Frequently Asked Questions

Personal Insurance

What is umbrella insurance?

An umbrella policy provides an extra layer of coverage when your standard liability coverage is exhausted.

Do I need flood insurance?

The short answer is “Yes.” There is always a potential for flooding but only certain situations require flood insurance. If the house you are purchasing is in a specified flood zone, you are required to have coverage in order to get a federally backed mortgage. But if you are not in a high-risk area, we still recommend you get coverage, but you are not required to have it.

My mom/dad passed away. What do I need to do to properly insure their home?

You should notify your agent anytime there is a change in occupancy. We’ll work with you during the transition to provide the best coverage while the home is being settled.

Another important thing to note: If the home is vacant for 60 or more days the policy needs to be rewritten to a vacant home policy. If the home is not properly insured a claim could be denied.

What is the difference between replacement cost and market value on a home policy?

Replacement Cost: The cost it would take to rebuild your home from from scratch. This figure includes factors like similar materials, degree of craftsmanship, roofing costs, exterior features, heating/cooling systems and more. Non-material costs are considered as well, including the costs of permits, fees, debris removal, contractor labor, overhead and profit.

Market Value: The cost you paid for the house at the time you bought it. This is calculated by factors such as neighborhood, home values around you and the real estate market.

Scenario 1: You bought a 5,000-square-foot home on Water Street in Elmira and paid $40,000 for it. A few years later, the house is destroyed in a fire. The replacement cost to rebuild a 5,000-square-foot home is going to be a lot more than the market value you paid at the time of purchase.

Scenario 2: You bought an 800-square-foot cottage on Seneca Lake and paid $300,000 for it. A few years later, the house was destroyed in a fire. The replacement cost to rebuild an 800-square-foot home is going to be significantly lower than the market value you paid because of where the house is located. Your insurance policy will only rebuild your 800-square-foot cottage with similar features to the original, which will be significantly less than the $300,000 you paid to purchase the property. Insurance is for the home and not the land. In this scenario the original purchase price included the land value and not just the home.

How should I insure my newly licensed teenager?

The day your teen’s license is issued is the day you should add them to your policy. If you wait and your teen has a claim, your policy may not cover it. Also if you wait, the insurance company will go back to the date the teen received their license and you will owe premium on the time since the issued date.

There are ways to keep your costs low by asking our agents about insurance discounts for teens. For instance, some policies reward teens for good grades or for completing behind-the-wheel driver training by offering lower premiums.

What do I do if I have an auto claim?
  • Gather important information from the scene of the accident, including street names, intersections, and witness’s contact information.
  • Make sure to collect information from all other parties involved, including names, addresses, phone numbers, license numbers, car plate numbers, auto insurance policy information, and anything else that pertains to the accident.
  • Report the claim immediately
  • Promptly comply with any instructions given to you by your insurance carrier

NOTE: New York State requires you to report a loss and submit all paperwork needed to process the claim within a limited number of days. Full compliance with these standards will help ensure your claim is settled quickly and smoothly, as well as expedite your payment. Use MV-104 Form.

Business Insurance

What is a bond?

A three-party contract under which the insurer agrees to pay losses caused by criminal acts or the failure to perform a specific act.

What is the difference between Replacement Cost and Actual Cost Value?

Actual Cash Value is defined as replacement cost minus depreciation. With Replacement Cost coverage, the insurance company will replace the damaged property with new materials or items.

What is EPLI?

EPLI or Employment Practices Liability Insurance covers wrongful acts arising from the employment process. Some of the most frequent types of claims alleged under such policies included wrongful termination, discrimination, and sexual harassment.

What is a Business Owner’s Policy?

A business owner’s policy or “BOP” is insurance coverage designed specifically for small or medium-sized businesses. Depending upon the insurance company, the size of business that qualifies for a business owner’s policy may be based on revenues or number of employees. A BOP combines several types of insurance coverage in a packaged format, and can be customized to suit a particular business. Generally, this type of policy includes both property and liability coverage.

Policies may also provide coverage to include:

  • Property claims
  • Breakdown of equipment
  • Loss of income/business interruption
  • Professional liability
  • Copyright infringement
  • Libel
  • Products and completed operations
  • Premises liability
What is Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Errors and omissions insurance (or “E and O”) covers a business for a service rendered, which did not have the expected or promised results, or which results in a loss or personal injury suffered by the person receiving those services. It also covers situations where the individual or company failed to render service at all. These are known as errors and omissions. As an example of errors and omissions insurance, if a financial advisor provided investment advice that resulted in a client’s financial loss, those circumstances could result in an errors and omissions liability claim.

This type of insurance is also known as malpractice insurance (for medical practitioners) and professional liability insurance for practicing lawyers and other professionals.

Health Insurance

What is a deductible?

The amount you pay for covered healthcare services before your insurance plan starts to pay.

What is coinsurance?

The percentage of costs of a covered healthcare service you pay (20%, for example) after you’ve paid/met your deductible.

What is annual out of pocket maximum?

The most you must pay for covered services in a plan year. After your spend this amount on deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance, your health plan pays 100% of the costs of covered benefits.

What’s the difference between a health savings account (HSA) and a health reimbursement account (HRA)?

The money in an HRA is provided solely by the employer and serves as a reimbursement for qualified medical expenses. An HSA is a tax-advantaged account that is opened by an individual. It can be funded by the individual or their employer. It is used to pay for IRS-defined healthcare expenses, including Medicare and COBRA premiums.

What’s the difference between community-rated and experience-rated health insurance premiums?

Premiums based on a community rating allocate risks evenly across a defined community. This means that everyone pays the same, regardless of age, gender or health status. With experience-rated underwriting guidelines, premiums are adjusted based on the age, gender and health history of those covered. In New York State, employer groups with fewer than 100 eligible employees are community rated. In Pennsylvania, employer groups with fewer than 50 eligible employees are community rated.

What is New York State PFL?

New York’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) program provides employees with job-protected, paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or to help relieve family pressures when someone is deployed abroad on active military service.

What is the benefit level for PFL?

In 2019, employees taking Paid Family Leave will receive 55% of their average weekly wage, up to a cap of 55% of the current state-wide average weekly wage of $1,375.11. In 2019, an employee can take up to 10 weeks of PFL.

What is New York State DBL?

The New York Disability Benefits Law (DBL) that creates a state disability insurance program designed to provide employees with some level of income replacement in case of disability caused off-the-job.

What is the benefit level for DBL?

The benefits paid are 50-percent of a claimant’s average weekly wage, but no more than the maximum benefit allowed, currently $170 per week. Benefits can extend to a maximum duration of 26 weeks.