Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Do My Children Need Their Own Auto Insurance?

Frequently clients have a lot of questions about auto insurance when it comes to their teen and early 20’s aged drivers.  When is it time for them to go on their own policy? 

There are several factors to take into consideration. 

The first thing to look at is WHO lives in the household.  If your child is still in your home, then they can be listed as a driver on your policy, regardless of their age.  If your child is NOT in your household, then they will need their own policy.

We also have to look at who is the titled owner of the vehicle.  If you own the car, you’ll want it on your insurance OR you’ll need to be listed as an Interested Party on your child’s policy.  That means that if they were to quit paying on the policy and it canceled, you would be notified.  (As the owner of the vehicle, you could be responsible if it was being driven without insurance.) 

If your child is the sole owner of the vehicle, it can only be added to your policy if they still live in your household.

Some of these rules will vary depending on the age of the driver and if they are away at college or living out of state.  Some companies have different rules as well.  

This can all sound confusing, which is why we always recommend working with a local agency like ours to go through the details.  We’ll make sure that your policy is setup correctly and that everyone is getting the best possible rate.  Call us today!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What is Mortgage Protection Insurance?

Have you ever heard of mortgage protection insurance and wondered what it was?  Well, today we’ll tell you all about it!

Mortgage Protection is a type of life insurance policy designed to pay off the mortgage in the event of the breadwinner’s death.

For many people, the mortgage is their single largest debt and it can be stressful to think about that expense if something were to happen to their spouse. 

When we quote life insurance protection for a mortgage, we look at how much you owe on the mortgage and how many years remain on the debt.  For example, if you had a 30-year mortgage for $250,000, then you’d want a policy that paid that amount out for 30 years.

If you or your spouse were to die (or it can be placed on only one person if you have a single income home), then you would receive a check for $250,000 and could use it to pay off the mortgage immediately.  If you had paid down the balance over the years, then any extra remaining could be used however you like.

There are some specific mortgage protection policies that go down in value over time as the mortgage balance decreases and that could be an option as well.

The key is to work closely with your agent who can explain the key differences and find the product that best protects YOUR family.  We can help!  Give us a call today to discuss life insurance for your mortgage and family today.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Halloween Insurance Tips

Halloween is on the way!  Here are a few tips to get your home and family prepared.

First, before Halloween arrives, make sure to check your yard for any hazards.  Do you have lots of trick or treaters in your neighborhood?  Fill any holes in the yard and pick up anything that may cause someone to trip or injure themselves.

While you can’t prevent EVERY injury, it’s best to do what you can to keep the yard as safe as possible.  If someone is injured on your property, you always run the risk of a liability claim.  Cleaning up hazards is a great way to prevent this. 

Next, consider filling your spooky jack-o-lanterns with battery powered lights.  Candles in pumpkins can lead to accidental fires and, even worse, a costume catching fire!  Simple battery powered lights prevent this and still look great!

Third, make sure that your house is well lit on Halloween night if you’ll have trick or treaters!  Turn on the porch light and any extra yard lights as needed to keep the area safe and well lit. 

Finally, and most importantly, make sure that your kids are EASY to see on Halloween night!  Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for children when it comes to being accidently hit by cars. 

Wear light colored costumes, use reflective tape, carry flashlights, and use any other precautions to make sure that drivers can see your children.

Surprisingly, the risk can be even higher for 12-15 year olds!  Parents are usually closely watching the little ones, but the teenagers can be distracted by friends and afraid to look un-cool with extra lights.  Take necessary precautions to keep your teens safe.

Halloween is lots of fun, but it’s important to keep these things in mind to keep your family and property safe. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What Is A 1% Deductible?

Have you ever looked at your home or renters insurance and wondered what it meant when the deductible said 1%?  Well we’re here to tell you!

While your auto insurance might list a deductible of $500 or $1000, your home insurance typically shows a percentage based deductible.  The percentage is based on the total amount of coverage on your home.

So if your home is insured for $200,000, then you would have a $2000 deductible in the event of a claim.  (This is the amount you would be responsible for paying before the insurance kicks in.)

If your home is insured for $500,000, then you would have a $5000 deductible.  Big difference!  But they both would be listed as 1%. 

Often there are many different deducible options available, but many mortgage lenders will require that you choose a 1% or lower in order to keep the repair cost manageable.

If you choose a much lower deductible like $1000 (if it’s available, not all policies offer these), you would pay a much higher annual premium for the coverage because you’d have less out of pocket after a loss.

Deductibles can be complicated!  But it’s important to know what you have and have that amount available in your emergency savings in case of a major claim.  

If you’re unsure how to read your policy or want to know other deductible options, give us a call at 419-222-2454 today and we’ll be happy to help!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Why Life Insurance Through Work Isn’t Enough

You’ve probably heard us talk about life insurance a few times by now.  And maybe you don’t pay much attention because you know that you’re covered through your work insurance policy.  But this could be a big mistake!

Many people believe that life insurance through work is all they need and it turns out to be a BIG problem.  Here’s why…

Life insurance policies through work are usually for a small amount.  Most of these policies are considered a burial policy.  They provide $10,000 or less, mostly to cover unexpected funeral costs.  And while this is a great thing to have, it is NOT the right protection for a family.  In fact, most breadwinners need a minimum of $50,000-$100,000 to adequately provide for their children (and it rarely costs much more than the work policy!) 

