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.
  4. Talk to your neighbor, always better to play nice.

Is it a claim?  Well a tree from your property fell through your neighbors fence during a storm.

Did you do anything negligent? NO, so that just means there should be no lawsuit.

So this is my tree, will I get paid for the clean up?  In all likelihood it is a double no.  This tree should cost well less of my $1000 deductible to clean up and it also did not hit a covered structure of MINE.

Will my neighbor have coverage?  Well a tree hit his covered structure(assuming he has home insurance and other structures) BUT this might be a $200 length of fence and I am guessing $200-$400 to cut up.  I am hopeful even if he has a $500 deductible his agent is smart enough to tell him not to put this silly claim on his record and if he has $1000 it is likely less than his deductible.

But hey it missed his deck and somebody will get some great firewood so it is not all bad right?

Just some ideas, use at your discretion.  Sometimes it is better to open a claim and go unpaid than to find out later.  Either way, your decision.

Hurricane of claims coming? Get prepared..

So as this is typed a hurricane is affecting North Carolina 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.

  • Make sure all humans and pets are ok.  Everything else is much less important and fixable.
  • DOCUMENT your damage BEFORE YOU START CLEANING UP! Photos are great.
  • If you can call in your claim before you start cleaning up that is great if not, you do have a responsibility to try and limit the damage
  • GET ESTIMATES, yes get your own independent estimate.  You may not use the person providing the estimate but at least you have an idea of what it will take to fix your damage.
  • Follow up with your claims people, save ALL receipts and keep documenting damage

The above applies nicely to all claims and in a time when there may be a lot of activity, very busy claims people will appreciate your patience and your effort to help.  Good luck, be safe.

These are some ideas that have been helpful, what you choose to do is up to you.

Want to improve your world, start with reading this…

I had the privilege of getting an advance copy of The Impact Equation and loved it.  Was honestly on the fence about Chris Brogan but since his Sunday Conversations and now this book I know why he is worth my time; because his ideas along with those of very few others will advance this economy to a new wonderful place.  If you subscribe to new economy thinking of people like Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuck this should go right up there with what they have written.  Here is the catch this book is worth way more if you actually use the book then just read it and enjoy it.

Here is what I wrote on Amazon;

Like you my life is packed and there are very few things that can make me adjust my schedule, this book is one of those things. With so many books to read I eliminate those written by professional writers and speakers and instead focus on people that actually practice what they preach because writing books is something they do in addition to running successful businesses. So now you know where I come from, about the Impact Equation. My copy is now a dog eared guidebook to advancing my life and business. It takes off on the new economy thoughts of Gary Vaynerchuck and goes a step further. I am not even sure where to start, you should start with buying it then when finished share it with friends and colleagues who you want to see succeed in whatever they do. This review is late because I got busy trying to be the strongest “elbow” I can. Time to work on becoming an apple tree in Chris and Julien’s orchard. P.S. I am by no means wealthy but believe in this book and will gladly give you your money back if you cannot find value in your copy.

I would give you mine but I am already sharing it with my assistant, maybe you can have it next.


Why hire someone for free?

Because you can! That’s right you do not pay your insurance agent the insurance company does.  For those of you that think your rate will go down if there were no agents WRONG.  Honestly do you think the insurance companies will just willingly give back premium NO.  Now that we are past that, you still need to think of this as your money.

Beyond insurance, do you willingly pay companies you do not like?  Do you willingly go back somewhere where you were dissatisfied with your experience? Ok so why do you keep accepting your rate increase?  Why are you not asking for more from the agent who has been making money off of you for 5, 10 or even 20 years or more?

FACT; All companies admitted to do business in the state of New York and beyond need to follow a set of rules that the state sets.  They also need to have a certain amount of money in reserves.

FICTION; Your loyalty, unless you pay extra, actually does something for you with your company

Just some thoughts for next time you hear ” Well rates are going up for everyone…”

The debates and insurance advertising

No, I did not invest two hours of my life in watching the debates.  Nor do I pay particular attention to anything that cannot bring actual value(by my definition) to my life.  For those that do, great.  I am happy you enjoy the entertainment that they provide.  So what do the debates remind you of?

1. Two fairly rude men who like to hear themselves talk

2. Two people that if they had any sort of actual, measurable, factual results over the last four years would not need to fight for time

3. Two people that collectively have spent so much money pandering to an audience just so their “party” can control a country rather than helping the very people they are supposed to serve.

That being said, yes I can correlate just about anything to insurance.  In this case, it is very easy.  Companies are always talking to you and rarely with you.  Whether in print, digital, radio or T.V, etc. they are telling you what they think you want to hear; ” We have so many discounts…” ” Combine and save…” “People saved $472 by switching…” They literally spend Billions of dollars pushing to you and not teaching you anything about insurance.  Not providing any insurance facts. Why?  Because for some reason hiding facts are easier for them?  Because if you knew what to look for and how to buy insurance they may have to improve as a company?  Because they are afraid that they do not do enough good so if they stopped advertising you would forget them.

