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Benefits of Buying Through an Agent vs. Buying Online

Buying insurance online is certainly easy convenient but when you’re buying something to protect your home, assets, & your family’s financial well-being, should convenience be a determining factor?  I certainly don’t think so.  Many people who buy online are looking for the best price as fast as they can get it and that’s it.  That is not the way you should make an important decision like purchasing insurance.  For many people, insurance is viewed as a commodity, almost like toilet paper….they just want something cheap that hopefully doesn’t have holes in it. The reality is that unless you know what you’re doing or buying from someone who knows what they’re doing, odds are you’ll have some holes in your coverage.

Independent agents understand that price is and always will be a concern and one of the benefits of going through an independent agent is that they have options and can go to different companies to shop for you to get the coverage you need at the best price.  If your price goes up for some reason, they can go to the other companies they represent and get you a new policy and you’ll still get to work with the same people as when you originally got your policy.  You won’t have to go through the whole process of shopping for insurance all over again – your agent will do that for you.  You can sit back & relax and your agent will call or email you with a quote for a new policy that will have the same coverage you previously had.

When you call about your policy after purchasing a policy online, that person could be on the other side of the country or even on the other side of the world.  When you go through an independent agent, you are working with people who live in your area and understand the needs you have and the issues you face.  You can also stop in and speak to someone face to face to discuss what it is you are paying for.  Any good agent will be there to help you if/when you have a claim.  You can stop in and drop off paperwork or stop by their office if you’re without power for a few days which can help expedite the claims process and get you back to normal as soon as possible.  When you call Atlantic Insurance Services to check on something, you won’t have to go through an automated menu – you’ll get to talk to a real live person and won’t have to explain your situation to 5 different people before your issue is resolved.

Independent agents are required to take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses and many will go above & beyond the minimum state required education requirements and attain a professional designation such as CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor) or CPCU (Charter Property Casualty Underwriter).  While these designations may not mean a whole lot to the average person, those who work in the insurance industry know that these are not easy to attain and they show a commitment to education on the part of these agents.  These agents are more likely to understand the complexities involved in various insurance products and how they apply to your individual needs than some person in a call center on the other side of the country.

 

Minimum/Low Limits on Personal Auto Policy

Too many times we hear customers & potential customers tell us “I only need minimum limits, this car is a piece of junk” or “I only drive it to work a few minutes away, I just want to be legal”.  What people don’t realize is that you can do just as much damage with an ’87 Chevy as you can with a brand new Range Rover and you can get in an accident 2 miles from your home just as easy as you could if you were 100 miles away.  If you don’t want to get “full coverage” on your old hunk of junk, that’s fine BUT don’t get cheap on the bodily injury & property damage limits.  That’s the coverage that is going to be most valuable to you and that’s where you should have the highest limits you can afford.

 

You can do as much damage with this:

Chevy

 

As you can with this:

 

Range Rover

 

Another important coverage that often gets overlooked by customers is uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage.  This coverage protects you against drivers who don’t have any insurance or who have minimum/low limits.  You don’t want to skimp on this coverage either.  If you are hit by someone, would you want them to have the state minimum limits or would you want them to have the highest limits available?  If you are simply going with the cheapest option, you’ll likely have next to no coverage here and if one of those uninsured drivers hits you, you could be without coverage (over 10% of drivers have no insurance, even more have low/inadequate limits).  Think about what coverage you’d like that person who hits you/your car to have and that’s what you should be basing your decision on, not what the cheapest option is or who has the best commercial….even though some of them are pretty funny. Price is certainly a factor when making a decision on what insurance company to go with but it should not be the only factor or the most important factor.  Look at it like buying a pair of gloves or a pair of shoes – would you buy a pair of gloves with only 4 fingers on each hand?  Would you buy a pair of shoes with holes in them just because they’re cheap?  Probably not because then they won’t do what you bought them to do.  You are buying insurance to protect yourself and your assets.  Don’t just look for the cheapest policy and don’t try to do it on your own.  Call an agent and get some advice.  Many times you can end up saving money and getting better coverage but focus on the coverage first & foremost.  Even if you spend a little more than you think you should, you’ll be glad you did if/when you have a claim.

Why do you need a personal umbrella policy?

There are a number of reasons why you should have a personal umbrella policy. First, if you don’t know what a personal umbrella policy is, it basically provides excess coverage should the liability limits on your personal auto and/or homeowners policy be used up. For example, if you have a $500,000 personal liability limit on your homeowners policy and you have a liability claim for $750,000, your homeowners policy would pay the first $500,000 and then IF you have an umbrella policy, it would pay the remaining $250,000. ┬áTypically, umbrella policies can be purchased in increments of $1,000,000.

Here are a few examples of situations where an umbrella policy could protect you & your family’s financial well-being:
– A guest of yours is severely injured while diving into the pool at your home and is unable to work. Between the medical bills and the lost wages, the total amount they are suing you for (yes, even friends will sue you) is $1,000,000. You have $500,000 in liability coverage on your homeowners. If you have an umbrella policy, that will cover the remaining $500,000. If you don’t, your house may become your friends house.

– You severely injure a doctor in an auto accident. Again, between the lost wages and medical bills, the claim is worth $1,000,000 which is much more than your auto liability limits of $250,000 per person. Your umbrella policy would step in and pay the remaining $750,000.

– You’re playing golf and you shank one into someones backyard and seriously injure someone. That someone is a lawyer who makes 6 figures. You can bet he’ll be suing you for his medical bills, lost wages, & future earnings. Your homeowners liability (which you can also get if you are a renter) will provide some coverage but will it be enough to fully pay the claim? If it’s not, your umbrella policy will kick in and cover the balance.

– You are driving home after you hit that lawyer with the golf ball when you’re hit by an uninsured driver (over 10% of drivers out there don’t have any insurance at all…even more have low/inadequate limits). Your injuries are very serious and you’re unable to work. You can’t sue the other driver because that person has no assets and no insurance so now what do you do? Assuming you have uninsured/underinsured coverage that may help but that could quickly be used up and now you are on the hook….unless you have an umbrella policy which provides excess uninsured/underinsured coverage.

If you drive a car, if you ever have friends over your home, if you own a pool, if you play golf or have other hobbies….basically, if you ever leave your home, there is a chance that something could happen and you need an umbrella policy! Get a quote on a personal umbrella TODAY!