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    Q&A with Kelly – Insurance Claims

    Posted: August 13, 2019

    Insurance is there for you when you need it. It’s your the safety net. But when something happens to your house or car, it can cause a lot of stress not knowing what is covered or how to file a claim. Depending on what kind of damage you’re facing, filing an insurance claim might help relieve some of the financial problems.

    What Is an Insurance Claim?

    Filing an insurance claim means you’re making a formal request to your insurance company to receive funds to help you pay for repairs and other expenses caused by an event (car accident or a home burglary) that is covered by your insurance.

    Every situation is different, and as an Independent Agent, I can help you outline the specifics and assist in filing a claim.  Below, I have provided common questions and answers to help you understand filing insurance claims for home or auto insurance.

    Insurance Claims-AUTO


    Q. What I am in a car accident and not at fault?

    •  Be sure to obtain the other person’s insurance card. Taking a picture with your phone is the easiest and most acceptable.
    • File the claim with the other party’s insurance carrier. If you file it with your own, you will be obligated to pay your deductible (typically $500). Your carrier will fight to get this back, however depending on the other party’s carrier (i.e. substandard) this could take months to get your money back. Once the money is returned to the carrier, they will send it back to you. This is often referred to as subrogation.
    • If you file with the claim with other party, you will be able to obtain a rental car at the expense of the other insurance carrier.
    • Do NOT wait for the other driver to file the claim. If you want to get the ball rolling, use the information from the ID card they provided to file the claim. The carrier will require a statement from you and the other driver.


    Q. What if I am in a car accident and at fault?

    • Provide the other party with your ID card. If your car is damaged and you want it fixed, contact your carrier. If not, you can choose to pay the damages out of pocket or file it with your insurance carrier. I recommend NOT providing your ID card if you plan on paying it out of pocket. Any time you contact the carrier direct to ask about a claim or file the claim, only to pay it out of pocket, the claim will be on your record for 5 years.
    • If you are at fault, rental car reimbursement is only provided if you have rental reimbursement on your policy. Many people with liability only coverage or more vehicles than drivers do NOT have rental reimbursement. If this is important to you, may sure your policy covers it. The additional is cost is normally $30 per year per vehicle.

    Q. What if I need rental car coverage?

    • Rental car reimbursement only provides coverage when your vehicle is damaged due to an accident.  It does NOT provide coverage due to your vehicle breaking down.
    • The car rental company will ask if you want to purchase their insurance coverage.  Please note, your policy will provide coverage to the rental vehicle.  If you had to file a claim, the claim will be listed on your record and may affect your rate in the future.

    Q. What if I am injured in a auto accident?

    • If you are injured in an auto mobile accident, the carrier (yours or the other party’s, depending who is at fault), will pay for medical damages, lost wages, etc.  I recommend contacting an attorney to help you through the process.  If you do not have an attorney, I am happy to recommend one as I work with multiple.
    • If the other party’s coverage does not provide enough coverage, your policy will cover for any additional expenses, under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

    Insurance Claims-HOME


    Q. What if I have water damage?

    • If the damage is caused by water, take many pictures, and get the water out ASAP.  The longer the water sits, the more damage will incur, and many policies have a limit on water damage (i.e. $5,000 or $10,000). 
    • The carrier will provide you a check for the initial damages, less depreciation.  Once the damages have been repaired you must show proof to receive 100% of the payout.  Receipts or construction contracts will work as proof.


    Q. What if I have a claim on a rental property?

    • If the claim is on a rental property, the carrier will ask for proof that the property was/is occupied.  If the property is insured as tenant occupied and is actually vacant, they will deny coverage.  Call me if your property is vacant as we will adjust coverage immediately.

    Q. What if someone is injured on my property?

    • If someone is injured on your property, they will receive payout from your medical coverages (typically $5,000 max) if it is worse than that they will sue you for the limit of your liability coverage/umbrella.  This limit is typically $300,000 for a single-family residence and an additional $1 million with the umbrella.
    • Liability coverage protects you in the event anyone is injured on your property.  Invited or not, you can and will be sued due to an injury.

    Q. What if I have fire damage?

    • In the event of a fire loss, the carrier will ask for a list of ALL of your personal possessions.  If it is not a total loss, they will be able to obtain pictures of the remaining items, but I ALWAYS recommend taking pictures/videos of your personal possessions; open drawers, closets, under beds, etc.  You will NEVER remember everything you own without some sort of documentation.

    Q. What if I need replacement costs for personal possessions?

    • I write ALL of my home/renters’ policies to include replacement cost of your personal possessions.  This means the carrier will provide you the full value to replace your personal effects.


    Q. What if my dog bites someone?

    • Your home/renter’s policy does provide coverage for dog bites.  Depending on the severity of the dog bite, the medical portion will pay out first (typically $5,000 limit) followed by your liability (typically $300,000) and umbrella (if you have one).  However, depending on the type of dog you own (Pit Bull, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, etc.) the carrier may deny coverage.


    If you have questions about how to file a claim or wonder if you should file a claim feel free to call me at 708-444-0050.  I normally recommend you obtain quotes for the damage(s) before you decide whether to file. It does not make sense to file a claim if the damages are less than or just over your deductible. 

