How to Prepare for Your Consultation with an Insurance Agent

How to Prepare for Your Consultation with an Insurance Agent

Shopping insurance plans can be complicated—not only do you have to navigate all the different options, plans, and companies, but oftentimes you’ll have to translate those into real-world scenarios, and in the end not know if you are fully covered or not.

It’s for this reason that having an insurance agent is beneficial. Not only will you have a pro on your side to help you determine what coverage is best for you and your family, but you’ll also have someone by your side in case something happens and you need to take advantage of your insurance plan. 

The first step in this process—before you even select an insurance provider, in many cases—is to schedule a consultation with them. In this initial meeting you’ll be able to ask questions, explore plan options and learn more about the company—and the agent—you are engaging to help you with this very important financial decision. 

What should I plan on for a consultation meeting?

Once you’ve scheduled your consultation meeting, there are a few things that you should do in order to prepare for it, to take full advantage of your time with your (potential) agent. Here are a few things that you should keep in mind and get ready for your first meeting. 

Do your research

Doing a bit of research is the first step to any meeting with your insurance agent, and the initial consultation is no different. You’ll need to be able to verbalize what pieces of your life you want to insure (home, cars, businesses or other property), as well as know what kind of coverage and/or how much budget you can put toward this risk mitigation.  Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you think through these questions and a number of calculators that can help you get a rough idea of how much coverage you can afford.  Finally, research the company that you are meeting with. Do they provide all the different types of coverage you may need? What are their values? These things are important as you search for an insurance provider who will be a partner with you in your journey.

Build a list of questions

As you go through the research process, it’s bound to bring some questions to the surface. How are these two plans different? What would it cost if I increased this coverage, but not that? Should I move all our property to one company? All of these are questions that your agent can help guide you through to find a solution that matches your needs, but only if you remember to ask them.  While you’re doing your research, keep a small notebook handy to catch all the things that come to mind, and take that with you to your meeting to ensure you get all the information you need.

Gather your paperwork

Before you meet, it’s important to have any relevant paperwork pulled together so that you can use the time together to move toward finding solutions, but this may mean you need to put a few things together, first. Here is a quick guide of things to get together, depending on the type of insurance you are considering. 

Automobiles and Other Vehicles

  • Drivers license and Social Security Number
  • Automobile registration info
  • Information about drivers (age, gender, driving record)
  • Information about your vehicles (age, value, accident record, make, model, and year)

House or Apartment

  • Appraisal/Valuation
  • Age of home
  • Foundation structure
  • Additions (trampoline, swimming pool, alarm systems, new additions)

Health or Life Insurance

  • Age/Gender of those covered
  • Medical history and current conditions
  • Personal habits (like smoking)
  • Debt and Income (for life insurance)

Business Insurance

  • Risk assessment
  • Number of employees and type of work
  • Property, including building, equipment, and lease or own status
  • Type of business (to determine liability or risk)
  • Vehicles
  • Key Employees (what employees does the company want to cover?)

Consider service, not just price

While a lot of your first meeting may focus on price and the details of your coverage, make sure you are also considering the service you will get as a customer.  How do their claims processes work? Will an agent be available to you for any questions along the way? How easy is it to change coverage in case of a shift in your needs? All of these things—and how they are answered—will help you determine if that specific agency is a good fit for you as a client.

No matter what type of insurance you are considering, Penny Insurance is available to you as our next customer. Should you have any questions about coverage or insurance types, or if you would like to schedule a consultation or get a quote, please contact us and let us know. 

4 Things You Should Know About Independent Insurance Agencies

4 Things You Should Know About Independent Insurance Agencies

When it comes to insurance agencies, there are big insurance companies, and then there are places like Penny Insurance. The big difference between us and them is that we’re an independent insurance agency. We’re smaller, but we work with the big companies to provide insurance to our clients.

Whether you’re covered by a larger, prominent insurance agency or a small, local one like ours, there are some things you should know about independent insurance agents. 

The Truth About Independent Insurance Agencies

They know you.

