Say NO to the State’s Minimum Coverage!

Presently the minimum legal insurance coverage that you must have to drive a vehicle in Indiana is $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $25,000 for property damage.    

Scenario:  You are involved in an auto accident and the other driver is injured and taken away in an ambulance.  It is determined that you were the at fault driver. You only have the state’s minimum coverage.

Q:   What if that person’s medical bills are $75,000?

A:  The injured person would hire a lawyer and sue you for the remaining $50,000 in medical expenses.

Did you know? 

Your auto insurance bodily injury liability coverage can protect you when you are in an at-fault accident where the other driver is injured.  These expenses often include:

  • Ambulance Rides
  • EMT Expenses
  • Emergency Room Charges
  • Doctors Bills
  • Hospital Stays
  • Surgeries
  • Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Lawyer Expenses
  • Any other expense that can be associated with the accident

Q:  I don’t own anything and I don’t have any money, so what do I have to lose by choosing the state’s minimum coverage?

A:   A law suit that results in a judgement against you can lead to garnished wages; liens placed on real estate and fixed assets that you own now and into the future.

RESOLUTION: Don’t settle for low liability limits on your auto insurance.  The difference in premium between the state’s minimum coverage and an acceptable coverage amount is often very small.  The insurance companies love to sell the state’s minimum coverage because they know they will never have any large pay outs and they still get your money each month. 

For an auto insurance quote that will actually protect you call Bragg Insurance at 317-758-5828 or visit our website at http://www.bragginsurance.com

How Long Does a Traffic Ticket Affect My Auto Insurance?

A traffic ticket can stay on your record for up to 10 years but will typically only affect your auto insurance rates for 3 to 5 years, depending on the insurance company. 

When evaluating your risk factors one of the areas that an insurance company looks at is moving violations.  Most insurance companies include a surcharge for moving violations such as speeding, disregarding a stop signal and tailgating to name a few.  This surcharge will continue for 3 years with most companies, while other companies continue a surcharge for up to 5 years. 

The amount of the surcharge varies depending on the number of tickets, the severity of the ticket, how recent the ticket was and if there are other negative risk factors on the policy.  The surcharge normally decreases over time as the ticket date gets older and older.

Traffic ticket divergent programs do not normally affect how an insurance company surcharges for tickets.  If the ticket shows up on the Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) the insurance company still sees this as a risk factor and will apply the same surcharge. 

Seat belt violations and parking tickets are not considered to be moving violations and normally do not affect your risk factors thus they do not normally affect your insurance rates.

If you’ve had a ticket in the last 5 years but have remained with the same insurance company, you may be paying too much for your auto insurance.  For an auto insurance rate contact Bragg Insurance Agency at 317-758-5828 or visit our website at www.bragginsurance.com

The 10 Year Milestone

Dear Friends,

Tomorrow, January 1st, 2021 is the 10 year anniversary for Bragg Insurance Agency. 

When I started this journey 10 years ago I had no idea how much a local insurance agent touches so many lives.  Through selling and servicing insurance policies I have developed new friendships and got to know some old friends again.

Through our great insurance carriers we have impacted our community with over $5,000,000 in paid claims and contributions. This is a significant number but even more significant is the impact you have had on my life.

There are many people to thank for the past 10 years and I’m sure I will miss some people but I do want to mention some people that have had real impact.

  1. My wife Kelly Bragg – I’ve had some pretty crazy ideas over the years and without fail you have always supported me.  Thank you!
  2. Dick and Marie Mosbaugh – I will never forget Dick walking into my office in 2011 asking to switch his and Marie’s insurance over to Bragg.  It was the first confirmation that I may be able to survive in this business.  Thank you Dick and Marie, you made a difference in my life.
  3. The community of Sheridan Indiana – This little town of Sheridan Indiana means the world to me and your kindness and acceptance of me and my family means more than I can express.  It is your open armed acceptance of Bragg Insurance agency that has made the difference.  Thank You!
  4. Jenna Romens – Jenna was my first district sales manager and mentor from Erie Insurance.  She took the time to educate me on both the insurance business and on the ins and outs of Erie.  Thank you Jenna!  I haven’t forgotten your investment in me. 
  5. Tony DaBreo – Tony took a chance on me 10 years ago by granting me an Erie Insurance contract.  Thank you Tony, you changed my life.
  6. I also want to thank my children, Garen, Kelsey, Catey and Courtney.   We had some lien years there at first but I never heard a single complaint.  Thank you kids!
  7. Thank you to my parents Dennis and Carolyn and other family members that have supported Bragg Insurance Agency for these past 10 years.

