FAQ

Can I pay by credit card?

Petschauer does not accept credit cards, however you can pay several insurance companies by telephone or online. From our homepage, click on btn.pay.ins.co or you can pay Petschauer directly by electronic check. To do so, btn.pay.pet.

Do I need Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Most states, including NY require that all businesses that have a least one part-time employee have Workers Compensation and Short-term Group Disability Insurance. It does not matter if the only employee is a family member. Owners of a business or officers of a corporation are not required to have Workers Compensation for themselves. If you are supposed to have WC and do not, the Workers Compensation Board will impose a $2,000 penalty for each 10-day period for each of these two required insurance policies.

What is Life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract, often called a “policy”, between you and an insurance company to provide money to a person you designate, in the event that you die during the time the contract is in force. In essence, during your lifetime you pay money, known as the insurance “premium”, to the insurance company. It promises to pay money to the persons you name, the “beneficiaries”, at your death. Some types of life insurance also give the policy owner the right to “borrow” a portion of the “cash value” within a policy, or to receive an “accelerated death benefit” if you become terminally ill or require confinement in a long term care facility. Another category of people who might want life insurance are business owners or people with substantial estates. Since these people have needs that require more planning, they should usually consult with professionals or specialists in insurance-related law, accounting or estate planning because legal business agreements or trust documents may need to be drawn-up.

How do “Points” affect my personal car insurance rates & how do insurance companies know if I have them?

In most states, the motor vehicles department has a “point” system, which is used to track accidents and violations that affect status of your driver’s license. Insurance companies have their own point system & will order a copy of your driving and claim history before you purchase a personal automobile policy in order to determine the eligibility and/or rating tier. Your company may also check your driving & claim history when your policy is scheduled for renewal. Each insurance company has its own method of evaluating applicants, so the points on your driving record will have a different impact on the rates you pay for personal auto insurance depending on the insurance company. Also, not only will “moving violations” affect your insurance rates; but also cell phone & seat belt violations are now considered convictions and will affect your premiums. However, parking tickets and other non-moving violations are usually not used by insurance companies to determine rates unless you are in default of paying these fines.

If someone borrows my car, are they covered under my policy?

As a general rule, auto insurance coverage actually follows the vehicle, not the driver. So if your car is involved in an accident, the car typically receives the full coverage provided by the auto insurance policy, regardless of who is driving. Auto insurance policies normally provide coverage for your car if it is driven by anyone to whom you lend your car. Your insurance company may require that certain conditions be met in order for other drivers to be covered under your policy. For example, anyone who drives your car must typically be a licensed driver. Additionally, most insurance companies require that anyone driving your car be doing so with your permission. This doesn’t mean that you have to give explicit permission each time someone takes your car for a spin, but the person driving must have a reasonable belief that he or she is entitled to do so. Because these conditions can vary, it is important to check your policy carefully and make sure you understand any limitations that might apply before you allow others to drive your car.

Do I need Flood Insurance?

Most Homeowners and Business insurance policies do NOT include coverage for the peril of flood. Therefore, to obtain protection against floods you must purchase a separate flood policy. What is a flood? Anywhere it rains, it can flood. A flood is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, broken levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems and rapid accumulation of rainfall. Statistics show that while you only run a 4% risk of suffering a fire in your home, you have a 26% risk of being a victim of a flood during the life of a 30-year mortgage. Also, nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

I don’t own my home, I am only a renter. Why do I need renter’s insurance?

You need renter’s insurance to cover you if any of your furniture, electronics, books, or other personal belongings get damaged, destroyed or stolen. Renter’s insurance also covers you for the important protection called personal liability coverage which may include a visitor being injured in your apartment or your pet damaging other property or causing injury to another person and personal liability protection is world wide coverage. Even if your landlord has insurance, your landlords’ policy doesn’t cover the items that you keep inside your apartment or for your own personal liability. Please go to our “Homeowners” tab for more information or select the “Get a Quote” tab on our Home Page if you are interested in a quote.

Does my Homeowner’s policy cover property that my child took to his college dorm if it is stolen or damaged?

Your policy may provide some limited coverage with limited perils for your child’s personal property kept in their dorm room. Some carriers provide additional riders to include theft, and increase your limits. In addition, some carriers require a scheduled rider for specialty items such as computers, laptops, I-pods, cell phones or jewelry. You cannot assume that your policy includes this type of coverage; therefore, you should call your agent to confirm what type of coverage you do have or require to protect your property adequately. At Petschauer Agency our job is to educate you on what coverages your Homeowners Policy will provide for you so that you can make the right decision.

