The value of a second opinion

So if something is not quite right medically it is common practice to get a second opinion and maybe even a third.

If you are not happy with how your taxes turn out you will likely find a different accountant.

When doing improvements to your home many people thing you should have three or more contractors bid on the work.

Yet, when it comes to your insurance not many people have a “rule” to follow when it comes to second opinions.  So here it is; Each year you should review your coverage for all insurances that you pay for.  When reviewing if something does not seem right or you saw an increase you should get another opinion.  Oh, but Bill this takes to long.  Actually no, if you have a plan you are comfortable with your time investment could be less than 15 minutes.  Think about how long it would take to fax or e-mail 3-8 pages of your current plan to one or more potential new agents.  Then factor in a few minutes on the phone for a few details.  Lastly, the couple of minute conversation.

No you will hear one of four things;1. your rate is awesome and your coverage is solid 2.  your rate can be improved and your coverage is solid 3. your rate looks good but your coverage really should be improved 4. the one you do not want to hear is your rate and coverage is terrible unless it is followed by an “i can fix them both…”

Bottom line is reviewing your insurance always creates a positive outcome.  Do it annually to avoid having to say ” I saved $(insert your number her) by switching to…”  A market swing is $300 or less so anything more than that is nothing to brag about.



What is not being advertised by insurance companies

If you own a mailbox, a radio, a t.v. or a computer you likely see an insurance company advertising one of two things; a “free” quote or some sort of a discount.  Reality is all quotes are free so that is a waste of advertising time.  The second reality is advertising discounts is really not helping anybody lower their rates for any more than an instant.  So, here is what you are not being told when it comes to lowering your rate;

1. Your personal history/statistics/characteristics can influence your rate as much as any discount.  Examples

1A. Your claims and driving history both play a role in your rate having nothing is better than having anything and I mean anything.  Each company has different criteria when it comes to tickets and accidents so don’t be thrown off if one company charges more for an incident that another doesn’t.

1B. Your credit history plays an increasingly important role in your insurance rate.  Whether you like it or not this will continue so better to embrace it than be annoyed at it.  Same as with driving history, each company is a little different.  More often than not a higher credit score equals a lower rate.  There are even times where a better credit score can offset a bad driving history

1c. Same as with a credit score, whether you like it or not your level of education can influence your rate.  This is not nearly as much influence as a credit score or driving history however it definitely plays a role.

2. So another thing not talked about is your current insurance coverage.  There are a few factors when it comes to your current coverage that will effect your rate for your next term;

2a. Most important is your current liability coverage.  More times than not the higher your coverage the better your rate.  Typically you want to have a minimum of $100,000 per person $300,000 per occurrence often called “100/300” ***This is not a discussion about proper coverage merely saying what coverage will typically help with your rate

2b Your length of time with your current carrier may help.  Be sure to ask your new company if they extend any accident free discounts even if you are new to their company

2c. Your current company can play a small role.  Specifically, actually having insurance versus getting insurance for the first time.  Most companies want to know a bit about your history and having current insurance plays into this piece of your rate.

Bottom line is you can sit and wait on discounts however in all likelihood making sure your personal characteristics are strong is more important.

****Everyone is different as is every company.  The above statements come from the approximate 5000 quotes I have done combined with my own research.  Any use of this information is at your own discretion.**

P.S. Please use it!