Do You Have a Personal Insurance Agent?

Best Insurance Agency Knoxville, TNWhen it comes to buying insurance, you can purchase it online yourself through a well-known insurance carrier, a captive agent or you can buy it through a local insurance agency. When you buy it online yourself, you may find it can be more challenging to manage your insurance policy. When you have to call an 800 number to ask a question about your policy or make a claim, sometimes you may feel like you aren’t receiving a personal touch.

As a local insurance agency, we want to share the benefits of having a personal insurance agent when it comes to purchasing insurance.

Do you have a professional insurance agent you trust?

Just like having a doctor or dentist, we want to be a professional you can trust when it comes to buying insurance. Insurance can be tricky and difficult to understand. We are here to explain the differences in insurance coverage to ensure you have the right coverage for your specific needs.

Have a quick insurance question? Email or call your agent directly.

We love answering all your insurance questions. We get questions all the time from our customers.

  • Do I need to buy rental car insurance for my upcoming vacation or will my personal auto insurance cover me?
  • I am renting a U-haul, do I need to buy their coverage?
  • Do I have any gaps in my insurance coverage?
  • I just purchased a boat, does my homeowner’s insurance cover me or do I need additional insurance coverage?
  • Should I purchase flood or earthquake insurance?
  • Should I increase my limits on my umbrella insurance? I just purchased my first investment property.
  • Should I have life insurance at my age? What are the benefits?

Questions like the ones listed above are easily answered from our agents! We are here to answer all your questions. With a simple email or call, you can get an answer from your insurance agent directly.

My insurance premium increased significantly and I haven’t turned in any claims. Help!

If you purchase insurance from a well-known insurance company directly, it may be hard to find a better rate at renewal without having to sacrifice insurance coverage. Luckily, local, independent insurance agents represent several companies instead of just one. If you find your insurance premium is too high for your budget, reach out to your agent at renewal. We can shop similar coverage with a different insurance carrier. You might be surprised to find several quotes to choose from!

If you don’t have a personal insurance agent, reach out to our agency. We’d love to review your current insurance coverage, answer your questions or simply be the personal, professional agent you need in your life. Our agency can help you with all your auto, home, business or life insurance needs.

Looking for an Auto Insurance Discount? Consider Telematics.

Telematics Auto Insurance Discount Knoxville, TNMany insurance carriers offer telematics for an auto insurance discount. If you are seeking out additional auto insurance discounts to lower your monthly or annual premium, talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier offers telematics. Many carriers do!

How does telematics work?

A telematics device monitors how you drive a vehicle. Your insurance carrier mails you a vehicle tracking device, you insert it into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port under your dash and then it monitors how you drive for an extended amount of time. Once it is setup, it runs all on its own until it is time for you to return it back to your insurance carrier.

The telematics device determines how safe of a driver you are based on measuring your speed, how hard you brake when stopping your vehicle and how many miles you drive. It also looks into what time of day you drive. It is important to note that not all insurance carriers follow the same guidelines or look at the same data.

Curious to see how safe you drive? Talk to your insurance agent to see if your carrier provides a driving report. The telematics device can show a detailed report of your driving habits that can help you become more aware of your driving behaviors. By reviewing this information, it can help you become aware of your current driving habits and if you are currently considered a safe driver.

Once you have completed the timeframe of using the telematics device, you’ll mail it back to your insurance carrier and they will review it.

If my insurance carrier offer telematics, should I do it?

It’s up to you! Not only do you receive a discount for participating, but your insurance carrier may continue to provide discounts in the future for being a safe driver. Some carriers also give you a discount every 6-12 months for being claims-free. This could be rewarded with a mailed check or a discount at renewal.

Talk to your agent about telematics or receive a free auto insurance policy review.

As your insurance agent, we want to ensure you have the best auto insurance coverage for your needs. If you are unhappy with your current premium rate, we can shop our carriers for additional discounts like telematics or simply quote you with other carriers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Do Millennials Need Renters Insurance? Learn the Benefits.

Renters Insurance Agent Knoxville, TNIf you are a millennial, there is a good chance you rent a home, apartment or condo. According to surveys, up to 70% of millennial renters do not have renters insurance. This is an alarming statistic. Whether you are a young professional or finishing up your college degree, every renter should have a renters insurance policy.

Simple reasons millennials choose not to buy renters insurance –

“I am secure enough from potential damages”

Is this true? If your apartment, condo or home was in a fire and you lost all your valuables, would you feel financially secure enough to replace everything?

“I don’t see the value in renters insurance?”

Instead of it being a value issue, some millennials may not fully understand what renters insurance actually covers. So, we thought it would be good to break down exactly how renters insurance works (see below).

Another common thought, “if my apartment, home or condo is damaged in a fire, flood, etc., my landlord covers the damages?”

Your landlord most likely would not be required to cover damages to any of your personal belongings.

What Renters Insurance Covers

Renters insurance covers your personal property: Items that you own from your furniture, clothing, computer, kitchen items and more.

Renters insurance provides you with liability coverage: Coverage limits vary, but if you someone were to injure themselves in your home, you would have protection. Other common examples include your dog bites your friend or a friend falls in your kitchen and breaks her wrist because you left water on the floor.

Renters insurance may cover the cost of temporary housing. If your home, apartment or condo has major damage that prevents you from being able to live there, renters insurance may cover the cost of a hotel room.

Did you also know that renters insurance is very affordable?

Renters insurance can be as cheap as $1/day. While most renters insurance policies provide $100,000 in liability coverage, you can increase this limit. Talk to your insurance agent about how a bump in liability coverage can provide additional protection at a very affordable price.

Speak with an agent in our office today!

Whether you are renting an apartment, condo or home, there are many benefits of having a renters insurance policy. Contact our agency with your questions! We represent the top insurance carriers and can quote you with all our carriers at once for renters insurance. We’ll explain your options and show you a side by side comparison of coverage options. Get your free quote over the phone or email.

What You Need to Know About Vacation Home Insurance

Vacation Home Insurance Knoxville, TNWhen it comes to insuring a vacation home, the insurance landscape can look slightly different from that of primary homes. While the risks are relatively similar, you’ll find that some added perils come with vacation homes. These risks vary with how you intend to use your second home.

Personal Use
If a vacation home is often left vacant for long periods, the chances of burglary, vandalism, and unnoticed damage may rise considerably. Moreover, the house’s location can expose it to further damages such as flooding, fires, or wind damage, which may not be attended to in due time considering the vacant status of the house. Insurance providers take all of this into consideration when determining your policy premium. You’ll likely be offered a comprehensive insurance policy in order to cover all risks adequately. Be sure to clarify whether you intend to keep the house vacant for extended periods or visit regularly. Vacant home insurance and vacation home insurance, while similar, are not the same.

Intentions of renting
If you’re considering renting your vacation home or allowing others to stay in it, your policy will look different. Aside from protecting your second home structure, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have enough personal liability coverage. An Umbrella insurance policy can cover any claims against you due to injury or damages that occurred on the property. Be sure to look into liability coverage, which covers any personal injuries sustained by someone while they’re on the property. This policy could also include medical payments coverage.

Moreover, rent-loss insurance could be a worthwhile investment considering that it covers any financial losses amassed during times when rent cannot be paid (damages, natural disaster, and much more.) It is also worth looking into a landlord policy, which can cover you for damages while even replacing lost income if the property is being rebuilt or repaired following a covered loss.

Do I really need to insure my vacation home?
While not strictly necessary, it’s highly recommended to get coverage for your secondary-home. Damages to a vacation home, whether first or second-party, can be financially crippling. Additionally, if your vacation home has a mortgage, your lender may require property insurance as a condition of borrowing.

How much will my insurance policy cost?
Depending on several factors such as the home’s age, condition, and location, the amount you’ll pay for a homeowners insurance policy can fluctuate. However, overall, expect to pay higher than with regular home insurance.

The best way to get more information on vacation home insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple vacation home insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

Tips For Staying Healthy While On The Road

How to Cook Healthy Meals On A Road Trip

Staying Healthy on the RoadDid you purchase an RV this past year or have you found you enjoy taking road trips? With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people invested in an RV, travel trailer, or simply went camping more in order to safely travel & enjoy the beautiful outdoors. When you are taking a road trip, you do have to figure out how you plan to eat. Fast food and takeout from restaurants may be your first thought.

Have you ever considered that you can eat great home-cooked meals on the road that doesn’t require much cooking at all? Of course, you can always make a grocery store run & cook just as you would cook a meal at home. But, this might mean buying all of the little things like spices, oils, etc.

In this blog, we share how to eat healthy on the road without having to spend too much time cooking. Plus, you might find you can get away with packing less.

Our basic cooking essentials – do you own the following items?

  • Portable Stove
  • Small Gas Barbeque
  • Pot, Pan or both
  • Water jug container (for cooking and cleaning pots/pans)
  • Soap/Sponge (for cleaning pots/pans)
  • Utensils and Paper Plates
  • Garbage Bag
  • Lighter
  • Propane Tank + an extra
  • A good cooler (if you are on a long road trip, we love a cooler that can plug into your car!)
  • Ice Packs or Ice Bag

Having the following items above is a great start. They don’t take up too much space and provide you with everything you need to cook, eat & clean up afterwards.