Aw well, you always have the option of choosing the human being whom you like to work with.  Either way, just some thoughts thanks for reading.

Get a free quote…

Seriously has anyone ever paid for an insurance quote?  I mean would you actually call a  1-800 number and pay for an auto insurance quote NO.  Why the heck would you, you are in control.  Without you these companies have no chance of survival so I cannot even imagine a day when you will have to pay for an auto insurance quote.

But despite this I would love to hear from anyone that can go a week without hearing an ad touting “get a free quote.”  Where might you see this offer;

  1. In a mailing, could be a postcard could be an awful generic letter.  Might even have a fake credit card.
  2. On the radio; satellite or terrestrial there is no escaping
  3. It has even gotten to my new friend Pandora
  4. Those awful newspaper inserts that show up over the weekend
  5. On a billboard
  6. On a t.v. commercial
  7. In a banner ad on any website

And the list can keep going.  The key here is that even though your quote is free it cost a chunk of money to get you call in for a quote.  So I think to myself what if they spent all that money to actually keep their rates consistent?  What if they gave back a dividend?  What if they actually spent some money educating the customer versus just trying to get them to call for a quote?

Don’t hold your breath none of these suggestions are likely to occur.  Either way, enjoy your “free” quote with some caution.

Just some ideas, thanks for reading.

Did you know….

That by taking minimum coverage, $25,000/$50,000 in New York you are actually setting yourself up for higher rates.

That I tend to see this coverage more often from the company that does the most advertising.

That your low rate actual makes you pay higher coverage and in the event of an accident could hinder you financial for years to come.

The difference between minimum coverage($25,000) and better coverage($100,000) many times is about $5 a month.

That I cannot think of a circumstance that I would ever do this disservice to anyone.  But then again I don’t provide quotes or promise you cheap insurance.  Who wants to buy cheap things anyhow.

Thanks for reading.

Oh I have plenty of coverage…


How do you know? How do you know that the liability coverage you took because your agent said it is plenty really is plenty?  YOU DO NOT neither do I.  There are some silly sayings out there “rule of thumb”, “it’s what most people take”, “You don’t need more”  REALLY?

When you hear this please hand your agent a dollar and ask them to buy you a lotto ticket. Because they can apparently predict the future.  Most agents cannot predict the future, I am one of them.  Instead, I try and make some logical decisions and use your dollars to purchase as much coverage as we can.  An example;

Many people seem to think the liability limit of $100,000 per person $300,000 per occurrence is plenty.  Well, it may be.  It might be more than enough and you may never find out.  Good for you.  BUT before you take that limit ask what a combined limit of $300,000 , $500,000 or even $1,000,000 costs.  Maybe you even ask what an umbrella policy costs.  See insurance companies also know that there are not that money large payouts so the cost to take on more coverage may be about the same as a Venti, skim Pumpkin Latte with an extra shot($5.75) per month.  So for the price of a strong, tasty beverage you can add a couple hundred thousand in coverage.  Not a bad deal.

Just a thought, use at your discretion.

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?

So you get elected and you spend your term in office learning and supposedly doing what you set out to do.  So if you set out to say lower taxes and you lower taxes getting re-elected should be pretty easy.  I figure if you keep to your plan, do what you promised to do and keep up with your constituents(customers) you should be fine.  This could be completely naive but seems logical.  Heck there are hundreds if not thousands of successful businesses operating this way all around the country.  Yet instead many politicians spend tons of money to get re-elected even though they did not do what they set out to do.  Rather than doing what they promised and keeping up with their people, which should get them re-elected, instead they try and get re-elected versus earning it.  Not that I will go look this up but I cannot help but wonder how much more you have to spend when you don’t do your job versus if you had a good term.

Voting is a lot like buying things, when all else fails you buy from people you like.  But what if the people fail to deliver?  They spend money, not much different than really big companies spending a lot of money to cover up what they are really doing.  Such a shame, a lot of money is spent to campaign and not enough is spent to actually serve the constituents(customers).  To be continued…

Just a thought, thanks for reading.



Want lower rates take higher coverage

That’s right you can get more coverage for less money.  Now the problem with this is most of the companies push low rates mostly give you low coverage.  Then when you shop you are actually not able to get better rates because you got duped into a low rate by taking low coverage.

A solidly caffeinated(made up word) drink from your local coffee shop is sometimes the same price as one month’s worth of much better coverage.  That’s right for $3-$6 you can purchase $100,000 or more in coverage.  So is the company that brings you in on lower rates even interested in protecting you and your family or just providing you a low rate for insurance.

Just another true thought.  Apply as needed.