Do you have a home for sale or vacant?

A vacant home is a home that is no longer a primary residence or is not occupied on a daily basis.

If you have a home that fits this description you need to contact your insurance agent or provider and let them know that your home is not being occupied.  You will need to purchase a vacant policy for this home.  You could possibly be in a situation where there is no coverage for the dwelling, personal property, or liability on the home owners policy.  There again, this is on a per company basis.  There could be terms in the home owners policy that excludes coverage for an unoccupied dwelling. Below are a couple of examples:

“My client had an empty house for sale.  I advised her to opt for a vacant dwelling policy when her neighbor’s kid was hurt on the vacant property, she was relieved that she had the right coverage in place.”
- Sam, Agent

“When my clients mother passed away and the estate was being settled, the last thing he needed to worry about was having a vacant home on his hands.  A vacant dwelling policy was just the piece of mind that he needed.”
- Connie, Agent

Don’t give an insurance company any reason to deny a claim.

When do we add our youthful driver to our auto policy?

Most companies want you to add your youthful driver to your auto policy when they get their learners permit.

It depends upon the company whether they are “rated” on the policy at that time, or, just “listed” on the policy.  I would say the best thing to do is contact your agent and they will let you know what your company requires.

You need to make sure you are compliant with what your insurance provider requires because you don’t want to get in a situation where you have a claim denied.

You will probably get sticker shock when you have your youthful driver rated on your policy because it is not cheap.  The reason companies charge so much for youthful drivers is because of the statistics.  83% of youthful drivers between the ages of 16-23 will have some kind of claim.  This number has increased a lot over the last few years because of texting while driving and other distractions.

Ways to reduce the cost of youthful drivers include making sure they keep at least a B average or 3.0 grade point average, get them an older vehicle that will not need full coverage.

Should we let other individuals, not listed as drivers on our auto policy, drive our vehicles?

Insurance follows the vehicle and not the driver.  As far as a claim, it should be taken care of, but there could be instances where it will not.  If a non listed driver, the company is probably going to non-renew your policy at the next renewal.  When your policy non-renews, it is hard to find other companies that want to insure your automobile.  Let’s say for instance that a non listed driver has a serious accident in your automobile and the maximum limits are reached on the policy.  When the other party decides to sue, who do you think is going to be sued, the vehicle driver, or the vehicle and policy owner?  Any excess payout is going to come from the vehicle and policy owner.  So, this could cost you everything that you own.  This would be something that you would not want to play with.  I have heard many stories of this happening in the past.

We ask our clients not to let anyone, not listed on the policy as a driver, to get under the wheel of their vehicle.  It is our duty as agents to help protect you from occurrences like the one described above.  If it is going to be a single occurrence and you are a passenger in the vehicle, they don’t need to be listed.  If it is going to be a common occurrence and for a period of time, then the individual needs to be listed on your policy as a driver.

What is an independent insurance agent?

I have been asked this question so many times. I wish I had a nickel for each, I could be rich. Let’s first look at the definition of “independent” from Webster’s. Independent means free from the influence or control of others, self governing, self reliant, etc. So, if we look at an independent insurance agent from this definition it means that you are working with an agent that is free from being tied to one insurance company or being owned by an insurance company. An agency where the insurance company owns the agency or is the sole company within an agency is known as a captive agent. An independent insurance agent usually owns his own agency and represents several different insurance companies within that agency. When working with an independent agent, he or she will have the ability to shop your insurance within the companies represented. If the agent has your insurance with one company and the premium goes way up for some reason, the “independent agent” has the ability to quote your insurance with the other companies within his agency to find you a better price. You might be saying, “and this is a good thing why”, this is why. Instead of you having to gather all your information and taking it to another agent or being on the phone for a day getting other quotes, the independent agent does this for you.

McCraw Insurance Agency, Inc. is an independent agency. We will take care of watching out for the premium increases for you. I recently called one of my clients because the premium on her auto insurance had crept up over several policy periods. I told her I was going to quote her coverage with the other companies that I represented to try and find her a better premium. She was in shock and said to me, “I have never had an insurance agent call and tell me they were going to find me a cheaper premium”. I was blessed to call her back in a couple of weeks and let her know that I could save her around two hundred dollars a year on her premium. We are committed to our clients at McCraw Insurance Agency, Inc. Check us out; you will be glad you did!