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Condominium Insurance

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Condo Insurance

Live in a condo and think you have coverage from your condo association? Think again. While your association does have insurance, it covers the building, certain common property, and liability insurance for the association. If you look at your condo agreement, you may find pages of provisions that spell out who covers, and who pays for what, in the case of a loss.

What Does Condo Insurance Cover?

In the case of hazards such as fire or lightning, windstorm, smoke, vandalism and malicious mischief, theft, or accidental discharge of water that affected your building, the condo insurance coverage would take care of the outside walls, but your own condo owners insurance policy would have to cover the effects of these things inside your unit.

Many condo associations also distinguish between contents that are your responsibility versus structural components enumerated in the association condo insurance policy. While the condo policy might cover flooring, cabinetry, countertops, and carpeting, your personal policy would cover losses for furniture, area rugs, electronics, jewelry and your personal collectibles, and lighting. In the case of something like a fire, both insurance companies would pay for specific things.

Condo insurance protects your personal property, protects the interior of your unit, and offers liability in case a guest is injured in your unit. They may also have other provisions that are unique to condos:

  • Any additions, alterations, or installations you add to your unit.
  • Loss of use and additional living expenses if you have to temporarily vacate the place during repairs after loss.
  • Loss assessment, to cover all or part of your share of what the condo association insists you contribute to their deductible.
  • Absentee ownership if you rent your unit out.
  • Loss of income based on the fair rental value if your unit is damaged and unable to be rented out.

How Do You Get Condo Insurance?

Since condo bylaws vary, working with an agent experienced in condo insurance at Palm Desert Insurance Agency will ensure you get just the right policy at the most competitive rates. Condo insurance can be complex, and while you may want the best rates from the insurance companies, you need to make sure you get the protection you need. You do not want to find yourself without protection because neither the condo association policy nor your personal policy covered a loss situation.

Auto Insurance

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Whether you’re driving across town or across the country, make sure you have the right auto insurance protection, and that you’re getting the best value for your insurance dollar.

With Mutual Benefit’s PROcision Auto coverage, you get:

  • Coverage for damage to your auto; liability for injury to others or property you damage with your vehicle; and medical expenses. Learn more about basic auto insurance coverage, state requirements, and additional coverage.
  • Tailored pricing designed specifically to meet your particular individual needs throughout your lifetime.
  • Mutual Benefit’s superior claims service, including 24-hour nationwide direct claims reporting and access to an auto glass replacement program. According to Mutual Benefit’s 2014 claims satisfaction survey results, 96% of policyholders reported they were happy with how their claim was handled.
  • A variety of ways to save on your auto insurance premium.
  • Options to add additional specialty auto coverage for things like towing expense, rental reimbursement, and repair/replacement cost coverage for new vehicles that you own.

Drive down auto insurance costs with MBG’s discounts/credits:

  • Personal Account Credit – Receive up to a 15% credit when you insure both your home and auto with us.
  • Accident-Free Discount/Accident Forgiveness – We will forgive your first at-fault accident if you have been loss-free for five consecutive years. And, your accident-free discount will increase for consecutive years of favorable driving experience.
  • Multi-Car Discount – Receive a 22% credit when you insure two or more vehicles on the same policy with us.
  • Auto Safety Features Credit – Airbags, automatic seatbelts, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices add up to a lower premium.
  • Good Student Discount/Driver Training – Young drivers who excel in their studies and/or complete a driver education course receive credit.
  • Driver Improvement Course (for those age 55 and over in Pennsylvania only) – Pennsylvania policyholders age 55 and above who complete an approved driver improvement course receive a discount.
  • Pay in Full Discount – If your auto policy is written in our PROcision program, you will receive a 10% discount when you pay your auto premium in full by the designated due date.
  • Advance Quote Discount – This discount provides a 5% savings and is automatically applied when a quote on a policy that is new to us is completed eight days prior to the potential policy effective date.
  • Longevity/Loyalty – We values our policyholders, and we reward customer loyalty/longevity in our auto pricing structure.

