Insurance was created to offer protection and peace of mind, even when life is unpredictable. As your hometown team of trusted insurance professionals, we help you balance the realities of your budget with the need to make smart choices. At the Helwig Agency, we take the time to learn about you, your family, and your business. We want to understand your needs and priorities, so we can find the policy that’s right for you.
Everyone worries sometimes. We all ask ourselves, “What if this happens?” or “What if that happens?” Trust us to help answer those questions! It’s impossible to always know what the future may bring. But with the Helwig Agency, you’ll know you’re protected. And that peace of mind is what we want to help you create.
Here are some frequently asked questions, and the answers, to help you get started. Please keep in mind that this is general information only, and that speaking to a trusted insurance professional is vital in order to determine which insurance is the best fit for you.
What is an insurance policy?
Insurance policies are contracts between you (the customer) and an insurance company. You pay a fee (“premium”) to the insurance company in exchange for a set of coverages selected to meet your specific needs and budget. Your policy explains in detail what is covered (meaning, in what situations you will receive an insurance payout). The policy also tells you how much coverage you have, in dollar value. Insurance is generally divided into Personal (for your private/home needs) and Commercial (for your business needs).
What is personal insurance?
Personal insurance covers your personal car(s), the place you live, specialty vehicles you own (like boats, RVs, motorcycles, or campers), and other personal needs like flood insurance and life insurance, among other things. Please read on for more details about the different kinds of personal insurance coverage.
What are the different kinds of personal insurance, and how do I know if I need them and how much coverage I should have?
We’ve provided a list of personal insurance types and some main points about each one. Deciding which type(s) of insurance you need, and how much coverage you should have, can be confusing or even overwhelming at first. That’s why we’re here: to make sure we learn about you and ask the right questions. We’ll explain your options and help you clarify your priorities – then find you a policy that is appropriate and affordable.
Automobile – Auto insurance is designed to protect you in various situations, such as if you cause injury to others or damage their property in an auto accident. It can also provide protection if you are hurt in a collision, or if your car is stolen or damaged.
In general, when choosing your auto insurance, it’s a good idea to look at your income and net worth. How much could you lose if you are ever found liable for an accident? The greater your assets, the more coverage you may want to consider. Other considerations include how many drivers are in your family, the age and driving record of those drivers, how many vehicles you own, and how much those vehicles are worth.
Some auto insurance types may be required by law; others are optional. Please ask us about the laws and coverages where you live.
Want to learn more? Here are the most common types of automobile insurance coverage:
- Bodily injury liability is for injuries you cause to someone else; it also provides coverage to defend you if you are sued after an auto accident.
- Medical payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is for treatment of injuries to you (as the driver) and the passengers of your car; it also covers you as a pedestrian if you are hit by a vehicle.
- Property damage liability is for damage you cause to someone else’s property.
- Collision coverage is for damage to your car from a collision.
- Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle resulting from a covered loss “other than collision.” These loss types include fire, theft, vandalism, or contact with persons, animals, birds, or falling objects.
- Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver who doesn’t carry liability insurance
- Underinsured motorist coverage steps in when you’re in an accident with an at-fault driver whose liability limits are too low to cover the damage. This is not coverage for your auto, but rather for things like unpaid medical expenses and pain and suffering.
What is an auto policy deductible and how do I choose one?
A deductible is the amount you must first pay out-of-pocket before certain coverages kick in. In auto insurance, deductibles are only applicable to certain coverages, such as comprehensive or collision. We can help you choose an amount you are comfortable paying, at your own expense, in the event of an accident or other loss. A higher deductible should lower your premium, so creating your ideal policy is about balancing affordability and protection.
What is Limited Tort vs. Full Tort automobile insurance coverage?
