The information provided in our responses to Frequently Asked Questions is intended to help our policyholders understand how their policies may apply in a given situation. But it’s important to remember that the actual insurance policy and the facts surrounding a loss are what determine the outcome of any particular claim situation.  

In other words, the responses do not offer any additional coverage that does not exist in the insurance policy, and they do not change or take away any coverage that does exist in the insurance policy. They are not statements of a contract or a policy, and all coverage is subject to the terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of your policy and all applicable endorsements and amendments.
How do I update a credit card expiration date?
It's important to make sure the expiration date for the credit card that we have on record is the most current one. An outdated expiration date will cause an automated payment to fail, which could eventually lead to the cancellation of the policy. To avoid that, as soon as you receive a new expiration date, log in – go to the Billing tab – and update your credit card information
Can I change the date I am billed for my premium?
Payment due dates always correspond to the date your policy started – your original effective date. The only way to change a payment due date is to cancel the policy and rewrite it. In addition to having a new policy number, the rewritten policy would be subject to any rate adjustments and revised policy provisions that the prior policy may not have experienced, which could impact premium.
What billing options do you offer?
For auto, home, condo or renters insurance we offer two billing options: Direct full pay or monthly installments.
If you select direct full pay, you will pay the entire premium amount using a personal check, money order, or a VISA®, MasterCard® or American Express® credit card. For home insurance, your full payment may also be automatically billed through your mortgage company.
If you opt for monthly installments, you may pay them with a credit or debit card, or by establishing a pre-authorized withdrawal from your checking or savings account. The monthly installments do include a small convenience fee.
What is a payment holiday?
If you choose to pay your premium in monthly installments, we provide a payment holiday. Automobile policy terms are six months – so premiums are paid over five months, giving you one month without a payment (this feature is not available in MA and TX). Home, condo and renters policy terms are one year – so premiums are paid over 11 months, giving you one payment-free month.
For auto, home, condo or renters insurance we offer two billing options: Direct full pay or monthly installments.
Why do you charge a convenience fee?
Convenience fees are common in the insurance industry and are used to offset the costs associated with processing installment payments.
What information do I need to add a vehicle to my policy?
If you have a few key pieces of information ready in advance, adding a vehicle to your policy will take only a few minutes. You would need: the year, make and model of vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number (VIN).
If my child is getting a driver’s license soon, when do I have to change my policy?
As soon as he or she obtains a driver’s license, we need to update your policy to ensure adequate coverage. We do not require a driver with a learner’s permit to be listed on the auto policy.
I recently bought an expensive piece of jewelry, is it covered under my home policy?
A standard home policy only provides limited coverage on certain high-value items, and you may not be reimbursed for the entire value of your property if a loss occurs. You would be responsible for any loss higher than the policy limit ($1,000 per item of jewelry, for example), as well as your policy deductible.
So, if you own items that are particularly valuable, you may want to consider additional coverage. In other words, you can "schedule" those items individually on your existing policy. Scheduled Personal Property coverage gives additional protection against loss or damage beyond that of your standard policy limits and no deductible applies.
Items to consider scheduling: jewelry, personal computers, golf equipment, cameras and equipment, furs, musical instruments, silverware, fine arts (paintings, prints, rugs, vases, etc.), collections (stamps, coins, ceramics, etc.) and firearms.
I was a victim of identity theft – do I have any coverage for that?
Identity theft protection coverage is included at no additional cost with all home, condo and renters policies. This coverage provides up to $5,000 for your out-of-pocket expenses related to identity theft.
Will reporting a claim affect my rates?
It’s difficult to make a general statement because a number of factors can affect your rate, such as accidents or violations, the addition or deletion of drivers and vehicles, and state-wide rate adjustments or legislative changes. The type of claim, the determination of fault, and whether or not you are eligible for accident forgiveness may also play a role. When you receive your renewal package, at least 45 days prior to your renewal, any rate changes would be reflected on your declaration page. Once you receive your renewal package, if you want more detailed information you can contact us.
Whose name will be on the claim payment?
Claim payments are issued as a one-party check or two-party check, depending on the coverage and if another party has a legal interest in the claim (e.g., repair shop, lienholder, mortgage company, attorney, health care provider, etc.).
Can I check the status of my claim online?
