What are the steps to an insurance claim? Fight!

When it comes to insurance claims there a few simple steps to follow…

  • Get to safety. Move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic.
  • Confirm everyone is okay and call 9-1-1 if medical attention is needed.
  • Call police if anyone is hurt, a party flees the scene, or you are uncomfortable with the situation.
  • Determine drivability of vehicles. Call for a tow truck if necessary.
  • Exchange insurance, vehicle, and driver info. For the claim.
  • Do not admit fault for the incident.
  • Report the claim once you arrive home safely.

There is one part of the claim that is not covered but I feel is absolutely necessary… Fight for your claim!

Lately I have had a bad run of insurance claims and bad claims experiences. For that reason I feel the last step for a new claim should be to fight. If you are not 200% satisfied with your claim, then fight. If you do not feel you are being treated fairly. Fight! If you do not feel you are being put back to where you were before the claim. Then fight! Do not let your claim just run its course without questioning each aspect of the claim.

Here are a few of my own personal claim experiences…

  • A claim adjustor attempted to electronically transfer funds to my personal bank account to have a new roof put on by a contractor selected by the claim adjustor. A contractor I did not know or had even heard of before. I had to get three estimates from three other contractors due to a discrepancy in cost. The other estimates were all higher than the claim adjustor’s contractor and the claim adjustor still insisted on their own estimate.

***You do not need to accept the estimate or the contractor recommended by the claim adjustor. You also are not required to get more than one estimate for the necessary repairs, and estimates should be free.

  • A claim adjustor telling me I did not request OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) glass in my vehicle. I had to remind the claim adjustor that their calls were recorded for “quality training purposes” and they should listen to the call when I reported the claim and repeatedly requested OEM glass for my vehicle.

***If you are paying additional money for OEM parts or other added coverages for your vehicle then you are entitled to use those coverages during the claim. You should not accept less than what you paid for. Knowing what is included in your policy and understanding how the policy should perform is important during the claim process. An insurance agent is a huge resource for this.

  • A claim adjustor telling me it only costs $300 for a plain piece of glass for the back window of my vehicle that is manufacturer tinted, on a hinge system, with a heating element, and an open sensor.

***Find a body shop that you know, like, and trust to do excellent work, can complete the work timely, and can help you manage the claim process. You are not required to use the preferred or recommended body shop from your insurance company. They may not know the intricacies of your vehicle. Also have an excellent mechanic that you know, like, and trust if there are issues with your vehicle during and after the claim, you may want your mechanic to be involved.

  • A claim adjustor declining to accept a claim for their policyholder that was drinking and driving and struck my parked, unoccupied vehicle in the middle of night, which was confirmed by a police report.

*** You can report it to your own insurance company and they will subrogate against the responsible party on your behalf. They may even waive your deductibles if they are able to get the other insurance company to accept fault for the claim.

I have been involved with hundreds of claims and appreciate the knowledge I gain from each any every claim. However, I believe everyone should be treated fairly, that the claim process should be stress free, and you should be put back the way you were before the claim. This is what I want for everyone. I don’t think you are asking too much of your insurance company.

My role is not to just to sell an insurance policy, my job is to advocate on your behalf to make sure you are treated right and are happy at the end of the day. This goes for the policy and claims.

This is not a bash on insurance companies or the insurance industry. Insurance companies due wonderful things for their policyholders (they are giving premium refunds to their policyholders right now), and there are absolutely wonderful claim adjusters out there. I have spoken to many of them. I am just an insurance professional providing insurance policies for 20+ years that is frustrated by the claims process. If I am frustrated then I know I am not alone with that complaint.

I can not guarantee you that you will get everything you want or will be 200% satisfied every time but you should not take a claim process laying down. You should not go with the flow. Your home, your vehicle, your business is an asset. It is an investment. It is an investment in you. Take control of your claim and fight!

11 Reasons to Work with Avant-Garde Insurance Advisors

For 20 years I worked tirelessly for insurance agencies receiving little appreciation for my contribution to the agency or the industry. I dazzled their clients and bonded with their prospects like no insurance agent could. I aspired to continue to grow, improve, and give back while insurance agencies were unwilling to create necessary change within the agency and the industry. A year ago I struck out on my own to create an insurance agency different from others. An agency that challenges how people view insurance; as a commodity, as a necessary evil, as a conspiracy. Avant-Garde Insurance Advisors is not another insurance agent, we are an Insurance Advisor. Below is why Avant-Garde Insurance Advisors is not an insurance agent.

  • I will challenge the thought that insurance is a commodity every day. Insurance is not a one size fits all. Every policy is different. Each insurance company has its own appetite for the preferred policyholder. Reading an insurance policy requires an insurance and/or legal background. Not all insurance claims are covered and/or go smoothly.
  • I will continue to learn about insurance every day. Not because the state of Maryland says I must but because I want to give you the most up to date information that is available to me. Yes, continuing education sucks but it is a necessary evil in order to give you my best. The insurance industry constantly changes, and I want to be at the forefront on behalf of my clients.
  • I will share with you my insurance knowledge. I am not a gatekeeper of insurance knowledge but I do live and breathe insurance each day and I want to help you better understand insurance so you can make a more informed insurance decision.
  • I will provide consistent oversight over your account and make you aware as soon as possible of issues or concerns. I will also provide you options on how to handle your insurance needs. I will steward your account as if it were my own.
  • I will advocate on your behalf with the insurance company to treat you fairly. The insurance company needs to make a profit. You need to maintain your livelihood.
  • I will communicate the timeline for completing your request and I will stick to it. Insurance does not happen at the push of a button – if done right.
  • I will be honest with you. If I make a mistake, I will tell you. I will also tell you how I am working to correct it. I am only human, but I value you as a person.
  • I will tell you how it is and not sugar coat if you are jeopardizing your insurance future. It is not in your best interest or my best interest if we are not open with each other.
  • I will not bend rules or lie to another party for a client. I cannot in good conscious jeopardize my livelihood or my family for another person.
  • I will not offer you the cheapest insurance program just to beat your current insurance program. Any one can offer you a cheaper policy by cutting coverage or not give you all the information. My job is to give you the best coverage for you.
  • I will work to earn your business every day. Insurance is a relationship business, not a sales business. Tell me about your work, your spouse, your kids, your hobbies. I want to know who you are.

If you want more than an insurance agent, if you want more than an insurance transaction, if you want something different start working with an Insurance Advisor at Avant-Garde Insurance Advisors today!

Halloween Fun & Safety!

Tomorrow is officially Halloween 2019. Many kids are eagerly awaiting this big day. In preparation below are some tips for keeping the holiday fun and safe.

Tips for home owners:

  • Keep walk ways clear of debris and leaves to reduce the chance of slip and falls.
  • Have the walk way to your home clearly marked and if possible lit.
  • Keep pets crated or in another room to reduce the chance of your pet escaping or a child being injured if your pet nips or jumps.
  • When giving out candy to small children you may wish to confirm with the parent if the child can have hard candy that may cause choking and/or candy with peanuts or milk that could cause an allergic reaction
  • When traveling go extra slow in communities and where you see trick or treaters.

Tips for trick or treaters:

  • Keep costumes at ankle length or shorter to prevent trips and falls.
  • Wear a light or other device to make others aware of your presence when walking sidewalks, walkways, driveways, roads, etc.
  • Remove face masks and covers when walking from home to home to reduce injury.
  • Make sure you monitor your small children with their candy to make sure they do not consume it before you have had the chance to inventory it.

The photos above are my minions over the years. I am excited to capture an image of them for my collection tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Why you need an insurance agent

At the end of July I had what I would call a traumatic insurance event. I was woken up one night by my husband saying the police were knocking on our door. It turns out an impaired driver had struck my SUV while parked outside our home. As I glanced out my window I could not see damage to my SUV but what I found shortly there after was my vehicle was a total loss.

My SUV immediately following the collision at 4am on July 24th.

I don’t know about other people but I loved my SUV. It took me a month to commit to buying her and I was diligent in maintaining her. I invested my time and money in maintaining the condition of my vehicle. I also enjoy the independence of having my own vehicle at my disposal at all times.

As an insurance professional I thought it would be smooth sailing but it was not. Between negotiating vehicle values to the rental car shuffle, nothing went as I thought it would. I was in four different rental vehicles while trying to get back to where I was before this claim began.

I am finally at the tail end of the claim and this is what I have learned.

  • Get towing coverage, whether through your auto insurance policy or a AAA membership. Get it! To drag my SUV onto a flat bed tow truck off of the curb the cost was over $400. Also, have the number of a tow company you trust for those 4am tow emergencies.
  • Get rental reimbursement coverage and buy it up to a minimum of $50 per day. For someone like me that drives a full size SUV with two small children in carseats and a 6’2″ tall husband you need more than the $30 per day limit. A full size SUV today is $90 per day if you are not the insurance company.
  • Know the value of your vehicle when you are reporting the claim and research similar vehicles as comparables so you are not surprised by the value the insurance company estimates.
  • In my case my gut told me my vehicle was totaled. If you have any inkling that your vehicle is totaled start finding a replacement vehicle as soon as possible. I did not want another vehicle. I delayed the process and had a hard time committing in the end.
The shock and suspension falling off the undercarriage of my vehicle.
My vehicles broken dashboard.

If you have a good insurance agent they will help guide you through the claim process and give you tips and tricks to help make it as smooth as possible. Some claims will go smoothly and others will not. When the big claim comes along you will want someone on your side to help you along the way, if not just to vent to. I don’t wish claims on any one but if a claim happens I want to be there for them.

What the heck did I sign up for???

So I have been blogging for a couple weeks now. I am finding the process a little challenging. I have no experience with blogging and I’m a little anxious but I feel an immense need to do this.

Every time I post I question if I am doing this right. I am going with the theory, “Fake it ’til you make it” or maybe I am hoping after doing this for awhile I will finally feel comfortable doing it and things will take off. Who knows!

I have several reasons for blogging…

  • I want to enhance my relationships personally and professionally. I am naturally reserved and shy. I want to change that. I have a freak flag and I would like it to be easier for me to share it with others.
  • I want to grow professionally. I am branching into sales. Something I have been dancing around for several years now. I am not sure that I am good at sales but I have to try. No risk, no reward, as they say.
  • I love meeting new people and developing a long term relationship with my connections. It’s what makes my job fun.
  • I want to share what I know about my field. So little is known about the insurance industry but honestly it is very complex. And quite frankly I am a geek about insurance.

There are many other reasons but these are the big ones for me.

I thought blogging would be so easy before I began. What could be so hard about having a conversation with the internet?

As I continue this journey I want to hear from everyone. I want comments and I want feedback.

Otherwise how will I know that I am doing this right?

P