Wednesday, August 24, 2011
According to a recent study published by the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, in 2010, 30 percent of U.S. households had no life insurance coverage at all.1
Taking steps to help protect your family’s financial future — it’s never too late or too early to start. For many of us, life is hectic and fast-moving and life insurance may not seem like a priority. Consider, however: Your ability to earn income is a significant asset to your family, and life insurance could help replace lost income in the event of your death. And if you do own life insurance, it’s important to review it and re-evaluate your needs periodically. Why? Well, as changes in your life circumstances occur, changes in your life insurance needs may follow. That’s why it’s a good idea to review and evaluate your needs at least every few years and certainly when big changes or life events occur.
Life is full of the unexpected
We can’t prevent or predict the unexpected, but we can prepare for it. Life insurance gives you the opportunity to help protect your family’s lifestyle, dreams and finances should the unexpected occur.
Life insurance can help your family:
Continue to pay the home mortgage
Maintain their current standard of living
Pay off debts, estate taxes and final expenses
Create a fund for college education
Create a fund for a family member with special needs
Help protect their dreams for the future
Take some time to think about life insurance and talk about life insurance. And call me — we can work together to help you be sure you have the coverage you want and the protection your family deserves.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
The height of the 2011 Hurricane Season is here, which means a significant risk of flooding in both coastal communities and those far inland as well. In fact, some of the worst damage from recent hurricanes occurred hundreds or even thousands of miles from the coast—as far as New York state due to Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and through much of the Midwest and into Pennsylvania because of Hurricane Ike in 2008. While your customers may not be aware of the risk until your community is threatened with an impending storm, they need to know now that there is typically a 30-day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to take effect.
Encourage your customers to get covered now. Let them know that flood insurance is more affordable than they may think. The average flood insurance policy is around $579 a year and in moderate-to-low-risk areas, Preferred Risk Policies start as low as $129 a year.
Eight of the top ten most expensive federally declared disasters were caused by hurricanes. Just a few inches of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage and last year, the average individual flood insurance claim was more than $24,000. Without flood insurance protection, many property owners have to absorb the financial losses on their own, potentially draining their savings.
Tools You Can Use to Market Flood Insurance
Visit FloodSmart.gov to find essential information and tools that will help remind your customers to prepare for the dangers of flooding all year long, and please share these interactive resources with your customers, colleagues and partners as well.
Cost-of-Flooding Tool: Gives consumers an estimate of how much they will have to pay to repair their properties based on various levels of flooding.
One-Step Flood Risk Profile Assessment Tool: Enables consumers to enter their address and learn about their property’s flood risk.
Hurricane Flooding Fact Sheets: Explains hurricane season risks.
Hurricane Season Widget: A simple interactive application that you can post to your website that includes helpful flood risk/flood insurance information and tips for your customers.
Levee Simulator: Demonstrates how levees work and the risks home and business owners face when they fail.
As many of us consider downsizing, condominiums or co-ops may become an attractive alternative to the responsibilities that go along with single-family home ownership. But sometimes questions arise with regard to responsibility for and ownership of various parts of the property. Obviously, you — the unit owner — own your personal property, like your sofa and bedroom dresser. But what about the interior walls, plumbing and other parts of the property? Those questions often lead to concerns about insurance. How do you know what insurance you need?
Who owns what?
When a condominium or co-op is being built, the developer creates a declaration that provides the organizational structure. This declaration usually becomes the guiding document for the association and each unit owner because it outlines the common elements — parts of the property owned and shared among all unit owners — that are the association’s responsibility. The association normally obtains an insurance policy to cover association property and liability. As the unit owner, you buy insurance to cover your personal property and liability, as well as building property that’s defined as part of the condominium unit and for which you’re responsible under your association’s documents.
The “association policy” — Sometimes called the “master policy,” this is provided by the condo/co-op board, and generally insures the common areas for both liability and property damage — the roof, basement, elevator, boiler, pool and walkways, for instance.
Your individual condo policy — This covers your personal possessions and provides additional living expenses in the event your unit becomes uninhabitable due to damage caused by fire, tornado or other covered loss. Typically, your policy would include personal liability, unit owner’s building property and loss assessment coverage as well.
Let’s work together
Insurance coverage for condo or co-op owners can get complicated, so call me. I can answer your questions about the condo policy, explain coverage provisions and identify discounts for which you may qualify and deductibles you may choose. And if you’re sticking with your single-family home — or if you rent — I can help you with that as well. Forward this to someone you know — I can help them, too.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
There's more to buying a car than picking the paint color and upholstery. That's the fun part. Truth is, buying a car is a major purchase, and if you're financing your car with an auto loan, it's a significant financial commitment that will impact your finances for years to come.
Whether you're buying or leasing, there are important insurance considerations to take into account. Depending on your lease, you may be required to purchase more coverage than you might have if you were buying the vehicle. Also, some cars are simply more expensive to insure than others, whether because of safety records, theft statistics, or even how you plan to use the vehicle.
If you're considering several models and can't decide, your Farmers agent can help you make an informed decision. Contact them for coverage price comparisons for the models you're interested in. A higher -- or lower -- insurance coverage premium may make the decision for you!