What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Simply put, uninsured motorist coverage protects you financially for bodily injury, including death, from an accident caused by a driver who does not have car insurance. It includes you and any family members who may be in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The intent of uninsured motorist coverage is to pay for medical costs and loss of work but not the physical damage to your car, as it would be covered under the collision part of your insurance policy.

There are many scenarios when you may be in a car accident where you are not at fault, yet you would not be protected if you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance coverage. An uninsured motorist might be:
  • Someone who has car insurance but coverage for this accident is denied,
  • Someone who does not have a driver’s license.
  • Someone whose driver’s license has been revoked.
  • Someone driving a stolen car.
  • Someone who may have let their car insurance lapse because they couldn’t afford the premium.
  • Someone whose auto insurance has just been cancelled.
  • The driver who speeds away from a hit and run accident.

Damages recoverable with uninsured motorist coverage include those amounts you would be legally entitled to collect if the at fault party could be identified and had insurance, up to the limit on your policy. Many states, including Rhode Island, have laws that address whether uninsured motorist coverage may be required and how it works.

Types of Damages that Are Covered

Medical Bills:

Most health insurance plans include substantial deductibles and co payments. Even if you have what seems to be adequate health insurance, the direct costs of injuriesfrom an accident with an uninsured motorist can result in severe financial hardship. This exposure is multiplied when more than one member of a family covered under an auto insurance policy is involved in the accident. Even if you live in a state requiring No Fault (or Personal Injury Protection) coverage, the limits there may not be enough to pay all the bills from a serious accident.

Other Legal Damages:

Depending on the laws of your state, damages may be recoverable from an at fault party for pain and suffering, loss of income, or loss of care and services. If the at fault party is not found or does not have insurance coverage available, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay damages as a court would award you, up to your policy limit.

How Much Coverage You May Need

Consider buying uninsured motorist limits at least equal to your auto liability limits. While carrying less may be allowed, uninsured motorist rates are usually far lower than the rates for liability coverage. If you want to purchase lower uninsured motorist limits or even to avoid purchasing uninsured motorist coverage altogether, you may be asked to sign a statement to the effect that the coverage was offered and declined.

Considering the potential damage from an accident with an uninsured motorist, if you don’t already have high limits on your medical coverage, you should look into buying as much protection as you can afford and that the insurance company allows.

As your independent insurance agent, we can help you make sure you have the right insurance coverage in place in case you’re unlucky enough to meet an uninsured motorist. Call us today at 401-847-5200.

7 Tips to Selecting the Right Independent Insurance Agent

Selecting the right independent insurance agent to take care of your insurance needs should not be an “eeny, meeny, miny,moe” decision. You are looking for a long-­term relationship with someone you can trust. You wouldn’t buy a car without shopping around, and you shouldn’t select an independent agent without doing some research too. So what should you look for?

  1. Know the Difference between Independent Agents and other Insurance Agents.
    An independent agent may be a small-­business owner who represents a number of different insurance companies. In contrast, agents who represent large, national insurance companies are employees of their company and only sell products from that company. A direct insurance company sells directly to you without an agent, typically online. An independent agent has the opportunity to best match price and coverage for your needs, and if an insurance company is competitive one year but not the next, your independent agent can quote other carriers. That is why they are called independent.
  2. Ask for Referrals.
    Referrals from family, friends and colleagues are a good place to start. When you ask around, find out why they like their independent agent. Ask about their customer service and follow-­ through, if the agent is friendly and knowledgeable. Is their policy reviewed annually?
  3. Decide If Location Is Important to You.
    It may be important for you that your independent agent has offices in your community. You have the convenience of being able to stop by to ask questions or help with a claim and develop a trust relationship. Many independent agents are deeply committed to their community and are actively involved as coaches, scout leaders or civic leaders.
  4. Visit Their Websites.
    Websites are full of information. Read about the history of the agency, the staff’s bios, their customer testimonials. See if their website provides insurance information and easy access to price quotes, either online or via telephone. Websites can give you a feel for the personality of the agency, what they think is important, and the type of customer service they provide.
  5. Look for Credentials.
    A knowledgeable independent agent can provide the advice you need when deciding what coverage and limits you need to protect your family and you. Look for independent agents who have letters next their name on their business card. These represent professional designations, such as Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM). To maintain these credentials, independent agents must take continuing education classes.
  6. Interview the Independent Agents.
    You should interview the independent agents you are considering. Personality is important since you should like the agent you are going to work with, potentially for several years. You should feel respect for their knowledge and get a sense about their integrity.
  7. Knowledge and Trust Are Key.
    It is not so simple to determine knowledge and trust because these qualities are established over time. But you can start by asking the independent agents you are considering to explain the products they sell and how they determine which products, coverage and limits you need. This will give you a good feel for how the agent does business.

