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Metras Insurance Agency

Serving the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts Since 1985

Personal Insurance


Auto Insurance

Auto insurance covers you for bodily injury and property damage that you cause in an accident. Coverage is available for physical damage to your vehicle, protecting you in the event of collision, fire, theft, vandalism and glass. The cost of these premiums can be adjusted by selecting optional deductibles. Additional limits for liability coverages are available to meet the needs of your financial protection as well as optional features such as towing and substitute transportation. Credits are available for low mileage, alarms and multicar policies. Please review the options that are available.

  • Optional Bodily Injury to Others: This coverage extends your liability protection (the basic $20,000/$40,000 limits under Bodily Injury to Others) up to the amount you purchase under this part. This option provides coverage for accidents beyond Massachusetts to anywhere in the United States, its territories or possessions, or Canada. This coverage also pays for damages suffered by guests in your auto. Buying higher limits under the Optional Bodily Injury to Others coverage may make good sense if you have assets you wish to protect.
  • Optional Medical Payments: This coverage covers medical expenses for you, your household members and passengers, over and above amounts covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP) no matter who caused the accident. The minimum amount you can buy is $5,000 if insuring an automobile and $500 if insuring a motorcycle.
  • Collision: This coverage pays for damage to your car, less any applicable deductible, no matter who causes the accident. If your car is financed, your lender may require this coverage as well as a particular deductible amount.
  • Selecting Your Deductible: Your deductible will be set at $500 unless you select a different amount. You can always save on your premium by choosing a larger deductible where one is offered.
  • Limited Collision: This coverage also pays for collision damage to your car. You must not be more than 50% at fault and the owner of the other vehicle must be identified.
  • Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to or loss of your car, less any applicable deductible, resulting from perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, and striking an animal, but not collision.
  • Substitute Transportation: This coverage reimburses up to $15 a day for car rental or transportation costs including taxi, bus, and train fare (up to $450), while your car is undergoing collision or covered repairs. Coverage of up to $100 a day (up to a limit of $3,000) is available for an additional cost.
  • Towing and Labor: Towing and Labor coverage pays up to $50 for towing and labor charges each time your car breaks down whether or not there is an accident involved. You are covered only for the on-site labor costs at the breakdown site (not any parts) needed to get your car running again. Coverage up to $100 per disablement is available for additional cost.
  • Bodily Injury Caused By An Underinsured Auto: This coverage pays for bodily injury damages to you, household members and passengers, unless they have a policy of their own, or are covered by a Massachusetts auto policy of another household member with similar coverage. The accident must be caused by someone without enough bodily injury coverage. It pays you up to the difference between the total amount collected from the bodily injury liability insurance covering the owner and driver of the other car, and the limits you purchased for this coverage.

If you are interested in obtaining a quote, please use our new online quote request tool, or contact the agency and one of our representatives will help you get the best pricing and coverage available. We continue our policy of offering free next-day Registry of Motor Vehicles service, Monday through Thursday. Remember, competition has come to Massachusetts! For policies effective since April 1, 2008, companies have been offering their own rates. This is a very exciting time in the State of Massachusetts. The last time competition was seen here was nearly 30 years ago. Metras Insurance Agency is very pleased to represent four auto insurance carriers so we can offer you the best coverages at the best prices.


Homeowner’s Insurance

Homeowner’s insurance covers your residence, other structures and personal property in the event of a loss. It also provides coverage for losses where you are personally liable for bodily injury to others or damage to the property of others, subject to the policy terms and conditions. No one can predict the possibility of you experiencing a loss, but we can help provide you with the peace of mind you need by ensuring protection for your most valuable assets.

What many people overlook is the actual value of their home. From an insurance standpoint, you should not be concerned with either the market value or the tax assessment for your property. What will it cost you to rebuild your home today? if you are not sure, we have a tool to help assess current construction costs. Your home is your most valuable asset, so take the time to review your coverage with one of our representatives.

