeowner’s death

Is mortgage insurance necessary?
Mortgage insurance is usually required by the mortgage lender, it only benefits the mortgage lender.

Is a lower or higher home insurance deductible better?
A higher deductible lowers your home insurance premium, while a lower deductible comes with a higher premium. Your personal choice and finances will dictate your preference.

Health Insurance

What is health insurance?
A promise by the health insurance firm to give access to and pay for health services in return for premium payments.

What is fee for service or private indemnity insurance?
Private indemnity insurance can be purchased by persons independently or through group insurance plans, such as employers or associations. Gives some level of choice of health care providers to you. As private indemnity insurance it is usually known as a Preferred Provider Plan, health services choices are restricted to member health care providers of the sponsoring insurer's Preferred Provider Organization or PPO.

What are HMOs or health care maintenance organizations?
HMOs offer wide-ranging health care services to a voluntary enrolled population in return for a fixed, prepaid fee.

What are employers sponsored plans?
Plans that provide health coverage through their own self-funded sponsored and administered employee benefit plans. Such plans are covered under the purview of thee federal Employees Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA").

Are there any government sponsored programs?
Even though private insurance firms dominate healthcare in the nation, health coverage is offered through workman’s compensation systems in individual states as it relates to job-related injuries. Also, government plans includes Medicaid for the disadvantaged and Medicare for the disabled or elderly. In addition, other critical programs include Medically Indigent Adult (MIA) programs for the indigent at the county level, and CHAMPUS for military dependents.

What is a health insurance policy?
A legally binding contract between a group or an individual and an insurance company that promises to pay for reasonably required healthcare by the policy holder.

How to determine your health care benefits?
If the health insurance is derived individually then the individual gets a copy of the plan agreement or policy which contains the coverage or benefit details. If insurance is received through a group or employer plan, the individual receives a coverage handbook or summary instead of the plan agreement.

What services are covered under average health insurance?
Medical health insurance covers medical expenses as a result of illness, accident, injury, and disease.

Also doctor visits, surgery expenses, costs of hospitalization, and follow-up visits are covered under the health plan. Various plans provide coverage for prescription drugs, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, and psychiatric care.

What are some exclusions of health insurance plan?
Common exclusions include pre-existing conditions, substance abuse, mental illness, prescription drugs, past history of suicide attempts, Workman’s Compensation insurance reimbursement, elective surgery or cosmetic procedures, dental and optical coverage, and specific preventive care procedures.

What is the difference between coinsurance and copayment?


Coinsurance and copayment are thought to be the same but actually different. A copayment requires you to pay a fixed dollar amount for each medical service performed. In the meantime, in coinsurance you share the risk with the insurer. Coinsurance doesn’t provide fixed cost to you but a percentage of the cost of medical services which usually have a maximum ceiling after which the insurance company covers the medical costs.

Life Insurance

What are some popular types of life insurance?

 Life insurance is a critical aspect of long-term financial planning. The two types of life insurance are: term and permanent. Term means temporary such as, term life insurance. However, permanent means that it will last as long as you do, if the premium payments are kept up-to-date.

What is term life insurance?

Life Insurance policy specified for a term such as a 10, 15, or 20 year term, during which period you are covered. However, once the term period ends, so ends your life insurance coverage. Term insurance policies provide no cash value.

What is whole life insurance?

Permanent life insurance builds cash value over time, cash value is invested in fixed dollar investments.

 What is universal life insurance?

Permanent life insurance that is an evolution of whole life insurance. Different from whole life in that it provides you the flexibility to change, within certain limitations, the timing and amount of premium payments, and the death benefit during the life of the policy. Also, accumulates cash value that invests in fixed dollar investments.

What is variable life insurance?
Permanent life policy that is an evolution of the universal life insurance policy. Has cash value feature that gives you a chance to invest in various mutual fund securities. These policies are regulated by the federal government as securities.

What is the basic individual life insurance?
Life insurance that is underwritten for a single individual, one person-one policy coverage.

What basic information does individual life insurance underwriting require?
Insurance companies require at least this information on the life insurance application:

1. age

2. sex (exception uni-sex)

3. height

4. weight

5. marital status and number of children

6. history of health (includes family health history)

7. occupation (hazardous and associated risk of death)

8. tobacco, drug, and alcohol use (past and present use)

9. income (establish suitability)

10. particular hobbies (race car driving, motorcycle, skydiving, hang-gliding, piloting non-commercial aircraft)

11. what is the purpose of the insurance (such as for family protection, business, estate planning, etc.)

12. foreign travel (last time and future travel plans within a calendar year and during underwriting)

13. total death benefit amounts of existing life insurance policies and amount of new policy

Are there any physical exams?
The amount of life insurance applied for determines the level of physical examinations. The higher the amount of the death benefit, the more intensive and extensive the medical exams.

What is an Insurable interest?
A person has insurable interest in someone or something when the damage or loss to it would lead the person to incur some type of loss. In life insurance, individuals have insurable interest in their own life in addition, to the lives of their spouses and dependents.

