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FAQs

If you have any questions about insurance, we just might have the right answer for you...

Choose from the following F.A.Q. Topics:

 

 

 

 

Homeowners F.A.Q.s


Q: Is my home covered in the event of a flood? 

  • A: No, flood and earthquakes are not covered under a homeowner policy. Both of these coverage's can be purchased separately. Please contact us for a quote.

Q: What amount should I insure my home for?

  • A: Our office has access to a program that determines the cost to rebuild your home if there was a total loss to your dwelling. We would need to know the square footage of your home, the style, special features, whether it is wood frame or masonry. You can either contact our office or fill out our Home Cost Estimator Form and submit it to us. We will then be able to help you determine the insurable interest of your home. (back to top)

Q: What is replacement cost coverage and how is it paid in the event of a loss?

  • A: Covered losses under a homeowner's policy can be paid on either an actual cash value (ACV) basis or on a replacement cost (RC) basis. When "actual cash value" is used the policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property. Under "replacement cost" coverage, the policy owner is reimbursed an amount necessary to replace the article with one of similar type and quality at current prices. (back to top)

Q: What steps can I take to reduce my homeowner insurance premiums?

  • A: Some of the discounts available for homeowners insurance are:
    • Burglar alarms - central burglar alarms give a higher credit than a local alarm system.
    • Fire alarms - as with burglar alarms central station fire alarms give more credit than fire station reporting systems and local (smoke detectors).
    • Deadbolts
    • Fire Extinguishers
    • Automatic Sprinkler Systems
    • New Homes - will get additional credit from many of our companies.
    • Buying Auto and Homeowner policies from the same company - If you own a home and an automobile and you are insured by two different companies, you may be able to get a discount if you insure them both with one company. Ask us for more information.
    • Good Credit History - Many companies look at your credit history to determine the "tier" they will place customers in. The better the credit history the better the rate. (back to top)

Q: What are our company ratings?

  • A: All of our companies are A rated or better with AM Best. This rating is determined by the company's financial strength, operating performance and market profile. Additional information is available at www.ambest.com . (back to top)

Q: What kind of payment schedules are offered?

  • A: Payment options vary by company. Most policies can be paid as follows: annually, monthly (9 payments) - 25% at inception and 8 additional monthly payments, or quarterly (4 payments) - 25% at inception and 3 additional bills every 3 months. For any option other than annual payment, there will be a nominal service fee added to the bill.

All of these options may be paid in cash at either of our locations or check by mailing directly to the company. Credit card and Electronic Funds are available with some of our companies. Please call or e-mail us for further instructions on these options. (back to top)


Q: My homeowner insurance is paid through the mortgage company, is it difficult to switch insurance companies, if this is the case?

  • A: No, if you provide us with the appropriate information, our office will contact the lien holder directly and make the necessary billing arrangements. (back to top)

Q: Is my home business covered under my homeowner policy?

  • A: You need to be aware that your homeowners insurance policy offers limited or no protection for your business while it is being operated from your home. And your homeowners coverage provides no liability insurance for your home-based business. Please e-mail or call us to review your coverage options.  If you have a business, you should have a business policy to make sure you are properly covered.   (back to top)

Q: What does it mean if I have a windstorm deductible on my homeowner policy?

  • A: If you have a windstorm deductible on your homeowner policy, it means that a separate deductible applies in the event of a wind-related loss. Normally it is a percentage (1%-5%) of your property coverage limit. (back to top)

Q: How much should I insure my valuable property for? (rings, furs, antiques, artwork, guns, silver)

  • A: In order to insure valuable property properly you will need to review your homeowner policy to see how much additional coverage you will need for any individual item. If any item exceeds the coverage limits of your policy, you will need to have the item appraised and scheduled separately on a valuable personal article floater. (back to top)

Q: Does my policy cover my possessions even when I go on vacation?

  • A: Unless you have excluded off premises theft from your policy, your possessions would be covered while traveling the coverage limits of your policy, and deductibles would still apply. (back to top)

Q: I rented out my house/basement, are my tenants covered by my homeowners policy?

