Auto Insurance Medical Payments

AUTO INSURANCE MEDICAL PAYMENTS

Medical payments is a simple coverage that is often over looked. Medical payments pays for the reasonable medical expense and funeral services of any “insured” while they are occupying a vehicle, as a pedestrian OR any other person while occupying your insured vehicle.

It is often overlooked as many people say they have health insurance and therefore is a redundant coverage. To that we say, there is a certain logic to that, BUT there are several reasons medical payments makes a lot of sense.

REASONS MEDICAL PAYMENTS MAKES SENSE

  1. While you might have great healthcare, who is getting in your car, and what kind of coverage do they have? Remember medical payments covers anyone occupying your vehicle, so if you car pool or often have non-familial passengers in your car Medical Payments can be extremely important. What if they don’t have health insurance? Medical payments might be the only coverage they have in the event of an accident.
  2. When you are in an accident and the other guy is at-fault, his liability policy will be what kicks in to pay for your medical bills, but what if you are at fault. The only thing to help you with your medical bills may be Medical Payments on your policy.
  3. What is your deductible on your health insurance policy? As healthcare costs have increased many people have increased their deductible and now have HSA plans with $5,000 deductible or higher. Is your heath savings account full funded? If not, medical payments on your auto policy may become a very important “bridge” that can help cover the cost of your health insurance deductible.

So to those that say its redundant we say, maybe think twice. Medical Payments coverage is a very cheap, coverage that can become very important in the event of an accident.

Have questions about your current coverage? Contact our agency. We are here to help you & ensure you have the proper insurance coverage.

4 REASONS WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND UNINSURED / UNDER-INSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE

According to the most recent statistics provided by the Insurance Information Institute (2012), 11% of driver’s are uninsured in Arizona. That means that just over 1 in 10 drivers don’t have insurance, at all. Nationally that number is closer to about 12%. There are a lot of uninsured motorists! There are probably many more that are under-insured, but until there is an accident, we don’t actually know if a driver had enough insurance. So, long ago insurance companies invented this thing called uninsured and under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

Essentially, this coverage is provided by YOUR insurance company to act as if the OTHER GUY had insurance (uninsured) or enough insurance (under-insured) to cover the damage they caused. State laws vary about how this is treated, so we are going to focus on Arizona for a second. In Arizona UM/UIM coverage does not protect your vehicle for the physical damage, if you want that you need Comprehensive and Collision coverage. However, UM/UIM does provide coverage are for your medical bills, loss of earnings, pain, suffering, and other personal injury damages. It also can provide the same coverage if you are a victim of a hit-and-run situation.  UM/UIM is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT; here are 4 reasons why.

  1. It’s a law that it’s offered – In Arizona, UM/UIM, must be offered to clients, and clients must accept or reject this coverage in writing. It is mandatory to purchase liability if you will be driving on public roads, but it is mandatory that UM/UIM must be offered. I believe reasons 2, 3 and 4 explain why.
  2. State minimum limits are too low – Arizona’s state minimum limits are 15/30/10. Meaning that if you get in an accident and the other guy has “just what the state requires” you have a total of $15,000 to cover your medical bills. On a side note, I think that’s about the cost to get a hang nail treated these days, so imagine if you got really hurt.
  3. This coverage is for catastrophic events – There are two types of injuries, those that you take an anti-inflammatory for, and all others. When UM/UIM coverage is triggered its usually because someone was seriously injured in a car accident. Meaning the insurance companies aren’t usually paying out $20 UM/UIM claims.
  4. My Experience – Let me take this personal for a second. My wife has a leg worth 1 million dollars from a boating accident. I know, completely unrelated, or is it? Stick with me for a second. My wife was injured wake boarding. She fell in a very routine manner. In fact, when we came around we asked her if she wanted to go again. She very calmly said she was “broken” and as we looked into the water we understood what she meant. She had dislocated her knee tearing all the ligaments, but one, and was bleeding. She was rushed to the ER, helicoptered to a trauma center, and underwent surgery that night. Long story short she almost lost her leg. She was able to keep it after 8 surgeries. At the time, we had 5 kids. While my wife was in surgery I was left in a waiting room. Understanding the gravity of the situation, I wondered how I would be able to work. How I would keep my Job. How I would be Dad and Mom through recovery and rehab. Our family lives in a rural area. I imagined all the follow up appointments, missed days at work, cost to drive back and forth to the doctors. Now, let’s pretend it was a car accident. Imagine getting a check for $15,000. Yeah, you may have other insurance for that, but health insurance doesn’t cover all the personal injury you know other stuff, but UM/UIM does. Remember UM/UIM covers medical bills, other out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. That’s HUGE.

WE NEVER KNOW WHAT LIFE HOLDS. MY WIFE IS OKAY, WE ARE BLESSED WITH FAMILY THAT HELPED US, BUT STUFF HAPPENS, AND WE PURCHASE INSURANCE TO PROTECT US. UNINSURED / UNDER-INSURED (UM/UIM) COVERAGE CAN HELP IN THESE CRAZY SITUATIONS, AND WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU PURCHASE IT.

