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Taking care of your insurance needs, inside and outside the home!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to buy car insurance?

Yes.  Washington State requires you to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance if you own a vehicle and drive it on public roads.  There are several additional coverages that are beneficial, but optional - unless you have a loan or you lease your car.  In those cases, the lender or lessor will require you to carry "full coverage".  That is: liability, comprehensive (or "comp"), and collision.

What's the difference between "comp" and "collision"?

"Comp", or "Comprehensive", coverage is for anything other than a collision.  Damage to your vehicle due to fire, fallen object, theft, even hitting an animal is covered under "comp".  If you have a vehicle that's just parked, never driven, we recommend that you continue to carry "comprehensive" coverage for that vehicle.  Your homeowner's policy does not provide coverage to damage to your vehicle.

"Collision" is more self-explanatory.  When your vehicle collides with another vehicle, or any other object (tree, telephone pole, etc), it is a "Collision".

Both "comp" and "collision" coverages require a deductible - an amount you agree to pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay for damages.  However, each coverage can have a different deductible.  For example, you can choose a $500 "comprehensive" deductible and a $1,000 "collision" deductible.

Am I required to insure my home?

It depends.  If you have a mortgage, your lender most likely requires you to carry Homeowner's Insurance.  In fact, they usually require this before your loan even closes because they will include the first year of insurance premium in your loan amount.  Even if you own your house outright, it's a really good idea to buy that protection anyway.  If your house burns down or is damaged by a fallen tree blown over by the wind, an insurance policy with enough coverage will pay to fix it, and the stuff inside.

How do I know if I have enough Homeowner's Insurance?

The best way to find this out is by speaking with a licensed insurance producer.  Any one of the agents at Olympic Northwest Insurance can evaluate your needs and explain them to you in plain English.  We can tell you if you need more insurance, or even if you have more than is necessary.  Basically, your "Dwelling" limit needs to be enough to rebuild your home from the ground up; the cost to "replace" the structure (not including land and usually the foundation costs).

The "Contents" limit refers to your belongings (furniture, towels, clothing, electronics, dishes, etc.).  This, too, should be the amount you would need to replace all your items in the event of a complete and total loss.  If you have high-value items, such as fine arts or jewelry, those can be listed specifically on your policy with the replacement value.

Contact one of our licensed professionals today to do a comprehensive insurance review for you.  There are several other options that you could find valuable.

Can you insure my business?

Absolutely!  We have several insurance companies at our fingertips for your personal insurance as well as your business insurance.  Contractors, restaurants, special events, non-profits, and retail operations are just a few examples of accounts we can insure.  Since each business is different, we recommend that you contact the Commercial Insurance team in the Silverdale branch of Olympic Northwest Insurance to discuss details.  They can then provide you with an application and assist you in completing it.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists - are they the same?

I can see how this is confusing, but no, they are not the same.  However, most insurance companies include one for free when you buy the other.  Let's say you're in a car accident and it's not your fault.  Well, if the person who caused the accident doesn't carry insurance, or enough insurance to pay for all the damages and medical payments, guess who has to pay?  You.  Or your insurance company if you carry Uninsured Motorist or Underinsured Motorist coverage. 

You see,"Uninsured Motorist" pays for damages done by a vehicle that carries zero insurance.  While "Underinsured Motorist" picks up the tab for leftover costs once the responsible party's insurance limits have run out.  Meaning, they HAD insurance, just not enough to pay for all the damage they did. 

There is usually a small, $100 deductible involved on your part when either of these coverages come in to play.  Except a $300 deductible usually applies for hit-and-run situations.

What's a deductible?

Simply put, a deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance company pays the rest of the cost to repair or replace your property.  Or, in the case of car repairs, your vehicle won't be released to you until the agreed deductible has been paid.

For example, let's say your homeowner's policy has a $500 deductible.  Heavy winds blow down a tree that lands on your house and crushes a portion of the roof.  A contractor comes out and gives an estimated cost to repair the damage of $3,500.  The most the insurance company would pay for this is $3,000 ($3,500 minus your $500 deductible), assuming you carry at least $3,000 limits on your home.

You should carry the highest deductible you can afford.  The higher your deductible, the lower your premiums.  Consider carefully what claims you submit to the insurance company based on the deductible you will have to pay.  Do you really want to submit a $600 repair bill to the insurance company with a $500 deductible?  You are basically asking them to pay out $100 and affecting your claim history.

Why does my lessor or lender want proof of car insurance?

When you get a loan to buy a car, or you sign a lease, the lessor or lender will require you to carry "full coverage": liability, comprehensive, and collision.  Additionally, they will cap your allowed deductible, most don't allow you to have one higher than $1,000.

The reason you are required to carry all of these coverages is so that, if the car was totaled, the bank or lessor gets their property back, albeit in the form of money.  Think of it this way, if you were to sell your car to a friend on a payment plan and you let them drive the car around while making those payments, what would happen if that car was in a major accident before you were completely paid?  Is your friend going to want to continue paying you for a car they no longer have?

Therefore, the lender or lessor will want proof of insurance to ensure their property is adequately covered.

How do I report a vehicle claim?

Your insurance ID card, or policy, should have claim reporting information on it.  Make sure to call that phone number right away.  If you can't locate this information, contact your agent and they can direct you.

Can I get Flood Insurance for my home or business?

Most likely, yes.  We'll need information about your property location such as a flood zone (which we can help look up), how close you are to the nearest body of water, if your land is prone to landslides, etc.  Contact one of our offices for further assistance.

I need a rental car, will my policy cover that?

Contrary to popular belief, if you carry comp and / or collision coverage for your own vehicle, it's pretty common for your policy to also provide those coverages for your rental car.  Now, it's still subject to the same deductible, and the claim would appear in your loss history, but yes, you may have coverage.

So why does the rental company offer insurance?  A couple of reasons: 1) Some people don't have comp or collision coverage on their own policy and 2) for your convenience.  That's right, if you buy the insurance offered by the rental company and the car is damaged, it's not your problem.  Turn the car in and they will handle it without having to involve you.  Is it worth it?  You decide:  $50 for 5 days (estimated) or a $500 deductible?

To find out for sure if your policy covers your car rental, contact your agent.