Payment & Billing

How does a change processed on my policy affect my current bill due?

Any premium adjustment due to insurance policy changes will be reflected in subsequent billings.

Can I change the due date of my bill?

No.  All due dates are based on the effective date of your policy, due each month until paid in full, according to your payment plan.

What if I pay less than the minimum due required on my bill?

Our website will now accept partial payments, so you may choose to pay your monthly premium in increments that work for you, so long as the minimum amount due is paid by the due date. Lack of sufficient payment or late payments will alter your payment plan and may result in a notice of cancellation being issued.

What if my payment is late?

A notice of cancellation of your policy will be issued if payment is not received by the due date of the bill. A late fee will be assessed if payment is received after the due date. Late payments can also alter your payment plan.

What if my check is returned by the bank?

A service charge will be assessed on all returned checks.

What do I do if I receive my billing statement and the premium should be paid by my mortgage company?

Please note that the billing due date will not change. You need to send the bill to your mortgage company and advise them to send a mortgagee clause to us and we will make the necessary changes.

When is my bill due?

Installment payments are due on the effective date of your policy.

How does the installment plan work?

Under the installment plan, we will bill you for premium due on your policy, plus a service fee. You may also pay any amount between the minimum due and the total balance.

Where do I send my payment?

If mailing payment, you can send to:  
Preferred Mutual Insurance Company
P.O. Box 419669
Boston, MA 02241-9669

Can I make an electronic payment?

Yes, you can pay by credit card or electronic check, or sign up for electronic funds transfer (EFT).

​If I need to speak to a customer service rep, what are your normal business hours?

Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5: 00 p.m.
Premiums & Rates

What should I do if my rate goes up?

  1. Confirm that your rate has actually increased. Compare the types of coverages and coverage limits from last year to the current year. Remember that any change to your policy will affect your premium, such as changing vehicles, adding or changing coverages, adding or changing drivers, or changing your car’s garaging location.
  2. Consider whether you are classified as a high-risk driver, such as one with multiple at fault accidents and/or traffic violations, or one with less than six years’ experience. If you are, the increase in your premium may be the result of these factors.
  3. Contact your agent for an explanation of why your rates have increased.

How do companies determine my rate?

Insurance companies group you with other individuals who share your risk characteristics, such as the same number of years driving experience. Insurance companies then calculate your individual premium using the base rate for your group, and then revise your premium to reflect your individual risk factors and appropriate discounts. In determining your premium, insurance companies consider your years of driving experience, the number and type of at-fault accidents, the number and type of traffic violations, the vehicle you drive and the principal place where you garage that vehicle. Insurance companies may also consider other relevant risk factors.

Discounts & How to Save
How can I save money on my insurance?  What type of discounts may be available?
  • Consider increasing your deductible.
  • For auto, consider dropping collision coverage as your car gets older.
  • Maintain a good driving record.
  • There are safe driver discounts, as well as discounts for Driver Education classes or Good Student discounts.
  • Look for other auto discounts, such as insuring multiple cars under the same policy or low annual mileage.
  • Discounts are available for vehicle safety features, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, passive restraint, and anti-theft devices.
  • Look for homeowner discounts you may qualify for. For example, discounts may be offered if you have a central alarm system or smoke alarm, or if your home is new or recently renovated.
  • Bundle your auto insurance with your homeowner or renter insurance.Having the same carrier offers credits and convenience.

How should I shop for insurance?

Shopping for insurance can be frustrating. All of the quotes you receive need to be for the same coverages and the same limits of liability. To be sure you are comparing apples to apples, insist that the quotes be based upon identical criteria. Keep in mind that quotes you get from insurance companies online will be generic quotes. Since insurance is intended to protect your most valuable assets – your car, your home, and even your life – you should talk to an independent insurance professional about the amounts and types of coverage you need. Remember that while price is certainly an important factor in deciding which insurance company to choose, it is not the only factor. Discounts, claims handling, the location of an agent, or the financial health of the company are all legitimate factors you might consider when shopping for insurance.

