September 2010 - Bradford PA Insurance - Williams Insurance Agency

Getting a Grip on Your Pa Boat Insurance: 3 Pennsylvania Boat Insurance Buying Tips

September 28, 2010 in boat insurance, Pa boat insurance, pennsylvania boat insurance, pennsylvania boat insurance quote, pennsylvania boat insurance rates

If you need to get a winning Pennsylvania boat insurance deal, you got to make sure you make informed decisions. Face it! Understanding the nitty-gritty of boat insurance usually is pretty challenging. But we’re here to chew the bread for you… so read on!

Know your insurer

Fortunately, when it comes to buying boat insurance, you can consider adding onto your existing homeowner’s policy. So it makes perfect sense if you just get a Pennsylvania boat insurance quote from an insurance agent in PA and simply buy it as an added part of your homeowner’s policy. You can improve your chances of getting a better policy if you consult a marine insurance expert.

But regardless of where you get your Pennsylvania boat insurance rates from, you must buy the policy through only reliable and reputed agents. Buying directly from a marine insurer specialist is also a good idea. But just in case you didn’t know, homeowner’s policies sometimes limit or do not at all provide as much coverages related to salvage recovery. And don’t forget to inquire with your experienced boating pals when it comes to Pennsylvania boat insurance.

‘Agreed Value’ versus ‘Actual Cash Value’

These are the important 2 choices, when it comes to pa boat insurance and related depreciation. Take the instance of a typical “Agreed Value” policy, as it costs higher but ultimately pay more. It can cover stated values of your policy when a full loss occurs.  As for an instance, total loss which occurs on $50,000 of agreed value policy could pay you as much as $50,000. But even more importantly, partial loss on a typical Agreed Value policy can replaces almost all items if “new for old” clause applies with little or zero depreciation, which depends on your carrier. Thus, claims for stolen 4-year-old GPS units could get the policyholder a brand new and comparable replacement of the GPS.

Knowing the salvage value

Have you chosen a standard “Agreed Value” policy? Then you should avoid those which limit your salvage coverage (the amount which might be paid to the salvor for rewarding him as he saved your vessel from danger and brought it securely to the repair yard. You should try to get a policy, which provides good salvage coverage – preferably as much as the Agreed Value of the boat. But at the same time it must not subtract these bucks, or the deductible of the policy from the underlying total amount which is available for fixing the damage. 

Here’s a good example. Say, a $50,000 of Agreed Value policy has $50,000 available for salvaging the boat, if it sinks. Then it must pay as much as $50,000 for all the repairs. Or else, you might end up falling short while replacing or fixing the boat as some of the repair funds needed to be utilized for paying salvage costs. The boats which are added to an existing homeowner’s policy usually are exposed to such risks.

How To Protect Yourself And Your Family With Home Insurance

September 24, 2010 in identity theft, liability insurance coveraqge, Pennsylvania Homeowners insurance, water and sewage backup

What you’ll discover in this report:

  • How your home may not be fully rebuilt – even though you have insurance!
  • 11 ways to save money on your home insurance – including how to catch your insurer automatically increasing your premium every year
  • SIX primary kinds of insurance in your home policy? Yes…and the right decision for each one
  • The secret to brushing off a lawsuit
  • How your jewelry and other personal property are NOT covered – and what to do about it!
  • Why what’s not covered is more important than what is
  • And more!

Your home is probably your most valuable asset.  It is also a huge risk for you financially.  What if something happens to it?  A fire?  A flood?  Vandalism?  Will your pennsylvania homeowners insurance policy actually pay for the damage?  Will it pay for ALL of it?

What if someone visiting you slips and falls and suffers a serious injury? And sues you? An accident like that could put a dent — or worse — in your financial security.

For most people, insurance is a mystery. They know they need to have insurance for their homes (mortgage lenders require it), but they don’t understand the protection provided by the policy.  And, more importantly, they don’t understand what their policy does NOT cover and what to do about that.

All homeowner’s insurance is not created equal.  In fact, almost none of it is.  There are thousands of different products out there, from hundreds of insurance companies. And your policy includes literally dozens of options and decisions you must make that determine how much insurance protection you actually have.  Your home policy is not a commodity.  It’s something tailored specifically to your needs and desires.

Six Primary Coverages Provided By Your Home Policy

Your home policy protects you in six primary ways.  You’ll find these listed on your policy’s “Declarations” page.  Here’s what they mean to you.