Important items to consider:

  • Ordinance and Law Coverage: This coverage pays for the loss of value of an undamaged portion of the existing building which must be demolished or removed to conform with municipal ordinances or codes. It would also pay for the increased cost of construction to rebuild or repair. An unendorsed homeowner’s policy normally allows only 10% of coverage A for this coverage.
  • Personal Liability Coverage: This coverage protects you, your assets, and your future income in the event of lawsuit. This can be increased even further by purchasing a Personal Umbrella policy.
  • Identity Fraud Expense Coverage: If you are a victim of identify fraud, this coverage may provide coverage for the costs incurred such as lost income, costs of attorney fees, documentation fees and much more.
  • Earthquake Coverage: This coverage is not normally included and can be added by endorsement.
  • Flood Coverage: This coverage is excluded and can be purchased separately from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Scheduled Personal Property: By separately listing valuable items such as jewelry and collectibles, they can be protected for an agreed value under an open peril form.
  • Increased Deductibles: By increasing your policy deductibles from the standard $250, you can see immediate savings of at least 10%.

If you are interested in obtaining a quote, please use our new online quote request tool, or contact the agency and one of our representatives will help you get the best pricing and coverage available.


Dwelling Fire Insurance

There are three general dwelling property insurance policies for secondary homes or rental properties. These policies are also typically issued on houses of non-standard construction, or very old homes. All of these policies cover the basic structure of the home or dwelling. They include:

  • DP1 or Basic Form: A basic policy that provides minimum coverage on a home. It is the most popular kind of insurance used for rental properties. DP1's covers dwelling, other structures on the property against fire or lightning and internal explosions. It does not cover loss of use, personal property or additional living expenses.
  • DP2 or Broad Form: A more inclusive policy that provides coverage on a home for dwelling, "other structures" (detached garages, gazebos, sheds, etc.), household/personal property, rental value and additional living expense. It provides coverage against loss by fire or lightning; debris removal; windstorm or hail; explosion; riot or civil commotion; aircraft; vehicles; smoke; falling objects; weight of ice, snow or sleet; collapse of building, vandalism or malicious mischief, breakage of glass, accidental discharge of water or steam, freezing of plumbing, heating systems or appliances, burglary damage, fire and lightning.
  • DP3 or Special Form: This provides "open peril" coverage on the home with some perils, like theft coverage for personal property or liability/medical payments coverage. This kind of coverage provides the most comprehensive insurance.

Any additional protections are options that are offered only at the discretion of the insuring company, and you should inquire before settling. For landlords, umbrella policies are especially crucial. If one of your tenant's clumsy friends breaks an arm falling down stairs, there could be significant additional costs above standard liability.


Condominium Insurance

The purchase of a condominium represents a significant investment. So it's important to provide adequate safeguards to protect your dwelling and your personal property. Investing in condominium insurance will help you protect your home from certain losses that may occur within your specific unit. Your condominium association's insurance covers the condominium complex from damages, but does not protect you against losses that occur in your owned unit. The Association generally provides insurance for the majority of the building that includes the exterior portions of your individual unit and all common areas. You may be responsible for insuring your own interior building items such as the interior walls, cabinets and flooring. Your Condominium By-Laws spell out exactly what building items you will be responsible for and what items the Association will insure. Be sure to have us review these documents to determine proper coverage.

Condominium insurance will provide you with the protection you need for:

  • Additions and Alterations
  • Personal Property
  • Loss of Use
  • Personal Liability
  • Medical Payments

We recommend that you take a household inventory to help determine your precise insurance needs. This will not only help you arrive at an appropriate amount of insurance, it will also assist you in making a claim in the event of a loss.

Dwelling

Your "dwelling" is the real property owned by you and for which you are responsible. This may include cabinets, walls, ceilings and fixtures within your condominium. You should refer to your ownership documents to determine exactly what you own and what you need to insure. The unit owner’s insurance policy provides coverage to these areas of your unit under our Condominium Insurance policy by offering protection to the fixtures and improvements that are within your owned unit.