Claims

Why is my mortgage holder on my claim settlement check?

All losses involving "real property" must include both the named insured as well as a mortgagee. The insurance policy specifically requires the company to protect the interest of the mortgage holder. Contractually the mortgagee has just as much right to be protected as the policyholder. Therefore, it is very important in the event of loss or damage to have the mortgagee endorse the check prior to submission to the bank for payment.

What is “withheld depreciation”?

Most insurance policies that cover the policyholder for full replacement cost have a provision that Preferred Mutual can pay the actual cash value of the loss upon settlement. The actual cash value is the replacement cost less depreciation. Once repairs are made or contents replaced, the depreciated amount may be given back to the policyholder through an additional payment, pursuant to policy conditions. This practice is in place to guarantee that the loss damages are fully repaired or the contents are actually replaced.

What must I do in case of a loss before I am able to contact my agent or company adjuster?

Your insurance policy requires that you make "emergency" repairs to stop any further damages. Permanent repairs should not be made until Preferred Mutual has a chance to view the damages. As an example, if your pipes burst due to freezing, you should make immediate repairs to stop the water flow. If the loss is covered, temporary repair costs will be reimbursed. Keep all damaged parts and receipts for the adjuster to look at. Please note that if damages are fully repaired without Preferred Mutual's inspection, your recovery may be jeopardized. 

Does my "all risk" policy actually cover me for any type of loss?

This insurance term can be somewhat confusing. "All risk" means that all causes of loss, except those specifically excluded in the policy, are covered. Examples of specific exclusions are: flooding, earth movement of any kind, off premises power outages, etc. Many of these excluded causes of loss may be added to your policy by purchasing specific endorsements providing such coverages.

What do I do if I have a homeowner or renter claim?

If you have a loss, file a first notice of loss as soon as possible.  You can submit a claim in several ways:

  • Go to MyPreferred and click on “File a Claim.”
  • Call 800.333.7642 to report a claim.
  • Email your first notice of loss to claims@preferredmutual.com
  • Report the claim to your independent agent.

What can I expect to happen after I notify Preferred Mutual of my claim?

Preferred Mutual will collect the details of your claim, including your policy number, when you file the claim.  Depending on the type of claim and extent of damages, you may be required to complete a report or a claims adjuster may be sent to inspect the damage.  Before cleaning up, photograph or record the damages and include this information with your claim.  If you make temporary repairs, take photos and save all receipts.  Do not begin any permanent or major repairs until after the claim is complete.  Feel free to ask your claims rep about next steps and estimated timeframes.

What can I do to get my claim paid quickly?

To get your claim paid as quickly as possible, file your first notice of loss as soon as possible.  Submit all information, including photos and policy numbers, with your notice of loss.  Be available to talk with your claims rep.

What should I do if I suspect fraud related to an insurance claim?

You can contact the state Department of Insurance.  To anonymously report suspected fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 800.835.6422.

What’s the difference between first party and third party coverage?

A first party claim is made by a policyholder to his/her own insurance company.  A third party claim is made by another person against you for either property damage or bodily injury, where that person is alleging you are responsible.

Will a claim affect my rates?

Filing a claim may affect your rates.

Are my cell phone, CDs, and car stereo covered under my Homeowner policy?

There is coverage, unless the items are in the vehicle and able to run from the vehicle's electrical system.

Should I be concerned if I see ice back-up on my roof and eaves?

Yes. Most seepage losses resulting from the build-up of ice at the eaves are caused by a combination of insufficient attic insulation and insufficient ventilation. If left unattended, ice dams may form, causing serious water damage. 

What is a public adjusting company and do I need to hire one if I have a claim?

