Is this a claim?

So about an hour ago this tree came down and I am sure many more have come down and will come down up and down the east coast.  So now what?

  1. Make sure everyone is ok.  In this case no people were near by
  2. Take a photo ALWAYS document damage BEFORE you clean up **It is ok to wait till the storm is over but do your best to limit damage***
  3. Get an estimate or do the work yourself    ***BE CAREFUL*** When storms occur unscrupulous gougers and amateurs come with them.

Hurricane of claims coming? Get prepared..

So as this is typed a hurricane is affecting North Caroline up to Northern New Jersey.  With this storm as in any other there will likely be lots of claims filed. So what can you do?  Well take a deep breath and realize that ALL companies have done everything they can to mobilize their claim units and it still may not be enough.  Please try and be patient and instead try doing some of the following things, these are some ideas I have developed and used over the last ten years that work.

If you do what you promise do you need to pay to get re-elected?

I cannot help but wonder how much money is spent by politicians to get re-elected.  Now I understand when you are getting elected, like starting a business, you need to let people know who you are, your plan, etc.  Your past and reputation can only get you so far.  But getting re-elected is a completely different scenario, or should it be?

Do YOU trust your agent?

Do you trust your agent enough to get a second opinion?

How about asking your agent what coverage they have and taking a look at their declarations pages?

Sounds like fun to me, let’s see if your agent has full no-fault coverage.  Let’s see if they have matching liability and supplemental coverage.  Let me know how it turns out.

UPDATE 5/14/2015

It has been over four years since this first post.  Sadly, the majority of times I review a policy I end up saying;

I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just saying I wouldn’t sign my name to it.”

How to take control of your claim

Step 1.Remember why you have insurance, it is not for the little annoying thing that you can comfortably afford to fix.  It is for the event that you need help paying to fix.  Filing a claim because  “I pay for insurance why shouldn’t I use it…” can get you in to trouble. **What is trouble?  Trouble is having rates on the higher side of the market for at least three years**

Appreciate your agent…if

Yes I believe the agent, me, works for you, the customer.  This is no different than any time you are spending money on a product or service.  This relationship tends to go better if you appreciate the person providing the product or service.  How do you do this?

UPDATE 5/19/2015

How do you “appreciate”‘ the person you are paying for a service?

  1. Give them a chance to work for you.
  2. Rather than carrying over the poor previous experience you may have had give your potential new agent the chance to shine without thinking he or she is as bad as the last one.

Discounts or advertising

Enough already with “…with discounts up to 40%” or “..15mintues can save you…”  or ” the more policies you have the more discounts…”

  • Is it really a discount if your base rate is to high to begin with? 
  • Is it really a discount if you have to purchase a policy you don’t already have to get it? 
  • Would you only give your accountant, doctor, lawyer or even your mechanic only 15 minutes to review something that can effect you, your family, your livelihood and your wallet? 

The Anatomy of a Car’s Value

2003 Volkswagen Jetta GL:  So according to  the Good Trade in Value is $1700 and Fair is $1125 so maybe I am around $1500.  Now private party says $3225 and Fair is $2525, let’s keep being reasonable and say $2875 as private party we won’t use retail because this car is not in excellent condition.

How about Edmunds?  A little different process here comes up with $2734 as a trade in $3752 as a private party, same thing here retail seems a bit high.

So KBB average with my adjustments is $2187.50 and Edmunds is $3243  that is about a $1000 difference.

How often should I review my insurance?

Well most people see their family doctor once a year for a checkup.  Most people do their taxes each year and have a review with their accountant.  If you have health insurance you probably review that at open enrollment each year.  As part of a sound financial plan all of your insurances should be reviewed each year.  Why?  Are your discounts and coverage adequate?  Could you do better?  Is your personal information up to date?

Want another reason?

Ideas and the reason I write

I believe in accountability.  I also know that there are a lot of pretty simple ideas and concepts that if followed can really impact your rates, your coverage and maybe your impression of insurance.  Hey if you have to pay for it it might as well be what you want.

5/11/2015  Not much has changed since the original posting date.  Still believe and think exactly as written above.  The difference is that the industry has shifted and I now have more ways to help improve your coverage and impression of insurance.