Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dollar bills.

A couple of weeks ago, Jake stumbled upon my cash hoard, and we were both surprised to find how much money I had managed to accumulate over the past several years.  You see, everytime I get money for Christmas or birthdays, I think about spending it, and then usually I don't.  I put it in my secret hiding place to save for later.  I like to save money...it has it's pros and cons ;)

Over the years this "saved" money had racked up to several hundred dollars.  Jake, ever the wise insurance agent, informed me that I should put it in the bank.  Evidently, most homeowners or renter's insurance policies cover minimal amounts of cash (the proper insurance term is "notes").  Our policy will only cover $200.

I countered that I needed some cash on hand in case the bank ever crashed or went out of business or if the world as we know it came to an end.  He rationalized that if any of those things happened, our cash would probably be fairly useless...we'd be looking for food and toilet paper by that point.

So, if you're a money-hoarder like me, this means that you should probably re-think things.  For example, if my house burns down with $10,000 cash in it (don't I wish I had that kind of dinero), they're only going to cover me $200.  If there's a tornado that blows my $1000 cash all the way to China, they're still only going to give me $200.  If a thief breaks in and steals my $500 cash hoard, they're only going to insure that I get $200.

The moral of this story is to hide your cash in a really good secret hiding place so your husband won't make you put all of your stash in the bank...haha.  Or you and your hoard could go on a Black Friday date, which I will warn you, may result in a break-up. 

Give Jake a call if you want to check up on how much cash your insurance policy will cover--252.752.8821.  Here's where all my cash hoard went-->

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rental Cars.

Did you know that rental car coverage is really super cheap?  Most anyone who has comprehensive and collision coverage can add it on for only 2-3 dollars a month.  My husband says he pretty much adds it onto most new policies he writes, because it doesn't affect the premium much and it's SO helpful.  If you are ever in a car accident, how much of a bind will you be in if you are rendered car-less for however long it takes to repair your car?

When I was in college, I shared a car with my little sister.  She was driving through an intersection when a car decided to turn left...right into our car.  Luckily, neither of them was driving particularly fast, but it still caused quite a bit of damage to the cars.

At the time, I was student teaching at a middle school 25 minutes from my apartment, and I couldn't be without a car--for even a day.  Since the other driver was at fault, obviously, we were given a rental car, but I wanted to point out that we were in that rental car for about a MONTH.

I don't know what the problem was with fixing our car.  They kept giving us excuses about having to special order parts.  I won't be recommending that repair shop to anyone.  Can you imagine what would have happened if we had been at fault and without a car for a whopping month?  The cheapest rental car rates start at $10.95/day.  That would have been over $300, and I don't even know if I could have gotten anything nearly that cheap.  Also, it's very difficult to even get a rental car if you are under 25 years old.  I was a poor college student, and such an expense would have been devastating.

Another cool coverage you can get for cheap is rental car insurance where your personal car insurance follows your rental car.  Rental car companies make a lot of money by requiring you to buy their insurance.  With this coverage, if you're ever on vacation and find yourself renting a car, your car policy will cover the rental car.  You can add this coverage for about $2 a month.  If you're doing a lot of traveling, that sure would be helpful, right?  Call Jake for details @ 252-752-8821...serving all of North and South Carolina ;)

Here's a picture of my sister and me...being in college together was great fun!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life comes at you fast.

I decided to research Whole Life insurance and Term insurance to see what the difference is and which is better.  Here's what I found...

Of course Whole Life insurance is better.  It builds cash value, and you can borrow against it.  It's long term, and your premium never increases.  It's considered an investment.  The only problem:  price.  Whole life is much more expensive....figures.

Term life insurance doesn't look as good, but it still gets the job done for a much lower price..  The policy only lasts for a particular amount of time or "term."  You can choose--5, 10, 15, 20, or 30+ years depending on where you purchase it.  Obviously, the longer the term, the higher the price will be.  A lot of times term insurance is quicker and easier to purchase.  Many people buy a term life insurance policy to hold them over until they can afford a whole life policy.

The biggest problem with term insurance is that your policy could expire while you are still alive, leaving you without life insurance.  This means that you'll either have to get a new policy (which will be much more expensive when you are 10, 20, or 30 years older) or do without.

My husband says the biggest life insurance problem he sees is that many people rely on the life insurance their employers provide.  The problem with this is that most of the time, the coverage ends when the employment ends--if you quit your job or are laid off, you lose your insurance, and that's bad news in this economy.  If you need more info, or if what I wrote makes no sense to you, feel free to give him a call @ 252-752-8821.

My dad bought a Whole Life policy for me when I was a little girl.  He paid into the policy until I got married and then allowed the cash value the policy had built up to pay the premium for the duration of the policy.  This decreases the amount of money the policy will pay out if I die, but I think my husband said there will be enough to pay for a decent funeral.

I'm thinking I'd just rather not die.  Here's a picture of my dad and me :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I like to speed.

It's true...you can often find me going between 5-9 mph over the speed limit.  I don't even know why I do it.  I always feel like I'm in a hurry when I'm driving.  Has everyone heard this song before?  Such a classic....and I can totally relate.

Anyways, speeding tickets can really hurt.  You have to pay astronomical amounts for the actual ticket.  Then you get points on your driver's license.  These points cause your insurance rates to go up.