We don’t currently have that capability; however, we can keep you apprised of any change in status via email. Just let your claim representative know your preferred method of communication.
How long will it take to recover my deductible from the person responsible for my accident?
We will work diligently to quickly recover your deductible – it is extremely important to us. However, it’s difficult to provide a specific timeline because factors such as the failure of the other party to report the loss or admit fault, or the failure of the other insurance company to make a prompt and reasonable offer can impact the speed of resolution.
What should I do if emergency repairs are needed to my home?
First, you should contact us to file a claim. You can file a claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once a claim is filed, we can immediately assign a contractor to come to your home. We have established relationships with contractors who are trained and licensed disaster restoration professionals. It’s a good idea to take photos of the damages before the repairs begin – and you should keep any damaged items, receipts and invoices. It’s also important to remember that, as a policyholder, you have an obligation to take action to protect your property, as much as possible, from additional damage.
Do I qualify for accident forgiveness?
If you have been an accident-free policyholder for more than three years you may qualify for accident forgiveness – but the availability of this benefit varies by state. Contact us to find out if it’s offered in your state.
I purchased towing coverage, so how do I get my vehicle towed when I need it?
If you have towing coverage you should contact RoadAmerica, our roadside assistance partner, at 888.742.4572.Be sure to retain any invoices for possible reimbursement if the tow company is unable to bill RoadAmerica directly.Your roadside assistance coverage allows you to receive assistance if you have a flat tire, a dead battery, get locked out of your car, get stuck in mud or snow, or run out of gas.
How soon after an accident can I get my vehicle repaired?
Once you file a claim, we can help you select a repair facility that will assess the damage and provide an estimate and timeline for the repairs. Repairs to your vehicle should not start until we have an agreed repair price with the facility you have chosen.
Should I purchase the insurance that car rental companies offer?
If you have full coverage (liability, collision/comprehensive) on your vehicle, that coverage – including any applicable deductible – will extend up to 30 days for a vehicle rented in the continental United States, its territories and Canada. The rental vehicle should be of comparable size and value to your insured vehicle. Please ask the rental car company about other fees that may apply if you are in an accident with a rented vehicle.
I was in an accident and now my vehicle needs to be inspected. Do I have to be there?
It is optional for the owner to be present at a vehicle inspection.
Do I have to use a specific shop for repairs?
We are prohibited by law from requiring that repairs are completed at a specific automotive repair facility. You are entitled to select the auto body repair shop to repair covered damage.
However, we have a network of repair shops that maximize customer satisfaction, reduce service time, and lower overall expenses. The benefits of using our network include:
  • Lifetime warranty on repairs for as long as you own the vehicle.
  • Trained technicians performing quality repairs to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition.
  • Constant monitoring of all repair facilities to assure that they provide customers with quality repairs and service.
You may contact your claim representative for more information on the quality-focused repair facilities in your area.
How do you determine if a vehicle is a total loss?
We determine if a vehicle is a total loss by comparing the value of the vehicle prior to the loss, to the estimated cost of repair. If the estimated cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the vehicle, the vehicle may be considered a total loss. The percentage varies according to state – if you experience a loss, your claim representative will provide more detailed information based on your location.
Should I always contact the police if I am in an accident?
Yes, it is always in your best interest to contact the police.
Can I file my claim with the other person’s insurance company?
Yes, if you feel the accident was not your fault, you have the option of filing with the other person’s insurance company. However, there are some benefits to filing with us – namely, you don’t have to wait for fault to be determined before you gain approval to have your vehicle repaired.
What should I do if I have not received the policy documents I requested?
If you have requested documents to be mailed, please allow 3 to 5 business days for delivery.If you have not received the information you've requested, please contact us. It may also be helpful to verify that your online profile information is accurate.
How can I get a copy of my policy booklet?
Please contact us.
What should I do if I can't find a document online?
Please contact us.
Where can I obtain a copy of my identification cards or declaration page?
You can view and print your identification cards or declaration page in the Documents section of our website.
Where can I go to change my email address and password?
You can update your personal information within the "Your Profile" section of our site.
Insurance Terms

Need help understanding some of the words in your policy or deciphering insurance terms in general? Here's a list of the most common auto and home insurance terms that may help clarify things.