Remember that your relationship with a good independent agent is likely to last a long time, so it pays to take the time to choose the right one for you.

As your independent agent, our job is to help you select the best coverage and limits and with the most competitive premiums from a variety of the insurance companies we represent.

OceanPoint Insurance Agency Proudly Supports Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County

OceanPoint Insurance Agency and The Selective Insurance Group Foundation Provide Matching Grants

OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. and The Selective Insurance Group Foundation, the foundation of Selective Insurance Group, Inc., joined forces to support the positive efforts of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County through a $1,000 grant.

“We hold the important work of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County in great regard,” said John Kaull, Vice President with OceanPoint Insurance Agency. “It’s our hope this grant will assist in their continued efforts to present valuable opportunities for local youth to explore their creativity and develop confidence in a fun, nurturing environment.”

The grant represents a $500.00 donation from OceanPoint Insurance matched by a $500.00 grant from The Selective Insurance Group Foundation.

“The Matching Grant program allows us to partner with our agents to support the needs of the communities we serve,” said Chuck Musilli, Senior Vice President, Northeast Regional Manager and Agency Development for Selective. OceanPoint Insurance is a “President’s Club” level agent with Selective Insurance.

Headquartered in Middletown, Rhode Island, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. provides a broad range of property casualty insurance products, in addition to a full array of financial services. Along with BankNewport, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC. Tracing its roots back to 1863, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is proud to serve the insurance needs of clients from two full service offices located in Middletown and Barrington, Rhode Island, forming one of the largest independent insurance agency operations in southeastern New England. www.oceanpointins.com.

Selective Insurance Group, Inc. is a holding company for ten property and casualty insurance companies rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best. Through independent agents, the insurance companies offer primary and alternative market insurance for commercial and personal risks, and flood insurance underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program. Selective maintains a website at www.selective.com.

Mayhew to Succeed Colella as CEO of OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc.

Doug MayhewOceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc., an OceanPoint Financial Partner with BankNewport, has announced that Douglas K. Mayhew will succeed Peter J. Colella as president and chief executive officer effective January 1, 2013.

A 26-year veteran of the insurance industry, Mayhew has been with OceanPoint Insurance since 2005, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Personal Lines Director. Prior to 2005, Mayhew was a founding partner of Narragansett Underwriting Group Inc. with Colella and Robert D. Cook Jr., also an OceanPoint Insurance Senior Vice President. Narragansett Underwriting Group merged with OceanPoint Insurance in 2005.

Mayhew began his insurance career in 1986 as an agent with a Pawtucket based agency. He is a 1985 graduate of Bryant University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.  He has been a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) for more than 20 years.  Mayhew is president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island, president-elect of the Rhode Island Association of Independent Insurance Agents Inc., and a member of the board of directors of the East Providence Area Chamber of Commerce. An avid bicyclist and outdoorsman, Mayhew resides in Barrington with his wife and their two teenage daughters.

Prior to his appointment as president of OceanPoint Insurance Agency in 2007, Colella was president and chief executive officer of two other insurance operations during his 36 years of insurance agency experience.  He will remain with OceanPoint Insurance as a senior adviser and will continue to service key agency accounts.

About OceanPoint Insurance

Headquartered in Middletown, Rhode Island, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. provides a broad range of property casualty insurance products, in addition to a full array of financial services. Along with BankNewport, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is a subsidiary of the Mutual Holding Company, OceanPoint Financial Partners, MHC. Tracing its roots back to 1863, OceanPoint Insurance Agency, Inc. is proud to serve the insurance needs of clients from two full service offices located in Middletown and Barrington, Rhode Island, forming one of the largest independent insurance agency operations in southeastern New England. For more information visit www.oceanpointins.com.