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Frequently Asked Questions

from Cowart Insurance Agency

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions and information. If you have a question that is not addressed here, or if you need more information, please contact us.


Questions


Questions

top How do I pay my bill?

Insurance companies have the ability to accept online payments or payments by phone. The payment center phone numbers or online payment links can be found here.


top How do I report a claim?

Many of the Companies that we represent have 24 hour claim service. To see a list of the numbers for all of our Insurance Claims Centers click here.


top Can you tell me about Auto-Owners Insurance company?

Here are a couple of You Tube videos that will give your a feel of what Auto-Owners is all about. As a company they have a AM Best rating of A++. They have also been ranked #1 in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power for 2008 and 2009, 2010 & 2011!

Video Clip 1

Video Clip 2


top How do I find out an Insurance Companies financial rating?

Great question! Here is a link to the A.M. Best insurance rating site. It gives detailed information. You should always maintain your insurance coverage with a financially stable company. The system of rating for A.M. Best is similar to a school grade. This means the higher the A the better the rating!


top Are there advantages to purchasing your insurance through an Independent Insurance Agent?

By using an agent to purchase insurance, the policyholder receives more personal service. An agent with whom there is direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim. A local, independent agent is able to deliver quality insurance with competitive pricing and local personalized service.


top How much Car Insurance do I need?

Auto insurance blends several types of coverage into one policy. Typically, your policy will include some combination of comprehensive, collision, medical, liability and uninsured motorist coverage.

So what do you need? It depends on your specific situation. Liability pays for the damage you cause to others if your car is involved in an accident. It also protects you from being wiped out financially if you are sued following an accident. The greater your assets, the more you stand to lose. If you have substantial financial resources, you may need liability coverage that exceeds the coverage that you’ll get from an auto insurance policy. In that case, a Personal Umbrella can provide the extra liability protection you need.

Collision covers damage to your car from an accident. We can help you decide whether or not to carry collision coverage by balancing the cost of collision insurance with the value of your car. It might not be worth paying $200 a year for collision insurance on a car that’s worth only $1,000. But if the car is worth $10,000, you probably want this coverage.

Comprehensive coverage pays for your car if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in some way other than in a collision. Medical coverage provides for medical expenses to you and your passengers that are the result of an accident. The way you use your car may make a difference in the amount of medical coverage you need. For example, we might suggest more coverage for a parent who regularly takes a carload of kids to soccer practice than for a driver who expects to drive mostly alone.

Keep in mind that many states require certain minimum levels of coverage. We’d be happy to talk with you about these and other factors.


top Who should purchase my Car insurance from?

There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing any product or service, and insurance is no different. Here is a checklist of things you should consider when purchasing automobile insurance.

1. Base your decision on value. This is more than simply the lowest price. The premium you pay should be compared to the claims and policy service, protection and advice you receive. Independent agents, and the companies we represent, deliver excellent value.
2. Purchase the amount of liability coverage that makes sense to you.
3. You should decide which optional coverages you want. For example, do you want optional physical damage coverages or is the market value of your car too low to warrant purchasing them.
4. Once you have decided what you want in your automobile insurance policy, you can now decide from whom you would like to purchase the insurance from.
5. We do not recommend that you purchase insurance directly from an insurance company. We believe that you should have the advice of an independent insurance agent. Call us today at 770-339-0447!


top What information do I need to add, change or remove a car from my policy?

To CHANGE a car on your policy please call or email us the following:

  • Your name and policy number
  • Your phone number
  • Year, make and model of the car to be added
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN number)
  • Driver’s date of birth and license number
  • Date you want this change to be effective
  • Name that will be on title
  • Name and address of loan or lease company
  • What coverage do you want on the new car
  • Year, make and model of the car to be removed

To ADD a car to your policy please call or email us the following:

  • Your name and policy number
  • Your phone number
  • Year, make and model of the car to be added
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN number)
  • Driver’s date of birth and license number
  • Date you want this car added to your policy
  • Name that will be on title
  • Name and address of loan or lease company
  • What coverage do you want on the new car

To REMOVE a car from your policy please call or email us the following:

  • Your name and policy number
  • Your phone number
  • Year, make and model of the car to be removed
  • Date you would like the car removed

Our phone number is (770) 339-0447 or email us at


top Are there ways I can lower my Car Insurance bill?

There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your automobile insurance. The easiest thing to do is ask us to get quotes from several companies for you.

It is not uncommon to find quotes on automobile insurance that can vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same car. When you shop, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering the same coverage.

Another way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to look for any discounts for which you may qualify. For example, many insurers will offer you a discount if you insure multiple cars under the same policy, or if you have had a driver education class in the last five years. Many insurance companies are currently using the term bundling to describe multi-policy discounts. Be sure to ask us about any additional discounts for which you may qualify.

Another easy way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to increase the deductible. Simply raising your deductible from $500 to $1000 can lower your premium sometimes by as much as ten percent.


top How much Home Insurance do I need?

The cost to rebuild your home is its replacement value. This can be very different from the estimated market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one. This is an important insight into why your Dwelling (Coverage A) limit is so important.

Deciding How Much Insurance is Enough

We’ll work with you to estimate the replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from time to time as needed.

It is critical that you provide us with accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your dwelling limit accurately reflects your home’s true replacement cost, some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is greater than the limit on your policy. Ask us if Home Replacement Guarantee or Extended Dwelling Coverage, is available in your state.

Once a review of your home and possessions indicates you are properly insured, it’s a good idea to reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially whenever you make additions or improvements.

Be Sure You Have Enough Insurance

Here are some steps you can take to reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:

Call us. If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy, ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked information.

Read your policy. Items such as Jewelry, Fine Arts or Colletibles, are better insured separately. Certain perils, such as earthquake or flood, are not covered under a standard policy and must be purchased as additional coverage. Knowing what is covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there is anything in your policy you don’t understand, contact your agent and ask for an explanation.

