Monday, December 21, 2009

Which New Christmas Gifts Need Special Insurance?

Which Christmas Presents Need Their Own Insurance?

T’was the day after Christmas, and Santa was good to you this year. He filled your stockings to the top and left you everything you wanted underneath the tree. But now that you’ve got it, how do you make sure it is repaired or replaced if something happens to it? Not everything Santa brings you is automatically covered by your home insurance. Make sure you know which Christmas presents need their own insurance to be protected!

1. Jewelry, Watches and Furs: Most insurance companies put a limit on high-priced jewelry and watches. Even with the best coverage, most jewelry items are only covered for up to $2,500 per item. If you find a $5,000 ring under the tree, it will only be 50% replaced unless you bump up the coverage. Make sure you turn in a receipt or appraisal to your insurance agent and have your new Rolex scheduled on the property. (Scheduled means it is specifically listed and insured). In addition to a per item limit, most home insurance also limits a payout for all jewelry – typically around $5,000 total. Again, make sure you list your more expensive pieces separately so they will not be included in the $5,000 limit.

2. Antiques, Collectibles and Art: Similar to jewelry, artwork and antiques are only covered up to a pre-set limit on your home insurance policy, usually between $1,000 and $2,500. That rookie baseball card you found in your stocking must be appraised and listed specifically on your policy in order for the normal limits not to apply.

3. Dirt bikes, ATVs, and snowmobiles: In general, anything that CAN have its own insurance policy MUST have its own insurance policy in order to be covered from a loss. Even though your new dirt bike is considered personal property, it is considered a motorized vehicle by your insurance company. If yours is stolen and you want a new one, make sure you splurge for the insurance policy to keep it covered.

4. Fire Arms: Most insurance policies will replace your guns if they are damaged, destroyed or stolen up to a maximum limit of around $1,000 - $2,500 depending on the policy. If you have a lot of guns, and your new Christmas toy put you over the policy limit, make sure you discuss the options with your local, professional agent. You can usually increase the policy limit for a very reasonable price (around $10 - $20 per year).

5. TVs, Video Game Systems and Blu Ray Players: Almost all electronics are automatically covered under your home insurance with no need to add extra coverage. Some companies impose limits on electronics, but it is pretty rare. One exception to this rule is computers. Although computers do have coverage provided under all home insurance policies, most WILL have a limit. The limit can vary widely from company to company, so make sure you check your specific limits

Home insurance is just like having one of Santa’s elves standing by to make you some new toys if yours get damaged or stolen. However, you must put insurance on those special new items in order for that elf to be on the job. If you don’t you’ll find yourself with a limit on what gets replaced, and only getting back ½ makes it pretty tough to have a happy new year.

(All policies have their own limits. Please check your personal policies for the exact limits on your policies or consult with your agent.)

By My Insurance Guys


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Renter's Insurance Is The Best Thing You Can Buy For Your New Apartment

If you do not own a home, do you still need to buy a property insurance policy? Your apartment complex does not require it…so is the extra cost really worth it, or necessary? There are 3 reasons it is absolutely necessary to have a renter’s insurance policy for your apartment, condo or rental unit.

Reason 1: Protect your personal property. You may not own the building you call home, but replacing everything you own INSIDE that building can be very expensive. Even if you are just starting out on your own and don’t have much, buying everything from your silverware to your underwear would cost you a considerable amount more than your annual renter’s insurance policy. Even 10 years of renters insurance would cost you less that trying to refurnish a one bedroom apartment. Perhaps everything inside your new place was a hand-me-down or a gift and cost you nothing, what are the chances you could replace everything the same way?

Reason 2: Protect yourself from lawsuits. Just as important as replacing your personal property if there is a fire, is protecting yourself from being sued if YOU start the fire. An accidental fire in an apartment building can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars in building damage and property loss to the other tenants in the building. If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for paying for the damages, the answer is YOU ARE! The person that causes the damage is the person ultimately responsible to pay for those damages. The building owner will have an insurance policy to rebuild the home, but the insurance company is likely to pursue the individual responsible in order to recover the money they had to spend. If you don’t have a couple hundred thousand dollars in your savings account and don’t enjoy the idea of having your paycheck garnished for the rest of your life, then a renter’s policy is your best solution. Your renter’s insurance policy provides coverage to pay for damages you are liable for, protecting your assets, and your wages.

Reason 3: Protect yourself from being homeless. Most people will never start an apartment fire or cause damages that leave their home uninhabitable. However, with 10 or more other people living in one building, you need protection from what everyone else may do. If the neighbor above you has a minor kitchen fire, and the fire department fills your place with water while putting out the fire, where will you stay? There are countless news stories of families being forced to stay at a Red Cross shelters because they lost everything and have no money for a new apartment. Your renter’s insurance policy provides coverage to pay for a hotel or other temporary living needs.