The definitions in this glossary are strictly informational. Please refer to your policy book for a more precise definition of terms as they relate to your specific contract. All coverages are subject to the terms, limits and conditions of your policy contract.



Accident Forgiveness

If you have been an accident-free policyholder for more than three years and you experience your first accident, you will be allowed to maintain your Safe Driving History discount. (Availability varies by state.)

Accident Free Discount

By keeping your driving record free of accidents for three years, regardless of the insurance carrier, you will receive a discount. If your record remains free of accidents for six years, an additional discount is applied. (Availability varies by state.)

Additional Living Expense

Reimbursement to the policyholder for living costs when he or she is forced to maintain a residence elsewhere because of a loss of property. Expenses are in excess of normal day-to-day living expenses, and may include motel or hotel lodging, food, laundry, etc.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

The current value of an item of property. It is the amount it would cost to replace an item, minus depreciation.

Additional Insured

A person or interest protected by the insurance policy other than the named insured. For example, a trust or lienholder may also be listed as an additional insured on an auto policy.


A person who investigates and settles claims.

Adverse Carrier

Another person's or group's insurance company.


A change to your policy that permanently alters it.

Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)

A system that prevents the wheels on a vehicle from locking under heavy braking. The same system helps drivers to maintain steering control under heavy braking and, in some situations, to shorten braking distances.

Anti-Theft Devices

Devices that may reduce the chance your car will be vandalized or stolen, or increase the chance it will be found if it is stolen (e.g., car alarms, keyless entry, starter disablers, motion detectors, parts etched with the Vehicle Identification Number, recovery systems, etc.).


An impartial review of property to determine its value and, if applicable, the extent of damages.


A method of resolving disputes outside a court of law. Generally, all parties agree to accept the final decision of the arbitrator, and it is legally binding.

At-Fault Accident

An accident in which the driver is considered responsible. To determine if the driver was responsible, an investigation is conducted and, based on that, a percentage of fault is assigned. If the percentage of fault exceeds the standard (which varies by state), it is considered an at-fault accident.

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Provides temporary coverage before the policy can be issued or a change made effective to an active policy.

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Coverage that pays damages for bodily injury, sickness, disease or death that occur as a result of an accident for which you are at fault.

Business Use

Using a vehicle in connection with your occupation, profession, or business (does not include traveling to and from your principal place of business).

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Terminating a policy before its expiration date.


An insurance company.

Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR)

A certificate mandated by the state to verify that an individual has auto insurance liability coverage. Typically, the state's Motor Vehicle Department will notify you if a CFR (also known as SR-22) is needed.

Chargeable Accident

An at-fault accident that affects premium.


Any request for payment or coverage under the terms of your insurance policy.


An individual presenting a claim.

CLUE Report (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange)

A report obtained from an outside company (LexisNexis®) that lists previous claims filed by you or related to your property as reported by an insurance company.

Collision Coverage

Pays for damage to the insured vehicle and its equipment in the case of an accident with another vehicle or striking a fixed object.

Commercial Vehicle

A vehicle not primarily used for personal use - generally titled to a business or covered by business or commercial insurance.

Comparative Negligence

A law that, in some states, may enable claimants to recover a portion of their damages even when they are partially at fault. Each party's negligence is compared to the other's and a claimant's recovery can be reduced by the percentage of his or her own negligence.

Comprehensive Coverage

Pays for non-collision damages to the insured vehicle and its equipment (e.g.,theft, striking an animal, glass breakage, vandalism, fire, natural causes).

Contributory Negligence

A law that, in some states, may prevent claimants from recovering any portion of their damages if they are even partially at fault.