The word Dwelling in your home policy essentially refers to your home itself.  It includes attached structures, as well … like an attached garage.  The Dwelling Limit (or Amount of Insurance) stated on your Declarations page indicates the most the insurance company will pay to replace your home if it’s destroyed by a covered claim.  Is it enough?

Warning: Don’t make the mistake of thinking your home is fully covered just because you have an insurance policy!  You must make sure your Dwelling Limit is enough to rebuild your home.  How?

Contact our office and one of our agents can run a replacement cost estimate that calculates the cost to rebuild your particular home.  Be sure to adjust the amount of insurance for your dwelling appropriately.  If you don’t you may not have enough insurance to replace your home if disaster strikes.

Note: Some policies include built-in protection above the stated Dwelling Limit – usually a percentage of the Dwelling – just in case the estimate is too low.  Be sure to discuss this with us as an additional protection feature.  It’s probably worth having.

Other Structures

The most common Other Structures are sheds, stand-alone garages (known as “detached” garages in insurance terms), barns, pool houses, etc.  These structures are not directly attached to your home, the “dwelling”.

Other Structures have their own protection limit – the most your company will pay to rebuild them – as stated on your Declarations page.  This limit will be significantly less than the dwelling limit … usually 10% – 20% of the dwelling 

For most people that’s plenty of insurance for other structures.  But not for everyone.  You need to know what it would cost to rebuild or replace those structures if they’re destroyed.  Discuss it with the licensed professionals in our office. You can buy more protection for your other structures if you need it. 

Personal Property

Your personal property is all your stuff – furniture, clothing, electronics, appliances, etc.  It, too, has its own protection limit stated on your Declarations page.  And, again, this amount is the most the insurance company will pay to replace your personal property.

Your personal property limit is usually 70% – 75% of your dwelling limit.  However, you can adjust this upward if you need more protection,  Discuss your options with us. We’re here to help!

Regardless of the protection limit for your personal property, there’s a very important question you must get answered.  How is your property protected … on an “actual cash value” basis or a “replacement cost” basis?  The difference is huge!

In very basic terms, if your property is protected on a replacement cost basis the insurance company will replace your old stuff with new stuff.  For example, if your 5-year old TV is destroyed in a covered claim, the company will pay for a brand new TV.  That’s a good deal for you.

But if your property is protected on actual cash value basis, an “allowance for depreciation” is applied to the cost of a new TV based on the age of your destroyed TV.  The result is you get a settlement amount less than the cost of a new TV.  To buy a new TV you’ll have to come up with the difference out of pocket.  Not as good a deal for you.

Clearly, insuring your personal property on a replacement cost basis is much better protection than actual cash value.  Sometimes it costs a bit more, but not always.  Make sure you know how your policy works and check the price both ways.  Make the right decision for you.

Loss of Use

If your home is badly damaged you won’t be able to live in it while it’s being fixed or replaced.  That means you may have to pay rent somewhere while you’re also paying your mortgage.  The Loss of Use coverage on your home policy pays those additional expenses for you.

Your Declarations page may state a dollar limit for this coverage, or it may state a time limit.  If there is a dollar limit, this is the most the insurance company will pay for these expenses.  If there’s a time limit, your insurance will pay all covered expenses regardless of the amount but only for the specified period.


Your liability coverage pays if someone sues you for their injuries due to a covered claim.  When we think of such accidents we most commonly think of injuries that occur on your property – someone slips and falls, a dog bite, etc.  However, the liability protection under your home policy extends beyond your property to your everyday life.  For example, your home policy could also protect you if you knock someone over with a shopping cart at the grocery store

Liability insurance is all about protecting your assets from someone who sues you.  So, you should have at least as much liability insurance as your financial worth.  However, more than that may be prudent, and you should discuss your needs and risks thoroughly with a licensed agent in our office.  Your current liability limit will be stated on your Declarations page.

Medical Payments to Others

This pays medical bills for a guest who is injured on your property or in another covered claim.  The idea is to do the right thing for someone – pay their medical bills – and then hope they don’t sue you.  This protection is inexpensive, but could save you major hassles by preventing a lawsuit. 

It’s What’s NOT Covered That Will Hurt You

Imagine your home is damaged.  You call your insurance agent to report the claim.  And then you hear the worst news possible, “I’m sorry.  That’s not covered by your policy.”  Now, you have a real problem.

The unfortunate truth is no insurance policy covers you for everything that could possibly happen to you or your property.  However, with a little bit of understanding you can make sure you have the protection you want … and make sure your claims get paid by the insurance company.