Can anyone be listed as beneficiary?
Anyone can be listed as a beneficiary; one doesn’t need insurable interest in the life of the insured.

Long Term Insurance

What is long term care (LTC)?
Long term care is important when a person cannot perform some of the basic activities of daily living or ADLs. These daily activities include eating, using the toilet, bathing, transferring, moving about (mobility), dressing (moving from a bed to a chair), and continence (bladder and bowel).

When does long-term care start?
The government defines LTC as a need for assistance that lasts at minimum 90 days. Also, depending on the type of policy held, care can begin right away or after a 30, 60, 90, or 120 waiting day period.

Who makes payments for long term care?
The state Medicaid programs pay for half of all LTC. But, Medicare has stringent eligibility criterion and only offers for some skilled care in some situations. Medicare nor health insurance provide coverage for long term care.

Who should purchase long term care insurance?
A person who is 40 or older should think about getting long-term care.

Where can I purchase long term care insurance?
LTC can be purchased through an insurance agent or an insurance broker. Some employers offer extremely limited long-term care through the company’s group insurance policy, it is not portable.

Is it important to know nursing facilities charges and care services?
The level of LTC you receive on a regular basis is a reflection of the reputation of the nursing facility; services vary from facility to another. As medical costs rise yearly, it is important to keep in mind the present and future costs of nursing homes.

Is long term insurance the same as nursing home insurance?
No, nursing home insurance is not the same as long-term care insurance. Nursing home care can be a component of a comprehensive LTC policy. Long term care coverage is more in-depth than nursing home care.

Does Medicare provide the same coverage as long term care?
Medicare offers skilled care in specific situations. It is not designed as an alternative to private long term insurance.

Does Medicaid pay for long term care?
Yes, but in certain situations. Usually, Medicaid applies to persons who meet very low income thresholds with few assets. But still limited choice of health benefits awaits them.

Does long-term insurance affect Medicaid benefits?
Medicaid rules vary from state to state. Generally, once long-term care benefits begin, it may disqualify you from receiving Medicaid benefits.

Does health insurance provide long term care?

Health insurance and LTC benefits are not the same. Health and medical insurance may only pay for nursing services during recovery from injury or illness. Remember, health insurance is not intended to cover activities of daily living, as is long term care.

Business Insurance

What is the purpose of business insurance?
Purpose of business insurance is to lessen risk associated with business enterprise or recompense for risk exposure for the business or its employees.

What type of business insurance does a business need?
Risk assessment determines the type of insurance your business needs.

How much does business insurance cost?
Depends on your specific business needs. The type of business insurance coverage determines your premium.

What is the relation of insurance to business risks?
Helps lessen risk and allows the business to continue in the face of associated risks. Business insurance helps sustain the business in case of liability associated with running the business is too great.

Why do you need to purchase insurance for business risks?

Purpose of the business insurance is to transfer the risk of doing business to the insurance company.

What risks cannot be insured?
Certain risks that are non-insurable for example, business can’t insure against all eventualities such as, rising supply prices or encroaching competitors.

What are some business risks that need to be insured against?
Assess risks associated with your form of business and consider the level of business insurance needed to mitigate that risk.

What are some risks that don’t require you to buy insurance?
Some things you CAN do:


1. install quality locks or security devices

2. install theft prevention devices to lessen loss of merchandise

3. maintain a clean business environment, dry, etc. to avoid liability associated with potential slips and falls by your customers.

What is a good insurance policy for small business?
A business owner’s policy is a well-liked choice of many small business owners. However, there are some qualifications and limitations to this type of policy.

What is liability insurance?
It protects your business against litigation associated with liability.


What is an annuity?
An insurance company investment product that has underlying mutual funds (variable annuity) or a few fixed dollar investments. There are various types of annuities that permit the annuitant to receive a lump sum, periodic payments, or payments for life from the annuity.

Why have annuities become so popular in recent years?
Mainly, as an investment vehicle for tax deferral. Annuities allow deferral of income taxes on the investment growth

What are some types of annuities?
Annuities include:

 1. variable or fixed

2. single pay or multi-payment

3. immediate or deferred

4. straight-life or joint and survivor

Does a beneficiary receive payments when annuitant dies?
Several provisions in annuities deal with payments to beneficiaries depending on the type of annuity. Some allow for period certain, lump sum payout, or payment for life of the beneficiary.

What is the accumulation phase of an annuity?
Period when you make payments to the insurance company to build up the value of the annuity.

What does annuitize mean?
The liquidation period of the annuity, when you start receiving payments from your annuity.

What is the immediate annuity?
Permits the annuitant to make a one-time lump sum payment to the insurance company. The money is invested immediately and the annuity is annuitized and you can start receiving a regular stream of income, usually for life.

What is the deferred annuity?
You can make payments until some point in the future when the annuity will be annuitized and payments are made to you.

What is the variable annuity?
The investment rate of return is not guaranteed. Underlying investments are a form of mutual funds, works just like mutual funds.

What is the SPIA?
Single Payment Immediate Annuity, a very popular type of annuity.

What is the SPDA?
Single Payment Deferred Annuity, a very popular annuity.