Coverage/product information provided on this Web site is not an insurance policy or a supplement to any policy. This information is intended to provide a general description of products typically available through our Insurance carriers. The actual coverage provided is governed exclusively by the language contained within the insurance policy issued to you.

We believes so strongly in the value of working with an independent insurance agent. We encourage you to contact a us to obtain a quote.

Homeowners Insurance

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Home wasn’t built in a day. Protect it for a lifetime.

Home. Maybe it’s an estate in the country, or the custom-built house of your dreams. Maybe it’s a rental in the city, or a retirement condo. No matter where you call home, you’ve likely invested considerable time and money in buildings, belongings, and cultivating a lifestyle. Talk with your insurance agent about how Mutual Benefit can tailor a home insurance plan to meet your needs, fit your budget, and protect the home and life you’ve built.

Do you own a home?

Do you rent?

Do you live in a condominium?

Do you own a second home, a rental property, or vacation home?

Save on your home insurance with Mutual Benefit:

  • Personal Account Credit – Receive a 15% discount when you insure both your home and your auto with Mutual Benefit.
  • New Home Discount – Save up to 20% on your insurance premium if your home is less than 10 years old.
  • Loss-Free Discount – If you have not had a homeowner loss in three or more years, you may qualify to receive a discount on your premium.
  • Protective Device Credit – Installation of protective devices ranging from simple smoke detectors to sophisticated central station burglary or fire alarms in your home make you eligible for a credit. If you have a combination of protective device systems, you’ll save even more.

Customize Your Home Insurance Coverage for Added Protection

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella

Personal umbrella insurance adds a layer of protection over and above your basic homeowners insurance, auto coverage, or watercraft liability coverage. Think of it as a supplement. It protects assets like your savings and checking account, your investments, even your future income in the event of a tragic accident or lawsuit in which you may be held responsible for bodily injury or damages. If you insure both your home and your auto with Mutual Benefit, and carry specified limits of liability insurance on those policies, you are eligible for Mutual Benefit’s umbrella coverage. Learn more about how an umbrella insurance policy works.

Inland Marine Insurance Could Be a Lifesaver

“Inland Marine.” Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But read on. It’s a valuable thing to understand if you have valuables to protect. The term dates back to when most goods were moved about on oceans and waterways. There was marine insurance to cover items that were transported on water, including personal property items such as jewelry or art work. These things were easily moved, or “floated” from place to place. Marine insurance companies eventually began to offer additional, broader coverage for more types of loss scenarios for these types of “floaters,” including losses that might occur on land once goods were transferred to wagons or eventually trucks for transport. This became known as “inland marine” insurance to distinguish it from insurance designed just for transport by ships. Today, personal inland marine insurance can be purchased as a separate policy add-on, or endorsement, to expand protection for high-value items like jewelry, cameras, firearms, golf clubs, musical instruments, etc. Not only do you receive a higher limit of coverage for such possessions, but they will also be covered if they are stolen, or you misplace or lose them. In addition, your possessions are covered even if you take them out of the country. A basic homeowners policy does not provide coverage for these scenarios.

Boost Your Coverage, and Your Peace of Mind

Do you own valuable jewelry, firearms, art, or collectibles? Do you want to be sure that your home or belongings would be replaced with items of like kind and quality in the event of a loss? Is your home equipped with sensitive computer, surround-sound, or heating/cooling systems that could be expensive to repair or replace? Are you concerned about identity theft? Find out how you could benefit from specialty homeowners coverage not included in a standard home insurance or tenants policy.

Know Your Coverage Level

Whether you own or rent a home, you can choose among three levels of coverage for buildings and/or belongings. These are actual cash value, replacement cost, and guaranteed or extended replacement cost. If you haven’t made an informed decision about these levels, or don’t understand what they mean, you could find yourself with less coverage than you thought you had in the event of a loss. To learn more about each level, and for other helpful information on protecting your home and property, visit the Personal Insurance 101 section of this site.

Insurance Guide for Landlords

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There are a few things to consider before deciding which type of insurance coverage you need if you are renting out part or all of your home or other building to tenants. The following information will help guide you through initial decision making, but it is always best to consult with your local independent insurance agent to ensure that you are adequately covered. Your independent agent will review your unique situation and provide insurance options tailored just for you.