  • A: No, your property and the structure are covered by your personal liability. However, the tenant’s possessions and liability are not covered by your policy. Therefore, they may wish to purchase their own renters insurance. Whether you are the lessor or the renter you should check with us to make sure that you have the proper coverage. (back to top)

Q: Is our vacation home covered on our primary homeowner policy?

  • A: No, you would need a separate policy specifically for that residence. Personal liability can be covered in the primary homeowners policy so the second policy need cover only property. This type of policy is called a "dwelling policy". Please notify us of an additional residence so your primary homeowner policy can be endorsed properly. (back to top)

Q: Should I take out flood insurance on my home?

  • A: Your homeowner policy does not cover you in the event of a flood. Federal disaster assistance grants only offer approximately $2,500 per family. Other federal assistance comes in the form of a loan, repaid with interest. Most federal disaster assistance can only be given out if it is a Presidentially declared disaster, and only 10% of all disasters are Presidentially declared. Flood insurance can give you the peace-of-mind against this loss. We can obtain this insurance for you. There is a 30 day waiting period for all flood policies. Please contact us by e-mail or phone to begin this waiting period immediately. (back to top)

Q: What liability limit should I have on my home?

  • A: We recommend a minimum limit of $500,000, as it is relatively inexpensive. The more assets you have the more liability protection you require. If you require higher liability limits, you can purchase $5,000,000 or more of umbrella insurance protection. (back to top)

Q: I have a pool, do I need additional coverage?

  • A: Your liability exposure is increased when you have a pool. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase an umbrella policy to cover this exposure. (back to top)

Q: I just improved my home, do I need to change my coverage?

  • A: It is always best to notify our office about any improvements you make to your home. We can then help you to determine what, if any kind of increase you need to make on your dwellings insurable interest. (back to top)

Q: Is my shed or detached garage covered under my homeowner policy?

  • A: Your homeowner policy provides coverage for other structures in the amount of 10% of your dwelling limit. For example, if your home is insured for $100,000 your shed/garage would have $10,000 of coverage available. A higher limit can be purchased if needed. (back to top)

Q: My child is away at college. Is there coverage for his/her property under my homeowners?

  • A: This is a complicated question!  The best course of action would be to contact our office and speak with your Account Manager.  If a student lives at home, a parent's insurance will almost always cover the student for any losses that occur. That is not always the case when the student lives away form home. A parent's homeowners policy usually provides coverage for a student's belongings only at a level up to 10% of the contents coverage limit on the parent's policy. And, most likely that's not enough to cover the theft of a student's computer, television, stereo and sports equipment. Those who thought renter insurance was too expensive may be surprised to learn that since renters insurance does not insure a building, it is relatively inexpensive. A standard renters policy offering $15,000 in personal property coverage and often $100,000 - $300,000 in personal liability coverage can cost as little as $100 - $150 a year. Renters insurance is not only about protecting personal property, it also offers a student protection form liability claims.

**Students and parents should make a list of valuable personal belongings that the student is taking to school, including a brief description and photographs of each item, its original cost, the purchase date and serial/model numbers. The list should be stored in a safe place in case of theft or damage. (back to top)
 

Business Insurance



Q: How much liability insurance should my business carry?

  • A: Most businesses carry a minimum of $1,000,000 of liability coverage.  A thorough review of your exposures and loss potential is required in order determine the proper liability limits for your business.  Contact our office and ask a commercial lines representative to review your options. (back to top)

Q: Do I need to cover all of my business contents?

  • A: No, you do not.  As a business owner, it is your decision how much content coverage you prefer to carry.  However, if you have a business loan the lienholder/bank may require you to cover contents. (back to top)

Q: How do I know what type of business insurance and limits to carry?

  • A: Every business has a unique set of exposures and responsibilities.  Depending on the type of business and the property you own or are responsible for, a thorough review is the best way to determine the proper coverage and limits you should carry.  Our representatives will work with you to accommodate your needs and exposures. (back to top)

Q: How do losses affect my premiums?

