Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is Your College Education Saving You Money?

Many Insurance Companies offer educational and occupational discounts. Some of these discounts were added after you purchased your insurance and do not "automatically" get applied. You need to contact your agent and ask if there are any discounts available to you. You should be connecting with your agent at least on an annual basis to review your insurance plan in any case.

Our educational discounts include: BS degree in Actuarial Science, Astronomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Ecology, Engineering, Genetics, Geology, Mathematics, Meteorology, Neuroscience, Physics, and Physiology.

Our occupational discounts include: Police, Firefighters, Real Estate Agents, Registered Nurses, Speech Audiologists and Pathologists, Veterinarians, CPA, Architects, Professional Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Dentists, Educators, Engineers, Lawyers, Judges, Librarians, Physical and Occupational Therapist, Pharmacist, Physician, Psychiatrist and Psychologist.

If you are not getting you 10 - 15% discount - give me a call.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How much Liability Insurance Should I Carry?

Personal Liability Insurance is very important - carry as much as you can afford. And surprisingly it is not the expensive portion of your insurance bill. Why carry so much? Say you own a home, your home is insured for it's rebuilding cost - say $500,000. As a rule of thumb, you should care the same or more personal liability coverage. Consider this... You have a fire in your home that spreads to the neighbors home... Your fire caused the damage to your neighbors - even if it is only smoke damage... you are liable for the damages. How is your $100,000 worth of liability insurance going to cover the damage to you neighbors? Here comes the law suit....

Auto Insurance is the same. Rule of thumb - always carry the highest liability coverage possible. If you are responsible for the accident. You are responsible for the damage to the other car or cars, any medical expenses for bodily injury, and (lest we forget) any lost wages due to injury or rehab time. This all adds up. Not enough insurance? Here comes the law suit....

I know it can be expensive. I sell the stuff... but it would be more expensive if you were caught unprotected.

For a review of your insurance situation... Give me a call.. No Cost... No Obligation...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What happens when your agent retires?

In most cases, when your agent retires, your policy is transferred back to corporate for redistribution to a new agent. When this happens, you have no say in who gets your policy for service. However, don't give up your rights so easily... Depending on the company you are working with, you can request a transfer to another agent at any time. Simply write or email the agent you wish to take your account and he or she will lead you through the process.

With FARMERS, the new agent must "purchase the account" by paying your annual commission to the old agent. So they must agree to the transfer. But if you have met with them and are comfortable with them servicing your account this ought not be an issue.

You do have rights in all of this. You may also go through the company to request a specific agent to service your account, but this will vary from company to company.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Unless you want to continue throwing your money away - you need to do any annual review of your insurance portfolio. Things change in your life, things change in the life of your insurance company.

Here is a secret your agent does not want you to know. The company you are currently insured with (if you have been with them any length of time) probably has a new program or new discounts that can save you money on your monthly or annual premium. But your agent also knows that if you have not used your insurance, you will probably be in the 90 percent that simply renews their policy without even looking at it. Plus, if he helps you lower your premium, he is lowering his commission.

You need to review your insurance, not only to save money, but more importantly to be sure that you have the proper coverage. Many of my clients have been surprised to discover that better and higher liability coverage does not cost that much more - pennies on the dollar.

The Insurance Industry - while bound by regulations set down by the State's Department of Insurance - remain one of the most competitive industries in business today. They want your business. And because of this simple fact: they are constantly coming up with creative promotions, advertising, and new policies - to get you signed. Are you getting everything you are entitled too?

I am amazed at some of the advertising. Things like "we offer Good Student Discounts" - I do not know of an insurance company that does not offer this discount. The only way to know the difference is to shop. And beware of FEES and clauses disclosed only in the small print.

And the last advise I would like to offer is this... money is not always the issue. Service by your agent is also key to your insurance. If you do not know your agent. Get to know him or her. They need to be licensed and you need to be able to understand them and feel comfortable with them. Their primary concern should be your protection.

And if you don't have an agent that you can have these frank discussions with - or are tired of dealing with those 800 numbers - give us a call. We offer reviews of our client families on an annual basis. Things change, and you should be sure that you are still covered.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm self employed.., how do I get paid for lost wages?

Question: Matthew, I was in an auto accident and have been unable to work. How can I get reimbursed for my lost wages?

Answer: One would hope that this would be easy - but unfortunately this is one area of liability insurance that is not. It is clear if you are an employee - I can't come to work for a week - this is how much I made during that time - so the liability settlement needs to match the lost wages.

However, for the self employed it is all about record keeping. You will need to pull out tax returns, monthly or weekly records of how much was made "historically" during the same period in past years, and calendars showing canceled sales calls. The bottom line is that you are eligible for this compensation if you were injured in an accident by someone else - but there needs to be hard evidence of the amount lost by not being able to work. The insurance adjuster is the one who makes the final decision. And even this is not hard and fast. If you don't think the offer is enough, talk to your agent (if you don't have one - call me). Most insurance companies have an an appeal processes. You may have to fight to get what is due to you. Yes - you may even need to bring in a lawyer. Sorry for the bad news - but it goes with being your own boss.

But you do not have to "just take" what is offered. Talk to the adjuster and your agent. You may be able to work it out before it gets to that point.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Many agents will offer you lower Uninsured Motorist limits to save you a few dollars on your monthly premium. They are not doing you any favors.

Even with insurance mandatory in California, the numbers have remained fairly consistent. Approximately 25% of drivers are either uninsured or under insured. Because of this, it is even more important that you have this coverage set to it's maximum -which is equal to your liability coverage.

If you are in an accident caused by one of these uninsured or under-insured drivers, it is this coverage that will not only fix your car, but also pay for any hospitalization, lost wages, etc.

Say you are hit by a young driver with minimum liability insurance (15/30/10 - split limit) - your car can get fixed with their 10k property damage coverage, but now you have neck pain, and severe head aches that prevent you from working while you recover. Their 15k of liability coverage, will not go very far in replacing your medical bills and lost wages. But if you had 100k or more of Uninsured Motorist coverage - your insurance could pick up were theirs let off.

Don't let your agent talk you out of this important coverage.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Combined Single Limit vs. Split Limits

Here is some technical trivia. Most of us have "split limit" insurance. For example these numbers may look familiar - 100/300/50 or 15/30/10. These numbers refer to your liability coverage for personal injury and property damage. They are familiar, because that is how it is sold to us. 100/300/50 means that if I cause an accident that causes bodily injury, I have $100,000 of liability coverage per person and a total of $300,000 per incident. The third number means I have $50,000 for property damage liability coverage. These numbers are fairly standard, and considered by most to be OK coverage. But lets take a closer look.

Just say: you cause an accident that hurts two people and two cars. Injured person "A" claims $120,000 for injury and lost salary during recovery. Injured person "B" claims $130,000 for injury and lost salary. The first car is a total lost at $20,000 but the second car has $35,000 worth of damage. Total damage for this serious accident were $305,00. However, because of the split limits, you are now on the hook for $50,000 for bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. Do you have an extra $55,000 laying around somewhere?

With combined single limit coverage - of $300,00 would cost you $5,000. And the combined single limit for $500,000 or even $1,000,000 is not all that more expensive - considering what a serious accident could really cost you.

Talk to your agent about Combined Single Limit Insurance, or give me a call.