Specific protection provided by a policy against loss or damages, up to the limits of liability.

Covered Person

This refers to the individuals (named insured, spouse, resident relatives, etc.) insured under a policy.

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Generally, money that one party becomes legally obligated to pay to another party.

Declaration Page

The initial part of your policy that includes your name and address, a description and location of the property being insured, the policy period, the selected coverage limits, and the applicable premiums.


The portion of the loss the policyholder is required to pay before policy coverage begins.


The decrease or loss in value caused by age, wear or market conditions.


A reduction in premium for certain conditions that you, your home, or your vehicle may meet.

Dwelling Coverage

Protects your house and any structures attached to your home, like the garage and the screened porch. Coverage should be based on the current cost to rebuild your home, not including the value of the land.

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Effective Date

The date on which the insurance contract becomes effective or the date the insured requests the policy to be amended. It may become effective the day after the postmarked date of payment or on the day it is credit card bound.


Written modification to a policy that adds something to the original.

Escrow Account

An account with a mortgage company where a client can have premium withdrawn for homeowners insurance.


A professional assessment of the cost to repair damaged property. The actual cost may vary depending on a variety of factors.


A restriction in the policy that limits or excludes coverage for certain perils, persons, property or locations.

Expiration Date

The date your insurance contract expires as shown on the declaration page.

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GAP Coverage

Optional coverage that would pay the difference between the market value of a totaled car and the amount you still owe on your loan or lease.

Good Student Discount

You may receive a discount for students under the age of 25 with average grades of "B" or better, or that ranked in the upper 20% on a national standardized test in the last twelve months. (Availability varies by state.)

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A condition that introduces or increases the probability that a loss will occur.

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ID Card

A card issued by your insurer containing basic information about your policy. Some states require you to keep an ID card in your vehicle.

Inception Date

The date coverage begins on an insurance policy.

Increased Special Limits

An endorsement that allows an increased amount of coverage for specific possessions (but it does not change or broaden the type of coverage afforded in the policy).


Providing compensation for a loss with the intent to restore an individual or entity to the approximate financial position prior to the loss.

Independent Adjuster

An individual who investigates or estimates losses on behalf of an insurance company, but is not an employee of that company.

Inland Marine Insurance

Covers items that may be transported from one place to another, as well as items of unique value.

Insurance Score

A numerical score based on factors such as: bill-paying history, number and type of accounts with late payments, collection actions, outstanding debt, and age of accounts. Insurance scores should not be confused with credit scores, which use some of these same elements.In some states, this score is one factor used to determine premium.


A person or organization covered by an insurance policy.


An organization that provides insurance.

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Lapse in Coverage

The cancellation or termination of a policy for failure to pay premium, or when the policy contract is void for other reasons.

Liability Coverage (also known as Personal Liability Coverage or Third Party Insurance)

Liability coverage offers protection against property damage or bodily injury to a third party that you or a member of your household accidentally caused. This coverage applies only if the policyholder is considered legally responsible for the damage.

Liability coverage is a broad term - for example, bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage are types of liability coverage.


A claim or charge on property as a security for the payment of a debt.

Lienholder/Loss Payee

A person or organization with a financial interest in property up to the amount of money borrowed or still owed on the property.

Limits (or Limits of Liability)

The maximum sum of money an insurance company agrees to pay under a policy in the event of a covered loss. Generally, for auto insurance, limits are identified and paid on a per person and per occurrence basis. Typically, for home insurance, limits are based on replacement cost.

Longevity Discount

You may receive a discount if you maintain a homeowners policy for at least five years. The discount may increase after ten years.


Any measurable dollar cost of damage and/or injury suffered by a person.

Loss Payee/Lienholder

A person or organization with a financial interest in property up to the amount of money borrowed or still owed on the property.

Loss of Use Coverage

When a loss occurs due to a covered peril and a dwelling becomes uninhabitable, the cost of additional living expenses for maintaining a normal standard of living is covered.

Loss Assessment

An endorsement that provides coverage to pay the policyholder's share of any assessment charged to all property owners by an association (home or condominium).

