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Personal Insurance - Auto

  1. Do I need personal auto insurance?

    The state of Pennsylvania requires all registered vehicles to carry minimum liability limits. To purchase a vehicle or renew your registration, you must provide proof of insurance.
  2. What affects my insurance premium?
    Insurance companies use a combination of several factors to determine your rates including: 1) the area where you live and garage your vehicle; 2) the vehicle you own; 3) the age of the household drivers; 4) coverage limits; 5) driving experience; and 6) the use of your vehicle.
  3. What are some ways I can lower my automobile insurance rates?
    There are several ways to decrease the cost of your automobile insurance. First, ask your agent if there are other companies he represents that offer competitive rates. Secondly, ask about any discounts that you may qualify for. Many insurers will offer you a discount if you insure multiple cars under the same policy. Other discounts are available for multiple policies with the same company, driver education classes, airbags, and alarm systems. Also, ask about varying your comprehensive and/or collision deductibles. Finally, ask your agent to help you evaluate the need for collision coverage on an older vehicle.
  4. Can my insurance company cancel my policy?
    Yes, your insurance company may non-renew your insurance policy at their discretion based upon: 1) not meeting acceptable company guidelines; 2) chargeable accidents; or 3) excessive or major violations
  5. What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy and am I still covered?
    Yes, you are covered if you give permission for the other person to use your car. Liability and physical damage coverage always follow your car. So, if you give permission for your neighbor to borrow your car and he has an accident, the accident could be surcharged against your policy. The same is true if you borrow someone else's car. The vehicle owner's policy is primary, while your own insurance may follow and provide benefits.
  6. Do I have coverage for a rental vehicle?
    You may have coverage for a short-term rental vehicle for personal use only if you have full coverage on at least one of your vehicles (liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage). Insurance carriers are more frequently recommending taking the physical damage protection offered by the rental company. That way, any claims would not affect rates on your own personal insurance policy.

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Personal Insurance - Homeowner's

  1. What is homeowners insurance and who should consider buying it?
    Homeowners insurance is one of the most popular types of personal insurance on the market today. The typical homeowners policy has two main sections: 1) Section I covers the property of the insured; and, 2) Section II provides personal liability coverage to the insured. Anyone who owns or leases property has a need for this coverage. Many times, homeowners insurance is required by a lender as part of the requirement in obtaining a mortgage.
  2. What factors should I consider when purchasing homeowners insurance?
    Several factors to consider when purchasing homeowners insurance: 1) Insure your home to at least 80% of replacement value to satisfy most insurers coinsurance requirements. Remember, market value does not equal replacement value of your home. Have an insurance agent help determine your home's replacement value; 2) Determine if you need any additional endorsements to the policy. For example, do you want replacement value on your personal property? Do you need earthquake coverage or flood coverage? Do you have high value items, like antiques, jewelry, or silverware that should be listed and covered specifically? 3) Determine Section II coverage limits. Do you need $100,000, $300,000, or $500,000 of personal liability, or an umbrella policy? Do you have other rental or vacation properties that you need coverage for liability? Ask your agent to guide you through these questions. The more information you disclose, the better your agent can help protect you.
  3. What are the policy limits in the standard homeowners policy?
    Coverage A and B provide protection to the dwelling and other structures on the premises (sheds, garages, etc.) on an "all-risk" or special form coverage up to the policy limits. The policy limit for Coverage A is set by the homeowner at the time the insurance is secured. The policy limit for Coverage B is usually equal to 10% of the coverage limit on the dwelling (Coverage A). Coverage C covers losses to the insured's personal property on a named peril basis. The policy limit on Coverage C usually equals at least 50-75% of the dwelling limit. Coverage D allows for additional expenses that the policyholder may incur due to an insured and covered loss. Coverage D usually equals 20% of the dwelling limit. Finally, Coverage E-Personal Liability-is determined by the policyholder at the time the insurance is secured.
  4. Where and when is my personal property covered?
    Coverage C provides coverage to your personal property (except property that is specifically excluded) on a Broad Form, or named-peril basis anywhere in the world. For example, if you purchased a piece of furniture while travelling, your homeowners policy would provide coverage for the named perils while the piece is in transit, even though it has never been in your home.
  5. What can I do to lower the cost of my homeowners insurance?
    There are several ways to decrease the cost of your homeowners insurance. First, ask your agent if there are other companies he represents that offer competitive rates. Secondly, ask about any discounts that you may qualify for. Many insurers will offer you a discount if you have multiple policies with the same company. Other discounts are available for smoke detectors, alarm systems, deadbolt locks, plus longevity with the same company. Finally, ask about varying your deductible.
  6. Are there exclusions I should know about?
    There may be exclusions listed and defined in your policy such as neglect, intentional loss, earth movement, flood, general power failure, and even damage caused by war. If you fail to take care of your property (e.g., a leaky roof not repaired), you may not be covered. Obviously, if you intend to lose an object or damage your property, there is no coverage. In addition, one other exclusion that can be costly is the Ordinance or Law exclusion. Building codes established by local government bodies that drive up the cost of rebuilding or repairing after a loss occurs may not be covered by your insurance policy. If you discover when replacing damaged property that current law demands higher grade or more expensive materials than the original ones being replaced, the new material may not be covered for the full price. Ask about those exclusions now instead of finding out at claim time.
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Personal Insurance - Renter's