Next, how can I prepare a delicious, healthy meal with minimal cooking?

Batch cook.

Batch cooking is simply preparing meals in your home before your trip. Choosing meals that freeze easily are key. Once you have cooked your meal at home, throw it into the freezer at least 24 hours before your trip. The day you are leaving for your trip, load it into your cooler frozen then layer on your ice packs to keep it cool. When it is time to cook, all you have to do is reheat it using your portable stove or barbeque.

Some great food suggestions –

  • Frozen cooked burgers (turkey, beef, or chicken)
  • Frozen Chili or other soup
  • Meat sauce/vegetable sauce
  • Frozen breakfast sausage links
  • Taco meat
  • Foil vegetables or entrees (prepare vegetables or entrees ahead of time & wrap in foil – simply place on your BBQ grill or unwrap and place into a pot or pan)
  • Frozen pizza slices

How to re-heat your meal? Either place your frozen burger on your barbeque or add your entrée into a pan or pot to re-heat on your portable stove. Within 10 minutes or so, you’ll have a tasty meal!

Other meals that don’t require much cooking –

  • Cold Sandwiches
  • Hot Dogs
  • Yogurt
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Snack foods like rice cakes, chips, pretzels, trail mix
  • Anything that requires boiled water such as oatmeal or noodles
  • Prepared meals you enjoy eating cold (tuna salad, other cold salads, and entrees)
  • Raw fruit and vegetables

We hope you found new tips that can help you eat healthy while traveling on the road. While we can’t prepare your meals for you, we can ensure you have the best coverage for your vehicle or RV. Whether you are shopping around for the best rate or are looking to purchase different RV coverage, we are here to help.

Choosing the Right Insurance Company

How do I choose the right insurance company when there are so many to choose from?

Choosing the Right Insurance CompanyWith such a large selection to choose from, it can be hard to know which insurance company is right for you. Many people revert to shopping based solely on price or they rely on recommendations from friends and family to evaluate which insurance company to go with. But your decision should be based on more than just cost or a recommendation from a loved one. Let’s take a look at how you can choose the right insurance company for your needs without having to spend hours of research.

Rankings

The results of consumer surveys are easy to find online and often offer more reliable information than individual online reviews. These surveys are generally in-depth inquiries into specific sectors of a market. Those responding to the survey will be asked several questions about their satisfaction with the insurance company and how much they pay for their various policies. You can even get insights on the best insurance company for specific issues such as claims satisfaction, availability of discounts, or customer service. Consumer survey results are available for many types of insurance including auto, home, health, and life.

Financial Stability

If an insurance company is weak financially, then there could be issues with paying incoming claims. That’s especially a concern if there’s a natural disaster and the company is hit with a large number of claims in a short amount of time. Financial stability ratings are available online and it’s worth doing some homework, especially if you’re considering going with a smaller or lesser-known insurance provider.

Payment Plans

Different insurance companies take a different approach to payments. It’s best to look for a company that offers multiple payment plans. Some of the more flexible insurance companies offer discounts for automatic withdrawals or paying the premium in full. Likewise, beware of companies that charge excessive fees with each monthly payment as those costs can add up over time.

Buying Online vs Purchasing From an Independent Agent 

There are many big-name insurance companies that saturate the media with advertisements and commercials touting how much you can save in very little time. But these companies are not always the best option. While you may see and hear a lot less about independent agents, they offer some unbeatable benefits. These insurance professionals will take the time to understand your personal insurance needs and offer advice on which insurance companies are best for you. Independent agents have access to multiple insurance companies and they can effectively shop around for a policy that matches precisely what you’re looking for.

The best way to get more information on the best insurance company for you is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Call Us Today For A Free Consultation

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

What type of insurance do I need for my boat?

Boat Insurance Agent Knoxville, TNWhen it comes to insuring your boat, it can be hard to know where to start. Most new boat owners start by wondering how much coverage will be provided by an existing home insurance policy. But it’s often best to separate your boat insurance from your homeowner’s policy or any other policies that you might have. The majority of home insurance policies either offer very limited marine specific coverage or don’t cover boats at all.

If your home insurance does provide marine insurance, it’s important to ask what type of coverage is included. Most home insurance policies that have some type of marine insurance included only offer coverage when operating the boat on inland waterways, small lakes, and rivers. Coverage rarely reaches to a coastal inlet or along the beach.  Additionally, the liability limits can be restrictive. Oftentimes a home insurance policy won’t provide coverage for costs that you might be liable for such as salvage work, wreckage removal, and environmental damages.

