Month: November 2017

Deductibles 101

A deductible is the amount you are required to pay out of pocket when filing an insurance claim.

You probably talked about them when you first bought your insurance coverage. But if you don’t review your insurance annually, the next time you even hear the word “deductible” could be months or even years later when you’re filing a claim. And this can make an already stressful time even more puzzling.

While we don’t expect you to agonize over your deductible every day, it’s important to know how to find and understand your deductibles, as well as determine if you’re paying the correct amount for your current risk.

Find and understand your deductible.

Your deductible is very easy to find. On a standard homeowners or auto insurance policy, your deductible amounts should be listed on the front page. This page is also known as the declarations page.

You may notice that your policy contains different deductible amounts for each individual coverage. For example, an auto policy includes both comprehensive and collision coverage, each with its own deductible. Collision coverage kicks in if you collide with another object. So, if you got into an accident with another driver, the collision deductible will apply to your claim. Comprehensive coverage applies when the damage to your car is brought on by other causes, like if you hit a deer or if a tree falls on your vehicle. In these instances, the comprehensive deductible will apply.

Also, you may see that some coverages don’t require a deductible, like scheduled coverage for jewelry or other valuable items, as well as homeowners’ or auto liability coverage. In these cases, you won’t have to pay any out of pocket costs if you need to file a claim.

Choose a deductible that’s right for you.

Deductibles also affect your rates. The higher the deductible, the lower your premium. Meaning, if you’re willing to pay more out of pocket when filing a claim, your monthly or semiannual payments will be smaller. On the flip-side, if you’re willing to pay more in premium, your deductible will be reduced.

When you review your policy, your agent can help you make sure that you’re paying the right amount for your risk. For instance, if you’ve got a fairly new home, you may not have the same risks as an older house and may not be as likely to file a claim. In which case, it could be better to have a higher deductible and lower premium.

And since different coverages within your policy contain different deductibles, your premium and deductibles can become even more customized. For example, if you live in the country and are more likely to hit a deer than another car, you may want to lower your deductible for comprehensive coverage, but raise your deductible for collision coverage.

Talk to your agent.

Your insurance agent is the best person to talk to when making these decisions. An annual review of your policy doesn’t take much time and could potentially save you money.

So, give Brandon a call for help evaluating your deductibles and ensuring that you’re paying the right amount for your current risks.


How to protect pets while driving

During this holiday season, our clients and friends will be traveling throughout the country and will most likely be bringing along their pets.  We know that your pets are your “fur-babies,” and you want to keep them safe. So, before you go cruising with your canine or kitty, let’s review some of the best ways to keep your dog and cat safe while driving around town or cross-country.