  1. Why would I want to buy renters insurance?
    If you live in an apartment or rented house, renters insurance provides important coverage for both you and your possessions. A standard renters policy protects your personal property in many certain cases of theft or damage and may pay for temporary living expenses if your rental is damaged. It can also shield you from personal liability. Anyone who leases a house or apartment needs to consider this type of coverage.
  2. Does my Landlord's insurance protect me?
    Generally, no. The property owner's insurance covers the building itself and rarely a tenant's possessions. Clarify this with your landlord before signing a lease.
  3. Is my Landlord liable if someone trips in my apartment and gets injured?
    Again, the landlord's policy may specifically exclude liability for something that occurs within your rented residence. You could be held personally liable for injury to another person or damage to another person's property if the incident occurred within your rented residence. Be sure you have adequate liability coverage on your renter's policy.
  4. How expensive is renter's insurance and what does it cover?
    Renters insurance is typically available starting at less than $100 annually. It usually covers personal property inside your apartment on a named peril basis and includes personal liability protection. The named perils include: 1) fire or lightning, 2) windstorm or hail, 3) explosions, 4) riots, 5) aircraft, 6) vehicles, 7) smoke, 8) vandalism or malicious mischief, 9) theft, 10) falling objects, 11) weight of ice, snow or sleet, 12) accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam, 13) sudden or accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging, 14) freezing, 15) sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current, and 16) volcanic eruptions. Renters coverage applies to your personal property anywhere in the world.
  5. What if I share my apartment with a roommate? Do we both need to have renters insurance?
    Standard renters policies cover only you and relatives that live with you. Unfortunately, if your roommate is not a relative, each of you will need your own renters policy to cover your own property and to provide personal liability coverage for your own actions.
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Personal Insurance - Umbrella

  1. What is a personal umbrella policy?
    The personal umbrella policy is a liability insurance contract designed to accomplish two goals: 1) It increases the liability protection beyond what the policyholder already has on his/her auto or homeowners insurance policies; and, 2) It is designed to fill in the gaps in a policyowner's liability coverage since several types of liability exposure exist that are not covered by personal auto or homeowners policies.
  2. How do I know if I need a personal umbrella liability policy?
    The only people who used to need personal umbrella policies were wealthy individuals who had sizeable personal assets. Unfortunately, in today's litigious society, many people realize they have a need for more liability insurance than what is provided under their auto and homeowners policies. The personal umbrella policy is ideally suited to provide this protection.
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Farm Insurance

