What is GOOD insurance, anyway?
What does GOOD INSURANCE mean?
When you go out looking for GOOD Insurance, what are you looking for? What does GOOD insurance mean to you? What does an insurance agent think you are asking for?
I will tell ya what we think GOOD insurance is, what it is not, and what we think you are really asking for.
What we think you are asking for when you say you want GOOD insurance, that it means you don't want BAD insurance.
Bad insurance leaves you in a bad position when you have an accident. ANY insurance can be BAD insurance when it’s not written to cover your entire claim. If you have an accident where you’re at fault, and you did $10,000 damage to the other person’s car. Well, if you only have $5000 in coverage, then you’ve got BAD insurance, because no matter what GOOD company it is with, you still only bought $5000 in coverage and now you'd owe the other party $5000 out of your own pocket. You will curse your insurance every time you make a payment toward that. If you don't pay, they’ll garnish your wages after dragging you to court. Lawyers will drag you to court over as little as $800, why? Because they rack up attorney fees you have to pay and they earn the buck.
So, you’ve told us you want GOOD insurance. Now, as your agent, I am thinking you want to make sure you have enough coverage so that when you do have that doozy, you aren’t sued. We just pay, and you go along with your life as usual knowing the insurance company took care of it. We have to work with you to figure out what your assets are and how much you would need to protect them. Not just your CURRENTLY owned assets, you need to protect any assets you hope to have in the future.
What IS good insurance, then?
This is where an insurance broker shines. There are many different ways to get GOOD insurance, depending on who is looking for it. An insurance broker is not Allstate, State Farm or eSurance. An insurance broker is your local brick and mortar insurance agent who is trained to look at different policies to figure out which one is best for your circumstances. Let me give you a basic idea where we are coming from:
To an agent, GOOD insurance means:
You will be called promptly by an adjuster, not a week later. This is good because it sets you up immediately with a point of contact and takes the “the ball out of your court” and lets you move on with your day knowing it’s not on your ‘to do’ list anymore.
You will be treated with respect for who you are rather than attacked and treated like a crook (even if you are one). There are many kinds of adjusters, the better ones come from better companies who might sometimes have higher rates (but sometimes they don't). The rates might be higher and worth paying to know you will be working with a true professional, not a rookie with attitude who is trying to keep his claims costs down so he can get the bonus he depends on for paying out the lowest in claims for the quarter.
Your other party will be treated with respect, which keeps peace between you and them because if you lose that, the claimant could decide to sue you for all you’re worth just because your insurance team didn’t treat them well and that results in higher claims, higher rates for everyone.
Ideally, GOOD insurance covers your liabilities, whatever they may be, to protect all of your assets that could be taken away if you have BAD insurance. A company who offers you $500k in liability coverage is a GOOD company, but a company who will only offer you $50k in liability is a not so good company. You have to decide whether you have any other choices. Sometimes you don't because you have a bad driving record so the company wants to limit how much money they're willing to bet on you. So be it, buy as much as you can afford by having your insurance broker find you the most insurance for the lowest cost, which means VALUE. More bang for the buck.
GOOD insurance wont have lots of exclusions like who can drive your car if you are unable to or don't want to (splitting a long drive with a friend or relative… being taken to a doctors appt etc). You should be able to let ANYONE drive your car and know you are covered as if it were you driving. Insurance policies that are not so good will drop down coverage to bare limits if you’re not the one driving. Take that bad policy if you HAVE TO but not when a better one is available to you. A bad policy is almost always better than no policy, but in some cases, it's actually worse. Bad policies waste money. Your money.
So, when you ask an agent for GOOD insurance, we think you want us to compare policies, and offer you the best value by finding you the most coverage with the least exclusions at the best price. That is our job. We don't think you are saying, “Find me CHEAP insurance”. We think you want GOOD insurance. If you tell us to find you cheap insurance, we can do that too, and make you aware of the exclusions we are aware of the best we can. In the end, it's always your choice which insurance to buy.
