Info & Tips

  1. Do I need Life Insurance?

    As insurance agents, we deal with crazy, unpredictable situations all the time. It's safe to say we have almost seen it all. That's why we always tell our clients it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to insurance coverage. There are things in life we just can't plan for, but that's why we insurance -- it's our "safety net" for life's curve balls. 

    One of the most-discussed types of insurance is Life Insurance. A lot of clients are torn about when and if to purchase a life insurance plan. Our answer is yes, it's always a good idea to carry life insurance, even if it's a basic plan offered by your place of employment. When you're ready, there are varied types of plans depending on whether you have children, medical conditions, age range, etc. The best thing to do is sit down and discuss together what plan is best.



    What we'd like to share today are the Top 10 Reasons You Need Life Insurance:

    1. You never know.

    Dying suddenly — in an accident, by unexpected illness or even of natural causes — can happen at any time. Life insurance helps your loved ones pay the mortgage, bills, even college costs, after you’re gone. It also provides tax-free cash to pay estate and death duties. Nothing can replace you in their hearts, but planning ahead with life insurance can make things easier for those you leave behind.

    2. Funerals are expensive.

    In some cases, up to $7,000 to $10,000 — and we’re not talking about extravagant funeral services. This is the average cost of a burial ceremony that will be faced by your loved ones.  At an already difficult and emotional time, your life insurance can cover these expenses without financial hardship or further stress.

    3. Protect those you love.

    In your life, you work hard to make sure those you love — spouse, partner, children, family members — are taken care of. It’s just as important to consider providing financial support for the future living costs of surviving dependents. After all, they will have to go on without you. Make sure they’re protected, too.

    4. Death shouldn’t mean debt.

    Life Insurance can help your dependents cover any financial responsibilities that are left after your death. Debt can be a tremendous burden, on top of the already emotional toll your absence creates in their lives.

    5. Anything can happen.

    If you develop a serious illness, you may not be able to get life insurance to the extent you need it — or at all. If you have a terminal illness, life insurance can provide you with financial support. Life insurance can also be used in case of emergencies by requesting a withdrawal or loan.

    6. Take care of business.

    Life Insurance isn’t just for individuals. It can protect a business from financial loss, liabilities or instability in the case of the death of a business owner/partner. Whether providing necessary short-term cash or keeping operations going until things settle, life insurance can be invaluable in maintaining the business you’ve worked so hard to build.

    7. Supplement your retirement.

    You can use life insurance to make sure your retirement savings lasts as long as you do. An annuity is like a do-it-yourself pension plan — you put an amount of money into a life insurance product and in return you get a guaranteed stream of income month after month, for as long as you live.

    8. It makes financial sense.

    Life insurance is considered a financial asset, which can help increase your credit and help you to get a loan or health insurance. Many policies have cash value, which even in case of bankruptcy cannot be touched by creditors.

    9. Give to charity.

    Life Insurance can enable you to leaving a lasting gift to a favorite cause or charity that is much larger than you would otherwise set aside for donation.

    10. Peace of mind, plain and simple.


    No amount of money can ever replace a person. But more than anything, life insurance can help provide protection for the uncertainties in life.

    We hope this will help you determine whether you and your family need to invest in a life insurance plan. As we discussed early in the post, it's better to be safe than sorry and these are the reasons why. Call us anytime to discuss not only your life insurance needs, but any other coverage as well. We are always happy to help in any way we can!


  2. The Scoop on Renter's Insurance

    If you live in and rent an apartment or rental home, your insurance needs are a bit different from homeowners. Many renters believe they don't need to have insurance on their property because they don't actually own it, but that is not true! We can assure you that it's worth the time and money to insure your personal belongings and protect you from medical or legal expenses in the event of an accident at the property. We've also heard many misconceptions about renters insurance, so we think this article from US News will be quite helpful and educational for both renters and landlords.



