Shopping for insurance can be overwhelming but it really doesn’t have to be. Buckner Insurance is here to help!! Below are some Frequently Asked Questions and answers about personal and commercial insurance.
There are so many insurance companies, where do I start?
When it comes to insurance there are Captive Agents and Independent Agents. Captive Agents are companies like AllState, State Farm, & Nationwide, to name a few. They only have the option to place your insurance with their company. Some captive companies have no agents at all, just an 800 number for example Geico. Independent Agents represent multiple companies and are able to get you more comparative prices with one single phone call. They also have the resources to keep all of your family and insurance with one Agent, in the unique case bundling is not your best option. One example would be a youthful driver with a bad driving record who may need to be on a separate policy. Regardless of what you choose remember there is so much value to having an experienced agent working for you every step of the way.
Some other tips would be to research the company itself. Check out Facebook and Google reviews and ask for some recommendations from your friends and family. You can also further research the insurance by checking out their A.M Best rating. This will show the company’s financial strength.
What information should I have available when calling for a quote?
It is important when getting prices from new companies that you are comparing Apples to Apples. If someone is quoting you a much better price, be sure it is not at the expense of your coverage. It is always a good idea to contact your current agent before shopping and ask them to send you a copy of your current “Declarations Pages”. This will list all of your current coverages along with almost all of the other prudent information needed to properly quote you. This is something they can quickly and easily fax or email to you.
If you choose not go that route, all companies will always need the first and last name of every driver in the household along with birthdates and driver’s license numbers. We will also need your address and vehicle information. VIN numbers are helpful but are not necessary for a quote.
**It is always a good idea to shop everything at once. Bundle discounts are a huge savings and it’s easier to just do it all at once. This goes for home, auto, life, & Business Insurance.
How Often Should I shop?
That is a great question!! Everyone is different; typically we would say every 2 to 3 years for those who are just rate shopping. Some companies offer “Welcome” Discounts, which you will sometimes see fall off or decrease after about a year. Sometimes there are certain life events can be a good time to shop. Things like buying a new home, youthful drivers being added to the policy, or the passing of a spouse or named insured.
** You do not have to wait until your renewal date to shop.
What things affect my rate?
There are so many factors built into insurance rates. A few things are: Your age, marital status, the area in which you live, claims and violations, your vehicle ages & types, home characteristics, multi-policy discounts, having a company car, your annual mileage, your credit, the age of your roof, your coverages and deductibles, youthful drivers in the household, and continuous prior insurance. Those are some of the main factors but not all.
How do I know what coverage I should get?
Knowing what coverage to have starts with knowing what your coverage means. Here are a few common insurance coverage terms and what they mean.
Collision- Pays for damage to the vehicle from impact with other vehicles or objects. (This is subject to a deductible)
Comprehensive- Sometimes called “Other than Collision” protects the vehicle against loss from fire, theft, animal collision, vandalism, breakage of glass, and windstorm/hail. (This is subject to a deductible)
Deductible- a specified amount of money that you must pay before an insurance company will pay a claim. The higher your deductible the lower the premium.
As far as understanding how much coverage you need, that is another great example of the value of having an agent. Your agent will ask questions when talking to you to understand your specific situation and be able to recommend proper coverages. Generally, the more money you have and assets you own the more liability insurance you should have to protect them. In some cases you may even need an umbrella policy. Umbrellas extend liability coverage and are a last line of defense against lawsuits. You would be surprised how affordable a million dollar umbrella policy is. You should also have enough life insurance to cover your mortgage and protect your family in the event of your death.
Why are you insuring my home for more than what it is appraised at?
Companies use different computer programs called “Replacement Cost Estimators”. In this program we enter all of your home information. This includes things like square footage, foundation, building material, and interior specifications. This will determine a rebuild amount based on today’s current construction costs. Your homes current market value and cost to rebuild it are completely different. It is always a good idea if you feel this amount is too high to discuss it with your agent to review. They may have simply gotten some misinformation from the Auditor’s site and/or have additional options available to lower the amount.
What about My Business Insurance?
It is a good idea to talk to your current agent before each year’s renewal to determine what adjustments should be made to your insurance. This can be reviewing driver’s lists, sales, equipment and vehicle lists, and business property limits.
We suggest shopping and comparing new prices every 2 to 3 years. You are a business owner and your time is valuable. So is your money and it is important to not overpay for insurance for your growing business. When shopping your insurance keep in mind most agents will set up appointments to come to you. Just like personal insurance, having a copy of your current policy is a great start. The agent will probably have a few additional questions because every business is unique and therefore insurance should never be one size fits all. If you have commercial auto coverage a current drivers list is needed. Also Loss runs. Loss runs are a list of any claims your business has had in the last 3 to 5 years. All of these things are easily obtained from your current agent. They can be quickly printed off and faxed or emailed to you directly. Taking the time to shop could save you thousands of dollars a year!!
For More Insurance Questions
Please call Buckner Insurance at 937-434-6800 or email Office@BucknerInsurnace.com.
Jon Zimmerman and Buckner Insurance have been taking care of my personal and company insurance for over 10 years. We initially switched to them because of the cost savings. Over this time we have experienced the benefits of Buckner that have far exceeded the savings. The service my agent Jon has given us has led to many friends and companies I use making the switch to Buckner as well.”
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