  1. I am only renting a farm and do not have significant assets. Do I need a farmowner's policy?
    Yes, you do need a farmowner's policy, regardless of the value of your farm assets. You should insure your farm assets against loss. However, in today's society, the important coverage in any insurance policy is the liability protection. How would you pay for damages done by the steer that got loose through the opening in the pasture fence? Or how about the milk contamination in the bulk tank driver's last load? Or even damage to another vehicle caused by your tractor and equipment out on the road?
  2. I understand I need to insure my buildings, but why my equipment and live stock?
    Equipment can be protected from losses due to fire, theft, collision, and upset. If machinery is not specifically listed on the policy, you have no coverage for those pieces. Livestock is the same way. Livestock can be insured up to its replacement value on a farmowner's policy using a brief description and value of each head. Again, if it is not listed on the policy with a description and value, you generally have no coverage.
  3. Do I need more than the liability protection provided on the basic policy?
    Again, in today's society, liability protection is a major concern. Does your farm policy provide enough coverage at $300,000 limits? If you own a farm or other assets, probably not. You might be better suited to consider a farm umbrella liability policy of $1M, $2M, $5M or more. The umbrella policy offers additional protection beyond the basic liability coverage afforded under the general liability limits of the farmowner's policy.
  4. I hire the neighbor boy to help during the summer months around the farm. Do I need Workers Compensation (WC) coverage for him?
    Yes, you need WC for any and all employees, regardless of the wages paid. Pennsylvania law requires you to protect your employees against job-related injuries. As a result, WC coverage is mandatory in Pennsylvania. Call us for WC rates under the Ag Safety Group.
  5. I use my old pickup truck for farm errands only. Do I need to have it licensed and insured?
    If you are using a pickup truck to service your farm property only, you may want to consider a farm sticker in Pennsylvania, instead of licensing. Also, if you go no further than a small radius of your farm, you may want to consider farm license plates for the truck. We can insure both of these types of vehicles. Call us!
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Business Insurance

  1. I am just starting my business. Do I need insurance right away?
    Yes, you do need insurance immediately because your chance of suffering a loss begins the first day of business. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient insurance coverage, you can't get help after the fact. You could lose everything you have put into the business, including personal assets, before you really get the business off the ground. Also, many states and local jurisdictions require that businesses be insured prior to operating. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires proof of liability insurance as well.
  2. I do not have many large business assets. Do I still need insurance?
    Again, the answer is yes. You do need insurance for some of the same reasons above. Every business has some property. Just like your home and car, your business needs to be protected from loss, damage and liability. Also, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income.
    In today's society, liability protection seems to be the more important coverage of the two. Insure your business and its assets properly with a property and liability package. In addition, if you are doing subcontract work for another party, they will require liability insurance coverage to match their own liability limits.
  3. Do business policies vary in coverage?
    Yes, business policies do vary in coverage. Because businesses vary in the goods and services they provide, there is not one standard insurance policy to meet every businessowner's needs. It is impossible to have a standard policy to cover all contingencies that a business could face. However, Businessowners Policies (BOPs) provide the small businessowner a more complete coverage package to meet their business needs. Talk to us today to tailor a package to best suit your individual needs.
  4. I need to hire employees. What insurance issues do I need to consider?
    First, in hiring employees, be sure you are compliant with State and Federal regulations for advertising, interviewing, and hiring new employees. You may want to consult your attorney for legal advice prior to hiring your first full-time employee. You will also need to secure Workers Compensation (WC) insurance to cover the employee for work-related injuries while on the job. WC coverage is mandatory in Pennsylvania for all employers with employees.
  5. I drive my own vehicle for business use. Am I covered?
    Be sure to call your insurance agent to discuss the situation. Sometimes, vehicles used in the business may be covered under your personal auto policy. Most times, your agent will have to write a new commercial auto policy to cover the increased risks associated with business use of a vehicle.
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Church Insurance