But Most of all, I want to thank God for continuing to use my life.  He walks beside me each day and holds me up when I’m ready to fall. 

Now the questions is what’s next….I’m happy to report that we are currently planning to add more insurance related products sometime next year.  We are also doing some long term planning for 10 and even 20 years into the future. 

Thank you for your loyalty and friendship! Bragg Insurance Agency, your friends in the insurance business. 

Your Neighbor’s Dead Tree

Dustin from Tipton recently asked me a great question. He asks,

“If my neighbor has a tree that is dead and could possibly hit my house if it falls. How do I go about making sure that if their stuff falls on my house that I don’t have to pay for it?”

Yes, it’s true. If your neighbor’s tree falls on your property and causes damages, you are responsible for the damages to your own property. Meaning if there is enough damage for an insurance claim, it would hit your policy. storm-843732_1920

However there could be an exception to that rule if you have noticed the dead tree and asked your neighbor to cut down the tree or remove the hazard. The key is to give your neighbor proper notice of your concern, establish a paper trail, and ask him to remove the hazard.

Here are some suggested steps that you can take

  1. Verbally tell your neighbor of your concern and ask if he will remove the hazard. Most of the time this is the only step you will need to take as most people want to be good neighbors. It could even be a project you and your neighbor could work on together.
  2. If your neighbor will not comply, the next step would be to send him something in writing. An email or certified letter would be ideal. At this point you are looking to establish a paper trail of notices and requests. I would try this step several times before moving on to step 3.
  3. If significant time has passed and your neighbor is either ignoring your requests or does not indicate he will comply with your request you may want to get a third party involved. You could ask your homeowners association, local town board, or an attorney to send a letter to the neighbor on your behalf.

Remember, this is still America and your neighbor has rights, and in most instances, there is actually nothing you can do to make him remove the hazard. You are simply establishing a paper trail that you may need at some point in the future. You want to be able to show an insurance adjuster that you gave your neighbor plenty of warnings and requests of your concern.

If there is ever an event that involves that hazard, your insurance adjuster may be able to take the paper trail that you provide him and hold your neighbor accountable for your financial loss.  In most cases the insurance company would first take care of your damages, and then pursue other actions to get the money back from the neighbor.

Private Flood Insurance Gets Boost

If you live in a designated flood area, and have a mortgage, you are required by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to have flood insurance. Until recently that coverage had to be purchased through NFIP. However recent changes have opened up Floodthe door for private insurance companies to start competing with NFIP. While these changes are still developing some mortgage companies are now accepting private flood insurance plans as well as the NFIP.

With competition come better pricing and better coverage options. If you are now required to have flood insurance, contact your lender to find out if they will accept flood insurance from a private insurance carrier.

Referring Partner Rewards Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bragg Insurance Agency Announces

Referring Partner Rewards Program

Free Gas Card

Bragg Insurance Agency (BIA) will be rewarding our clients and members of our community for referring their friends and family to our agency.  Each qualified referral will earn the referring partner a $10 gift card (no purchase necessary).  The referring partner’s name will then be entered into a drawing at the end of that month for an additional $50 gift card.  In addition the referring partner’s name will be entered into another drawing to take place twice per year for a $100 gift card.

There is no limit to the number of gift cards that can be earned   Purchase is not necessary to enter and win!  A referring partner could potentially earn up to $160 for a single referral!

A qualified referral is a person or business that has a verifiable need for an insurance product that BIA offers;  is not a current customer of BIA; has not been a customer of BIA within the past 90 days;  and hasn’t applied for insurance with BIA within the past 90 days.

Call Brian Bragg at 317-758-5828 for all of the details and to learn how you can become a BIA referring partner!

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover My ATV?

If you own a John Deere Gator, Polaris 4-Wheeler, Golf Cart or any other type of all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) that can be driven on or off your property there are some things you should know about how your homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not cover your liability and your property.

Don’t assume that your homeowner’s insurance has you covered. gator-18

Depending upon your insurance company and type of homeowner’s policy that you have, your homeowner’s policy may have you covered while the ATV is on your premises.   Don’t assume that you are covered; make a quick phone call to your local insurance agent and check your coverage. ATV’s are expensive and your liability is unlimited so a quick check in with your agent is well worth it.

