Does my credit rating influence my pennsylvania car insurance rates?

November 29, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, car insurance in bradford, car insurance in bradford pa, car insurance rates, credit history, credit report, credit score

Yes, most Pa insurance companies do review your credit rating when determining your pennsylvania car insurance rate. According to a recent survey by Conning & Co., a Hartford, Connecticut-based insurance research firm, 92 percent of all insurance companies use credit information when underwriting new policies. However, your credit rating is not the only factor that insurance carriers consider when determining your insurance rate. They also look at your driving record, what type of vehicle you are insuring, your age, your gender, where you live, and other factors.

Insurance companies include your credit rating when determining your insurance rate for several reasons. Carriers have found a correlation between a person’s financial history and their future insurance loss potential. Your financial history helps them to classify you according to your potential risk. Your credit history helps the insurance carrier to underwrite the policy at a cost that accurately reflects your specific risk.

Insurance companies are not discriminating against specific people or population groups by using credit reports when underwriting auto insurance policies. Credit scores are strictly based on objective financial data, they are not based on your gender, age, race, where you live, how much money you make, where you work, what type of job you have, or whether you are disabled.

To understand how your credit rating affects your insurance premiums, we need to discuss certain credit terms and what they mean. Those terms include credit report, credit score, and insurance credit score.

A Credit Report

A credit report contains information regarding your credit history. It notes whether or not you have missed or been late on your payments in the past, and how late you were. It lists any credit card accounts and current balances you may have, as well as past credit card accounts, even if those accounts have been closed or canceled. It also lists your auto loans, mortgages, and any other sort of loan or credit which you have been issued, along with balances and how diligent you are about making the payments. The number of times you have recently applied for credit will be available to view, along with information on any collections and past due accounts.

Credit Score

A credit score is a number that represents your calculated measure of credit risk. Credit scores are the result of a complex mathematical formula that takes into account numerous factors in your credit history. Put simply, your credit report is scored against millions of other people’s reports, generating consumer credit scores. Credit scores are affected by elements in your credit report, such as:

  • Number and severity of late payments
  • Type, number and age of accounts
  •  Total debt
  • Public records

Insurance Credit Score

The insurance credit score, like a credit score, is numerical and based on the applicant’s credit history. Credit-based insurance scores “are numerical summaries of consumers’ credit histories.” They are usually calculated using information about (1) past delinquencies (e.g., bankruptcies); (2) debt ratios (i.e., how close a consumer is to his or her credit limit); (3) new credit inquiries or applications; (4) the length of credit history; and (5) the use of certain types of credit (such as automobile loans). The score usually incorporates other factors, such as an applicant’s age, gender, geographical area, number of previous accidents, and number of traffic infraction tickets received.

 

 

Educators Legal Liability Coverage for the Religious School

November 26, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, church counselors liability, church insurance, educators legal liability coverage

In today’s society, educators have more to deal with than simply coming up with lesson plans and making sure that their students learn those lessons and have the best tools with which to approach the rest of their life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an educator in a public school system or work for a private or religious school, the challenges are all the same. However, when it comes to private religious schools, the insurance coverage that educators are required to carry is a bit different than that for public school educators.

The Key Difference between Public and Religious Schools

When it comes to liability, the main difference between public and religious schools is that public educators are protected from legal liability by the school system itself. In other words, if a teacher in a public school environment acts in an egregious manner, causing harm to a student, then that teacher may be disciplined by the school system or other governing body, but any legal action brought against the school as far as legal liability is concerned will not be directed at the teacher himself or herself.

Public school systems tend to have massive budgets as they are funded by taxpayers and property taxes, so their monetary means are quite significant. On the other hand, religious schools and private institutions are often limited with their budgets and a major lawsuit has the potential to drive the organization into bankruptcy. Teachers within private organizations, such as a church, are not subjected to the same requirements or standards as public school teachers.

This doesn’t mean that private teachers are less equipped or skilled as educators than their public counterparts, but the protection that these private organizations offer will differ between each private group.

