Commonly asked questions...
...for your auto, home, and other policies
Is my rental car covered?
If you cause an accident while driving a rental, liability insurance would pay up to the policy limits for the damages to other cars or property. Collision and comprehensive coverage on the policy would apply. Some things may not be covered, such as loss-of-use, loss-of-value, or other administrative fees.
What does UM coverage mean?
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is a liability coverage that pays for injuries to the named insured, resident relatives and passengers in insured cars resulting from a car accident caused by an uninsured driver.
I have medical insurance. Do I need auto liability insurance?
Even if you have medical insurance, you still need Liability insurance. Medical/Health insurance does not cover liability from auto accidents. Additionally, different states may have different requirements. For example, some states, like Florida, require Auto Insurance with minimum limits of $10,000 in PIP and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability for vehicle registration purposes.
Is my windshield covered?
Each state has different guidelines for windshield coverage. Each state has different guidelines, in Florida for example, if you carry comprehensive coverage on a vehicle that experiences windshield damage, then you are entitled to have broken or damaged windshield repaired or replaced without paying a deductible for the claim, but this is not the case in all states.
Can my child, caretaker, or friend drive my car and be covered?
Most policies provide coverage for what is called permissive use, which allows other individuals (not listed on your policy) to operate your vehicle when given explicit permission. It depends on your insurer and your particular policy. Coverage rules and regulations may be different if the driver lives in your household and could, or should, be listed as a named insured on your policy, but is not; or, if the driver is listed on your policy as excluded.
Typically, even if the person driving your car has his or her own insurance, your insurance will be the primary payer for damages caused by your vehicle; but the person driving your car has to be found legally at fault before your insurance will pay. The driver's insurance is secondary and may cover some personal injury or medical expenses. It may also provide coverage in excess of your insurance coverage, if the cost of damages caused by your vehicle is higher than your policy limits. If you have questions about your specific needs, please contact us.
Why did my premium go up?
Premiums can increase for a variety of reasons, including rate increases at the state and/or federal level, rate revisions in a particular garaging address, or a change to the insured’s status such as age group, marital status, employment, or even credit. Other reasons for an increase could be a change to the insured’s driving record, loss of discounts, addition of surcharges, or changes to the policy such as adding a vehicle or driver. Changes that are made at the end of a policy period may only have a small impact on the previous term but a more significant increase in premium may be experienced upon renewal.
If I file a claim, will it affect my insurance?
Filing a claim will not directly affect an insured’s insurance premium. At the end of each calendar year, carriers assess the total sum of claims payouts they have made and may increase policies across the board for their policyholders. Even if you have been considered a safe driver in the past, your insurer may re-evaluate your driving record and decide to raise your premium if new claims from other policyholders of a similar nature indicate you have become a riskier driver.
Does my permitted driver need to be listed on my policy?
If your teen driver has their learner's permit and plans to start driving, they may need to be added to the auto policy. Some carriers will not require them to be added until they are fully licensed. If you have questions about your specific needs, please contact us.
What does comprehensive/collision cover?
Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from unexpected damage, such as a tree branch falling on it or hitting an animal. Collision coverage provides protection for collisions with another vehicle or object. These deductibles can be selected for each vehicle in an a la carte fashion and not every vehicle needs to have comprehensive or collision. If there is a lienholder, they may require a financed vehicle to have both with a certain deductible amount.
How can I replace a vehicle on my auto policy?
To replace a vehicle on an auto policy, please call in to request the change. We will need the VIN and date of purchase in order to accurately add or replace a vehicle.
What causes a rate increase?
Rate increases can occur for various reasons. One significant factor is the current market conditions, such as the hard market caused by recent active hurricane seasons in the Southeast, wildfires out west, and natural disasters nationwide. These events can lead to higher claim payouts and in turn, can impact premiums.
Additionally, the rising costs of materials, labor, and permits contribute to rate adjustments. As construction expenses increase, it becomes more expensive to rebuild or repair homes, leading to higher insurance costs.