    Myth #1: "I don't have enough stuff to need insurance coverage."
    Since all rental properties are susceptible to a variety of damages, whether it be fire, theft or even a broken kitchen appliance, many experts say there isn't a scenario in which a tenant should go without renters insurance. But it is important to weigh the associated costs, both monetary and sentimental.
    A common reason individuals avoid renters insurance is they do not think their belongings are worth the coverage. "Many renters underestimate the value of their possessions and would be surprised by how much it would cost to replace the items they have accumulated," says Emily Lyons, a Liberty Mutual property insurance expert.
    If renters think they do not have enough stuff to warrant a renters insurance policy, Keith Rutman, vice president of specialty property lines for Allstate Insurance, suggests they go around their residence, room by room, and take full inventory of their belongings before making a decision. "Most people usually only think of the big-ticket items, like electronics, but if you really think about it, it's so much more in that," he says. "For example, in your kitchen, it's not only the appliances, but the towels, dishes, utensils and food, too. We find that the average renter in a two-bedroom apartment has about $30,000 worth of stuff."
    Along with evaluating how much your belongings cost, it's important to consider how much you personally value those items. In some situations, how much you care about your belongs may override cost in your decision to take out a renters insurance policy.

    ***This second myth is so common -- we want our clients to be educated on this and know their landlord is not responsible for renters' lost expenses.***
    Myth #2: "Since I am a renter, my landlord will cover property damages."
    Occasionally, a landlord may partner with an insurance company to offer renters insurance to tenants, but more frequently, the insurance policies that landlords hold for their properties only protect the building itself. "After acquiring a rental housing unit, landlords change their insurance policies from a traditional homeowners policy to a rental policy, and when they do that, it only covers just the structure, not the content or any of the tenants belongings," says James Emory Tungsvik, president of the National Association of Residential Property Managers.
    Even if the landlord owns appliances or other items within your rented home, he or she is not responsible for damages they inflict on your personal property. "Say you just bought a few hundred dollars' worth of frozen food and you stuck it in the freezer that the landlord owns, and it breaks down, spoiling all the food," Tungsvik says. "If you wanted coverage for that lost expense, the landlord would not responsible for it. That would be part of renters insurance."

    Myth #3: "Renters insurance only covers my personal belongings."
    Accidents, such as a flood in your apartment, may damage other tenants' property and can be costly. Renters insurance can protect you from these situations and help cover those unexpected costs. "For example, if your bathtub overflows and water seeps into the apartment below, damaging your neighbor's furniture or rug, your renter's policy will cover the damage up to your liability limits," Lyons says.

    This liability protection can cover medical or legal expenses associated with your home. "If you are entertaining at your home and, say, someone trips over a loose rug or injures his or herself in your apartment in some way, could you afford to pay the potential medical expenses associated with that, but in the event of a lawsuit, could you pay the legal expenses as well?" Rutman asks. "A typical renters policy will cover that full range of risks that any renter could be exposed to."

    Myth #4: "Renters insurance is too expensive."
    Unlike car insurance or a typical homeowners insurance policy, a renters insurance plan is not a large additional monthly cost. "You are probably looking at about an additional $185 a year," says Tim LaCasse, insurance agent. "I try to tell people that for less than $20 a month, all your personal property is protected." Policy premiums can vary between individuals, providers and location, but as a whole, renters can expect to pay about 50 cents per day for a renters insurance policy.
    For even more savings, many insurance providers offer multi-policy discounts to customers who add renters insurance onto an existing insurance package. On average, bundling can decrease overall monthly insurance costs by approximately 5 to 10 percent, according to LaCasse.
    However, even though renters insurance is less expensive than homeowners insurance, it could still become expensive if consumers are not careful, regardless of the policy type. "You have to shop around," Hunter says. "You could pay twice as much with one company than you would if you had a policy with another.


    Call First Advantage Insurance today to talk to one of our agents about the best renters insurance option for you. For a minimal expense, renters can live in their home worry-free and protected from many unexpected events like theft, fire, flooding, or accidents. It's so important to protect yourself and your belongings, and we are here to help you do just that! 
  3. Insurance Terms -- Final Installment!

    Welcome back for our final post in our insurance term series. We hope you have found the past few posts informative and helpful. Do you feel just a little bit smarter discussing your insurance needs? We know learning these terms is not the most entertaining topic to discuss, but it is worth your while to know the basics and understand what your agent is sharing with you.

    So, here is the end of our list. We encourage you to reference any and all of the past few weeks' posts if you need a refresher or have a specific situation arise where you need to know about a particular type of coverage. Use these blog as a guide and starting point for our insurance discussions.