From one person to another, the best value might be different. Insurance companies price you by how many years you have driven, your driving record, your zip code, your type of vehicle, the number of vehicles you have, and whether or not you are loyal as far as insurance other things with them like home insurance, boat insurance, life insurance etc. If you get a quote for a new Convertible Camaro, your price with one insurance company might be very different from someone else's price for it, so a broker would compare all companies and find YOU the best value for your individual needs.
What Good insurance is NOT:
It is not a way for you to file many small claims and never get cancelled. Sorry, if you file lots of small claims, you will get cancelled. Insurance is a FOR PROFIT business. If they have collected $1000 in premium from you, and you cost them $1000, then 6 months later you cost them $900, then a few months later they pay out another $500 for you, they recognize the value isn't there for them. A good company MUST measure its ins and outs, otherwise the people not filing small claims see their rates go up because the company was busy paying peoples small claims. That makes the other customers unhappy and what an insurance company wants most is stability in their rates and policyholders. Insurance is a way to pay for bigger losses, ones that put you at a hardship if you have to pay out of pocket for them.
It is not a guarantee that your rates will never go up. Every company will have rate fluctuations. They have to in order to be able to pay large claims when those come in. Sometimes your rates will go down, it means that the company saw profits in excess of what they expected and can lower the premiums for some people.
It is not a guarantee that they will fight every claim in order to keep your rates from going up. Small claims have a huge impact on insurance companies and to fight them takes manpower and they have to pay someone to spend hours and days fighting for you. If it is cheaper to pay out and move on, sometimes they will. That is why our elders always cautioned against filing insurance claims. As youngsters, we think, “Well I pay for insurance, I should be able to file claims”. You can, you just have to make sure you’re worth it to the insurance company, because they will definitely be worth it for you if you have a huge claim.
Insurance agents know how companies handle claims. We see them all day long, and we hear when a client has a complaint. We learn the trends and the overall attitudes of the company and how they train their staff. With that said, I will also say this: adjusters are individuals. They can have bad days, they can have bad attitudes and they can be downright no good for the job. I have met some pieces of work in my days as an agent. Bad adjusters can sneak in and work for a good company and it might take a few months to for the company to get rid of them. You could end up facing one of them. A bad adjuster can sour your feelings about your “GOOD Insurance”. When things aren’t going well, ask to speak to a supervisor, reach out to them, they need to know.
So, next time you ask for GOOD insurance, make sure you’re asking an Independent Insurance Broker, because they actually know the difference between a good and bad policy. When you go to the chain-named and recognized insurance companies, they only have ONE policy to offer you, and while that policy might be good for someone else, or even the best for someone else, it might not be good or the best for you. And, the person from that one company that you’re talking to has no other policy to offer you, they do not know how their policy compares to the rest that would be available to you. They are often much higher in price and not any better in coverage.
Let your agent know what’s important to you. Is it important for you to have an app for your phone? If so, the broker knows who has the best app for in the spot changes and ID cards. Is it important to you that your insurer gives to good causes that better communities? Is it important to you that your company is well known? Sometimes the lesser known companies are more competitive, but more selective of who they will insure. You know that old phrase, “Boy they’ll just let anyone in here, won’t they?” Well, some companies choose to stay discreet, and only insure who they want to. They might be the best, and financially strongest, but unwilling to do business with just anybody.
Speaking of “anybody”, brokers also know who gives the discounts to certain professions. Geico likes to boast that they love to insure government employees, but did you know that the discount is actually larger with a smaller company like CSE? Or Safeco? So, depending on your line of work, your agent might know exactly where to start in researching policies and prices for you just by knowing who is trying to win your business by offering you discounts for a well made policy that you might not have otherwise been able to comfortably budget. Review our Throwback Thursday tip in the image above, you would've learned this when you first signed up for insurance if you had a GOOD agent explain it to you. However, if you don't eat, sleep and breathe insurance like we do, you might forget what these numbers mean. They are your first clue as to whether you have a GOOD or a BAD policy. Then, call Kelly!