Florida is quite an exception when it comes to auto insurance in the U.S. It is one of only a few states that remain persistent in implementing the no-fault car insurance regulation despite criticisms from publics and experts. No-fault insurance means an insurer has an obligation to provide financial assistance for policyholder following an accident regardless of who is at fault. The financial support is for medical treatment, compensation for loss of income, replacements of household services, and death benefits. No-fault insurance came into existence after the idea that all claiming processes in conventional insurance are time-consuming while medical treatments are always emergency affairs. The no-fault insurance delivers instant assistance to policyholders to eliminate the needs for lengthy investigations as well as long court procedures.
It is also worth mentioning that Florida was the top 5 most expensive state in the auto insurance market in 2015. Ocean Harbor Insurance, however, remains in the business in this coastal area in spite ofhigh insurance perils. The company sells and underwrite auto insurance policies through independent agents in the state since 1994. Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance has also been providing auto insurance policies through Pearl Holding Group as the company’s managing general agent. In insurance, managing general agent has the authority to underwrite policies on behalf of the insurer. Ocean Harbor sells the policies, yet Pearl Holding Group underwrites them.
The Involvement of Independent Agents
Another important thing to understand about Ocean Harbor Insurance is that the company sells auto policies through independent agents, not from an online platform or through direct selling. Almost everything about independent broker benefits the consumers right from the purchasing process to filing a claim if needs be in the future.
- Independent agents do not have affiliation relationship with any insurer. It means they work on behalf customers, and they receive no compensation from the insurance company for any policy they sell.
- Independent agents have extensive knowledge about insurance, coverage options, claiming process, and they can work with multiple insurers for one customer. They do all the choosing and negotiating; independent agents are customers’ representatives.
- Independent agents are professionals who specialize in providing services to policyholders. In most cases, they live in the same community as the policyholders. When it comes to choosing the right coverage, the agents can be very selective because the coverage must be relevant to local perils.
- Unlike the Customer Service Center in corporate levels, independent agents act as personal assistants to help policyholders concerning every question and difficulties about auto insurance. Those agents can also forward policyholders’ questions about any part of the policy to the insurer when necessary.
- Independent agents make money by providing services, but the fee is negotiable in a professional manner between policyholders and their agents. Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance has no involvement of any sort in that matter.
In no-fault insurance state, mandatory coverage options are also different. Conventional auto insurance regulation requires, at least, Liability Coverage including Injury and Property Damage. In Florida, the mandatory coverage includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage. Ocean Harbor Insurance focuses on providing a compelling option with a basic limit of $10,000 for each type of the coverage.
- PIP (Property Damage Liability)
Personal Injury Protection acts like an emergency health insurance because it delivers the financial assistance in an accident after which policyholders sustain injuries and require medical attentions. Instead of waiting for someone else to file a claim and for the collision investigation to come to any conclusion, Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance delivers help up to the limit of the policy. PIP is not only to cover the medical cost but also compensation for loss of income during treatment and household services. The company also provides a death benefit for policyholders’ family.
- Property Damage
Policyholders are not responsible for injuries that someone else has to sustain in an accident because all drivers have their PIP. However, policyholders are responsible for ruining someone else’s properties while they are driving in their vehicles. It does not have to be road accidents because properties include vehicles and buildings as well. If a policyholder breaks a neighbor’s fence, Property Damage coverage provides the repair or replacement cost.
From the mandatory coverage alone, there is no protection to cover damages to policyholders’ cars. Ocean Harbor Insurance offers at least two types of mandatory coverage for that purpose including Comprehensive and Collision. Both have the same function to provide financial protection for policyholders’ cars in the unfortunate events where they need repair. Principal differences between them are:
- Comprehensive: the protection applies when damages are results of non-accident causes for examples vandalism, theft, fire, flood, falling objects, and animals. The cost of repair is the insurer’s obligation to pay. The protection has limitations including additional audio equipment, aftermarket parts, non-standard equipment, and radar detectors.
- Collision: it covers damages to cars resulting from accident or impact with another object or vehicle.
The company also provides rental reimbursement when the car is in the repair center. If policyholders must use or rent a car for everyday commuting, the company allows them to ask up to $200 ($20 per day for up to 10 days) of reimbursement. Both Comprehensive and Collision are not available for rental vehicles. For complete protection, Pearl Holding Group offers a smartphone app with which policyholders can request roadside assistance with various needs. The app has a built-in map, so the service can pinpoint policyholders’ locations and deliver the support on time. The app is free, but the Roadside Assistance Coverage is available as another optional coverage with flat annual or 6-month payment.