    Personal watercraft

    Applies to: boat insurance.
    A personal watercraft, or PWC, is a floating recreational vehicle on which you ride by sitting or standing, as opposed to riding inside a cabin or cockpit like with a boat. Models have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering. Popular personal watercraft include Jet Skis, WaveRunners, Sea-Doos and AquaTrax.

    Pet coverage

    Applies to: auto, classic car, RV and boat insurance.
    For auto, classic car and RV: Pet coverage pays for veterinary expenses or a death benefit if your cat or dog is injured or dies in a collision, even if they’re in someone else’s car.
    For watercraft: Pet coverage for your dog or cat provides for veterinary expenses or a death benefit if your cat or dog passes away or is injured as a result of upset, collision or theft of your watercraft.

    Physical damage coverage

    Applies to: auto, motorcycle, classic car, RV and boat insurance.
    For auto, motorcycle, classic car and RV: Physical damage is a general term that includes both comprehensive and collision coverage.
    For watercraft: Physical damage helps pay to repair damage to your watercraft caused by an accident. It also generally pays to repair or replace your watercraft for insured situations such as theft, fire, vandalism or other non-collision damages that occur in or out of the water.

    Premises liability coverage

    Applies to: landlord protection insurance.
    Premises liability coverage includes both personal injury protection and medical payments. Personal injury covers wrongful eviction or entry, invasion of privacy, libel and slander. Medical payments helps cover hospital bills and medical care expenses for guests if they are injured on your rental property and you’re held responsible.

    Premium

    Applies to: auto, home, condo, renters, boat, classic car, motorcycle, RV, landlord protection and umbrella insurance.
    Your insurance premium is the total cost or amount you pay in exchange for one term of policy coverage. One term of policy coverage is usually six or 12 months.

    Property or Dwelling coverage

    Applies to: home and landlord protection insurance.
    Helps cover the cost to repair or rebuild your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by something your insurance policy covers, like a kitchen fire or a tree falling through the roof. This is the main component of home insurance and Landlord Protection insurance.

    Roadside Assistance

    Applies to: auto, classic car, motorcycle, RV and boat insurance.
    For auto, classic car, motorcycle and RV: Your coverage could provide roadside assistance to help you change a flat tire, deliver gas, oil or other essential fluids like radiator and brake fluid, jump start your battery and send out a locksmith if you’re locked out of your car. Motorcycle Roadside Assistance also includes trip interruption coverage which helps pay for lodging, food and alternate transportation.
    For watercraft: Roadside Coverage for your boat or PWC trailer, and the car or truck you’re towing it with while on your way to or from the water.

    Total loss

    Applies to: auto, home, condo, renters, boat, classic car, motorcycle, RV and landlord protection insurance.
    A total loss is declared when the cost of repairs will be greater than the total current market value of your vehicle or property. Model, year, mileage, condition, options, school districts, land value, location and your local market area are all factors in deciding if your property or vehicle is a total loss. Sometimes a total loss is simply called totaled, as in “My car was totaled.”

    Umbrella insurance

    Applies to: umbrella insurance.
    An umbrella insurance policy is an additional layer of liability coverage that may cover you when your other insurance policies, such as homeowner’s and auto, have exhausted the maximum amount they will pay for liability claims.

    Underlying insurance policy

    Applies to: umbrella insurance.
    When an umbrella policy is adding protection to another insurance policy, like your auto insurance for example, your auto insurance is the underlying insurance policy. Any and all of your other policies being protected by umbrella insurance are considered underlying insurance policies.

    Underlying liability coverage
    Applies to: umbrella insurance.
    When an umbrella policy is adding protection to another insurance policy, like your auto policy for example, the underlying liability coverage is the maximum amount your auto policy will pay for liability claims.

    Underwriter/underwriting

    Underwriting is the process your insurance company uses to assess risk when deciding whether to issue a policy of insurance to a customer.

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist

    Applies to: auto, classic car, motorcycle, RV and umbrella insurance.
    Helps pay for damages associated with bodily injury or death from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver. Specifics of what is covered by these terms can vary from state to state. It may also cover you if you are hit as a pedestrian.

    Valuable articles coverage

    Applies to: home, condo and renters insurance.
    Your new ring is worth more to you than just money, but it's still smart to make sure it has extra protection. Other special possessions, such as fine art, antiques and collectibles may also need to have this type of additional coverage. There is no deductible applied to valuable articles coverage claims.


