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INSURANCE FAQ

INSURING MY BEACH PROPERTY

  • Know the Facts

When most people think of insuring their beach home, they naturally assume all they need is a homeowners policy.  On the contrary, specific insurance policies are needed to meet both the unique insurance requirements associated with secondary and investment home exposures and to protect your property given the unique geography of the Outer Banks. G.R. Little Agency, as an Independent Insurance Agency, has relationships with several companies and access to markets that make it possible for us to provide you the most competitive premiums and broadest coverages available.

  • Know your options

Special insurance policies for a special place

  • Dwelling Fire

Commonly referred to as “hazard insurance” or a “hazard policy”, the dwelling fire policy is the backbone of most second or rental home insurance plans.  It is a Named Peril policy, which means your property is covered as long as a peril listed in the policy causes the damage. Fire, lightning, smoke damage, vandalism and freezing of pipes are all examples of perils. You should be aware that there are several exclusions or exceptions that should be reviewed with your agent so that you understand what is covered and what is not covered by the standard dwelling fire policy.

  • Windstorm & Hail

Protection from windstorm (hurricane) should be a primary concern when insuring your beach property. Many standard insurance companies often exclude damage done by windstorm or hail from their homeowners or dwelling fire policies, and a separate policy is needed to cover that peril. Because it provides coverage for windstorm and hail, The North Carolina Insurance Underwriting Association (also referred to as the Beach Plan) is one of the largest property insurers on the Outer Banks. Most dwellings have all or part of their coverage protected by the NCIUA.

  • Flood

Flood is defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land” and is excluded from virtually all standard property policies. If your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (flood zone) and is mortgaged through a federally backed financial institution (i.e. protected by FDIC), flood insurance is required. To help you meet this requirement, the National Flood insurance Program provides special flood policies which are backed by standard insurance companies. These flood policies are made available to all insurance agencies, including G.R. Little Agency. Since we have provided these flood policies for many years, we can often suggest ways to save money on your flood insurance.

  • Liability

Personal Liability insurance is another special coverage which is particularly important if your home is used as either rental property or a second home. A personal liability policy protects owners from bodily injury or property damage claims arising from the use of their home. For example, if someone falls down your steps or out of a bunk bed in your house, personal liability insurance will defend you and pay claims on your behalf if you are found to be negligent. This type of insurance is readily available through many insurance companies and can be added to either your primary homeowners or existing dwelling fire policy or can be purchased as a personal liability only policy. G.R. Little Agency can help you decide which option best suits your needs.

  • Theft

Although damage to your home caused by a burglar is covered under most standard dwelling fire policies, theft of your personal property often is not. Therefore, special theft only policies are available that settle claims on a ACV (Actual cash Value – cost new less depreciation) basis. Decisions regarding theft protection should be carefully considered with an experienced agent.

  • Loss of Rental Income or Fair Rental Value

Fair rental value is defined as the “rental value of that part of the dwelling rented to others or held for rental by you less any expenses that do not continue while that part of the dwelling rented or held for rental is not fit to live in.” Did you know that the standard dwelling fire policy includes some coverage for loss of fair rental value also called rental income? G.R. Little Agency services many homeowners with rental property on the Outer Banks and can use that experience to help you determine if your current coverage is sufficient to meet your specific needs.

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AUTO INSURANCE

Does North Carolina require Liability insurance?

Yes.  The state of North Carolina requires proof of “financial responsibility” in order to operate a motor vehicle.

What happens when I loan my car to someone? Is that person covered by my policy? Am I still covered?

Yes. Liability and coverage for Physical Damage (i.e. Comprehensive and Collision) always follow your car. Plus, if the driver of your car is insured, his/her policy will also be available to cover the cost of damages and injuries.

The same rules apply when you borrow someone else’s vehicle; your own insurance follows you no matter whose car you’re driving. But the vehicle owner’s policy is the key coverage in the event of an accident.

What is comprehensive Insurance?

Comprehensive insurance also known as Other Than Collision pays just about every other type of direct, accidental loss to the vehicle that is not specifically excluded by the policy. Some of the perils that are specifically listed in the policy as being Other Than Collision losses are as follows:

  • Fire
 
  • Hail, Water or Flood
  • Theft or Larceny
 
  • Contact with bird or animal
  • Windstorm
 
  • Breakage of glass

BUSINESS INSURANCE

I’m just getting my business started. Do I need insurance immediately?

Yes. Your chance of suffering a loss begins with the first day of business. If you suffer a loss and have no insurance or have improper or insufficient coverage, your insurance agent can do little, if anything, to help you.

Also, many states and local jurisdictions require businesses to have insurance to begin operating. And if you rent space for your business, your landlord probably requires you to obtain adequate insurance.

I don’t have any major business assets. Why do I need insurance?

Every business has some property. When you think about it, your business is your property. Just like your home and your car, your business needs to be protected from loss, damage, and liability. In addition, your business is your source of income, so you need protection from the potential loss of that income.

Does insurance coverage vary for different businesses?

It can. Many small businesses opt for package policies that cover the major Property and Liability exposures as well as for a loss of income. A common package policy used by many small businesses is called the Business Owners Policy (BOP).

Generally, BOPs provide more complete coverage at a lower price than separate policies for each type of insurance needed. We can help you decide which policy or policies are right for your business. You can also purchase additional coverage for perils or conditions otherwise excluded, such as flood protection.

We can advise you of the best policy (or policies) to protect you and your business.

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TIPS FOR CONTROLLING MY WORKERS COMPENSATION AUDIT

Be prepared…

  • A successful audit is one where you remain in control.
  • Organize your payroll records and have copies of all
    W-2, 1099, federal and state quarterly reports as well as any applicable overtime payroll information available for inspection.
  • Make certain each employee is classified under the correct code.
  • Be sure to note Officer exemptions where applicable and their related excluded remuneration.
  • Have your “Certificates of Insurance” for all subcontractors in file and up to date.

During the audit…

  • Welcome him or her and set them up in a comfortable workspace.
  • Do not let them wander freely or unattended around the workplace.
  • Be available to clarify or answer any questions with regards to payroll and subcontractors.

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TIPS FOR CLAIMS MANAGEMENT OF MY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION

  • Report all claims promptly regardless of severity.
  • Claims with minor medical bills only can be handled internally. However, make certain to notify the insurance company that the claim is for reporting purposes only.
  • Never hire uninsured subcontractors. They can only cause potential problems at audit and can negatively impact your experience modification.
  • Request an experience modification worksheet from your agent to determine its accuracy.
  • Request that your agent provide you with periodic updates of claim
    settlements.
  • Exercise workplace safety and provide employees with proper tools and equipment.
  • Request a safety inspection from your insurance carrier. Many insurance companies offer this as a free value added service.

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