For more information on uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, contact us!

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What have you done this summer

Do you need to update your insurance policy?

Fix and Flip Home InsuranceAhh summer time. A time of fun, sun, and DIY projects around the house. The extra light in the evenings lends itself to getting stuff done. So, I have a question: What did you do this summer? Maybe you’re not a DIY sort of person. Maybe you had a contractor or handyman do it for you.

 

Did you add a shed? Did you add on to your home? Did you add a block fence or a pool? Heck did you buy a new car? Did you get Married? Did you get a new Girl Friend?

 

Now for the most important question: Did you tell your insurance agent?

 

What Why would I do that, dude’s a square (and clearly uses insults from the 1950’s… loser).

 

Because it can affect your insurance. Consider this lesser known insurance clause:

 

Your house has to be insured to at least 80% of its value or you can be penalized in the event of a claim.

 

Yes penalized. Well that wouldn’t happen to me. Did you tell your insurance agent about your addition? Because if not, you just change the ratio of the insurance coverage to the value of your house.

 

“Well, I just added a pool.” Will your insurance company cover you if you have a pool? Some don’t or have strict rules about fences.

 

Did you get married? You probably need to make sure your spouse has been added to the policy? You also need to combine your policies for savings purposes. Finally, do you need to cover that rock you just bought her? There may be coverage on a homeowner’s or renter’s policy, but there may not be depending on the value.

 

If your girlfriend just moved in with you did you know that she may not be covered if she drive’s your car? Or that coverage can be limited? (this can vary GREATLY by company).

 

See. Your insurance agent may be a goober, but you need to tell him or her stuff because if you have done something to your cars, home, or if you have just had some changes in life, talk to us about how that impacts your insurance needs. He/She can help you anser the question do you need to update your insurance policy.

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Small Savings Big Consequences The Value of an Independent Insurance Agent

We all want to save money on things like insurance. It is rarely used, so we feel like we can and should cut corners on coverage options that we don’t think are necessary or that we don’t understand. Heck if I am honest I considered doing that this very week myself, BUT I didn’t, and the reason why is because there is real value in insurance. But we must remember insurance is for the catastrophic. It is designed to protect you and your assets from ruin.  So, it’s for when you have a total loss and you are facing BIG losses that you don’t want to be skimping on things that can cost pennies a month. Enter the Value of an Independent Insurance Agent

 

Here are a few things for auto insurance.

 

  1. Liability limits – Do you know what the numbers 15/30/10, 25/50/25, 50/100/50, 100/300/100, or 250/500/100 mean? Did you know the cost from one to the other can be VERY little? When was the last time you increased your limits. GASP! Increase insurance?!? Many of us purchase state minimums when we are struggling college students, then later become business owners, professionals, or just increase what we are earning, and never adjust our insurance to protect us. This has particularly been an issue recently as more of us purchase our insurance online. Don’t cut corners on liability insurance ever, ever, ever. Medical bills are increasing and its almost criminal that the state minimum limits are so low, because they barely cover anything.

 

  1. Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage – There are uninsured and underinsured driver’s everywhere (see point number 1). What if you get hit by one. We recently had a lady come into the office that had been hit by an uninsured driver on her way to Phoenix she sustained injuries that cost millions of dollars in medical bills. She didn’t have any uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Heath insurance covered much of this, but uninsured and underinsured motorist is SO much more.

 

 

  1. Medical Payments – Medical payments is a no-fault coverage, meaning you don’t have to be at fault for it to pay out. But I have medical insurance, so. Do you car pool? Do have other people’s kids in your car? You see where I am going? If not, your medical payments coverage might be the only or best coverage they have. Even if you do have health insurance, medical payments can pay your deductible. With health insurance deductibles increasing more and more every year this can be a HUGE benefit.

 

The list can go on and on. I will spare you. But this much I will say. Changes to your policy are often made with the intent to save money, not being fully understanding the consequences until after a loss. So, my plead to you is that before you go changing your policy please ask your insurance agent for examples of how the coverage works and an example of when it would be used. Ask for the worse case they have seen. Yes, it can happen here, and yes it can happen to you.

What’s the answer? Look, if you need to save on insurance, ask us, let us shop for you. Sometimes in the best-case scenario you can save money AND increase your coverage. Imagine. That’s the benefit of an independent insurance agency, like Gila Insurance Group LLC.

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Who we represent and why?

 

The insurance industry is weird or is it? Like any industry there are those that want to sell direct through exclusive distributors, those that wholesale through non-exclusive distributors, and those that sell direct online to the consumer. As an independent agent we work with companies that wholesale non-exclusively. Here we try to introduce you to the Insurance Companies We Represent and Why. We represent many different companies to try to ensure you get the best coverage at the best rate year after year.

 

Thing is some people have never heard of the companies we represent. So they have to be small and unheard of, right? Not really. We actually work with some of the most reputable companies in the market. In this blog we try to give you an idea of who we represent and how large they actually are.

 

Let’s start with auto insurance. There is a group called the NAIC that reports how large companies are in the US. The data below is from that list.