    Have we missed any terms you would like to know more about? Remember, we are here to help you and educate you in every way we can, so please let us know if there is a topic you would like us to cover. In the meantime, have a safe week and stay tuned for next week's post!
  4. Easy Insurance Terms: Volume 3

    Welcome back! We hope you've had a great week and have enjoyed the warmer weather. It has been a busy week for us at First Advantage Insurance! It has been great to meet some new clients and prepare quotes for their families, and we have a high volume of customers calling in with questions and changes to their policies. 


    We are continuing our insurance term series this week with Volume 3 of terms. Again, these are practical, everyday insurance terms that you will hear often when we discuss our various options of coverage and assess what your family needs. We've tried to make it very easy by noting what type of insurance each term relates to, so if you are focused on home or car insurance for example, you can scan through and find those terms!


    Liability limits

    Applies to: auto, home, condo, renters, boat, classic car, motorcycle, RV, landlord protection and umbrella insurance.
    Liability limit is the maximum dollar amount your insurance policy will cover for liability. For example, if your auto insurance has liability limits of 25/50/25, the maximum dollar amount your policy will pay is $25,000 for a person injured in an accident, a combined total of $50,000 for all people injured in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Minimum liability limit is the compulsory, or the minimum amount of auto liability insurance you’re required to have in your state.

    Loan and lease protection

    Applies to: auto, motorcycle and RV insurance.
    Loan and lease protection covers the difference between how much is left on your loan or lease and how much your car, motorcycle or RV is actually worth if it’s declared a total loss. It is also called guaranteed auto protection (GAP) when applied to auto insurance.

    Loss of use
    Applies to: auto, classic car, RV, home, condo and renters insurance.

    For property: Loss of use means you are unable to live in your home while it is being repaired or rebuilt.
    For vehicles: Loss of use means you are unable to drive your car or RV while it is being repaired.
    Additional living expenses and rental car reimbursement are two types of loss of use coverage.

    Market value
    Applies to: home, condo and landlord protection insurance.
    The market value of your home is based on current economic conditions, school districts, the value of the land, location, and other factors. It’s the price your home would sell for if you put it up for sale. Market value should not be confused with your home’s replacement value.

    Medical payments (MedPay)

    Applies to: auto, classic car, boat, motorcycle, RV, home, condo, renters and landlord protection insurance.
    For auto, classic car, boat, motorcycle and RV: Medical payments helps cover hospital bills and medical care expenses for you or your passengers injured in an accident, no matter who is at fault. MedPay for boat also includes injuries from water-skiing and wake-boarding.
    For home, condo and renters: Medical payments help cover hospital bills and medical care expenses for guests if they are injured on your property. In certain situations it also helps cover people who are injured off of your property. It does not cover healthcare costs for you or other members of your household.
    For landlord protection: Medical payments is part of premises liability and helps cover hospital bills and medical care expenses for guests if they are injured on your rental property.

    Personal effects coverage

    Applies to: boat insurance.
    Personal effects coverage protects your clothing, scuba and snorkeling gear, fishing equipment and other personal items from damage and theft.

    Personal injury protection (PIP)

    Applies to: auto and motorcycle insurance.
    Personal injury protection or PIP helps pay for hospital bills and medical care expenses for you and your passengers injured in an accident, no matter who was at fault. Some states require personal injury protection as part of your auto or motorcycle insurance coverage.

    Personal liability coverage

    Applies to: home, condo and renters insurance.
    If someone other than a family member is injured or property is damaged and you are held legally responsible, personal liability coverage helps cover the cost of hospital bills, medical treatment or repairs you may be obligated to pay for.

    Personal offense coverage

    Applies to: home insurance.
    Personal offense coverage is an optional coverage on a homeowners policy to protect against libel or slander liability.

    Personal property replacement cost coverage

    Applies to: home, condo and renters insurance.
    Your home is filled with furniture, clothes, sports equipment, and other items that mean a lot to you. Personal property replacement cost coverage will help pay for the actual cost to replace your personal belongings that are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of an insured event.
    We also want to share a fun fact that we came across. John Harrison, the man who is the official taste tester for Dreyer's Ice Cream, insured his tongue for $1,000,000!!! That is one valuable body part!
  5. Insurance Terms Round Two!