Personal Property

Personal property consists of your general household belongings such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, appliances, computers, kitchenware, etc. that is not used for business. The amount of Personal Property coverage you purchase should reflect the total value of your belongings. Personal Property is covered anywhere in the world; however, refer to your policy for limitations. An example of this coverage is:

  • Any personal property normally kept at another residence or any other location, such as a college dormitory, is limited to 10% of the Coverage C amount. If you have children away at school, this could become important. If 10% of your contents amount is not enough coverage, you may want to increase the Coverage C amount. Personal Property is covered from damage caused by specific perils. Some of the covered perils listed in your policy include:
    • Vandalism
    • Explosion
    • Fire or lightning
    • Vehicle damage

The basic policy covers personal property on an Actual Cash Value basis. This means that each item is covered for its market value at the time of a loss. Because furniture and clothing depreciate very quickly, the actual cash value is often well below the cost to replace an item. You may want to change your policy to Replacement Cost coverage for an additional premium. You also may insure certain high value items separately. This will provide broader coverage for the items, and your deductible will not apply to these items. Examples of personal property include:

  • Jewelry
  • Musical Instruments
  • Fine Art
  • Computers

A recent appraisal may be required to obtain this coverage for an item. With regard to computer equipment, optional coverage is available which broadens coverage significantly.

Personal Liability and Medical Payment to Others

Personal Liability coverage protects you in the event that you are sued for bodily injury or property damage caused by your negligence. An example of this is a slip and fall accident that occurs within your unit. Coverage for defense and court costs is included at no additional cost. The policy automatically provides $100,000 of personal liability coverage. Higher limits are available for a small additional charge. This is not just premises coverage, it applies anywhere, to any loss of a personal nature for which you are legally liable.

Medical Payment coverage pays for medical expenses caused by injuries that occur on your premises or caused by you or an animal you own. You do not need to be legally liable or negligent in order for this coverage to apply. The policy automatically provides $1,000 of coverage for medical payments to others. For a small additional charge, coverage can be increased to as high as $5,000. A complete list of exclusions and restrictions can be found in the policy contract.

Loss of Use

This part of your policy provides coverage for additional expenses you may incur if part of your condo unit becomes unusable due to a covered loss. This can include costs for a hotel or restaurant bills until the repairs to your condominium are made. The policy automatically provides 40% of the amount of your Personal Property coverage for Loss of Use. There is no additional charge for this coverage.


Renter’s Insurance

If you don’t own the property in which you live, renters’ or tenants’ insurance provides coverage in the event of a loss of your personal property, such as your furniture, your clothing and other belongings. In addition, it covers personal liability for bodily injury to others or damage to the property of others, subject to the policy terms and conditions. Renter’s insurance offers renters coverage similar to homeowner insurance. It is normally a special "package" that combines coverage for personal liability, premises medical coverage, additional living expense, and personal property (contents) coverage. Tenant insurance does not cover the building but may have a provision to cover tenant improvements.

Who can buy tenant insurance?
Tenant insurance is for those who rent their living quarters. These may include an apartment, single family home, or a multi-family residence (such as a duplex, triplex or quad).

Are there personal property (contents) limitations that you should know about?
Yes. The following is a list of some – but not all – of those items that typically have specific dollar limitation: money, securities, watercraft, trailers, jewelry, silverware, gold-ware, pewter-ware, and business property. Be sure to talk to us about items with specific limitations.

Is there other coverage that can be purchased with the renters’ policy?
Yes. The following is a list of some – but not all – of the typical endorsements available:

  • Replacement cost coverage on your contents.
  • Scheduled personal property (to insure jewelry, furs, cameras, musical instruments, silverware, guns, fine art, postage stamps, coin collection and some sporting goods).
  • Increased limits for business property.
  • Business merchandise coverage.
  • Outboard motor liability.
  • Incidental business liability.

Won’t the landlord’s insurance coverage pay for my property if the building burns down?
No. The landlord generally buys insurance coverage to protect his/her interest (i.e. the building, loss of rents, liability, etc.).