A public adjusting company or public adjuster is a business that will represent you for a fee in presenting a claim to your insurance company. Your independent insurance agent and Preferred Mutual work very hard to provide excellent service and settle claims fairly. It is not necessary to hire a public adjusting company and pay them a fee that will be deducted from your loss settlement. Preferred Mutual will work with you to make the process as easy as possible.

Auto-Specific Claims

What should I do if I'm involved in an automobile accident?
More Information

My car was "totaled" even though it was still drivable. How is the decision to “total” a car made?

There are guidelines used to determine the "market value" of your car that take into consideration the age, condition and options. After an accident, an independent appraiser and a repair shop will determine the extent of the damage to your car and agree on the cost to repair it. If the cost to repair approaches the "market value," the insurance company will "total" the car and pay you the market value for the car.

Can my insurance company deny a claim for damages to my auto if the principle place of garaging listed on my application is false?

Yes. If you or someone on your behalf gives false, deceptive, misleading or incomplete information on any application and if such information increases Preferred Mutual's risk of loss, we may refuse to pay your claims. If you have moved since you filled out your initial application, promptly notify your independent agent or Preferred Mutual.

May I keep my auto if my insurance company declares it a total loss?

Preferred Mutual may obtain the title to your auto when it issues payment on your claim. Preferred Mutual will sell the auto for salvage. You may, in some instances, negotiate to purchase your auto for the agreed salvaged value.

The body shop is repairing my auto; will my insurance company pay for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts?

If the repair of the damaged part impairs the operational safety of the auto, the insurance company will pay to replace it with an OEM part. For non-safety parts, state regulation allows for the replacement of damaged parts with used, reconditioned or aftermarket parts, unless the policy has been modified by an endorsement. You can insist on OEM parts, but you will have to pay the difference in cost.

Will I get surcharged for accidents and traffic violations?

Preferred Mutual has an "accident forgiveness option," eliminating a surcharge for an accident if you have been a policyholder and accident-free for at least three years.  Preferred Mutual may impose a surcharge on your premium for at-fault accidents and conviction of moving traffic violations if you do not meet the "accident forgiveness" requirements.

What's the difference between collision and comprehensive?

Collision pays to repair or replace your car after an accident involving a collision. Comprehensive, also known as "other than collision," pays to repair or replace your insured car from a peril other than collision (ex. fire, theft, deer, etc.). 

Will a claim affect my rates?

Filing a claim may affect your rates. Your auto insurance rates are based, in part, upon your driving experience.

Do I continue to pay an insurance premium if my vehicle is a total loss?

Yes.  The auto is considered insured until you return the license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If your vehicle is stolen or burned in a fire and you do not have the plates, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a lost or stolen plates receipt. Give the receipt to Preferred Mutual in order to cancel your policy and avoid paying additional premium.

What does "full glass coverage" allow?

Glass damage (not mirrors or headlights) is covered under comprehensive coverage. Full glass will pay the entire glass loss.  No deductible applies.  If you do not have full glass, your comprehensive deductible will apply.

How can I get my deductible back if I'm not at fault for an accident?

Preferred Mutual will work to recover your deductible from the at-fault party for you. Your policy's subrogation clause enables us to obtain reimbursement from the at-fault party's insurance company for the cost of repairs. When we receive reimbursement from the other insurance carrier, we will send you a check for the amount of your deductible that we were able to recover.

No-Fault Claims

What is No-Fault insurance coverage?

New York and Massachusetts state laws mandate specific insurance coverage for medical treatment for people occupying an insured vehicle at the time of an accident.  Regardless of who is responsible for the accident, Preferred Mutual will provide such benefits to all persons eligible for coverage as defined by the policy.

How do I apply for benefits?

After you submit a first notice of loss, a claims representative will be in contact with you to go over the process of applying for No-Fault benefits.  You will need to fill out an application and submit it to Preferred Mutual.

Will my rates be affected?

Please contact your independent agent to discuss the particulars of your claim and any possible rate changes.

How much No-Fault coverage is available to cover my loss?