  1. Prep your pet.If you’re in for a long-distance road trip, get your pet prepared by taking them on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car.1 If you’re traveling across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings. Provide your pet with a light meal three-to-four hours prior to departure and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle.
  2. Take a travel kit.Bring food, a bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first aid and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. And be sure to pack plenty of bottled water. Giving your pet drinking water from an area they aren’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.
  3. Hold on tight.Consider a harness to make sure your pet is safe and secure. Since an unrestrained pet can become a projectile, causing injury to itself or others in the vehicle, look for a harness that will keep them restrained in an accident. According to the 2013 Safety Harness Crashworthiness Study by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS), the only product to pass the tests and earn the CPS designation of Top Performer was the Sleepypod® Clickit Utility Harness.
  4. Take comfort into account.Because most cats aren’t comfortable traveling in cars, for their safety as well as yours, it’s best to keep them in a carrier.2 If you use a crate or carrier in your car for your pet, the ASPCA recommends that the crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Remember to secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. In CPS’s 2015 Crate and Carriers Crashworthiness Studies, three models rose to the challenge: Gunner Kennels G1™ IntermediatePet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier, and Sleepypod® Mobile Pet Bed with PPRS Handilock.
  5. Keep all noggins inside the vehicle.Dogs and cats should always be kept safely inside the car and in the back seat.3 Pets who are allowed to stick their heads out the window can be injured by particles of debris or made sick by having cold air forced into their lungs. Even sniffing the breeze from an open window can lead to a vet visit if a pebble or something from the road is kicked up into your dog’s face. And never transport a pet in the back of an open pickup truck. It’s too easy for a dog or cat to jump or fall out of a truck bed.
  6. Watch the road.As cute as they are, don’t let your pet distract you while you’re driving. In one study, 59% of survey respondents admitted to participating in at least one distracting behavior while driving with their dog, including petting and giving them treats.4
  7. Bring a buddy.Share the driving and pet caretaking duties with a friend or family member. You’ll be able to relax knowing that someone you trust is keeping a close eye on your pet.
  8. Rest your Rover.Stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise and use the potty. Keep in mind never to leave the car without a collar, tag and leash.
  9. Don’t leave your pet alone.A quick pit stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it’s too long to leave your pet in a car. One hazard is heat: when it’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour. On an 85-degree day, even with the windows slightly open, the temperature inside your car can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes. And, at these temperatures your pet can suffer irreversible organ damage or even death. An unattended pet is also an opportunity for theft. Pet thieves are on the lookout for pets who have been left alone in a car—anytime of the year—and they can strike in a matter of seconds after you walk away from your vehicle.
  10. Check your car insurance.Talk to Brandon to learn whether your car insurance will cover pet injuries in an accident. Many carriers offer pet injury coverage as part of their standard auto insurance policy. Use your insurance agent as a resource to help you select the “Wright” coverage for your four-legged friend.


2 – The Humane Society of the United States
3 –
4 – AAA and Kurgo Pet Products

7 things to know about rental car coverage

After a car accident, you have enough things to worry about. Getting to work the next day shouldn’t be one of them.

We’ve all been there—and arranging alternate transportation while your vehicle is in a repair shop can be a hassle. But rental reimbursement coverage can help alleviate some stress after an accident while also saving you money.

Here are seven things you should know about before buying rental car reimbursement coverage:

1. It’s optional.
Rental reimbursement coverage does not automatically apply after an accident. As an optional coverage, it must be purchased separately. A common misconception is that auto insurance automatically covers the cost of a replacement rental car. In reality, you often have to select this coverage and apply it to the policy.

2. There is a limit.
You’ll likely have a per day and per occurrence limit. For example, if you have a 25/750 limit, your insurance company will pay up to $25 per day but no more than $750 per claim for the rental vehicle. Most insurance companies will offer several different options, allowing you to choose the limit that is right for you.

3. Your vehicle must be in the shop due to a covered loss.
Rental reimbursement coverage can be used while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident or another covered loss, not for routine maintenance or leisure. So, if your car is at the body shop after an accident, a rental car is covered up to your limit. But if your car is undergoing routine maintenance that will keep it in the shop overnight or you are renting a vehicle for a family road trip, then rental reimbursement coverage would not apply.

4. You can use it right away.
After reporting a claim, if your vehicle isn’t drive-able, you can be authorized for a rental car right away. Otherwise, you will be relying on the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and you may have to wait a little while before they can assess the claim and agree to pay for a rental car. With rental reimbursement coverage, there’s no waiting.

5. No need to worry about additional insurance.
For the most part, when you have collision and comprehensive coverage’s in your auto insurance policy, it will transfer to the rental vehicle, eliminating the need to purchase additional coverage from the car rental agency. Check with Brandon, who will be able to tell you when this applies.

6. You may not need it at all.
If you have access to another vehicle, rideshare service or public transportation in the event your vehicle isn’t drivable, you may not need rental reimbursement coverage. But if you prefer the safety net of having a rental available if you need it, you may want to opt-in to this coverage.

7. It costs less than you might expect.
One year of rental reimbursement coverage will typically cost less than one day of out-of-pocket rental car expenses.

Want to learn more? Talk to Brandon for complete details on rental reimbursement coverage.