You can’t get through the news lately without a discussion about a cyber-attack. Target, JPMorgan, Equifax – big names we have all heard of, and obvious targets for a cyber-attack. But so is your business. Whether you own a small dry cleaner, donut shop or local restaurant your business is a perfect target for cyber criminals. [Read more…]
Insurance vs Identity Protection
As an insurance agent it’s my job to make sure that my clients are covered or insured against potential risks. The real purpose of insurance is to restore you to the place you were prior to the loss. Most of the time that’s fine. We can repair a car or replace a stolen item. Your identity – well that’s a different matter. [Read more…]
I’ll get to your sewer line in a moment, but by now I hope that most of you have had an explanation from your agent about sewer backup and sump pump failure. If not, here are some basics. [Read more…]
Flood insurance is a topic that is shrouded in mystery for many homeowners. This topic of conversation is usually initiated when a lending institution requires the policy as condition of the loan. But flood insurance is something that everyone should investigate regardless of a loan requirement.
As the most common natural disaster, floods caused claims of more than $3.5 billion annually from 2005 to 2014. The average claim was $42,000.
But flood insurance isn’t as mainstream to most people like home or auto insurance. That is where the mystery comes from for most homeowners. Here are five things you need to know about flood insurance.
- You live in a flood zone – That’s right. Everyone lives in a flood zone. The question is, whether or not you live in a low, moderate or high risk flood zone.
- Contents coverage must be purchased separately. Unlike homeowners insurance which has a limit built in for you, contents will only be covered if you request the additional coverage.
- When it comes to basements, or areas that are the below the lowest elevated floor, coverage is limited. In fact, most personal property such as clothing or electronic equipment are not covered. Your finished basement? Not covered. However, appliances such as washer and dryers or food freezers are covered. The scope of the policy only covers your home. Anything outside the property like sheds, pools, decks or patios are not covered under a flood policy.
- The maximum you can insure is up to $250,000 for the structure of the home. The limit for contents coverage is up to $100,000.
- Flood insurance rates can be affordable. If you live in a moderate or low flood risk zone the premiums are affordable. All flood insurance rates are set at the federal lever and will not differ between insurance companies.
So is flood insurance right for you? You won’t know until you talk to us. Give us a call at 513-444-2100 or email us at email@example.com to decide if a flood policy is right for you.
Every couple of years I must secure enough continuing education credits to keep my license in place. Most insurance agents dread these classes. They can be long and if you have been an agent for a while, some of the content is just a repeat of the classes you have been to a dozen times before.
Most of these classes are taught by former agents or claims adjusters. And in the case of this particular class, the conversations regarding home insurance brought up an interesting dialogue about coverage for personal property. [Read more…]
You purchase insurance to cover the things that mean the most to you such as your home. Your agent gave you the quote, you saw the premium and signed on the dotted line. That means your home is covered, right? Well, sort of. [Read more…]
We insure our family with things such as life and health insurance. So if Fido is part of the clan, shouldn’t he or she get the same benefit?
If the answer is yes, you have probably considered pet insurance. What is it? Simply stated it is health insurance for your pet. Just like your health insurance if provides benefits for things like wellness visits, hospitalization or emergency room visits. It has co-pays and of course premiums. Plans will vary by what you can purchase. Some plans only provide coverage for emergencies and some plans will allow you to purchase broader coverage. However, the majority these plans don’t cover congenital issues or pre-existing conditions. While I have addressed the concerns of cats and dogs, some carriers also insure birds, rabbits, snakes and turtles.
According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, about 1.4 million pets in the U.S. and Canada were covered by a plan at the end of 2014. That is less than 1 percent of the total number of pet cats and dogs. It is interesting to note that one of the fastest growing employee benefits is pet insurance so those numbers are continuing to grow.
Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
But is pet insurance really worth it? Consider the cost of a torn ACL. That’s $3,500. Cancer treatments can run up to $5,000. You would need to balance the cost of the policy versus the potential medical costs. Those costs can vary depending upon the coverage purchased. In some cases, pet policies can run you thousands of dollars annually. You could reduce the cost by forgoing wellness coverage and pay that out of pocket as needed. For some of you, it won’t matter the cost. You’ll do whatever it takes to help your pet because you believe that is the humane thing to do.
What Are My Other Options?
Many of you will come to a different conclusion. You might not be able to justify the cost with limited budgets, or you consider euthanasia is a more humane option in the most extreme cases. If that is the case, perhaps starting a savings account for potential medical emergencies is a more practical option. This option will require discipline so ask yourself if you can really commit to this type of savings. There is no right or wrong answer here. It is what’s best for you and your family.
The most important thing is knowing what your options are and what works best for you and your loved ones. If you would like to learn more or discuss your options please feel free to contact me or call our office at 513-280-8428. By the way, since it is National Puppy Day, consider visiting a local shelter and adopting a puppy or dog. There are many out there that need a good home.
Photo courtesy: foto.DANE, Flickr
I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!
I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.
So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”
I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.
I was recently asked this question by one of our Chip Berry Insurance clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.
There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.
Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.
At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.
By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.
When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).
When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.
This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.
So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.
What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.
This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.
If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.
Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older? At Chip Berry Insurance, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.
First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.
It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.
The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.
A human life is not.
When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.
Loss of Income
Loss of use
These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?
How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?
All of them.
Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.
Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.
You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.
Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.
This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.
That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.
The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.
Hope this helps! If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.