Let’s Set The Record Straight About – Customizing Your Insurance

Today’s clever insurance commercials are a necessary evil. They provide more information about bundling and saving, and less about the coverages you, your family, and your business really need.

We can change that by simply asking the right questions.

Customizing Your Insurance

There is no insurance company that owns a monopoly on helping you customize your insurance.

None.

Commercials, Commercials, Commercials

Commercials are designed to increase brand awareness using gimmicks including celebrity spokespersons, animals, car crashes and chases, and well, anything they think you will remember when it is time to buy insurance.

Does Every Company Allow You To Customize Your Insurance?

You can customize your home, life, auto, renters, co-op, condo, disability, long term care, personal umbrella, and yes, even your flood insurance with any company licensed to do business in the State of New York as well as every other state in the Union.

Every company gives you the ability to customize your insurance.

Every single one.

Problem is, most consumers aren’t served by most of the television commercials aired today.

They are simply goaded into a perpetual state of dissatisfaction with their current carrier, even when their current carrier is doing a good job for them.

It’s What Consumers Don’t Know About Their Insurance Which Hurts Them

Each year, I make at least 25 insurance-based presentations for HUD-approved housing agencies and organizations such as Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Harlem Churches for Community Improvement, and Impacct. I always ask those in attendance to tell me what their automobile insurance coverages are. Inevitably, 14 out of 15 give the same answer, “Full Coverage.”

Not 25/50/10.

Not 250/500/100.

Full coverage.

And when I ask them how much their policies cover in the event of an accident, they usually reply that they’re not really sure, but they did save money by bundling their home and auto.

Yay,

Buying What You Need Is A Two-Edged Sword

As long as the policy or policies quoted for you meet your state’s required minimum coverages limits, buying the cheapest policy or bundle possible is actually all you need.

What if though, you just struck and killed a pedestrian, or lost control of your vehicle and totaled a house. Will your policy provide you with the actual amount of money you will need when the jury hands down some obscenely massive award against you?

Imagine coming home to find;

  • Your home on fire.
  • Two (2) feet of toxic sewage water sloshing about your finished basement.
  • Burglars paid you an expensive visit while you are at work or the market.
  • Your good dog had a bad day.
  • There are three feet of floodwater in your home and you don’t own a flood insurance policy.

What Questions Should I Ask?

  • What, if any hoops must I jump through in case of a claim?
  • Are policy coverages or exceptions more important to know?
  • Why do I have duties after a loss?
  • In the event of a covered cause of loss, how easily will my claim be settled?
  • Is your claim service fair?


What Should My Insurance Company and/or Independent Agent and Broker teach Me?

  • Why buying home insurance based on your home’s replacement cost is essential.
  • How to determine your condominium and cooperative apartment “walls in” insurance coverage based on what a licensed contractor would charge to completely repair fire or water damaged walls, ceilings, and floors.
  • The importance for renters to complete a personal home inventory, down to the last sweat sock.
  • How owning Life and Disability insurance will prevent financial disaster should death or disability destroy the earning power of a family breadwinner.
  • Reasons why every property policy should include Water and Sewer Backup coverage. And why every cooperative and condominium apartment owner should add the Loss Assessment endorsement to their coverage.
  • Why buying flood insurance, even when their home is not in a high-risk flood zone, is a smart financial move.

And, of course, what coverages do I actually need to protect my family and home from most disasters?

The other day a woman asked me for my honest opinion of who I felt was the best insurance company out there.

My answer?

The one with whom you secured the proper policies, with sufficient coverages, which is in force at the time of your claim.

A company that won’t make you jump through hoops to settle a  claim fairly. An independent insurance agent and broker willing and able to service your policies. With premiums accurately reflecting the coverages your policies provide.

Nothing else matters.

As for the commercials, well, give my regards to Broadway.

At least until we can enjoy live theater again. Until then, stay healthy and safe.

 

Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF is an independent insurance agent and broker, licensed to conduct business in New York State. Contact Eustace at 718-783-2722, 718-489-2218, by email at eustace@insuremeeg.com or by completing the contact form on this page, or  one of the many contact forms on his website, https://greavesinsurance.com.

 

 

Automobile Insurance Quote

Be honest and tell the tell the quoting broker or clerk if there are other drivers in your household, whether or not they will driving your car, or own their own cars. There are few things worse than being caught in a lie when looking for auto insurance.

Put The Car Behind The Automobile Insurance Quote.

Thinking about calling some insurance agencies for an automobile insurance quote? Looking for better coverage for your dollar, a less-expensive policy, or some combination of both?

Then do yourself and every broker or clerk you speak to a tremendous favor and prepare certain information before you make your first call for an automobile insurance quote.

Basic Information You’ll Need For Your Quote

  1. Your driver license because the broker will need the license number to order your motor vehicle record.  Yes, people do call for an automobile insurance quote and can’t find their driver license. What would they do if the police pulled them over and said “License, insurance card and registration”?
  2. Your date of birth.
  3. Your social security number.
  4. The age you were first licensed. 1
  5. The year you were first licensed. 1
  6. Has you driver license even been suspended or revoked for cause?
  7. Have you ever completed a Defensive Driving course? If so, what was the date you completed the course. 2
  8. The Vehicle Identification Number (s) of any vehicle you want to insure.
  9. Your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
  10. The cost of your vehicle when it was new.
  11. How the car or truck will be driven. In other words, will it be pleasure only, used for a short or a long commute to work, or will it be used in the course of your business?
  12. Your current address. If you haven’t lived at your current address for at least three (3) years, what was you last address, and how long did you live there?
  13. The name, policy number, and length of time you’ve been insured by your current auto insurer, and any other automobile insurance company you’ve been insured by in the last five (5) years.
  14. How many, if any, no-fault losses have you had in the past five (5) years? If any, when did they occur, and how much was paid for each claim? 1
  15. How many moving violations?
  16. How many accidents in the last five (5) years? How many were definitely your fault? 1
  17. When did they occur? 1
  18. How many points on your license? 1

Honesty Counts

Above all else, be honest. Tell the quoting broker or clerk if there are other drivers in your household, whether or not they will driving your car, or own their own cars and carry their own insurance. There are few things worse than being caught in a lie when looking for auto insurance.

