FAQs
FAQs
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Get answers for all your business, personal, life, and group FAQs from Schechner Lifson.

Personal Insurance

Yes, perhaps in this case the term “homeowners” is misleading because this is a package of insurance coverage that extends to all your possessions no matter where they are. If you take a round-the-world vacation and lose a valuable item, as long as the loss is by a covered event or peril, the location does not matter.

The liability component also extends well beyond the boundaries of your home. Should you be found legally at fault for injury or loss to another individual, whether you unfortunately caused a tumble down a San Francisco hill or a fall in an Indiana barn, that is personal liability which again is addressed in your homeowner’s policy.

As in the property section of your homeowner’s policy, there are limits and exclusions to personal liability. Your business activities, for example, are not covered under a homeowner’s policy. You are also not covered for injuries or damage you purposely cause. So, if a fight with a neighbor turns physical and you end up bopping him on the nose, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover the injury or any resulting suit. Your policy lists specific exclusions and limits.

Last updated on October 21, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

The same rule of thumb applies to renters as to homeowners. If catastrophe struck tomorrow, could you afford to replace everything you own? Or if you were sued, would you have enough money to pay legal fees and possibly settle the suit? If not, chances are you would benefit from the protection that renter’s insurance brings.

Renters insurance offers the same general personal property coverage and liability protection as a homeowners policy. Thus, your camera is insured while you are on vacation, and you are covered if your grandfather clock crashes into the apartment lobby’s wall and leaves a gaping hole. In fact, most policies are surprisingly extensive and may include additional living expenses (also called loss-of-use coverage) if you are forced by fire or other damage to live elsewhere.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Yes, liability and coverages for physical damage (i.e. comprehensive and collision) always follow your car. So, if a friend borrows your car and has an accident, you’re still protected against the cost of damages or injuries. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.

The same rules apply when you borrow someone else’s vehicle. Your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you are driving. But the vehicle owner’s policy is the key coverage if you have an accident.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Vehicles are also grouped into categories according to their likelihood of being damaged, vandalized or stolen. Insurers generally consider the size and type of vehicle, as well as the value and the cost of repairs (which can vary greatly, even on vehicles that cost roughly the same). Thus, a new station wagon is expected to hold up better in an accident than a sports car or a subcompact.

Putting insurance aside, safety is key when buying an automobile. Your life depends on it! Some cars are considered safer than others because of their performance record in safety tests and real accidents.

That’s why you should research insurance coverage before you buy your car. It helps you to understand the actual cost and indicates those vehicles with good safety records. Your insurer will ultimately reward you for putting safety first.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Approximately 35 million auto accidents occur each year. If you are involved in an accident, knowing what to do may help alleviate some of the anxiety that an accident causes. At the scene:

  1. Stop your car and get help for the injured.
  2. Have someone call the police or highway patrol. Tell them how many people were injured and the types of injuries. The police can then notify the nearest medical unit.
  3. Give whatever help you can to the injured but avoid moving anyone so you don’t aggravate the injury. Covering an injured person with a blanket and making that person comfortable usually is as much as you can do.
  4. Provide the police with whatever information they require. Ask the investigating officer where you can obtain a copy of the police report. You will probably need it when you submit your claim to your insurance company.
  5. Try to protect the accident scene. Take reasonable steps to protect your car from further damage, such as setting up flares, getting the car off the road and calling a tow truck. If necessary, have the car towed to a repair shop. But remember, your insurance company probably will want to have an adjuster inspect it and appraise the damage before you order repair work done.
  6. Make notes. Keep a pad and pencil in your glove compartment. Write down the names and addresses of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident. Also note the license number, make and model of each car involved and record the driver’s license number and insurance identification. Record the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible, as well as the names and badge numbers of police officers or other emergency personnel. If you run into an unattended vehicle or object, try to find the owner. If you can’t, leave a note containing your name, address and phone number.
  7. Record the details of the accident.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Life Insurance

Although there are several methods for determining an appropriate amount of life insurance, we favor a method known as Capital Needs Analysis. In essence, this method uses life insurance to supplement a person’s current net worth to create a pool of money which, when invested at a conservative rate of return, will generate a sufficient annual income for a family to live in the style to which they are accustomed.

This number should also be reviewed in light of what amount of insurance “feels right”. If a calculated amount of insurance seems to be too much or too little, it probably is.

Finally, of course, the cost of the insurance must be factored as well, remembering that an insurance policy is an annual expense.