Does my Homeowner’s policy cover damage caused when a tree on my property fell on my car?

No. Your Homeowner’s policy will not cover the damage to your automobile. If you have comprehensive coverage under your auto policy, that policy will cover the damage caused by this tree. However, any damage to your actual home will be covered by your homeowner’s policy. Also, your policy may either cover the actual removal of the downed tree or a specific limit, depending on the details of the claim.

Is the property I have in my personal car covered for theft under my homeowner’s policy?

A very good question that we hear frequently and the answer depends on the specific county you live in or the addition of the Off Premise Theft Exclusion Rider. In addition, if you do have this coverage on your homeowners policy, a deductible will apply and the property must be personal property and not any type of property you use for your business.

What is Business Owner’s Policy (BOP)?

A Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) has been compared to a Homeowner’s policy for business. BOP’s were first developed in the 1970’s and have become a very popular form of insurance for small to medium sized businesses. BOP’s combine some of the basic coverages needed by a typical small business into a standard package at a premium that is generally less than would be required to purchase these coverages separately. Business owners also like the simplified nature of the package as opposed to buying a collection of small policies. The efficiency also appeals to insurance companies and allows them to offer a lower premium for the package.

Most of the coverages that are needed by small and medium sized businesses, with the exception of auto and worker’s compensation, are generally included. This not only simplifies the process of buying the basic insurance coverages, but often gives a lower premium for businesses that qualify for a BOP. Business owner’s policies basically consist of property coverage, liability coverage and some additional types of coverage that most businesses require. Optional coverages can also be added to meet specific needs of the business.

Typically a BOP policy includes:

Property insurance (covering buildings, equipment and inventory).
Business interruption insurance (covering losses that cause you to shut operations or reduce production for a time). Business interruption insurance can provide money to offset lost profits or to pay continuing expenses (typically for up to a year for insured losses).
Casualty or liability protection (covering harm done by the employees or products to other people or their property).
Crime insurance (covering loss of money or securities resulting from burglaries or robberies or destruction) as well as losses from employee theft or embezzlement.
Liability insurance covering lawsuits arising from accidents (as when someone trips and falls on your business’s property) or when you sell a product that damages the customer’s property or you are accused of offenses such as slander, copyright or invasion of privacy.
Vehicle coverage for rented or borrowed vehicles.

Does a personal or commercial auto insurance policy have to be in the same name as the car loan?

Yes, your finance contract (Loan) always requires that the borrower provide a Full Coverage Auto Insurance Policy on the vehicle being financed to protect the lien holders interest in the property until the loan has been satisfied. It’s a matter of your finance contract. Failure of the borrower to provide the coverage required under the terms of the finance agreement puts the borrower in “Default” on the finance note subjecting the vehicle to repossession and other remedies at the lenders disposal.

Can personal auto insurance companies demand information about people who live with you?

The insurance company can ask you for information that you may feel is not necessary or of a personal nature; however, they have the right to ask about all residents in your household and all residents with driver’s licenses as they may have access to your vehicle on a regular basis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires them to do so as part of the agreement of being a legitimate licensed insurance carrier. Unfortunately, failure to disclose this information is a violation of the terms of your insurance contract and can result in cancellation or non-renewal of your policy.

Do you have to add your child(ren) to your personal auto policy if they drive only on an occasional basis?

The Law requires that all drivers operating a motor vehicle on public roads carry proof of financial responsibility: insurance. There is no exception for those who drive only occasionally. If you occasionally drive on public roads then you need liability insurance on those occasions. Therefore, all licensed household members should be listed on the personal auto policy. Even if it’s an “old car” and you can easily replace it, liability for injury to another person or property is what really can be costly. You, the registered and titled owner of the vehicle and parent or guardian of this occasional, inexperienced operator, is fully responsible for the acts of these drivers. We have seen these acts cost thousands of your hard earned dollars and have seen insurance companies not honor these claims if an unlisted member of your household that is involved in an auto accident with your vehicle. You may be happy to know that the premium charge for these occasional & inexperienced operators are lower than for principle, inexperience operators. In addition, to save on these additional costs, we suggest you have your children enrolled in the Driver’s Education Program in their schools and the National Defensive Driving Programs as well.
Click here to know about the Defensive Driving Program.

Can you use a different address to reduce the cost of your personal auto insurance?

We have seen this practice in the past; however, today it is not only very difficult to accomplish but it is also considered insurance fraud. Insurance fraud doesn’t always result in criminal liability, but under some jurisdictions and with many insurance companies, we have seen claims being denied for this practice. We at the Petschauer Agency understand that the rising cost of insurance is a hardship; however, we can suggest other ways to reduce our clients’ cost.

