Who causes “higher” insurance rates?

Most people will immediately think it is the company.  The company sets the rates and the underwriting standards that you accepted when you signed your contract with them.  The company determines which of your tickets, accidents and claims will have an impact on your rate and for how long. ** Despite what you may have heard corporations are not people and cannot get tickets or have accidents or claims**

Is time the best Insurance Discount?

It might be.  It might also be the most under used and least asked about.

If you are between the ages of 16 and 25 your lack of time on this planet is a reason why you spend more on insurance.  BUT what if you pay attention?  Maybe you start on your parents policy and make sure they have solid coverage so when it is time to switch you are in a better position.  Then, typically after three years of being licensed, it is time to shop.  Now just stay on top of things because you get a little older you can likely improve your rate, assuming a clean to fairly clean record.

Price versus value

Want to change the discussion from Price to value?  STOP ADVERTISING PRICE.  Advertising on price is the easy way.  It is basically telling the consumer we are a commodity and can not come up with anything original that might bring some value to your life.

Want some evidence?  Follow your mail for a month and count the generic garbage being put in front of you that thinks your only concern is price. Even worse , I received the same exact awful letter from four different State Farm agents.  Not only is it an awful, demeaning marketing piece but why does State Farm allow there agents to cannibalize each other?

I really need to lower my rate…

This is something I hear on a very regular basis.  Yes, I try to lower said rate whenever I am introduced and asked to help this situation.  But what can I do?  I can;

  • Get proposals from 12 different companies
  • review the coverage and make some suggestions
  • advise you to take a defensive driving coverage
  • give some ideas about how/when to pay to save money
  • review your discounts
  • help you make a plan

So that is five things I can do.  Now what can you do;

  • get proposals from the other twenty or so companies you can

But what will it cost to rebuild your home?

This might be the toughest question I have to answer when it comes to insuring a home.  Why?  Because the reality is that at the time you start a policy, unless you just built the home, you really have no definite way of knowing this number.  So here is my take; When in doubt always make sure you feel comfortable.  Here are some things to do;

1. As an agent I use any public data I can get my hands on.  This is combined with what you tell me then I input it into the company provided home replacement cost estimator.  Out comes your homes replacement cost and per company policy you have to have this as your minimum level of coverage.

Gotta love insurance advertising

I will admit two things;

1.I thoroughly enjoy advertising insurance companies do

2. I am generally disgusted by the advertising insurance companies do

So last week, like any other week, you and I get multiple pieces of insurance related advertising in our mail.  You were also subject to countless radio and t.v. ads.  Combine this with the multiple times you saw an ad while on the internet and it is practically inconceivable.  How much advertising do you really need to do?

A response to an awful article

Here is a link to a terribly written article; http://boingboing.net/2013/01/29/american-insurers-charge-reckl.html

Like most garbage there is a “catchy” headline and zero to no substance behind it.  This article tries to study insurance rates and say that “rich” people get better rates.  Now although I am not a scientist I know that when running an experiment you must keep as many factors equal as possible.  This “experiment” did not.  The facts;

Using two hypothetical characters the group compared premiums offered to two 30-year-old women. Both had driven for 10 years, lived on the same street in a middle-income Zip code and both wanted the minimum insurance required by whichever state the group was researching.****Using the minimum insurance required already screws up this experiment.  Having the lowest coverage required makes you look irresponsible*****

It’s renewal time, what do you do first?

So the paperwork for my renewal came in the mail this past week.   Just like millions of other people I went and looked at the rate.    So now what?  Well here are some things I look for in my own renewal, as well as yours when I have the chance to renew it;

  • Is it correct?  Yes, is it correct.  Is my name spelled right, are the right vehicles there are all my discounts correct.  Before you think about the rate lets make sure the basics are correct.

Insurance for my vacation?

Each year my family packs up and heads to Cape May New Jersey for a week of fun with my in-laws, my wife’s brother and sister as well as their families.  Now this is something we have been doing for years and have not really given any thought to insuring.  See your homeowners policy has some coverage for you as does your umbrella policy if you have one.  Also, realistically you cannot insure everything in your life sometimes you just have to live and deal with what may come up.