Another downfall?  Work provided life insurance is only available during the time that you are employed by the company.  So when you change jobs that coverage is suddenly gone.  And the kicker?  You’ve gotten older and may not be able to qualify for your own coverage.

Life insurance premiums increase as you age (and especially if you have any health conditions).  That means that each year you wait, the price goes up.  So if you received coverage through work for 10 years, you could end up paying a LOT more after you leave the job, then you would if you locked in your private policy 10 years ago.

Plus, there is always the risk of incurring a medical condition during that time that might prevent you from qualifying on your own.   Maybe during those 10 years you developed diabetes or even just gained 20 pounds.  Your own life insurance could be hard to get or might have become unaffordable for your budget.

But all of this can be prevented by locking in your own privately owned policy NOW.  Even if the work coverage is free, it’s worth it to have your own coverage in the proper amount to actually provide for your family. 

Give us a call at 419-222-2454 today or contact Michael or Lisa and we’ll help you get started with a free no-obligation life insurance quote.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Should I Price Shop My Insurance?

Many people think that the goal in purchasing insurance is to find the cheapest price, but that’s just not true! 

There are many dangers to price shopping your auto, home, or life insurance.  Today I’ll share what you need to watch out for.

Insurance rates are determined by the amount of risk present.  Tickets in the past,  young inexperienced drivers, and even the area you live in, can determine how much risk you present and effect your rate.

Rates vary from one company to another, but cheaper isn’t always better.  Insurance companies are graded by how financially stable they are (which includes their ability to pay their claims if there was a major catastrophe!)  You don’t want to be with a low rated “fly-by-night” company, so don’t get tempted by those too good to be true rates. I've seen may clients leave for a cheaper rate, to only come back because their claim wasn't handled properly or they didn't get the service they expected.  I have also seen claims denied or they paid very little because of a lack of coverage compared to what the client had before.

Even if both companies are reputable, there are still important things to check for in comparing two quotes.  Begin by going through the coverage listed line by line and seeing what they show.  Are the liability limits the same?  What about the deductibles?   What about the added coverage like rental and roadside assistance?  What is included in the package? Differences in these coverage's can drastically change the rate! 

Let’s say that you currently have a $500 deductible on your vehicle.  So you go out price shopping and find a cheaper price BUT the deductible is $1000.  That means you’ll pay out TWICE as much if you were to have hail damage or an accident.  Is it really worth saving a few dollars per month?  Often the answer is no.

When getting a quote, always request that the agent compare your policy “apples to apples”.  This means that they put the exact same coverage on your quote that you currently have.  This is the best way to compare on price.  Then have them give a quote with the recommended coverage, especially if they believe you’re underinsured.

Once you’ve compared on price, you’ll also want to look at discounts!  If you currently have your home and auto insurance with one company, but move just the auto to another company - chances are that your home insurance will go up!  That’s because many companies offer a discount for having multiple polices.  These discounts can save you hundreds of dollars each year, so it’s important to consider them when shopping.

And finally, always consider working with a local agency over an online company.  Why?  Because of all the perks!  Many local agents can offer the same (or better) prices, but provide much more expertise and knowledge when it comes to choosing the right policy. 

If you don’t have a solid understanding of how insurance works, and you choose your own coverage online, you risk underinsuring your family!  We can help prevent this without costing you a dime more! 

We want to be your local agency.  Call us today to start your auto, home, and life insurance quote.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Preparing Your Home For Vacation

Now that summer is in full swing, many people are leaving on vacation!  (Hopefully you’re one of them!)

So today I wanted to share a few ideas to help you protect your home and belongings, even while you’re out of town.

Preparation Time:
Book a pet sitter.  If you have pets, then you know that waiting until the last minute to book a sitter can ruin your travel plans.  This is especially true if you’re leaving during a holiday weekend or popular vacation time.  Get your travel dates booked early so you’re pets are well cared for. 

Plan for your plants.  If you have beautiful landscaping (or even house plants), you’ll want to make a plan to keep your plants watered during your trip.  This could involve setting up a sprinkler on a timer, hiring someone to come and water your lawn, or just giving some extra water before you leave.  It really depends on the length of your trip and the weather! 

Clean out the fridge.  Throw out any food that may spoil before you get home.  Otherwise you might have a smelly surprise on your hands when you arrive back!  Try to use up any pantry staples (like bread) in the days leading up to your vacation so it doesn’t get stale. 

Hold your mail.  USPS allows you to put your mail on hold at the post office for up to 30 days.  You can even make the request online!  Have your mail held securely and pick it up once you get back.  This also helps prevent your home looking empty from an overstuffed mailbox. 

Alert a neighbor.  Ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity around your property while you’ll be gone.  Remember to leave a contact number so they can reach you if needed! 

Day Of Your Trip
Set the thermostat.  You don’t want your air running all day in July while you’re gone!  Turn it up before you leave to keep your utility bills low.  Just don’t make it too hot if you’ll have animals staying home alone. 

Leave a light on.  You don’t want your house to look vacant.  Leave a porch light or other indoor light on during your vacation.  Also, consider putting these lights on timers so they appear more natural! 

Don’t Forget!

Your home and renters insurance will keep your belongings protected, but your insurance info needs to be up to date to offer the best coverage.  If you have high end jewelry, collectibles, antiques, or guns that will be in your home, make sure to discuss the special coverage that might be needed with your agent.  Call us today and then go have a great vacation!