Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some commonly-asked questions that we receive. Also, our Quick Tips & Tricks document is a great resource for other questions you may have.
General Contact Info
Our normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
For customer service, please call 804-591-3700 or 800-899-7973.
General Underwriting Email: email@example.com
Underwriting Application Fax: 804-591-3735
Underwriting Correspondence Fax: 804-591-3736
General Claims Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claims Fax: 804-591-3737
Virginia Property Insurance Association
PO BOX 76491
Baltimore, MD 21275-6491
For faster processing, please email or fax our office. If you need to visit our office, please call 804-591-3700 to make an appointment.
When sending documentation and correspondence to VPIA, please be sure to specify the policy number or claim number and provide the name of the insured. Please also try to submit information for one policy or claim at a time.
General Policy Info
(paid, active, received continuation application)
Policy billing information is available online. Under the Producers tab at vpia.com, Billing (under Policy Services) will allow you to input a policy number and suffix to pull up the billing information including: active or canceled status, payment and due date, if a mortgagee was billed for the premium, if there is a finance company on the policy, if the continuation application was received, and policy transactions indicating who made payment and when it was received.
Declarations pages and invoices are available online for policies with an active status. Under the Producers tab at vpia.com, Declarations Page (under Policy Services) will allow you to input a policy number and suffix to pull up the most recent declarations page and invoice (when available).
Our website offers other self-serve policy maintenance tools for agents, including:
- Mortgagee changes can be processed online with immediate access to an updated declarations page.
- Submit cancellation
- Submit endorsement
- Make payments.
Under the Producers tab you will also see links to Quotes, Applications and Continuation of Coverage (Continuation Applications).
Any policy changes need to be requested in writing from the named insured or the agent of record. This can be in the form of a letter, an email, a request sent through our website, etc. We cannot make changes or process cancellations based on a verbal request.
The Tools and Resources header under the Producers tab is full of valuable information including access to our manuals, supplemental forms (liability supplement, theft supplement, restriction forms, etc.) and helpful tools like condition surcharge lists, and wood stove and handrail guidelines.
- One of the most frequent questions underwriters answer is: What perils are covered? Page 12 of the VPIA Dwelling Manual provides an excellent visual regarding the policy forms offered and the perils covered.
The Producers tab at vpia.com offers self-service claims features including: Report a Claim, View Claims Status and Contact Claim Adjuster. You may submit a claim through the website, or you may call our office at 804-591-3700 or 800-899-7973 and select the claims department when prompted to get to a claims representative.
When making a payment with a checking account or credit card online at vpia.com, make certain you are typing in the correct policy number – putting a “0” in front of the 6-digit policy number. Also, in the Amount field, only type in numbers. Do not enter a “$” or “.00” in the payment window. The email address you enter is only used to send a receipt. VPIA does not keep them on file.
After policy information is entered on the first screen, you will enter credit card or account information. On the last screen, you will finalize and confirm the transaction. In order for payment to be processed, you must click the “Submit” button. If this button is not clicked, payment will not be transmitted.
Policy billing and payment information is available at vpia.com. Under the Producers tab, you will see an option for Billing Inquiry. You can access different policy terms by specifying the suffix. If the suffix box is blank, the system will pull up the most recent term.
VPIA does not offer payment plans, as payment in full is required. However, you may contact a finance company if desired. We commonly see Tidewater Agents Finance Co., Prime Rate Premium Finance and Imperial Premium Finance, but you may use any other company that you are familiar with.
Why is the payment due before the renewal date? Why did I get a cancellation notice when the policy does not renew for another 15 days?
VPIA does not automatically renew policies. The renewal offer packet is mailed out 45-55 days prior to the renewal date. The due date for payment is 15 days before the effective date of the next term. If payment is not received at least 15 days prior to the renewal date, VPIA will send out a 15 day cancellation notice which will back up the renewal date. So, the insured does have until the renewal date for payment to be received to prevent a lapse in coverage.
Wells Fargo Bank
ATTN: Virginia Property Insurance Association Lockbox 76491
7175 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046
No. Quotes and applications are different. A quote will give you a basic, estimated price. By submitting an application, you are requesting coverage to be issued. After an application is underwritten and a policy issued, a premium will be generated.
- Quotes do not save and VPIA cannot view quotes. Please print them for your records.
- Quotes and applications are not linked and you cannot turn a quote into an application. When you are ready to submit an application for coverage, please visit the Applications section of the website.
- VPIA does not offer liability on tenant occupied dwellings. If you are trying to quote for this scenario, please select the “$0” for the liability field. Liability may be available for a tenant’s contents policy.
- If you need to include condition surcharges, you will need to calculate the charge and add it to your quote. Our quote system does not include condition surcharges other than those based on usage (Ex: seasonal or secondary dwellings). The condition surcharge list is available here or under Helpful Tools in the Producers tab.
