Spanish Speaking Insurance Agent Worcester, MA

There are many Spanish speaking people in the Worcester, Mass area.

We want our Spanish speaking neighbors to all know we speak Spanish here at Universal Insurance Agency.

We always make sure you get credit for your driving experience in your country of origin. If your date first licensed was in another country we will work to get you the credit.

We have many Spanish speaking Business Insurance customers that come to us for their Workers Comp Insurance and their General Liability Insurance. Many are hard working small business owners that look to us to help them with the right coverage.

They also have trucks and cars they use in their businesses.We have many fine companies like Progressive and Pilgrim for Business Auto policies.

We have a large Spanish speaking population here in Worcester and surrounding towns. Many are taking advantage of the American Dream and we commend these hardworking people. Call us for your Business and Personal Insurance needs.

Hispanic or Latino and racehispanic population graph

So as you see it is a great need here in Worcester to serve the Spanish speaking population for their car, home and business insurance.

Buying Online VS Agent? Having An Agent Has So Many Benefits.

Is buying online VS agent better or riskier?

If you are not well versed in auto or home insurance it is possible to make a big mistake inadvertently when buying insurance online without a local agent. I can’t tell you how many people came into the agency with a policy they bought online and we pointed out a very dangerous coverage mistake.

Imagine if you thought you chose $100,000 for damage to someone else’s property and what you really chose on the drop down menu was $10,000. These people did not realize this is an important coverage because it has the high probability of being used.

This coverage pays to fix what you hit. ( Example- you drive into a guardrail, it is icy and your car slides into a house etc.) You think you have plenty of time to take a left hand turn and did not mean to cut some car coming straight ahead. That car hits you and you get pushed into another vehicle.

One vehicle is a van that carried expensive frozen inventory. Because of the accident, the refrigeration was shut off. The other is a $75,000 Mercedes which hit a light pole in this mess of an accident. If those vehicles ending being totaled you could easily be over $100,000. Yes, the city or town wants their light pole fixed too and you caused the Mercedes to hit it.

Another coverage that I see overlooked is because the insured did not realize they need to choose Substitute Transportation to replace their car while their vehicle is being fixed. Yes…you need that coverage if you would be inconvenienced without a car for a week or 2 while your car is being fixed. The substitute transportation coverage cost approximately $6-$8 extra a month. (more or less depending on the town or age and experience of driver)

The best 2 stories I have this past year is that I noticed 2 clients that were charged with accidents that were easily not their fault. I asked if they received the surcharge notice with the form they needed to fight the points if they feel they have a could case. We called the Merit Rating Board requesting another one be sent to them. They filled it out and sent their $50 and received their date for a hearing.
Bottom line is both customers won and had a lot of money refunded from the prior year plus their policy went down in the current term.

Agents have eyes to see what you may miss. Call us today for a free quote. Really think hard about Buying Online VS Agent.

A good agent can be your best decision because he or she watches out for you.

Tips For Negotiating A Total Loss Car Accident

If you totaled your car then here are some helpful tips to negotiate the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle.

Actual Cash Value vs Replacement Cost

The actual cash value is usually not going to be what it costs to replace a car. So maybe you had a major accident and the car is totaled, the price tag to buy a new car will always be more than what your totaled car was worth at the time of the accident.

Instead of choosing the actual cash value option on a policy if the policy has that endorsement, choose coverage that provides for replacement value. This is why it is important for you to read your paperwork and do your homework when purchasing a policy. When the policy comes in there are explanations of extras you can buy like Replacement Cost but there is a price and many people are not willing to pay it.

For future reference replacement cost in many cases, not only is payment provided to purchase a new car, but additional expenses like sales tax,
title and transfer fees may also be included, although you may have to ask for these expenses to be included or covered. Replacement value car insurance is certainly much more expensive than accepting actual cash value coverage. However, for many people, the added premium is well worth it when they consider the expense of replacing their vehicle.

the Actual Cash Value Determined?

One of the ways the value of an asset is determined is to calculate or decide what the replacement cost of a car would be, then deduct an appropriate amount for the age and wear of the car. By definition in court cases, the replacement cost is described as “the entire cost of complete repair or replacement of an asset–taking no deductions for depreciation.”

This indicates clearly that the replacement cost is higher than Actual Cash Value. So the replacement cost is calculated, then deductions are made to arrive at the actual cash value of an asset such as a car.

Sometimes this definition favors the insured, and sometimes the insurer. For example, imagine a car with an estimated value of $14,000 is destroyed in a tornado. The insurer has defined the actual cash value as the cost of replacing the car minus deductions for age.

