South Carolina's oldest insurance agency
Q: What happens if I let my auto insurance lapse?
First, you should understand that there is no “grace period”. If your policy expires on May 1, for example, and you have not paid the premium, you have no coverage as of 12:01 AM on May 1. That is one minute after midnight!
If you have an accident at 7:15AM on May 1 while driving to work, you are not insured and would be in violation of state law, as SC law requires all vehicles to be insured while being operated on a public road.
If you let your policy lapse, your insurance company will notify the SC Department of Motor Vehicles and you will be fined $5 for each day you have no insurance (unless you turn in your license tags).
Q: Should I get property insurance even if I am renting?
Yes. A fire can occur in any dwelling, apartment, or condominium. Other losses can occur as well. Without a renters (HO-4) policy, you would be in the position of losing all your possessions and having no financial help to replace your lost items. In addition, everyone needs to have the liability insurance afforded by a renters policy.
Q: What are the state minimum requirements for auto insurance?
$25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury liability and $25,000 for property damage liability, commonly written as $25/50/25. Ask you agent what the premium would be for the next higher limit, like $50/100/50. You may be able to double your limits for only a few dollars.
Q: What would be a good deductible to keep my home owner's insurance premium low but enough coverage in case I do have a claim?
A $500 deductible is the most common. Most companies offer higher deductibles such as $1,000, $2500, and $5,000. My rule of thumb is that you should be able to recoup the deductible difference by the savings in premium in no more than 5 years. For example, you are considering changing your deductible from $500 to $1,000. That is a difference of $500. The annual premium would need to be reduced by at least $100, thus saving you $500 over the 5 year period.
Of course, you must consider whether you could afford to pay the higher deductible out of pocket.
Q: Can I have my home owner's insurance paid with my house payment?
In most cases, yes. This is called escrowing. You would need to discuss this with your mortgage company.
Q: What is the Wind Pool and why do I need this type of coverage?
In the 1970s, many insurance companies refused to provide wind insurance on beach properties due to potentially large hurricane losses. The state thus created the South Carolina Wind & Hail Underwriting Association (Wind Pool) to make wind insurance available for those unable to purchase it on the open market. We do live in an area frequented by hurricanes so all properties should be insured against the peril of wind.
Q: If my personal property gets damaged by water during a hurricane, will my regular homeowner's or renter's insurance cover me?
Tough question as the answer depends on where the water came from. If the water is from rising water like a hurricane or storm surge or heavy rain water accumulating, the answer is no. You would need a flood policy in order to have coverage. The key here is the term “rising”. You must have the separate flood policy to have coverage for “rising water”.
If your roof is damaged by wind and rainwater comes in via the opening caused by the wind, yes, you do have coverage under your homeowners/renters policy (assuming the policy includes wind insurance).
Q: If I do have a claim, does it make my insurance premiums go up after I submit the claim?
On auto policies, the answer is yes in most cases. On other type policies, no.
Q: Do I get any discounts if I pay my bill electronically?
Progressive does give a discount if you pay using the Electronic Funds Transfer method but most companies do not at present
Q: If a hurricane is approaching, can I still purchase home owner's/renter's insurance?
Most insurance companies cease binding insurance when a tropical storm/hurricane watch or warning is issued for your area. However, if the storm is a big one, the companies may stop issuing new policies much sooner, even several days earlier