  • A: Most commercial policies have some sort of credit or charge depending on your loss history.

Q: Does my business need an Umbrella policy?

  • A: A business umbrella policy provides extra coverage in the event your business is named in a lawsuit.  An umbrella policy acts as a safety net, protecting your business if there is a claim that exceeds the limits of your existing liability insurance policy.  As an owner or manager, you will need to determine the chance your business could suffer a large loss and how much you are willing to pay for this peace of mind.  Please contact us and we will present you with options to make an educated decision.

Q: If my business is forced to close because of a covered loss, how will I be able to stay in business?

  • A: You should review your policy and determine if you have Loss of Business Income coverage.  We recommend you review this with your Account Manager because not all policies have this coverage. (back to top)

Q: Is it important to have Life Insurance for our corporate officers or key employees?

  • A: As a business owner or manager, you need to review what would happen to your business, if a corporate officer or key employee was to die.  How would your business continue to perform the responsibilities of this owner/employee?  Please contact one of our licensed Life Insurance specialists for more information.  (back to top)

Q: I am just starting up a business, what insurance do I need?

  • A: To protect you and your business properly, it is best to cover your initial investment in contents, inventory, buildings, equipment, auto’s and any other expenses you have incurred.  If you have borrowed money from a bank, they may have minimum coverage requirements.  You should also determine your loss potential due to property damage and liability and protect yourself accordingly.  Our sales executives can help you by reviewing the exposures and premium options available to your specific business.(back to top)

Q: Do all businesses carry the same type of insurance?

  • A: No.  Each business has different exposures that need to be addressed separately.  Our sales executives can help you by reviewing the exposures and premium options available to your specific business. (back to top)

Q: What is covered under my homeowner’s policy for my business?

  • A: Most homeowners have very limited coverage for businesses if there is any coverage at all.  If you have a business, buy business insurance. (back to top)
  • CURRENTLY ON HOME FAQ’S You need to be aware that your homeowners insurance policy offers limited or no protection for your business while it is being operated from your home. And your homeowners coverage provides no liability insurance for your home-based business. Please e-mail or call us to review your coverage options.  If you have a business, you should have a business policy to make sure you are properly covered. 

Q: What is an audit and how do they work?

  • A: Normally on an annual basis, the insurance company will want to review your sales or payroll for a given year with you or your accountant.  Keep good records and be prepared for the auditor.  The better your records are the easier, less problematic, the audit will be. (back to top)

Q: Why do I need to get certificates of Insurance from my sub-contractors?

  • A: The purpose of a certificate of insurance is to prove that a sub-contractor is carrying insurance.  You want to make sure your business is not penalized for their exposure, if an injured party tries to collect money for their injuries. (back to top)

Q: Do I need a Hold Harmless from my sub-contractors?

  • A: Yes.  You want to make sure your business is not brought into a suit if your sub makes a mistake. (back to top)

Q: Why is being an additional insured on my sub’s policy important?

  • A: This gives you extra liability protection under your sub’s policy.(back to top)

Q: When do I need to carry Workers Compensation?

  • A: -If you have employees and pay them a wage, you need to carry Workers Compensation and State DBL. (back to top)

Q: I just improved my home, do I need to change my coverage?

  • A: It is always best to notify our office about any improvements you make to your home. We can then help you to determine what, if any kind of increase you need to make on your dwellings insurable interest. (back to top)

Q: Are all Hospitalization plans for my employees the same?

  • A: No.  You need an expert to review the options that are available to you  Our Benefits Department will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with options. (back to top)

Q: Why is it good to have Insurance with an A rated and licensed carrier?

  • A: The rating is important so that the Company has enough cash on hand to pay for their insured’s claims.  By being a licensed carrier in your state means that they company has to follow your States Insurance Laws. (back to top)
  • CURRENTLY ON HOMEOWNER FAQ’S:  All of our companies are A rated or better with AM Best. This rating is determined by the company's financial strength, operating performance and market profile. Additional information is available at www.ambest.com

Q: Do I have to shop my insurance policies every year?

