Licensing in Multiple States (and why it’s important)

For the millions of U.S. workers who hold some sort of occupational license (43 million as of 2018, to be more precise) understanding licensing in multiple states can mean the difference between being limited to your own area, and having the freedom to accept work beyond your own state lines.

What is Occupational Licensing?

Occupational licensing is a legal requirement for certification or proof of knowledge in a certain field or industry. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, who operate the National Occupational Licensing Database, one in every four jobs in the United States requires some sort of occupational license. Those jobs include, but are in no way limited to, teachers, doctors, nurses, electricians, contractors, architects, therapists, cosmetologists, animal trainers and many more. There are also additional licensing requirements for certain products sold, such as alcohol or tobacco, so it’s important that you know what is required from you before you run into any problems down the road.

The most important thing to realize about occupational licensing, however, is that the credential isn’t merely an indication that someone has a certain degree of knowledge or experience in that field; rather, it’s a permission for that person to work in that field—and a prohibition of someone working in the industry who does not have the appropriate license.

When do I need an occupational license?

Knowing if you need an occupational license for your career path can be tricky, as it is not only determined by industry, but also—in many cases— by state. Therefore, licensing requirements for a private investigator in Florida may be far different than those for one in Oregon—and some states may not require a license in a field at all.
In order to find out if your industry requires an occupational license, a bit of online research may be necessary. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Career One Stop, which allows you to search by career field and state to determine what licensing requirements you may face.

Should I have licensing in multiple states?

Because licensing can vary from state to state, if you plan to pursue a career that crosses state lines, you absolutely should ensure that you are covered in whatever areas you plan to work on. That may mean additional testing or licensing fees, but in the end, if something happens, you’ll be glad you have it in place.

What is reciprocity, and how does that affect my license?

=Reciprocity is the concept that one state’s license is recognized as valid by other states, eliminating the need for multi-state licenses. With the growth of licensing requirements over the past decades, many states have begun to increase their involvement in reciprocal licensing privileges to increase workforce options and ease of use for licensed workers. If you think reciprocity may apply to your license, research your occupation and your state to find out what other states offer this benefit.

Whatever your business needs,  Penny Insurance has the experience to guide you every step of the way. 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.

Insuring Family Heirlooms- From Generation to Generation

Insuring Family Heirlooms- From Generation to Generation

Insuring Family Heirlooms—from Generation to Generation

Some of the most valuable things in life aren’t those that were expensive—they are things that are truly unique. Like the old grandfather clock that sat in your ancestor’s living room to the family ring that has been a part of more weddings than you have, these family heirlooms are the foundation of our own backgrounds and characters, and can be—quite literally—irreplaceable. For that reason alone, you should make sure you are doing what you can to take care of them—including insuring them in case of loss, theft or damage. 

What is considered a family heirloom?

While the word “heirloom” brings up ideas of art passed down for generations, or a piece of priceless jewelry, the reality is that an heirloom is anything of value that is passed down from generation to generation. Practically, this means that everything from furniture, clothing, serving ware, textiles and more could be considered an heirloom. As such, any of these things can be worth insuring, if they are valuable enough for your family.

What kind of insurance will I need to insure an heirloom?

There are a few different types of insurance that may cover an heirloom, depending, of course, on what the heirloom is. Homeowners insurance may cover items within the home, but generally will not recognize the inherent value of a specific thing, so typically you will be looking at more specialized policies. Other options are personal property insurance, which focuses coverage on a per-item basis. At Penny Insurance, we offer Valuable Items Insurance, which takes into consideration the value you place on an heirloom item.

When in doubt, it’s best to consult your insurance agent for guidelines on what can be insured and for how much. Even if they won’t cover it, there is a great chance they will know who will. 

How do you insure a family heirloom?

Insuring the most precious of items isn’t hard—even though there are a few things you’ll need to do to get everything in order. Here is a step-by-step process for getting your family heirlooms insured.  

1. Locate and List

What do you consider a family heirloom? Is it—practically—worth insuring? Do your due diligence and determine what pieces you would like to insure—from artwork to jewelry or even grandma’s vintage recipe book. Once you have compiled all the information you can, you’ll need to find out what it’s generally worth.

