FAQs

Auto Insurance

Why is it so expensive to insure my teenage driver?

Statistically, teen drivers are more likely to be involved in auto accidents, get traffic tickets and commit traffic violations than are older drivers, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. Car insurance companies take this into consideration when determining how high a risk it is to insure teen drivers.

See the CDC website for information on teen drivers.

What factors put teen drivers at risk?
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
  • Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
  • Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 35% were speeding at the time of the crash and 25% had been drinking.
  • Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
  • At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
  • In 2013, 17% of drivers aged 16 to 20 involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of .08% or higher.
    • In a national survey conducted in 2013, 22% of teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. Among students who drove, 10% reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.
    • In 2012, 71% of drivers aged 15 to 20 were killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.
    • In 2013, 51% of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 54% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

References for these statistics are available on CDC's website.

What discounts are available for auto insurance?
  • Personal account credit: Insured customers may be eligible for a 15% credit when insuring both home and auto with certain companies. 
  • Accident-free discount: Some companies will forgive the first at-fault accident if the insured has been loss-free for five consecutive years.
  • Mutli-car discount: Customers may receive a 25% credit when insuring two or more vehicles with certain companies.
  • Auto safety features credit: Airbags, automatic seatbelts, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices add up to a lower premium.
  • Good student discount: Young drivers who excel in their studies and/or complete a driver education course receive credit.
  • Over-55 discount: Pennsylvania policyholders age 55 and above who complete an approved driver improvement course receive a discount.
  • Loyalty/longevity reward: Certain companies reward customer loyalty/longevity in their pricing structure.

Homeowners Insurance

How much insurance do I need to protect my home?

It is wise to protect you, your family, your house and personal property. Homeowners insurance will give the financial protection needed to bring you and your family back to your current standard of living as quickly as possible after a disaster or emergency. It is also important to get protection against liability for accidents that result in injury of other people or damage to their property. Tenants can also protect their personal property with insurance from Bell Insurance.

Remember that you should insure your property for the value to rebuild it, not what you would get in the sale of the property. The insurance company is going to rebuild your home, not buy it.

  • Property protection: The better your coverage, the less you will have to pay out of your own pocket if disaster strikes.
  • Self protection: You need enough liability coverage to protect yourself from lawsuits resulting from your negligence.
  • Lender requirements: Your lender may require you to cover the house for at least the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the dwelling. You are not required to purchase insurance from the insurer recommended by your lender.
  • Policy requirements: Insurers may impose some coverage requirements for replacement cost protection. Preferred plans usually require policy limits at 90% of replacement cost. Standard plans usually require policy limits of at least 80% of replacement cost.
  • Temporary accommodation: You will need to think about where your family would live while your house is being rebuilt or repaired. Some insurance policies cover hotel or alternative accommodations.

If you need help finding coverage to suit your needs, or if you find that your current coverage is insufficient, contact one of our experts today.

What factors affect the cost of homeowner's insurance?

There are a number of factors that contribute to the cost of homeowners insurance, including some that you can adjust to help reduce your cost.

  • Type of construction: Frame houses usually cost more to insure than brick.
  • Age of house: New homes may qualify for discounts. Older homes may not qualify for preferred programs. Older homes are usually required to have updated heating, plumbing, wiring and roofing.
  • Local fire protection: Your home’s distance from a fire hydrant and the quality of your local fire department determine your fire protection class.
  • Amount of coverage: The amount of coverage you buy for your house, contents and personal liability will affect the price you pay.
  • Deductible amount: Your choice of a higher deductible will reduce the price for homeowners insurance.
  • Discounts: Insurers offer lower prices for such things as insuring your home and car with the same company and installing dead-bolt locks or alarm systems.

Life Insurance

Why is it important to have life insurance?

