In the age of online shopping, people want fast, easy, and convenient, even when it comes to their insurance policies. Most people are now purchasing their insurance coverage online, directly from the insurance company, versus going through an insurance agent or broker.
But there are still advantages to hiring an individual insurance agent over buying directly from the insurance company.
Here are just a few:
First of all, an insurance broker can save you money.
They are professionally trained to choose the best policy for their clients. Because they have access to hundreds of prices and coverages from different insurance companies, they are often able to snag a better deal than what you could get for yourself.
Secondly, purchasing insurance through a broker is easier than buying direct.
Not only do most agents offer and manage all types of insurance coverage, they are also easier to get in touch with. Agents are quicker to respond to emails and phone calls, and will respond personally, versus an insurance company that uses a call center and can take days to respond.
Another reason an insurance agent might prove better for the client than purchasing direct is that they can provide ease of mind.
Insurance is complicated and brokers are trained to understand the ins and outs and educate their customers. They will spend time explaining each policy so the insured can make an educated decision with peace of mind. When you buy direct the risk of making a mistake or misunderstanding a policy is larger than using an insurance broker to be your middle man.
While there is nothing wrong with purchasing insurance directly from an insurance company, there are certain services and protections you might forfeit.
Our recommendation is to trust a broker to shop and manage your insurance policies for you. There’s a good chance you’ll end up saving money and having more peace of mind!
However, many cyclists don’t think about what happens should their bike be stolen, damaged, or if they are injured while riding.
Here are some common questions about insurance coverage for cyclists:
What if my bike is stolen?
What if I hit a car, pedestrian, or other cyclist while on my bike?
What if I am hit by a car while on my bike?
Should I get a separate bicycle insurance policy?
“Don’t wait until it’s too late to get bicycle insurance!”
Contact JR Carnahan to get more information on bicycle insurance today.
The last thing on the mind of a young, healthy 20 or 30-something is health insurance. Deemed the “young invincibles”, young adults who have no serious or ongoing medical concerns often try to justify not paying for health insurance.
It might seem like a waste of money to pay a monthly insurance premium when you only visit the doctor 1-2 times a year for a head cold or stomach bug. However, most people don’t realize the risk they are taking by not carrying a health insurance policy.
Here is why you should purchase health insurance coverage even if you are a young, healthy adult:
1. It’s the Law
With new Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, everyone is now required by law to carry health insurance. If you choose not to, you will be penalized and required to pay fines when you file your annual income tax. In 2015, the fine is $325/adult and $162.50 for each child or 2% of your family’s yearly taxable income. In 2016, these fines double.
2. It’s Financially Smart
There are countless stories of young adults who do not have health insurance being financially devastated by one little injury or illness. It doesn’t take much to rack up the costs. For example, a ride in an ambulance can cost up to $3,000, a single night in the hospital might be near $10,000, and an MRI up to $4,000. Even a quick trip to a doc-in-the-box can be upwards of $100. Not to mention the doctors fees, medicine, and income you’ll miss from not being at work.
3. No One is Invincible
At some point, everyone needs health insurance. Whether it’s the flu, a sprained ankle, or something more serious, health insurance can go a long way to cover some hefty bills.
If you have no significant, ongoing medical concerns, then it’s easy to feel invincible and justify not carrying a health insurance policy. But the truth is that life is unpredictable. You might be healthy and strong one day and bed-ridden the next.
In summary, don’t ever, ever, ever take the risk of not carrying health insurance.
As frustrating as it is to pay a monthly premium when you are young and healthy, it is financially, emotionally, and legally well worth it in the long run.
There are plenty of affordable health insurance plans available if you know where to look. Let us know if you need any guidance on a health insurance plan that’s right for you. We’ve helped countless young adults purchase low cost health insurance policies.
Have you ever been involved in a car accident and felt so rattled that you forget what to do next? New and seasoned drivers alike can be so shaken after an auto accident that they fail to complete important steps. Unfortunately, forgoing one small step could result in an expensive and stressful lawsuit.
Even amidst heightened emotions, it’s important to try to remain calm, take your time, and get all the information needed to file an accurate accident claim.