Beware: It’s Not Always Covered

Just because you have an insurance policy that doesn’t mean your home is covered for everything.  Your home policy doesn’t cover you against every “cause of loss”.  What’s that?  Fire is a cause of loss.  High wind is a cause of loss.  These are also known as “perils” in insurance terminology.

A standard home policy excludes many causes of loss.  That is, it does NOT protect you from certain perils – like earthquake, flood and surface water, termite damage and many more.  That means if your home is damaged by one of these excluded perils your policy will not respond.  You have no insurance against them.

If you want insurance against some of these perils, you can buy it … like earthquake or flood insurance.  However, some excluded perils are not insurable … like insect damage.  Be sure to discuss your policy exclusions with an agent in our office and buy the protection you really need.  Don’t be caught by surprise after the damage is done.  It’s too late to buy insurance then.

Special Limits On Personal Property

As if your home policy wasn’t complicated enough already it includes “special limits” of protection for some of your personal property.  A “special limit” reduces the protection specifically available for certain types of property.

Property subject to a special limit typically includes … property used for business … cash & coin collections … jewelry & furs … guns … silverware … and more.

Additionally, some of these special limits apply only if the property is lost or stolen – making things just a little more confusing.

For example, the standard home policy typically includes only $1,000 of protection for stolen jewelry.  If your $2,500 diamond engagement ring is stolen you’ll get only $1,000 from the insurance company.  Ouch! And, if the stone falls out of the ring and is lost, there may be NO coverage at all!

The bottom line is it’s very important you fully discuss these conditions and special limits with your agent and buy the protection you need.  Otherwise, you could find yourself with a very nasty surprise … an unpaid claim!

Conducting Business At Home

WARNING!  Your home policy has very strict limits and rules about business conducted at home.  The protection offered by your policy is severely limited if your claim arises from business activities.  Your business property has very little coverage.  And in some cases you may have no liability protection at all.

This is not something to take lightly and just assume everything will be fine.  Be sure to discuss your home business activities with a licensed agent in our office to make sure you’re still protected.

Other Exclusions and Options

The standard home policy excludes protection for many things.  But then the insurance company gives you an opportunity to buy some of them back.

Additionally, you have the option of increasing protection where you personally need it.

There are literally dozens of optional coverages available in your home policy.  Here are some of the more common options available to you.

Identity Theft – many home insurers now offer protection for Identity Theft in their home policies.  This will help pay the expenses you incur to restore your identity if it’s stolen.

Water & Sewage Backup – the standard home policy excludes damage caused by a water or sewage system backup.  You can buy this protection if you want it.

Ordinance & Law — pays the increased costs of repairing or rebuilding your home that are a result of changes in local building codes. For example, your home has single paned windows. After a loss, the local building department requires double-paned windows. This endorsement pays for the increased cost required by the new building code.

Packaged Endorsements – often times an insurance company will package the optional coverages people most commonly buy into a single endorsement.  That means for a lower price you can get several optional coverages added to your policy.

There are many more optional coverage and exclusion buy-backs your pennsylvania homeowners insurance agent can explain to you.  Take a few moments to understand them and make good decisions about your protection.

How to protect yourself and your family if you own a boat

September 23, 2010 in homeowners policy, jet ski, liability coverage, pennsylvania boat insurance, pennsylvania boat policies, pennsylvania homeowner's insurance policy, uninsured boaters, watercraft insurance

What you’ll discover in this report:

  • Surprising secrets about what is and what is NOT covered in a standard Homeowner’s Policy for your boat
  • Clear up the common confusion about the different kinds of “watercraft” insurance…most owners don’t know this!
  • How to save money on boat insurance…
  • A special kind of insurance you may need to have…depending on what you do with your boat…
  • Insurance jargon demystified! What are you really getting? Find out here…

They are called pleasure boats or pleasure crafts, but, let’s face it, sometimes they’re a “pain.” They are expensive, to say the least — and potential danger comes with the pleasure.

They are, after your house(s) and maybe your car(s), possibly your most valued assets. You can choose to own and operate a boat, yacht or Jet Ski without insurance (although some marinas and yacht clubs won’t let you dock your craft unless you have coverage). However, that’s not a very smart choice. Finding pennsylvania boat insurance is the wise choice

* Note. If you have a Pennsylvania homeowner’s insurance policy you may have some coverage for your watercraft but it is very, very minimal. A typical homeowners policy will pay as much as $1,000 to repair damage to your boat, but — guess what? — that damage has to occur while the boat is at your home. This is not exactly the kind of damage coverage you need. In addition, there may be some liability coverage. Some, but hardly enough.

