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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Probably thanks in no small part to the fact that turkey is one my favorite foods. Needless to say I will be getting my fill in the coming days.
However, the Thanksgiving Holiday has one of the highest counts of home fires than any other day of the year. Statistics show that home cooking fires are 3 times more likely to happen on Thanksgiving than any other day.
Below are some quick tips to reduce your chances of a home cooking fire this Thanksgiving…
Never leave your food unattended while cooking.
Use a timer and routinely check whatever you’re cooking.
If frying or deep-frying, keep the fryer outside, away from walls, and free from moisture.
Never use a glass casserole or lid on the stove or burner, as it may explode from the heat.
Ensure that pot holders and food wrappers are a safe distance— at least 3 feet—from warmed surfaces.
Position pot handles to the back of the stove to avoid anyone bumping into them.
Avoid dangling accessories or loose clothes while cooking.
The stove will be hot, keep children 3 feet from the stove at all times.
Be sure electric cords from electric knives, coffer makers, plate warmers, and mixers are not dangling off the counter in reach of children.
Never douse a grease fire with water, as the fire can thus spread. Turn off the burner, smother the flames with a lid, or douse with baking soda or a fire extinguisher if it’s getting out of hand.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen, and know how to use it.
Ensure your smoke alarms are connected and working.
I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday!