This section answers some frequently asked questions that may be helpful to you. They include personal, business, life, health, and claims questions.

    Claims FAQs

  • How do I report an Auto claim?

    Look on the back of your Auto ID card for the direct report phone number, or call your agency.

  • What information do I need to report my Auto claim?

    The date of the accident; a description of the accident; a description of the injuries; the year, make and model of each vehicle involved in the accident; a description of the damage to each vehicle; the name and phone number of any witnesses; and a police report (if one has been filed).

  • I don't have all of the information needed to report a claim. What should I do?

    You should report the claim to the company or agency even if you do not have all of the necessary information.

  • How can I get information about my claim?

    Call your agency and ask to speak with a representative in the Claims Department.

  • Do I need to file a police report for an auto claim?


  • My windshield is cracked. What should I do?

    Call a glass company on the approved list or call your agency.

  • What should I do if my car is stolen?

    Report it to the police immediately. Report it to your insurance company or agency.

  • How do I report a Homeowner claim?

    Refer to the 24/7 Emergency Service Guide or call your agency Claims Department.

  • What information do I need to report my Homeowner claim?

    The date of the incident; the type of loss and damage; and the location of the loss.

  • There is damage to my house. What should I do?

    Contact a contractor to do temporary emergency repairs. Then report the incident to your insurance company or agency.

  • Business Insurance FAQs

  • Does my homeowner’s policy cover me if I work out of my home?

    A standard homeowner policy provides very limited coverage. Loss of business property is normally limited to $2,500 in coverage and will barely replace your computer and media coverage in the event of a loss. Normally, this business property coverage is limited to your premises only and is not covered if inventory is taken off the property. It can be insured through a commercial inland marine policy.

    There is no coverage for a liability loss under your homeowner’s policy. Therefore, if you have clients visit your home or even if your mailman falls and injures himself delivering business as well as personal mail, your homeowner’s policy will not respond to cover the business if named in the suit. You need to either purchase a rider on your homeowner’s policy, if available for your type of business, or a general liability insurance policy. Our experienced business professionals can help guide your through the process and you might be surprised at how inexpensive the package might be for property and liability coverage.

  • I’m just getting my business started. Do I need coverage right away?

    The law states that if you have any employees, you need to carry worker’s compensation insurance for them right away. Large fines could be imposed on you if you don’t carry this. As long as you made such a large investment in time and money to start a business, why not invest a small amount more to insure it rather than wait until you have income. A loss can happen on the first day and you could lose everything. Studies have shown that more losses happen when a business first starts up until procedures get fine tuned. Why not let one of our trained business professionals put a program in place to protect your investment?

  • How does business income coverage work?

    If your business is shut down due to a covered loss, this coverage will pay for the extra expenses to help get you back up and running. It will also provide for your net income (profit) to be paid based on prior sales history had the loss not occurred. It is a vital coverage to help you maintain the status quo in your checkbook while your operations are being restored.

  • Why do I need an insurance agent?

    In this litigious society, insurance issues are very complex. It takes many years for an individual to acquire the knowledge as to what coverage is needed to protect a business and how to handle the different situations that occur. Most business owners are experts in their field. How can you try and run your business and be an insurance expert at the same time? Our staff is constantly taking continuing education to provide you with the best possible knowledge in any given instant.

    It is also important that you have a buffer between you and the insurance company. We know how to handle claims and audits. We work for you to make sure you are treated fairly from the original purchase of the policy and during any potential claim. As an independent agent, we can decide year to year if you might be better served to move the coverage to a different carrier. We can review all the options for you and make the best choice. You are not locked into one insurance company.
    Please take the time to read our philosophy. When you put your confidence in us, it is not a responsibility we take lightly. We’ve worked hard to earn our client’s trust.
  • Personal Insurance FAQs

  • What criteria do insurance companies use to determine how much my auto insurance premium is going to be?

    Here are a few of the main ones:

    • Insurance Score - factoring of your credit history into your rate
    • Territory - the town your in which vehicles are garaged
    • Years Driving Experience - the number of years you have maintained a valid drivers license in the United States
    • Driving History/Record - over the last 3 to 5 years; moving violations; accidents, claims other than collision; and/or suspensions
    • Type of Vehicle - year, make, model
    • Type and Limits of Coverage - liability is mandatory, but if you also carry comprehensive and collision coverage your rates are higher
    • Usage - based on one way miles to work/school or annual mileage
    • Prior Auto Insurance History - how long you have maintained auto coverage in general and with    the same carrier. A lapse in coverage when coverage was required by law can drastically increase your insurance premium.
  • What is insurance scoring and how and why is it used to determine my rate?

    Insurance scoring is only one of several factors used to determine your rate. It is based upon years of nationwide statistics that show there is a direct relation between how you maintain your finances and your auto insurance risk. The score is than used to help predict the potential for future losses. Over 40 states currently use this in their rating.

  • What is considered an at fault accident?

    An at fault accident is where you as the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident is deemed 50% or more responsible for the cause of the accident AND at least $1,000 or more is paid out by your insurance carrier. Obviously, you are charged a higher rate for "at fault" accidents than "not at faulted" accidents.

    "5" insurance points are applied to the driver for an "at fault accident"

  • What is the NJ Personal Auto Insurance Program (NJ PAIP) also known as Assigned Risk Program?

    This program is for drivers who cannot obtain personal auto insurance coverage with a standard auto carrier in the voluntary market. Some factors that would place you in this program are: accumulation of 7 or more "insurance points" in the last 3 years of driving or a non-payment of premium cancellation on a “mid term” installment that coverage lapses for over 30 days on.

  • Health FAQs

  • Can employers offer multiple health plans for their employees to choose from?

    Yes. Employers can offer as many different health plans to choose from. Many of our clients do this to try to lower they’re overall monthly costs.

  • Do employers need to offer a prescription drug card benefit or can employers have a health plan without one to keep the costs down?

    Employers do not have to offer a prescription drug card benefit. For example, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ actually allows you to offer plans without a prescription drug card benefit. By doing this the monthly premium can be significantly lower.

  • Do all health plans offer in-network benefits to cover out of state employees?

    No. Many small group health carriers only provide in network benefits to residents of NJ. However, by working with Hanson & Ryan Inc we can help you customize a health plan that will cover out of state employees at in network benefit levels.

  • What is the maximum percentage an employee may be required to pay if contributing to a small group health plan?

    An employee can pay a maximum of 90% of the total monthly premium.

  • What types of services do you provide for COBRA and NJ Continuation?

    Our team of group health sales agents, claim managers, account executives and customer service representatives possesses a deep understanding of the insurance, benefits and financial arenas. Whether COBRA, NJ Continuation or Small Group Reform, Hanson & Ryan can explain your rights and responsibilities to help avoid penalties and fines for non-compliance.

  • If an employee has a question concerning coverage can they contact Hanson & Ryan directly?

    Absolutely. Many of our clients call us for help concerning they’re group health insurance coverage. We are available to come and meet with any employee or dependent anytime as well.

  • If there is a discrepancy with an outstanding claim or billing issue can Hanson & Ryan help?

    Yes we can! We have our own dedicated team of specialists who work closely with at all of the insurance companies. If a problem or question should arise we will get to the bottom of it in a timely manner and get back to you with a response that you can easily understand.

  • If we need additional ID cards can you provide them?

    That’s another reason why we are here! Additional ID cards can be generated and sent directly to an employee or business anytime.

  • Can Hanson & Ryan conduct enrollment meetings?

    Yes we can. Our Account Managers are available to schedule an appointment with you to come to your place of business anytime to hold employee meetings. Many of our clients appreciate this because it really gives the employees a better understanding of their group benefits.

  • Will using your service cost me anything?

    All the services offered by Hanson and Ryan are provided at no extra cost to you, the consumer. If you buy a health insurance plan through us, you'll pay the regular monthly premium to the health insurance company you chose, but you'll pay nothing to us. Our fees are paid by the insurance companies in the form of commissions, which are built into the premium amount.

  • Do you offer the best prices?

    Health insurance premiums are filed with and regulated by New Jersey’s Department of Insurance. Whether you buy from Hanson and Ryan, another agent, or directly from the health insurance company, you'll pay the same monthly premium for the same plan. This means that you can enjoy the advantages and convenience of shopping and purchasing your health insurance plan through Hanson and Ryan and rest assured that you're getting the best available price.

  • How does a PPO plan work?

    As a member of a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plan, you'll be encouraged to use the insurance company's network of preferred doctors and hospitals. These healthcare providers have been contracted to provide services to the health insurance plan's members at a discounted rate. You typically won't be required to pick a primary care physician but will be able to see doctors and specialists within the network at your own discretion.

    You will probably have an annual deductible to pay before the insurance company starts covering your medical bills. You may also have a co-payment for certain services or be required to cover a certain percentage of the total charges for your medical bills.
    With a PPO plan, services rendered by an out-of-network physician are typically covered at a lower percentage than services rendered by a network physician.
  • How does an HMO plan work?

    Though there are many variations, HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations) plans typically enable members to have lower out-of-pocket healthcare expenses but also offer less flexibility in the choice of physicians or hospital than other health insurance plans. As a member of an HMO, you'll be required to choose a primary care physician (PCP). Your PCP will take care of most of your healthcare needs. Before you can see a specialist, you'll need to obtain a referral from your PCP.

    With an HMO you'll likely have coverage for a broader range of preventive healthcare services than you would through another type of plan. You may not be required to pay a deductible before coverage starts and your co-payments will likely be minimal. With an HMO plan, you typically won't have to submit any of your own claims to the insurance company. However, keep in mind that you'll likely have no coverage whatsoever for services rendered by non-network providers or for services rendered without a proper referral from your PCP.
  • What is a co-payment?

    A "co-payment" or "co-pay" is a specific charge that your health insurance plan may require that you pay for a specific medical service or supply. For example, your health insurance plan may require a $15 co-payment for an office visit or brand-name prescription drug, after which the insurance company often pays the remainder of the charges.

  • What is a deductible?

    A "deductible" is a specific dollar amount that your health insurance company may require that you pay out-of-pocket each year before your health insurance plan begins to make payments for claims. Not all health insurance plans require a deductible. As a general rule (though there are many exceptions), HMO plans typically do not require a deductible, while most Indemnity and PPO plans do.

  • What is coinsurance?

    Coinsurance is the term used by health insurance companies to refer to the amount that you are required to pay for a medical claim, apart from any co-payments or deductible. For example, if your health insurance plan has a 20% coinsurance requirement (and does not have any additional co-payment or deductible requirements), then a $100 medical bill would cost you $20, and the insurance company would pay the remaining $80.

  • What is the difference between in-network and out-of-network providers?

    An in-network provider is one contracted with the health insurance company to provide services to plan members for specific pre-negotiated rates. An out-of-network provider is one not contracted with the health insurance plan. Typically, if you visit a physician or other provider within the network, the amount you will be responsible for paying will be less than if you go to an out-of-network provider. Though there are some exceptions, in many cases, the insurance company will either pay less or not pay anything for services you receive from out-of-network providers. As a general rule, PPO, POS, and HMO plans make use of provider networks. Indemnity plans typically do not.

  • What's the best health insurance plan for me?