Homeowners Insurance

In some instances, your homeowners policy may cover the building and your personal contents while all or part of your house is rented to tenants. Coverage issues can arise if you rent the building consistently for months or years on end without living there yourself. However, as long as you reside in the building and rent a portion of it to tenants, your homeowners policy might be adequate. This situation requires a consultation with your independent agent to assess coverage.

Dwelling Fire Insurance

A Dwelling Fire policy is likely needed if you will not be residing in the building while it is being rented to tenants. The five coverages provided in this type of policy include two required coverages and three optional coverages.

The two required coverages are:

  • Coverage A – Dwelling (Covers materials or supplies needed to construct, alter, or repair the dwelling if loss occurs due to a covered peril.)
  • Coverage B – Other Structures (Covers structures on the premises that are not attached to the primary house.)

The three optional coverages include:

  • Coverage C – Personal Property (Covers your personal property on the premises. This does not provide coverage for tenant’s personal property.)
  • Coverage D –  Fair Rental Value (Coverage for lost rent if tenants are not able to live in the apartment due to a covered peril.)
  • Coverage E – Additional Living Expense (Coverage for additional expenses incurred from a covered peril.)

Businessowners Insurance or Businessowners Package (BOP)

When your rented or leased building is larger than a family home, you need businessowners coverage to protect your assets. For landlords of apartment buildings, complexes, or office spaces, adequate protection can be obtained economically by combining several different businessowners coverages into a Businessowners Package (BOP) policy.

Typical coverage needs include:

  • Business Property (Covers the building, equipment, and income in the event of a covered loss.)
  • Business Liability (Covers your buildings in case an accident occurs, including slip and fall mishaps.)
  • Business Crime (Coverage for theft, forgery, robbery, vandalism, and employee dishonesty.)
  • Building Ordinance (Covers the increased cost to comply with ordinance laws if you need to repair or remodel your building after a covered loss.)

There are additional businessowners coverages you can add to your package to ensure that you are protected. Your independent agent will review your needs and provide options to protect your assets now and in the future.

And, if you haven’t already drawn up your rental or lease agreement, consider adding a stipulation that tenants must purchase and maintain their own renter’s insurance policy for the duration of the lease agreement. This will provide a layer of protection for tenant’s property and liability in the event of a loss.

Equipment breakdown coverage

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Protect the equipment you depend on every day

A standard homeowner’s policy provides a great foundation to build on for protecting your home and personal property. But there are gaps, or areas in the policy where you might remain exposed to loss for items you rely on every day…your television, hot water heater, furnace, central air conditioner, home security system, well water pump, sump pump, refrigerator, computer, washer and dryer, swimming pool equipment, and the list goes on.

Isn’t an extended warranty good enough?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on how much out-of-pocket expense you can afford when something breaks down. Suppose your furnace stops working on a cold and snowy January night. What would you do? Where would you go? Would you be able to cover repair costs and would you be comfortable waiting for the manufacturer’s service personnel to get to your house?

Repairs on equipment, like your furnace, can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars quickly. An extended warranty from the manufacturer will likely cover specific items or parts for a specific period of time (usually less than one year after the date of purchase), but labor costs are not always covered. On top of this, warranties can be costly themselves, sometimes costing up to 20% of the product cost. And you don’t get to choose the repair person…you have to use who the manufacturer sends.

Benefits of equipment breakdown coverage:

Homeowners equipment breakdown coverage puts you back in control. Here are some great benefits you’ll have with this coverage:

  • Less expensive than extended warranties—costing just pennies a day on average, saving you a bundle right up front.
  • The coverage is designed to allow you, the insured, to have more control over how the coverage is used—you choose the repair person and schedule visits that work for your lifestyle and within your time frame.
  • There is no age limit on your equipment—it doesn’t matter if your appliance is 10 days or 10 years old.
  • Temporary relocation is covered—homeowners equipment breakdown coverage kicks in to cover your living costs if you need to temporarily move out of your house due to equipment breakdown. This could be a life saver if your furnace breaks down in the middle of winter.
  • Human error is covered, too—yes, even if you cause the equipment breakdown, it’s covered. It also covers improper installation or lack of maintenance.