There is no easier or less expensive way to replace your clothes and furniture, protect yourself from lawsuits and provide a place to stay in time of need than through a renter’s insurance policy. For as little as $10 per month you can eliminate the possibility of thousands – or hundreds of thousands – of dollars in unnecessary expenses from your own pocket. It is one of the smartest things you can do if you rent.

By Robert Edgin

Tell us what you think, do you carry renter's insuance for your apartmnet?

Friday, December 11, 2009

No One Cares What Kind Of Life Insurance You Have

No One Cares About What Kind Of Life Insurance You Buy

You’ve reached a point in your life where you have responsibilities. A spouse, a couple of kids and a mortgage, some loans and a couple of credit cards – the list goes on and on. Then you stop and realize that if you HAVE responsibilities you should probably BE responsible and get some life insurance. After all, you made an oath to your spouse to take care of them, and you’d probably want your family to keep the home even if you were not there to help pay the mortgage. So what kind of life insurance should you buy? WHO CARES! As long as you have SOME type of protection for your family, the KIND you buy really doesn’t matter much. In fact, it’s the last thing to think about when it’s time to make that important purchase.

Priority Number One: The right amount. Life insurance is really just money – future money. It’s money to replace the money that would come from you over your lifetime. Money to make the mortgage and car payments, money to send little Johnny and Susie to college, money for retirement and all of the other things you and your family have planned together. Choosing the right amount of money is the first step to take when purchasing life insurance because it is THE reason you are buying life insurance. You need to know what your life insurance purchase – your future money purchase – is supposed to do if you don’t make it home from work. There are a lot of methods to help determine the right amount of life insurance. A couple of simple ones are as follows:

1. 10 times your annual income: This has been a recommendation of financial planners and insurance agents forever, and there’s a good reason. It’s all about the math, and the math usually works out to 10 x your income if you want to pay off your bills and leave a little extra for college and monthly income needs.

2. D.I.M.E.: DIME stands for Death, Income, Mortgage and Expenses – the first four things you should consider when deciding how much future money you need to buy for your family. How much will it cost for your funeral – probably $10,000. How much income will you need to replace for your spouse – assuming you’ve paid off the mortgage. How much do you owe on your mortgage, and how much of your children’s education do you want to pay for? These things should be taken care of at a minimum, and would allow for your family to continue on in the lifestyle they are accustomed to without fear of losing a home or putting food on the table.

Priority Number Two: The family budget. It does you no good to overspend and buy more than you can afford for an expensive policy, because you’ll probably end up cancelling it down the road and end up with nothing; and then nothing is what your family will end up with! Statistically, life insurance policies are cancelled after 7 years. You need your future money – your life insurance – to be there when you die. Unless you know when that is going to be, you need to plan on paying for your life insurance for a long time (until your dead, or you no longer need money for the family). You can always change the type of policy you own to fit the budget, but if you wait to buy life insurance until you can afford the best then you may never end up getting it all. Conversely, if you over spend for the best of the best now, but can’t really afford it then you’ll just get rid of it eventually anyway. Either scenario leads to problems for those you leave behind, so before you focus on what KIND of life insurance you are going to buy, start by figuring out your budget.

Priority Number Three: The type of life insurance. There are a lot of bells and whistles that can be added to life insurance, and a lot of excellent tax strategies that policies can be used for as well. However, if you can’t afford the payments – WHO CARES! You should have a long-term policy to last you until you die, but if you can’t afford that now then don’t worry about it. Get what you NEED now, and switch it to what you WANT later as your budget allows. I came across a young couple about 10 years ago who had 3 small children, a big mortgage, 2 working parents and NO life insurance. They had been discussing life insurance for years since their first child was born, but had never purchased any because they wanted a long-term policy that they could not afford. When we met they put me off as well, stating they would wait until next year when they could afford the policy they wanted. Unfortunately, the husband did not make it to next year. At 33 he died and left his wife with a mortgage, 3 kids and NO money. She stopped at my office on the way to the funeral to ask if maybe the husband had met with me without her knowledge to get some type of protection, but he had not. She purchased life insurance right then and there, dressed in black on the way to her husband’s funeral. It was one of the saddest days of my career, and one I will never forget.

The loss of a spouse or parent is emotionally devastating. Make sure it is not financially devastating as well. Life insurance is just future money – money your family will need to continue with the life you were building together. Make sure you have the right amount of protection if something were to happen to you, and that it fits in the family budget. After all, a widow never asks what KIND of life insurance her spouse had.

By Robert Edgin

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Are The Right Limits To Carry On Your Car Insurance?

Brad Hagar posed a great question to us the other day that is worth sharing with everyone. "Why do I need to carry higher limits then what the state requires me to carry? Isn't 25/50/15 good enough"? We get this question about liability coverage quite often. Colorado's laws have a lot to do with the answer, and it's definitely an aswer that everyone should know.