You could gamble and not buy insurance for your watercraft, but that’s a big gamble. You’re risking not only losing or severely damaging the boat in an accident without compensation, but possibly your other assets if your boat causes damage and/or injuries to other boats and/or boaters.

Lots of Options…How to Choose

First, you need to know that there are three types of “boats.”

  • Anything less than 16 feet long is usually called “personal watercraft” by insurers. This includes Jet Skis, Waverunners, Tigersharks, Wet Bikes and Sea Dog “cycle” style models, as well as Jazz and Rage “mini boats.”
  • “Boats” are 16 feet to 25 feet, 11 inches.
  • Anything at least 26 feet long is classified as a “yacht.”

You will find that insurers have varying appetites for these types of watercraft. For this insurance, smaller is often not better. In fact, personal watercraft tends to be more accident-prone than most kinds of boats and yachts.

Some insurers won’t provide coverage for your personal watercraft at all or will only provide coverage if it is part of a larger policy. Your policy should include coverage for injuries to you and your passengers, the craft itself, liability (for damage and injuries to other crafts and people) and theft.

* Note. If you use your watercraft for water-skiing, you need to get coverage for this exposure as well. (It usually needs to be added to a standard policy.) You can also get coverage for the trailer(s) you use to transport the watercraft.

Insurance for Powerboats, Sailboats

In the insurance world, “boats” are usually smaller powerboats and sailboats. Standard policies for boats cover damage to the craft, usually on what is called an “all-risk” basis. In this case, all-risk includes damage caused by fire, lightning, theft, vandalism and windstorms.

The coverage is usually available for the boat itself, outboard motor(s), the boat’s trailer and personal property on the craft that is part of the normal operation of the vessel. Some insurers offer separate coverage for fishing equipment, cell phones and computers that are aboard the boat.

The standard boat policy also provides liability coverage, which is usually offered in increments of $100,000 to as much as $1 million. Therefore, it is similar to auto insurance liability in terms of what is available.

Many standard policies also cover medical expenses incurred by you, your family and any other passengers on the boat. Some policies also provide coverage for injuries caused by uninsured boaters or by boaters who don’t have enough insurance. If this sounds like uninsured motorist coverage in an auto insurance policy, it basically serves the same purpose.

* Tip. If you’re shopping for boat insurance, it’s wise to consider only those pennsylvania boat policies that offer this coverage. Discuss this with your agent.

Insurance for Yachts

If your watercraft is 26 feet or longer, you will need to buy yacht insurance, which provides basically the same coverage as boat insurance, but the terms are different. Under a boat policy, coverage for damage to the craft is called “physical damage.”

Under a yacht policy, the term is “hull.” Liability coverage under a yacht policy carries the name “property and indemnity,” which insurance people often abbreviate to P&I. As with boat liability coverage, P&I is available in increments of $100,000. Depending on the size of your craft, you can buy P&I limits from $2 million to as much as $50 million.

* Note. Like boat insurance, you should seek a yacht policy that offers coverage for medical payments (for you and your passengers) and uninsured boaters.

The cost of your boat or yacht policy is based on a variety of factors: horsepower; how fast it moves (it can cost as much as 50% more to insure a speedboat than it does a sailboat of similar size); where it is to be used; age of the craft and experience of the vessel’s operator.

* Tip. Insurers often offer premium discounts of 5% to 20% to those boat/yacht owners who have taken an approved boating safety course. (In some states, such courses are required to operate a boat or yacht.) Premium discounts are available, from some insurers, for newer vessels and protective devices (depth finders, ship-to-shore radios, burglar alarms). You can also save money on the policy by electing to take a higher deductible.

Like boating itself, watercraft insurance is not cheap. As such, it truly pays to shop around. There are a lot of different policies and coverage options available. Some policies might be significantly cheaper than others, but they don’t offer the coverages you need.

* Tip. This is a complex area of insurance with lots of options. Talk to your agent. Let him or her assess the many options out there and find the coverage that best suits your needs and best protects your assets

Pa Auto Insurance….Done Dirt Cheap

September 17, 2010 in pa auto insurance, pa auto insurance rate, pennsylvania auto insurance coverage, pennsylvania auto insurance rate

Ok, borrowed a little from AC/DC in that headline.