As a private organization, the religious school therefore needs to protect itself in a different manner than that of the public school system. If a public school is held liable for the behavior of one of its teachers, the payments are most often attached to future budgets and therefore there is no need to carry specific church insurance coverage. A religious private school should carry educators liability coverage to ensure that any grievance, real or otherwise, is covered in the event of a lawsuit or claim against the church or organization.

What Coverage is Available?

When it comes to educators liability coverage, there are a number of different types and it’s important to understand what these are so that your religious school or organization has the best coverage possible. Educators legal liability coverage generally covers counseling, educators, employee benefits, employment practices, incidental medical services, and more.

Educators legal liability coverage is designed, at its core, to protect against any wrongful acts, real or perceived, that are committed by the educational staff within an organization. There is a wide breadth of acts that could fall within this liability coverage, including libel, slander, denial of tenure (if offered within the private organization), breach of contract, discrimination, failure to educate, or wrongful termination. As one can see from this brief list of possible acts against an individual, lawsuits or claims that could be brought against a private religious school could come from parents of the students, students themselves, and even the educators who work for the school.

An educator who believes that he or she was terminated for unlawful reasons, whether they are justified or not, could bring a lawsuit against the school and whether or not they would win, the cost of the legal fees can be significant.

Educators Legal Liability Coverage Doesn’t Include Certain Losses

However, the educators legal liability coverage doesn’t include certain losses which may include deliberate acts of theft or fraud. Certain Federal acts or laws that are violated will not be covered under this insurance, nor would other services that are provided to the religious school that fall outside the realm of educational, such as accounting, legal advice, or medicine.

It’s important to understand that insurance of any kind can be a complicate process and the larger the organization, the more complex the coverage that would be needed becomes. The cost for educators legal liability coverage will depend on a number of factors, such as the number of educators as well as students that are enrolled within the school. The number of students that a school would list where it pertains to educators legal liability would include both full and part time students.

Who Should be Covered Under Educators Legal Liability?

While educators are generally covered under this insurance, it’s also vital that the school or organization ensure that the directors and officers, board members, committees, and councils are also covered. The school should also include trustees, appointed officials, and all teachers, from full time to teaching assistants, and substitute teachers.

Sometimes it’s important to cover certain students who volunteer in internship programs as well.

When operating a school or private organization in which young students are being taught or offered instruction of any kind, it is crucial that the group or organization have the proper insurance that will protect its investment and assets, as well as help ensure that those who work within the organization are covered as well.

Educators legal liability coverage is not ideal for every organization, nor is it offered by every insurance provider. That’s why it’s important to find the right insurance provider that can answer any and all questions that you have about educators legal liability. In today’s society, with lawyers at the ready and claims against teachers and staff, or from terminated teachers, etc, there is more of a need today than ever before to be protected against the cost of legal action.

While it may seem to be a burden in the beginning to carry educators legal liability, as with any insurance coverage, the cost of avoiding it for the short term can be more than the private organization can handle monetarily. When you have the need for educators legal liability insurance coverage, contact a qualified provider and find out more.

Why does my insurance cost more than my agent said it would?

November 15, 2012 in auto insurance, auto insurance bradford, auto insurance bradford pa, bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, collision coverage, comprehensive, deductible, driving patterns, higher deductibles, traffic violations, underwriting rules

A “misquote” is what happens when your actual insurance premium costs more than your agent originally estimated. Policy premiums are determined by many factors, including where you live, the kind of car your drive, how much you drive, how much coverage you want, your driving record, and your age. If errors are made when giving this information to your insurance company, you won’t be given an accurate quote.

 

Pa. auto insurance misquotes can also occur if the information you put on your application differs from your actual driving record. Insurance companies verify drivers’ records with the states’ motor-vehicle divisions. If you told your insurance agent you have a perfect driving record, and you don’t, your insurance company will end up charging a higher premium than the one that your agent initially quoted.

To avoid misquotes, provide accurate information about your driving record and any other facts affecting the cost of insurance, such as the make of your car or how far you commute to work. Verify all information before signing the application.

Determining your premiums

The premium you pay consists of a “base rate” plus or minus amounts reflecting your age, gender, marital status, driving pattern, vehicle type, driving record, and claims history. There is a different base rate for each type of car and geographical area. While individual companies may differ in the amounts they assess for each factor, the major rating factors are fairly universal.