What should I consider when buying tenant insurance?

  • Always compare the coverage offered and the price. Policies can vary from company to company, and so can the price. Shop for the best coverage at an affordable price for you.
  • Consider replacement cost coverage The standard policy covers the actual cash value of your contents (i.e. used value) at the time of loss. The replacement cost coverage will pay the actual cost to replace your property with a like kind and quality product. You must actually replace the product to get the replacement cost.
  • Some catastrophic losses such as earthquake and flood are not covered under the tenant policy. You may be able to purchase these coverages through an endorsement or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Check your contract with the landlord. The landlord may require you carry specific limits of insurance for specific coverages. The landlord also may want to be named as an additional insured on your tenant policy.

Recreational Insurance

Mobilehome, boat, snowmobile, and ATV insurance protects your recreational crafts in the event of a loss. In addition to direct physical damage, it covers personal liability for bodily injury and property damage to others, subject to the policy terms and conditions. You wouldn't think of driving your car without auto insurance protection, so why risk it when you're driving a recreational vehicle? No matter what your path of travel, you can be we can provide insurance for your:

  • Mobilehomes
  • Boats and personal watercraft
  • All terrain vehicles (ATV’s)
  • Snowmobiles

You’re protected from unexpected bumps in the road.

The coverages you need for your recreational vehicle are the same as those on your automobile.

  • Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability coverages. These coverages protect you and your family in case you're found legally responsible for bodily injury or property damage claims from others.
  • Personal Injury Protection coverage. Provides coverage if you, or members of your family, are injured in an accident. Coverage includes medical, surgical, dental, ambulance, and hospital expenses incurred, along with payments for loss of income and essential services that need to continue.
  • Comprehensive and Collision coverages. We know that the ride can get rough. These coverages protect you against damage caused by collision, explosion, fire, theft, vandalism, and more.

Umbrella Insurance

Umbrella insurance enhances the basic liability coverage you purchased as part of your automobile or homeowner’s/renter’s policy. With umbrella coverage, you can extend and increase your coverage for personal liability.

Today, lawsuits are everywhere. Judges and juries are awarding larger amounts of money than ever. Homeowners, auto, and watercraft policies have a limit on liability insurance. If an unfortunate accident should happen that is your fault, do you have enough liability insurance from your current policies to cover your costs for negligence? Since no one can predict how much a judge may award the injured person, umbrella insurance is not just for the wealthy anymore, but a needed protection for every policyholder.

Umbrella insurance is designed to give one added liability protection above and beyond the limits on homeowners, auto, and watercraft personal insurance policies. With an umbrella policy, depending on the insurance company, one can add an additional 1-5 million in liability protection. This protection is designed to “kick-in” when the liability on other current policies has been exhausted.

Liability insurance is the portion of a homeowners or auto policy that pays for expenses such as the injured persons medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, and lost wages due to the negligence of the at fault person. The liability portion of an insurance policy also covers a legal defense representative if the negligence would happen to land the at fault person in the court room. After adding up all of the medical expenses for the injured and the legal fees of the negligent person, the standard liability in one’s homeowners or auto policy is often not enough. Almost every state has financial responsibility laws that will hold drivers accountable for bodily injury and property damage resulting from car accidents and the at fault driver could be sued for the damage. Personal assets from the at fault driver could be seized resulting from a lawsuit. Similar laws are also in force for home and watercraft owners.

There is good news. A personal liability umbrella insurance policy can give one added liability protection without a large added cost. Additional liability insurance is often inexpensive, especially compared to the added coverage one gains. Furthermore, liability insurance covers one’s non-business activities anywhere in the world. Having the added protection of a liability umbrella policy is coverage no one should go without.


Life and Health Insurance

Several products are available for both life and health insurance through our broad network of industry markets.

A well-planned life insurance policy should enable your loved ones to cover their immediate cash needs in the event of your death, but should also replace your income so that your family can maintain their current standard of living. We believe in providing families with a benefit that can be invested conservatively, generating interest earnings sufficient to pay monthly expenses.

