What’s an SR-22?
An SR-22 is a form that may be required by, and filed with, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation(WI-DOT). The form certifies that an automobile liability insurance policy is in force with liability limits that meet or exceed WI-DOT’s requirements. Submitting an SR-22 to WI-DOT is also referred to as filing proof of insurance or proof of financial responsibility.An SR-22 is needed when your driver’s license is suspended or revoked and you want to obtain an occupational license or reinstate a regular license after revocation. It can also be needed if you or an owned vehicle were involved in an accident and automobile liability insurance was not in effect at the time of accident. Most insurance companies surcharge, or add a fee to, the insurance premium for issuing an SR-22 with the automobile liability insurance policy. We can provide the SR-22, but issues concerning your driver’s license and eligibility should be addressed with WI-DOT.
What should I do if I’m involved in an automobile accident?
If possible, contact police and/or exchange information with all parties involved to include: names, insurance companies, note any injuries and/or car damage. Even if the accident is not reportable, you may wish to do so, for your protection. The police, or the department of transportation, should be able to provide assistance regarding a self-reporting form. THEN, as soon as possible, contact your insurance company claim office to report the details of the accident.
What happens when my car is “totaled” in an accident?
Considering you have physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision) on the vehicle, the insurance company will typically write you a check for the “actual cash value” of the vehicle, minus any deductible on your policy. If you carry a loan on the vehicle, the lien holder will be paid the amount that is owed them, before you are reimbursed. If the actual cash value is less than your current loan amount, you would owe the lien holder the remaining amount. Please note, many insurance companies offer there coverage for any difference in the actual cash value and loan amount, it’s normally called GAP coverage.
* “Actual cash value” – this amount is determined by the company, it represents the value of the vehicle at the time of loss, considering the vehicle’s equipment, condition, and mileage, in comparison to similar vehicles
** “Totaled” – actual cash value of vehicle exceeds the cost to repair, plus salvage value
Why do I need liability insurance?
Liability coverage is designed to pay when an insured injures someone or damages another’s property. The “damages” referred to are those sums paid to the claimant, the person who has sustained damage.
A neighbor slips and falls on the ice on your sidewalk; you are liable for their damages.
Your teenaged son loses control of your boat and collides with another; you are liable for the damages.
Your over-active eight-year-old propels a loaded shopping cart down the aisle, hitting a little old lady and sending her flying; you are liable for the damages.
In addition to paying the damages for a covered loss, your liability coverage pays for all the attorney fees and defense costs. With most liability policies, the entire limit of liability shown on the front of the policy goes to pay damages; defense is paid in addition. Today, the cost of defense is often more than the amount of the damages.
Can moving to a new zip code affect my insurance premiums?
Wisconsin insurance companies are allowed to consider where a person lives when setting auto insurance rates, so moving to a different zip code may affect the premiums you pay. If you live in a highly trafficked urban area, you’ll likely pay higher rates than if you live in a rural area.
During a storm, a tree from my neighbor’s yard fell and destroyed my fence. Does my homeowner’s policy pay for the damage or does my neighbor’s policy?
Generally your own policy should cover such a loss. The owner of the tree will only be responsible if you can prove the owner was negligent in causing the damage. Insurers often deny these types of liability claims. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may have a limited amount of coverage available to remove your neighbor’s tree (or your tree) that was blown over by wind and damaged an insured structure on your property. This will be explained in the Additional Coverages section of your homeowner’s policy.
Is my insurance company required to pay for cosmetic damage, such as scratches and dents, to my aluminum or vinyl siding?
It depends on the policy. While most homeowner’s policies will cover cosmetic damage, some policies contain special rules, such as requiring a certain amount of damage per square foot before they will pay. You should check with your insurance company or agent before purchasing the policy if your house has aluminum or vinyl siding. The insurance company is only required to pay for the damaged portion of the siding and is not obligated to ensure the replacement siding matches the existing siding.
If my roof was partially damaged by wind, does my insurance company have to replace my whole roof?
The insurance company is required to pay for the replacement of the part of the roof that was damaged by the wind. The insurance company is not required to replace the part of the roof that was not damaged.
My home was recently broken into and I do not have sales receipts for the stolen items. What will the insurance company accept for proof of ownership?
If the actual receipts are not available, insurance companies generally will accept photos, warranties, owner’s manuals, canceled checks, credit receipts, bills, servicing agreements, or video tapes, as proof of ownership. It is very helpful to prepare some type of inventory of your possessions. You might consider taking pictures or videotaping your possessions before something happens to them.
Several items that I used for my business were stolen from my home. Why did my insurance company only pay part of my claim for my loss?
Most homeowner’s policies will cover business items up to $2,500 in your home or $250 away from your home, subject to your deductible. There are some exceptions to this limitation on business items, but it is important that you check your policy in each case. You should also be aware that there are other policies available that specifically cover business equipment. You should contact your agent to determine the cost of the coverage for these items.
My boat was stolen and now my insurance company will not pay the claim on my homeowner’s policy. Can they deny my claim?
Theft to watercraft, including furnishings, equipment and outboard motors, is typically excluded if the theft occurs outside your residential premises. To adequately cover your boat and its accessories, you should contact your agent regarding a separate policy covering the boat.
My wedding ring/antique was recently stolen from my home. I have replacement insurance on my personal property. The insurance company only wants to pay me $1,000 for my ring. It will cost $1,500 to replace it. Can they do this?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies limit the amount of theft coverage they pay for certain items such as jewelry, furs, and guns. You will need to read your policy to determine what the limit is. However, most insurance companies offer an endorsement for an additional premium that allows you to schedule your personal property (list the items individually and their value). You may need to provide the company with an appraisal of the jewelry.
What should I do if I disagree with my insurance company on the value of my loss?
If you believe the insurance company’s adjuster has not offered you a fair settlement value, contact the insurance company. Provide the insurance company with information to support your view of what you feel your claim is worth. For complete information on how to make and support a claim for damage to property, see the OCI publication “Settling Property Insurance Claims” at oci.wi.gov/Documents/Consumers/PI-084.pdf.
Is sewer backup covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy?
Sewer backup is typically not covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Sewer backup coverage is an endorsement available through most homeowner insurance companies, but it may not be offered to property owners when purchasing coverage if you do not ask for it. It is very important to read the sewer backup endorsements purchased on a homeowner’s policy. Some of the endorsements restrict coverage to a set dollar amount or bar coverage where there is a flood. It is important to discuss these coverage questions with your insurance company or insurance agent.