An Independent Agent works for you, not the Insurance Company. We represent a variety of companies to give you the best coverage at the best price. The companies we represent are chosen based on performance, pricing, claim servicing and financial stability.
What are the advantages to using an agent to purchase insurance?
You, the policyholder will receive more personal service with an agent with whom there is personal contact. This relationship can be vital, especially when filing a claim.
What other financial services do you offer?
Annuities, 401-K’s, IRA’s and more.
How do I file an auto claim?
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible regardless of who is at fault. Find out whether you’re covered for this loss. Even if the accident appears minor, it is important that you let your insurance company know about the incident.
- Ask your agent how to proceed and what forms or documents are needed to support your claim. Your insurance company will require a “proof of claim” form and, if there is one, a copy of the police report.
- Supply the information your insurer requests. Keep good records. Get the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak with and copies of any bills related to the accident.
If I file a claim, will my premium go up?
You may be reluctant to file a claim because you fear that your premium will go up or your insurance will be canceled. Practices vary from company to company. In general, an insurer will increase your premium by specific percentages for each chargeable claim made against your policy above a specific dollar amount. A chargeable claim is one the insurer considers primarily your fault. The percentages and ceilings vary from company to company. These increases generally stay on your premium for three years following the claim.
Your company may also decide not to renew your policy if your driving record gets markedly worse or you have several accidents. Different insurers have different rules about what constitutes an unacceptably bad driving record. But some accidents, such as those caused by drunk driving, will probably trigger a non-renewal from virtually every insurance company.
If you have an accident but don’t report it to your insurer, you are taking a risk, even if the damage seems minor. If the other driver sues you weeks or months later, your failure to report the accident might cause your insurer to refuse to honor the policy. And even if they do honor the policy, the delay will certainly make it harder for the insurer to gather evidence to represent you.
How do I file a homeowners claim?
If someone has become injured on your property or if a violent storm destroys your home, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. Remember, a homeowners policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. And there are rules and procedures that you and your insurer must follow. Read your insurance policy to see what your responsibilities are.
Report any crime to the police
If you are the victim of a theft or your home has been vandalized or burglarized, report it to the police. Get a police report and the names of all law enforcement officers that you speak with.
Phone your agent or company immediately
Insurance policies place a time limit on filing claims. Find out what the time limit is. Ask questions: “Am I covered?” “Does my claim exceed my deductible?” “How long will it take to process my claim?” “Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?”
Make temporary repairs
Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
Prepare a list of lost or damaged articles
You are going to need to substantiate your loss. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. You should also consider photographing or videotaping the damage. Prepare a home inventory, make a copy for your adjuster and supply him or her with copies of receipts from damaged items.
If you need to relocate, keep your receipts
If your home is severely damaged and you need to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, keep records of all additional expenses incurred. Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for the “loss of use” of your home.
Have an adjuster inspect the damage of your home
Your insurance company will arrange for an adjuster to come and inspect your home.
Once you and your insurance company agree on the terms of your settlement, state laws require that you be sent payment promptly. In most cases, your claim will be processed quickly.
How is the settlement amount determined?
The settlement amount depends on which type of policy you have. Having inadequate insurance can affect the amount of compensation you get.
Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value
Replacement cost provides you with the dollar amount needed to replace a damaged item with one of similar kind and quality without deducting for depreciation – the decrease in value due to age, obsolescence, wear and tear and other factors. An actual cash value policy pays you the amount needed to replace the item minus depreciation.
Extended and Guaranteed Replacement Cost
If your home is damaged beyond repair, a typical homeowners policy will pay to replace it up to the limits of the policy. When the value of your insurance policy has kept up with increases in local building costs, a similar dwelling can generally be rebuilt for an amount that is within the policy limits.
Some insurance companies offer a replacement cost policy that will pay a certain percentage over the limit to rebuild your home – 20 percent or more, depending on the insurer – so that if building costs go up unexpectedly, you will have the extra funds to cover the bill. These are called extended replacement cost policies. A few insurance companies still offer a guaranteed replacement cost policy that pays whatever it costs to rebuild your home as it was before the disaster. But neither a guaranteed nor an extended replacement cost policy will pay for a house that’s better than the one that was destroyed.
Mobile Home Policies
If you own a mobile home, you may have a policy based on replacement cost, actual cash value or, in a few cases, a “stated amount.” With a stated amount policy, the maximum amount you receive if your home is destroyed is the amount you agreed to when the policy was issued. The depreciation in the value of your home is not considered in the settlement. If you opt for the stated amount, update your policy annually to make sure that the stated amount will cover the realistic cost of replacing your mobile home. Check with mobile home dealers to find out what similar homes sell for now.
What is the difference between cancellation and non-renewal?
There is a big difference between an insurance company canceling a policy and choosing not to renew it. Insurance companies cannot cancel a policy that has been in force for more than 60 days except when:
- You fail to pay the premium.
- You have committed fraud or made serious misrepresentations on your application.
- (auto) Your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.
Non-renewal is a different matter. Either you or your insurance company can decide not to renew the policy when it expires. Depending on the state you live in, your insurance company must give you a certain number of days notice and explain the reason for not renewing before it drops your policy.
The company may have decided to drop that particular line of insurance or to write fewer policies where you live, so the non-renewal decision may not be because of something you did. On the other hand, if you did do something that raised the insurance company’s risk considerably, like committing fraud or driving drunk, the premium may rise or you may not have your policy renewed.
If your insurance company did not renew your policy, you will not necessarily be charged a higher premium at another insurance company.