As Seen on TV

According to Statista.com in 2017 GEICO Insurance company spent nearly 1.4 billion dollars on advertising. Progressive? 622 Million. State Farm? 521 Million, and so on and so forth. Those are some staggering numbers.

Last week we lost a sale to someone who insisted on a “big name company”. It was a homeowner’s policy. We actually represent the company we lost it to, and had even provided the quote for that company to the customer, but we had recommended Travelers Insurance Company because they were cheaper and had better coverage… a lot better coverage. How do I know? Because the “big-name company” doesn’t offer the coverage… it’s not an option. Now I don’t fault the customer. We clearly didn’t present them in such a way that gave the customer confidence in Travelers. I would like to set the record straight:

As of 2016, Travelers is the 6th largest Property and casualty insurance company in the US, and the 9th largest in Arizona. They are the 6th largest homeowner’s provider in the US and 7th largest in Arizona. Point is we are talking a 29 billion dollar publicly traded company that is 106th on the list of the fortune 500 companies.

As an independent insurance agent, this is our fight. We, by our nature, sell companies that focus more on their products than on marketing. For example, we also represent Safeco, which is part of the liberty mutual group, the 3rd largest insurance company in the US, but they don’t sponsor baseball outs or have a cute mascot. What they (both Travelers and Safeco) do have is awesome coverage, and great claims service.

The point is this:  While you may not have heard of the company we are offering we do our homework. We are very contentious about our customer’s claims experiences, and work to ensure that we only represent quality companies. The insurance industry has a system for defining the quality of a company. AM Best provides ratings that are very much like grades A+, A, A- B+ etc. We only work with A-Rated companies to ensure you are covered by a solid company that is going to pay their claims.

While not all our companies spend millions upon millions on advertising they are good quality companies, that have awesome coverage, excellent claims service, and have chosen to work with independent insurance agents like Gila Insurance Group.

A final thought:  Last year, McDonalds spent 633 Million on advertising. Ruth Chris Steakhouse spent 6.7 Million according to emarketer.com. While McDonalds has its place, I know I would much rather eat a steak and Ruth Chris.

As with food, when it comes to insurance I recommend understanding the quality of what you are buying, and not putting all your stock in “As Seen On TV”.   It’s not always the best!

Yes, It Can Happen Here… and It’s A Problem!

Yes, it can happen here! Here being Safford, Thatcher, Pima and the Gila Valley. What is it? Insurance claims.

We don’t see many natural disasters. I mean, the last major flooding of the Gila River was in what, 93-94? We don’t have hurricanes or tornadoes. We live too far from the mountain to have an issue with wildfires. We did have that hail storm back in 2016, but as a whole we don’t see that happen often, which has become a problem. It’s a good problem, but it’s a problem. Why? Because we that are blessed to live in our secure little valley have been lulled into a false sense of security, and it has caused us to purchase insurance in the wrong way. What do I mean? We nearly solely focus on price rather than the coverage. If you buy solely on price, then your claims experience is going to reflect that fact.

Monday night’s storm brought up 3 kinds of claims that can and did happen here:

  1. The wind found a weakness in a tree and snapped it in half. So, the half of the tree fell on a new pick-up truck, hit the roof of the house and landed on block wall. As it was, only the truck was damaged…but it still begs some questions. What if it had caused damage to both the home and the truck? How would your policy respond? Did you know there are policies that would only apply one deductible to the same loss? What if it had caused damage to the block wall? I don’t know if the wall was owned by the tree owner…if not, that would be liability. How much liability do you have?
  2. In another part of town another tree fell. In this case it broke a waterline and caused the neighbor’s house to flood causing thousands of dollars in damage. Because it was a neighbor’s tree that caused the damage, the neighbor will likely be liable for the flood damage, and it will likely be a liability claim that covers the damage.
  3. As I drove to work there were trampolines strewn across the valley. Yes, strewn is the right word. Some were straddling fences, others were up against houses, others in the middle of a pecan orchard. First, as a community we may want to consider anchoring our trampolines better. Second, we have another liability risk as we our trampolines become airborne missiles hurling towards neighbor’s property.

There are certain things we recommend for every client purchase, if available. Replacement Cost on the home, special coverage on Personal Property, water back-up of sewers and drains, high liability limits, and even an Umbrella. I know we just threw a lot of insurance words at you, so come see us and let us explain why these things are important, and how cheap they really are. We have developed easy ways of explaining what’s available and why it’s important for you

Yes, we do live in an awesome little area. Yes, major storms are rare. But we need to take a look at coverage. Because if you’re not buying your insurance policy for the coverage, what are you buying it for?

Auto Liability Insurance

WHAT IS LIABILITY ONLY?

Auto Liability Insurance in Safford, AZThe Term liability only is thrown around a lot by Insurance agents and customers alike, but what does it mean? Too many customers is means give me the cheapest coverage I can buy so I can get out of here as soon as possible. But there are MANY things to consider when it comes to Auto liability insurance.

Let’s start with what liability covers. Most liability policies state that it covers “damages for bodily injury and property damage for which an insured is legally responsible because of an accident” or something similar. Let’s break that down for a second.

  1. There has to be damage. Either to property or person. The property damaged could be to a car, a house, a fence, or some other kind of property. Bodily injury means someone had to get medical attention of some sort. Could be by an EMT, a Doctor, a Chiropractor, etc.
  2. The insured has to be legally responsible for the damage (some level of liability). This means the police report deemed you to be at fault to some extent.
  3. There had to be an accident of some kind.

Sounds funny that we would break that down in such a way, but it is important that all 3 pieces exist. Liability also covers the legal fees required to defend you in the event that you do cause the damage described above. If you have recently spoken to a lawyer, you know how important this part of liability coverage actually is.

Like any policy there are exclusions to the auto liability insurance policy, and it is important that you understand these. For example;

  1. If you intentionally cause the damage – NOT COVERED
  2. If you are using it to transport people (yes Uber and Lyft Drivers I am looking at you) – NOT COVERED (liability coverage may be added to the policy by SOME companies.

There are many others, but these two are specifically worth noting in our road rage, Uber filled world.

Understand the liability limits on your policy. Usually auto liability is described in 3 numbers like this:

100,000/300,000/100,000

The first number indicates the bodily injury coverage per person. The second indicates the bodily injury coverage per accident (meaning the total payout for bodily injury), and the third number indicates the total coverage for property damage. So if you get in an accident and injure the driver the total amount in this case would be $100,000. At $100,001 in damage you are responsible for the additional $1.

Now, let’s say there are is a driver and 2 passengers. The total for any 1 person is still $100,000, but now the policy would pay $100,000 for each, so a total of $300,000. But let’s say there is the driver and 3 passengers and they all get hurt in an accident and it’s your fault and they all have major medical bills of $100,000 each. The policy pays out a total of $300,000, and you are on the hook for the other $100,000.

Clear as mud I am sure, but it’s important to understand that there are limits to the policy, and understanding these limits will help you to purchase liability coverage that suits your needs.

Liability for auto insurance is important. So much so it is required, by law, that driver’s purchase the coverage before getting on the road. Start Your Auto insurance online. We represent a number of different insurance companies to ensure you get great coverage at an affordable price every time.

This is a general explanation of coverage and different companies may treat these coverage options differently for information on exactly how your policy will respond please refer to your policy declarations page as well as the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.