Loss Payable

A policy provision that ensures that in the case of a total loss a lienholder is paid the amount outstanding on a loan before the insured is paid.

Loyalty Discount/Multi-Policy Discount

If you purchase more than one policy with our company, you may receive a discount.

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Major Violation

Serious traffic citations such as driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless driving, vehicular homicide, etc.

Mature Driver Improvement Course Discount

You may qualify for a discount if you are 55 or older and have completed a state-approved driver improvement course within the past three years. (Availability varies by state.)

Medical Expense Coverage

Coverage that pays for medical and hospital expenses for the insured and any other person injured as a result of an accident in the insured vehicle.

Medical Payments to Others Coverage

Homeowner's coverage that compensates others who sustain an injury while on your property, or whom you injure accidentally (excluding the people who live in your house).

Minor Violation

Less serious traffic citations such as failure to stop or minor speeding.

Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)

A report from the Department of Motor Vehicles that lists any accidents and violations on your driving record.

Moving Violation

A traffic citation such as speeding or failure to obey a traffic signal or sign.

Multi-Car Discount

You may receive a discount if you insure two or more cars on the same policy.(Availability varies by state.)

Multi-Policy Discount/Loyalty Discount

If you purchase more than one policy with our company, you may receive a discount.

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Named Insured

The person or entity listed on the policy declaration page.


The failure to exhibit the behavior expected of a reasonable person in similar circumstances.

No-Fault Insurance

Coverage that provides reimbursement for losses incurred by automobile accident victims regardless of who caused the accident.(Availability varies by state.)

Not-At-Fault Accident

An incident where the driver is typically less than 50% at fault (but percentage varies by state).


When an insurer does not renew a policy at the end of the policy period.

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Other Structures Coverage

Coverage (typically 10% of the dwelling coverage value) for structures not attached to the home such as utility sheds, gazebos, unconnected fences and above-ground pools.

Optional Coverages

Coverages not included as part of a basic policy, but added at the insured's or applicant's request (e.g., towing, rental reimbursement, etc.).

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Passive Restraint Discount

A discount that may be available if your vehicle is equipped with automatic seat belts or airbags. (Availability varies by state.)

Per Occurrence Limit

The maximum amount an insurance company will pay for all claims arising from a single incident.

Per Person Limit

The maximum amount an insurance company will pay for any one person's injuries arising from a single incident.


A danger or hazard that can cause a loss.

Personal Injury Endorsement

An endorsement used to protect against personal injury offenses to others, including: false arrest, detention, imprisonment, malicious prosecution, libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Coverage that pays for medical treatment, lost wages, funeral expenses of the insured, others in the insured vehicle or pedestrians struck by an insured vehicle.

Personal Liability Coverage

See liability coverage.

Personal Property

Property that is portable or mobile, such as furniture or jewelry. Does not include land (real estate) or permanent structures (including fixtures).

Personal Property Coverage

Coverage (typically 50%-70% of dwelling coverage value) to replace belongings after a loss at their actual cash value (i.e., original value minus depreciation).However, there are restrictions on the amount a standard homeowners policy will pay on some items - jewelry or furs, for example - but you can buy additional coverage for them separately.


A written contract of insurance.


A person who pays a premium to an insurance company in exchange for insurance protection.


The amount an insured pays in exchange for insurance coverage.

Primary Operator

The most frequent driver of a particular vehicle.

Proof of Insurance (POI)

A copy of a current insurance policy, declaration page, or ID card showing prior coverage, including dates.

Property Damage Liability Coverage

Pays for damage to someone else's property resulting from an accident for which you are at fault and provides your legal defense.

Physical Damage Coverage

Coverage that applies to car damage by fire, windstorm, hail, theft, or collision. Is sometimes referred to as Collision, Comprehensive or Other Than Collision coverage.

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A preliminary statement of the cost of insurance coverages based on the information provided at the time of the request.

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Refers to the base rating units that are used to determine a final premium.


To reactivate a canceled policy that had a lapse in coverage.