Replacing the car often costs more than the car it is worth at the time, particularly if it had high mileage or a great deal of wear.
The cost of new cars goes up over the years, and cars always depreciate over time.

If the replacement cost is higher than the car is worth on the market–say it costs $23,000 to replace with a brand new car, then the insurer
ends up with a higher settlement using the replacement cost method to determine actual cash value.

Tips To Negotiate the Actual Cash Value of Your Car

These are some tips for helping Policy Owners to figure out how to use knowledge of the system for a reasonable offer from an insurer.

The below was offered at carsdirect.com

  1. Figure out how your insurer defines actual cash value. Part of the problem in negotiating a good actual cash value for a vehicle is that each insurer uses their own proprietary methods to get what they give you as ACV. In order to provide your own counter-estimate, you’ll want to know as much as possible about how they came to their figures.
  2. Use online car valuation sites to get a good actual cash value estimate.Online car value sites provide solid, well defined, and commonly recognized value estimates for nearly any vehicle on the American roadway. Take a look at sites like the Kelley Blue Book company site to get what many would consider a fair resale price for your vehicle.
  3. Look for local examples in classifieds or elsewhere. Another way to provide solid valuation evidence is to look for ongoing deals from local dealerships for used cars similar to yours. You can use the sale prices offered by the dealerships as an indication of actual cash value for your vehicle.
  4. Include information on features and other value conditions. Low mileage, excellent interior and exterior condition, and handy features should be pointed out to your insurer as “value points.” Make sure they know about features that you have added to your vehicle after purchase, such as enhanced sound systems, that may add value.
  5. Stay involved. Negotiating actual cash value, just like a lot of other insurance documentation, is mostly just the process of communicating and staying in touch with the insurer to eventually wrangle out a deal. Those who give up easy will find themselves settling for the lowest possible value and partial payouts from insurers who are slow to comply with their responsibilities in the event of a claim.
  6. Find out about actual cash value. The term itself just refers to how much a vehicle is worth in sale, but it’s the way actual cash value is used that leads to some problems with negotiating a fair deal when you need to collect from an Auto Insurance Company after a total loss.

Are Disasters Like Hurricanes Covered By Home Insurance?

It Seems Like Disasters Are Becoming More Common.

Which perils otherwise known as disasters are covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Standard home insurance policies typically cover a range of ever present disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, fire, lightningHurricanes and Homeowners Insurance strikes and winter storm damage caused by weight of ice and snow. Most homeowners policies cover all the disasters listed below.

Some Homeowners Insurance provide coverage for the first ten in the list. It is important to review your home insurance for the specific disasters.

WHAT TYPE OF PERILS ARE YOU INSURED FOR?

Dwelling & Personal Property

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircraft
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling object
  12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)
  17. MOST LIKELY EXCLUDED- flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accident, landslide, mudslide, sinkhole and others specified in your policy. Check your policy for a complete list of perils excluded.

So What Is Probably Not Covered As A Disasters

Floods: Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP ( 888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.

You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement.

Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.

Earthquakes: Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority. In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.

Maintenance damage: It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

SEWER BACK-UP: Sewer backups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from major downpours are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. Those types of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.”

Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.

Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way.

Water Exclusions On Most Homeowner Policies

Did you know about these Typical WATER Exclusions in most Homeowner Insurance Policies?

  • (1) Flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind;
  • (2) Water which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows from a sump; (ask about an endorsement that can be added)
  • (3) Water below the surface of the ground, including water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure.

If you study your homeowners policy you will find the following comforting words. Direct loss by fire, explosion or theft resulting from water damage is covered.**  Yeah!!!

Do not blame your agent for the way the Homeowners policy is written. The Us Government is in full cooperation on the issue of excluding Flood Coverage on Homeowners Policies. A great site to learn more is https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/

The point is people may not realize what is and is not covered when it comes to water and I believe it is better to research if your policy has an endorsement for some of the water issues or if you do not have the coverage. You, the insured, are ultimately responsible to read your policy (but how many take the time until it is too late?)

Exclusions are usually found on around page 115 or so. If you download your policy as a PDF you will easily find any search term by Control F within the PDF of your Homeowners Policy. Knowledge is power so keep your policies on your computer.

Ask your agent about a Flood Policy from  FEMA if you worry that some of the above exclusions could cause serious financial hardship.

For more insight into Homeowner Policy Exclusions follow our other blog titles to come.

