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.

Monday, November 5, 2012

He said, she said.

Along with our auto insurance bill, guess what other bill we just received in the mail?  Life insurance...for Thomas.  Not nearly as budget-busting as the auto bill, but still...another bill.  Last year, Jake insisted on getting him a whole life policy.  (See my handsome smurf boys below.)

He said it was an investment, because it would build cash value and would one day be a good gift for Thomas.

I said we couldn't afford it.

He said we couldn't afford not to have it.

I said sure we could.

He asked me what we would do if something bad happened.

I asked him what if nothing bad happened.

In the end, he won.  We bought policies for him and for Thomas, too.

I'm still not so sure about having a policy for Thomas, but I was convinced that we needed a life insurance policy for Jake.  Thomas and I would be devastated if something happened to Jake, but we'd also be financially ruined.  I am a stay-at-home-mom, so we wouldn't have any income until I was able to get a job.  I am a teacher, but I'm not sure how I would be able to afford childcare and the mortgage without Jake's income.

I don't plan for anything bad to happen to my husband, but it's nice not to have to worry about how we would survive (financially) if something did happen.  I suppose I'll pay the bill.

Give Jake a call to figure out your life insurance options...252-752-8821.

Friday, November 2, 2012


We recently received our car insurance bill in the mail...ouch.  It sure does feel like all the high dollar bills come in at the same time!  I asked my husband if there was any way to get the premium down a bit (Christmas is coming soon, afterall).

 We had a couple of options.  We could make monthly payments rather than pay the entire 6 month premium at once, or we could raise the deductibles, which is nice if we don't have any accidents, but not so nice if we do.  FYI--your deductible is the amount of money YOU have to pay out of your pocket if you're in an accident.  We currently have a $100 deductible, and we were considering raising it to $500.  There's also a $250 deductible, but it didn't make a very significant difference in the premium.

Jake said that customers are always asking his advice on what to do with their deductibles, and he just can't bring himself to answer the question.  Afterall, who would want that on their conscience if it went badly?  Well, he can't tell people what's right for them, but I can tell you about our our decision-making process.

Both Jake and I have had an accident where we were at fault...one each. (But Jake's been rear-ended a half a dozen times, so clearly I'm the better defensive driver, right honey?)  We discussed how much money we've paid in car insurance during the past decade.  Then we added up how much was probably paid out for our accidents.  In the end, we found that we had paid more money in premium than what was paid out for our accidents.  We came to the conclusion that it was probably best for us to raise our deductibles--we're pretty safe drivers and we could manage to scrape up $500 if there was an accident.

But wait!  We knew we were going to be traveling quite a bit during the next few months--lots of holidays and tis the season to spend time with family.  We decided to wait until after the holidays to raise the deductibles.  We could change them anytime, we reasoned.  In the end, we agreed that Jake would check out the actual numbers at the office the next day, and we would take it from there.

Recently, Jake had been hearing about some new coverages that were being offered at a lower price than the old ones.  He checked out our policy and we qualified for better roadside assistance (with more towing miles) AND accident/speeding ticket forgiveness.  We got these additional services for $5 less per month than before.  Awesome.  For now, we're going to stick with our low deductibles.  We'll see what the future brings--it's nice to have options.

The moral of the story is that it can never hurt to check on your policy and make sure that you're getting the best coverages and services for your family and price range.  Also, you can call Jake and see if you qualify for the cheaper, better services we just got :)

That's a picture of my car 5 years ago when she was brand new.  She's been a great car!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blame Game.

Why is it that insurance companies get such a bad rap?

Let me share a little experience with you.  I was referred to a specialist by my regular doctor last year.  When I got to the specialist's office, I had to in the waiting room for an hour before the nurses called my name, so when I heard it, I jumped up and all but ran to the nurse with the clipboard.  She promptly directed me to a second waiting room where I stayed for another half hour.  Finally my name was called again, and I made my way (slower for round 2) to the nurse who deposited me in the room where the doctor would see me.  I waited another half hour to see the specialist.

After 2 full hours of waiting (what's the point of an appointment?), the specialist came in and confirmed the original doctor's diagnosis.  It took all of 2 minutes.  He then told me to make another appointment to come back to actually get treatment for the problem which he (and I) already knew I had prior to the appointment.  I asked if I could receive the treatment (an ultrasound) that day and was informed that the ultrasound technician had already gone home for the day.  I asked why my appointment had not made during a time when she was available.  They said they didn't know.

Fast forward 2 months (yes, I had to wait 2 months for the original appointment and 2 months for the follow up apointment.)  After much waiting room time, I managed to get things taken care of.

Fast forward another month, I received a $50 bill in the mail.  I called and asked the nurses what was going on with the additional bill.  They said that a $50 co-pay had to be collected for the 2nd visit.  I informed them that there should have only been one visit and that they had made a mistake by not scheduling my original appointment at an appropriate time so that I could receive an ultrasound.

Do you know what they told me?  "I'm sorry, but that's the way your insurance company billed it."

What the heck?  I told them that I was pretty sure that insurance companies didn't send out medical bills.  Doctor's offices sent out medical bills.  Insurance companies PAY bills.

She told me to call the insurance company.  BlueCross BlueShield (an awesome health insurance company, btw) told me that the specialist's office could bill it as a visit and a consultation (or something like that) so that I wouldn't be charged a second $50 co-pay.  I called the nurses back...had an argument...got frustrated...and waited for another call from the manager. 

Anyways, that's a super long story, but my point is that the doctor's office wanted to let the insurance company take the fall, and most people would have just accepted that.  The nurses made a mistake (maybe they did it on purpose...greedy) and didn't want to take responsibility for it.  Insurance companies have to make money, and they're not all perfect, but many want to help people. They aren't always the bad guys. 

Also, my husband can hook you up with health insurance...call Jake @ 252-752-8821.


I'm a Nationwide Insurance agent's wife, and this blog is meant to make you want to buy insurance from him.  Haha...just kidding...sort of.  I get asked insurance questions quite often.  Sometimes I know the answers, sometimes I have to ask Jake.  This blog is to discuss insurance related questions, ideas, and issues.  Hopefully it'll help and/or entertain.

If you want to talk to the real deal, feel free to call Jake at work (I'm too stingy about my Jake-time and worried about stalkers to give you his cell phone number) @ 252-752-8821.  Insurance Agent Jacob...serving all the insurance needs of the people in the great states of North and South Carolina.  If you're looking for an agent who'll take care of you and make insurance a little bit easier (because we all know it's a complicated mess), Jake's your man!