Many financial experts consider life insurance to be the cornerstone of sound financial planning. It is generally a cost-effective way to provide for your loved ones after you are gone. It can be an important tool in the following ways:

  • Income replacement: For most people, their key economic asset is their ability to earn a living. If you have dependents, then you need to consider what would happen to them if they no longer have your income to rely on. Also, proceeds from a life insurance policy can help supplement retirement income. This can be especially useful if the benefits of your surviving spouse or domestic partner will be reduced after your death.
  • Pay outstanding debts and long-term obligations: Consider life insurance so that your loved ones have the money to offset burial costs, credit card debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance. In addition, life insurance can be used to pay off your home mortgage, supplement retirement savings and even help pay college tuition.
  • Estate planning: The proceeds of a life insurance policy can be structured to pay estate taxes so that your heirs will not have to liquidate other assets.
  • Charitable contributions: If you have a favorite charity, you can designate some of the proceeds from your life insurance to go to that organization.

Medicare

What do I do if I want supplemental coverage above what Medicare provides?
In the past, shopping for your Medicare supplement — or “Medigap” — insurance was extremely confusing and difficult because companies offered policies with completely different benefits at a wide range of prices.
 
Now you can use price and plan benefits as the basis for your purchasing decision because the standard plans are identical from company to company. The only difference is which plans the company offers. 
If I already have a Medigap policy, will I be able to buy one of the standardized plans?

Maybe. You can apply for a policy. However, unless you are eligible for open enrollment or guaranteed issue when disenrolling from a Medicare+Choice plan, companies may reject your application because of your current health condition. If you are accepted for coverage, you should not have to meet any pre-existing condition waiting periods to have continuous coverage.

I will turn 65 within the next few months. What should I do about Medigap insurance?

First, learn what Medicare covers and what gaps you want covered with a Medigap policy. Don’t forget to ask your employer if your current policy will convert to a supplement after you are eligible for Medicare. If you apply for Medigap insurance within six months after you enroll in Medicare Part B, or qualify for guaranteed issue when disenrolling from a Medicare+Choice plan, companies must accept you regardless of any health conditions you have, and they cannot charge you more than they charge others of the same age.

I am already 65 and I have coverage through my former employer. What should I do?

If you are satisfied with your coverage and pay no more than a comparable private insurance policy would cost, you do not need to do anything. If your policy is expensive or has very high deductibles or co-payments, you might want to purchase a standardized Medigap plan. Do not drop your current coverage until you have been accepted by a new policy. If your employer group health plan does not offer the same benefits as a Medicare supplement, you should inquire if your employer would be willing to purchase a Medigap policy for you. Otherwise, you may want to consider purchasing a Medigap plan in addition to current coverage through your former employer.
 

I am a retired federal, state or municipal employee with benefits through Medicare and my federal, state or municipal benefit plan. Should I change to one of the standard plans?

You probably have better benefits through your plan than you can get through any of the standardized Medigap plans. You should carefully review your current benefits with a representative from your group. It is unlikely that you need to replace your coverage.

I plan to continue working after I am 65. What do I need to do?

If you work for an employer with 20 or more employees and are covered by health insurance, or you are married to someone who does, you probably have comprehensive coverage. The employer plan pays first and Medicare pays second. You should not enroll in Medicare Part B until you stop working. When you stop working, you may be able to convert your employer plan to a Medicare supplement. Otherwise, you can purchase one of the standard plans.

I cannot afford a Medigap policy. Is there anything I can do to protect myself?

Depending on your income, you might be eligible for Qualified Medicare Beneficiary, a special Medicaid program that pays for the Part B monthly premium, and covers your hospital deductible plus your 20 percent co-payment and deductible for physician charges.
 
We can help you determine which of the companies we represent will best meet your needs and provide the most valuable combination of tailored coverage, quality service and fair pricing. Contact us
 
 

Renters Insurance

Should a college student that lives off-campus purchase renters insurance?

If a college student lives in a rented apartment, house or condominium, the landlord’s insurance will not cover the student’s personal property in the event that it is stolen or damaged as a result of fire, theft, or other unexpected circumstances. Renters insurance protects personal property against damage or loss and also protects the owner in the event that someone is injured on the premises.

Renters should carefully consider what type of coverage they need. Personal property coverage applies only to repairs or replacements of damaged, destroyed or stolen personal belongings. Liability insurance provides coverage against a claim or lawsuit resulting from bodily injury or property damage to others caused by an accident which took place on the policyholder’s property.

We will help find the best policy to fit your needs. Contact us