Archive for Insurance Tips

Why chose an independent insurance agent?

Why chose an independent insurance agent?

When buying insurance for your car and home, there are three basic sources:

  1. Direct to Consumer
  2. Exclusive/captive Agents
  3. Independent Agents

Direct to Consumer

Insurance companies that sell directly to consumers include: Geico, Esurance, Progressive Direct, The General and others. These companies sell online and via call centers and offer the convenience of extended hours and online access. When buying this way you are probably making a lot of decisions on your own. For example, are state minimum liability limits adequate for you?  What coverage types should you have? Who pays when those limits are exceeded? If you’re making decisions based on paying the lowest price possible, you could be left under-insured or not covered at all. Instead of paying a little more on your premium, you risk paying the rest of your life for one mistake.

Many who buy insurance on their own believe it will save them money because they’re not using a agent. While it’s true that some people can get a cheaper rate like everything else, no one company has the best rates for everyone. Direct carriers may not pay an agent commission (typically 10-15%), however they do have other significant expenses. They pay people to staff their call centers, the website programmers and other overhead. Since there are no insurance agents bringing them customers, direct insurance carriers must pay more to advertise their services to you. Geico for example spent more than $1 billion in advertising in 2013, more than 6% of their premium revenue, according to data collected by SNL Financial. Since online carriers don’t assign you to a specific agent, you’ll talk to a different person every time you call rather than getting personal service from a licensed agent that knows you.

Exclusive/captive Agents

Exclusive or captive agents work for one particular carrier who sets the agenda for their agents as to what products they can sell. These companies such as State Farm, American Family or Allstate are often only sold through their own agents who are contracted or employed by the company. Therefore they generally have less options to offer their customers. If you want to check other carriers for a better rate or get coverage they don’t offer, you will need to find another agent. You may have noticed that many of the big exclusive carriers spend a lot of money on advertising to convince you that their insurance is worth more money.

Independent Agents

Independent are also local agents. However since they are independent from the companies they sell, they are able to offer multiple carriers. More carriers give independent agents access to different types of insurance coverage. This makes it more possible to find all your insurance needs at one local agency.

 

Benefits of an independent insurance agent

 

Since independent agents are not employed by the companies they represent, they are able to offer clients more carriers. Multiple carriers gives the independent agent more options to better fit your needs. For example one carrier may be a better fit for families with young drivers, one might have the best rates for empty-nesters and another may be better for drivers with multiple violations or accidents. And since these carriers have to compete for the independent agent’s business, they know they need to offer more competitive rates. Independent insurance agents are true business owners. Independent agencies are often locally owned and operated by people you have known for many years. Insurance Gurus will quote your auto and home insurance with Progressive, Le Mars, Safeco, AAA, Integrity, State Auto, MetLife, Dairyland, Foremost and others.

Cedar Rapids Insurance Agent – Ed Faber

You have many choices when it comes to finding good insurance coverage. For many people, their insurance decision comes down to trusted relationships. Yes, price is an important factor but when you need to use your insurance, what matters most to you? Is it the (well advertised) insurance company or is it your relationship with your local agent? An independent agent can offer the best of all worlds: personal service, professional advice and a competitive rate. Ed Faber is an independent insurance agent servicing clients in Cedar Rapids and the state of Iowa.

 

 

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How Deer Accidents Affect your Insurance Rates

Deer collisions can affect your insurance rates

Watch for deer and prevent injury and property damage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ve always been a safe a driver. You’re heading down the highway at dusk and out the corner of your eye, you get a glimpse something moving and then, BOOM! After you calm down you realize you hit a deer and it really did a number to the front of your car. According to the Insurance Information Institute, car and deer collisions cost $4 billion a year. Iowa is ranked third in the nation for the likelihood of a deer collision.

Which insurance coverage pays for deer collisions?

Your auto insurance’s comprehensive coverage will pay for your car’s property damage caused by a collision with a deer or animal. Comprehensive coverage is sometimes called, “Other than Collision.” This is the same coverage that pays for damage to your car by many natural causes such as wind, fire, hail, flood or falling objects like a tree branch downed in a storm. Deer strikes are not considered a collision by insurance because the animal usually runs into your vehicle.

Comprehensive insurance claims are considered not at-fault. Therefore insurance companies don’t surcharge for collisions with a deer. Your deductible would apply, although some insureds maintain a slightly lower deductible on their comprehensive coverage than on their collision coverage. The reasoning behind this practice is some are willing to bear more of the risk for an accident they caused if they feel they are a relatively safe driver. The higher your deducible, the lower your premium cost.

Brake – don’t swerve

I had a customer who reported a deer related claim. Several deer had run onto the roadway at once and her instinct was to avoid them. She quickly jerked the steering wheel, putting the car into the ditch and damaging the car. The claims adjuster asked if she hit any of the deer. She said she wasn’t sure since it happened so fast. The adjuster asked if there was any physical evidence of the deer on her car such as blood or fur. There wasn’t any and subsequently the claim was ruled a collision, an at-fault accident. That triggered a premium surcharge and a loss of the safe driving discount, a double blow to the pocketbook!

No one deliberately wants to see an animal get harmed. However much more serious crashes can occur when you quickly serve out of your lane into the path of another car or object. Instead, stay in your lane and brake firmly if you see a deer coming into your path. Be on the lookout for deer especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.

Deer Season in Iowa

The regular shotgun deer season is roughly Dec. 5th through 20th this year. As deer are flushed out of their habitat they can end up running across roads and highways. Mating season or “the rut” also occurs in the fall of the year, typically late October to early November in Iowa. Be particularly vigilant and avoid an expensive encounter with a deer this season!

Learn More: Understanding your Auto Insurance
photo credit: Deer crossing the road

via photopin (license)

Posted in: Driving Tips, Insurance Tips

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