At each annual renewal of your policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.

Consider carefully whether your policy provides all the protection you need. Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy limits?

Find out whether your insurance company will stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim. Some companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.

Does your policy include replacement cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.

If you have an art collection, antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, talk to your agent about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra protection, and often the deductible is waived.

Consider whether you should have more coverage for personal property (contents) than your policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the coverage limit for the structure. Your limit may be lower than 70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional premium.

Prepare an inventory of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also help ensure you don’t forget some items. We can advise you on ways to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the sound track.

Besides making sure you have enough protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents, you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a person, not a member of your household, for which you can be responsible. In recent years it’s become common for homeowners to be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a terrible burden on you and your family.

The Personal Liability coverage provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of $100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of this coverage is usually very reasonable.


top What government organization deals with National Highway Safety?

Here is a link to the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
NHTSA


top Is there a Mature Safe Driving program in Georgia?

There is a Mature Safe Driver Course in Georgia. Take a look at:
Georgia Mature Driver Program


top What is a good resource for Car Safety information?

The Safer Car Website is a great tool to research information on car safety. It is also an excellent resource to check on Car Seat Safety guidelines and recalls.
National Highway Transportation


top Is there a AARP Safety Course online?

Check out:
AARP


top How much Life Insurance do I need?

Life insurance is a crucial step in planning for your future. Not only can life insurance fulfill promises made to your family if you are no longer around, there are several life insurance policies that provide benefits while you are living.

Determining Your Need
The need for life insurance is dependent on your own personal and financial needs. We can assist you in determining what type and amount of life insurance is appropriate for you. Generally, you should consider life insurance if:

  • You have a spouse
  • You have dependent children
  • You have an aging parent or a physically challenged relative who depends on you for support
  • Your retirement savings are not enough to insure your spouse’s future against a rising cost of living
  • You have a sizable estate
  • You own a business

There are benefits of life insurance other than providing for your loved ones in case something happens to you:

  • The cash value earned and borrowed from a permanent life insurance policy can be used to help with large expenses, such as a college education or down payment on a home.
  • The growth of a cash-value policy is tax-deferred — you do not pay taxes on the cash value accumulation until you withdraw funds from the policy.
  • Life insurance can be used to cover funeral expenses and pay estate taxes — consult your tax advisor agent for more information.

Life Changes – So Should Your Policy
Your need for life insurance is dependent on your personal and financial needs. As your life changes, your life insurance coverage may need to change as well to adapt to your current needs. Some life changes that may require a policy “tune-up” include:

  • You recently married or divorced
  • You have a new child or grandchild
  • Your health or your spouse’s health has deteriorated
  • You are providing care or financial assistance to a parent
  • Your child or grandchild requires assistance or long-term care
  • You recently purchased a new home
  • You are planning for a child or grandchild’s education
  • You are concerned about retirement income
  • You have refinanced your home mortgage in the past six months
  • You or your spouse recently received an inheritance

top What type of Life Insurance best fits my needs?

The answer will vary depending on your circumstances, need for the coverage, timing of the purchase and how much you are willing or able to spend. The best way to determine the right policy is to sit down with a qualified insurance professional to review the key points of your particular situation. This can be done through a very short (30 minutes or less) interview to determine your needs.


top How much Life Insurance should I buy?

As a “rule of thumb” you should purchase an amount of life insurance equal to 6 to 8 times the annual earnings. However, many factors should be taken into account in determining a more precise estimate of the amount of life insurance needed. Important Factors include:

1. Income sources (and amounts) other than salary/earnings
2. Whether or not the individual is married and, if so, the spouse’s earning capacity
3. The number of individuals who are financially dependent on the insured
4. The amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and from an employer sponsored life insurance plan
5. Whether any special life insurance needs exist (e.g. mortgage repayment, education fund, estate planning need) etc.

It is recommended that a person’s financial professional be contacted for a precise calculation of how much life insurance is needed.


top My Mortgage company has mailed me some Life Insurance information. Should I buy it from them?

Most likely your mortgage company is offering something called “mortgage protection life insurance” or “decreasing mortgage protection” or a similar title. This sort of protection is a basic term life insurance policy that usually has a level premium, but the death benefit pays off your mortgage loan at your death. This level premium may or may not reflect the decreasing death benefit. What that means is that you will be paying the same premium each year for a death benefit that is decreasing over time (as your mortgage decreases with payments). This is the case with any sort of “credit life insurance”, insurance taken out in conjunction with an installment loan. There may be better alternatives. You should talk to your insurance professional before purchasing any type of coverage to see what other alternatives are available.


top What if I already have Life Insurance coverage through my employer?

That’s great, and it’s wonderful that you are fortunate enough to have an employer that recognizes the value of life insurance coverage for you and your family. Be sure to find out from your employer if this coverage is ‘portable’, meaning you can take your policy with you when you leave the company or become disabled. Not all policies are portable. When talking to your insurance professional, be sure that he or she knows you have this type of coverage so that can be factored into any determination of your additional needs.


top Why should I purchase life insurance coverage on my children or my spouse?

Your priority is to provide for your family. This should be your priority when considering life insurance as well. You must have the means to take care of your financial obligations, as well as providing care for your children should your spouse die.

The opportune time to buy life insurance for your children is when they are young and the rates are low. This enables them to continue the coverage when they are grown with financial obligations of their own. This also protects their “insurability”, should they develop any sort of health problem later in life. There are many types of policies that can be made into “family plans” at a lower cost than separate coverages for each individual. Talk to your insurance professional to determine your needs.

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770-339-0447
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1000 Hurricane Shoals Rd NE Suite B-600
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043
770-339-0447
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