In all likelihood you will be driving the ATV off premises, at least occasionally.   This is where things could get ugly. Homeowner’s insurance companies rate you policy with the risk factors at your home in mind. When you drive your ATV off or your property there are many other risk factors that come into play. Because of this, most homeowner’s insurance policies exclude liability and property coverage to ATV’s driven off premises.

The good news is the endorsement is inexpensive.

To cover your ATV and your liability when you drive it off of your property is normally a pretty easy and inexpensive fix. Depending upon your insurance company, you may be able to add an endorsement to your policy that covers both your ATV and your liability. I recently did this type of endorsement and it cost the homeowners $22 for the year. But, if this policy went unendorsed there would be no coverage if an accident occurred.

If your homeowner’s policy does not offer such an endorsement there are also inexpensive policies that you can purchase. Depending upon the circumstances these policies can range in price from $30 to $225 per year. This is a whole lot less expensive than the cost of replacing your ATV or covering the medical costs of someone who may be injured as a result of an accident caused by the ATV.

The Key is Communication

The relationship that you have with your insurance agent should be a good one. Their contact information should be easy for you to locate and you should feel comfortable calling or emailing them to find out how your coverage works. Your insurance agent should also be relatively quick with their response (within 24 hours). Regardless of who your insurance agent is, you must communicate these types of changes. It’s always a mistake to assume that you are covered. Simply make the phone call or email to assure yourself that you have the coverage that you think you have.

Top 10 Things to Review with Your Insurance Agent

Once again, it’s a new year. January is a great time of year to reflect back on the previous year while we make plans and preparing for upcoming year.start-line-3449607_960_720

I like to look back into my checkbook register from the previous year to see where I spent my money. This is a good indication of what I did and where my heart was. I’m always surprised by some meaningful things that I did during the course of the year that I forgot about. I’m also surprised by how much everything cost these days.

Because It’s easy to forget about some decisions that we’ve made and today’s cost of living I highly recommend that you review your insurance coverages with your agent at least once per year. It’s an exercise that can take as little as 15 minutes but may end up saving you thousands of dollars.

Top 10 things to review with your Insurance Agent

  1. Life Insurance Face Amount – You are your family’s most important asset, if you are gone your incomes goes with you. Make sure that you understand the type of life insurance that you have, the face amount and any expiration dates that they policy may have.
  2. Discounts – When reviewing your coverages with your agent be sure to ask if you have received every available discount .
  3. Best Company for you? – If you are working with an independent insurance agency (I highly recommend) be sure to ask if the company you are with is the best company for you. I think it’s a good idea to shop your insurance every couple of year to make sure you are getting the best coverages at the best possible price.
  4. Auto Insurance Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – Probably the biggest risk you take is when you drive.  If you injure or kill someone while driving the medical expenses can be devastating.  Be sure you understand how much coverage you have and purchase as much as you can afford.  Car Accident
  5. Personal Liability Coverage – As a part of your homeowners insurance policy, personal liability coverage is very inexpensive. Normally the minimum coverage amount is $100,000 but increasing this coverage to $500,000 may cost as little as $20 per year. If you have a large liability loss, a good attorney may cost $100,000 so increasing this amount may be important.
  6. Homeowners Dwelling Coverage – Be sure that your homeowner dwelling coverage is for Replacement Cost and Comprehensive Perils. Also, be sure that your dwelling amount is enough to completely rebuild your home. If you are unsure about the amount, ask your agent for a copy of the Evaluation Tool (MSB) used to arrive at your dwelling amount.
  7. Personal Property Coverage – It is difficult to arrive at a replacement value for all of your personal property. Review that number with your agent and purchase the most coverage that you can afford. Be sure that your personal property coverage includes Replacement Cost and Comprehensive Perils.
  8. Jewelry, Guns & Collectible – While your personal property coverage amount may be enough coverage for your jewelry, guns and collectibles, most homeowners insurance companies limit the amount that you can collect for these items. Be sure to discuss these items with your agent and make sure that you have enough coverage.
  9. Deductibles – Make sure you know and understand how your deductibles work. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may have separate deductibles for separate events. Your auto insurance policies may also have different deductible amount forred-48797_960_720 comprehensive and collision claims.
  10. Other Structure Coverage Amount – If you have a barn, a large building, or any other structure that is not attached to your home, make sure those outbuildings have enough coverage incase of a tornado, fire or unexpected event.