    NOTE: The questions asked to me will not go on your record. 

    As a reminder, all home claims and at fault accidents are subject to the deductible.  This means the carrier will collect the deductible before anything is paid out.

    Home Changes that Affect Insurance

    Posted: September 14, 2017

    Homes often grow and change alongside the people living in them. If you’ve added expensive furnishings or made substantial upgrades, it’s important to re-evaluate your homeowners insurance and make sure your policy reflects those changes. Here are four instances when it may be beneficial to review and adjust your coverage.

    Remodeling or Renovation Work Home improvement projects typically increase the value of your home, which usually calls for more coverage. But that doesn’t necessarily mean your insurance rates will automatically increase. In fact, some projects, like adding a new roof, may help you save on your monthly home insurance premiums. Just be sure to notify your provider before any work begins.

    Adding a Pool or an Outdoor Trampoline Because these fun home features come with increased risk of injury, they’re labeled an attractive nuisance. Upping your liability insurance can help keep you protected if there’s ever an accident on your property and a subsequent lawsuit.

    Acquiring New Valuables Whether you inherit them or purchase them, expensive goods such as jewelry, art, rugs and antiques should be added to your policy. Increasing your coverage is the only way to safeguard them in the event of damage or theft.

    Starting a Home Business Many home-based business owners don’t realize they have little, if any, coverage from a homeowners or renters insurance policy. Since a new home business likely means purchasing new technology and expensive equipment, you may need to get additional protection.

    You worked hard for your home. Secure your belongings by updating your coverage to match your circumstances.

    The End of Open Enrollment

    Posted: March 5, 2014

    On March 31st, 2014 the historic 1st year of the Health Care Reform Act enrollment will come to a close.  As a last reminder, if you are eligible for enrollment this is what you can expect…

     

    IF YOU ENROLL IN A PLAN

    • If you currently have a health insurance plan, you will NOT be able to make ANY changes until the next open enrollment.  Generally the open enrollment period will be each year between October-December.  Any changes made during this time will take effect January 1, 2015.
    • If you are still planning to enroll, policies applied for by March 15th will take effect April 1st.  Policies applied for between March 16-March 31st will take effect May 1st.  As long as you make a decision by March 31st you will avoid the penalty.
    • If you qualified for a subsidy (via the marketplace) be sure to check your results.  MANY require that you send additional documentation by the end of open enrollment in order to keep your subsidy.  The additional requirements can be sent via mail or uploaded to your marketplace account.  If you plan on mailing the documents I suggest sending it certified so you have proof that it was received.

     

    IF YOU DO NOTHING

    • You will be locked out of being able to join a plan…unless you fall into a special election period (marriage, child birth, loss of coverage, etc).  If you’ve chosen this option I recommend purchasing a critical illness/accident plan. It is NOT the same as health insurance but in the event you injure yourself or are diagnosed with a critical illness, the plan will pay you an allotted amount ($5,000-$50,000). The plans start as low as $2 per month for critical illness and $15 per month for accident coverage.
    • You can expect to receive a $95 per person ($47.5 per child under the age of 18) penalty on your 2014 federal tax return (this will increase in 2015)

    How to Offset High Deductibles Associated with Healthcare Reform

    Posted: February 22, 2014

    Have you heard about Critical Illness Insurance and Accident Coverage?

    • Critical illness insurance is an insurance product, where the insurer is contracted to typically make a lump sum cash payment if the policyholder is diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses listed in the insurance policy (usually cancer, heart attack, or stroke).
    • Accident Coverage is an insurance product, where the insurer is contracted to typically make a lump sum cash payment if the policyholder is involved in an accident at work or play (examples include: broken bones, stitches, sports related injuries and general clumsiness).

     

    Since preventative services come standard with ALL plans you are more likely to use your deductible due to a critical illness or injury. The purpose of these plans are to use the funds towards your deductible.

     

    Rates depend upon age and amount of coverage but can start as low as $2.75 per month with $10,000 in coverage.

    Tips to Getting Your Basement Dry

    Posted: April 18, 2013

    You may be surprised at what can be saved after it has been damaged from water. The most important tip is to get rid of the water ASAP. The longer the water sits the more of an issue it becomes with mold and the harder it is to repair. Below are some tips to remediating your water damage.

    *Remove important items that can be picked up and moved to another room. Once removed from the water dry with a fan.
    *Find the source of the water. There may be leaves clogging a sewer or a faulty sump pump. If so, remove the leaves or replace the sump pump. If you need a referral I can provide you with one for immediate sump pump repair.
    *Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to circulate the air and reduce moisture buildup in your basement.
    *Confirm that your policy has sump pump/sewer back up coverage, the endorsement will provide coverage for water removal and damaged items.

    Questions
    Questions

    Feel free to email or call me with any questions or comments about my services or if you have any insurance related inquires.

    Contact
    Contact

    Phone: 708.444.0050
    Email: kelly@kellyburkeinsurance.com

    Availability
    Availability

    Monday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
    Evening and weekends
    available upon request