Thursday, January 9, 2014

Have you reviewed your policies lately?

Do you know how much coverage you have on any of your policies?  Do you have your policies combined and are getting all the discounts you should?  Did you go with the cheapest insurance just to have it?  When was the last time you talked to your agent or insurance company?

A study done by Trusted Choice pulled 930 U.S. household and showed that 40% of people are not confident or somewhat confident that they have adequate and appropriate insurance coverage for their needs.

Trusted Choice independent insurance agents identify the following 5 "mistakes" as some of the more common errors they see:

1) Not knowing your limits: Iowa state minimum is 20,000 per person, 40,000 per accident, and 15,000 property damage.  Most cars now are worth way more than 15,000

2) Disregarding discounts: Do you have your home at 1 agency/company and your auto at another?  If you combine them you get a multi-policy discount.  There is a general list for discounts such as automatic payments (EFT), accident free, or good student.  But many companies also offer their own.

3) Consider insurance in estate planning: Is your home deeded in your name or is it in a trust account?  If it listed in the trust account you may not be properly insured.  Being listed in the trust account changes the owner of the home.

4) Not assessing your biggest asset: Did you buy a new home and decided to rent out your old home and not tell your insurance agent?  This changes the policy, too.  You are no longer living in it and maybe don't have tenants yet. Then the property is vacant and if it is vacant for too long your coverage could be void.  Do you have your higher value items insured?  Your wedding ring, fine art, musical instruments, silver, or golf items.  All it takes is an appraisal to have them added to your homeowners.

5) Taking the cheapest route:  Did you call around for quotes and the only question you asked was how much is it going to cost me?  Most companies don't agree with the state limits and would like you to have higher ones.  If you called 5 different agencies and asked for the price, you would get 5 different answers because they all quoted different coverage for you.

In reality all it takes is sitting down with your agent and reviewing your policy.  A lot changes in a year: did you get married, have  a child, new job, buy a new house or car?  Please make sure to visit with your agent today.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Who needs Renter's Insurance and How much coverage is enough?

Who needs renter's insurance?  If you are renting an apartment or house it is suggested.  Let's say you and your boyfriend or girlfriend are renting a place together.  Since you are not married or related then you will each need a renter's policy.  If you are renting a place with a friend you will each need a renter's policy.  Even if you are living with someone that owns their own place and you are not related to them, you will need your own renter's policy.  Some homeowners can have an endorsement added to their home insurance to include you and your personal property.

Your landlord's insurance does not cover your personal belongings. The landlord has a policy to cover his(her) building only.  Then there is liability coverage. Your landlord's policy most likely does not include liability for something that happens in your rented residence. You could be held responsible for injury to another person or damage to another person's property if an incident occurred within your rented residence, or elsewhere. Without liability coverage, your current and future earnings could be at risk. Renters insurance coverage may also provide legal defense costs. For instance, if you accidentally leave the kitchen sink on and it overflows into your neighbors’ apartment, you could be found liable for that damage—and required to pay for repairs, medical bills related to the accident, as well as defense costs if they bring a suit against you. Renter’s insurance would cover those costs.

How do you decide how much is enough coverage?  Some companies have a minimum amount they will start a renter's policy at.  Usually about 20,000 in coverage.  If something happens to your residence that you are renting and you would have to replace all personal belongings would that be enough?  That would include your clothing, furniture, and anything that has a monetary value.  20,000 would be enough for 1 person unless you have a lot of expensive items such as furniture or computers. But would it be enough for 1 adult and 1 or a couple children?  They have toys and clothes plus furniture.  It is better to go higher than find out you don't have enough when it's too late. 

One suggestion once you have decided on your coverage amount is write down or video tape everything in your home. No matter how small it may be, it is some value to you because it is in your residence.  Plus if you ever have a catastrophe you will be so upset you may not remember all the items that you had until you go to use them and realize you don't have it anymore.

Most people's belongings are often worth more than they think. That's one reason why you need Renters Insurance coverage. Renter's insurance is safe to have and usually not very expensive either.  No, none of this is fun to think about, but believe me—it’s a lot easier to plan (and pay) for it before it actually happens. Call your agent today to get a quote to cover your personal items.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Home VS. Old Home

Question: If your house catches on fire, are you safer in a new home or a 25 year old home?

Answer: The old home!


Modern, open floor plans provide more oxygen and the ceilings collapse sooner. Old homes produce open flames and white smoke.  While new homes do not always have an open flame, they produce black smoke which is comprised of flammable gasses or vaporized fuel which “flashover” in 3 ½ minutes, causing the temperature of a fire to increase from 250 degrees to 1,500 degrees in less than 10 seconds – your home just blows up. Underwriters Laboratories confirms that new homes blow up in less than 5 minutes whereas older homes take about 30 minutes to reach flashover. Due to average response times of fire departments, newer homes are more often total losses compared to older homes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Iowa is one of the top states with the lowest insurance premiums.

According to's annual study Iowa ranks 50 out of 51(including the DC) with the lowest average annual rates. The national average is $1510 for a 40 year old male driving to work 12 miles one way with a clean driving record.  His liability limits are 100,000 per person bodily injury, 300,000 per accident bodily injury, 100,000 property damage. Iowa ranks 2nd behind Maine with $1028 average.  Louisiana is the highest with $2699 average with Michigan in 2nd place with $2520 average .  Apparantly our rural landscape isn't such a bad thing.