Mandatory minimum limits for New York are $50,000 per eligible person, and $8,000 per eligible person in Massachusetts.  For any additional coverage purchased, please contact your independent agent or review your policy.

Where can I find more information regarding New York No-Fault?

New York State No-Fault is governed by Regulation 68.  For more information please visit the Department of Financial Services at:  http://www.dfs.ny.gov/insurance/r68_link.htm  

What types of medical treatment are covered and do I need the insurance company’s permission to seek treatment?

Please contact your No-Fault claim representative to clarify.

What do I do if I suspect fraud?

To anonymously report suspected fraud, call the National Insurance Crime Bureau hotline at 800.835.6422.

What do I do if I receive bills from my medical providers?

Please submit all bills you may receive to: Preferred Mutual Insurance Company
PO Box 541
New Berlin, NY  13411

How can my medical providers submit their bills for payment under my claim?

Medical providers can submit bills directly to Preferred Mutual via fax, email or mail.

By Fax:  607-847-6616

By Email:  claims@preferredmutual.com

By Mail: 
Preferred Mutual Insurance Company
PO Box 541
New Berlin, NY 13411

What do I do if I one of my medical bills is denied?

Refer to the specific denial claim form for further instructions or contact your claim representative directly for additional explanation.

What if I miss time from work as a result of my accident?

If you are disabled and unable to perform your job duties resulting from the accident, you may submit a claim for lost wages for consideration.  A disability note is required from your physician, along with wage verification from your employer.

Can I submit a claim for prescription reimbursement?

You may submit receipts for any out of pocket expenses within certain timeframes outlined in your policy.

What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

An Independent Medical Examination or IME is an examination conducted by an independent physician to assess injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident.  Policy conditions specify that eligible injured person(s) shall submit to periodic medical examinations by physicians selected by, or acceptable to, the Company, when, and as often as, the Company may reasonably require.

Homeowners & Rental

How do I know how much insurance to carry on my home?

To maximize your recovery in the event of loss, the amount of insurance carried should be based on the replacement cost of your home – the amount to repair or replace damaged building items with similar kind or quality. To establish an estimated replacement cost, please contact your independent insurance agent.  Your agent has tools available to assist you in determining the appropriate replacement cost value for your home. You may find that the replacement cost of your home exceeds its market value or the amount for which you could sell your home.

What is the best way to insure jewelry under the homeowner program?

To ensure the broadest coverage available for jewelry, add a Valuable Possessions endorsement or floater to your policy. This will cover the jewelry item with no deductible.

How can I cover flood under my Homeowner policy?

The Homeowner policy does not provide flood coverage.  Flood Insurance is sponsored by the federal government.  Please contact your independent agent for information about the “Flood Program.” Click here for additional information on protecting your home from flooding and mudslides.

If I accidentally break a neighbor's car windshield or window, will my homeowner policy cover it?

Yes, your homeowner policy will pay to replace the windshield on the car or house window under the liability portion of the policy.

Are waterbed leaks and the damage it can cause included in my tenant or condo policy?

The tenant or condominium policy has an exclusion of coverage for property damage to property rented to or occupied by an insured, which would exclude coverage for this type of loss.

However, you may obtain coverage available for this specific type of loss by adding a Waterbed Liability Endorsement to your tenant or condominium unit owner policy. Please contact your independent agent to have this coverage added.

What is the most important thing I can do to help ensure proper coverage for all my personal property in the event of loss?

First, it is important to look at your Homeowner policy to make sure that the amount of insurance purchased will fully cover all your valuables in the event of a large or complete loss. It is also equally important to take an inventory of the items in your home – either a written or electronic record or a videotape. Leave a copy of this written record with a friend or relative or stored in a safe deposit box to help you fully recall the personal property that you have in your home. Remember to update the inventory record on a regular basis.

What is the most comprehensive homeowner policy available through Preferred Mutual?

