We often hear from the insurance companies that we sell for that other agencies around the Southeast are struggling. Maybe they’ve seen a lull in one type of insurance or another. It always surprises them when we say we’ve been growing steadily. Not fast. Just steady.
We like to pat ourselves on the back about that, but deep down, we know it has much more to do with you, our clients. You put your trust in us that we will be there for you. You are loyal. Heck, we have many clients whose parents AND children have their assets insured with us.
So we just want to take a moment to say “Thank you”. Thank you for having faith in us. We don’t take that lightly. We won’t make promises we can’t keep. We will answer the phone when you call. And most importantly, we will treat you like a human being and not like a policy.
Logistics and legal requirements are the last things anyone wants to deal with as soon as they are involved in a crash. But we’ve seen too many examples of hundreds of thousands of dollars being lost from not taking these steps.
- Stop and assist anyone injured. Make sure everyone is okay and out of harm’s way before any logistics are taken care of. Assessing the situation will also let you know what to tell the police when you call. However, unless you are a medical professional, do not provide medical assistance. That includes moving someone who may have injuries.
- Call the police. This seems like a no-brainer. But you may be tempted in minor incidents to trade information with the other driver and handle things without seeing a need for police involvement. But the position you might find yourself in is that there is no objective party involved. Facts can be misconstrued when it’s your word against someone else’s.
- Take pictures of the accident before moving vehicles. This will make sure facts can be backed up with visual evidence. It’s best to get shots of all vehicles involved from multiple angles as well as close-ups of the damage incurred.
- DO NOT admit fault (even if you are 100% sure you are guilty). The kindness that was instilled in us growing up will want us to respond to an accident with something like this: “I’m so sorry! This was completely my fault. I wasn’t paying enough attention.” The accident may be your fault, but don’t let your perception of the situation (or your abundant politeness) cloud your judgement.
- Get contact and insurance information from all drivers involved. Also, get tag number and make and model of the other vehicle(s). The easiest way to get most of this is to snap a picture of all licenses, tags and insurance IDs with your cell phone.
- Finally, call your agent. This doesn’t have to be done immediately afterwards. But don’t let it linger more than 24 hours. Of course, if you don’t have an agent, call your insurance company directly.
This is a time when we will point out the benefit of having an independent agent. Independent agents will advocate for you. We do not work for the insurance company. We can hold insurance companies accountable and follow up on your behalf. If they get something wrong, it won’t be up to you to call them to the table on it.
Does it seem like the amount you pay for your homeowners policy continues to climb? But everything is, right? The price of food, cars, clothes. When you were a kid, everything was cheaper. But inflation and the price of oil has little to do with premium increases. It’s actually much simpler than that.
Claims drive the cost of any insurance policy.
The recent rise in accidents due to distracted driving has had a huge effect on car insurance premiums. Homes are no different. But unlike accident statistics, there may be something you can do about your home insurance premium.
Our houses are intended to protect us and our things from the elements. And no part of the house works harder to do this than the roof. Our roofs take a beating from rain, sun, wind, hail and the occasional basketball. And because of that, the majority of claims are roof related. As a result, insurance companies are very interested in what kind of roof you have, what shape it is in and how old it is.
If you haven’t had any claims, the age of your roof is probably the number one reason for your homeowners premium to go up.
A typical asphalt shingle roof that is supposed to last 25 years is considered old by insurance companies after 10 years. Some companies won’t insure the house at all if the roof is older that 15 years. If your roof is five years old or less, you’re in the best shape. The insurance company will not only take you at a lower cost, but your coverage will also be better.
That gets into completely different territory. You think price is the most important factor unless you’ve ever had a claim. Once you’ve had a claim, you understand that being able to replace your roof is what really matters. But insurance companies do not want to pay for a brand new roof on a claim where a 20 year old roof was damaged. Therefore, companies that will insure homes with older roofs will only insure the roof for actual cash value. What that means is if you have a claim, and your roof needs to be replaced, they will pay for an old roof. Not a new one. That scenario would put you in a position of not only paying your deductible but also paying the difference for a new roof.
Replacing an old roof could lower your premium around 25%.
And having architectural shingles or better yet metal roofing installed will keep that premium down longer. And best of all, you’ll be insured for replacement cost and not just cash value.
Are you unhappy with your homeowners premium? Could it be related to your roof?
Have you replaced your roof in the last few years? Have you told your agent?
Perhaps it seemed like a good idea at the time. In 2008, gas prices were skyrocketing taking almost a daily increase moving right past the $3/gallon mark at the beginning of the year and headed to the $4/gallon by the middle of the year. One auto maker had a plan and a promotion to match the hysteria.
If you bought a new car, they would guarantee $2.99/gallon gas for up to three years. It sounds crazy now, but at the time, it looked like a huge blunder by the auto maker, not the consumer. The feeling at the time was that there was no end in sight to the gas crunch.
I remember being at a party with someone who had bought a car based on this program and listening to a friend chide him in late October about the offer. With a sly smile he quizzed, “So, are you still having to pay $2.99/gallon?” By this time, the market had stabilized and gas was well below $2.99/gallon and quickly headed below $2/gallon. Any “savings” had long since been negated due to a change in the market.
While insurance markets don’t tend to change as quickly as the gas and oil markets, it should be noted that what may have worked for you a few years ago may not be the best option for your current situation. Our job is to make sure your insurance program matches your current situation. For this very reason, we work with different companies, so we can find a company that fits your current needs and offer other solutions as your needs change.