A few years back, Colorado became a “tort” state, meaning whoever causes the damages in a car accident is responsible for paying ALL the bills that result from the crash. All medical, rehabilitation, work loss, pain and suffering, as well as fixing any cars or other property you damage. The state requires that you carry liability coverage in the amounts of $25,000 for an injured person, $50,000 for total accident injuries (in case you injure more than one person), and $15,000 to repair or replace any property you damage.

Obviously, $25,000 won’t go very far if someone is seriously injured in an accident. That amount can be spent before a crash victim even gets out of the emergency room. Factor in a stay in the hospital, missed work and rehabilitation and you could easily be faced with a bill of $100,000 or more. As far as fixing cars and other property you may damage, how far is $15,000 really going to go? How much did you pay for your last car? If it was less than $15,000, you are the exception, not the norm. The average car cost in the United States is $28,400 – a full $13,000 above the state required minimum on your car insurance.

If you are carrying the state required minimums and you cause a serious car crash, what will happen? Once injuries or damages exceed your policy limits, your insurance company is no longer responsible for the rest – but you still are! If someone has $100,000 worth of medical bills, and your insurance company has paid the first $25,000 (your state required minimums), YOU will have to pay the other $75,000 still owed. In Colorado, if you do not have the $75,000 than the state will garnish your wages, put liens on your property, and do whatever else they need to in order for you to pay the full amount. The same holds true for damages you cause to property; if the amount of damage is over your $15,000 limit, the rest will come out of your pocket.

So, why should you carry limits higher than the state required minimums? Because paying a few extra dollars per month for higher limits can save you thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of dollars if you are the cause of a serious car accident. Even if you are younger, or don’t have many assets yet, higher insurance limits will help protect your earnings by making sure your paycheck does not get garnished to pay any outstanding judgments against you.

Talk to your local, professional insurance agent to see which insurance limits are right for you. No one means to cause an accident, that’s why they’re called accidents and not on-purposes, but if you are the cause of an accident, make sure you have enough insurance to pay ALL the damages. After all, that’s what insurance is for.

By Robert Edgin

Other RelatedPosts:
Do You Need Medical Payments On Yor Car Insurance?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top insurance & financial news for the week of 11/30 - 12/5

The week after Thanksgiving is usually pretty slow around the office and in the insurance and financial industries, but not this week! Here are some good insurance and financial stories we came across this week:

  1. Wierdest Things Ever Insured
  2. Don't Let Your Home Become A Victim This Winter
  3. Reason #42 to have renters insurance
  4. Tips on how to be prepared at the car rental counter
  5. Colorado Springs in top list of recovering cities
  6. Colorado's new driving while texting laws
Do you have a good article or story you've come across that you think should be shared? Post a comment and add the link.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Who Needs Medical Coverage On Your Car Insurance Anyway?

If you've paid much attention to your car insurance this year, you probably noticed your monthly price went up about $5 per month for each car you have insured. If you were wondering why, it was probably the addition of $5,000 medical payments to each one of your cars. The question is, do you really need it? Although new legislation made it mandatory for insurance companies to add medical payments to all Colorado auto insurance policies, it is NOT mandatory for individuals to keep it. So here is the info you need to decide whether medical payments should be on your car insurance policy.

How it works: $5,000 medical coverage for you or your passengers if you are hurt in, on, or around your car (i.e. falling out of a truck bed, car crash, slamming your finger in the door). The first $5,000 of medical and rehab needs is paid on your behalf regardless of fault or other health insurance you may have. It can be used for a checkup, chiropractor visits, ambulance rides, etc.

The good: No more wondering whether or not it is o.k. to go get checked out after a car accident if you feel you need it. If you are in a minor accident and you feel you need a visit to your doctor or chiropractor, medical payments will pay for the visits (up to your policy limits) no matter whose fault the accident was - no co-pays, no deductibles, and no out of pocket expense. Without the medical payments coverage you would be forced to either use your personal health insurance and deal with pre-authorizations, office co-pays, etc, OR deal with the other driver's car insurance company IF the other driver happened to be at fault. "The medical payments coverage is making it much easier for people who are hurt to get the treatment they need, and that's what the coverage is all about", says Dr. David Lauritzen of Chirocare Recovery Center in Colorado Springs. The medical payments provide coverage for ALL passengers in your car.

The bad: The medical payments coverage brings a new cost to Colorado drivers, and perhaps is just a preview of things to come in the future. When personal injury protection was removed from Colorado auto insurance a few years back, most drivers in Colorado saw large reductions in their monthly payments. If medical payments become a mandatory coverage or lead to the return of a no-fault system, higher insurance prices will most likely follow. Medical payments may also duplicate some of your personal health insurance coverage - especially if your health insurance has low, or no deductibles for chiropractic and major medical needs. It is important to find out how your health insurance handles payments for ambulance rides, emergency room visits, rehabilitation, etc.

