Answers to your insurance questions

QBE suggests buying insurance through an independent agent. Independent agents can share their expertise on a protection package that's best for your unique circumstances. Because they're independent, they work with several insurance carriers to find you the best coverage and competitive rates. When deciding which carrier to buy insurance from, we recommend asking about their track records for customer service and claims resolution instead of shopping on price alone.

The average family spends $1,500 on home and auto insurance.* However, there are several ways you can keep costs down while maintaining adequate coverage.

  • Compare coverages and deductibles. Get at least three price quotes before making your decision. An independent agent, who represents multiple companies, can do this in just one visit.
  • Increase your deductible. Consumers who are willing to pay more out-of-pocket costs if/when they suffer a loss will pay less in premiums. The amount of money you save on premiums could be significantly more than the extra deductible amount you have to pay. However, you must be able to pay the deductible amount in case of a claim.
  • Think twice before buying. Purchasing a sports cars or high-performance motorcycle will likely lead to higher premiums, based on the likelihood of injuries or theft. However, vehicles with good safety ratings and built-in safety features may reduce your rates. Similarly, homes near a fire hydrant with newer electrical, heating and plumbing systems can lead to savings. Potentially dangerous home additions, such as swimming pools, trampolines or certain breeds of dogs, could make insurance more expensive or harder to find.
  • Look for discounts. You may be eligible for a discount by purchasing home and auto insurance from the same company. Safety devices, such as air bags or a home burglar alarm, could save you money. Students with good grades or individuals with a strong credit rating may also receive discounts.
    Your agent may have additional suggestions for reducing your insurance bill.

*According to the Insurance Information Institute's 2004 statistics.

Most insurance companies, including QBE, use credit information in a unique mathematical formula that has been proven to effectively determine the likelihood of future insurance claims. Insurance Bureau Scores show an individual's use of credit over time. Income does not play a factor and information such as race, gender, occupation and employment history are not used for scoring purposes. Because most people have good credit, they can often more easily get insurance and qualify for lower rates. In some cases, good credit can even offset a less-than-perfect driving record.
Your insurance carrier can cancel your policy if you don't pay your premium, you don't meet underwriting guidelines, they discover false information on your application or you committed fraud.

Cancellation and non-renewal are different. Non-renewal is when your insurance company decides not to renew your policy when your policy period expires. Non-renewal occurs for various reasons, such as if the company stops offering that kind of insurance in your state or area, not necessarily because of something you did. Insurance companies will typically give you a certain number of days' notice and an explanation for canceling or not renewing your policy.
An umbrella policy provides higher limits of liability coverage than your underlying homeowners or auto policy and adds coverage that might not be included with your other policies. This gives you an extra layer of protection if, for example, someone is seriously hurt on your property or your teenager is at fault in an auto accident where claim costs exceed your policy limits.