Here are the most important steps to take after a car accident:
Take Safety Precautions
First and foremost, it’s important to get out of the way of traffic to avoid more accidents. If you are able, move your car to the side of road, turn on your hazard lights, and place a warning triangle or flares on the road if you have them.
Check for Injuries
Do a thorough assessment of yourself first and if there are no signs of injuries, get out of the car and make sure all other passengers and drivers involved are okay. If you see any type of injuries, call 911 immediately.
Call the Police
No matter how big or small the damages or injuries are, always call the police. There is a temptation to settle things without the police in a minor fender-bender, but do not fall for it. Having a police report will help establish liability, protect you from fraud, and keep everyone calm and collected.
It’s also important to never verbally admit fault, even if it is clear that you are at fault. Let the police handle the liability portion of the accident.
You’ll want to exchange the following information with the other driver:
- Telephone Number
- License Number
- License Plate
- Insurance Company
- Policy Number
If you do not have a pen/pencil and paper in your car, take photos and make notes in your phone.
Do not ever give out your social security number. Insurance companies to do not need that information to file a claim and you could become a victim of identity theft.
Describe the Scene
Make sure to take accurate notes regarding the time, location, description of accident, witnesses, state of the other driver and their car, and any other details you think you might forget. Take plenty of pictures of your car, the other driver’s car, and the entire scene.
Call Your Insurance
Regardless of fault, call your insurance company as quickly as possible. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, you have the option to call their insurance company and file a claim on your own, without even letting your own company know about the accident. However, it’s usually better to let your insurance company deal with the other driver’s insurance company rather than trying to do it on your own.
Being involved in a car accident is always frustrating, but if you have a comprehensive auto insurance plan it can help alleviate some of the stress. Once the accident has been reported and a claim has been filed, the rest is up to your insurance company. They will help you find the best auto mechanic to repair any damages, make sure any medical or auto charges are covered, and provide a rental car if you have the need.
“Need a reliable, honest, quick-to-respond insurance agent?”
Contact JR Carnahan today! As a small privately owned insurance company, we are able to provide individualized insurance plans and personalized customer service to get you covered quickly!
The hot, humid, draining summer of South Texas.
Which means, if you’re not at the pool, you’re at the lake.
Hitting the water on a sailboat, Jet Ski®, yacht, WaveRunner® or other personal watercraft is one of the best ways to beat the heat. But it can also be a huge liability if you are not properly covered by an insurance policy.
While not all states require boat insurance, you can never be too prepared for the perils of the water.
On top of your state’s requirements, if you take out a loan for a new boat or if you use a marina, you will most likely have to present proof of insurance.
If you choose to purchase boat insurance, you may do so through an insurance agent or by adding it to your homeowners insurance plan.
The only type of coverage available with a homeowners plan is an Actual Cash Value coverage. This means that the boat’s value is already decided, and usually fairly low.
With an independent boat insurance plan, you are able to purchase an Agreed Value coverage, which lets you decide the worth of your watercraft and the amount you’ll recover in the case of a loss.
So what does boat insurance cover?
While each policy is different depending on the insurance company, plan, and policy holder’s wishes, there are a few types of insurance you should make sure are covered.
If you cause an accident, liability insurance will cover any property damage or bodily injury bills for the others involved.
Medical Payments Protection
If you are injured while on the water, this coverage will protect you from the devastation of medical bills.
Collision or Comprehensive property damage covers damages to your boat and its belongings that are caused by another boater, theft, fire, etc.
In the case of a fuel spill, which happens more than you think, this plan will save you from being held responsible of the clean up costs.
Even if the wake from your boat causes an accident, you could be charged with the responsibility.
No matter what kind of watercraft you own or plan to own this summer, looking into getting an insurance plan should be high priority.
There’s nothing like sailing the bright blue sea and having complete peace of mind!
“Are there discounts for boat insurance?”
Yes! Contact JR Carnahan to get more information on the various types of discounts you can get on your boat policy.
As you probably know, operating a motorbike of any type can be risky. But did you know that statistically motorcycle drivers are at a higher risk of accident and injury than car drivers?
As with anything, it’s never fun to consider what could go wrong. But if something does go wrong while riding a motorcycle and you are not prepared, it can be costly.
