National Insurance Awareness Day, June 28th

This Friday, June 28th is National Insurance Awareness. The day was created to encourage everyone across the nation to review their insurance policies.

Below are some tips to help you observe the day:

Home:

  • Review the home value. The value of the home should be based on current construction costs, not market value. You should review the home value every 3 to 5 years.
    • Review the home credits. If you have installed an alarm or have turned your alarm service off you should update the home policy accordingly.
    • Review the deductible. The higher the deductible the lower the premium. Also a higher deductible will discourage you from filing small claims which can impact your ability to obtain coverage in the future.
    • Review the endorsements included in the policy. If you have switched insurance companies recently a coverage may have been dropped during the process.

Auto:

  • Review drivers listed on the policy. All licensed drivers residing in your home should be listed on the auto policy. Failure to do so could result in a denied claim for unlisted drivers.
    • Review ownership of the vehicle. If the loan or lease agreement has been satisfied update the policy. This will prevent delays in payment at claim time. Any change in titled ownership should also be reflected on the policy or a new policy purchased for the vehicle.
    • Review deductibles. Insurance companies continually increase the price breaks for higher deductibles. As with the home insurance a higher deductible will save you premium and discourage you from filing small claims.
    • Review usage of each vehicle. Vehicles used for Uber or Lyft services do not have coverage while being used for this purpose. Vehicles used for business purposes may also not have coverage if used for business at the time of a claim.

Schedule:

  • Update items to be listed along with values. Appraisals should be completed every 3 to 5 years to keep up with market values. Use an inventory such as Collectify to manage your collection easily.

Umbrella:

  • Update properties, vehicles, drivers, recreational vehicles, boats, etc. at each renewal. Failure to update could result in no coverage under the umbrella.
  • Make sure the underlying insurance policies for each of the above meets the minimum liability requirements to avoid a coverage gap.
  • If you do not have coverage for the underlying insurance policy for each of the above obtain it at your earliest convenience.

With the help of a Trusted Insurance Advisors they can help you review your policies at any time, not just this Friday or at renewal. A Trusted Insurance Advisor is there to help you every step of the way. Call your agent today!

Why is my credit score used when buying insurance?

This is a common question with clients and it is never an easy conversation. Like many of my clients my gut goes sour when I need to discuss or request information regarding credit reporting. There are a few things to know.

  • State of Maryland has approved the use of credit as a rating factor for auto insurance. Credit is not used for home insurance in Maryland. Almost all insurance companies doing business in Maryland will want to obtain a credit report in order to provide an auto insurance quote. There is only 1 or 2 insurance companies in Maryland that do not.
  • Your insurance agent will never see a credit score or credit report when quoting your auto insurance. For this reason your insurance agent will also not be able to provide specifics about what was contained in the report, and will direct you back to the insurance company quoted to obtain more information.
  • Your insurance agent will not know specifically how your credit impacted your auto quote. Insurance companies have rating structures based on hundreds of rating factors. As information is entered into an insurance company’s quoting system the rate changes. Credit score is only one factor for rating.
  • The process of obtaining your credit report will not impact your credit score. Unlike when you are applying for a loan or line of credit, we are not looking to confirm if you are a good applicant. For this reason you can not be turned down for auto insurance based solely on your credit score.

While the thought of your credit score being run for an auto insurance quote has you sick to your stomach, your insurance agent is doing their best to meet your insurance needs. Your insurance agent will not pry into your financial situation but will guide you on the best auto quote for you. Maintain an open dialogue with your insurance agent and voice your concerns to help settle your nerves.

Call your independent insurance agent for more information on the auto insurance quote process.

After an Auto Accident

Auto accidents are never fun, regardless if minor or major.

My client’s can get pretty rattled at the time of an accident.

Below are some quick and easy steps after an auto accident.

  • Stop immediately, but don’t obstruct traffic. Set up accident flares or warning signs if you have them.
  • Make sure to turn off your vehicle, to guard against fire.
  • Determine if anyone is injured and assist if necessary.
  • Call the police to file an auto accident report.
  • Secure the driver’s license number, make, model and other important information of other vehicles.
  • Take photos of driver’s license, registration, and vehicles involved, including license plates.
  • Secure the names and addresses of witness or other parties.
  • Observe your surroundings to determine direction, lanes of travel, traffic, weather conditions, to provide to your claim adjustor.
  • Do not accept fault of accident or attempt to make settlement at the scene.
  • Notify your insurance agent after the scene has be cleaned up and you are safely home.
  • Always, always, keep clam, don’t argue, accuse anyone or admit guilt.

If you have any questions or concerns before or after an accident consult with your insurance agent.

Insurance agents have been involved in the claim process in a variety of situations and can provide you guidance on what to expect and best practices.

Safe driving!

Pamela

Hot Topics In The Insurance Industry

Last week was pretty chaotic for me.