Overall: For now, medical payments coverage will cost you an average of $5 per month per car - a relatively small cost. Even if you have health insurance, one of the best reasons to keep the medical payments coverage is that it provides protection for any passengers you may have in your car with you. It is far easier to pay a few extra dollars per month now than find yourself at the receiving end of someone else's medical bills. If you slide on the ice and your passenger is injured you may be responsible to get them fixed up.

Although you can choose to remove the medical payments coverage from your auto insurance and save a few dollars per month, make sure you weigh the pros and cons first. Check your health insurance policy, and keep your passengers in mind as well. Make sure you talk to your local, professional agent and get a recommendation for your individual needs, and for even more detailed information visit Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association web site on Colorado Medical Payments.

By Robert Edgin

Tell us what you think! Will you be keeping the medical payments?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Don't let your home become a victim this winter

There are a lot of increased dangers for homes during the winter season, and if you're not careful your home could fall prey to winter perils. Here are the top 5 tips to keep your home (and your family) safe all winter long.

Top 5 ways to keep your home (and family) safe this winter

1. Prevent Christmas fires: Between electrical problems with the tree, chimney fires and furnace problems, winter time sees a large spike in home fires. Since cold weather and the holidays are officially under way, make sure you follow these quick and easy home safety tips to guard your home from fires:
  • Have your furnace cleaned and inspected to make sure everything is in working condition for the cold months ahead.
  • Double check your flu to make sure it is open before starting your first fire of the winter, and consider having your chimney swept at the beginning of each wood burning season. Be careful with decorations above the chimney that could hang too low and catch fire.
  • Christmas trees are the leading cause of winter home fires. Here is a great link full of christmas tree safety tips: Christmas Tree Safety Tips 
2. Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: 15,000 Americans per year suffer from carbon monoxide exposure in their homes, most of which occur during the winter. Cold winter nights lead to a lot of extra heat pumping into your home. Protect yourself by installing carbon monoxide detectors. It's inexpensive and easy, and it can save your life. BE ONE OF THE FIRST 2 CLIENTS TO STOP BY THE OFFICE AND ASK ABOUT CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS AND WE'LL GIVE YOU A FREE DETECTOR FOR YOUR HOME!

3. Stop pipes from freezing: Frozen pipes can be an extremely expensive problem for your home during the cold winter nights. The red cross has some great safety tips for frozen pipes: Red Cross Tips, but here are some tried and true favorites.
  • Leave a faucet dripping
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air around the plumbing
  • When leaving town, be careful how low you set your thermostat
4. Prevent home break ins: Crime is on the rise every Christmas season, and with the economy in the tanks many cities are expecting a lot of extra burglaries this year. You can find a full list of ways to stop thieves from ruining your Christmas at the following link: Prevent Home Burglary, but here are some of the top tips:
  • Tighten up your locks: door locks can come loose over time making them easier for thieves to get through. Tighten up or replace old and worn door locks
  • Don't hide a key outside your door. Instead, leave a key with a trusted neighbor
  • Don't post on facebook or twitter that you'll be out of town
  • Use timed lights when leaving town
  • Use window locks or bars
5. Stop lawsuits - keep your guests from getting hurt on your property and keep yourself out of court. It's much easier for guests to slip and fall during the winter season. Make sure you shovel and salt your driveway and sidewalk to prevent ice and snow build up.

It only takes a little time and effort to prevent damages to your home and injuries to your family and guests. A little prevention can also help keep your insurance rates lower by avoiding unnecessary home claims. For a free Better Homes and Gardens "Home Safe and Sound" book full of ways to keep your home safe, be one of the first 5 clients to stop by the office and request your free copy. (must choose between book and carbon monoxide detector - cannot receive both).

By Robert Edgin

Other Popular Winter Time Posts:

8 Links to Keep You Safe on Colorado Wintery Roads

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My roof is brand new, why can't I get home insurance?

Like everyone else your neighborhood, your home got beat up by a hail storm this summer. And like everyone else in your neighborhood, you got a nice, shiny new roof. Unfortunately, that brand new roof may put you in a spot where you cannot buy home insurance – or keep the home insurance you already have. Insurance companies are tightening their belts when it comes to who can, and cannot, have home insurance, and your new roof could be a red flag. Here’s why:

Building codes allow for differing amounts of roof layers (each layer of shingles is considered one layer) depending on where you live. In Colorado Springs (where I’m posting from), you can have a maximum of three layers. It's what happens after you reach your 3rd layer that has insurance companies running for the hills – or sending you packing (insert your favorite analogy).

