Discover 7 Secrets to a Safer Holiday

What a special time of year. I love the holidays. Some of my favorite memories are from Christmases gathered around the fire with candles burning. When I became an insurance professional, my perspective changed because now I see the dangers in many of these rituals. Over 15,000 people will be seriously injured and take a trip to the emergency room during the holidays. The insurance industry sees many house fires this time of year associated with holiday celebrations. You don’t want to make a trip to the emergency room, and you certainly don’t want to be displaced during this time of year.

Although dangers are associated with the holiday season, a few practices can make for a safer holiday. You can keep your family traditions but add these safety precautions as well.
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7 Things that Drive Your Insurance Agent Crazy

The relationship between an insurance agent and a client is a two-way street. When we talk with clients trying to determine if they want us to handle their insurance program, we are interviewing them as well. In my humble opinion, too many clients think insurance agents want to write every piece of business available and that we should be thankful for every call regardless of how last minute it is. The truth is professional agents who conduct business wisely are as selective about their clients as the clients are about them.

We, as agents, understand the importance of insurance because we have seen the terrible results of not being protected. As they say, “you can’t make this stuff up!” I don’t have to make up stories. I get stories every day in my agency. Accidents happen and change lives forever. What makes the conversation about coverage and premium difficult for insurance agents is that the difference between good coverage and bad coverage is usually only a few dollars. Seeing people make bad decisions due to an extra $20 a month is tough. As my good friend, Tammy White, says,“ Penny wise, pound foolish.”
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Accidents Happen

interior-view-of-a-car-that-was-in-a-bad-accidentClients always surprise me with their responses to questions concerning their insurance limits. Most of the time they make me smile, but sometimes they make me very sad. I’ve actually had people tell me they don’t need high limits on auto insurance because they are safe drivers, or they don’t have accidents. Really?? Have you ever said that or perhaps thought it? Can you predict the future? If so, I’ll take you on the next flight to Vegas with those crystal ball skills!

The definition of accident is, “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.” To be more specific, the legal definition of accident is, “in general, an unplanned, unexpected, and undesigned (not purposefully caused) event which occurs suddenly and causes (1) injury or loss, (2) a decrease in value of the resources, or (3) an increase in liabilities.” Accidents are unplanned or they would not be accidents.
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9 Essential Details Every Homeowner Should Master

home-insurance-in-knoxvilleI must admit, when I bought my first home in 1985, I was so naïve. Growing up on a small farm with livestock, we were fairly self-sufficient. My dad made sure we knew how to handle many things around the farm, but there was still plenty I did not know. I remember when I got my first car, (a 1967 Toyota Corolla given to me by an aunt and uncle) my dad made me change all four tires, so I would know how to change a tire and not need to depend on anyone else. Roadside assistance – no way! And God knows we couldn’t afford it even if it had been available. I wish everyone ascribed to my dad’s idea of preparedness when it comes to owning a home. I’ve created a list of things YOU need to know about your home.

A client called me around 10:00 pm one night in October of 2018 exclaiming, “My toilet is overflowing.” When I asked if she had turned the water off, her answer was, “I don’t know where the cut-off valve is. My neighbor is trying to find it!” What a horrible time to try to locate the water control—it’s dark and gallons of water are flooding your home.
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The Ugly Truth about Sublimits


For the majority of people, purchasing a home is the biggest single investment of their lives. To protect their home and its valuable contents, they purchase a homeowners insurance policy. When buying a homeowners policy, most people think “everything” in their home is covered by their policy, and when I say everything, I mean everything. I know I did before I became a licensed insurance professional. Many times I have talked with clients who got several proposals for homeowners insurance coverage, but when I ask them what type of coverage they were proposald, they have no idea. The agents who proposald them did not even explain the coverage to them. It is difficult to believe someone would choose an insurance agent who only gives price as a solution.

After a homeowner chooses their homeowners insurance policy, they sign what is commonly called an insurance application. These applications are actually legal contracts and will determine coverage should a coverage question ever arise. Once these insurance contracts are signed, the homeowner receives a multi-page bound policy document filled with language enumerating the conditions of the insurance agreement. The first few pages of this new insurance policy includes a “Declaration of Coverage.”

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5 Reasons High Home Liability Limits Matter

val-privett-with-dog-knoxvilleIf I asked the average person on the street what liability limit they carry on their homeowners policy, I would bet 95% could not tell me. Liability is such important coverage, but the non-insurance person generally doesn’t see the significance of this coverage. Unfortunately, many individuals do not see the importance until something bad happens. And once something bad happens, it is too late. Liability means you are responsible for damage that has been done or damage that you have been accused of doing to another person. You don’t have to be guilty of this negligence to be sued by a person. If you are accused, who is going to defend you?
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#1 Natural Disaster in the US

flood-insuranceWhat’s the #1 natural disaster in the US? Any guesses? I bet if I polled ten people, eight out of ten would answer incorrectly. This disaster isn’t usually on the radar of the average insurance client. I see coverage for it purchased only if a mortgage company requires it. I and my agents at Beacon Insurance Advisers always ask about this insurance coverage. We provide information about this natural disaster in every new business appointment, but very few clients choose to purchase this insurance unless required by the mortgage company. Have you guessed it yet? FLOOD! Floods are the most common and devastating natural disaster in the US; yet, too many clients ignore this biggest disaster. Flood damage occurs when a big quantity of water flows over land, seeping into your home through doors and windows.
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Are You a Customer or a Client?

insurance-agentI must say, transitioning from the education (teaching/coaching) world to the insurance world in 1997 (yes again, I am old!) was an amazing wake up call for me. I immediately experienced the distrust that came with the insurance industry. As my step-dad said directly to my face, “that’s one rung up from a used car salesman.” From September 1997 to current day, I’ve worked hard to change the negative perception of (and in some cases the reality of) bad insurance salespeople. Unfortunately, many in our industry (as in all industries) are not true professionals. These unprofessional order-takers will write any type of policy to get a payday without realizing or caring about the financial devastation to their clients from this malpractice. I see this happen frequently at call centers where customer service representatives are “bonused” if they sell any type of policy. Can you imagine someone putting a client’s lifestyle in danger because of an extra $25 a month?
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Does Your Policy Cover Replacement Cost?

home-insurance-tennesseeIn this hot real estate market in Knoxville, TN and surrounding counties of East Tennessee, we receive numerous calls from new home buyers wanting a proposal on homeowners insurance. These perspective clients are calling mostly because their loan officer has told them they need to acquire homeowners insurance for their new home. I’m always surprised how many of these home buyers don’t fully understand the process. Now, I’m not judging because before I secured my insurance license, I couldn’t spell insurance! Anyway, I digress….
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7 Reasons to Bundle Your Insurance Coverages (and a Secret Most Insurance Companies Won’t Tell You)

If you watch television at all, you are bombarded with auto insurance advertisements. One theme of these commercials is the “bundling” concept for the insurance companies. Bundling usually means combining one or more insurance products with the same insurance company—typically, your auto and home. Why is this a great idea for you? Some companies give huge discounts for each policy. This means, the more you buy, the less it costs.
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