What are the variables involved in most boat insurance policies?

There are many variables which insurance companies will consider when determining your boat insurance premiums. Some of the most common of these variables include:

  • Length of the boat
  • Age of the boat
  • Overall value of the boat
  • Condition (Does it meet US Coast Guard Standards?)
  • Horsepower of the motor(s)
  • Where it will be kept and operated

What types of boat coverage are there?

There are two basic types of boat insurance —“agreed value” and “actual cash value.” Applying deprecation at the time of a loss is what sets these policy types apart.

An “agreed value” policy insures the boat based on its value when the policy was initially written. While it can cost more upfront, there is no depreciation for a total loss of the boat.

“Actual cash value” policies cost less upfront but factor in depreciation. The policy will only pay the boat’s actual value at the time of loss. Over time, as your boat ages, your insurer will likely insist on an actual cash value policy—and your premiums will likely decrease over time as a result.

What coverages are often available on a stand-alone boat policy?

The availability of specialized coverages is the advantage of purchasing a stand-alone boat policy rather than relying on your home insurance. Some of these coverages include:

  • Accessories Coverage: Coverage for a specific high-value piece of equipment on your boat, such as an expensive prop or navigation equipment.
  • Wreckage Removal: Covers the cost of removing and transporting your boat in the case of severe damage or sinking.
  • Towing: In the event that your boat breaks down, this coverage will reimburse you for the costs associated with getting back to shore.
  • Cruising Extension: You can get temporary, additional coverage for areas outside the USA such as Mexico or the Bahamas.

The best way to get more information on boat insurance is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Boat Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple boat insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month – Tips to Be a Safer Driver

Distracted Driving Awareness MonthApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 lives were lost from distracted driving accidents. This increased 10% from 2018.

What is considered distracted driving? Any time you cannot have 100% full attention to driving your vehicle is considered distracted driving. Behaviors can range from talking on the phone, texting, talking to a passenger in your vehicle, eating, brushing your hair, adjusting settings in your vehicle or playing with your vehicle’s GPS while driving your vehicle. Unfortunately, distracted driving is more common than it should be.

Take this month to practice safe driving by eliminating any of the previously mentioned behaviors while driving. This will not only make you a safer driver, but keeps other vehicles on the road safer too.

Cell Phone Use

Cell phone use can be one of the most dangerous behaviors while driving a vehicle. Sending a text message while driving can take your eyes off the road for several seconds. Talking on the phone also creates enough distraction while driving. Here are some things to consider practicing this month –

  • Keep your phone in the back seat when driving to avoid looking at it, texting or talking. You could also consider other areas of your car like your trunk or glove box. If the glove box is tempting, place farther away from you like the back seat or trunk.
  • There are options to put a do not disturb setting on your phone while driving. This can help eliminate the distraction.
  • Make phone calls or texts before or after driving your vehicle.
  • If you are riding with a passenger, let the passenger be in charge of your phone for calls or texts.

Be Aware of Other Distracted Driving Behaviors

Do you find yourself eating in the car often? Grooming? Frequently fiddling with your entertainment system? Reaching in the back seat dealing with children? If you are guilty of these behaviors, how can you work to eliminate them?

Be a Good Role Model

Especially if you are a parent to children, you should demonstrate how to be a safe driver. Children see what you do and can easily follow in your footsteps. Cell phone use can be one of the most dangerous behaviors so practice never using your cell phone while driving. If you do not have kids, keep others you love accountable. Not only demonstrate safe driving practices while you are behind the wheel, but call out any of their behaviors you feel are unsafe while in the passenger seat.

While our agents cannot teach out how to practice safe driving, we can shop to find you the best rate for your auto insurance. Call our office for a free auto insurance quote. We’ll shop our carriers and provide you with several quotes to choose from. We’ll explain your coverage options too.

Tips on Creating The Ultimate Road Trip

How to Create the Ultimate Road TripDuring the pandemic, many individuals may not feel comfortable getting on an airplane. However, many still want to travel. Perhaps a road trip can be the answer. Road trips allow you to see what is between your home and destination, something that hopping on a plane doesn’t, but it is essential to have the best plan in place before you hit the road.

First off, where do you want to go?

This is the most important question. Start with your end destination. For example, say someone who lives in Washington State wants to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Start with your basic questions:

  • How much time can I spend on the road?
  • How long will it take to get to my end destination?
  • What are my route options?
  • What am I interested in seeing?
  • Is everything open that I am interested in seeing?
  • Do I want to rent a car or use my own car?

Once you answer those questions, you can begin your planning.