We want you to make the most informed decision possible when planning for your family's financial security. Paying low premiums should not be your only consideration when shopping for life insurance. After all, a cheap policy may not adequately protect your family over the long-haul. Consider the mortgage your spouse will have to pay, as well as the cost of your children's education, childcare expenses, healthcare, funeral expenses and so on. Expenses can add up quickly. Consulting a licensed professional with your life insurance needs can help ease the burden and provide peace of mind.

Term Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance is temporary life insurance protection for a specific period of time. Think of it as "plain vanilla" or "pure" life insurance protection. The premium on a Term policy is low compared to other types of life insurance because it builds no cash value; you pay only for the cost of insurance (C.O.I.). The C.O.I. is the amount of money the insurance company charges to keep your life insurance policy in force, depending on your age and health at the time you apply for coverage. Under a Yearly Renewable Term policy, the C.O.I. is determined at the time you apply and increases at each policy anniversary (as you get older, it becomes more expensive to insure your life). Under a Level Term policy, the C.O.I. remains level during initial guaranteed period and then increases sharply. Term Insurance pays a specific lump sum to your designated beneficiary if you die within the period covered by the policy. The policy protects your family by providing money they can invest to replace your salary, and to cover immediate expenses incurred by your death. Term Insurance is best for young, growing families, whose financial needs are especially high but whose resources are often insufficient to cover those needs.

Pros: Affordable coverage that pays only a death benefit, Term Insurance initially costs less than other insurance policies mainly due to the fact that, unlike other policies, it builds no cash value.

Cons: Term Insurance premiums increase with age because the risk of death increases as people get older. Some Term Insurance premiums may rise each year (e.g., "Yearly Renewable Term), or after the initial guarantee period of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Over the age of 65, the cost of Term Insurance becomes very expensive, often unaffordable.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole Life Insurance is permanent life insurance protection for your entire life, usually to age 100. A Whole Life policy is contractually guaranteed not to lapse, provided that you pay sufficient premiums each year to keep the policy in force. Besides permanent lifetime insurance protection, Whole Life Insurance features a savings element that allows you to build cash value on a tax-deferred basis. A portion of the premiums you pay build up the savings element of the policy and are invested by the company. The interest rate return on your investment is added to the savings portion of the policy. This is how the policy builds cash value. In addition to crediting your policy with interest, "participating" policies issued by mutual insurance companies may also give you the opportunity to earn dividends. Dividends are a NON-guaranteed return of part of the premium intended to reflect a company’s favorable operating experience.

Pros: Whole Life Insurance has a savings element (cash value) which grows tax-deferred. If the contract is set up properly in advance, you might build up enough cash value to stop paying premiums by a certain age, or to borrow from the cash value (take a policy loan) during your lifetime on a tax-advantaged basis. Unlike Term Life Insurance, whose premiums eventually rise after the initial guarantee period, Whole Life Insurance premiums will not increase during your lifetime (as long as you pay the planned amount and repay any policy loans).

Cons: You are not allowed to choose separate investment accounts, i.e., money market, stock or bond funds; the insurance company controls how and where your premium dollars are invested. Whole Life Insurance offers no premium flexibility or face amount flexibility; the plan you buy today remains fixed for life. It is therefore important to plan carefully, because Whole Life Insurance is not very good at adapting to insurance and/or retirement plans that change significantly.