Luckily, I've only ever had one speeding ticket.  It was the Friday before Mother's Day and I was on my way home to see my mom.  An officer was sitting on the side of the road (why must they do that?), and I was rolling downhill....a little faster than usual.  It was the first time I'd ever been pulled over, and I was terrified.  I was shocked to find out that the ticket cost over $100 (it was a while ago, but I believe it was $117 or something like that).  What a stinky way to begin the weekend.  You can see a picture of my lovely mother below.

This was before I was married, so I called Dad, my insurance agent,  to see what I should do.  Apparently, there are a couple of things you can/should do when you get a ticket.  First, you can try to get the ticket dropped.  This is ideal, but not super likely to happen.  Secondly, you can try to get it reduced.  Even if it's reduced by just a few mph, it could mean the difference between 1 or 2 insurance points, and this makes a difference in how much your insurance rates will increase. 

Thirdly, you can get a prayer for judgment.  Click here for a detailed explanation, but basically this makes the ticket go away as long as you don't get another one for 3 years.  If you get another ticket within 3 years, it's bad--both tickets will count on your insurance which will result in a huge premium hike...ouch.

Good news:  speeding tickets usually only affect your insurance premium for 3 years, so they'll fall off your record after a while.

Thinking about how expensive all this stuff is makes me want to slow down...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mommy Insurance

Today I thought of this great invention--Mommy Insurance.  It would insure mothers so that whenever they are feeling under the weather, a professional would step in and take care of their children for them.  I'd pay money for that.

While I wait for someone to invent Mommy Insurance, I sure am glad I have the next best thing:  Grandma :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

15 minutes could save you.

Geico commercials and advertisements litter television, the radio, and my mailbox.  Sometimes I want to call them up and mention that my husband is a Nationwide agent.  Even so, they do have some pretty awesome commercials.  Their website is pretty stellar too.

I went to Geico's website today to get a quote.  I wanted to see what it was like.  After all, being the daughter and wife of Nationwide agents, I've never had the experience of shopping around for insurance.  I typed in the information and answered lots of questions, and it really did only take about 15 minutes.

When I finally got the quote, I was thinking, "Holy cow!  They're SO cheap.  How did they do that?"  They really were super cheap, so I had to investigate.

Here are some problems I discovered with Geico based on my experience today.

1.  Evidently, they give you a 15% discount for your first 6 months--to lure you in.  This discount goes away after your first renewal, so it may not really be as cheap as you think.

2.  Geico's quote recommends VERY low coverages.  If you were ever in an accident, you may find yourself not having the money you need to set things right.

3.  Geico sets pretty high deductibles automatically.  If your current policy has lower deductibles, you may want to check to see if raising the deductibles with your current insurance company will make the price of your current policy more comparable.  When I changed the deductibles to what I have now, Geico's price increased.

4.  Even though I've practically been raised in the insurance business, I still don't really know what all the insurance terminology means.  There were quite a few coverages where I didn't know what to do, because I didn't know what they were for, so I couldn't really make a very informed decision about them.  To their credit, they do have information boxes you can click on to get more information, but it was difficult for me to understand and apply to real life situations.

5.  If I'm in an accident, I'd like to talk to a real person--a person I've actually met and trust.  If things are really bad, I'd like to be able to consult with that person face-to-face.  Geico didn't give me that.

6.  My husband got a quote a few months ago (keep your enemies close, right?) and put in the exact same coverages we have now, and it was more expensive than our current Nationwide policy.  So even though my quote today was cheaper, I'm curious as to how it flip-flopped in just a few months.  

Overall, I can see why Geico is appealing to many.  It's quick and easy.  I'm just not so sure about the quality of their services.  Also, I'm not so sure that insurance should be "quick and easy."  It's rather complicated with things like bodily injury, liability, comprehensive, collision, medical payments, uninsured motorist, towing & labor, and transportation coverages.

My husband and sister have said that several of the people who have switched to Geico to save money have eventually come back to Nationwide after a bad experience.  Overall, I think I'll stick with Nationwide.  Here's a picture of me and my little Future Insurance Agent ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Hurricanes seem to hit the Carolinas nearly every year.  That's my baby sister and my dad in the picture above--during the eye of a hurricane that hit several years ago.  We even had people paddling down the street in a canoe at one point! 

I'm so thankful that we were spared the worst of Hurricane Sandy, but I thought it would be helpful to know what to do if your home or car were damaged in a hurricane.  Here's some of my questions and the answers I received from my insurance agent(s).

1.  Hurricane Sandy just caused a lot of damage to many people's homes.  What kinds of hurricane damages are typically covered by a homeowner's insurance policy?  

Common covered losses are lost shingles or a destroyed roof, broken siding, and trees that fall and hit covered property. It's best to ask your Agent exactly what coverage you have.

2.  Since homeowner's insurance doesn't cover flooding, how and where would I get flood insurance?
We offer Flood Insurance--we can take care of that. It is simply a separate policy from your standard Homeowners Policy.

3.  What kinds of hurricane damage are covered by my car insurance?  

Usually Comprehensive coverage can cover any damage caused by a hurricane, like something falling and hitting the car. It's best to check with your Agent to make sure you have coverage and to figure out what your Deductible is. The Deductible is how much you'll pay before your Insurance will pay.

4.  What steps should I take if/when my home or car are damaged in a hurricane?  

Any time your property is damaged, you should immediately call your Agent for information and advice. I always recommend taking pictures of damages as soon as possible.

5.  What are the advantages of having a Nationwide Agent (like yourself) in the event of a hurricane?

You can call me to know what you should do.  I can personally help you with paperwork or sending pictures in. From being in the business a long time, I know of trusted contractors and shops that can repair your property the way you would have it if you could do it yourself.