Click here to view a coverage video. Want to learn even more? Click here to view additional information regarding equipment breakdown coverage.

Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)

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An umbrella may not cost much, but the protection could be priceless. 

No matter how careful you are, a typical day at home, a routine trip to the practice field, or an afternoon enjoying your favorite recreational activity could turn into a tragedy in a matter of seconds. You could find yourself held liable for property damage, serious injury, or even a death. Even if you’re not found liable in a court of law, the cost of defending yourself could take a major toll on your personal savings or assets.

That’s why it pays to take out a personal umbrella insurance policy. An umbrella policy is a form of liability insurance that adds a layer of protection over and above your basic homeowners, auto, or watercraft liability coverage.  It protects assets like your car, your home, your savings and checking account, your investments, even your future income in the event that you are held responsible for bodily injury or damages. One mistake or one serious accident could result in a lawsuit requiring you to pay a great deal more than is covered by your regular liability insurance. That means all your assets are fair game. An umbrella policy could protect you from financial ruin. It kicks in once the limits of your basic liability policy have been reached, helping to ensure that you do not have to face sizeable out-of-pocket costs.

For a relatively nominal fee, you can add coverage limits that amount to more than $1 million, based on your selection, as well as protection for liability situations not covered in a basic policy. An umbrella policy also pays your legal fees if you must go to court, and provides coverage for situations not typically included in a basic homeowners policy, such as instances involving libel, slander, or false arrest.

If you insure both your home and your auto with Mutual Benefit, and carry specified limits of liability insurance on those policies, you are eligible for Mutual Benefit’s umbrella coverage. An umbrella policy is just one component of a sound personal insurance program. Talk to an experienced insurance agent about your specific situation. He or she can explain the risks you may face, and help you design an insurance package that gives you peace of mind.

Ride Sharing and Insurance

A user scans for an available vehicle using the Uber Technologies Inc.'s app on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 smartphone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Friday, May 30, 2014. London's taxis are planning a 10,000-cab protest next month, as professional drivers across Europe demonstrate growing opposition to the Uber app. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg ** Usable by CT and LA Only **

You’ve probably heard of ridesharing companies by name, such as Lyft® and Uber®. But, do you know enough about these and other Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) to protect yourself in the event of a loss? Ridesharing is still a new concept in the insurance industry and the laws and regulations for this activity are evolving. The following information is intended to provide a basic overview of ridesharing as it currently exists. It is in your best interest to discuss all insurance coverage questions, needs, and potential exposures with your local independent insurance agent.

How is using a TNC different than using a taxi?

A taxi service is regulated by laws designed to protect drivers and passengers. As such, a taxi service must be licensed and meet certain standards in order to purchase taxi insurance.

TNCs such as Lyft® and Uber®, on the other hand, are not entirely regulated by laws at this point. Drivers need a valid driver’s license, must own a car, and must meet TNC driver requirements, which vary from company to company. The majority of drivers use their own personal auto for ridesharing services. These services are scheduled and tracked using mobile technology. It is through this technology that passengers request rides and drivers accept a payment or “donation” by credit card for the service.

Are ridesharing companies, drivers, and passengers insured?

This question is at the heart of the complex issues that come into play when losses result from using a TNC. TNC drivers are likely using their personal vehicles, and personal auto insurance generally excludes coverage when the auto is used to transport passengers for a fee (aka livery service).

A few TNCs have indicated a willingness to provide some protection by covering the commercial exposure for liability and collision coverage faced by drivers. However, coordinating coverage between commercial and personal auto policies is complex and often leads to uninsured gaps in coverage.

Are passengers protected while riding in these vehicles?

Your personal auto policy may provide some coverage if you are hurt in an accident while a passenger in one of these vehicles. If you do not have a personal auto policy because you do not own a vehicle, talk to your independent insurance agent about purchasing a “named non-owner” policy.