It’s important to also understand that the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania give you the right to choose either a “Limited Tort” or “Full Tort” option. Limited Tort limits your right and the rights of members of your household to seek financial compensation for injuries caused by other drivers. Policyholders may seek recovery for all medical and other out-of-pocket expenses, but not for pain and suffering or other nonmonetary damages, unless the injuries fall within the definition of “serious injury,” as set forth in the policy, or unless one of several exceptions noted in the policy applies. The other option, Full Tort, allows you to maintain an unrestricted right for yourself and other members of your household to seek financial compensation for injuries caused by other drivers. Covered persons may seek recovery for all medical and other out-of-pocket expenses and may also seek financial compensation for pain and suffering, and other nonmonetary damages as a result of injuries caused by other drivers.
What about my RV, motorcycle, boat, or other “toys”?
If you own motorized “toys” or Recreational Vehicles, you also need insurance to protect them from damage, loss, or theft. With recreational vehicle insurance, you can select your policy to include “full-timer” coverage, emergency expense coverage, and/or total loss replacement. In addition, your RV insurance policy can include vacation liability, which protects your passengers, as well as your possessions, while you are on a trip. Our wide selection of RV coverage options includes Campers, Travel Trailers, and Motor Homes. With the right coverage in place, you and your family will be all set to hit the road and enjoy the great outdoors!
Motorcycles/ATVs – More than 100,000 serious motorcycle accidents happen in the U.S. each year, and with the growing number of motorcyclists on the road, motorcycle insurance is a necessity. Before you take off to enjoy the freedom and fun of motorcycling, make sure your policy is also running in top condition! The Helwig Agency can help you select from coverages such as Bodily Injury, Property Damage Liability, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, Roadside Assistance, Comprehensive & Collision Coverage, Medical Payments, and more. Your insurance policy can even be customized for the specific type of bike you own. If your vehicle is an ATV, your policy may be nearly identical to that of a motorcycle. However, ATV owners may have some additional considerations, whether they are riding for fun or to get a job done, on a state trail or in the middle of nowhere. Accidents and injuries can happen, but we’ll help you be sure you’re protected before you head out.
Boats/Watercraft – Enjoying Pennsylvania’s many beautiful lakes and rivers is a unique joy for many boaters and their families. Before you embark, visit us for a “water-tight” policy so you can feel relaxed and confident on the water. Most boat insurance policies cover vandalism, malicious mischief, and liability losses; we’ll help you select the options that are right for you.
Snowmobiles – The changing seasons in our area mean plenty of time for outdoor winter activities for snowmobilers and their families. The time to select your snowmobile insurance is before the snow arrives, and we’re here to help you through the process. When you’re flying across a layer of fresh powder, you’ll know that if a breakdown (or a tree stump) gets in the way, your sled is covered and will be back out there in no time.
My home is my most valuable asset; how do I know it’s protected?
We understand that your home is not only one of the largest investments you’ll ever make, but also a unique source of joy, memories, and comfort for you and your family. When it comes to protecting your home, the decisions you make now could affect you and your family for many, many years to come. Let us help you understand the complex issues and options that go into creating the homeowners’ policy that will give you confidence and peace of mind.
What else might a policy cover besides the house itself?
Your homeowners’ policy may cover losses occurring to your home, its contents, outbuildings or a garage for personal use, and what is called “loss of use” (additional living expenses in the event of a covered loss). Also covered may be the loss of other personal possessions.
In addition, the policy may include liability insurance for accidents that happen at the home, or at the hands of the homeowner within the policy’s scope. Common exclusions of a homeowners’ policy include flood, earthquake, and normal wear and tear, to name a few. Ask us for more details, and we can help you decide if you need to add these special coverages.
As with automobile policies, homeowners’ policies may include a deductible, or amount you must pay out of pocket before the insurance will take over and cover the loss. Homeowners’ policies are not the same from company to company! At Helwig Insurance, we will sit down with you and make an assessment that is customized for you. It’s our goal to help you build a policy that is appropriate for your lifestyle and your most valuable assets.
What if I rent, or live in a condo or mobile home?