Independent insurance agents make it their job to connect with you on a personal level. They’re equally as invested in your life and your goals as they are in your insurance premiums. 

When you call an independent insurance agent, you can actually expect them to pick up the phone because they’ll probably give you their direct line on day one. You don’t have to navigate a phone tree to find the right department and a qualified person to answer your questions. Even better, you can easily set up an in-person meeting with your agent – and they’d probably be stoked about it. 

In short, independent agents are in it for the long haul. You’re not just a number or another reason to deal with paperwork. You’re someone they feel responsible for.

They work for you.

An insurance agent at a mainstream agency is going to sell you their agency’s insurance because that’s who they work for. 

Independent agencies are a little bit different. They work for you first. They find out what you need and want, and then they call on the big insurance companies to meet those needs. That’s why they’re called independent agencies – they’re not tied to any one insurance provider. Think of them as a mediator between you and the insurance you buy. (AKA: You’ll never have to wait on hold to talk to those big companies again).

They simplify your life.

Because an independent insurance agent has access to so many different types of insurance, they have the power to consolidate all of your insurance coverage needs in one place. Need car insurance? They’ll find it. Need homeowner’s insurance? No problem. Need life insurance? Done. 

You get the picture. 

Now picture this: Paying one insurance bill each month. Or, calling the same agent every time you have a question about any of your insurances. Talk about a simpler life!

They save you money.

We all have that friend who’s a pro at finding the best deals. If there’s a bargain out there, they’re going to find it. Your independent insurance agent is that friend. They’re your personal bargain shopper. They shop around at all of these agencies to find the best deal. Cliché as it may sound, they’re saving you significant amounts of time and money.

We want to talk to you.

If you have more questions about what it’s like to work with an independent insurance agency, give us a call. We have a pretty good grasp on the ins and outs of this industry, and we’d love to give you a realistic look at what insurance coverage through an independent agency would look like for you.

4 Ways to Teach Your Teen Safe Driving

4 Ways to Teach Your Teen Safe Driving

Few things scare a parent more than having a teen driver. The learning curve is sharp – both for
your teen driver and for yourself as you strive to become an effective and poised teacher.

When your teen is driving, it can be difficult to determine which driving tendencies demand
correction and which ones are okay to overlook. To avoid nitpicking their every move, it’s
better to encourage safe driving habits that will make them a better and safer driver overall. In
this blog, we’re going to cover four skills to teach your teen driver.

Mind your speed.

Speeding is not only a major cause of teen car accidents, but it’s also a factor that worsens the
effects of an accident.

If your teen has a lead foot, explain to them the risks of driving over the speed limit. Many
teens assume that as long as they avoid a speeding ticket, they’re not hurting anyone. But a
speeding ticket is minor compared to being liable for causing an accident and injuring someone
due to driving too fast.

Drive free of food and drinks.

Parents are quick to tell their teens to never drink and drive. But what about driving and
eating?

Eating at the wheel really is distracting, and for a teen who’s inexperienced to begin with, it is
often the cause of fender benders and other accidents.

The piece you may not want to hear is that your teens are watching you drive and learning from
your habits, good or bad. If you’re dressing a salad while trying to watch the road, or driving
with the steering wheel between your knees while eating a chicken sandwich, they’re likely to
feel confident in doing the same.

Set a good example for your teen drivers. They may not want to listen to your lectures in the
car, but leading by example goes a long way.

Manage the social scene.

Food is certainly not the only distraction teen drivers face. Passengers, loud music, and phones
are all common, and often, unmonitored distractions.

The best way to manage social distractions is to, again, set a good example. Put your phone in
the back seat when you get behind the wheel. Ask a passenger to respond to urgent text
messages for you instead of attempting to text while driving. Better yet, put your phone in
driving mode. (Honestly, even if you don’t have a teen driver, these are excellent habits to
form).

While helpful for sending text messages, passengers can be a major distraction for teen drivers.
It’s best to limit the number of friends your teen is allowed to have in the car while driving. Give
them time to acclimate to the road before their car turns into a social hub.