Here’s my point…I’m seeing ads all over the place for companies pushing the low limit car insurance policies. But do people really know what their getting when they go online or phone in a request for the minimum limit pennsylvania auto insurance rate? I’d have to guess that they are simply looking for a low rate and aren’t concerned with details. I get all that. What I don’t understand is that some companies are specializing in the coverage at minimum limits! As insurance agents I think we have a responsibility to at least tell our customers what they might be risking by taking the minimum pennsylvania auto insurance coverage.


Here’s a brief scenario…you buy the minimum limits on your pa auto insurance policy and you keep that policy for the next five years or so. The day comes when you are involved in a fender bender accident and you were in the wrong…a few minor injuries.  “No big deal” you think…well the other driver has a history of back ailments and starts treating with the chiroprachter right after the wreck. Days turn to Weeks to Months and now you’re being served with papers that he’s sueing you for pain and suffering as a result of the accident. First question…yes he can sue you, and he has up to two years to do it. Second question…yes he will win because you’ve already admitted guilt and your insurance company did also by paying for the damage to his car. Third question…what’s going to happen to you ? Good guess, your insurance will pay 15,000 and then they’re gone…that’s all the coverage you bought and that’s what they’re legally obligated to pay.  If your net worth is in excess of 15K…(not too hard to do) the courts may allow this plaintiff to persue a judgement against you. Reason…you did not act as a reasonable and prudent person should have acted when buying the coverage.


Is it worth it ? You’ll have to be the judge.


What would it have cost to have proper coverage ? the difference between 15,000/30,000 limits with a preferred carrier and reasonable limits of 100,000/300,000 are an average of $40-$60 a year per car.  Ask someone who’s been sued and not had enough coverage if they would have paid an extra $50bucks a year to have the right coverage.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance: How should you switch your auto insurance carrier?

September 12, 2010 in auto insurance, auto insurance coverage, auto insurance in pennsylvania, auto insurance policy, department of insurance, pa auto insurance, pennsylvania auto insurance, regional insurance companies

There’re a lot of reasons a Pennsylvanian resident might choose to switch to another auto insurance coverage. Some people do this just because they’ve had a change in their career, while others think that they can find more affordable rates elsewhere. Then again, some car owners discover that switching the auto insurance company in PA will help save fortunes on auto insurance premiums since they’ve qualified for some kind of group discount offer through another auto insurer. And face it! Some people are pissed off with the kind of service levels or customers support level provided by their current auto insurance. The bottom line is that choosing another Pennsylvania auto insurance company does make sense sometimes.


You perhaps heard of people who switched just because the other company is ready to offer just the same category and level of auto insurance coverage for exactly the same (or lower) cost. It’s really great that these days, you could get 24-hr rate info through many of those toll-free phone numbers or sites. That’s the reason it makes good sense investigating all your options through these channels. Another important auto information source could be the Pennsylvanian Department of Insurance.


If you really want to know whether and how much it makes sense switching to another PA auto insurance company, you should focus more on reviewing your auto insurance coverage on a regular basis for ensuring that you’ve received one of the best of auto insurance value on your investment. To your wonder, you’ll find out that shopping around did pay off! In PA, premiums for similar policies might vary considerably among diverse auto insurance companies. Could you guess what the key reasons are for such price variation? Well, the answer is pretty complicated. Still, they all tend to melt down into a claims experience with other policyholders within your auto insurance coverage group (e.g. people in PA, people who belong to same age group, number of car accidents, and kinds of vehicle).


As for an instance, when a larger group of people within your auto insurance coverage group has filed claims in any given year, chances are high that this will push your rates high as well. As this kind of things happen, some better discounts or lower general premiums might be obtainable at other auto insurance companies. Some US states severely regulate the cost or price of the coverage, though. As you choose to switch the auto insurance policy to yet another company, there shouldn’t be any problem in finding a better one, since it’s pretty easy.


But there’s one word of caution here. You got to get a new auto insurance policy before you quit your current one. It would be miserable to allow a gap intrude in your protection. According to insurance experts, even a day shouldn’t be without protection, as this can call in severe risk in instances where you’re faced with into any accident and claim. Another thing is that, staying uninsured for even a couple days could make your car insurance rate hike dramatically. Like all other US states this is like a rule of thumb for getting auto insurance in PennsylvaniaSo…here’s the long and short of it…you can buy insurance online or on the phone from someone who outsources their service work to india or pakistan or where ever!  Or you can find a local agent who represents a good number of regional insurance companies and get a fair, straight deal up front.  By the way, I outsourced the writing of this article…right up to the part where I got beligerent about outsourcing.