What is Universal Life Insurance?

A Universal life insurance policy has three components – the death benefits (protection), the expense component, and the cash value component. A universal life insurance policy will differentiate and itemize these three components, which will allow for more flexibility in the policy. The policy owner then has the ability to modify the face amount or the premium rate (under specific guidelines) to meet with changing circumstances and needs in his or her life. Universal life is different than whole life insurance. Universal life is Annual Renewable Term plus cash value (a savings). Look at your universal life policy. First, look on the page that shows your policy number, name, coverage amount, etc. Look to see if you have option 1 or option 2 (it may be under option I and option II, or A,B) If you have option 1 – your beneficiary only gets the Face Amount. Assume you have $100,000 of coverage and $5000 of savings. When you die, your beneficiary only gets the $100,000! However, if you have option 2 (which usually has a higher premium) your beneficiary gets both the face amount plus the cash value. Having that knowledge, who would choose option 1? It’s usually never explained. Also, if you look at the index of your policy, you can look up the definitions of Option 1 and Option 2 — see for yourself. With Universal Life being Annual Renewable Term (plus cash value), the cost of insurance goes up every year because the odds of dying are greater. There is a table that shows your cost of insurance per $1000 of coverage in your policy. Look at how the cost goes up E. But your premium doesn’t necessarily go up. Eventually what happens is that your monthly premium can’t cover the cost of insurance, so the company will take money out of your cash value. (Ever hear it will pay for itself?) Yet, you’ll get to a point where you have no more cash value left, and the premiums are too expensive to continue the insurance. Once again, the insurance company wins.

Can an insurance company terminate your coverage even if you have never filed a claim?

Yes, an Insurer can cancel or non-renew your policy in accordance with your states regulations for a number of reasons. Reasons for a cancellation or non-renewal can include but are not limited to the following: a substantial change in risk factors related to your coverage or the companies capacity for this risk, diminished capacity to accept risks in your region, such as when after a major storm has depleted the insurers reserve funds due to claims or the company is required by law to reduce its insured portfolio. Dealing with an Independent Agent, such as the Petschauer Agency, we are in partnership with a multitude of insurance carriers and if this should ever happen, we will be there to resolve this situation for you.

What is Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance is the simplest, and usually the most cost effective, form of life insurance. Term life insurance provides protection for a specific period of time (or term) and it pays a benefit to your beneficiary only upon your death and during the term of your policy. You may select an annual renewable term, a 5, 10, 15, 20 or even 30 year term depending on your needs at the time of purchase and your age. A term policy does not cover you until age 100 as permanent life insurance policy such as Whole Life and Universal Life Policies do. Here at the Petschauer Agency our life insurance consultants will help you select the right life insurance policy to fit your needs.

How much Life Insurance should you buy?

When you plan to buy a life insurance policy, the factors to consider when deciding on the amount of coverage include funeral expenses, education loans, any pending mortgages or debts, and the financial support your family would need in your absence. Five to ten times your annual income is a quick way to determine amount needed; however, everyone’s financial situation is different and here at the Petschauer agency we are experienced to help you make these decisions.

Why is a trampoline in your yard a reason for your insurance company to be concerned & possibly non-renew your insurance?

Insurance companies consider trampolines to be an extreme liability risk, and we have found that claims arising out of injury while on a trampoline are usually younger children & the injuries are serious and permanent in nature. Your insurance company is not only trying to minimize their risk; however, they are trying to protect your property and assets as well. If you do own a trampoline, be sure to install netting around it to minimize injury and always have adult supervision & set rules when your child invites their friends over to play on it. Also be aware, that your insurance rates may be much higher if you chose to keep the trampoline on premise.

What insurance do you need for a business you operate inside your Home?

Check with your independent insurance agent to see if your existing Homeowner’s insurance policy has any provisions for this exposure or if you can add a rider to extend coverage for you. You will mostly need to purchase a separate In-Home Business Policy or even a Commercial Policy, depending on the type of business, to give you the best protection. You will also need to consider the following:

Equipment insurance – coverage for your computer, laptop, printer, fax machine, etc.

Liability insurance – to protect you against your products malfunction or injury to others

Malpractice insurance – professional protection against losses resulting from professional mistakes

Data insurance – protection for computer files.

Cash – money collected on or off premise.

Does insurance cover damages from termite infestation?