For example, I recently tried to work with a young lady who, when our conversation began, confirmed she lived alone. There were no other people in her household.

This young lady then told me she had two (2) vehicles to insure. To insurance agents and brokers this is a sure danger sign, especially for someone who’d never had an automobile insurance policy before. So, I asked her whether she would be driving both vehicles, or would someone else drive the second vehicle. She said her husband would be driving the second vehicle. So, when I asked her if she and her husband lived together, she seemed slightly put off, telling me that of course she, her husband and their children lived together.

I asked why she didn’t provide this information when I first requested it and she admitted that a family member told her not to as this should get her a lower rate.

He must have some driving record. Little wonder why automobile insurance premiums are so high, especially here in Brooklyn and Queens.

Best of luck with your search.

References:

1   All of this information can be found on your driving record, or driving abstract. To avoid a trip to their local DMV office, New York State licensees can go to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website, http://dmv.ny.gov.

  1. Click on “Top Online Services” under the heading, “Driver Licenses.”
  2. Click on “Get My Driving Record.”

You can order your abstract either through the mail using the MV-15 form for $10.00, or get it online for the fee of $7.00. You will have to create a “MyDMV” account to this.

Of course,  you can always get a copy of your driver license by simply going to your  local DMV office.

2 Defensive Driving courses provide automobile insurance premium discounts and driver license point reduction which last for three (3) years from the course date.

For 33 years, and since October 20, 1995 when he opened his own financial services agency, Eustace L. Greaves, Jr., LUTCF has enjoyed providing his clients with the personal lines insurance coverages, income tax services, and defensive driving workshops they need to better their financial lives. 

Call him at 718-783-2722, or email him Eustace@insuremeeg.com for a competitive quote for your life, home, flood, disability, renters, coop, condo, long-term care, and automobile insurance, personal income tax preparation services, or the date of his next defensive driving class. 

Bundle Insurance Coverages, Or Else | Brooklyn Covered

According to a recent article in The Insurance Journal, a major insurance company announced plans to drop their North Carolina homeowers insurance clients who didn’t bundle, or combine, their automobile insurance policy with the same company. As many as 45,000 homeowners insurance customers were due to be non-renewed unless they bundled insurance coverages for their home and automobile insurance from this carrier by December 15, 2011.

Bundle Insurance Coverages, Or Else

According to a recent article in The Insurance Journal, a major insurance company announced plans to drop their North Carolina homeowners insurance clients who didn’t bundle, or combine, their automobile insurance policy with the same company. As many as 45,000 homeowners insurance customers were due to be non-renewed unless they bundled insurance coverages for their home and automobile insurance from this carrier by December 15, 2011.

The company doesn’t plan to simply let these former policyholders fend for themselves. They’ve already made arrangements with other companies to provide these former policyholders with coverage.

Let’s look at the positives of bundling insurance coverages.

  1. Bundling insurance coverages saves money. When you place one or more policies with the same company, you can qualify for what’s known as a multi-policy discount. This discount, depending on the company, can range from 5% to 15% on each policy you have with the same company.
  2. Bundling makes it easier to keep up with all your coverages. Now you won’t have to call two (2) or more agent or servicing companies to stay on top of your insurance. 
  3. Purchasing Umbrella Insurance. Adding an Umbrella Liability policy to your insurance portfolio is a cost-effective method of protecting your property from loss in case of a liability claim against you. To qualify to buy this coverage, many companies now require you to have both your auto and homeowners coverage with them. One reason for this is to guarantee the insured continually carries certain minimum personal liability amounts on each policy. And, the company knows immediately if either policy lapses, which could invalidate the umbrella policy coverage.

While there are positives, this “Forced-Bundling,” (sounds a bit like force-placed homeowners insurance doesn’t it?) does raise several critical questions. 

  1. What is their financial relationship with these other companies? Are they truly separate entities, or will they be some type of wholly owned subsidiary?
  2. How will this company compensate its agents for the loss of income they stand to face? Imagine an agent losing 50 – 250 clients in one fell swoop. This will create a huge loss of income during difficult economic times.
  3. Will they allow their agents to become licensed agents for these other insurance companies, or will that ability only be offered to  preferred agencies? Even if they allow all of their agents to seek agency contracts with the new companies, will those companies only offer agency contracts to the best and/or largest agencies?
  4. How will these same agents deal with the loss of community confidence and good will? People tend not to like being dictated to, and the easiest person to whom they can voice their displeasure is their local agent. And, they’ll vote with their feet, wallets and pocketbooks.
  5. How does the underwriting and claims handling ability of the  new companies compare with that of the original company?
  6. What if you’re paying less for your automobile insurance at another company, even while taking the multi-policy discount into effect? Why should you be forced to pay more than what you’re paying now with another carrier?
  7. Let’s suppose you have terrible credit and/or a lousy driving record. You may not even meet the basic underwriting criteria for any of this company’s auto insurance companies. What will happen then?

This situation will anger many, and that’s understandable. One of my clients claimed it was akin to being held up at gunpoint in a dark alley with the criminal telling you, “You’d better give me some money or I’m going to shoot you.”

And just your luck, you’re wearing your jogging shorts.

The ones without the pockets.

 I’ll let you know how this works out for all parties concerned.