  1. Do churches really need insurance coverage?
    Yes, even churches need insurance coverage. Property and liability packages offer comprehensive coverage for the active congregations today. As church buildings and programs grow, the chance of loss increases. You need to insure the church building and other structures against physical damage, and include liability protection for the employees, members, and volunteers of the congregation.
  2. Can I get all of that in one policy?
    Yes, there are specialty church insurance carriers who write church and not-for-profit coverage only. A comprehensive church package protects the physical church building against loss (i.e., wind, fire, lightning, and other "special form" perils) and includes liability protection for activities of its members, volunteers, and employees (a church outreach/service project, a youth work camp, volunteer labor at the church, etc.). The package also includes other "incidental" coverage designed specifically for the daily operations of a church. Ask about coverage for sexual misconduct, director's & officers liability, non-owned & hired auto liability, and employment practices liability.
  3. How do we value our church building?
    As a trained church insurance specialist, we can provide the tools and information to help you accurately value your church building, including its pipe organ, stained glass, and other valuable fixtures.
  4. The church is purchasing a van. What should we consider?
    First, you will need a commercial/business automobile policy. It is important to have adequate liability coverage for not only the driver but also coverage for his passengers. Insist on a minimum of $1M liability limits to match the general liability limits of your church package policy. First party benefits can cover medical expenses of any and all passengers. Ask about the highest limits available. Also, set up driver guidelines regarding who drives it and how it is used. It is the church's responsibility to make sure qualified and safe drivers are behind the wheel of the van. Finally, assign someone to take care of the general maintenance of the van.
  5. The pastor(s) is considered self-employed. Do we need to have him covered under a Workers Compensation policy in the church's name?
    Workers Compensation coverage is mandatory in Pennsylvania for all employers with employees. Churches could argue pastors are self-employed and therefore do not need WC coverage. However, WC coverage is inexpensive protection for the church. If that "self-employed" pastor trips down the steps after a Sunday morning worship service, turns his ankle, and incurs medical bills and lost wages, a WC policy could provide coverage for the loss.
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Fire Company Insurance

  1. Do fire companies really need insurance coverage?
    Fire companies are no different than churches and other volunteer organizations…they are made up of excellent people giving of themselves to help and protect others. Firehouses need the same comprehensive protection as other buildings in the community. More importantly, its volunteer members need coverage for themselves personally if they are hurt, injured, or even killed in the line of duty. Turn to a specialty carrier for your comprehensive package of protection.
  2. Aren't all policies created equal?
    Again, no policy can protect against all possible loss situations and no two policies are identical. However, a carrier who specializes in benefits for fire companies and their volunteers will have unique coverages available for you and your fellow volunteers. What seems like insignificant benefits on paper can provide significant benefits if you are the one in need of financial help due to an accident while volunteering on behalf of the local Fire Company. Call us today for your company quote.
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Life Insurance

  1. How much life insurance should I use to protect my family?
    General "rules of thumb" suggest life insurance equal to 6-10 times your annual salary. However, many factors should be reviewed in determining a more exact amount of life insurance. Those factors include: 1) other income sources than salary, including Social Security benefits; 2) if married, what would be the spouse's earning capacity; 3) number of dependents; 4) other death benefits available (e.g.-employer coverage); and, 5) special life insurance needs (mortgage repayment, education needs, estate planning, etc.). Call us to help you determine your need for life insurance coverage.
  2. Once I determine the amount of life insurance, then what kind should I purchase?
    That is a good question! The answer will vary depending upon your circumstances. If the amount is so large, the only way to afford it might be through the purchase of term insurance with its lower premiums. However, if your ability to pay life insurance premiums is such that you can afford a fixed or permanent premium, then you need to consider other financial factors in the decision (e.g.-tax bracket, short or long-term needs, rate of return on alternative investments of similar risk, etc.).
  3. Is mortgage insurance a good buy?
    The face amount of mortgage insurance typically decreases over time, consistent with projected decreases in the outstanding balance of the mortgage loan. Fixed term insurance, on the other hand, usually remains level in premium and death benefit for a fixed number of years. Term insurance is generally less expensive and maintains a higher death benefit than mortgage insurance.
  4. What about purchasing life insurance on my spouse or children?
    In certain circumstances, it may be wise to purchase life insurance on children. However, such purchases should not be made in lieu of purchasing appropriate amounts of life insurance on the family breadwinner(s). It is of utmost importance that the earning capacity of the primary breadwinner be fully protected through the purchase of the required amount of life insurance before contemplating the purchase of life insurance coverage on children or on a non-wage earning spouse. Life insurance on a non-wage earning spouse is often recommended for paying for household services lost at this individual's death. In a dual-earning household, it is important to protect the income-earning capacity of both spouses.
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Health Insurance