Before becoming a driver or passenger through a TNC, do your homework. Research the TNCs that operate in your area and find out if they provide insurance coverage for drivers and passengers, and ask for the liability limits. You should also contact your local independent insurance agent and discuss potential exposures you might face as either a driver or passenger.

Is ridesharing really worth worrying about?

Yes. Determining if insurance coverage exists depends on the timing and circumstances of an accident, among other things. Settling personal auto losses can be difficult without adding in the coordination of coverages between personal and commercial auto insurance policies. At this time, coverage gaps still exist in many circumstances that might let both the driver and passenger exposed to uninsured damages.

The most important step you can take is to discuss ridesharing exposures with your local independent insurance agent before becoming a driver or passenger. He or she will be able to provide the best advice regarding coverage options and can recommend an insurance strategy to help minimize your losses.

Boat Insurance

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Dock Your Boat Insurance Policy with Us

Families and individuals throughout Smithfield, Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, Virginia Beach, and neighboring areas look forward to summertime and getting their boats out on the water. Just be sure when making that checklist that insurance is at the top of your priorities – as having a boat carries much of the same risk as owning and operating a car. It’s important that you have insurance that adequately covers your property and potential liability for accidents.

DMV & Watson offers comprehensive Boat insurance that can help when you are at fault and in certain cases when something or someone else damages your boat. What’s more, we have policies that will insure many classes of boats and many types of boaters. Our clients include bass fishermen and ocean-faring anglers. We cover small sailing vessels, speedboats, pontoons, yachts and more.

Importance of Life Jackets

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in 2012, and that 85% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets. Although there was a 14% decrease in the number of deaths in 2013, 77% of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of these drowning victims, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. That is why all passengers should wear a life jacket.

On-the-Water Accidents Can Happen

You’re careful on the water but accidents still can happen, which is why your Boat policy should include proper Liability insurance coverage. Some states and marinas require a minimum level of coverage, but most boat owners and operators should consider higher limits of insurance since accidents can cause expensive damage to other people’s property and sometimes serious injuries. Our insurer partners also offer bodily injury coverage for your passengers.

Insuring for Damage to Your Boat

In the event of an accident and your boat is damaged, the property portion of a Boat insurance policy will respond. Our staff will work with you to obtain the right limits and type of coverage so the value of your boat is insured. You will also want to consider obtaining insurance for the personal property that you bring on the boat, such as high-end fishing equipment. In addition, Comprehensive insurance coverage provides protection if your boat is damaged because of a storm, vandalism or other non-accident incident.

A complete Boat insurance policy will also provide protection in case an uninsured or underinsured boater damages your vessel.

Special Options Available

DMV & Watson partners with insurance companies that offer haul-out provisions to keep your boat safe during harsh weather, as well as towing and salvage coverage. Some of companies provide protection against the costs of fuel spills, and it is even possible to get insurance for damage that occurs due to unseen wear and tear, such as corrosion of through-hull fittings. You may also be interested in a policy that covers trailering. Our professionals will discuss all your options with you, along with any discounts that may be available.

Understanding Your Auto Insurance Deductible

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If you’ve already experienced a claim, you’ve likely learned how your deductible works first hand. For those who haven’t, it can cause confusion about just what a deductible is and who pays for it.

What a deductible is

A deductible is the amount of money you (the named insured on the policy) pays out of pocket for the cost of damages before the insurance company pays. Think of it as the part of a loss you have chosen to self-insure.

Here’s an example: You chose a $500 deductible when you purchased your auto policy. This means that you have agreed to absorb the first $500 in expenses as a result of each loss occurrence you suffer.

Let’s look at two scenarios. Please keep in mind these scenarios are based on general information. Your claim results may differ depending on your unique situation, such as policy language, deductible amounts, policy limits, and coverage invoked due to the type of loss.

  • SCENARIO 1: Suppose you suffer a covered loss with total damage to your covered auto totaling $1,000. After discussing and settling the claim with your claims representative, you take your car to the garage. When the car is ready to pick up, the garage presents you with a bill for $1,000. You will pay the garage $500 directly. Your insurance company will pay the remaining balance of $500 to the garage.
  • SCENARIO 2: In this scenario, suppose you suffer a covered loss with total damage to your covered auto totaling $500. Since you have chosen a $500 deductible, you will be responsible for the expenses. You should not typically expect to receive any payment from your insurance company in this situation.

