Many insurance companies today don't sell their policies through agents, but directly from the company either online or over the phone. It might seem that having an agent to help you purchase auto insurance is a thing of the past, but don't discount the insurance agent just yet. There are some very good reasons to consider using an insurance agent for your auto policy purchase.
Agents Know Their Products
Many of the customer service representatives who handle the phones at large insurance companies know the basics of auto insurance policies, enough to help you select and purchase one. But insurance agents, especially those who have been around for a while, understand a lot more about coverage and policy limits. They can share with you a wealth of knowledge that will ensure you not only get the right policy, but the best rate and a good understanding of what you are paying for. An agent will help you select the best possible coverage limits to fit your needs.
Agents Are On Your Side
If the day comes when you need to file a claim, it's always good to have someone who is truly on your side. Especially in a complicated claim, your agent can walk you through the process and be there to answer all your questions. An agent is also there to step in when there are disagreements with the adjuster or other involved parties at the insurance company. Because your agent knows all about the policy and how the claims process works, they will better be able to negotiate and discuss claims issues with your adjuster.
Agents Keep Your Policy Accurate
A good agent will take the time to review your policy regularly and make sure that everything is accurate and you are still carrying the coverage you need. An agent knows when changes in your life might affect your insurance coverage needs, such as a marriage or a child reaching driving age. Large insurance companies simply can't provide that level of personal attention.
Are Agents More Expensive?
There is a general view that an insurance policy purchased through an agent will cost more than one purchased directly. That isn't necessarily true. The best rate for you may well be one from an agency, so don't discount quotes from agents when you are shopping for car insurance. You might get the best rate along with the service an agent can provide.
You might not feel that you need an agent for your auto insurance, but there are certainly some very good reasons to take the time to meet with a few and see if it turns out to be right for you.
You may not think you need life insurance now, but if you wait too long to take out a policy, it could hurt you in the long run. Waiting until you feel you really need a policy means you will be older and the odds of having health problems increases. This can mean higher premiums or worse, being completely denied for a policy. Starting a life insurance policy earlier in life is a smart decision all around.
Age And Health Issues
It's a simple equation: as we age our odds of having health problems increase. You will also be paying the premium on the policy for a shorter time period while being more likely to pass away. Insurance companies take all of these factors into consideration when they determine your premiums. Every year that you wait to take out a life insurance policy assures your premiums will be higher. It also increases the risk that some health issue will develop that will cause the insurance company to see you as a higher risk. The higher the risk they see of having to pay out on the policy before they have received sufficient premium payments from you, the more they are going to charge you to protect their interests. So, the longer you wait to get a policy, the more you are going to pay for it.
You Could Be Denied
If you are young and healthy you will be approved for a policy relatively quickly. But as you age, health problems can crop up that might disqualify you for a life insurance policy altogether. Heart issues, high cholesterol, diabetes and more are all problems more likely to appear with age-and this could mean you won't be able to obtain a policy. If you take out a policy before issues like this occur, the insurance company can't take it away due to changes in your health status.
Taking out a life insurance policy before you really need to have one is a smart choice and an investment in your future. Once you have a policy in force your premiums won't increase, and as long as you continue to pay them you will be covered for the duration of the policy-for your entire life if you have chosen a Universal or Whole life policy. Even if you don't have a family to protect now, you will already be prepared for that eventuality and have an affordable policy to cover them thoroughly.
You probably hear a lot about discounts on auto insurance; television commercials for various companies strongly advertise all the discounts they have available. Most insurance companies do have many ways you can qualify for better rates, and some of them are better known than others. Although you won't qualify for all of the discounts, you can make certain you are getting all the appropriate discounts on your premium.
Insurance companies want to get as much of your business as they possibly can, so they offer good discounts when you add more policies to your account. Multi-policy discounts can include options such as multi-car, auto/home, auto/life, and many other combinations of policies. Some companies even offer a discount if they insure your boat or RV. Qualifying for these discounts is easy; simply start a second policy with your insurance company, and the discount should apply.