Why insurance companies may not sell you insurance with a brand new roof:

If you have a three layer roof, the next time you file a roof claim you will have to remove all layers on your roof and start over (go back to one layer). This dreaded “tear down” adds thousands of dollars to the bill, which the insurance companies are on the hook for. Think about it, you’re an insurance company with 100,000 home insurance policies. A major hail storm wipes out 10,000 roofs that have three layers, and you get stuck with the bill for an extra $20,000,000 for tear down. In case you didn’t count all the zeros, that’s twenty million dollars…EXTRA…just to get the roofs ready to be re-roofed!

What is the EASIEST way for an insurance company to remove the risk of paying for your tear down? You guessed it, not let you have insurance on that shiny new roof of yours – if it has three layers. If you are buying a new home it is becoming increasingly important to have the home inspector check for the number of layers on the roof. IF it has three layers, have a conversation with your insurance agent BEFORE you buy the home. It may be important to negotiate for a new roof with the seller; and if it’s time to replace an old or damaged roof and you ALREADY have two layers, make sure to discuss a tear down with your roofing company to keep you from reaching your 3rd level. Even in situations where your insurance company just paid to put another roof layer on your home, it is still VERY possible to find your policy non-renewed because it now has three layers.

Insurance companies are becoming increasingly picky with who and what they insure due to the economic environment. Do a review with your local, professional agent every 12 months to make sure you’re staying up to date with the changes.

By Robert Edgin


The 5 NEW ways to save money on your home insurance
When NOT to file a claim

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

5 New Ways To Save Money On Your Home Insurance

"Top 10 ways to save money on your home insurance." I know you've seen this article a hundred times before, and it always sounds the same...raise your around...get multi-policy discounts...blah blah blah. IT'S ALWAYS THE SAME, but in case you need a reminder I have included links to 5 articles that all have the same advice on lowering your home insurance premium (there are some good tips in case you've been living in a cave for the past couple of years).

Finally, there are some NEW ways to save money on your home insurance, and out of the 75,000,000+ links Google came up with, the next 5 tips weren't on any of them (that's right, I checked all of them).

  1. Check your fire protection district: Insurance companies are getting more sophisticated, which means they're coming up with new and improved ways to figure out how much you should be paying for your home insurance. One of the newest methods being used is software that determines EXACTLY how long it would take for a fire crew to respond to an emergency at your home. Unfortunately, they don't always line up the right fire departments with the right houses, causing you to pay higher premiums than you need be. Ask your agent what your protection class is. Usually, the lower the number the better. If you're near a fire department, make sure you're getting credit for it, and if you're buying a home call your agent and find out which protection class you are in.
  2. Replacement Cost Estimator: Another improvement in insurance technology has been the introduction of more sophisticated software that evaluates how much it would cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss (like a fire). The software itself is a good thing; the problem is that most companies do NOT have the correct information about your home. Incorrect information often leads to an increased estimate of your home's replacement cost leading guessed it, higher insurance rates. Review your home's information with your agent and make sure it is correct.
  3. Check Your Endorsements: Most home insurance policies START with a lot of bells and whistles right out of the gate. I'm NOT saying to remove endorsements you need (a conversation between you and your agent), but there are often endorsements that you can remove and save money with. For example, a lot of insurance policies come with extra coverage for jewelry. If you don't have any jewelry, it's just an extra cost. Ask your agents if your endorsements are optional, and discuss which ones you need for your personal situation
  4. Update Your Home: If you're like most Americans, you used the good economy and easy HELOC's of 2006 and 2007 to do some home improvements - a new roof, new water heater or furnace, etc. Did you remember to tell your insurance agent? Insurance companies LOVE shiny new things and they reward you for putting them in, or on, your house. If you are considering doing some improvements, check with your agent to see what kind of discounts different improvements will get you. One more piece of advice, if you're considering putting on a new roof and you already have multiple layers of shingles, BE CAREFUL! Most companies are starting to dislike homes with 3 layers of roofing (dislike = no insurance) because it is an extra cost to the company to replace your roof if they first have to remove the old layers.
  5. Just Ask: Over the past few years, companies have been using new technology and more sophisticated software to develop new types of policies with lower costs. Unfortunately, most agents are too busy to call you out of the blue and mention it to you. Call your agent and ask them if there are any new policies which could save you money or any new programs that can lower your premiums. You may be surprised that all you had to do was ask.
Now for the old-school, you've heard it a hundred times, basic ways to save money on your home insurance, check out the following links:

MSN Money: 15 ways to save on home insurance
Insurance Institute: 12 ways to save money on your home insurance
Home Buyer's Information Center: 12 STEPS to SAVE MONEY on your homeowners insurance
Insure-Net: 10 ways to save money on your home insurance
Mortgage101: 12 ways to save money on your home insurance

If you read through the articles, it may have seemed like it was the same piece on different web sites, but they are all written by different folks (at least I think they are). Combine the old methods with some new ways, and you've got a great opportunity to save yourself some money.