2. Get an appraisal

While an appraisal can’t tell you how much you value grandpa’s old watch, it can give you a more complete picture of what you have to insure—the monetary value of the item, how old it is, and maybe even a bit of background information you didn’t have before. All of this information will be vital to have on hand as you meet with your insurance agent. 

3. Work with your agent

Once you have all the information in place, schedule a time to sit down with your agent and go over the details of what you want to insure and for how much. They’ll be able to not only walk you through the process and the price, but often may also give you ideas on how to protect the item, or coverage options you should consider. 

4. Keep them safe

While it’s great to have Aunt Cindy’s stole insured in case something happens to it, keep in mind that there is no compensation equal to that of losing something that held personal value for you, so you’ll want to make sure you keep your family heirloom as safe as possible. Consider how you will store and care for the item until it’s ready to pass down to someone else—and when you do, let them know how they can go ahead and protect and insure it, as well.

No matter what type of heirloom you want to insure, Penny Insurance is ready to help. 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. 

Top 7 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

Top 7 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

Top 7 Questions to Ask your Insurance Agent

Insurance policies can range from the simple to the complex, but the more “things” you have covered the more facets there are to any policy. As your portfolio grows, you are sure to have questions about how policies interact, how much they cost, and what they cover. The best way to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of your insurance coverage—from car, to home, life, and more—is to ask the questions vital to understanding each policy.

What questions should I ask my insurance agent?

There are a number of things you need to know when purchasing or re-evaluative your insurance policies, and although many will be specific to your own policies and needs, there are some standard things you should know, regardless of who your broker or insurer is, and what type of insurance you are considering. Consider these questions the next time you are scheduled to meet with your insurance broker: 

1. What policies do you recommend?

It’s always good to rely on the expertise of an insurance broker, but make sure you know what policies they recommend for you—and why. Keep in mind that even with all the information they may have about you, there might be something they don’t know, so having a frank conversation about the policies themselves and what they cover is always a great first step.

2. What is the coverage?

As part of the policy discussion, you should know all aspects of what the policy covers, and more importantly, what it doesn’t. Make sure you know what persons or assets are covered in the policy, to what limit, as well as any gaps or limitations that exist. 

3. What will the deductible be on this policy?

The other commonly-asked question is regarding the deductible—essentially, how much you will have to pay out of pocket should you need to file a claim. This is a number that you can adjust when initially purchasing the insurance policy, that may help make your premium more affordable; just make sure that you don’t sacrifice a low monthly payment for a deductible that is too high to cover, in case something happens.

4. Am I eligible for any discounts?

Oftentimes, an insurance company will offer discounts to their customers. These could show up as military discounts, renewal discounts, or even as multi-line reductions, which occur as you add multiple items or persons to your policy. To be sure you’ve covered all your bases, ask your insurance agent what discounts they offer in general, to see if you qualify for any of them.

5. Do I need any additional policies? 

In the case that your coverage ends a bit shorter than you’d like, you may want to consider additional policies that cover them. Common policies you may include are gap insurance, which typically covers the difference between a car’s insured value and what you may still owe on it, or flood insurance, which offers additional protection on a residence that may sit in an area where flooding could be a concern.  

6. What is the claims process like?

Because insurance is a “just in case” purchase, it’s hopeful to think that you may never need to file a claim, however, it would be short-sighted, as well. Walk through the process with your insurance agent—who would you contact, what documentation would you need, how long the process takes—to ensure that if trouble hits, you’re ready with a plan of action. 

7. What is the premium?

One of the biggest questions most people have is this one: what will this cost? The premium—the recurring amount you pay (usually monthly, every six months, or once a year)—is the main cost you’ll have in keeping insurance, so it’s important to make sure it fits within your budget. You’ll also want to know the increase that may occur at renewal, if any. Remember that the premium price is affected by other factors such as coverage limits, exclusions and deductibles, so there are likely ways you can move things around to ensure your budget and your insurance coverage get along.

Whatever insurance policy you end up with, Penny Insurance has the experience and expertise to walk you through it all. 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. 

 

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.