Good Driver And Longevity Discounts
These discounts are easy to qualify for as well. If you have a good driving record, you should be getting the discount automatically. The same usually goes for a longevity discount. This is a discount that applies to your policies after you have been with a company for a certain period of time. Often the longer you continue to renew the policy, the larger the discount will become. The key to longevity discounts is to stay with one company long enough. Skipping from company to company for lower rates may not save you as much in the end as staying in one place.
Discounts For Younger Drivers
There is no question that adding a young driver to your policy can be an expensive proposition. If you have a teenager new to driving, inquire about a good student discount that can alleviate some of the cost. You will likely be required to provide a transcript proving your child has the required grade point average to qualify. Some companies also offer a new driver training course, and your young driver can qualify for a discount just by taking the course. It can usually be done right in your agent's office. Not only will you save money, but you will help put safer young drivers on the road.
These are just a few of the discounts you may qualify for with your insurance company. Each company is different, so be sure to ask so that you don't miss out on potentially big savings on your premiums.
Letting your auto insurance policy lapse doesn't seem to be that serious a matter on the surface. Unfortunately, it is not only illegal to drive without insurance; it can also have much more serious consequences than a ticket for driving without insurance. A lapse in auto insurance can have far-reaching results with the potential to affect your entire life.
The Legal Aspect
All drivers are required by law to carry a minimum liability policy in order to get behind the wheel. This protects all of the drivers on the road by ensuring that in the event of an accident, the at-fault party will have insurance to pay for the damage. If you are pulled over and found to be driving without insurance, you will be given a ticket and may face even more serious legal consequences, depending on the state in which you reside.
If you think you can't afford to pay your insurance premiums, then you really can't afford not to pay them. If you are involved in an accident where you are found to be at fault, and there is no insurance to pay the damages, you will be responsible. In a serious accident with a lot of property damage and injuries, this can add up really quickly. You may not have the thousands of dollars to pay the bills, but with a judgment against you your wages can be garnished and other assets placed in danger, including your home. Not paying that insurance premium can lead to paying off a huge amount of money for the rest of your life.
Future Insurance Premiums
Some insurance companies won't even take a driver who does not have previous insurance (aside from new drivers), while others will simply charge you a higher premium. A lapse in your old policy can mean that you will no longer qualify for the rates you were getting before. You may lose discounts including longevity with your insurance company, or be treated as a higher risk to the company. You may also have to make a new down payment or pay reinstatement fees. It can take a while to work your way back up to getting the better rates reserved for the company's best customers. Some insurance companies may also have a limit on the number of times you can lapse before they refuse to reinstate you.
A lapse in your insurance policy can be much more costly than had you simply continued to pay your premiums. If you are having trouble paying your insurance bill, talk to your agent about ways to reduce your rates, rather than allowing a lapse to occur.
Choosing the beneficiaries for your life insurance policy is one of the most important decisions you will make. Life insurance is, after all, meant to protect your family and loved ones. While your immediate family may seem to be the obvious choice as your life insurance beneficiary, there may be other people and organizations which rely on you that you do not want to forget. Here are some of the most common-and commonly forgotten-life insurance beneficiaries you need to consider, and tips on how to decide how much you should allocate to each.
Children And Spouse - For most of us these are the beneficiaries to whom most of our funds will go. It is important to ensure that you choose a policy that will not only cover their daily expenses, such as any outstanding debts and mortgage payments, but also future expenses such as tuition fees for your children and a retirement fund for your spouse.
Parents - If your parents rely on you for help with expenses such as medical fees, prescriptions, or other living expenses, it is important that you leave a portion of the coverage to them. This will give you-and them-the peace of mind of knowing they will be covered.
Other Family And Friends - Whether it be siblings, nieces or nephews, or other close friends who rely on you for various expenses, ensuring that they are covered is important.
Business Partners Or Employees - If you own a business or are involved in any business ventures with other individuals, making sure that their interests are protected is important. It is also important that you have the necessary protections in place for any employees you may have to ensure they are not put in a difficult financial situation.
Charities And Organizations - If you offer financial support to any charities, organizations, or groups that rely on your support, making sure that it continues after you are gone is an important part of taking care of your responsibility in estate planning. An easy plan is to allocate an amount similar to that you currently provide over several years.
