FAQs

  1. What is the difference between a mutual insurance company and a stock insurance company?
  2. My policy shows two companies—Central Illinois Mutual and Grinnell Mutual. Why?
  3. How far in advance do you send out billing statements?
  4. How much grace period do I have for paying my premium?
  5. Can I pay my Central Illinois Mutual insurance premium using my credit card?
  6. Can I pay my premium online?
  7. How do I make a change to my policy?
  8. If I make improvements to my home, will that change my coverage needs or my premium?
  9. What is the purpose of a deductible?
  10. What is depreciation?
  11. What is Actual Cash Value?
  12. What is Replacement Cost?
  13. What should we do after a loss?
  14. How do I report a claim?
  15. Will filing a claim increase my premium?
  16. Do you have any advice on how to select a contractor to repair storm damage?
  17. What should we do before a loss occurs?
  18. What can we do to avoid having a loss?

  1. What is the difference between a mutual insurance company and a stock insurance company? A: The key difference is ownership. While stock companies are owned by investors, mutual companies are owned by the policyholders. Stock companies strive to earn a return on investment for their stockholders. Mutual companies exist to serve the policyholders. Mutual policyholders have certain ownership rights, including the right to attend annual meetings and vote on matters presented.
  2. My policy shows two companies—Central Illinois Mutual and Grinnell Mutual. Why? A: As a farm mutual, Central Illinois Mutual provides property insurance only. We have partnered with Grinnell Mutual to provide the liability insurance and other coverages we cannot provide. This allows us to offer package policies to our customers.
  3. How far in advance do you send out billing statements? A: Billing statements are sent about 30 days before their due date.
  4. How much grace period do I have for paying my premium? A: While life insurance policies may offer a “grace period,” there is no grace period in property and casualty insurance. Your premium is due on the date shown on your billing statement.
  5. Can I pay my Central Illinois Mutual insurance premium using my credit card? A: Yes. Your billing statement includes instructions on how to pay online with your credit card.
  6. Can I pay my premium online? A: Yes. You can pay online at your convenience using your credit card or your bank account. For more information, see Make A Payment under the Customer Service tab on this web site.
  7. How do I make a change to my policy? A: Please contact your agent. Your agent will obtain the necessary information from you and then submit your request to us.
  8. If I make improvements to my home, will that change my coverage needs or my premium? A: If you make improvements to your home, you may want to talk to your agent. Some improvements will not affect your coverage or premium. For example, repainting or remodeling a bathroom will likely not change anything, unless you opt for very high end improvements. On the other hand, finishing your basement or building a room addition will change your coverage needs.
  9. What is the purpose of a deductible? A: Deductibles are really designed to reinforce the basic concept of insurance as a means to protect yourself from catastrophic financial loss. Using deductibles, policyholders take responsibility for small losses and seek insurance for large losses that could cause financial hardship. Deductibles are also the amount of the loss you will pay before your insurance company makes a payment. Increasing your policy deductible will decrease your premium because you are assuming more responsibility.
  10. What is depreciation? A: Over time, all physical property wears out, deteriorates, or becomes obsolete, and, thus, decreases in economic value. Depreciation is a measure of the reduction in value over time. This measure is usually calculated by comparing the age of an item with its expected life span. For example, a 3-year old washing machine with a 12-year expected life span is 25% depreciated.
  11. What is Actual Cash Value? A: Actual Cash Value (ACV) is the value of property after taking depreciation into account. ACV is usually calculated by taking the replacement cost of property and deducting depreciation. ACV reflects the true economic value of an item of property.
  12. What is Replacement Cost? A: Replacement cost is the current cost to repair or replace an item of property with materials of like kind and quality, without deduction for depreciation.
  13. What should we do after a loss? A: Your duties after a loss are spelled out in your policy. Some of these duties are listed under the Claims section of the Customer Service tab on this web site.
    Here are a few key duties:

    • Report the loss to your agent as soon as possible.
    • Do what is necessary and reasonable to protect the property from further damage.
    • Report theft, vandalism, or malicious mischief to local law enforcement immediately.
    • Show us the damaged property.
    • Cooperate with the adjuster assigned to your claim.
  14. How do I report a claim? A: Please contact your agent as soon as possible. Your agent will obtain the necessary information from you and then contact us. Please be sure to provide a current phone number. An adjuster will be assigned and will contact you as soon as possible.
  15. Will filing a claim increase my premium? A: Not necessarily. Every situation is different. While we do surcharge for claims, we forgive the first weather-related claim or the first claim of any other type under $500 paid. We also give discounts to policyholders who have been insured with us for at least three years with no claims.
  16. Do you have any advice on how to select a contractor to repair storm damage? A: The best advice is to select a local contractor with a good reputation. Seek recommendations from friends and family. Get more than one estimate from local contractors. Check references. Local contractors do business in the area and will be around if additional work is required or if you have a problem with the work done. Be wary of contractors who come into damaged areas after a storm offering quick and/or inexpensive repairs, who offer to file your insurance claim for you, who tell you they can get your insurance company to replace your roof, or who offer to get your deductible back for you. For more information, you may want to read the article “Beware of Cons Who Are Pros” in the Spring 2013 issue of CIMply Safety under the Safety tab. Also check out the paper “Beware of Unscrupulous Contractors” and the brochure from Grinnell Mutual entitled “Weathering the Storm: Steps to follow after a loss.” Both of these items can be found on the Claims page under Customer Service.
  17. What should we do before a loss occurs? A: It is a good idea to make an inventory of all your real and personal property with as much information as you can, including a detailed description, make, model numbers, serial numbers, year purchased, and amount paid. Take photos of everything you can. You could even videotape a walk-through of your property, narrating as you go. Update your inventory, photos, and/or videotape annually, or when you make a large or significant purchase or improvements to your home. Keep a copy off-site in a safe place, such as in a safe deposit box.
  18. What can we do to avoid having a loss? A: We appreciate a positive attitude toward safety and loss prevention. There are many sources of loss prevention information available on the internet. You will also find safety and loss prevention resources, tips, and other information under the Safety tab on this web site. Also see the section on Identity Theft under the Customer Service tab. Here are just a few quick tips:
    • Keep your home and other buildings in good repair. Secure loose siding or roof shingles. Repair damaged sidewalks, porches, decks, and railings.
    • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries at least annually. Replace detectors as recommended by the manufacturer. Never disable a detector.
    • Install and learn to properly use fire extinguishers.
    • Do not overload electrical circuits.
    • Do not use extension cords as permanent wiring.
    • Do not use extension cords on electric space heaters or other high current appliances.
    • Keep combustible materials away from ignition sources.
    • Properly store flammable liquids away from ignition sources.
    • Install and use window and door locks.
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