The broadest homeowner coverage Preferred Mutual offers is provided under the Form 5, Special Building and Contents Form. In addition to the coverage afforded by other Preferred Mutual homeowner forms, this also provides coverage for:

  • Replacement Value Personal Property
  • Personal Injury
  • Lock Replacement and More

Note that all of Preferred Mutual’s Homeowner forms offer coverage for ordinance and law and food spoilage.

Ask your agent to quote your homeowner policy under a Form 5 – for just a little additional premium you’ll receive a lot of added protection.

We're building a new home.  The homeowner policy includes an exclusion for theft of building materials prior to completion and occupancy of the home. Is there a way to cover theft of these building items?

Yes, you can add an endorsement for theft of building materials.

Pools

How would an above-ground pool be insured under the homeowner policy?

An above-ground pool would be considered part of the personal property and would be covered on a named perils basis under the homeowner policy. You may want to consider increasing the personal property limits on your homeowner policy to include the value of the pool. Preferred Mutual offers an endorsement to your Homeowners policy that provides broader coverage for above-ground pools to cover such additional hazards as weight of ice or snow, earth movement, animal damage, and damage from sub-surface water.

How would an in-ground pool be insured under the homeowner policy?

In-ground pools are insured under the Related Structures portion of the Homeowner policy. The homeowner package automatically includes 10% of the dwelling limits for coverage under Related Structures. For example, if you are carrying $100,000 on your home, $10,000 coverage would apply to the pool. Please keep in mind the 10% also would apply to other Related Structures such as detached garages, storage sheds and the like, which are on your premises. It may be necessary to increase the limits of your coverage to adequately insure these related structures. They are not considered an actual structure because they do not have a roof.  Some animal damages to the in-ground pool are covered under the main policy, such as deer, raccoon, or someone else’s animal.

I’m worried about my liability with a pool.  What can I do?

Protect visitors or guests from injury at your pool by:

  • Fully enclosing in-ground pools by at least a four foot high fence, with a locking gate
  • Supervising minors at all times when around the pool
  • Equipping above-ground pools with either a detachable ladder that can be removed when not in use or a locking gate if there is deck access to the pool
  • Watch our pool maintenance tips video for more information. 
Auto

Am I covered while driving a car in Europe or Mexico?

No. Most personal automobile policies provide coverage only in the United States and Canada.

Do I need to buy extra coverage when I rent a car?

Not all personal automobile policies extend coverage to rental cars.  Know your coverage before you have to rent. Some policies only cover a rental car you are using while yours is being repaired. Ask your agent or insurer for the details of your policy, and be sure you understand the limitations. 

Since automobile insurance is regulated by the state, are all policies the same?

Many insurance companies use a standardized policy.  Although the protection offered by policies prepared this way will be identical, the price and service you receive can vary widely from company to company.

What is difference in the coverages available in an automobile policy?

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Covers injuries the policyholder causes to someone else.
  • Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - PIP covers treatment of injuries to the driver and passengers of the policyholder's car. At its broadest, PIP can cover medical payments, lost wages, and the cost of replacing services normally performed by someone injured in an automobile accident.
  • Property Damage Liability - Covers damages the policyholder causes to someone else's property.
  • Collision – Covers damage to the policyholder's car from a collision. The collision could be with another car, a light pole, tree, fence, etc.  
  • Other Than Collision/Comprehensive – Covers damage to the policyholder's car caused by something other than a collision. Covered risks include: fire, theft, falling objects, thrown or flying objects, explosion, earthquake, flood, riot and civil commotion.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage –Provides coverage for the treatment of a policyholder's injuries resulting from a collision with an uninsured driver or by a hit-and-run driver. Underinsured motorist coverage can be included in an automobile policy and comes into play when an "at-fault" driver has automobile liability insurance, but the limit of insurance is inadequate to pay for your damages.

What Limits of Liability does state law require?

