Is your agent a Psychic?

I doubt it.  but yet on a regular basis people come to me and say “I have plenty of coverage…”  The reality is none of us know when or even if we will be involved in a serious accident where hundreds of thousands of dollars will be paid out.  The second reality is any agent that wants to basically force a limit of coverage because of some sort of “rule of thumb” is not an agent I would want to hire.

Battling mediocrity

Had a small forgetful moment where I used the word pathetic, even in hindsight I stand by my usage.  Fortunately the majority of people I surround myself with think in a similar pattern to me but on occasion a small thinker not interested in helping those around them swims the moat and sneaks through the protective positive wall I have set up.  So what do you do?

YOU RUN THEM OUT OF TOWN AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.  Not to be rude, just because their negativity can be a hindrance to your positivity and who wants that.  Not me.  See if people continue to accept mediocrity you are just as much to blame as the carrier of this hazardous condition.

Do you think about where you spend your money?

I do, as a matter of fact I think about it a lot.  Do the people I am paying actually appreciate it?  How far are my dollars going?  Does the company I am choosing to work with share some or all of my non-negotiable principles?  Do they even have principles?

Now I know sometimes you and I just need to go to the big box store or shop on-line, but when we can what option do we choose.  EVERY bit of paper my company buys is 100% recycled.  Now in theory this costs more per piece but it would cost me more to sacrifice my principles.  If a better option is available why not go for it.

Managing the market vs your market, no difference in real estate and insurance

So two of the articles I read over the last few days were about market conditions in Insurance and Real Estate.  Trying to stay up on what is going on around me I read them both and was equally disappointed with the generalizations and ignorance that both had.  In a lot of my reading there are articles geared towards consumers, some towards agents/brokers and some towards company employees.  These must have been towards company employees who have no idea what is actually happening or agents/brokers who love to complain.

What does your agent do for you?

So the agent you hire, yes you actually hire an agent since a piece of the money you pay to the insurance company is paid to the agent, What do they actually do?

They gather your information and type it into a computer.  Then they hopefully come up with a competitive rate for whatever insurance you are looking for.  Next, they hopefully make it easy to place the coverage with the new company.  Now hopefully somewhere in there they think, that’s right they actually think about you, your home, your cars, etc and help you make a good decision.  An agent should actually ask you questions and not just about numbers.  Here are a few;

Does the color of my car affect my insurance rate? NO*

I have no idea why this question comes up so often.  Not sure where it started, not sure why it would matter.  Either way I was finally asked and it hit me to run a small, non-scientific experiment.

Step one; I asked a transportation professional, this guy Tommy Scott is way more than just a car salesperson, for two Vehicle Identification Numbers(VINS).  In this case it will be the new and exciting Chevy Cruze.  He provided me with two VINs for IDENTICAL vehicles where the only difference is the color.  For our experiment we have a red and a silver Cruze to compare.

Why you insure at replacement cost not purchase price

So many people like to buy investment properties some even expand and develop a full portfolio.  One thing they have in common is not paying full price.  Now the investor buys this property to see two things occur; The property appreciate and the monthly cash flow it should bring.

So many times when you are not buying a traditional home insurance policy you have a little more flexibility with the replacement value of the home.  One key to remember is you need to rebuild a structure that you can rent for the same money you were receiving before it was damaged/destroyed.  You do not need to build the same exact home remember this is a money making venture.  Let’s rebuild a structure that can earn money.

Who are you buying from?

So when buying insurance you can buy from;

Direct; You call directly to the insurance company, just about every company has this option available.

Agent; Similar to buying direct you are calling directly to a company but speaking with an agent of the company.  Think State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, etc.  Definitely a step up and many times this produces a positive result.  On the plus side you SHOULD be getting a human being that  has a vested interest in your policies, happiness and rate.  On the negative, more times than not they only have one company available.  So if rates go up aw well, if you need an insurance they do not offer aw well.  There is also the inherent problem that you have an agent trying to earn a living.

So your rate went up, now what

Don’t panic, somewhere a rate has gone down we just need to find it.  So here are some steps;

  1. Call you current carrier and make sure everything is accurate.  Like it or not unchecked rates go up, let’s just make sure no mistakes occurred.
  2. So we know your policy is correct, now make sure you are getting all discounts you can
  3. Now we check on your annual mileage***typically 8000 or less per year gets a savings
  4. Have you done a driving or other applicable safety course your state allows?

So you want a lower rate…

  • Improve your credit score…huge factor can make a bad driving record irrelevant
  • get a college degree…it helps but not everyone
  • own a home/condo..helps a lot and gets a multi-policy savings
  • take a defensive driving course..boring but profitable
  • make a point to review ANNUALLY
  • Know the value of your car…Do you still need physical damage coverage?
  • Be loyal to a good agent not a company….nuff said
  • take higher coverage…you’ll look better when shopping

Insurance has been commoditized set your coverage plan than your rate!!!