Have your ever Googled your symptoms even though you know you should’nt only to find out you are dying in the next five minutes?!?
I have done it. I was recently diagnosed with a difficult form of eczema but had convinced myself after Googling my symptoms that I had skin cancer. After hemming and hawing I decided to put on my big girl pants and talk to a professional – my dermatologist. She quickly settled my nerves and told me that greasy lotion was my new best friend and that feeling like a greased pig was a new way of life now.
That’s like Googling home insurance and going with the first website that promises you cheap home insurance. It may seem easier and less stressful to do it yourself but you don’t really know what you need or what’s available. Only an professional can do that.
According to a study completed by JD Power in 2016 74% of new insurance purchasers will begin the buying process online. Of those consumers 25% will purchase insurance online. The rest use other methods, such as insurance agents or insurance company call centers. Now consider that 60% of homes in the US are under insured as stated by Marshall & Swift/Boeckh, and per Insurance Information Institute 1 in 20 homes will have a home claim each year. Those are some scary statistics from my perspective.
I know asking for help is difficult sometimes. My husband easily comes to mind when it comes to asking for help, asking for directions, or visiting a doctor. Hearing, “Honey, you were right.” always feels good. There is a reason there are doctors and there is a reason why there are Insurance Agents. It’s because we need them.
You may think by Googling and searching through a couple options that you have the right insurance. You can’t tell from seeing a few websites what you are getting until you are knee deep in a claim and you are hearing the word “denial” from your claim adjustor when you realize you may need a professional.
You are not paying extra money by using an Insurance Agent. You are asking for some one to build a relationship and trust with you. You are asking for an Insurance Agent to help you insure your home and auto adequately and to educate you about what is available to you. So ask for help and don’t go it alone. You will be glad you have some one to call if and when something happens.
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!
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!
When looking at insurance quotes our eyes automatically drift to the bottom line premium quoted. But what about all the stuff above it? Not all home quotes and/or policies are created equal. One of the key parts of a home quote and/or policy is the deductible. Below is a list of things to keep in mind as you consider a home quote and/or policy.
- Some deductibles are flat and some deductibles are percentages. Percentages are typically used in coastal areas where there is a higher probability of wind, hurricane, etc. A percentage deductible is based on the dwelling value listed in the policy. If the dwelling value increases the deductible increases as well.
- Some deductibles are specific to a type of coverage; Water Back-Up, Water Damage, Hurricane, Tropical Cyclone, Named Storm, Wind/Hail, etc. You may also see the term All Other Peril which means where a specific deductible is not identified the All Other Peril deductible applies.
- A home policy can have multiple deductibles which can be a problem if a claim triggers more than one deductible. Understanding how each deductible applies at the time of a claim is important.
- Some deductibles are dictated or required by the insurance company. This decision can be based on where the home is located, such as coastal. One insurance company may require a higher deductible than another insurance company.
- Some home policies waive the deductible for large claims or a total loss claim. Knowing when a deductible waiver applies is important. This can be beneficial in deciding on a high deductible.
- Some companies offer a reducing deductible if you remain claim free.
It is important when you are reviewing a home quote that you be aware of the deductibles. While a high deductible will reduce the policy premium, a high deductible can be detrimental if you can not afford the deductible at the time of a claim or the losses that occur are below the deductible. An insurance agent can help you review all the deductibles applicable to a quote and/or policy. An agent can also help you select a deductible that fits your financial situation while providing you the most advantageous premium.
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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
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.
It is that time of year where many of my client’s will give or receive a very sparkly gift from Santa.
I can’t deny that I get a little excited when a client calls to provide the specifics on their new diamond encrusted whatever.
That being said, now is also the time to start talking about insurance for those beautiful items.
I recommend everyone have at least some type of jewelry schedule or jewelry insurance. It should be a given when talking about homeowners insurance.
There are two ways to do a jewelry schedule, a blanket or an agreed value. Blanket requires less effort but agreed value will provide more definitive coverage.
If you are unsure which direction you should go you need to look at your jewelry collection.
Go home and pull out all of your jewelry pieces and lay them out on the bed. Decide which is your most inexpensive piece? Which is the most expensive piece? What items do you wear regularly? Do you keep any of the items in a safe? Knowing what you have will help you decide what is more important.
You can even do a combination of blanket and agreed value. The one thing I don’t recommend is no jewelry schedule.
Keep in mind that if you have no jewelry schedule, coverage will be found under your homeowners insurance. The missing item would be subject to the policy deductible. The minimum deductible with most insurance companies is $1,000. Also, you have to account for any limitation in the homeowners policy for lost or misplaced jewelry. The policy may limit coverage to $2,500 or $5,000, less the policy deductible. That can really hurt when your heirloom engagement ring disappears.
Before you go and buy your next piece of jewelry go get some type jewelry insurance in place. It is always better to be safe than sorry.