Frequently Asked Questions
What are some practical things I can do to lower my automobile insurance rates?
There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your automobile insurance. The easiest thing to do is ask us to get quotes from several companies for you.
It is not uncommon to find quotes on automobile insurance that can vary by hundreds of dollars for the same coverage on the same car. When you shop, be careful to make sure each insurer is offering the same coverage.
Another way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to look for any discounts for which you may qualify. For example, many insurers will offer you a discount if you insure multiple cars under the same policy, or if you have had a driver education class in the last five years. Be sure to ask us about their discount plans.
Another easy way to lower the cost of your automobile insurance is to increase the deductible. Simply raising your deductible from $250 to $500 can lower your premium sometimes by as much as five or ten percent.
What should I consider when purchasing automobile insurance?
There are a number of factors to consider when purchasing any product or service, and insurance is no different. Here is a checklist of things you should consider when purchasing automobile insurance.
- Base your decision on value. This is more than simply the lowest price. The premium you pay should be compared to the claims and policy service, protection and advice you receive. Independent agents, and the companies we represent, deliver excellent value.
- Purchase the amount of liability coverage that makes sense to you.
- You should decide which optional coverages you want. For example, do you want optional physical damage coverages or is the market value of your car too low to warrant purchasing them.
- Once you have decided what you want in your automobile insurance policy, you can now decide from whom you would like to purchase the insurance from.
What are the advantages to using an agent to purchase insurance?
By using an agent to purchase insurance, the policyholder receives more personal service. An agent with whom there is direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim. A local, independent agent is able to deliver quality insurance with competitive pricing and local personalized service.
Suppose I lend my car to a friend, is he/she covered under my automobile insurance policy?
Whenever you knowingly loan your car to a friend or an associate, he or she will be covered under your automobile insurance policy, subject to any driver exclusions on your policy.
Life Insurance FAQs
My mortgage company says I should buy life insurance from them, what is that about?
Most likely your mortgage company is offering something called “mortgage protection life insurance” or “decreasing mortgage protection” or a similar title. This sort of protection is a basic term life insurance policy that usually has a level premium, but the death benefit pays off your mortgage loan at your death. This level premium may or may not reflect the decreasing death benefit. What that means is that you will be paying the same premium each year for a death benefit that is decreasing over time (as your mortgage decreases with payments). This is the case with any sort of “credit life insurance”, insurance taken out in conjunction with an installment loan. There may be better alternatives. You should talk to your insurance professional before purchasing any type of coverage to see what other alternatives are available.
What if I already have life insurance coverage through my employer?
That’s great, and it’s wonderful that you are fortunate enough to have an employer that recognizes the value of life insurance coverage for you and your family. Be sure to find out from your employer if this coverage is ‘portable’, meaning you can take your policy with you when you leave the company or become disabled. Not all policies are portable. When talking to your insurance professional, be sure that he or she knows you have this type of coverage so that can be factored into any determination of your additional needs.
Why should I purchase life insurance coverage on my children or my spouse?
Your priority is to provide for your family. This should be your priority when considering life insurance as well.
You must have the means to take care of your financial obligations, as well as providing care for your children should your homemaker-spouse die. The opportune time to buy life insurance for your children is when they are young and the rates are low. This enables them to continue the coverage when they are grown with financial obligations of their own. This also protects their “insurability”, should they develop any sort of health problem later in life. There are many types of policies that can be made into “family plans” at a lower cost than separate coverages for each individual. Talk to your insurance professional to determine your needs.
How much life insurance should I purchase?
As a “rule of thumb” you should purchase an amount of life insurance equal to 6 to 8 times the annual earnings. However, many factors should be taken into account in determining a more precise estimate of the amount of life insurance needed. Important Factors include:
- Income sources (and amounts) other than salary/earnings
- Whether or not the individual is married and, if so, the spouse’s earning capacity
- The number of individuals who are financially dependent on the insured
- The amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and from an employer sponsored life insurance plan
- Whether any special life insurance needs exist (e.g. mortgage repayment, education fund, estate planning need) etc.
It is recommended that a person’s financial professional be contacted for a precise calculation of how much life insurance is needed.
How do I know which is the right type of life insurance?
The answer will vary depending on your circumstances, need for the coverage, timing of the purchase and how much you are willing or able to spend. The best way to determine the right policy is to sit down with a qualified insurance professional to review the key points of your particular situation. This can be done through a very short (30 minutes or less) interview to determine your needs.