Frequently Asked Questions

I can’t find my auto insurance ID card.  How can I get a replacement?

Just give us a call, or fax or email us.  We will make up a replacement card, and email, fax or mail it right back to you.  Most times we just need to know your name, which vehicle you need an ID card for, and how you want us to send it to you.

How do I file a claim?

There are a couple of different ways to file a claim.  The simplest way (and easiest for you) is to call our office and tell us directly.  We will file the claim for you, and you have the opportunity to ask us some general questions about the claim process. 

However, we are not open 24 hours a day, or even 7 days a week.  If you are involved in a claim on a weekend or evening, you can report claims directly to the company.  Each company has different methods, some allow online reporting, some have call centers.  Details (alphabetical by company) are located under the Filing A Claim tab on our website.

Why do you ask me for private information such as my date of birth, driver license number or social security number?

Driving records, claim activity, and age are examples of private information that have been used used by insurance companies for many years to qualify customers for insurance and to determine what rate to charge.  In the last 10 years or so, many companies have added credit as a component in their underwriting.  We do have a few companies that do not use a credit component, so if this is a concern to you, let us know it when we ask you for your social security number.

Do you have a policy that tells me how you use my personal information?

Yes, we have a privacy policy that we follow.  You can find the full policy on our website- go to the Downloads tab, then look for Our Privacy Policy under miscellaneous forms.

When I rent a car, do I need to buy the insurance they are selling?  Doesn't my policy cover a rental car?

The real answers to those questions are maybe, and partially.  I'll give you some information here, but you should check with us when renting a car.  There are a couple of large gaps in insurance for rentals that you need to be aware of.

When you say "am I covered?", we can break that down into two general areas- physical damage to the rental car, and liability protection for you.

Regarding liability protection, yes, most personal auto policies provide liability coverage while you are using "a temporary replacement or non owned vehicle". 

Physical damage to the rental car is a bit more complicated.  If you have physical damage coverage on at least one of your own vehicles then most policies provide that same level of coverage for the rental car.  However, auto policies do NOT provide coverage for loss of use while the rental car is being repaired, so you will personally have that exposure.

To avoid the loss of use charges, you can 1) buy the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) that the rental agency is selling or 2) charge the rental of the car on a Visa credit or debit card.  Visa provides Collision Damage Waiver (the same thing you would buy from the rental company) for free.  There are some small differences in the way a claim would be paid, but using the free Visa coverage makes sense.

You can get more details at the Visa website.  Just do a Google search for Visa collision damage waiver, and go the benefits section of the website.

One other major point involving renting cars-  do not let anyone drive the rental car without FIRST declaring them to the rental car company.  This is oversimplifying a bit, but you do not have the legal right to "loan" the rental car out, so you not only lose any coverage that you paid the rental car company for, but you leave your own company with an easy opportunity to decline responsibility for liability and/or physical damage coverage.

What is "Gap Coverage"?  Do I need it?

When you lease a new vehicle, or purchase one using financing, you may need this type of coverage.  If you financed the purchase with a zero or small down payment, chances are that during the first couple of years of your purchase term, you owe the lender more than the car's actual cash value (ACV) is.  If you have an accident, and the vehicle is a total loss, your auto insurance policy will pay the vehicle's ACV (minus the deductible).  If the ACV is less than you owe on the vehicle, you have a "gap" which you will have to make up out of your pocket. Gap coverage is intended to pay the full amount of your loan, even if that amount is higher than the value of the car.  Buying some type of insurance for this situation is a good idea. 

That said, don't buy the "gap coverage" that the dealer will try to sell you.  Dealer charges can range upward of $1,000.  Instead, ask us (your insurance agent) to put a lease/loan endorsement on your auto insurance policy.  It is does the same thing as the dealer's gap coverage, but costs much less- in most cases its under $10 a month.  And, when you've made a few payments and you no longer have a gap problem, tell us and we can take the endorsement off of your policy!