Legally binding contract stating that all obligations past, present or future arising from a particular accident or occurrence have been fulfilled.

Rental Reimbursement

Optional coverage that covers rental vehicle costs (to a specified dollar amount) when an insured vehicle is disabled as the result of a covered accident or loss.

Renewal Date

The date one policy expires and a renewed policy begins.

Replacement Cost Coverage

Provides coverage to replace personal items (such as clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.) damaged in a covered loss at their current cost.

Replacement Cost Value

The amount of money it would cost to repair or replace an item with one of the same kind and quality as the original was at the time of loss (without deduction for depreciation).

Roadside Assistance

If you add optional towing coverage to your policy, you may receive assistance if you: have a flat tire, have a dead battery, get locked out of your car, get stuck in mud or snow, run out of gas.

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Safe Driving History Discount

A discount may be applied to your policy if you've had no at-fault accidents within the last three years. (Availability varies by state.)


Damaged property taken by the insurance company after a claim has been settled.

Scheduled Personal Property (or Personal Property Coverage)

An endorsement used to cover individual items for a specified value, such as jewelry, furs, fine art, musical instruments, etc. Items are covered under most circumstances and with no deductible.


A certificate mandated by the state to verify that an individual has auto insurance liability coverage. Typically, the state's Motor Vehicle Department will notify you if an SR-22 (also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility) is needed.

Student Away Discount

You may receive a discount for full-time students who reside at an educational institution more than 100 miles away. (Availability varies by state.)


A process in which an insurance company pursues the party at fault to recover any benefits paid under the policy.

Subscription Fire Department

A type of fire department that sells its service directly to customers, rather than receiving public funding. Policyholders living in areas with subscription fire departments must have a contract in order to obtain insurance coverage.

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Tenure Discount

You may receive a discount if you maintain an auto policy for at least three years. The discount may increase after six years and again after ten years.


The period of time an insurance policy coverage is effective.

Third Party

A person or entity who is not a signatory to an agreement. A third party may have rights, benefits and obligations relating to that agreement (for example, the other driver in an accident, or a lienholder or mortgage company).

Third Party Insurance

See Liability Coverage.


A legal document that provides evidence of property ownership.


An injury or wrong (other than a breach of contract) committed on the person or property of another for which a civil (as opposed to criminal) action can be brought.

Total Loss

When damage to a vehicle is:

  • So severe that it cannot be repaired safely, or
  • Repairing the vehicle is not economically practical, or
  • State law deems the vehicle unrepairable based on the amount of damage the vehicle sustained in the accident.

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Umbrella Insurance (Personal Liability Umbrella)

A policy that provides liability coverage limits beyond that provided under your homeowners, renters or automobile insurance. Coverage begins after other coverage under those other policies has been exhausted.


A systematic technique for evaluating, selecting and classifying risks to establish and verify the appropriate coverages and rates.

Uninsured Motorist

An individual who owns or operates an automobile without liability insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)

Compensates you for damages for which you may be legally entitled to collect from an owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle. These benefits may include payment for certain medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering subject to your policy's limits and conditions.

Underinsured Motorist

An individual whose coverage limits are less than the damages you sustain in a covered loss.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)

Compensates you for injuries for which you may be legally entitled to collect from an owner or operator of an underinsured motor vehicle, subject to your policy's limits and conditions.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD)

Compensates you for damages to your vehicle for which you may be legally entitled to collect from an owner or operator of an uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle. These benefits are subject to your policy's limits and conditions.

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VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)

A 17-digit number assigned to each vehicle manufactured in the United States  after 1980. This number is used for identification purposes and is visible on the dashboard when viewed from the outside of the vehicle.

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Water Back-up Endorsement

An endorsement to cover damages due to a sump pump failure or a sewer back-up. These items are not covered in a standard home policy.

Workers Compensation Coverage

Provides coverage for medical costs and lost wages (up to statutory limits). For employees injured within the course and scope of their employment, your homeowners policy provides limited benefits, as required under the Workers Compensation law, to some employees in your home.

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