Another consideration for rate increases is inflation guard, a feature built into home insurance policies. This provision aims to protect the replacement cost of your property, ensuring that your home can be rebuilt at today's standard.
What is inflation guard?
Inflation guard is an essential component of your home insurance policy designed to safeguard the replacement cost of your property. With inflation guard, your coverage is adjusted over time to reflect current construction costs and market conditions.
As the cost of materials and labor fluctuates, your policy will be updated to ensure that the coverage amount remains sufficient to rebuild your home at today's prevailing rates.
Essentially, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you will be indemnified regardless of market inflation.
Does Brightway check to see if I have the best coverage every year, or do I need to call in to request a review?
We automatically shop your policy around with other carriers when there is a substantial increase in premium from one year to the next.
What is covered under the Dwelling limit?
The Dwelling limit insures the main home itself and any attached structures like a garage or carport, as well as remodeling construction materials stored on the property.
What is covered under Other Structures?
These are structures that do not share a roof with the main home and are not attached to it, such as but not limited to gazebos, sheds, detached garage, etc.
What is covered under Personal Property?
The named insured’s personal belongings. Take the roof off the home, flip it over, and anything that falls out is considered Personal Property.
What is covered under Loss of Use?
Loss of Use pays for additional expenses such as food, lodging, and laundry if the insured is displaced due to a covered claim or is ordered to evacuate by a Civil Authority.
What is covered under Personal Liability?
Personal Liability coverage helps to pay for claims of bodily injury and/or property damage caused by an occurrence which covered residents are legally responsible (liable) for.
What is covered under Medical Payments?
Medical expenses paid by the carrier for occurrences where guests (non-residents) are injured on the insured's property.
What is Replacement Cost?
The term Replacement Cost or replacement value refers to the amount that an entity would have to pay to replace an asset at the present time, according to its current worth. This is in the event that it is completely destroyed.
What is Actual Cash Value?
The amount of money that would be required to fix your home, minus depreciation.
What is the AOP deductible?
The All Other Perils Deductible applies to losses or claims that are not involving storms or wind and hail damage (covered perils).
What is the Hurricane Deductible?
The Hurricane Deductible applies only to damage caused by hurricanes. It is applied separately from standard perils (AOP) deductibles and is typically a higher dollar amount, meaning a customer would be responsible for a larger portion of any loss. It can be expressed as a fixed dollar deductible or, more commonly, as a percentage of the home’s insured value, which can vary from 1% to as high as 10%. The Hurricane Deductible is applied when a storm officially reaches Hurricane status; usually category 1 or greater. In order to reach hurricane status, a storm must have sustained winds of at least 74 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center also decides when to make the call to increase the status of a hurricane based on the intensity.
What is ordinance and law coverage?
This applies to increased costs incurred due to the enforcement of any ordinance or law that requires or regulates the construction, demolition, remodeling, renovation, or repair of a covered building or structure because of a covered loss.
My lender told me I need to increase my coverage to close on a new loan. Can you help with that?
The coverage provided on your insurance policy is what it will cost to rebuild your home at today's standard from the ground up in case of a total loss. The bank provides a loan in the amount of the market value, which includes the land value as well as the location value. These 2 amounts can be widely different. Most states have a law in place that prevents the banks from requiring those amounts to match, as land and location value will not be covered in the insurance policy. Please contact our service center for further assistance.
I got a new A/C unit; will this help lower my rate?
While getting a new A/C unit is great for the home, it will not lower your premium as it is considered normal upkeep of the home to replace/repair items like the A/C, Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC system, stove, fridge, appliances, etc.
I got a new roof; will that change my premium?
Having your roof updated could certainly impact your premium, several credits are based on the age, construction materials used, and style of the roof. Please send us a copy of your final roof permit and paid in full invoice to email@example.com so we can work with the carrier to ensure all applicable credits are applied.
In some cases, a carrier will require a new Wind Mitigation Inspection, and any applicable credits will be applied upon review. Credits are not guaranteed and based solely on the inspection report. If Wind Mitigation is needed, we will reach out to notify you. Please keep in mind that Brightway does not cover the costs of obtaining a Wind Mitigation Inspection or recommend any specific inspectors.
What does my carrier’s financials look like? Are they going out of business next?
While things are constantly changing, we do keep an eye on our carriers’ financial stability. You can search your carrier on Demotech for more information. (Please note some carriers are now listed on KBRA and not Demotech). https://www.demotech.com/financial-stability-ratings/ https://www.kbra.com/
How does the carrier rate my Homeowners policy?
Home policies have rating factors for both the home itself as well as the insured. The home rates are based on the coverage amounts listed, which should be determined using a Replacement Cost Estimator (RCE), this includes:
- Deductible amounts
- Age and construction of the home
- Proximity to the fire station
- Roof age & material/condition
The insured will be rated based on Martial status, Insurance score, Credit history & Claims history.
What is a checklist of coverage?
The Checklist of Coverage will show what type of Dwelling Coverage the insured is currently carrying. These types of coverage range from replacement cost, actual cash value, stated amount, etc.
What is a Letter of Satisfaction?
A letter from your mortgage company/bank stating that you have paid off your home loan and satisfied the mortgage. This letter is needed in order to remove your mortgage company from your homeowners policy.
What does fair rental value cover?
Fair Rental Value may help replace lost rent payments if the property you are renting out is temporarily uninhabitable after a covered claim.
Does my HO-4 policy cover my belongings?
Yes, your HO-4 Renters policy should cover your belongings, also known as Personal Property.
What is covered by an inland marine policy?
The great thing about inland marine policies is that most are covered on an all-risk basis and not named peril and therefore offer broader coverage. Some examples of perils that would be covered are theft, accidents, vandalism, or total loss.
Common Carrier Questions
How do I file a claim?
You would need to call your insurance carrier directly, or if they have the option you can file the claim online.
I filed a claim more than 30 days ago and the insurance company has not resolved it or issued any payments. What is going on?
Rules vary by state, typically the carrier has 60 days from the date they receive the notice of a new or reopened claim to either deny the claim, pay the claim, or pay a portion of the claim. It would be best to reach out to your assigned claims adjuster to check the status of your claim with the carrier.
What do I need to do to get my name changed on my policy?
We need proof that your name has changed. (driver’s license, divorce decree, etc.) Your carrier may also require a signed Change Request to process the change.
I do not want to call you, what’s your email?
What do I need to do to change my Agent? I can never contact them.
While your agent may not be available to answer or assist, please know that our Engagement Center is readily available to assist with any servicing needs you may have. You can contact us Monday-Friday from 8am-7pm EST.
Is my carrier open today?
Holiday - Due to the holiday, your insurance company is closed today and will reopen on (insert date). Non-Holiday - *Depending on time of day may be a yes or no.
How do I contact my insurance company regarding my policy?
We can assist you with any questions regarding coverage, changes, or billing. Unless you need to file a claim, we can provide any information needed regarding your policy or assist in cancelling, and shopping for new insurance.
How can I make my payment?
Depending on the carrier, we can process your payment with you over the phone, or you can pay online via the carrier’s website, and in most cases, you can mail it directly to your carrier. All available payment methods are typically outlined on your renewal or installment invoice.
Can I get all my bills emailed to me?
We can verify with your insurance company if they offer paperless billing and what would be needed to enroll. If unavailable, we can send you the most recent invoice via email.
How do I set up automatic payments?
Most auto carriers allow us to enroll you using your checking account or card information. A completed EFT Authorization form may be required.
We will need to contact your insurance company to verify if they offer auto pay and how to enroll. If they support auto payments, we can then proceed with taking your payment information.
Where can I find my policy documents online?
This depends on the carrier and if there is a customer portal where you can access documents. . If not, we can send the documents to you upon request.
Is my insurance company going to go out of business?
Rest assured that in the unlikely event of insolvency, we will notify you and work diligently to find alternative coverage options. The state regulatory authorities will also issue a notification via mail to keep you informed. To stay updated on your insurance company's financial status, you can visit reputable financial rating websites like Demotech or KBRA (Kroll Bond Rating Agency). These websites provide the latest financial ratings of insurance carriers, which can give you valuable insights into their financial strength and stability.