 

Auto Insurance Company Ranking by Size in 2017
RankCompanyPremium in Billions
1State Farm41
2Berkshire Hathaway Grp (GEICO)29
3Progressive22
4Allstate21
5USAA13
6Liberty Mutual/Safeco11
7Farmers10
8Nationwide7
9Travelers4
10American Family4
11Auto Club (AAA)3
12Erie3
13Amtrust/National General3
14CSAA (AAA)3
15Autoowners2.5
16Mercury2.4
17Metlife2.4
18Hartford2.3
19Auto Club Michigan (AAA)1.7
20Mapfre1.7
21Kemper1.4
22Amica1.3
23Infinity1.2
24Country Ins & Financial Services1.1
25The Hanover1.1
Bolded and italicized  companies are represented by Gila Insurance Group

 

 

 

We represent Progressive, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Travelers, National General, Mercury, MetLife, Kemper, and Infinity. Yes that’s right, we represent 36% of the top 25 auto insurance companies in the US. 9 of the top 25.

 

Let’s look at homeowners.

 

Homeowners Insurance Company Ranking by Size in 2017
RankCompanyPremium in Billions
1State Farm17
2Allstate8
3Liberty Mutual/Safeco6.4
4USAA6
5Farmers6
6Travelers3.5
7Nationwide3.2
8American Family3
9Chubb LTD Group2.7
10Erie1.6
11Autoowners1.4
12AIG1.1
13Metlife1.1
14Progressive1
15Hartford1
Bolded and italicized  companies are represented by Gila Insurance Group

 

With homeowner’s insurance there are still a lot of companies, but they tend to get small quick. We are going to focus on only those that write over 1 billion dollars in insurance, which leaves us with the top 15 carriers. We represent Allstate, Safeco, Travelers, and MetLife.  Of the top 15 homeowner’s carriers Gila Insurance Group represents 27% of the top 15.

 

With 36% of the top auto carriers and 27% of the homeowner’s carriers represented by Gila, the question stands… why would you need to go anywhere else?

 

Remember we shop these carriers to ensure you get excellent coverage at an affordable price. If one of these companies decides to drastically change your rate, we will monitor that and start shopping the rate for you. Each of the companies we represent and work with are large recognized carriers with the financial stability to be there when you have a claim.

 

We can provide quotes for many of these companies online at GilaInsurance.com.

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Understanding Comprehensive & Collision Coverage

Comprehensive & Collision Insurance Coverage in Safford, AZSomewhere along the way people started asking for “full coverage.” Usually this coverage refers to what an auto insurance policy refers to as collision and other than collision (comprehensive). These are pretty straight forward so we will take a look at these coverage options together.

Collision is defined as impact with another vehicle or object. Pretty straight forward, but it also includes upset, which is a roll-over accident. One piece as we will see in a second is that collision with an animal is actually covered in the other than collision section of the policy.

 COMMON OTHER THAN COLLISION (COMPREHENSIVE) COVERAGES

Other than collision is about the most comprehensive coverage package that is found in any insurance policy. It specifically states there are things covered, but then leaves the door open to a lot more. Things that are specifically covered under other than collision (comprehensive) included:

  1. Missiles or falling objects
  2. Fire
  3. Theft or larceny
  4. Explosion or earthquake
  5. Windstorm
  6. Hail, water, or flood
  7. Malicious mischief or vandalism
  8. Riot or civil commotion
  9. Contact with a bird or animal
  10. Glass breakage*

Again, not an all-inclusive list of what the comprehensive policy might cover, but rather things that are specifically covered under Other than collision (comprehensive)

* A comment on glass breakage. Today most companies make this an optional coverage and charge an additional premium for it. In the state of Arizona if glass coverage is purchased it comes with no deductible applied in most cases. Also if the glass breakage is cause by a collision in most cases you can elect to have it considered a loss covered by collision.

If it’s covered why split things into collision or other than collision? Well if you look at the other than collision vs collision in most cases there is not a lot of things that you can do to prevent the other than collision losses. On the other hand, collision is very much in your control. So the losses are treated differently when it comes to how the companies determine what your rate will be. It’s not to say that an other than collision loss with never have an impact on your rate, but it’s likely to have a LOT LESS of an impact.

A final thought on collision and other than collision coverage (comprehensive), these coverage options are subject to a deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the cost, and the lower the deductible the higher the cost. What is a deductible? In the event of an accident the deductible is the part of the claim that you will be responsible for paying.

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.

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.

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What to do if you get into a car accident

Being in an accident can be a very frightening event. Being prepared to know how to handle the situation when it occurs will help you deal with the shock of it, as well as ensure you are covered for the loss when it does happen. While accidents will happen to almost every driver, whether their car is parked and unattended, or while they’re driving, knowing these important steps will help you deal with the unfortunate situation.

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Everything You Need to Know About Gap Insurance

While buying a home tends to appreciate in value overtime, buying a vehicle is the opposite. Especially if you are buying a brand new vehicle, the moment you drive off the car dealership’s lot, your vehicle has already depreciated in value. For many vehicles, the more expensive the purchase, the faster the depreciation. New vehicles offer more safety features and conveniences, so we understand why people like them.