  • Your age: Statistics show that, as a group, drivers under age 30 and over 75 have more accidents per mile driven than the general population. Therefore, these drivers are usually charged higher rates, as are families with young drivers in the household.
  • Your gender: Young men are involved in more accidents per miles driven than any other population group. The difference is especially pronounced for male drivers under 30. Insurance companies are allowed to charge on the basis of gender and age where the actual proof of differences in risk exists.
  • Your car: Generally, the more expensive your vehicle, the more you will pay for comprehensive and collision coverage. Also, because sports cars and high-performance cars tend to get into more accidents, cost more to repair, and are more likely to be stolen, they usually cost more to insure.
  • Your location: A higher number of accidents in a geographic area will increase both your liability and collision premiums. Higher crime rates in urban areas can raise your comprehensive premiums. The law allows companies to base your rate on your address (garaging territory), even though you may actually drive in more urban or rural areas.
  • Driving patterns: The more miles you drive, the higher your rates will be. A car used for a total of 7,000 miles a year would normally have lower rates than a car driven 35,000 miles a year. The miles that you commute to and from work is counted in addition to non-commuting, “pleasure” miles.
  • Your driving record and claims history: Most companies apply a surcharge to drivers who have been involved in an accident or convicted of multiple traffic violations. Also, the more claims you have made, the higher your rates are likely to be.

What about my credit rating?

Insurance companies do check your credit rating when determining your insurance premium rate. Statistically, people with poor credit have been found to file more claims than people with good credit. Making sure that you have a good credit rating will help to keep your insurance premiums down.

Things to keep in mind

 

Ask about policy discounts such as multiple policies with the same company, multiple vehicle discounts, airbags, anti-theft device, etc. Also check about any surcharges the company applies. Not all companies will offer the same type of plans or have the same underwriting rules (eligibility/acceptability guidelines). Therefore, it is critical to ask for this information.

 

Make sure you know the length of the policy term. Policies can be six months (semi-annual) or one year (annual), depending on the insurance company.

 

Many Pa insurance companies have their own payment (installment) plans that allow you to pay the premium over a period of time, sometimes for a fee. If you decide to buy a policy on an installment plan, find out the applicable service fees.

 

Ask your agent about higher deductibles on your policy. Higher deductibles on comprehensive and collision coverage will lower your premium costs. Remember, though, that a higher deductible will mean that you have a higher out-of-pocket expense if you are involved in an accident.

 

 

Religious Schools, What kind of coverage do they need?

November 10, 2012 in bradford, Bradford PA, bradford pennsylvania, church insurance, religious school insurance, religious schools

There are many factors to consider when choosing insurance coverage for your religious school.

Education facilities are becoming increasingly high risk. They are generally empty after school hours, on weekends and during school holidays. Schools are prime targets for arson, theft, and vandalism. During school hours, religious schools educate thousands of children each day, and where children are involved, accidents will happen. Employees also suffer from injuries or work related illnesses. Also, state legislation requires workers to be protected by Workers Compensation Insurance.

Religious schools have a responsibility to:

  • Educate students
  • Provide a safe environment for employees and students
  • Provide appropriate educational facilities and reference materials

Each of these responsibilities may invite potential losses or liabilities and therefore require insurance coverage. What insurance coverage does your school need?

Insurance covers for schools fall broadly into three classes: Property, Liability, and Other Benefits.

Property coverage

Basic property coverage applies to physical loss or damage to the school buildings and contents. It can also cover other insured property as a result of fire, explosion, natural disasters, theft, vandalism, or accidental damage. Natural disasters covered can include storms, wind, water, flood, lightning, and earthquakes. Property coverage can also be extended to cover loss of revenue and additional costs to keep the school operating, loss by employee dishonesty, property in transit, machinery breakdown, and electronic equipment.

Other property coverage:

Electronic equipment – This type of insurance covers repair or replacement costs to electronic equipment due to electronic, electrical, or mechanical breakdown. The coverage can extend to insure costs of reconstructing damaged data media and the increased costs of using substitute equipment in order to maintain school business operations.