- When doing a commercial quote, click on the Look Up Class Code button to choose the class code. The Building and Contents code will fill in. Also, based on the class code, two more fields will fill in: Contents Susceptibility and Vandalism Rate Group.
On an existing policy, we cannot quote changes. If you are looking for an estimate, we recommend you generate a quote, as you would for a new policy. On active policies, we can generate a quote letter on dwelling coverage limit changes, but that is the only item.
On the first page of the web application, an application or submission number is listed in the top righthand corner. This number is very important should additional information or correspondence be required.
Agents cannot bind coverage; therefore, we do not provide binders. When you submit an application, you are requesting a policy to be issued. A declarations page will be generated when a policy is issued.
The underwriting team cannot view or review an application that has not been completed or submitted.
New business applications take priority in the underwriting workflow, typically being reviewed within two hours of submission and receipt. Once an application is submitted through the website, agents can no longer access it. The underwriting team will reach out to the agency if additional information is needed.
At the end of the dwelling application, the Validate button will bring up underwriting results. The screen will show whether an application will be issued, issued without particular coverages, referred to underwriting or declined. At this point, you are still able to save the application to submit letter or go back and revise it. If you are ready for the application to be reviewed for coverage by underwriting, you will need to click Submit. The underwriting team cannot view or review an application that has not been completed or submitted.
While dwelling applications go through an automated underwriting process, commercial applications do not. All commercial applications submitted online will go to underwriting for review. If additional information is needed, an underwriter will be in touch with you via email.
When you submit a dwelling application online, the application system will either decline it, issue it as is, issue it with declined coverages or send it to underwriting for further review. The action taken will be displayed for you on the screen. If the application is issued, the screen will display a policy number and tentative premium. Please write down the policy number. If the application was sent to underwriting for further review, an underwriter will be in touch with the agency via email if additional information is required.
All commercial applications submitted online will go to underwriting for review. If additional information is needed, an underwriter will be in touch with you via email.
When a policy is issued, the agency will receive a confirmation notice via fax or email. On this confirmation, the insured’s name, policy number, effective date and tentative premium. With the policy number you can immediately access the declarations page and invoice online at vpia.com. A complete new business packet will be mailed to the agency which includes the agent’s copy, the insured’s copy and any additional copies. Please pass this packet onto the insured after reviewing it with them.
Since quotes and applications are separate, we do stress that you carefully review the application before submission as coverage is issued based on what is requested on the application.
Applicant’s Interest: If you select that the applicant’s interest is Tenant, the application will continue for a tenant’s contents policy. If you select the applicant’s interest is Absentee Owner, the application will continue for a landlord-type policy with options for dwelling coverage as well as contents. Non-owner occupied dwellings do not qualify for liability coverage.
Usage Type: Secondary indicates a property is occupied overnight, at least once every three months. Seasonal means that the property goes unused for three months or more.
Replacement Cost Estimator: You may submit any replacement cost estimator tool that you might use for your standard market policies. On the coverage screen of the application, VPIA does offer a link to a replacement cost tool. If you choose to generate a replacement cost estimator through this link, please print the document and email it to underwriting after submitting the application. The estimator does not submit to underwriting automatically.
Fire Alarm: If it is indicated that there is an alarm system on the property, VPIA does require an alarm certificate indicating what services are being provided.
Conditions: If you are aware of certain property conditions, you are able to indicate certain condition concerns on the application. Select “Condition of Property” as the reason the application is being submitted to VPIA, and you will be able to elaborate on the condition.
Vacancy: The only instances VPIA may provide coverage for a vacant property are if it is being built from the ground up (builder’s risk) or if it is under active and major renovations. VPIA will require one of the following documents along with the vacancy questionnaire on the application: a valid building permit, a sufficient signed contractor’s agreement or renovation loan documents. Only vacant properties undergoing major renovation are acceptable. Properties under cosmetic repair do not qualify and vacant properties pending cleanout/sale do not qualify.
Endorsements for theft, replacement cost, liability, ordinance and law and other additional coverages may be available to policyholders if eligible based on underwriting criteria. These coverages do not come standard and must be requested for underwriting consideration of coverage. Supplemental applications may be required for these endorsements and can be found here.
The standard procedure of cancellation is 15 days notice. A cancellation notice is sent to each of the interested parties. A copy is emailed or faxed to the producer. A copy is mailed to the insured. And a copy is mailed each of the additional interests. The additional interest copy does not disclose the reason for cancellation for privacy reasons.
Commercial policies without a mortgage follow the normal procedure of cancellation with 15 days notice. If a commercial policy does have a mortgage, the policy will be canceled with 45 days notice, except for non-payment which will receive the standard 15 days notice.