In addition to providing income replacement, life insurance is also used to provide liquidity to pay estate taxes or to equalize an estate among multiple beneficiaries. The amount of insurance in these circumstances is a more complicated conversation weighing such factors as previous estate planning, anticipated future tax rates, the asset mix that comprises an estate and projected future asset growth rates. We are well equipped to handle these conversations and invite you to call our Life Insurance Department for a further discussion.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Term insurance provides a basic death benefit. It has no residual or cash value. That is, if an insured dies while the policy is in force, the carrier will pay the death benefit to the beneficiary.

A Whole Life policy, in addition to providing the death benefit, has a cash value component which is money available to the policyholder while the insured is alive. This money can be used for any purpose.

Generally speaking, Whole Life policies will cost more than Term insurance initially, but will cost less over a lifetime.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

When comparing life insurance policies, many people look at the premium. While cost is certainly an important factor, it is not the only factor. When considering Term insurance, other factors include the assumed underwriting classification, underwriting flexibility of the carrier, carrier size, rating, and stability, renewability, and convertibility.

For Whole Life policies, because of the cash value, there are many more items which need to be weighed. In addition to price, carrier size and stability, and underwriting assumptions, you should also look at interest rate assumptions, projected cash values, dividend-paying history, and the sensitivity of the policy to changes in these factors over time.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Life insurance will provide money for your family to live on at your death. Disability insurance will also provide money for your family to live on but the insured has not died. Rather, you are still alive, but not earning any income. You still need to eat, wear clothing, and your medical expenses may be significantly higher. In either situation, income has stopped. If the wage earner has died, expenses have also gone down for the family, where if the wage earner is disabled, expenses have likely gone up.

The chances of a disability are much higher than most people realize. There is a one in three chance that a 45 year old will suffer a disability requiring absences from work of at least three months during his working life.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Employer provided life insurance is a wonderful benefit. Unfortunately, it usually cannot be kept in force should you separate from your employer. It also is usually not a sufficient amount of insurance for most people’s needs.

Life insurance policies and the total amount of insurance should be periodically reviewed. People’s life circumstances change, insurance policies change, new insurance products become available, people’s medical conditions change, etc. We recommend a total review of your life insurance portfolio every three to five years. It may be that everything is well positioned and no changes are warranted.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

A reasonably new policy form, Guaranteed Death Benefit Universal Life, acts much like a hybrid between Term insurance and Whole Life. Its features combine the low cost and low/no residual value of Term insurance with the guaranteed life-long protection of Whole Life. It is rapidly becoming the policy of choice for many people.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Commercial Insurance

From an insurance standpoint, uninsured subcontractors are considered employees. You will be charged for their payroll on workers compensation and general liability audits. Your workers compensation coverage will respond to their injuries, and your general liability coverage may respond to suits brought against them. You can be held liable for failure to carry workers compensation insurance for them (as with employees). You should obtain current certificates of insurance from all subcontractors.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

You could be lacking personal auto coverage. If you are married or live with a relative, you should find out if you are covered under their policy. If not, drive other car and additional PIP coverages can be added to your company’s policy in order to provide you with personal auto coverages. Failure to have these coverages added or be named on someone else’s policy could result in inadequate coverage in the event you are injured in a non-work-related auto accident or you are involved in an accident while driving another vehicle.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

The frequency and time period of rentals and leases may impact your decision. However, your insurance carrier can usually provide coverage, often at a lower cost. This should be discussed with your agent.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

Group Employee Benefits & Health Insurance

If covered under a group health insurance plan that employs six or more employees on a full time basis, the insurance carrier is prohibited from imposing a pre-existing condition exclusion. In the case of a late entrant, the insurance carrier has the right to inflict a six month exclusion for any treatment or diagnosis that was treated in the preceding six months to becoming eligible for coverage.

If covered under a group health insurance plan that employs 2-5 FT employees, the carrier may decline to pay for six months any treatment or diagnosis that was treated in the preceding six months to becoming eligible for coverage.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

If your employer employs 20 or more employees, part-time does not equal one whole person, your insurance carrier through your employer pays as primary. If your employer employs less than 20 employees, Medicare is the primary payer.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

In-network is when you use a medical provider that is within an approved network of physicians. In most cases, covered expenses in-network are covered at a co-payment and/or 100% or 90% coinsurance. The participating provider has agreed to negotiated fees and usually will accept payment from the insurance carrier as payment in full. When utilizing an out of network provider, that provider can charge whatever he deems necessary for their services provided. The insurance carrier will pay their portion, but you as the consumer will be responsible for any balance billing that the insurance carrier does not pay.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation

No. The insurance company charges the same premium whether the plan is a direct sale or brokered sale.

Last updated on October 24, 2011 by Schechner Lifson Corporation