By Robert Edgin

Monday, November 16, 2009

What You Can Learn From A Comic Collector's Home Fire

When I talk to new clients about why they're shopping for home insurance, I often hear "because I have to get it in order to close on my new house", and I think to myself...doesn't anyone get it?!? I realize that no one LIKES to pay for insurance, but most people forget what their home insurance is really for. Not Rob Snell, however. This is a picture of some of Rob's books and comics that were destroyed when he lost his home to a fire.

Rob is a normal guy - a business man and comic collector - that wrote a great account of the lessons he learned about his home insurance when he lost everything he owned in a house fire. Check out his story: "5 things I wish I knew before my house burned down." It's a great way to learn from someone who has already been through it, and see which parts of your home insurance you should pay extra attention to.

The best way to protect your assets from loss - whether fire, theft, water or anything else that may happen - is to sit down with a local agent and have a conversation about what you own. Get some good advice from a professional that's in the business of knowing how to properly protect you.

A local, professional agent may not be able to control the situations that life throws at you, but they can provide solutions no matter what the circumstance.

By Robert Edgin

This is part four of the four part series PROPER INSURANCE PROTECTION
1. Saving 15% on your car insurance could cost you more than you think
2. 3 car insurance coverages that will save your life
3. I'm being sued, call my insurance company!

Please leave me a comment, I'd love to hear from you

Sunday, November 15, 2009

8 Links to Keep You Safe on Colorado Wintery Roads

You’ve heard all of the dos and don’ts for cold weather driving, but sometimes tips and tricks just aren’t enough. Below are 8 links to keep you safe while on Colorado roads this winter season. Download a winter handbook, check the road conditions and travel times, know how to prepare if you’re stranded, and a whole lot more. Winter is here, and it’s time to get prepared for the crazy weather and road conditions that get thrown at us every year.

Before you get to the experts’ links, here’s our top tips for winter driving:

1. Choose your expletives ahead of time: Nothing is worse than being in the car with young ears and dropping an unexpected “holy @$#%” while doing a 360. Pick a word NOW that will allow you to express yourself AND not send your kids’ jaws dropping to the car floor. After you’ve picked it (bull shark is one of my favorites), repeat it ten times to get it stuck in your mind.

2. Remember 4 wheel drive does not mean 4 wheel stop: Ice is ice, and just because you can get going on it with your 4WD, does not mean you’re going to be able to stop on it. Drive as if you don’t have brakes, and when it’s time to have to use them you won’t find yourself having to refer back to tip number 1.

3. Don’t be stupid: I know this should be obvious, but slow down and stop driving like an idiot! If you’re always in a hurry – like me – leave early instead of trying to drive fast to get there.

4. Just don’t go: Have you noticed how nice your fireplace is looking? How good does a cup of hot chocolate sound right about now? If you can wait to go out, just don’t go!

Be careful, and just as importantly, be prepared. Here are 8 great links to help keep you safe:

1. Current Colorado Road Conditions
2. Real Time Speeds and Travel Times
3. National Weather Service: Current Weather and Warnings
4. What To Do If Stranded On The Road
5. FEMA: Preparing Kids For Winter Storms
6. CDOT Winter Driving Handbook
7. CDOT Winter Driving Video
8. CDOT Winter Driving Tips

When the weather turns, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Be prepared and be safe, or even better, just stay at home.

By Robert Edgin

Friday, November 13, 2009

Contact My Insurance Guys

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Insurance Is Sexy Too, Isn't It?

"You may have a hard time getting followers and readers with a subject like insurance" my wife says to me. I tell her she's INSANE, and her response..."insurance is just kind of...boring." Boring? BORING? We'll just see about that!

That was two weeks ago; fast forward to today.

Over the past two weeks, My Insurance Guys have been working day and night to spread the good word about the exciting world of insurance. We built a facebook page, started tweeting on Twitter and have posted fascinating blogs such as:

3 Car Insurance Coverages That Will Save Your Life
I'm being Sued - Call My Insurance Company

Now I ask, what's NOT to get excited about? Feelinng pretty good about myself (and my 49 facebook fans), I proceeded to tell Kylah she was obviously mistaken about the exhilirating world of insurance. "After all, the results speak for themselves!"

When I get over zealous, as I often do, my wife is always kind enough to remind me to be a little more humble (although not always appreciated at the time, always well deserved). As a simple reminder this time, she decided to start a Facebook page for her business, Stage It! Redesign It!. That was 2 days ago; the result...

46 fans in 2 days! She's not blogging, tweeting, or even really promoting her page. She tells me she has a more interesting, "sexier" subject. How can that be, insurance is sexy too, isn't it? We do all sorts of cool things in our office; we rebuild houses when they burn down, we buy new cars when they're stolen, we replace incomes when a loved one dies...that's exciting stuff!

"That is all IMPORTANT stuff" Kylah tells me, "that's all NEEDED stuff" she says, "but EXCITING is just not the word that comes to mind when people think about insurance."

