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**

Are they really saving you money?

How can a carton character advertise “we’ll review your policy and make sure you are only paying for coverage you need….” Apparently this cartoon should also buy a lottery ticket because it can predict the future.

How is it that you will know the coverage you need or do not need.  Maybe you do not need coverage for a rental car if you already own three cars.  Maybe you have AAA and do not want to pay for towing coverage.  Ok, I understand.  But what about No-Fault coverage, do you really want to take only $50,000 in coverage because you may not “need” $175,000?  No thanks I’ll take $175,000.

Why don’t you have renters insurance?

It’s to expensive?  Not really, it could be as low as $8 per month for a basic policy.

I don’t need it?  As long as you know your landlord has no responsibility for your belongings and will not pay for you to live somewhere else if you cannot live in your apartment.

Bad things don’t happen to me?  I hope you are right but if you aren’t why make things worse by not having renters insurance.

New Year New Insurance?

Why not?  When was the last time you changed companies?  When was the last time you actually made your agent or broker actually earn their commission.  Make them actually shop around, we are in a competitive market here in New York why not take advantage of it.

How do you start? 

Pretty simple, two steps;

  1. Start with a “baseline” of coverage that you are comfortable with having in place.
  2. Talk to 3-5 companies to see where your rate compares.

That’s it.  Worst case scenario you feel really good about your rate.  Best case you save some money and maybe find a better agent.

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.

Saving money is bad…sometimes

You hear it constantly on the radio and T.V. It shows up in your mail on a weekly if not daily basis, heck a banner ad probably popped up before you even got here.  Each insurance company quoting exactly how much money they can save you or how many discounts are available and rarely getting specific on coverage.

Yes, I think saving money can be bad.

If you have not taken the time to review your insurance plans on a regular basis you may actually be saving too much money.  Yes I just said too much money.

Are you overinsured?

I am aware of no way to ever say someone has to much insurance, the fact is you just never know.  There is though one circumstance you can say you may be overinsured when it comes to a home.  An insurance company is insuring the cost to rebuild your home.  They are not covering your tax assessment nor are they covering the market value of the home or even what you think your home is worth.

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 KBB.com  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.

What’s my car worth?

It is your means to get around town, to work, to play to kids activities.  it is worth a lot to you but what is it worth to an insurance company?  The cost to repair a car is going up so if your car is older you need to keep in mind that if the cost to repair your car is more than the value of the car it may not get fixed.  Now what is the car actually worth in dollars?  It may not be as much as you want.