  1. What types of health insurance policies are available?
    In recent years, managed care plans have replaced the typical indemnity, or fee-for-service plans. Managed care plans include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO's), and Point-of-Service (POS) plans.
    Managed care plans require insureds to access health care through a network of providers. The primary care physician refers patients to specialists and other providers in the network. In turn, premiums are somewhat reduced and/or benefits increased.
    Traditional indemnity plans allow insureds the freedom to select and use providers of their choice. Services are not restricted to the network's territory or list of participating providers.
  2. Is my employer required to offer me health insurance?
    Employers typically offer benefits like health insurance on a voluntary basis to attract and retain quality employees. Cost of the insurance for the employee is usually paid in full by the employer, while employees contribute to the cost of spouse and dependent care.
  3. If I change jobs, does my health insurance continue?
    Generally, your new employer will offer you their group health insurance benefits after a probationary employment period. You may continue your previous employer's coverage under Federal COBRA regulations for up to 18 months after terminating employment, but at your own cost. Generally, employees opt for their new employer's health insurance plan.
  4. What health insurance options do I have if I want to start my own business?
    As mentioned, Federal COBRA regulations allow you to continue your current employer's health insurance plan for up to 18 months after terminating employment, but at your own cost. If your spouse is employed, check into adding the family to his/her plan. Otherwise, you will need to secure your own individual health insurance plan. Options for coverage include Short-Term Medical, Traditional (indemnity or fee-for-service) plans, PPO's, and MSA's.
  5. What are HSA plans?
    Health Savings Accounts (HSA's) are offered to individuals and small groups as an alternative to low deductible health insurance plans. An HSA is a two-part plan. Qualified HSA medical plans offer a high deductible, or "catastrophic," health insurance coverage plus a separate account for tax-deductible, tax-deferred savings. Accumulated money in the HSA may be withdrawn for I.R.S.-qualified medical expenses that either are below the insurance plan’s deductible or not covered by the health insurance plan. Individuals and families with HSA plans may deposit maximum limits (as determined annually by the I.R.S.) to a custodial HSA account each tax year the plan is in effect.
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Disability Insurance

  1. What is disability insurance?
    Disability insurance (DI) provides income protection for you and your family if you become physically unable to work. Where would the cash come from to pay your monthly mortgage payments, car payment, or credit card balance? DI can put money back into your pocket to pay those fixed expenses.
  2. Do I need DI protection?
    The need for DI depends on several factors: 1) your continued monthly debt obligations; 2) your spouse's earning ability to replace your lost wages; 3) your cash reserve to cover unexpected periods of unemployment due to physical limitations; and, 4) other sources of income.
  3. How much DI do I need?
    Coverage amount depends on some of the above factors. You can usually purchase monthly benefits in an amount of up to 70% of your current income. Depending upon your occupation, you can secure benefits for 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, or "to age 65." Other options worth considering include own occupation rider, guaranteed renewable rider, and a benefit increase option.
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Long-Term Care Insurance