What a deductible isn’t

Now that we have an understanding of what a deductible is and how it works, let’s look at a few common misconceptions about deductibles.

  • It’s not part of the premium. When you pay your insurance premium, you aren’t contributing to a savings account against future losses. While the amount of your deductible can raise or lower your premium, deductible and premium are two different things.
  • It’s not something that the insurance company pays. The named insured on the policy is responsible for paying the deductible amount.
  • It’s not a cost that follows the driver. This means that even if someone else was driving your car and got into an accident, your insurance company would handle the claim and you would be responsible for your policy deductible.
  • It’s not the same as a health insurance deductible. Deductibles for health insurance policies typically cover an entire 12 months, meaning you would only pay up to the amount of your deductible (i.e., meet your deductible) and then pay no more towards it for the remainder of that policy. However, an auto insurance deductible applies “per occurrence.” This means you are responsible for your full deductible amount each time you suffer a covered loss.

As with all things insurance, it’s best to discuss deductibles and how they apply in your situation with a local independent insurance agent. Your local independent agent has the knowledge and experience to answer frequently asked questions about deductibles and calculate cost savings for you depending on the deducible amount you choose. Take time now to fully understand your insurance policy and all out-of-pocket expenses you may face. Contact your agent today!

Collision coverage vs. Comprehensive

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Are these required coverages?

No, unless your vehicle is financed. If you financed the purchase of your car, your finance company or bank might require that you carry certain coverages on your vehicle. Review these requirements with your local independent agent to make sure you are satisfying the coverage requirements of your financial institution.

What is collision coverage?

This coverage pays for damage done to your vehicle if it collides with another object, such as another car, a utility pole, or fence. This coverage also covers damage for a hit-and-run accident.

What is other than collision coverage?

Also known as “comprehensive coverage,” this provides coverage for damage to your vehicle caused by events other than a collision. Covered losses can include vandalism, fire, theft, and animal damage, to name a few.

Does my deductible affect this coverage?

Yes. The deductible amount you choose for comprehensive and/or collision coverage will affect the amount of payment, if any, from your insurance company. Why? Because the deductible amount you choose is the amount you agree to pay before your insurance coverage pays. For instance, if you choose a $500 collision deductible and then have a covered loss that totals $1,000, you would be responsible for paying the first $500 and then your insurance company would pay the remainder. But, if you would have a covered loss that totals $500 or less, you would be responsible for the entire amount because the total cost does not exceed the deductible amount you chose.

How can you make sure your coverages are adequate and that you can afford the deductible you’ve chosen?

Review your insurance coverage needs with your local independent agent. He or she can provide expert recommendations on the types of coverage you need to protect you and your family. And, your independent agent can also help you determine the best deductible amount and explain how varying your deductible changes your premium.

Custom Headers, Menus, Page Headings & Footers

Fortuna provides full control of your header & footer style. You can modify your header height, background color, transparency, menu color, hover menu color, pick custom fonts for your main navigation & subnavigation, pick from 6 different menu style presets, add an underline hover animation effect for your top level navigation items, add an animated arrow hover effect for your subnavigation items, setup transparent headers on a per page basis, set the transparency level of your transparent header as well as its background color, toggle your Sticky Header option, you can create Mega Menus, add buttons to your main navigations and many more. You can also pick your footer style as well as select how many widget columns you want in it. Menu headings (the area that contains your breadcrumbs and Page title) can also be modified on a per page basis – you can pick custom backgrounds for it, switch off the breadcrumbs, pick breadcrumb style etc. See just a few examples of customized headers (footer) below.

You Might Also Concider:

Uninsured/underinsured motorist to protect you in case you are in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance.
Comprehensive coverage to protect you from not-accident-related damage.
Car rental and travel expense coverage for when your car is in the shop.
Collision coverage to protect your own car.
Emergency road service to pay towing, tire repair, battery jumpstart (just some of their services).
Medical expense to cover injuries to you and your passengers.
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