Author- Diane Goselin- Massachusetts Licensed Insurance Agent

Newly Wed Auto Insurance Tips To Save Money

Auto insurance savings might not be at the top of your newly wed tasks but there are some car insurance benefits to be reaped for newly weds. Auto Insurance Policy consolidation is a smart money saving move. This will simplify the billing process and could save you money.

Electronic Funds transfer payment (EFT or also called EZ pay) is smart too so you can avoid late charges and worse yet a cancellation notice.Insurance companies keep track of late notices and cancellation notices They think that as a more responsible person with their finances is a better insurance risk.

Call us at Universal Insurance Agency Inc to see if you qualify for additional discounts.

For example, if you’re going to insure more than one vehicle you could receive a multi-car discount. If you insure your home or have a renters policy with the same company, you might receive a multi-line discount. These discounts can add up to substantial savings.

Guys under age 25? Insurers can tend to give more favorable rates if you are married. Car insurance rates for unmarried men under age 25 are higher than aver age because they’re considered high-risk by insurers (the statistics bear this out). Premiums usually go down for men under 25 when they get hitched. If you’ve recently gotten married or are getting married soon, give your insurance agent a call to help you save on all your insurance. Congratulations on your marriage …by the way!

Can I Buy A Car Or Insurance With My Learner’s Permit?

We thought this was a great question to share.

Can I buy car insurance with my learner’s permit? Because I want to buy a car  and I haven’t got my driver license yet.

ANSWER: You can own and insure a car in Mass but you must have a person to List besides yourself as a licensed Mass Driver. Not all companies will allow but we have one that will allow this.

Let me know if you want a quote.

I will need the person’s license number  who you will list as the licensed driver. You will notice once you inform the Insurance Agency or Company that you have obtained a Driver’s License the insurance premium will go up. This is because you are not a listed driver on the policy until you get your license. The experienced person you listed as the licensed driver was rated but now you as the new driver will be rated.

It is important to follow the rules:

  • The holder of a Learner’s Permit may operate a motor vehicle upon any way when accompanied by an operator duly licensed by his state of residence, is 21 years of age or over, who has had at least one year of driving experience and who is occupying a seat beside the driver.
  • A Permit holder who is under the age of 18 may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:00 a.m. (midnight) and 5:00 a.m. unless accompanied by his parent or legal guardian, who must be a licensed operator with at least one year of driving experience and whose license or right to operate is not revoked or suspended.
  • The holder of a Learner’s Permit may not operate in another state if it is in violation of that state’s law.
  • The holder of a motorcycle Learner’s Permit (Class M) may not carry passengers and may not operate after sunset or before sunrise.
  • The holder of a Learner’s Permit must be in physical possession of the Permit when operating a motor vehicle

Whose Stuff Is Not Covered Under Home Insurance Policy

Beware of coverage loopholes like whose property is NOT covered under your Homeowners Policy.

Are Domestic Partners and their “stuff” Covered under a Homeowners Policy? Let’s look at who is considered an insured on your homeowners Insurance Policy? Picture of Whose Stuff Is Not Covered Under Home Insurance Policy If a couple has been living together at least a year then one of our companies allows the Domestic Partner Endorsement on for free but your agent has to be aware of this to even let you know about it. You should let your agent know if you have a domestic partner. It is your responsibility to read your policy and know who is considered an insured.

If you are living with a significant other then ask if there is an endorsement called Domestic Partner Endorsement. You would not want your significant other’s cloths, furniture, jewelry (careful about how much jewelry is covered without scheduling it!), computer, TV etc not to be covered if there was theft, fire and other perils…would you?

It is very clear in homeowners policy language whose stuff is covered.

From A Mass Homeowners Policy:

DEFINITIONS
A. In this policy, “you” and “your” refer to the “named insured” shown in the Declarations and the spouse if a resident of the same household. “We”, “us” and “our” refer to the Company providing this insurance.

5. “Insured” means:
a. You and residents of your household who are:

  • (1) Your relatives; or
  • (2) Other persons under the age of 21 and in the care of any person named above;

b. A student enrolled in school full time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of:

  • (1) 24 and your relative; or
  • (2) 21 and in your care or the care of a person described in a.(1) above; or

C. Coverage C – Personal Property

1. Covered Property
We cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world. After a loss and at your request, we will cover personal property owned by:

  • a. Others while the property is on the part of the “residence premises” occupied by an “insured”; or
  • b. A guest or a “residence employee”, while the property is in any residence occupied by an “insured”.

Every company may be different so read your policy.