  1. What is Long-Term Care insurance?
    Most people refer to nursing home insurance as Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance. However, LTC insurance can cover the whole gamut of health care including home health care, adult day care, assisted living, personal or custodial care, intermediate care, skilled care, and Alzheimer's care.
  2. Doesn't Medicare and my health insurance cover LTC?
    Generally, Medicare and other health insurance policies only cover limited benefits for LTC expenses. Medicare can cover skilled nursing home stays after a 3-day hospital stay for up to 20 days. Typical health insurance policies pay up to 30 days of skilled care only. Other stays in adult day care, assisted living, personal care, intermediate care, or Alzheimer's care are not covered by Medicare or major medical health insurance policies (Medicare Supplement and HMO's included).
  3. How do people pay for nursing home stays?
    Most people rely on their own savings to pay the $3,000-5,000 plus monthly bills associated with nursing home confinements. Those who have depleted their assets rely on the State Medical Assistance program to help them pay their expenses. A small percentage of people needing LTC rely on their private LTC insurance policies to help pay and supplement their income to meet monthly expenses.
  4. Aren't LTC insurance policies expensive?
    In comparison to monthly nursing home charges, LTC insurance can be very affordable. However, LTC insurance is not for everyone. Finances determine your need for the coverage. If coverage is appropriate, several factors affect the cost, including your age, health conditions, and policy options selected. It is best to work with an independent agent to determine your needs and investigate several options for coverage. Call us today for your free consultation!
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Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's)

  1. What is an IRA?
    An IRA is an Individual Retirement Account. Established by the Federal government as a vehicle to encourage retirement savings, contributions are tax-deductible and earnings are tax-deferred. However, not everyone is eligible to contribute. Your income level and marital status determine your eligibility to contribute annually to an IRA.
  2. How do I set up an IRA?
    You may use almost any investment vehicle to set up an IRA. Assuming you qualify for an annual contribution, you may use anything from bank certificates of deposit, to mutual fund accounts, to insurance company annuities. Each investment vehicle has unique paperwork to complete and sign to either establish a new IRA or transfer an existing balance into a new account. Most institutions require a minimum balance to open a new account.
  3. Must I contribute annually to an IRA?
    No, most financial institutions do not require ongoing contributions to an established IRA. However, tax benefits encourage maximum allowable contributions to the account annually.
  4. Is a Roth IRA better than a regular IRA?
    A Roth IRA follows identical eligibility and contribution guidelines as the regular IRA. However, the Roth IRA does not allow for deductibility of the contributions in the current tax year. Also, a Roth IRA does not mandate distribution requirements at the age of 70 ½.
  5. Why should I consider a Roth IRA?
    A Roth IRA is an attractive option for those who might not need the tax deductibility of the contribution to the regular IRA, or would prefer the flexibility of withdrawing their contributions and earnings tax-free.

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  1. What is an annuity?
    An annuity is issued by an insurance company to provide an income stream to a named beneficiary at some future date. It usually provides a death benefit and a guaranteed minimum interest rate on the money invested in it.
  2. How are annuities used?
    Annuities are typically used for IRAs and other situations where the owner wants to defer income and taxes on the gain until later years. Annuities incorporate an insurance product (a death benefit) and an investment vehicle into one product.
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Mutual Funds

  1. What are the benefits of mutual funds?
    Mutual funds pool the resources of investors and allow a professional investment manager to oversee the daily monitoring of those funds. Mutual funds also allow for diversification, lower risk, and liquidity compared to other investment options.
  2. How can I use Mutual Funds?
    Mutual funds can be used for several things, including a savings account, other retirement or emergency savings, or growth and income potential. Mutual funds are generally used for the intermediate to long-term investment perspective, depending upon the type of mutual fund selected.
  3. Are there different types of Mutual Funds?
    Yes, mutual funds come in a variety of classes and families. Families are the sponsoring companies in charge of the various funds. Each family may have numerous funds they offer, depending upon the investment objectives. Three broad types of funds include cash (money funds), bonds (US Gov.'t, private industry sector), and equities (stocks of domestic and international companies). The right family and fund depends upon you comfort level of risk. Work with an investment professional to help you sort through the myriad of options in the marketplace today.
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309 North Market Street, Schaefferstown, PA 17088