Many people want to know how much motorcycle insurance costs.
Like most insurance coverage, it’s subjective to several different factors such as the state you live in, your demographics, the type of motorbike you own, how often you use it, and how you store it.
What about the types of motorcycle insurance that are out there?
Texas requires you to be able to pay for any damages and injuries from any accident you cause. Because of this, drivers and motorcyclists are required by law to carry a basic liability insurance plan.
In Texas, your policy must have the following minimum limits:
- $30,000 for each injured person.
- $60,000 for injuries per incident.
- $25,000 for property damage.
On top of the law’s requirement of liability insurance, there are also other types of coverage that you might want to consider if you enjoy taking a trip on a motorbike.
This type of coverage protects you in the event of a collision with another vehicle or motorcycle.
Any damage caused to your bike by theft, vandalism, falling objects, etc. would be covered by this type of coverage.
Uninsured or Underinsured coverage:
When another motorist does not have, or does not have enough, insurance to pay for injuries or damage caused to you, this kind of insurance will make sure you get what you deserve.
Personal Injury Projection (PIP):
PIP coverage will help pay medical costs in the event of an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
Medical Payments coverage:
This is an additional coverage should you become injured in an accident and your other insurance coverages are not enough for the medical expenses.
If you have any custom equipment or parts on your bike that you are especially fond to, this type of coverage will replace them should they get damaged.
Motorcycle Roadside Assistance:
In the case of your motorcycle breaking down on the side of the road, this insurance will help with towing and labor costs.
Whether you operate a motorcycle, scooter, moped, or other type of motorbike, you must protect yourself and your bike with adequate motorcycle insurance.
And once you get the proper coverage for your adventures, check out these Best in Texas routes that motorcyclists love!
Many people have been affected by recent flooding in the San Antonio, TX Area. Sadly, they have been left with significant financial loss because of the damage.
If you are not prepared for mother nature’s surprises, it might be time to consider a flood insurance policy.
Here are a few common questions about flood insurance that will help you prepare for mother nature:
Won’t My Homeowners Insurance Cover Flood Damage?
Unfortunately, one of the most common misassumptions is that flood damage is covered by homeowners or property insurance. Actually, property owners must purchase flood insurance as a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
What is the National Flood Insurance Program?
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by FEMA, provides affordable flood insurance to property owners in medium-high risk areas in an effort to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures.
How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost?
Costs for flood insurance plans vary based on the property’s level of risk, how much insurance is purchased, and what the policy covers. The best way to get an idea of how much a plan would cost is to talk with your insurance agent about your specific needs and get a quote.
How Soon Can I Use My Flood Insurance?
Be aware that a flood insurance policy normally takes 30 days from the date of purchase to go into effect. In other words, don’t wait until the rainy season begins to purchase a flood insurance plan.
What About Federal Disaster Assistance?
Federal disaster assistance is only available in the case of a federally declared disaster and often comes in the form of a loan that must be paid back.
Many times water damage is not caused by a declared disaster, and therefore government assistance is not available. The good news is that flood insurance will cover any kind of flooding, whether it’s a declared disaster or not, and you do not have to pay it back.
Should I Buy Flood Insurance?
The better question is can you afford to NOT have flood insurance?
Did you know that the average residential flood loss claim is $38,000 and nearly 25% of those claims come from low risk areas?
In the last month alone, over 8 inches of water has covered the southern part of Texas, destroying homes, cars, and properties. Even if you live in a low risk area, it only takes an inch of water to destroy an entire home.
Yes, it’s important to consider purchasing a flood insurance policy.
Especially if you live in a high risk flood area. In fact, many homeowners are required to purchase flood insurance if they have a mortgage and live in a high risk area.
If you’ve never thought about preparing for mother nature’s surprises with flood insurance, now is the time to talk with an insurance agent about your options. With flash floods and continuous rain in the forecast, don’t wait until it’s too late.
If you are married or have kids, chances are you have considered purchasing a life insurance policy.
But what if you’re single, childless, or retiring? Life Insurance can be pricey and might seem like an unnecessary expense.
However, the reality is that most people need life insurance. We all want to be prepared for life’s unexpected events, no matter our situation.
