Frequently Asked Questions

Please select a question to be taken to its corresponding answer below. Additional insurance information and answers to other common questions can be found on the Insurance Information Institute website at

Personal Insurance

Commercial Insurance

When purchasing automobile insurance, what should I consider?

The following is a list of considerations that should be made prior to purchasing auto insurance. Make sure you discuss these items, as well as your other needs, with a Niagara National agent.

  • Ask about the amount of liability coverage makes sense for you.
  • Ask about optional coverages, like rental reimbursement or coverage for your high-end audio equipment.
  • Don’t base your decision solely on price—other factors, such as claims service, are extremely important in selecting the right insurance. Rely on your agent to find the right coverage for your needs at the right price.

Does my insurance policy cover a friend if I loan him/her my car?

Yes, as long as you have given him/her your permission to drive the vehicle.

What is collision physical damage coverage?

Collision is the loss you incur when your automobile collides with another vehicle or object, like a telephone pole. If your car is older, it may not make sense to carry collision protection on it. Make sure to discuss this coverage with a Niagara National agent.

What is comprehensive physical damage coverage?

Comprehensive provides coverage for direct physical damage you incur to your car from something other than a collision, such as a hailstorm.

How can I lower my automobile insurance rates?

There are several ways you can lower the cost of your auto insurance. One way is to work with an independent agency like Niagara National—agents have access to many different companies and can obtain comparative rates to ensure that you are getting the right coverage at the most competitive price.

You can also change your deductible to lower the cost of your insurance. By raising your deductible, you might be able to lower your cost of insurance by almost 10%. However, you must be able to pay the deductible amount should you have a claim.

Another option is to look for available discounts that you might be qualified to receive, such as if you have multiple cars insured under the same policy, you carry homeowners and auto insurance with the same company, you qualify for a good driver or good student discount, your car has an alarm, or you’re a member of a qualifying group and/or association.

What do I need to know when purchasing homeowners insurance?

The typical homeowner’s policy has two main sections: 1) coverage for the physical property of the insured and 2) personal liability coverage for the insured.

The first section covers damage to your house, its contents, landscaping, etc. Make sure you know what is covered and what isn’t covered by your policy since many do not cover flood damage, debris removal, and other such exceptions so the purchase of additional coverage may be necessary. Also, remember to discuss the value of your personal property with a Niagara National agent. They can help determine whether you need additional coverage to protect certain high-value items not adequately covered by a standard homeowners policy, such as expensive jewelry and antiques.

The second section covers claims made by people who may have been hurt on your property. It’s important that you have enough liability coverage to protect your current savings and future earnings should you become engaged in a lawsuit. Additional liability coverage is available by purchasing an umbrella policy. Discuss your specific situation with a Niagara National agent to determine what coverage makes the most sense for you.

What is “actual cash value”?

When “actual cash value” is used in a policy, a policy owner is entitled to the depreciated value of the damaged property should a loss occur. For example, auto insurance policies typically pay “actual cash value” for destroyed vehicle, not the amount that was originally paid by the insured for the vehicle.

What is “replacement cost”?

When “replacement cost” coverage is used in a policy, a policy owner is reimbursed an amount necessary to replace the article with one of similar type and quality at current prices. Be sure you understand the limitations of your replacement cost coverage because you may not get the full amount expected should a loss occur. For example, because of the fluctuating building costs, you may not receive 100% of the costs to rebuild. Most homeowners policies will insure up to 125% of the assessed value of the home.

Should I purchase flood coverage?

The U.S. Government runs the National Flood Insurance Program. Most homeowners claims are due to flood damage so it makes sense to investigate the costs to purchase flood insurance for your home—it could be as little as $150 for an entire year of coverage!

What is fire legal coverage?

Fire legal coverage provides protection if you rent a business space and are held responsible for fire damages to that rented space. It does not apply to all business risks, however.

What is 80% co-insurance?

Insurance carriers require that an insured party insure at least 80% of the property’s value in order to collect full payment for a partial loss. This is done to encourage people to adequately insure their property and ensure risk is appropriately spread among the pool of all insured people.

Can other people drive my business vehicle?

Other people may drive your vehicle with your permission. It is important that they be listed on your policy if they are regular drivers of the vehicle, however.

How does an audit work?

At the end of the policy term, the insurance company will review the policy and either charge or credit the policyholder based upon an audit of estimated figures. Examples of estimated auditable items include sales and payroll. Audits can be performed onsite by an auditor or via mail or telephone. A premium is charged for audit estimations.

Why do I need certificates of insurance from sub-contractors?

An audit may require you to show proof that sub-contractors had their own insurance coverage. Obtaining certificates of insurance from sub-contractors will prevent you from being charged for their exposure.