My car is totaled – How does my insurance reimburse me?

This is a very important thing to now about your insurance policy and something most of us never consider.   What if my car a total loss, how does my insurance reimburse me?

Policies and terms are different between insurance companies so consider this just a guide:

Actual Cash Value or ACV is very common on auto, homeowners, renters, motorcycle and RV insurance.   ACV is calculated by subtracting wear and tear and depreciation from the replacement cost.   Example:  if your car was worth $10,000 on a used car lot before it being totaled, but would cost $20,000 to replace with a new one of similar style and size, the ACV of your vehicle would most likely be around $10,000 – not $20,000.   Rock Chips, scratches, dents, etc. can all be considered into wear and tear.

Replacement Cost – is not common with auto insurance but some carriers have been creative with options in their polices to help their insured who opt in for an additional cost.  You will more often see Actual Replacement Cost with homeowners, renters and some motorcycle insurance policies.   Discuss this with your insurance agent / broker to improve your policy before you’re faced with a total loss.  Actual replacement cost does not calculate an items depreciation, age or wear and tear.  If your insured item has this coverage, if available, and it was worth $2,000 as a used item before it was damaged but would cost $10,000 to replace brand new the actual replacement cost of your item would be around $10,000.

Discuss the options available with your broker.  None of us plan on a total loss or even an accident but that’s why most of us have insurance in the first place, to cover the unexpected and worst case scenario.

We hope this helps.  If we can be of any help we would welcome the chance to.

Call Schreib Insurance Group at (253) 365-6466cropped-cropped-capture3.jpg

What Credit Info Insurers cannot use

Insurance Credit - Off LimitsEver wonder why or how your personal credit information is used when you apply for home or car insurance?

We wrote about how it’s used in May’s post Learn how credit info is used by insurers but I wanted share specifically what they can’t use.

    Directly from the Washington State Insurance Commissioner:

They cannot use your credit history alone to deny you coverage or cancel your policy.  Also they cannot use any of the following factors to deny you or set your rates:

  • Number of credit inquires
  • Collections identified as medical bills
  • Initial buy or finance of a vehicle or home that adds a new loan to your existing credit
  • Use of a particular type of credit or debit card
  • Your total available line of credit

If credit info was the reason you didn’t get the best rate, your insurance company must tell you in writing. They can list up to four reasons.

They cannot use absence of credit to deny you coverage.  However, they can use that reason to set rates if they have data showing that people without credit histories are more likely to file claims.

If there’s a mistake in your credit history, contact the credit reporting agencies and once corrected, tell your insurance company in writing. They must reissue or re-rate the policy back to the policy effective date.

Schreib Insurance Group, Bonney Lake Washington

The data above is on April 4 2014 information provided by the office of the Washington State Insurance Commissioner.

Dog Bites Homeowners

handdogThe rise in dog bites  not only hurts the person(s) being bitten but their owner’s Homeowners Insurance also.  Hence, dog bites homeowners.

In 2013, dog bite claims were more than 1/3 of all homeowners liability claims and paid out nearly half a billion dollars, according to the Insurance Information Institute.  Keep in mind this not only hurts the insurance industry but home owners as well.  Deductibles have  to be met on claims paid and the annual cost if their policies may go up.

  • 56.7% of homeowners own a dog
  • Dog bite claims have risen 6% in 2013
  • Average dog bite claims paid out is over $27,000.   Ouch!

Renter’s are subject to many of the same liability exposures as homeowners.   If you haven’t purchased Renters Insurance you should talk with your agent about options.

At Schreib Insurance many of us own and love dogs.   We all just need to be aware that even small, healthy and well-mannered dogs have bad days.