  • A: You can “shop” your insurance as often as you wish.  However, it is best to get quotes every three years, as some companies do not like to bid on an account every year. (back to top)

Q: Do the driving records of my employees effect my insurance premiums?

  • A: Yes, a commercial automobile policy works in much the same way as a personal auto policy.  Insurance companies have determined that bad driving records contribute to higher losses. (back to top)

Boat/Yatch F.A.Q.s



Q: What is physical damage coverage?

  • A: This coverage pays to repair your boat if it's been damaged or destroyed by a peril (fire, theft. windstorm, lightning or vandalism). This coverage is very broad. Some exclusions do apply, such as wear and tear, dishonest, illegal, intentional or fraudulent acts.  (back to top)

Q: What coverage's does a watercraft policy provide?

  • A: The primary of objective of this type of insurance is to provide protection for an investment. A watercraft policy provides coverage for:
    • boat (including machinery)
    • outboard motors
    • auxiliary equipment
    • dingy (if under 16' and under 25hp)
    • boat trailer
    • personal property kept aboard the boat (back to top)

Q: What is agreed value?

  • A: Some boats under 15 years old are usually insured on an agreed value basis. In the event of a total loss, the company will pay you the full amount for which your boat is insured. The agreed value is shown on the policy and there is no deduction for depreciation. 


A boat's market value decreases over time. The most you are allowed to insure your boat for is it's fair market value. Most insurance companies re-evaluate the market value of your boat every three years. Therefore, as your boat ages the agreed value listed on your policy will be adjusted to more closely reflect the current market value. (back to top)


Q: What does the term new for old mean?

  • A: If your boat suffers form a partial loss, property claims are handled in the following manner: damaged property is repaired or replaced with no deduction for depreciation, In other words, "new" equipment replaces "old" damaged equipment. Please refer to your policy to determine how your claims will be settled. (back to top)

Q: What is actual cash value?

  • A: Actual cash value means that you will be paid the market value of your boat minus depreciation, at the time of loss. Actual cash value is generally used for boats over 15 years of age. Also, some policies only offer actual cash value for certain damaged property such as sails, protective covers, batteries, outboard motors, outdrives, dinghies or trailers. (back to top)

Q: What is not covered under a watercraft policy?

  • A: There is no coverage for the following:
    • non-conventional watercraft (hydro cycles, jet skis, kit boats...)
    • moorings, cradles, boat lifts (or similar equipment)
    • fishing tackle, scuba gear (optional coverage available)
    • personal items (items not intended for the normal operation of your boat). For example: portable t.v.s', cellular phones, stereos, radios and cameras. (back to top)

Q: What is a deductible?

  • A: A deductible is the amount specified on your insurance policy that the company will withhold in the event of loss. Boat deductibles are usually determined as a percentage of your coverage and can range from 1%-10%, depending on the type and speed of your boat. The higher the deductible (the amount of risk you are willing to assume), the lower your premium. If for example, your deductible is 2% of $30,000 of coverage, you would pay $600 of the total loss. 


** A lower deductible may be available for special equipment such as trailers, personal effects and dinghies. (back to top)


Q: What does boat liability mean?

  • A: The coverage protects you if you are legally liable for damages to property or injury to someone other than yourself or a family member. If you are sued due to your negligence, boat liability coverage protects you. The coverage amounts range from $100,000 to $1,000,000. (back to top)

Q: Are there additional coverage's available?

  • A: The following additional coverage's may be part of your watercraft policy:
    • uninsured boat coverage - which pays for injuries to you or occupants of your boat, caused by an uninsured boat or a hit-and-run accident.
    • medical payments - covers reasonable medical costs should someone be injured while in, boarding or leaving your boat.
    • commercial towing and assistance - you will be reimbursed for the reasonable cost incurred when you breakdown on the water and need to be towed.
    • agreed value on outdrives (lower Limits) - provides replacement of lower drive units (without depreciation) if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered peril.. (back to top)

Q: Are there any other optional coverage's that I can purchase?