Although I'm not able to prove it, I'm pretty sure my wife figured out some special Facebook trick to inflate her numbers. After all, that's the only explanation that makes sense, isn't it?

By Robert Edgin

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Top 10 Photographic Reasons To Have Car Insurance

Here's some pretty convincing evidence for the need to carry insurance...or become a better driver!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Being Sued - Call My Insurance Company!

Here’s an obvious statement for you; Americans are sue-crazy! How do I know we live in a sue-crazy country? The same way you do – TV, news, commercials…every time you turn around you hear about another crazy lawsuit. There is a lottery mentality in America that makes people believe the best way to get ahead financially is to win the lottery – or a lawsuit.

Do you need protection from all the crazies out there that are filing frivolous lawsuits, that see you as their big pay-day, that are looking to you for an early retirement? YES, YES, AND YES! The good news is that you already have some protection from lawsuits with in your auto and home insurance policies. The better news is that if you don’t have enough coverage, it is a relatively inexpensive problem to fix. But first, a look at the sue-crazy people and why they’re so dangerous to your finances.

Top 10 Video Stories of Crazy Lawsuits:

1. 7-year-old boy sued over minor skiing collision
2. Driver at fault for accident files claim against victim
3. Bike-riding doctor sues roller-blading 11-year-old
4. Volunteer youth baseball coach sued by a 12-year-old player
5. Pool store owners sued over migrating wild goose
6. Drycleaners discuss $54 million pants lawsuit
7. Message board sued for user-posted message
8. Customer sues for refund after using lawnmower all summer
9. Lawsuit over bathroom mirror 2 inches too high
10. Customer misuses product, then sues company that sold it

Top 10 Crazy Lawsuits In Recent News:

1. Convicted Thief Sues Store He Robbed
2. Couple sues neighbor over back-yard smoking
3. Shopper who forgot to pay for pajamas sues Wal-Mart over her arrest
4. Lawyer sues over gym's obese bully
5. Judge Rejects Attempt to Claim Damages for Injuries Horse Lover Suffered on Date
6. Supreme Court to hear gambler's lawsuit
7. Florence women sue Applebee's, Weight Watchers
8. No Joke, Comedian Sued Over Mother-in-Law Humor
9. Mich. lawyer sues, claims mouthwash stained teeth
10. Disparaging eBay comment sparks lawsuit

Liability protection is the part of your auto, home, boat or motorcycle coverage that protects you from lawsuits if you are found to be at-fault (liable) for someone else’s injuries or damage to their property. It makes sense that if you cause the damage, you should be responsible for the repairs, and that is what your insurance is there for…up to a limit.

Every insurance policy has a limit where it will stop paying – the policy limits. But what happens if you cause a 5 car pileup and only have enough coverage to pay for 2 cars? I’ve heard lots of people say “They’ll only sue you up to your policy limits, so keep your coverage low and save the money.” Wow, how does that make sense? Who pays for the other three cars you caused the damage to? YOU DO! Just because you don’t have enough insurance does not mean you’re not responsible, it just means the rest of the money comes out of your pocket!

Most financial experts agree that if you have some assets, you need enough liability coverage to protect those assets from lawsuits. Liz Weston, @lizweston, has written at least 9 articles for MSN Money educating the public about carrying liability limits to protect your assets. Personally, I think you should carry the proper coverage if you fall into the category of folks who DON’T have lots of assets – the category of hoping to have assets in the future. Why? Because most states are tort states that do whatever is necessary to collect judgments against you; can you say wage garnishment? So how DO you protect yourself, and do it at a reasonable cost?

Umbrella insurance is a liability insurance policy that gives you extra protection from lawsuits in all you personally do (hence the name umbrella). Car accident, slander, hunting accident, home injury, water skiing incident – pretty much everything you can be found personally liable for is covered under an umbrella policy.

An umbrella policy is an extension of your other personal insurance policies, so any lawsuits that would be covered under your auto policy, as an example, would also be covered under your umbrella policy. Umbrella insurance typically starts at $1,000,000 worth of coverage and goes up from there. And here’s the best part, even if a lawsuit is frivolous or just plain crazy, you’ll get the protection you need to keep your assets, and your earnings, safe.

Umbrella insurance typically costs around $15 - $20 per month for most folks, well worth the price for the peace of mind. Most companies require certain limits in your auto and home insurance policies before you can buy an insurance policy. Talk to your local insurance agent to find out what your current limits are in case you get sued, and make sure you’re protected from the lawsuit crazed neighbor that sees you as their winning lottery numbers!

By Robert Edgin

This is part 3 of a 4 part series on proper insurance protectionn

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

3 Car Insurance Coverages That Will Save Your Life

Car insurance is one of the few things in life you pay for every month and hope you never have to use. After all, to use it you have to have something bad happen; sometimes something very bad. Car crashes, theft, vandalism…none of it makes it to the list of “things I hope to experience this year.” But if you are going to pay for it – like all good, law-abiding citizens do – than you need to make sure you have the right coverage and proper limits. After all, it could save your life…your financial life that is.