Renters – If you rent your home, you need a policy tailored to your needs as a renter rather than an owner. Renter policies are often similar to homeowners’ policies, with the exception, of course, that they do not cover the actual building, but its contents. Many renters may underestimate the value of their belongings, but the Helwig Agency can help you be sure not to make this mistake. Renter policies can also cover you for loss of use, liability, and other situations. If fire, theft, or another unfortunate event occurs, you’ll want to be sure you can replace your possessions. We’ll help you get that coverage in place.
Condominium – Condos and townhomes combine many of the perks of home ownership with less upkeep and maintenance for you to worry about. But in order to know if you, your home and your belongings are adequately protected, you need to understand what is already covered by your condo association’s “master” policy – and these policies can vary widely. We’ll help you determine the answers, including what coverage may already exist for structures and common areas. Condo insurance may come in the form of Building Property Protection (walls of your condo unit and its interior), Personal Property Coverage (electronics, appliances, clothes, books, etc.), and Personal Liability Coverage (for example, if someone is accidentally injured while visiting your condo). Keep in mind that as with a homeowners’ policy, flood insurance for condos is typically not included and must be purchased separately. By working with the Helwig Agency, you can make sure your condo policy meets your unique needs.
Mobile Home – Looking for affordable mobile home coverage? We can help! Mobile homes and manufactured homes may require specialized coverage. Whether your home is a single-wide, double-wide, triple-wide, or two-story modular, we’ll sit down with you, take the time to understand your needs, and find a policy that will provide protection and peace of mind.
What other specialty coverages might I need for my home and property?
Home Business – According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of the businesses in the United States are based out of the owner’s home. These busy entrepreneurs may assume their homeowners’ insurance covers their business needs, but the reality is that most policies do not. For example, homeowners’ insurance may provide a limited amount of coverage for business equipment, but most standard policies exclude coverage for businesses operating in the home. In addition, most policies don’t cover lost data, lost income, or liability. The Helwig Agency can help you determine if you need extra protection; and if so, how to best tailor that coverage to fit the needs of your home-based business.
Rental Properties – As a landlord, you know that purchasing and maintaining rental properties is a significant investment. That means your rental properties need protection that is tailored to the specific concerns of landlords. Your tenants know they can call you if they have questions or need help – and the Helwig Agency is here for you in the same way.
Farm – Pennsylvania has a long and proud history of farming – a cultural legacy that continues today. Do you run a small or large farm? Do you own or rent your premises and land, or raise crops or livestock? If so, you know it’s important to look for solid protection for your animals, machinery, property, and structures. We’ll guide you through the process of expanding and customizing your coverage to fit the needs of your farm or ranch.
Flood – According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), flooding is the number one natural disaster in America. Just a few inches of flood water can cause serious (and expensive!) damage to your home and possessions. Flood policy options include protection against property damage incurred by flooding caused by excessive rainfall, storm surges, and even blocked storm drainage systems. Most homeowners’ policies do not include flood insurance, so if you live in an area that’s designated as a flood zone, let us help you add flood protection now.
Umbrella – Umbrella insurance is extra liability insurance. Designed to help protect your assets and future, it covers you in the event of major claims and lawsuits. Umbrella coverage provides additional liability coverage above the limits of your homeowners’, auto, and boat insurance policies. The extra protection takes over when the liability on these other policies has been exhausted. Umbrella insurance may take the form of bodily injury liability and/or property damage liability. Examples are things like a serious car accident in which you’re at fault and someone is badly hurt; your dog biting someone or destroying another person’s property; your child causing accidental damage at his or her school; or a visitor to your home falling and being hurt (just to name a few). Umbrella coverage can also provide coverage for claims that may be excluded by other liability policies, including false arrest, libel, slander, shock/mental anguish, and liability coverage on rental units you own.
Regardless of the type(s) of personal insurance you need, we’re here to help you get the right protection at the right price. Schedule your visit with Helwig Insurance today so we can help you select and customize the personal insurance that meets your needs.