Times are tough and finding ways to save money are always welcome, but often we don't think of essential expenses such as insurance when considering ways to cut back on those expenses. Here are a few tips for saving money on your home insurance, while still keeping yourself and your home protected-ten things you can do to save money on your home insurance!
Shop Around - Just as with any major purchase, shopping around will ensure that you are getting the best deal possible.
Consider A Higher Deductible - A higher deductible will mean a cheaper insurance premium. If your particular financial situation allows you a higher deductible should damage occur to your property, you can save a considerable sum by using this tip.
Combine Policies - Most insurance providers offer discounts when you combine policies. This is a particularly popular option for the two insurance policies you most need most-car and home.
Install Home Security - If you have a home insurance policy that covers theft and damage due to a break-in, installing a home security system may reduce your premiums. There are other home security measures you can take that may also reduce this rate.
Know If You Qualify For Additional Discounts - Some insurance companies offer special discounts for seniors, students, or employees of particular organizations. Checking to see if you qualify for any additional discounts could mean considerable savings.
Keep A Good Credit Score - Insurance premiums can be affected by your credit score, so ensuring that you have a good credit rating can reduce your premiums.
Use The Same Provider For All Your Insurance - Often insurance companies can offer you discounts if you have existing policies with them. This is also the case for financial institutions that offer insurance, as well as brokers.
Look For Comprehensive Coverage - Comprehensive coverage offers you complete protection for a rate that is, in most cases, less than if you were to get each type of coverage separately. This includes basic homeowner's insurance as well as disaster, theft, and liability coverage, all in one policy.
Review Your Policy Often - Your homeowner's insurance often is fairly short term, and keeping your eyes open for better deals, or re-evaluating whether the type of coverage you currently have is more than you really need, can save you money.
You might never have really thought about what it takes to qualify for a life insurance policy or what affects the premiums you pay. By the time you get around to figuring it out it could be too late.
Here are the most important factors that go into determining what you will pay for your life insurance coverage as well as whether or not you will even qualify.
The older you are, the more you will pay for life insurance. When you take out a policy at a younger age, the company expects that you will be paying the premiums for a much longer time period, and therefore your monthly payments will be smaller. The older you get, the shorter the time period during which they can expect to receive payments from you. This means they will increase the premiums accordingly. Your age also has an impact on your health. The older you are the more likely it becomes that you will develop a serious health condition that could make it even more likely the company will pay out on the policy.
Everything about your health will be taken into consideration when you apply for a policy. Most companies will require at least a questionnaire filled out, if not a visit from a doctor or nurse to check up on your overall health. This includes things like your weight to height ratio to determine if you are overweight, blood tests to check cholesterol and look for serious illness, and sometimes more. They will ask about your lifestyle as well as smoking, drug, and alcohol use. Even what seems like a minor health issue can result in a higher premium amount, because it could develop into something more serious later on.
Your Occupation And Hobbies
If you have a dangerous occupation such as a firefighter, or engage in potentially dangerous activities like certain sports, this can affect your eligibility for life insurance as well as your premiums. When you put your life in danger either at work or at play, the insurance company sees a higher risk of paying out on the policy. In some cases they may deny you altogether simply based on the activities you engage in regularly.
These are some of the major factors leading to insurance company decisions regarding life insurance premiums and whether or not you qualify. Some of them can't be changed, while others can-and you should take them all into consideration if you want to get the best rate on your policy.
You know that you need homeowner's insurance to protect your home from catastrophic events and other perils, but there are some little-known facts about homeowner's insurance that can save you a lot of money and stress if you know how to use them. Take advantage of everything your homeowner's insurance has to offer with these common but not popularly known coverage tricks.
Your Liability Is Transferable
If you are hosting an event away from your home such as a party, wedding, or other gathering, you might be asked by the venue to provide liability insurance so that they won't be held responsible in the event of an injury or loss on the premises. Most insurance companies will let you transfer the liability coverage on your policy to another location for a one-time event. All you have to do is call your insurance agent or company and request that they issue proof of insurance to the venue in question. Remember that your insurance company must know about the event in advance for the coverage to apply.