Employee dishonesty – This type of insurance can provide coverage for the school’s money, negotiable instruments, goods, or other property against theft, embezzlement, or misappropriation by employees.

Major property exposures – Libraries (water and smoke damage), science blocks (explosion), computer rooms (theft), buildings (malicious damage and vandalism), air conditioning (breakdown), and construction ( storm).

Liability coverage:

Directors’ and officers’ insurance – This coverage protects directors or officers from claims made against them of a wrongful act committed or alleged to have been committed in their capacity as a director or officer of the school. A wrongful act is defined as “any actual or alleged breach of duty, breach of trust, neglect, error, misstatement, misleading statement, omission, breach of warranty of authority, or other act done or wrongly attempted by any director or officer.

Actions may be brought against directors and officers by employees, students and/or parents, competitors, shareholders, creditors, members of the public, etc.

Employment practices liability insurance – This coverage protects the school as well as past and present directors and officers, and all employees.

The policy covers the following:

  • Wrongful refusal to employ an applicant for employment.
  • Wrongful failure to promote an employee.
  • Wrongful demotion, negligent reassignment, or disciplinary action.
  • Wrongful termination of employment, including constructive dismissal.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Unlawful discrimination which may include discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, or social origin.
  • Oral or written publication of material that slanders, defames, or libels an employee or violates or invades an employee’s right of privacy.

The term wrongful in this context is defined as unfair or unlawful.

Worker’s compensation insurance – This class of insurance pays compensation to employees for injuries received during working hours while in the school’s employ, or for work-caused illnesses, such as stress.

Professional indemnity insurance – This policy provides indemnity for claims arising from the rendering of or from failure to render professional advice or service by the school (the definition of insured includes teachers) or any error or omission connected with such advice or service. This type of policy can include: breach of professional duty, libel and slander, loss of documents, fraud, and dishonesty, automatic reinstatement.

Sexual abuse/molestation coverage:

Many churches and social service providers with primary care responsibilities for minors who have become defendants in sexual molestation claims have implemented risk management practices and loss control procedures. These include the screening of all workers, physical plant changes, written policies for interactions with children, and mechanisms for investigating and responding to claims.

Although these improvements have resulted in a downturn in reported incidents, the litigation continues to produce higher expenses, settlements, and jury verdicts. Along with the surge in claim activity and litigation, the need for insurance coverage has risen drastically.

While some of this coverage is on a per occurrence basis, most of the sexual abuse/molestation policies are written on a claims-made basis. The policies tend to have specific provisions addressing the number and the timing of claims.

Most sexual misconduct policies provide coverage only to non-perpetrators, although some do provide a defense (but not indemnity) to those accused of sexual misconduct unless and until convicted.

Sexual misconduct coverage can be included within the policy’s general liability or professional liability coverage insuring agreements or it can be excluded there and added separately as an endorsement.

A typical sexual misconduct coverage insuring agreement provides:

“We will pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of injury arising out of an act of ‘sexual misconduct’ to which this insurance applies.”

Another form of sexual misconduct coverage agrees to:

“Pay those sums the insured becomes legally obligated to pay because of “bodily injury” arising out of:

(1) The actual or threatened sexual abuse, molestation or harassment of any person by, or with the consent or acquiescence of, any insured, any employee of the insured, or any person for whose acts the insured may be held legally liable; or

(2) The negligent:

(a) Employment;

(b) Investigation;

(c) Supervision;

(d) Reporting to the proper authorities or failure to report; or

(e) Retention

Of any insured, an employee of the insured, or any other person for whose acts the insured may be held liable for the actual or threatened sexual abuse, molestation or harassment of any person.

Amanda Hughes – Gifford, Pa

November 2, 2012 in Testimonials

Amanda Hughes

“Jacqueline saved us $945 a year and she did all of the paperwork for us. She is always so sweet and ready to help. Any questions that we have she’s always there with an answer and we couldn’t ask for a better agent. We never hesitate to refer people to the Williams Agency, they are wonderful!!” ”With the money we saved we were able to make some home improvements and have some family fun”