    Choosing between different health insurance plans isn't always easy. There is no one "best" plan for everyone. The best match for you and your family may be different than the best match for someone else. In order to help you answer this question, here are a few things to consider:

    • Are you looking for basic coverage or more comprehensive coverage? Some insurance plans offer basic coverage (i.e., primarily inpatient hospitalization and outpatient surgery coverage) to cover you in case of a major accident or illness. These insurance plans typically have a lower monthly premium than plans with more comprehensive coverage, and may be appropriate for people who intend to use their insurance primarily in the event of a serious accident or illness. Other insurance plans, in addition to offering coverage in case of a major accident or illness, offer more comprehensive coverage which MAY include benefits such as: preventative care, physician services, prescription drug benefits and routine office visits. These insurance plans typically have a higher monthly premium than plans that only offer basic coverage, and may be appropriate for people who intend to use their insurance on a regular basis.
    • Would you rather pay for your services before you use them or when you use them? Typically, the higher the monthly premium that you pay, the less you will pay per doctor's visit in co-payments and deductibles. If you choose a health insurance plan with a low monthly premium, you're likely to have a higher co-payment or deductible. If you don't anticipate making frequent use of your health insurance coverage, a higher-deductible plan with a lower monthly premium may suit you best.
    • How important to you is easy access to specialists? Health insurance plans that require you to coordinate your care through a primary care physician typically require that you obtain a referral before seeing a specialist. Thus, if you prefer easier access to specialists, you may wish to consider a different type of plan.
    • Do you have a specific doctor or hospital that you would like to visit for healthcare? Some insurance plans utilize provider networks. Pay special attention to the network of doctors or facilities that each health insurance plan utilizes. You'll want to make sure that your favorite doctor or hospital is included on the list for the health insurance plan you choose. Also note that networks utilized by health insurance plans can change, so there is no guarantee that your doctor will always be contracted with your chosen health insurance plan.
  • What is the most you could pay out in case of a serious illness or injury?

    Health insurance plans typically place limits on how much a member is required to pay out per year for his or her healthcare. This limit is often referred to as an out-of-pocket maximum. Once you've contributed this maximum amount toward your healthcare, the health insurance company typically covers all other costs for the remainder of the benefit year. If you're concerned about what may happen to you in case of a serious illness or injury, you may wish to pay special attention to the out-of-pocket maximums for the health insurance plans you're considering.

  • Life FAQs

  • Can I borrow money against my life insurance policy?

    If you own a cash value life insurance policy, you can take out a loan against the cash value you have built up in the policy. Of course, you will have to pay back the loan with interest. If you die before you pay back the loan, the balance that you owe and any interest will be deducted from the death benefit. If you own a term life insurance policy, you cannot take out a loan against it because in most cases you do not build up any cash value in a term policy.

  • If I'm a beneficiary, do I have to pay income taxes on a death benefit?

    No. Death benefits from life insurance policies are free from income tax. However, the death benefit may be subject to estate and inheritance tax. Check with the agent who sold the policy, the insurance company, or your own financial planner for details.

  • Do all life insurance companies require a physical exam?

    Whether or not a life insurance company requires a medical exam from people who are applying for insurance really depends on the company's underwriting requirements. Insurance companies' criteria are based on how old you are and how much insurance you're applying for.

    Generally, an adult in their mid-30s applying for $100,000 of life insurance would not need to undergo a full medical exam, but might need to have urine and blood samples taken. Some companies require at least a urine specimen from everyone applying, no matter what the amount of the policy is.
  • If my application for life insurance is rejected because of poor health, are there any other companies that will insure me?

    Yes, there are insurance companies that specialize in high-risk applicants, although the premiums for these policies can be expensive and in many cases the face amount is limited.

  • Is it possible to find out why a company has either rejected your life insurance application or placed you in a higher-risk class?

    The U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that life insurance companies tell you why an "adverse decision" was made on your life insurance application (meaning why it rejected you or placed you in a higher-risk class), according to the American Council of Life Insurers.