1. Bodily Injury: Pays for medical bills, rehabilitation, work loss and pain and suffering to other people if you injure their bodies - that's why it's called bodily injury! In most states, he who causes the accident is responsible for any and all expenses that result from that accident. In other words, if you crash into someone, it is your responsibility to pay to get them fixed up. If you watch Grey’s Anatomy, Trauma, or any other medical shows out there than you know how expensive that can be. The ambulance ride alone can cost upwards of $10,000, and that’s just to get you where you’re going. Add on the hospital bills, lost wages and an attorney seeking pain and suffering, and you’re staring down the barrel of a ½ million dollar lawsuit!

2. Property Damage: Pays for the repairs or replacement of, you guessed it, any property you damage. Remember the classic "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"? If you run into any one of them (or all of them if you happen to be making one of the "Die Hard" sequels) this is the coverage that pays for the damages. Make sure you have enough to replace at least a couple of new cars - real cars that cost $25,000 each. If you only have enough in your policy to buy one car, the other car comes out of your pocket!

3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: In case you've been in a cave for the past year or haven't noticed, the economy is less than perfect lately. With a poor economy comes higher unemployment, and with higher unemployment comes a MUCH higher rate of drivers who do not carry insurance. It's not that they're bad people; they've just decided to spend their money on other things - like food! If someone runs into you and they do not have insurance, you're uninsured motorist coverage pays the damages that their insurance would normally pay. Specifically, your medical bills, rehabilitation, work loss and pain and suffering.

While there are numerous other coverages - all of which being important - it is the bodily injury, property damage and uninsured motorist claims that most often lead to the largest losses. Talk to your personal agent and make sure you have the proper coverage to protect your family. After all, that's why you have insurance.

By Robert Edgin

This is part two of a four part series on Proper Insurance Coverage

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Saving 15% On Your Car Insurance Could Cost You More Than You Think

“15 minutes could save you 15%.”  It’s catchy, and obviously a good slogan; after all, who wouldn’t want to save 15% on their car insurance? But what do you get for your 15% savings, that’s the real question. The insurance companies advertising on TV these days focus on one thing and one thing only, cheap insurance. Cheap insurance is great, but so is protecting your assets!

Insurance was originally intended to build you a new house if yours burns down, fix your car if it is damaged in an accident, and keep you from being sued and losing your assets if you run into someone. Most insurance companies forgot their mission, duties, and responsibilities to their clients and now only know how to say two words – cheap insurance.

Geico’s goal is to save you 15% in 15 minutes; Progressive wants you to name your own price. Even Allstate and State Farm have taken the “we’re only here to save you money” approach. I’m not suggesting you should pay more than you need to for insurance. I am, however, suggesting that auto, home, and life insurance are MORE than just necessary evils. Insurance is MORE than just shopping around for price and completely ignoring your coverage. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for!

When shopping around for the best price, try to get someone on the other end of the phone that knows more than just their company slogan. Try to find someone that’s interested in protecting your assets JUST IN CASE you have a teenage driver that makes a mistake and wipes out an SUV with a family of four inside. Spend 15 minutes deciding what the PROPER coverage is for your family before you spend 15 minutes comparing prices. After all, you’re paying a company to put your financial life back together if something breaks it into pieces.

A while back we came across a family insured with an 800# company that carried enough insurance to pay the first $50,000 for any injuries they caused others, and $25,000 to repair anyone’s cars that they may damage. The family made a good living and had some assets, so their protection was raised to $1.5 million to make sure they were properly protected. 6 months later, their son was killed in an accident on a way home from a ski trip. The accident was his fault. The accident also killed the driver of the other vehicle, and put 6 more people in the hospital. Total medical bills, lost wages of survivors, car repairs, lawsuit settlements, etc.: $1,200,000. Total out of pocket expense for the grieving mom and dad dealing with the loss of their son: $1,000. The total out of pocket with their old insurance company would have been $1,175,000, or bankruptcy and garnished wages in order to satisfy lawsuit awards.

These types of costs and lawsuits are NOT uncommon. According to a report the NHTSA estimates the economic cost of a critically injured survivor is $1.1 million dollars. Your insurance company will pay up to the contracted limits of your policy, but if it goes above that you’re on your own for the rest.

No one wants to pay too much for their car insurance, but sometimes paying to little now costs you everything in the end.

Starting with the proper coverage BEFORE shopping for price…now that’s progressive. Price is important, and saving money is always a good thing, but it’s not the only thing. Look instead for the best VALUE – the proper protection for your family at the best possible price.

This is part one of a four part series on PROPER INSURANCE PROTECTION

By Robert Edgin