Arrive at Your Destination Before Dark.

Because teen drivers are inexperienced, nighttime driving presents a common risk. Not only are
things more difficult to see in the dark, but chances are, your teen is going to be more tired at
night, and so will other drivers.

If your teen is driving at night, help them take note of areas that require their utmost attention
such as…

  • Busy roads
  • Historically dangerous intersections
  • Construction zones
  • Pedestrian-heavy areas

The more alert your teen is while driving, the safer they will be.

Will you have a teen driving soon? Contact Penny Insurance about adding your new driver to
your auto insurance policy.

Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Safe and Secure: National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Every day has always looked different, but now more than ever, our days are unpredictable. Whether you’ve gone from working in an office to working remotely or learning to teach your kids virtually at home, we are all making adjustments every day. While tackling these challenges, we need to be reminded of the importance of cybersecurity. Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we urge you to take some time to determine how cyber safe you really are. 

With COVID-19, working, and learning remotely has become a norm for many people. We are conducting meetings and classes via video, using messaging applications for quick communication, and sharing even more confidential information virtually. While it’s great to have these tools at our fingertips, what are we sacrificing to use them? That question unpacks many more questions involving hacking, phishing, spam, illegitimacy, and more. We must protect our information at all costs, but if compromises do occur, Penny Insurance offers Cyber Liability Insurance. 

One of the biggest threats to cybersecurity is email phishing. People use email daily to communicate for work and personal life and we are seeing an increase in the number of phishing emails. There are a few ways to check emails and determine if they are legitimate. One way is to look for grammar mistakes. If the subject line or body of the email include grammar mistakes, this may be a quick way to rule out if the email is valid. Another way to check is if the email asks for personal information or has links to websites you are not familiar with. You should delete emails with these prompts right away. It’s easy for hackers to embed viruses and tracking bugs in links, so you should never click on an unknown link. 

Some other threats to your cybersecurity that you should be aware of, include video privacy, WiFi hacking, spam calls, and illegitimate job postings. Especially during these times, we are using video communication, working on our home’s WiFi, receiving many calls, and possibly looking for a job. It is important to read the privacy policies from these service providers before sharing confidential information while using them. Another privacy tip is to never share personal or financial information with anyone you are unsure of. Make sure you have proof that you are sharing with a confidential source and not a scam. 

Most scams are easy to overlook, so taking the time to double-check the information you are receiving is a simple way to avoid being a victim. In general, you should always be on the lookout for illegitimate information. Even if you take precautions, our technologically advanced world makes it easier than ever for your information to be compromised. Make sure you have our Cyber Liability Insurance, so in the event of a security breach, your information is safe. 

Sources:

https://www.amerisbank.com/Personal/Learn/Financial-Articles-Advice/Coronavirus-The-Latest-Cybersecurity-Threat

https://staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/about-the-month/

https://pennyinsuranceagency.com/blog/2019/10/10/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-stay-cyber-smart/

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

Labor Day: No Work, All Play

It’s already here, the last hoorah of Summer – Labor Day. You’ve worked hard to enjoy this long weekend and we want to make sure you don’t have anything to worry about. Whether you’re planning to take the boat out on the lake, grill in the backyard, or travel to a new location, there are always risks involved. Your safety is of the utmost importance to us, so knowing the risks and insurance options available is crucial. 

Boating 

Boats are a great way to get out on the water and enjoy the warm summer weather, however, we want you to know the risks involved before you take them. As with anything, there is a risk of personal injury. Boating personal injuries include but are not limited to, electric shock drowning and propeller accidents. Always check your surroundings for a source of electricity in the water. If you are unsure of the water’s conditions, you can get an electric current detector. Another risk is a collision with another boat or object. With our Motorcycle, ATV, RV, and Boat Insurance, you can worry less about what happens if these scenarios occur. 