Each state requires that you have certain types of coverages with minimum liability limits. Higher limits are recommended for the broadest coverage.

For example, the coverage and limits required in New York are as follows:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

The coverage and limits required in Massachusetts are as follows:

  • Bodily Injury to Others:$20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection:$8,000 per person, per accident
  • Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto:$20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Damage to Someone Else’s Property:$5,000 per accident

What is the difference between Collision and Other Than Collision (or Comprehensive) auto coverage?

Both cover damage done to your car. Collision covers damage to your car that occurs when it collides with something, whether you hit an object, like a tree or another car.  Other Than Collision provides coverage for most other types of damage or loss, such as vandalism, theft, fire, and storm damage. Both coverages are subject to certain limitations. Review your policy or consult with your agent for details.

What is not covered under my automobile policy?

  • Wear and tear
  • Freezing
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Road damage to tires by potholes
  • Tapes, records, CDs and certain other personal property
  • Any customization you do to your vehicle after it is purchased, unless you notify your insurance company, e.g., plow, tow hitch, alarm, remote car starter
  • Sound equipment (CD players, AM/FM cassettes, TV) is covered if it is permanently installed.

Is my car covered if someone borrows it? What about the driver?

Yes, provided you have given your permission.

If I own an auto with Collision and Other than Collision (Comprehensive) coverage, will my insurance apply to a rental or borrowed private passenger auto?

Yes. Your collision and comprehensive insurance coverages are transferable to a substitute rented or borrowed private passenger auto that is damaged while it is being operated by you or members of your household with the consent of the owner. There is no coverage under your policy for family friends or significant others. You should be aware that your coverage is available only if you rent or borrow a private passenger auto in the United States or Canada. You should also be aware that your policy does not provide coverage for a borrowed or rented truck. If the use is for business rather than pleasure, call your agent first. Business use is usually not covered under your personal auto insurance policy.

Cancellations

What if my policy is canceled?

If your policy is canceled, the remaining premium amount, if any, will be applied against any unpaid balance. If no balance is remaining, any unused premium will be returned to you. If you move, be sure to provide an updated mailing address to receive your credit in a timely manner.

Is my insurance company required to notify me of its decision to cancel my policy?

Yes. Insurance companies must send you a notice at least 20 days prior to the effective date of the cancellation. A notice sent by regular mail with a certificate of mailing receipt obtained from the Post Office is considered sufficient.

Agent Information

How do I find an agent near me?

Enter your zip code to Find a Preferred Mutual independent agent near you.

Why should I purchase my policy through an independent agent?

Independent agents provide you with expert guidance and advice, helping you select the right coverage for your needs. They invest in understanding insurance and your needs, then they search for the best coverage at the best price. An independent agent will walk you through the process and answer your questions. In short, they save you time and money.

Insurance Regulations

What is insurance competition?

While insurance companies set their own rates and offer special product benefits and features, the departments of insurance in each state maintain approval authority to control how rates are set; whether they are too high, too low; whether they are arbitrary, discriminatory, unfair, violate public policy and so on.

What can I do if I receive a cancellation notice?

If your policy is being cancelled because you have failed to pay your premium, you must pay your outstanding premium in full immediately to prevent cancellation. If you feel that the cancellation is unjust for any reason, you may submit a written appeal prior to the effective date of cancellation.  Written appeals can be sent to your state department of insurance.

What is a “Co-operative Plan and Non-Assessable Policy” as noted at the top of declaration pages and policy jackets?

All of Preferred Mutual’s policies are required by New York State to have these words on the declaration page and policy jacket.  It means that the policy is issued by a co-operative insurer (specifically an advanced premium co-operative) having special regulations under which it shall transact all its business. As an Advance Premium Co-operative, there are no assessments on our member policyholders.  To our agent partners and policyholders there is no significant difference between types of mutual companies.  However, as a New York domiciled "advanced premium co-operative," Preferred Mutual earns significant tax benefits.  

 

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