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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Do I Need Replacement Cost Coverage On My Home?

When you purchased your home, you bought insurance to protect it.  Your Homeowners insurance is there to rebuild your property if you were to suffer a fire, severe weather, or many other losses.

However some people make the mistake of buying the cheapest insurance, thinking that it's just like every other Homeowners policy.  That's not true!

When you look at the details of your home policy, you'll see that you are either covered for "full replacement cost" or for "actual cash value."  These are important differences.

Full replacement cost means that the insurance company will pay whatever the cost is to get your home back to the state it was in before the claim.  It's why your home is unusually insured for a lot more than you actually paid for it.  Building costs and materials are always increasing and it may cost much more to re-build your home, then it originally did.

Actual cash value on the other hand, only pays what your home was worth at the time of the loss minus any depreciation.

Here's an example.  Let's say that your couch was burned in a covered fire claim.  Full replacement insurance would buy you a new couch in the same style and value as the original was when you bought it.  You get a brand new identical couch.

Actual cash value would only pay what your couch was worth at the time of the fire. The "market value" of your couch is more likely what you could have sold it for on Craigslist!  You're not going to get a new couch from the claim, but you could go buy a used one similar to the condition of yours right now.  

Does that make sense?  Now imagine what a difference that makes if you were to suffer a major loss!

We believe that full replacement cost is what everyone needs!  So if you're shopping for home insurance and notice that one price is substantially less than the others this could be why.  Always check to see what kind of coverage you're purchasing.  And give us a call today to learn more and get a quote for your home!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What is Term Life Insurance

Life insurance is an important kind of coverage but unfortunately, because it's not required like auto or home insurance, a lot of people don't understand how it works.  

When you purchase life insurance, you are paying a small amount of money so that if you were to die, the insurance company would pay out a lump sum to your beneficiaries. (The people you choose to receive the money at that time.)

Why would you want to do this?  Well for starters, life insurance can pay for expensive funeral costs.  Which is an expense that most families would struggle with, especially if it was unexpected.  

Bit it goes much further than that.  Life insurance can be used so that a mom or dad could stay home with children without needing to work after an unexpected death.  It could mean paying off a mortgage, paying for college in full, and much more.  

The needs of each family will be a little different, which is why it's so important to work with an agent to determine how much your family needs and to assess what your goals are for the money.

The problem is that many people are offered a very basic policy through their work and never pay much attention to how it works or what they're getting.  

There are several different kinds of life insurance and it's important to have the right one for your goals.  Term life insurance is a popular choice.  It's call "term" because the policy only lasts for a certain amount of time.  It may be 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, etc.  At the end of the "term", the policy expires and there is no death benefit paid out after that time.

So if you're only wanting coverage to last until your children are grown, then term would be a good choice.  It costs less overall and would serve a specific purpose.  

Keep in mind, you can always roll over your term life insurance if it's getting close to expiring .... but here's the catch!  You'll have to qualify again.  So if you first purchased life insurance when you were 25 years old, the rate will be much lower than it will when you're 40.  And if you've been a smoker or developed any sort of medical condition during that time, your rates will reflect that.  

Some people choose to purchase life insurance that lasts their entire life.  These policies have many additional benefits and can be a good option as well.

We want to make sure that you and your family have exactly what you need.  Give us a call today to discuss our life insurance policy options and get a free quote.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Extra Liability Insurance (and Who Needs It Most)

Liability insurance is what protects you when you cause damage to another person.  If you hit someone else's car, your liability insurance pays to fix it.  If someone is injured in an accident that you cause, then liability insurance pays for their medical bills.

But how do you know the amount of coverage you need?  And what happens if you don't have enough?  Here's what you need to know:

There is a minimal amount of liability coverage that is required by the state in order to drive a vehicle.  But here's the thing to keep in mind.  If you cause damage that exceeds that amount of liability coverage you have, then you'll be responsible for the difference.  And if you can't pay it, there could be a lawsuit in your future.  

If you own your home or have additional assets, then you need more than the minimum amount of liability coverage.  Here are some other risk factors:
  • Rental Property: If you own rental property, you need extra liability coverage.  If someone is injured on your property, then you could be held responsible.  Even a small dog bite could cause a problem if you're not insured properly.  
  • Teen or College Drivers: If you have young drivers, you'll want to have additional liability coverage, even if they are not on your auto policy right now.  Your college student may have their own coverage and live away from home, but if you're still responsible for them and financially support them, you could be responsible for accidents that they cause. 
  • Watercraft: if you own a boat, jet ski, or other watercraft, then you'll want more liability coverage.  Boat expenses and injuries can add up quickly and you'll want to have plenty of protection in place.
The best way to determine the amount of liability coverage you need?  Work with a local agent who can identify all of your risk factors and explain each coverage fully.  You can't get that from a 1-800 number!  Call us today to review your policy and get a quote!