The easiest way to look up what you want to know is get your policy in PDF format on your computer and search the document by control F. Then type in the word you are wanting to know more about or the coverage you want to know about.

Call us at Universal Insurance Agency and let us help with your coverage on Home, Auto and Business.

By Diane Goselin
Mass Licensed Insurance Agent
www.UniversalInsAgency.com

What Don’t Business Operations Policies Cover?

BOP policies (short for business operations policy)

Before answering the question what a BOP does not cover let’s talk about the BOP for a minute. BOP Policies are a great way to protect small and medium size business owners from many unfortunate losses.

a group of business professionals discussion BOPs

The BOP has a  combination of coverage for both major property and liability risks – it is nice that combination together offers an all in
one insurance policy package.

A BOP can be cheaper than buying two policies separately.

Generally the BOP covers property insurance for buildings and contents, business interruption coverage, and liability protection for losses caused by the business owner or her employees.

BOPs include:
My warning to business owners about the BOP is that it is NOT an all risk policy like the standard form Commercial General Liability.

In an all risk policy, generally all risks are covered unless excluded by specific policy language. On the other hand, a BOP policy is a covered-peril policy.  It only covers those perils specifically set out in the policy terms.

What Does a Business owners Policy (BOP) Cover?

  • Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the company — there are two different forms, standard and special, which provides more comprehensive coverage.
  • Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business.
  • It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.
  • Liability protection, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others.
  • This harm is a result of things that you and your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.

What Don’t BOPs Cover?

Business Operations Policies don’t cover:

  • professional liability
  • auto insurance
  • worker’s compensation
  • health and disability insurance.
    You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles and your employees.

Give us a call at Universal Insurance Agency in Worcester, MA for us to give you a quote or to look over the policy you have to make sure you have what you need.

5 Things To Teach Your Teen About Auto Insurance And Life

How can a parent help their teen realize being responsible can save boatloads of money especially in Auto Insurance? This bit of advice can set your child up for a successful start to accumulating money for good things like a down payment on a home instead of high cost insurance due to mistakes made by youthful indiscretion. At the end of this article is a link to visually show your child the difference over a lifetime including Mortgages, Car Loans and Credit Cards.

This does not even include the effect of higher Insurance cost on Home and Auto. What they need to see is without the insurance cost even in the calculation that Excellent credit was $406,367 over a life span and bad credit was $788,875. Add another $50,000 at least to difference in Insurance over a lifetime I would guess.

proverbs 10:1 image

1. Live by commitments, not by feelings.

Let’s look at a sober minded parentally coached new driver that committed to some agreements for the privilege of driving either a car their parent owns thus insures or maybe just helps pay for. He or she takes advice compared to one that knows it all and thinks they can speed, text while driving and break the rules.
Help your teen know what they do can change your life as a parent that is legally responsible in many ways for their actions.

A policy in Worcester, Mass for a driver with less than 3 years but has 5 points will cost an easy $5000 to $6000 a year until those points drop and the driver goes over 3 years and then 6 years with many companies.

2. Seeking wisdom—skill in everyday living. Knowing how to make good decisions.

If that young person lets their insurance lapse that is a black mark because the Insurance carriers see that as irresponsible thus they think this person is more likely to get in an accident, maybe be fraudulent or act in other foolish ways.
It would be a great help to help your young adult know they are judged on the way they handle their lives. This is from credit, to how they drive, to their grades. A good student is given credit on their policy if under 6 years driving by most companies either on their parents policy or their own.

3. Choices are yours to make and results are yours to experience.

a cartoon of a man cutting a branch

Do you see how irresponsibility makes it a tougher go? EVERYTHING costs more!
Your car loan, your mortgage, your insurance.

The young adult that pay attention, resists speeding, has the patience to stop at stop signs etc[ will see their insurance rates head down more and more over the years. On the other hand the example of the person that keeps getting tickets, accidents and cancellation notices is just going to continue to pay through the nose. They are proving themselves to be less responsible.

4. Keep your promises.

Before handing over the keys talk about some agreements. Talk about how peer pressure is really just a test of your backbone and resolve. When family identity is strong peer pressure is weak. Remember …teenagers do not rebel against authority they rebel against a lack of relationship.

5. Character is the basis of all leadership.

Good driving habits, obeying laws that are there for the safety of all,
paying your bills and handling money responsibly shows character.
A leader will carry the knowledge that good decisions are better for his or
her life. Giving in to any peer that pressures you to do anything that could
result in paying for years to come or your whole life is where the leader is
separated from the follower. See the Lifetime Cost To Debt Tool.