    However, insurers are not required to go into great detail on exactly what medical condition led to an adverse decision. The ACLI says that insurers do not like to "intrude" on the relationship between applicants and their physicians, and insurers do not want to be in the position of giving an applicant a detailed diagnosis of his or her condition.
    If the life insurance company has acquired medical information from your doctor, you can ask your doctor for the same information, along with an explanation of your condition. If the information affecting the decision was from lab findings on exam, this information can be sent to your doctor for you to review. In some states, medical information can be sent directly to the applicant. Check with your insurance department for the exact regulation in your state.
  • Is a variable life insurance policy or a variable annuity (VA) a suitable financial product for parents to use to save for a child's college education?

    No, a variable life insurance policy is not a wise choice to use as a savings vehicle for a college education for the following reasons:

    Although variable life insurance has cash value that can increase over time if your underlying investments in the policy perform well, you are also paying life insurance premiums that are quite expensive. Those premium payments will significantly eat into the gains you could make on your cash value. The cash value of a life insurance policy should not be considered an investment because any partial withdrawals or loans that you do not pay back will reduce your death benefit. So if you don't pay the loan back, your beneficiaries will when you die. If you partially withdraw or take out a loan against your cash value, and the withdrawal or loan amount exceeds the premiums you have paid into the policy, you will be taxed on the difference for variable life policies.
  • Disability FAQs

  • What is disability insurance?

    The purpose of disability insurance is to replace the lost income from work should you become disabled, and unable to work. The disability insurance policy will stipulate when you are eligible to begin receiving benefits. Usually, you must be unable to work for a specified amount of time before disability benefits begin to be paid to you. The amount of the payments, the duration of coverage, and a description of exactly what constitutes a disability are contained in the policy. The premium for the policy is determined by a number of factors, including: the amount of the income payments, the length of payments, exactly what constitutes a disability, and such personal risk factors as the state of health and type of employment of the insured.

  • Who should purchase disability insurance?

    Anyone who works for an income should consider disability income insurance. First, check to see what disability insurance you already have. You may be covered under group disability, income continuation, Social Security Disability, workers compensation, or other plans. State-sponsored disability insurance plans are also available in several states (including California, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii and Puerto Rico).

  • What are the odds of becoming disabled? What is the average duration of a disability?

    The odds of becoming disabled depend on a number of factors, including age, health condition, and type of occupation. For many people, disability presents a much greater likelihood at their current age than does death. For example, at age 42 you are three times more likely to become disabled than die.

    The chance of becoming disabled decreases somewhat with age, but the average duration of a disability tends to increase with age. Most disabilities last from a few weeks to a few months. At age 40, the average length of disabilities, lasting more than 90 days, is 5.5 years. At any age, however, there is a chance of becoming totally and permanently disabled.

  • What does disability insurance cover?

    After an initial period called the “elimination” or “waiting” period, disability income insurance pays a specified percentage of your income while you are disabled. The payments continue for the duration of the disability or until the maximum time limit stipulated in the policy. As a rule, insurance companies will not allow you to have disability coverage for more than about 60 percent or 70 percent of your normal taxable income.

  • Is disability insurance difficult to obtain?

    It depends on how you define difficult. Generally, if you are in reasonably good health and have a steady income, you should be able to purchase a disability income policy.

  • How does private disability coverage differ from worker’s compensation and state disability?

    You buy the policy, select the benefit levels, and pay the premiums yourself. The plan is not based on you continuing to work with your current employer or in the state where you now live. Unlike workers compensation, it is not limited to work-related disabilities. Since private disability coverage is only for the person stipulated in the policy, it can be tailored to fit specific needs.

  • Should I buy a level premium policy or a rising premium policy?

    It depends on why you are buying the insurance. If you only expect to need the coverage for a few years -- until your mortgage is paid off or your child finishes college, for example -- a rising premium policy (one where the premiums increase as you get older) would be appropriate and would minimize your immediate outlay of money. You could then consider dropping the coverage when you no longer need it. Increasing premiums might also be appropriate if you expect to have much higher income in a few years and you want to minimize the cost in the first few years.

    On the other hand, if you will need disability insurance for many years (say, until you retire) you should consider a level premium policy. Here you will be paying somewhat more in the early years to keep the premiums from rising as you get older.