There is currently no insurance protection for damage caused by termites to a structure, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the infestation or the damage incurred. Pest control services offer “service warranties” to their clients that have had corrective or preventative treatments performed to the structure. There is usually an upfront charge for the initial service to correct or prevent infestation and then there is an annual fee to keep the service warranty in place.

If you find bricks pulling away from your home, will insurance pay for the repair?

Generally no, unless it is due to a sudden and accidental event such as a tree falling against your house. Cracks in brick & mortar are generally due to normal & gradual settlement (not covered). They can also indicate foundation problems (also not usually covered unless due to a plumbing leak).

Does your insurance company legally have to give you a grace period after you are cancelled?

Any grace period would have passed before the policy went to cancelled status. Therefore, once the policy is cancelled that means any grace period that may have been afforded will have expired. We suggest using EFT as a method of payment to alleviate this happening at all.

What is Long-term Care insurance?

It is a gift that you give to your family. Long Term Care is the only policy that covers your family if something tragic happens and you can no longer take care of yourself. How does it work? It protects your family in many ways: allows your spouse to supervise your care and not provide care & pay for the care, it gives your children the gift of their own lives by allowing them to continue their life as opposed to setting it aside because your spouse is buckling from the stress of providing and paying for around the clock care for you, and it provides a stream of income to pay for your care. Ultimately, it provides the emotional and physical well being of your family and guarantees your ability to pay for the lifestyle you work so hard for your family to have. Are you between the ages of 45 to 70 and live in fear of getting sick? Call Petschauer Insurance Agency today to purchase this policy.

Is auto theft covered by liability insurance?

Liability insurance covers damage you do to someone else’s property. Therefore, theft to your vehicle would be covered by comprehensive insurance only. In most jurisdictions, liability insurance is required but comprehensive is not.

If someone pays his Homeowner’s insurance for the entire year and then sells the house, will his policy cover the new owner?

Insurance policies are non-transferable; therefore, every new owner needs to purchase their own individual policy. Your insurance needs may not be the same as your neighbor’s insurance needs.

What is the difference between a Claims-made and Occurrence-made liability policy?

Occurrence policy key date is the date of the Occurrence or accident. If that date is during the effective policy period, that policy applies. On claims-made policies, the trigger date is the date the claim is made or the policy holder becomes aware of a claim being made. Claims made policies have what’s called a Retroactive Date – This is generally the effective date of the first claims made policy written. This date means that the insurance carrier WILL NOT pay any claims that occur prior to that date. If that date is during the effective policy period, that policy applies. Generally claims made policies are found in professional liability policies (doctors and lawyers) as well as errors and omissions policies.

What is the difference between Agreed Value and Actual Cash Value?

Agreed Value is an agreement made between the insurer and insured at policy inception confirming that both parties concur that the limit of insurance set forth in the schedule of property is that item’s value, and that agreed upon value is the amount that will be paid by the insurer in the event of a total loss. Actual Cash Value on the other hand is the basis of loss settlement in property insurance policies, which takes into consideration factors such as replacement value less depreciation, market value, rental value, the use of the building, the area in which it is located, obsolescence, assessed valuation, and any other factor that would have an effect upon the value. A working rule-of-thumb definition, however, is “replacement cost new at the time of loss, less depreciation”.

Why do I need loss assessment coverage if I own and Condo or a Co-Op?

A loss assessment is an expense you may incur as a member of a condominium or co-op owners’ association. The association itself typically owns an insurance policy, but can assess its members for damage or liability claims that exceed its own policy’s limits. For example, your building’s roof needs to be replaced after a violent storm. The new roof costs $500,000. Unfortunately, the association’s policy limit for damage to the property is $250,000. The cost difference would be split among the members of the association. Your own loss assessment coverage will pay for assessments the association makes against you because it is underinsured. The standard limit on a typical Condo or Co-Op Policy is $1,000, but you can purchase amounts up to $50,000.

Why should you offer Employee Benefits?

To protect your number one asset your work force. You are in a highly competitive market place and you are subject to immense pressures to deliver profits on one hand and to provide employee benefits on the other. This is where we can help you to look out for the welfare of your employees as we can offer a wide range of plans and benefits to suit various budgets and needs. Remember, a happy staff leads to better morale and greater productivity.
According to research, employee benefits are the second most important concern of working people today, ranking behind job security and ahead of wages. Offering good benefit programs is also an important role to ensure that your company thrives. Allow us to provide you with our knowledge and professional service to give you the information you need to make the best decisions to protect your staff, their families and the future success of your business with such benefits as Group Health Insurance, Group Dental, Group Disability, Group Long Term Care, Group Life and even Group Personal Umbrella.