To prevent cancellation, payment, documentation, or other required information must be received on or before the cancellation date.
If the cancellation is requested by a finance company, VPIA must receive a reinstatement request from the finance company on or before the cancellation date in order to consider reinstatement. If the request is received after the cancellation date, the policy will remain canceled.
For a policy renewal, if payment is received after the renewal date, coverage can be reissued, effective the day after payment is received. Coverage may be reissued with payment up to 45 days after the cancellation date. This procedure is only for renewal payments.
VPIA orders a new dwelling inspection typically every 3 to 5 years, or as needed. New inspections are ordered on commercial policies typically every 4 years, or as needed.
Interior inspections are required for all secondary, seasonal, renovation or builder’s risk policies. Interior inspections may also be ordered to verify occupancy, condition, etc.
Inspectors may not call the contact person before attempting an exterior inspection; however, inspectors will call to set up an appointment before attempting an interior inspection.
After an inspection is ordered, it may take several weeks to receive the inspection back from the inspection company. We do not post inspection on our website, so if you are looking for the status or if you would like a copy of one, please contact underwriting.
Upon receipt and review of the inspection, condition surcharges may be applied or coverages may be canceled. Here are some of the more common questions or situations seen by underwriting.
- Liability may be canceled if porches and/or steps with 3 raisers or more do not have the required railings (See Handrail Guidelines in Helpful Tools under the Producers tab).
- Liability may be canceled if there are prohibited animals on the property, including but not limited to chickens, rabbits, horses, goats, pigs, snakes and dogs of certain breeds. A liability restriction form will be required to restrict prohibited animals from coverage.
- The rubbish and debris surcharge includes unlocked appliances in the yard or on porches. Appliances are acceptable if all doors have locks and the appliance is plugged directly into an exterior outlet.
- VPIA does not permit the use of extension cords on a permanent basis. Therefore, if the inspection indicates an extension cord is being used permanently (Ex: to power an appliance, pump, something in a shed, etc.), the policy may face cancellation.
VPIA does not automatically renew policies. Insureds must reapply each year. Along with payment, a completed continuation application is required each year.
Continuation applications may be completed online at vpia.com or a completed and signed paper copy may be faxed, emailed or mailed in for review. A paper/hard copy of the continuation application must be signed by the insured. Continuation applications that are submitted through the website are received immediately and we do not need a duplicate emailed, faxed or mailed copy.
The web continuation application asks the liability and theft supplemental questions if that coverage is on the policy. Please answer the questions carefully. Based on the answers, these particular coverages may be canceled (Ex: if railings are missing, liability will be removed).
- Web Continuation Application Tip: If there is a slab foundation and there are no steps on the property, please answer Yes, that there are required handrails.
Commercial continuation applications cannot be completed on the website. A paper copy must be completed and submitted.
VPIA must receive a completed copy for each risk, even if there are multiple risks on one policy.
The status of a continuation application may be found online with the policy billing information. The Application Received indicator shows whether or not it has been received.
To access your agent information, go under the Producers tab at vpia.com, then select Producer Account in the bottom right corner of the dropdown. There you will find a list of options where you can access commission statements, update contact information or passwords, etc.
Policy lists are not easily accessible to agents at vpia.com. Please email email@example.com to obtain a copy of your policy list.
If you cannot sign into vpia.com, please contact Underwriting or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have it re-sent to you. If you want to change your password after you have already logged in, there is an option to change passwords under Producer Account.
In order to set up a policy transfer, we need two things:
- The new or purchasing agency must be registered with VPIA.
- We need something in writing from the previous or selling agent requesting to transfer all VPIA policies to the new agent.
When sufficient documentation is received, we will expire the previous producer and set up the transfer to the new producer. Policies will transfer as they come up for renewal, so there will be a lag before all policies have the new producer code. Since they are still the agent of record, the previous or “selling” agent will still receive correspondence on their policies until they are transferred. VPIA cannot break up a book of business between more than one new producer. All policies must go to one agent.
We do not write policies in the name of an estate or trust. Policies can be written in the name of executors, administrators, heirs, trustees, etc. When an insured of an existing policy is deceased, please contact Underwriting in writing, so they may follow up with you for the necessary information.
Refund checks for overpayments or endorsements are typically mailed within four days of being processed. Refund checks generated due to a policy cancellation will not be created or mailed until after a cancellation date.
It is standard practice for VPIA to mail all refund checks to the agent as a representative of the insured, unless otherwise requested in writing.
Coverage under the FP-1 form is Actual Cash Value, not Replacement Cost. A full copy of both policies can be found on the website under the Producers tab then tools & resources, forms.
Water damage or accidental discharge of liquids or steam are not named perils under the FP-1 form.
Additional Living Expenses coverage is not available on the FP-1 form. This coverage is only available on the FP-2 form.