Your Personal Property Is Covered Anywhere
If your car is broken into and a large quantity of personal property is stolen, your auto insurance probably has limited coverage for property in the vehicle. But your homeowner's insurance can pick up the slack. In fact, your homeowner's policy will cover all of your personal property anywhere in the world. That means if your expensive camera is stolen while you are on vacation, you are covered. If your bags are stolen at the airport, again, homeowner's will cover you. Everything that is covered under your homeowner's policy is covered anywhere you go. Just be sure you have a floater on your policy for valuable items like jewelry.
You Are Covered If Sued
If someone sues you and you don't believe you are at fault, your homeowner's insurance will help defend you in court. That is part of the reason you have liability insurance! Whether or not the particular lawsuit is one that homeowner's insurance will cover must first be determined. If the insurance company agrees that you were not negligent in the incident, they will make sure you can fight it in court.
Your homeowner's insurance does much more than protect your home. Be sure you get the most out of those monthly premiums you pay by taking advantage of all the perks of your policy.
If you have recently been in an auto accident you are likely already dealing with considerable stress, but worrying about whether your car insurance rates will increase as a result shouldn't be your priority when making a claim. Here are some facts about how accidents affect car insurance rates and what you can do to minimize the effect of potential rate increases should this ever happen to you. After all, car insurance is meant to keep us protected in case of an accident, and finding the right plan will ensure that.
Knowing Your Policy
This may seem obvious, but knowing exactly what is covered in your insurance policy and what happens in case of an accident will ensure that you are prepared if it should occur. Depending on your policy, you may or may not have an insurance premium hike after an accident. This is a good thing to know when you are shopping around for car insurance.
Choosing A Policy With Accident Forgiveness
There are a number of auto insurance policies on the market that offer first at-fault accident forgiveness. This means that your rates will not go up for your first accident. This, of course, only applies to drivers who have never been involved in an at-fault accident, but if this does apply to you it is a feature that you definitely need to look for.
Ask Your Insurance Company For Their Surcharge Schedule
A surcharge schedule is the document that outlines how your insurance company increases rates based on claims you and their other customers make. They are required by law to have this type of document and you are entitled to a copy of it if you request it. Reading this document can be complicated, however, as it will usually include percentages and will require a bit of math to figure out. If saving money is a priority this may be worth the work.
In most cases, the more claims you make the more your rates will increase, and though we may not like it, this clearly makes sense. A few comparisons, however, can help you find a company that will not only offer you fair rate increases, but one that is transparent about its charges. This is usually a sign of an honest and reliable company, an important factor in choosing your insurance.
You don't need to be an expert to choose the right auto insurance policy, but you should be aware of some of the basics that will ensure you get the best rate for which you qualify and are protected appropriately. Here are a few of the most common mistakes made when choosing auto insurance, and the ways in which they can affect you.
Choosing Coverage That Is Too Low
Each state has a minimum requirement for liability coverage. In order to quote the lowest possible rates, some insurance companies will always quote at the state minimum. While this will ensure it is legal to drive your car, the minimum liability limit might not be enough to cover you properly in the event of an at-fault accident.
When you request an auto insurance quote, be sure the liability limits are high enough to thoroughly protect you and your assets. If a serious accident occurs and your policy limits are quickly reached, you will find yourself in court facing a lawsuit for the rest of the damages. It's better to be protected correctly in the first place.
Missing Out On Discounts
The number of discounts offered by most insurance companies today can be a long list. But it's the major ones that you should pay the most attention to. The discount for having more than one policy with an insurer is often quite a large one. If you own a home, try to have your homeowner's and auto insurance with the same company. It just makes sense, financially and for the sake of simplicity. You will not only get a discount on the auto policy, but on the homeowner's premium as well.
Skipping Affordable Extra Coverage
Most auto insurance policies have an option for roadside assistance. Some may include it automatically, while others require a small extra premium. This coverage will give you protection in case of a mechanical breakdown, locking your keys in the car, or other situations in which you require help. The yearly cost of adding this coverage is far less than the cost of having your car towed, so it just makes sense to add it, but many people don't realize it is even available.
Small mistakes like these can cost you a lot of money, and have even more serious consequences. Avoiding them is simple if you are aware of them when you select an auto policy.