Insurance Glossary and Helpful Tools
At Shelton Insurance, we want to educate you on your insurance. Below, you’ll find links to resources that we think will come in handy.
You’ve Been in an Auto Accident…Now What?
No one plans to have an auto accident, so when they happen, we are caught off guard and a bit shaken up. Your actions immediately following an accident are important. We’ve listed a few key things to keep in mind that can assist you in a stressful time.
- Stop immediately, but do not obstruct traffic
- Assist the injured. Have someone call the police
- Document names and contact information of others involved
- Document the make, model and license numbers of all vehicles involved
- Photograph damage to all vehicles involved
- Make rough drawing of the scene, showing the positions of all vehicles involved
- Remain calm, courteous and consistent with your account of the accident
- Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible
- Do not admit fault
- Do not accept a claim settlement at the scene
- Read all documents carefully before you sign them, and don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation
At the scene of an accident, it is also important to gather as much information as possible, especially the info of the other driver involved. The more details that you have when you turn in your claim, the easier and smoother the process will be. We’ve put together an Accident Worksheet for your convenience. Print one off and keep it in your vehicle, as you never know when you may need it.
Should you be involved in an auto accident, we want to do everything we can to assist you through the process. Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions you may have throughout the claims process.
Guidelines for Your Teen Driver
- Put a limit on the number of passengers in the car. Teens are likely to have more trouble focusing on the road with laughter, music, food and other distractions, all of which increase with the number of passengers.
- Establish and enforce a curfew. Check with your local police department to see if your town has a curfew for minors. If not, set your own.
- Make safety belts mandatory. Teens tend to use their safety belts less often than other drivers. Remind teens that the presence of air bags does not mean they can ignore safety belts. These two safety devices are meant to work together to reduce injuries and fatalities. Set driving area limits. If your teen wants to travel outside your geographic area, require that he or she request permission.
- Prohibit driving (or riding with others) under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol are illegal. In addition to the possibility of legal punishment, tell your teen you will revoke driving privileges for a given amount of time.
- Create a Safe Driving Contract for your teenagers. Use this as an opportunity to talk to your teens early about what is expected in exchange for the privilege of driving. Outlining the rules and consequences can encourage teen responsibility.
Know What You've Got
If your home was damaged by fire or a burglar made off with your valuables, would you be able to recall all of the contents in detail? Do you know the size, brand name, and model number of your TV? Do you know how much your camera would cost to replace? What about your dishes, silverware, and pots and pans? Don’t forget about your jewelry, furs, guns and collectables.
We all like to think that damage or theft won’t happen to us, but the reality is that no one is exempt. Should something happen to your belongings, your insurance company will need to know the details about all of the items that are lost. In such a stressful situation, it’s difficult to recall this information. To make a terrible situation like this easier, be prepared. Take the time to inventory your valuables, furniture, appliances, etc. It’s easy to get started, just follow a few simple steps:
- Go Room by Room
Pick a starting point in your home and work systematically through each room. Don’t forget the garage, basement, attic and automobiles.
- Use a Video Camera
Get a shot of each item that you’re including in your inventory. Be sure to pay attention to distinguishing characteristics.
- Write Down Details
For each item, list as much information as possible (Brand, Model, Color, Serial Number, Year Purchased, Dimensions, Carat Weight for Jewelry, etc.) You can’t be too specific.
- Back Up Your Documents
Your personal documents shouldn’t be neglected. Make electronic and paper copies of things like Birth Certificates, Licenses, Tax Documents, Wills, etc. Store both sets of copies and the originals in a secure location, such as a safe.
- Make a Notebook
Once you’ve gathered all of this information, get it organized and put it all into a manual that can be stored in a secure location.
Once you’ve completed your inventory, you may need to assess your insurance coverage. It’s very important to make sure that you have adequate coverage for your possessions. Some items will need to be scheduled separately to ensure proper compensation in the event of a loss.
Home Inventory Tool
When disaster strikes your home and the adjustor needs a list of items that were affected, it’s hard to remember what you had, and how much you paid for it. Completing a thorough home inventory will be a great step in assuring that your belongings are protected. Take some time to go to this site, all you have to do is set up a FREE account and then you can start your inventory. This is a great tool because it grows with you. You can add, subtract and modify as needed.
Here are just a few common insurance terms along with definitions:
- ACTUAL CASH VALUE – A form of insurance that pays damages equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation
- AUTO POLICY – There are basically six different types of coverages
- Bodily Injury Liability: For injuries the policyholder causes to someone else
- Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection: For treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder's car
- Property Damage Liability: For damage the policyholder causes to someone else's property
- Collision: For damage to the policyholder's car from a collision
- Comprehensive: For damage to the policyholder's car not involving a collision with another car
- Uninsured Motorists Coverage: For costs resulting from an accident involving a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have insurance.
- BINDER – A temporary authorization of coverage issued prior to the actual insurance policy
- BODILY INJURY LIABILITY COVERAGE – A portion of an auto insurance policy that covers injuries the policyholder causes to someone else
- DEDUCTIBLE – The amount of loss paid by the policyholder (The bigger the deductible, the lower the monthly premium)
- ENDORSEMENT – A written form attached to an insurance policy that alters the policy's coverage, terms, or conditions
- EXCLUSION – A provision in an insurance policy that eliminates coverage for certain risks, people, property classes, or locations
- INSURANCE-TO-VALUE - Insurance written in an amount approximating the value of the insured property
- LIMITS – The maximum amount of insurance that can be paid for a covered loss
- NAMED PERIL - Peril specifically mentioned as covered in an insurance policy
- PERIL - A specific risk covered by an insurance policy, such as a fire, windstorm, flood, or theft
- REPLACEMENT COST - Insurance that pays the dollar amount needed to replace damaged personal property or dwelling property without deducting for depreciation but limited by the maximum dollar amount shown on the declarations page of the policy
- UMBRELLA POLICY - Coverage for losses above the limit of an underlying policy
- WAIVER - The surrender of a right or privilege which is known to exist.