  • A: Yes, the following options may be purchased for an additional premium. If you require other coverage's not listed here, please e-mail or call us.
    • optional fishing equipment coverage - if you need additional converge for your fishing tackle and equipment, you may want to specifically cover this property.
    • increase limits - for personal property, uninsured boater coverage or commercial towing. (back to top)

Q: Do I need an inspection survey?

  • A: We strongly encourage inspection surveys to prevent injuries and maintain safe boating conditions. This is especially true for older boats powered by gasoline. Gasoline vapors can be extremely dangerous and as a boat gets older, the fuel lines and connections can wear out causing gas vapor to escape and settle at the bottom of container, increasing the likelihood of explosion. The following are additional safety measures to consider:
    • install a vapor detector in your engine compartment
    • inspect your boat on a regular basis, especially your electrical and fuel systems. Safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and floatation devices should also be inspected regularly. (back to top)

Q: Are there any premium discounts available on my policy?

  • A: Yes, some companies offer premium discounts for the following:
    • Completion of Power Squadron or Coast Guard basic or advanced seamanship course - on policies where all operators have completed the course. Copies of certificates will be required.
    • Newer boats - usually have lower premium rates.
    • Safety Equipment - certain safety equipment will generate a premium discount. Please e-mail or call us to determine discounts available to you. (back to top)

Q: What are the ratings of our companies? 

  • A: All of our companies are A rated or better with AM Best. This rating is determined by the company's financial strength, operating performance and market profile. Additional information is available at www.ambest.com . (back to top)

Umbrella F.A.Q.s


How to Determine your need for Umbrella Insurance
In order to determine the amount of liability exposure you have, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do you own your own home?
  • Do you have more then one residence?
  • Do you have a pool?
  • Do you own more than 1 car?
  • Is there a young driver in your household?
  • Do you own a boat?
  • Do you have money in savings, investments or 401K’s? The more assets you have the greater your exposure for a liability suit.

Q: How much coverage is Enough?
You can begin to determine the amount of coverage that is best for you by:

  • Determine the amount of liability insurance you have on your home, auto or watercraft policies.
  • Determine whether you could pay a judgment against you, in excess of your auto, home or watercraft policies, out of your own pocket.
  • Determine the coverage you would need, $500,000, $1 million, $2 million or $5 million.


Ask us to provide you with a quote to determine whether this is a coverage you can afford NOT to have!


Flood and Hurricane


The following Flood and Hurricane preparedness faq’s were provided by http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/faqs.jsp.



Hurricane Preparations

As hurricane season approaches, we at the NSA Group would like to provide you with information regarding procedures you should be familiar with in case of damage resulting from a windstorm or hurricane.

REVIEW YOUR POLICY NOW for any applicable windstorm or hurricane deductible. Most companies have such a deductible, either a flat dollar amount or a percentage which is triggered by the category of the storm (Category I, II, etc).

If a storm occurs and you have damage to your property:

    • Call or visit our office.
    • Call us at either Neefus-Stype and J.L. Townsend (631) 722-3500 or Three Village Bennett (631) 403-4107 during the day. We will be open even if the storm hits on a weekend or holiday.
    • If you are unable to reach us, report the claim directly to your company. Most companies have 24-hour toll free numbers for reporting claims. Refer to your policy.
    • You may also call CSR24, our 24 hour call center, at (866) 255-3309.
    • Protect your property from further damage. Make reasonable and necessary repairs required to protect the property.
    • Please take pictures of all damages.
    • Do not throw away damaged property until instructed to do so. The insurance company has the right to inspect the damaged property.
    • Keep an accurate record and receipts for all repair expenditures.
    • Get estimates of cost to repair damages before work is done. It is difficult to get estimates after a storm, but keep trying. Please call our office if you are having a problem.
    • Provide all bills, receipts and related documents to substantiate the figures in the inventory. Submit to one of our offices as soon as possible. Our fax numbers are Neefus- Stype (631) 722-3591, Three Village Bennett (631) 403-4104 or J.L. Townsend (631) 477-9568.