Of course if you ever need help understanding your coverages we at Bragg Insurance Agency are always happy to help.  Bragg Insurance, your friends in the insurance business.

Preparing for a Life Insurance Exam

Getting the best possible rate for your life insurance policy may mean that you have to undergo a medical exam. Preparing for this exam is important. The better your overall physical health, the lower your life insurance premium will be.

family-457235_960_720With this in mind, preparing for and being at your best at the time of the medical exam could mean the difference in getting “preferred rate” or getting a “standard rate”.

Here are some things that we at Bragg Insurance Agency advise our clients to do in preparation of the life insurance exam.

  1. Some things that can negatively affect your medical exam and life insurance rates are your height to weight ratio (obesity), and drug and/or alcohol use. If you are slightly overweight try to lose a few pounds before the exam
  2. Try to abstain from using alcohol and caffeine at least 3 days prior to the exam. Also let the examiner know about any prescription drugs that may be in your system.seafood-platter-1232389_960_720
  3. Stay away from fatty foods such as shellfish and poppy seeds for at least 3 days prior to the exam. Shellfish can increase your cholesterol and poppy seeds can cause you to test positive for opium. (Insert Seinfeld Joke Here)
  4. If you are a smoker, the best thing that you can do for the exam and for your longevity is to stop smoking as soon as possible. Smoking and tobacco use cuts about 10 years off of your life expectancy.   While you have to disclose your lifetime tobacco use, kicking the habit makes life insurance underwriting go much smoother.
  5. Schedule your exam for first thing in the morning and before you have breakfast. The exam will come out in your favor if you fast the day before. Scheduling the exam for early the next morning makes this a little easier.
  6. Get plenty of rest. Since you will be fasting anyway, go to bed early the night before the exam and try to relax.sleep-1209288_960_720
  7. The exam could take as long as 30 minutes. Allow yourself some extra time and relax. Your exam results could be negatively affected if you are in a rush, inpatient, or edgy. Relaxation will help your heart rate and your blood work.
  8. Have your photo ID ready and expect some questions from the examiner. They are going to ask you about smoking, drinking, drug use, and any dangerous activities. These are normal questions that are asked of everyone so don’t be offended or surprise, just be ready to give accurate answers.
  9. During the medical exam the nurse will check your height, weight, pulse, and your blood pressure. They will also likely ask for a urine sample and draw blood. In some cases they may even administer and EKG. Again this is all normal, so try to stay relaxed.

Once your exam is completed the insurance company will start the process of determining your rating tier.  Depending on the application and the results from the medical-781422_960_720exam this could go quickly, or they may ask your doctor for a statement in regards to an underwriting question.

If they ask your doctor for a physician’s statement it may take some time for your doctor to respond.  On average it takes about 30 to 45 days for an insurance company to obtain a physicians statement from most doctors.  Your doctor may be quicker to respond or slower.

For more information on life insurance exams and life insurance in general, contact Bragg Insurance Agency at 317-758-5828, or by email at info@bragginsurance.com

 

 

Don’t Set It & Forget It

KneeI got good news today from my doctor, telling me that instead of the surgery I was dreading for my worn out knees, that I likely just need Physical Therapy (PT).  For many reasons this is welcomed news as well as an eye opener for me.

The reason for the PT is because years ago I had my knees operated on and then I just moved on with life.  I failed to do any PT after the surgery and the muscles in my legs never fully recovered.  I just moved on and forgot about it.

The bad news is that my knees are now weak and in bad need of PT, the good news is that I can now do something about it.  I met with a physical therapist and he has me on a plan to help me strengthen my knees that will help improve my life.

The attitude that I had about my knees reminds me of the attitudes some people have  toward their insurance plan.

Insurance AgentThey meet with an insurance person once, purchase a policy and then move on with life.  They “Set it and Forget it.”

Insurance is not a “Set it and Forget It”.  It is important that you review your coverages with your agent at least every 12 months.  Another important time to review your coverages is when you have a “Life Event”, such as a wedding, a new driver, or a new room addition to your house.

Don’t treat your insurance plan like I did my knees.  Take the time to review your coverages as often as necessary with your agent.  Life changes and your insurance needs will change with your life.