A simple rule of thumb is that you should be covered by life insurance if someone will suffer financially when you die. This rule applies to more than just married couples or parents.
Most singles assume they do not need life insurance because they do not have dependents. However, if you are a single with outstanding debt, are caring for an aging parent or disabled sibling, or want to cover funeral costs when you are gone, life insurance is for you. A benefit to purchasing life insurance as a young, healthy single is that you have a better likelihood of qualifying for a low rate and locking in the premium.
Just because you don’t bring home a paycheck doesn’t mean you don’t make a financial contribution to your family. Consider what it would cost to pay someone to clean, cook, and care for your kids and home. A stay-at-home parent offers value to the home that is often overlooked, but very expensive to replace. Life Insurance can cover these costs and more.
The kids are out of the house, college is paid for, and now it’s just the two of you. This might seem like an opportune time to drop your life insurance policy, but that’s not always a good idea. There are many unexpected events that life insurance could help with, such as a child returning home or suddenly needing financial support, the death of a spouse, or having an inheritance to pass to your heirs. Think twice before dropping your life insurance policy just because the kids are out of the house.
When the house is paid off and you are set with retirement income, life insurance isn’t something you would ordinarily think about. However, depending on the size of your estate, your heirs might have to pay a hefty estate tax, as well as funeral costs, any other outstanding debts, and cost of living for your spouse. Life Insurance is an important thing to consider even if you and your spouse are financially set for retirement.
Small Business Owners
Life Insurance can help a small business in multiple ways should one of its owners or key employees pass away. For example, a Buy-Sell Agreement ensures that the remaining business owners have the funds to purchase the deceased’s portion of the business from the family at a previously decided upon price. Additionally, Key Person Insurance ensures that the owner has the funds to either hire a replacement or make other arrangements. If you own a small business, life insurance is a must.
So, if you are wondering if you really need life insurance, just ask yourself if there are any costs that would be left to your family or co-workers should you die. If so, then it’s a good idea to look into life insurance. Don’t wait until later in life to get prepared!
“I need life insurance, now what?”
There are many types and amounts of life insurance coverage available. If you are looking for a policy and need guidance on the best policy for your particular situation, contact me for a complimentary personalized quote.
But if you’ve ever experienced any kind of disaster or damage to your home, then you know the importance of carrying homeowners insurance. Even a small repair can significantly affect your bank account.
As one of your biggest investments, it’s necessary to protect your home and be prepared for the possible risks.
So where does a person start when looking for a homeowner’s insurance policy?
Here are 4 tips for buying homeowner’s insurance:
Know Your Home’s Value
Before you choose a policy, it’s important to establish your home’s replacement cost. This would include any item of your home that is at risk for theft, windstorm, fire, or other liabilities. Note that the land underneath your home should not be included in rebuilding costs.
Shop Around for Homeowner’s Insurance
Anytime you are looking for insurance, make sure to shop around, not only for the best price, but also the best value. Compare coverage, price, and customer reviews and be sure you get the right type and amount of coverage specific to your home. Considering that you will mostly be in contact with the insurance company during times of crisis, research their customer service, claims service, and financial stability to get a good idea of how you will be treated. Online customer reviews are always a good way to discover the truth about a company.
Bundle Your Insurance Policies
Some companies that sell homeowners insurance also sell auto and liability coverage and could potentially take a percentage off your premium if you buy multiple policies from them. Just make sure that purchasing a bundle is actually cheaper and a better value than buying separately.
Make Your Home More Disaster Resistant
Investing in a few home improvements can greatly reduce your risk of having to use your homeowners insurance, and can lower the premium. You may be able to save on your premium by making enhancements to your windows, siding, roof, burglar alarm system, and fire alarm system. Not every improvement or alarm system qualifies for a discount, so talk with your insurance agent before moving forward with renovations.
While it’s possible to locate a good homeowner’s policy by doing your own research, it’s always a good idea to let an expert do it for you. Insurance agents know all the options and discounts available and if you find one that is trustworthy they can end up saving you a lot of money.
Are you looking for Homeowner’s Insurance?
If you’re looking for a homeowner’s insurance policy and need some guidance, just contact us for a complimentary quote and to discuss your particular needs.