Grab the basics for your vehicle

It doesn’t matter if you are renting a car or using your own, it is good to have the basics in the car for your road trip.

  • Flashlight
  • Food and water
  • Owner’s manual
  • Spare tire & roadside kit
  • Cell phone charger
  • Blanket
  • Small trash bag

Adding comfort to your road trip

Comfort can come in many ways. From wearing comfortable clothes & shoes to having snacks. We will share below some items that can bring comfort to a long drive.

  • Good music playlist. Whether you create it on your phone or pack a bunch of CDs, music makes a comfortable drive. Not a music fan? What about an audio book?
  • Hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes. Obviously this is more important than ever with COVID-19, but having access to clean hands brings comfort.
  • Sometimes you will come across a vendor who only accepts cash. Sometimes there are tolls you have to pass that require cash. This is always good to have on hand.
  • Snacks – pack your favorites!
  • Sunglasses & sunscreen
  • First Aid Kit
  • Cooler – this allows you to bring a variety of food choices. Especially if you don’t want to eat out every meal, packing your own meals brings safety and routine to your diet.
  • Pillow
  • Camera & camera charger (unless you use your phone for photos!)

Another common question – if I am renting a car, do I need to purchase their insurance policy?

This choice is up to you. Your auto insurance coverage would cover anything on your rental car that is covered on your personal car. Comprehensive and collision insurance is a required coverage on rental cars. If your current auto insurance coverage does not have comprehensive and collision coverage, you will need to purchase that coverage. Also, consider roadside assistance if you plan to be in an area unfamiliar to you.

What else should I know about creating the best road trip?

This may sound silly, but keep your head up and enjoy the scenery. If you are sitting in the passenger seat, it is easy to scroll through your phone instead, but sometimes the gems along the route are better than the destination.

Also, it may be fun to keep a journal of all the details of your trip. Especially if you are a fan of scrapbooking your trips, you’ll remember all the little memories that may be easy to forget.

Lastly, do some research. If you are a foodie, research the best places to eat on your route. Whether it is a simple Google search or looking at Yelp, it is easy to find tasty food.

If you have any questions about your existing auto insurance or RV insurance coverage, please contact us before you hit the road. Safe travels and enjoy the open road.

Learn How Pay Per Mile Coverage is Calculated

Pay Per Mile Coverage Knoxville, TNThe auto insurance industry landscape is changing as more companies embrace emerging technology. No longer are auto insurance rates based solely on your age, marital status, where you live, or the number of violations that you have. Instead, some companies are also basing their rating structures on how you drive, when you drive, and even where you drive. These models are often called Usage Based Insurance (UBI) or Pay-Per-Mile Insurance (PPMI) programs. And the adoption rates of these new rating variables varies across insurance companies.

Some base their rates almost entirely on these new metrics whereas others have been slower to shift from traditional rating structures. Details regarding the type of data collected and the methods of data collection for these new programs are below:

Type of Data Collected:

Most insurance companies collect a wide range of data for their UBI programs. Some of the most common of these variables include the following:

  • Hard Brakes/Hard Acceleration: Hard braking or fast accelerations are signs of aggressive driving which data suggests increases the likelihood of being involved in an accident. Maintaining assured clear distance with the cars ahead of you and accelerating smoothly are ways to ensure this variable doesn’t increase your premium.
  • When You’re Driving Data suggests that between midnight and 4am are the riskiest times to be on the road. So, if possible, avoid late night driving when participating in a UBI program.
  • How Much You’re Driving, The more you’re on the road, the higher the chances that you’ll be involved in an accident. Those with low annual miles tend to get the most favorable rates from UBI programs.

Data Collection Methods

You might be wondering how insurance companies even get access to your driving behavior data. There are two primary data collection methods:

  • Proprietary Apps – Some insurance companies have created their own proprietary app which customers download to their phones for purposes of recording driving behavior. The app uses the technology embedded in the phone to collect hard brakes, GPS, date/time, etc and then wirelessly sends that data to the insurance company.
  • Plug-In Devices –  Every car manufactured since 1996 has an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port which allows for real-time monitoring of the vehicle. Some insurance companies have created a device that a customer can plug into this port. The device then collects the vehicle information and wirelessly sends that data to the company.

The best way to determine whether a UBI program is best for you is to ask a licensed agent in our office. We can assist you with assessing your insurance needs and provide you with some quotes from several of the top insurance companies.

Get A Quote For Your Auto Insurance Today

Our licensed staff is ready to help you get multiple insurance quotes. Because we’re an independent insurance agent we can shop from multiple insurance companies to help you find the right coverage at the right price.