In all of that chaos I attended a town hall forum hosted by Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA).

For anyone not aware, we have a new Maryland Insurance Commissioner, Al Redmer, as of February 2015.

The purpose of the forum was to open a dialogue between the MIA and insurance professionals doing business in Maryland.

There were several topics discussed…

  • When sending special notifications to Maryland policyholders to educate them on insurance, what notices should we include? What does the policyholder need to know? How do we help them make an informed decision when managing their insurance needs?
  • Water back-up and water damage came up. Water back-up is the #1 home insurance claim across the country, and that will not change in the future. Do policyholders know what water back-up is, and what is flood? What kind of coverage are insurance companies providing to policyholders? What needs to change
  • Maryland has experienced a variety of weather events lately; hurricanes, cyclones, tropical storms, etc. Weather events are creating a lot of claims, which in turn causes issues in rating and premium structures. MIA wants to know what insurance professionals feel is reasonable to help curve this cause of loss and create better rating structures in the future.
  • With all of the technology today, Cyber Security is becoming very important for businesses. What are insurance professionals doing to reduce their chance of a data breach? Are policyholders, specifically businesses, purchasing cyber security insurance?

There were many other topics discussed but these are the big topics for the forum and are a serious concern for the insurance industry. Some of these topics are even being discussed at the federal level.

MIA is dedicated to helping Maryland policyholders navigate the insurance market and help them make an informed buying decision.

My policyholders get frustrated every day with insurance related issues; from claims, to billing, to coverages, to premium. I myself get frustrated every day on behalf of my policyholders.

There are individuals out their working hard to provide the appropriate types of insurance and help consumers make sense of insurance. They are also trying to be fair and do what is right for the greater good.

Whenever you have a concern about your insurance you should always reach out to your insurance agent to discuss it.

You can also find more information by visiting MIA at, http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us.

Insurance is not easy, so ask a professional.

Pamela

Child Safety Seat and Your Auto Insurance

This weekend I went out and purchased another carseat for my soon to be 2 year old.

The carseat took up a good bit of my time this weekend. Between picking it out, unpacking it, setting it up, to installing it in my vehicle. As anyone knows with young kids, carseats are giant pain in the…

When I got into the office Monday morning one of my clients had an auto accident over the weekend. The client wanted to know what to do about the carseat that was in the vehicle at the time of the accident.

I reviewed their policy which provides coverage for the carseat. This little policy review led me on a excursion to look into more information on replacing carseats after an accident and auto insurance.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has guidelines as to when you should replace a carseat after it has been in an accident.

Check it out here… NHTSA Child Restraint Guidelines

My research then led me to another website which is chocked full of more useful information. It provides links to carseat manufacturer information and their recommendation on replacement after an accident.

Go here… Carseats for The Littles

The big pieces of information I got when I initially looked into a carseat when I was waiting for my bundle of joy to arrive was that carseats expire, there are important recalls you should stay on top of, and you should get professional assistance when picking and installing a carseat in your vehicle. The topic of replacing the carseat after an accident never really came up.

It’s good to know that some insurance companies will pay to replace the carseat if your vehicle is involved in an accident. Keep in mind that your policy may have a limitation on how much it will pay for a carseat, and a deductible may apply.

If you do have a carseat in your vehicle make sure you know when to replace it, and make sure you talk to your insurance agent about whether your policy covers the carseat after an accident.

If you do need to replace a carseat after an accident, make sure you take a picture of the carseat before you remove it from the vehicle. Also, make sure to cut the straps on the carseat so someone else does not attempt to use a compromised carseat.

Have a safe drive home with your little one!

P

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

The Value of An Insurance Agent

Recently, I have been seeing the same quote over and over again in my daily readings. It’s in my trade journals, my social media posts, and my daily business readings. It is stirring up several thoughts and feelings that I need to voice.

As of right now, insurance agents are in an uphill battle to gain more ground as a necessity in the insurance industry. I, we are battling against the major insurance giants that spend millions of dollars on advertising to gain market share.

What few fail to realize is that not all insurance is created equal. Every insurance company is different. An insurance company has several different types of policies for the same purpose. And pricing is specific to the person requesting coverage. Insurance is not a one size fits all.

Can you imagine if your underwear was a one size fits all? What if cars were sold as, one size fits all?

Sounds kind of crazy doesn’t it? So why would insurance be one size fits all?

That being said, how is the discerning insurance buyer suppose to know what they need and execute the appropriate policy on their own? They wouldn’t and they shouldn’t have to.

That is where insurance professionals like myself come into to play. We don’t have millions of dollars to create fancy ads using a lizard with an Australian accent. What we have is knowledge and experience and your best interests at heart. We live and breathe insurance on a daily basis. Our job is to help you determine your needs and get you the right policy at a price you can afford.

So what is this quote that is bring all of this to the forefront…

“Premium is what you pay, value is what you get.”

What value is your insurance company providing you?