Grilling 

Labor Day is notorious for grilling out in the backyard with family and friends. Even with grilling, there are risks you should be aware of. You should always make sure that children are kept away from the grill, to prevent any injuries. Also, reading the safety guidelines and rules for your grill is the best practice for keeping your grill functioning properly. Even with these precautions, unknown issues can arise. With a comprehensive liability policy, you can grill and relax without the burden of worrying about legal consequences if a mishap were to occur

Traveling 

Are you planning to go on a socially-distanced weekend getaway? If you are, you should think about the risks of leaving your house alone and traveling in a vehicle. To take the best precautions, ask a neighbor to watch your house or set up a home security system. Regarding your travels in a vehicle, you should always make sure you have your routine maintenance up to date. If you take these simple precautions, you can lower the risks of a weekend getaway. To take extra precautions, our Homeowners Insurance and our Personal Vehicle Insurance are the best options for you.

Whether it’s boating, grilling, traveling, or other Labor Day weekend activities, always know you’re covered with Penny Insurance’s liability options. We want you to have a fun and safe lifestyle, without the worries of liability hanging over your head.

Source:

http://www.bmbplawyers.com/how-to-avoid-a-premises-liability-lawsuit-this-labor-day.html

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Common Summer Liabilities and How to Avoid Them

Accidents happen, especially when outdoor summer activities are involved. To be sure your
summer is filled with fun in the sun, be aware of these common liabilities and ways to avoid
them.

1. Swimming Pools
Sadly, each year, numerous accidents, injuries, and deaths occur in pools. When allowing your
children or neighborhood friends to use the pool, be sure to keep a close watch on them.
Drowning can occur silently and in a matter of seconds, if there is not keen adult supervision in
place. Diving into pools can cause serious head injuries, paralyzation, and even death. Limit
and advise adults and children alike on how to safely enter the pool to avoid injuries. In addition,
adhere to your state’s recommendations and requirements for safety signage around your pool.
Though it is unpleasant to think about, accidents do happen. In the event of an accident, the
right liability coverage can protect you and your family from liability issues. A comprehensive
umbrella policy might be right for you. If you would like to know more about your options, give us
a call at (828) 692-9171

2. Bikes, ATV’s, Golf Carts, Skateboards, Scooters, and More
Anything with wheels can be fun, but can also be dangerous. If your children and their friends
enjoy activities like biking, riding four-wheelers, using skateboards and more, be sure to train
them on proper ways to enjoy these things, emphasize the importance of helmets, and invest in
an umbrella policy for an extra layer of liability protection. Outdoor activities like riding around
are certainly fun, but things can go wrong in the blink of an eye. Be sure to enjoy summer fun,
safely, and with a peace of mind.

3. Bonfires and Grills
Some of the best memories are made around bonfires in the summertime or grilling out on the
porch with friends. If you’re planning on enjoying bonfires or grilling out this summer, be sure to
take all the necessary precautions to keep you, your family, your friends, and your home safe.
Bonfires can easily get out of control and ashes can fly far distances into the air, which can burn
people and items. In addition, grills are one of the top causes for house fires during the summer.
Check to make sure your grill is in good working condition, remember to properly clean your grill
to prevent fires, and check your propane tank for any leaks.

4. Home Invasion
Summertime is the one of the most popular times for vacations and therefore vacant homes,
and home invaders know this. If you’re planning to leave town, let a neighbor know. They can
help keep an eye on your home while you’re away and collect your mail. Also, consider
investing in an alarm system to deter invaders. Most modern alarm systems can alert you
directly on your smartphone in the event of an invasion. Finally, be sure you have a
comprehensive home insurance policy in the event of a home invasion or burglary.

At Penny Insurance Agency, we want our clients to have a peace of mind knowing they are
covered, so they can soak up the sun and enjoy life’s best moments.

Sources:
https://www.insuramatch.com/blog/5-common-summer-insurance-claims-and-how-avoid-them
https://www.naic.org/documents/consumer_alert_summer_fun.htm
https://www.sagaciousinsurance.com/blog/summer-liabilities