    Welcome back! We hope you all got to play in the snow one last time this week because we are crossing our fingers that we have seen the last of it! The roads are looking better and we are hoping the warming temperatures next week will melt everything, but in the meantime, please continue to be very careful and cautious in your travels.


    Today we are going to continue our series on breaking down insurance terms. We feel very strongly about educating our clients and understand that how helpful it is understand and make sense of the terminology being discussed when working through insurance.

    So, here are the next 10 commons insurance terms. Remember that all of these will not apply to you and your insurance needs, but it's still a good idea to scan through all of them.



    Emergency assistance

    Applies to: autoclassic carboat and RV insurance
    For auto and classic car: Emergency assistance for your auto or classic car includes the towing and emergency services of Roadside Assistance and enhances it with coverage for transportation costs like taxi fare, emergency lodging and damage or theft of your personal property.
    For RV: Emergency assistance for your RV includes all the features of Roadside Assistance plus adds coverage for personal property, temporary living expenses and alternative transportation costs if your RV becomes uninhabitable.
    For watercraft: Emergency assistance will reimburse you for the cost of on-water towing, labor and emergency services like delivery of fuel, oil or loaned battery to your watercraft while disabled on the water.

    Equipment breakdown coverage

    Applies to: home insurance
    Equipment breakdown coverage is a type of home warranty that extends to your essential home systems and appliances. It provides protection in the event of an unexpected mechanical or electrical breakdown not caused by normal wear and tear or corrosion. Equipment breakdown coverage can be used to replace costly and confusing coverage provided by home warranties and big-box retailer extended warranties. It’s an alternative way to protect both your belongings and your budget.

    Extended dwelling coverage

    Applies to: home and landlord protection insurance
    Extended dwelling coverage provides a choice of up to an additional 25 percent or 50 percent more coverage to help pay for unexpected repair or rebuilding costs that exceed the amount covered by your base homeowners or Landlord Protection policy.

    Fuel spill liability and wreckage removal

    Applies to: boat insurance
    Helps pay for the cost associated with cleaning up fuel spills and removing wreckage debris after an on-water accident. If your boat sinks or is seriously damaged, there is a chance that it could leak oil or fuel into the water. As the boat's owner you are required by law to have this cleaned up, which can be time consuming and expensive. Safeco will also help pay costs related to having your sunken or sinking boat raised and removed when required.

    Guaranteed auto protection (GAP)

    Applies to: auto
    GAP is loan and lease protection. It covers the difference between how much is left on your loan or lease and how much your car is actually worth if it’s declared a total loss.

    Guest passenger liability

    Applies to: motorcycle insurance
    Motorcycle guest passenger liability helps cover the cost of hospital bills and medical care that you may be held responsible to pay if you cause an accident that injures your guest passenger. It is similar to bodily injury liability, but specifically for a guest passenger. In most states, guest passenger liability is mandatory on all street bikes, and optional for off-road bikes.

    Identity theft

    Applies to: homecondo and renters insurance
    Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to open accounts or incur charges without your permission. Thieves can access your personal information in a variety of ways, such as stealing your personal mail, your wallet or hacking your computer files. A thief can use your identity to rack up debt in your name or get a fake driver’s license. For more information on identity theft and tips on prevention visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Fighting Back Against Identity Theft website.

    Indemnity

    Providing indemnity means to financially restore someone after a loss, through payment, repair or replacement.

    Insurance score

    A Credit-Based Insurance Score (CBIS) is derived from information on your credit report. It is a number that measures the likelihood of having an insurance claim, not a measure of credit worthiness. Insurers use CBIS along with a number of other factors, including driving records, claims history, and the type of home or vehicle you own, to evaluate new and renewal auto and homeowner insurance policies.

    Insurance to value

    Applies to: homecondo and landlord protection insurance
    Insurance to value is a ratio that reflects the relationship between insurance coverage limits and the actual cost to completely rebuild, repair or replace a covered item after a total loss. Safeco typically requires 100 percent insurance to value, meaning your policy limits are sufficient to replace the covered property in the event of a total loss.

    Don't forget to check out last week's post if you missed it! There are some very practical, useful terms included in that list. Have a great weekend and get ready for the warm-up next week!