What other insurance companies do you partner with?
We are appointed with over 350 insurance companies spanning multiple lines of business, such as home, flood, auto, and liability.
Who is my insurance company? I thought it was Brightway.
Brightway is your insurance agency that works directly with your insurance carrier to make any changes needed or answer any questions you may have. We are here for you!
Is Brightway my insurance provider?
No, Brightway is your insurance agency. We service multiple insurance companies over several lines of business. We don't provide the coverage but act as a middleman between you and the insurance company. This can come in handy when you want to shop around because we can look at other carriers but still maintain our relationship with you.
Why are there two different insurance companies on my bill?
Sometimes you will see 2 names on your bill or declarations page because one is the Parent company name and the other is the Writing company name.
What are some advantages of the Private Market Offer?
May include more personalized and comprehensive coverage options than what is available through Citizens
- Increased Liability over the $100,000 Citizens Limit
- Screened Enclosure Coverage not offered by Citizens
- Limited Water Damage Coverage not offered by Citizens
- Other optional Coverages
Why is my policy not eligible to remain with Citizens?
i: If the premium from the private market insurer is less than 20% higher than the Citizens premium, then the policy will be ineligible to remain with Citizens due to Florida Legislation. ii: The State requires that Citizens non-renew customers who are eligible for a comparable private market offer.
Once the Policyholder Choice letter is received, how and when do I need to make the selection?
You can submit your choice to Citizens either by:
- Contacting the Brightway Service Department to submit your choice to Citizens on your behalf via the carrier website.
- Registering your Policyholder Choice Selection online at www.citizensfla.com/online-choice
Why am I still with Citizens, when I opted to go with a private market carrier?
Sometimes an assumption does not take place. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If you accept an assumption offer from a private-market company and your policy is not assumed, you will receive a letter from Citizens notifying you that your policy will remain with Citizens. You will be eligible to receive future assumption offers.
- Is my rental car covered?
- What does UM coverage mean?
- I have medical insurance. Do I need auto liability insurance?
- Is my windshield covered?
- Can my child, caretaker, or friend drive my car and be covered?
- Why did my premium go up?
- If I file a claim, will it affect my insurance?
- Does my permitted driver need to be listed on my policy?
- What does comprehensive/collision cover?
- How can I replace a vehicle on my auto policy?
- What causes a rate increase?
- What is inflation guard?
- Does Brightway check to see if I have the best coverage every year, or do I need to call in to request a review?
- What is covered under the Dwelling limit?
- What is covered under Other Structures?
- What is covered under Personal Property?
- What is covered under Loss of Use?
- What is covered under Personal Liability?
- What is covered under Medical Payments?
- What is Replacement Cost?
- What is Actual Cash Value?
- What is the AOP deductible?
- What is the Hurricane Deductible?
- What is ordinance and law coverage?
- My lender told me I need to increase my coverage to close on a new loan. Can you help with that?
- I got a new A/C unit; will this help lower my rate?
- I got a new roof; will that change my premium?
- What does my carrier’s financials look like? Are they going out of business next?
- How does the carrier rate my Homeowners policy?
- What is a checklist of coverage?
- What is a Letter of Satisfaction?
- Dwelling Fire
- Inland Marine
- Common Carrier Questions
- How do I file a claim?
- I filed a claim more than 30 days ago and the insurance company has not resolved it or issued any payments. What is going on?
- What do I need to do to get my name changed on my policy?
- I do not want to call you, what’s your email?
- What do I need to do to change my Agent? I can never contact them.
- Is my carrier open today?
- How do I contact my insurance company regarding my policy?
- How can I make my payment?
- Can I get all my bills emailed to me?
- How do I set up automatic payments?
- Where can I find my policy documents online?
- Is my insurance company going to go out of business?
- What other insurance companies do you partner with?
- Who is my insurance company? I thought it was Brightway.
- Is Brightway my insurance provider?
- Why are there two different insurance companies on my bill?
- Citizens Depopulation