Universal Life Insurance

Universal Life (UL), also called "Flexible Premium Adjustable Life Insurance," entered the life insurance market in the early 1980s as a more flexible version of Whole Life Insurance. Like Whole Life, UL features a savings element that grows on a tax-deferred basis. A portion of your premiums are invested by the insurance company in bonds, mortgages and money market funds. The return on the investments is credited to your policy tax-deferred. A guaranteed minimum interest rate applied to the policy (usually around 4%) means that, no matter how the investments perform, the insurance company guarantees a certain minimum return on your money. If the insurance company does well with its investments, the interest rate return on the accumulated cash value will increase. Universal Life allows you to choose from two death benefit options. Option A pays the death benefit out of the policy's cash value; the more cash value you build up means the company is on the hook for less insurance (and therefore costs less). Option B pays the face amount stated in the contract, plus any cash values you accumulated over the years (costs more). Many UL policies today offer a no-lapse guarantee: as long as you pay the minimum designated premium, the policy will stay in force to age 100 (or even to age 120). However, paying the minimum guaranteed premium is rarely sufficient to build up significant cash values.

Pros: Universal Life gives you the flexibility to adjust the death benefit as your needs change, as well as the flexibility to pay smaller or larger premiums - depending on your financial circumstances. This is often an important feature for families who may have fluctuations in their ability to pay.

Cons: If your premium payments are too small for too long, the policy could lapse, leaving you without insurance protection. Also, if the insurance company does poorly with its investments, the interest return on the cash portion of the policy will decrease (but never below the minimum interest rate guaranteed in the contract). In this case, cash values will probably fall, forcing you to pay more premium in the later years.

Variable Life Insurance

Variable Life Insurance - also called Variable Appreciable Life Insurance - provides permanent protection to your beneficiary upon your death. This type of life insurance is "variable" because it allows you to allocate a portion of your premium dollars to a separate account comprised of various investment funds within the insurance company's portfolio, such as an equity fund, a money market fund, a bond fund, or some combination thereof. Hence, the value of the death benefit and the cash value may fluctuate up or down, depending on the performance of the investment portion of the policy. Although most variable life insurance policies guarantee that the death benefit will not fall below a specified minimum, a minimum cash value is seldom guaranteed. Variable is a form of whole life insurance and because of investment risks it is also considered a securities contract and is regulated as securities under the Federal Securities Laws and must be sold with a prospectus.

Pros: Allows you to participate in various types of investment options while not being taxed on your earnings (until you surrender the policy). You can apply interest earned on these investments toward the premiums, potentially lowering the amount you pay.

Cons: You assume the investment risks. When the investment funds perform poorly, less money is available to pay the premiums, meaning that you may have to pay more than you can afford to keep the policy in force. Poor fund performance also means that the cash and/or death benefit may decline, though never below a defined level. Also, you cannot withdraw from the cash value during your lifetime.

Variable-Universal Life Insurance

If you like to sit in the driver's seat, this is the type of policy for you. Variable Universal Life Insurance blends the features found in Variable Life and Universal Life, offering a choice of underlying investment accounts, flexible premiums and adjustable death benefit. The amount of the death benefit may rise or fall, depending on the success of the underlying investments you choose. Because the stock market has traditionally performed well over long periods, VUL offers the opportunity to build up significant cash value. But stock markets fluctuate in the short term; if you die when values are down, VUL policies guarantee that a minimum death benefit will still be paid to your beneficiaries. VUL gives you more control of the cash value portion of your policy than any other insurance type. This means that the policyowner assumes all the risks inherent in the underlying securities investments. VUL products are therefore regulated by Federal securities laws and the SEC, and must be sold with a prospectus.

Pros: Variable-Universal Life offers premium and death benefit flexibility, as well as the potential to increase cash value based on the performance of your choice of underlying funds. Because VUL is tied to the performance of various securities markets, it may provide an important hedge against inflation. This can help keep the value of your life insurance policy from eroding due to rising costs of living. VUL allows you to withdraw money or to borrow from the policy during your lifetime.

Cons: VUL is more expensive than other types of Permanent Life Insurance. Premiums must be high enough to cover the cost of insurance, mortality and expense charges, and expenses associated with the underlying funds. You must have at least a basic understanding of stocks, bonds and securities. You must read and understand the prospectus before investing. If you buy a VUL policy, you will be responsible for managing the underlying investment accounts. Better for younger policyowners with long-term investment horizons. The policy's success is dependent on the investments you make, and may lose value.

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