 

 

National Moving Month – Verify Insurance Before Moving

boxesCollege students and many families move during this time of year.   While in transit your belongings breaking has been the biggest risk but with recent trends in moving trucks being stolen right from under those moving it’s time to know what’s covered.  The Bonny Lake Courier-Herald posted a good read this morning for anyone looking to move.  Here’s their article:

Verify Insurance Coverage Before Moving

This is a popular time of year to move and May is National Moving Month. College students are moving for the summer and many families opt to move this time of year as well. Seattle media recently reported the theft of two fully loaded U-Hauls that contained the entirety of the consumers’ possessions.
Here are some tips for moving, whether you hire a mover or do the move yourself:
  • Inventory your belongings. If need to make a claim, you will expedite the process if you know what you lost. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has an iPhone app, an Android app and a printable PDF form.
  • Contact your insurance company to find out if your homeowner or renter insurance covers your belongings while you are in transit and to transfer your coverage from your old residence to your new residence.
  • If you rent a moving trailer or vehicle, make sure your auto policy covers your use of the vehicle before you decline the rental company’s insurance. Some auto policies exclude vehicles that exceed a certain weight.

If you have questions about coverage give us a call.

Schreib Insurance Group
Bonney Lake, WA
253-365-6466

Learn how credit info is used by insurers

Insurance Credit ScoreMost insurance companies use credit info to decide if they want to insure you and what rate to use to calculate your price.  This is not in the hands of your agent as he or she can’t influence it either way.  If your agent is a broker they can find the best insurance company for you as each weighs credit info differently, varying your score from company to company.

In Washington, our Insurance Commissioner believes this practice is unfair.  However, at present Federal and State laws allow insurance companies to look at your credit history.  Your broker does not see your credit report, score or history.

Because insurance companies believe there is a direct relationship with between how applicants mange finances and the likelihood of claims they consider this info in quoting home, auto and car insurance. Influencing whether they issue a policy or renew one and what rate to charge.

Most use credit history to decide an Insurance Credit Score.  Most use recent history more heavily than old credit and consider:

  • Bankruptcy, liens, collections and foreclosures
  • Payments on time
  • Length of time with credit
  • Number of open lines of credit
  • Outstanding debt

Regardless of quality, your credit history a broker accesses several carriers as an advocate for you.

Here are a list of resources they may help:

  1. Talk to a broker agent
  2. Correct errors on your credit report / Federal Trade Commission
  3. Free credit report / Federal Trade Commission

Schreib Insurance Group is a personal lines broker specializing in car insurance, home and life.  For more information visit our site by clicking on our office link below.
Bonney Lake – Main office

Homeowners Insurance Tip: Know your smoke detectors

 

SmokeDWhen you buy or rent a home or can’t remember when the last time you checked your smoke detectors, it’s time to replace them.    I used to feed my detectors once a year with a fresh 9 volt battery.   With 10-year lithium battery detectors I don’t have to do that anymore.

In businesses there’s a trend with insurance carriers requiring either hard-wired or 10-year lithium battery smoke detectors.   This driven by the carriers because they have seen too many losses because someone failed to keep them up.  As a homeowner, why not make sure we too are safer and have the best technology in our smoke detectors.

Here’s some info that encouraged me to replace my detectors:

 

  • According to U.S. Fire Administration the U.S. looses 3,500 lives a year, including 100 firefighters, in home fires and nearly 20,000 people injured.
  • Reduce liability – Who is responsible if someone is injured or property damaged if your smoke detectors didn’t work?
  • The least expensive insurance I’ll ever buy.  A 10 year lithium units cost about $25.

Resources:

Be proactive and stay safe!

Homeowners Insurance by Schreib Insurance

Renters Insurance – Should I?

Renters InsuranceYears, ago a friend of mine rented a home after leaving the military.  He was transitioning to civilian life by going to school during the day and working at night.  He purchased car insurance but was not aware that there was an inexpensive policy called Renters Insurance available.   Note:  had I been his agent he would have known.

One night he returned home to find the door broken and most of his belongings missing.  Later, he learned about the advantages of renters insurance and how low-cost it actually is.

As a renter theft is just one concern.  If you live in an apartment you can also be held financially responsible for a mistake you made causing damage to others.  You also have some coverage for unexpected accidents.

If you’re a landlord, property manager or homeowner renting you home have your tenants get Renters Insurance.   If you’re looking for a place to rent be ready to get a policy because many  places ask for it in their lease agreements.

Resources:

Washington State – Find a Place to Rent     Bonney Lake – New Residents Info
Federal Way – New Residents Info                Kent – Resident Resources
Tacoma – Residents Resources

 Schreib Insurance Group