NSA Group would like you to know we are there in the time of emergency. For your peace of mind, we suggest you keep this letter handy to refer to if necessary.

REMINDER: Homeowners and business insurance policies do not cover floods. If you feel that your home or business needs flood insurance, there is a 30-day waiting period on new flood policies. Please call our agency for flood insurance today, BEFORE THE STORM HITS.


Q: What can I do to protect my home and family from a hurricane?

  • A: Besides insuring your property, there are things you can do to minimize potential loss to your home and ensure your family's safety.
    • Develop a Family Plan
    • Create a Disaster Supply Kit
    • Have a Place to Go
    • Secure Your Home
    • Make a Pet Plan
    • Prepare for the Possibility of a Flood
    • Make sure any photos or videos of all of your important possessions are in a safe place. These documents will help you file an accurate and comprehensive flood insurance claim.
    • Store important documents and irreplaceable personal objects (such as photographs) where they won't get damaged. If major flooding is expected in your area, consider putting them in a storage facility.
    Remember to talk to your insurance agent if you have questions or would like additional information.


Q: Is my city at risk?

  • A: Nearly every year since 1851, at least one hurricane has reached the United States. During an active hurricane season, an average of two to four hurricanes make landfall on the continental U.S. Hurricane-related flooding ahs occurred as far as 600 miles inland. Although any coastal area is at risk, certain cities are particularly vulnerable and may have incurred losses even higher than those incurred when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.


Q: Has a disaster been declared for my area?


Q: I don’t have flood insurance, but doesn’t my homeowners insurance cover this?

  • A: Most homeowners insurance does NOT cover damage or losses from flooding. Some damage to your property may have been caused by something other than flooding. Look at your policy and see your homeowners insurance agent for more information about what types of damage are covered by your policy.


Q: How do I file a flood insurance claim?


Q: How can I tell what caused the damage to my property?

  • A: Flooding is defined as rising waters. Damage caused by falling water and wind is not considered flood damage. Please talk to your flood insurance agent and/or your homeowners insurance company for more information about what is covered under your policy. Use the Flood Insurance Claims handbook as a reference.


Q: What is Increased Cost of Compliance?

  • A: If your home or business is damaged by a flood, you may be required to meet certain building requirements in your community to reduce future flood damage. To help with these costs, the NFIP includes Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage for all eligible properties insured under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Read more about ICC.

Policy Costs and Terms


Q: How can I get flood insurance?

  • A: If you live in a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you are eligible to purchase flood insurance. Nearly 21,000 communities participate, and it's likely that yours is one of them. See a list of participating NFIP communities and learn more about NFIP in your community.

    To buy a flood insurance policy, call your insurance agent or company, or find an agent serving your area by filling out the Flood Risk Profile to the left.


Q: What will my flood insurance premium cost?

  • A: It is essential that you visit with your insurance agent to determine exact costs. However, if you’d like to receive a general idea of how much your premium will cost or find an agent serving your area, fill out the Flood Risk Profile to the left.


Q: How is my flood insurance premium calculated?

  • A: A number of factors are considered when determining your flood insurance premium. These factors include: the amount and type of coverage being purchased, location and flood zone, and the design and age of your structure. For homes in high-risk areas (e.g., Special Flood Hazard Areas or AE, VE Zones) built after the first Flood Insurance Rate Maps were drawn for that community, the elevation of the building in relation to the base flood elevation is also required. For more information, visit Flooding and Flood Risks or download Flood Insurance Basics [PDF 27KB] to learn more.


Q: Can I get a discount on my flood insurance premium?

  • A: It's possible that you qualify for a discount based on your community's participation and status in the Community Rating System program. For more information, visit CRS Ratings and You.


Q: How can I pay for my flood insurance?

  • A: You can pay your insurance premium with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard or American Express) or with cash, check or money order. Your premium may be paid through an escrow account established by your mortgage lender, at your lender's discretion.