FAQs

Q?

Why should I purchase insurance from an agent when I can get it direct online?

A.

Insurance can be confusing, and every person’s insurance needs are unique.  A knowledgeable and experienced agent can help make sure you have the coverages you need and want.  A policy that appears to save you money up front but does not provide you with adequate coverage or service can become very expensive at claim time! 

Q?

Do I need special insurance coverage for any of my property?

A.

You may own several types of property for which special coverages might be needed.  For example, your policy may provide a limited amount of coverage for certain categories of property, such as jewelry or firearms.  If you have more than the sublimit covered by the policy, or you have pieces of great value, you may wish to purchase additional insurance for those items in the form of Special Personal Property coverage.  Other items which you may benefit from having special insurance might include ATVs, boats, recreational vehicles, antiques, collectibles, etc.  Your agent can work with you to determine what your individual needs might be.

Q?

What does a home-owner’s insurance policy cover?

A.

A basic homeowner’s policy provides coverage for damage to the dwelling, other structures, and household personal property caused by the perils named in the policy.  It may also provide coverage for the insured’s personal liability as well as additional living expenses incurred due to the covered loss.  Coverage can be broadened by adding optional endorsements to the base policy.

Q?

What is the difference between an Actual Cash Value insurance policy and a Replacement Cost policy?

A.

Under a Replacement Cost policy, a covered loss is settled at the cost to repair or replace the damaged property (whichever is less) with property of like kind and quality with no deduction for depreciation.  Under an Actual Cash Value (or ACV) policy, damage to covered property by an insured peril is settled by subtracting depreciation from the replacement cost of the damage. All settlements are subject to the limits and sub-limits listed in the policy and on the declarations pages.

Q?

What is depreciation?

A.

Depreciation is the loss in property’s value over time due to factors such as age, wear and tear, and obsolescence. Different types of property depreciate at different rates.

Q?

What steps should I take after a loss?

A.

Your policy details a list of things you MUST do following a loss as conditions of your policy.  They include: 

  • Give prompt notice of the loss to the company or your agent as soon as possible;
  • Notify the police as soon as practicable in case of loss by theft, vandalism, or malicious mischief;
  • Take reasonable steps to protect your property form additional damage.  If temporary repairs are necessary to protect the property from further damage, keep accurate records of expenses incurred to make the temporary repairs;
  • Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property showing the quantity, description, actual cash value, and amount of loss.  Attach any receipts or related documents to support your figures.
  • Do not make permanent repairs until you have talked to an authorized adjuster.

Q?

What is the “deductible”?

A.

Your policy deductible is the amount of an adjusted loss that must be borne by you before you are entitled to recovery from the insurance company. For example, if you have an adjusted loss of $4,500 with a $1,000 deductible, you are entitled to a maximum recovery of up to $3,500.

Q?

Will my insurance policy pay to take steps to upgrade my property to prevent future loss, since that would be in the insurance company’s best interest?

A.

The purpose of an insurance policy is to pay for a covered loss to insured property which has already occurred.  It does not pay for measures to reduce the likelihood of future loss.  If a condition exists that increases the chances of a claim, it is the insured’s responsibility to take the steps necessary reduce the probability of a loss.

Q?

If I file a claim, will my rates go up?

A.

Prairie Mutual has a claims surcharge program that takes into account both the number and dollar value of claims.  Under our claims surcharge program, rates do not increase after a first or second claim.  For more information about our claims surcharge program, please contact your agent.

Q?

If my neighbor’s tree falls on my house, whose insurance is responsible for the damage to my property?

A.

In most cases, your insurance will be the one responsible for damage to your property from your neighbor’s tree.  You will be responsible for your deductible and any expenses which may not be covered by the policy, such as clean-up of the fallen tree or limb.