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

 

 

Your Families Greatest Asset

What is your family’s greatest asset? Is it your home, your cars, your boat, or your bank account? Actually your family’s greatest asset is your paycheck.

If your income stopped today how would your family afford the roof over their head, the cars that get them around or the boat that they enjoy on the weekend? And let’s be honest, the money in the bank probably won’t go too far.family-838239_960_720

As an insurance agent working with Bragg Insurance Agency, I talk to people everyday that are eager for us to insure their family’s home, cars, and boat. But many people don’t seem interested in insuring their family’s greatest asset, their paycheck. It’s the paycheck that actually makes these other items possible. Insure your paycheck first, and then insure your home, cars, and boat.

You and your spouse should ask yourself the following 2 questions:

  1. If something were to happen to me and my paycheck, could my family continue to function as it normally does?
  2. Would my family be able to pay the mortgage payment if I died and my paychecks suddenly disappeared?

If you answered “No” to either one of these questions your family is just one heartbeat away from a financial disaster. We have an affordable solution to this serious problem. Please call Bragg Insurance Agency at 317-758-5828 or email brian@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.

The Power of Life Insurance

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.

There are very few things in this life that will have such a profound effect on the future of others then life insurance.  No other financial vehicle in the world has such power!

Here are my top five reasons why I believe that life insurance is the most powerful purchase that you will ever make.088

  1. The Power to Change Lives! What would your family be able to do with a tax free check of $1 Million?  Your family history could be changed forever by a wise investment into your future generations.  It’s a great idea to invest into your own retirement and future, but don’t forget that your descendants will eventually be standing on your shoulders as they try to provide for their families.
  2. The Power of a Lasting Legacy! Make a statement that will help your name to live on by donating the proceeds of a life insurance policy to the charity that you are passionate about.  Are you passionate about the future of your town, your church, your school, your organization?  Let the future generations know about your passion by using the proceeds of a life insurance policy to fund an endowment or scholarship.
  3. The Power of Education! Ensure that your children and grandchildren will be able to attend college even if you die.  College tuitions continue to rise while the importance of a post high school education grows even faster.  Your children and grandchildren will want to accomplish something great in this life!  Help them with their future (which is your future) by leaving money behind to help pay for their post high school education.
  4. The Power of Living Debt Free! Wow, what a gift that would be!  When you pass away, your family will be good-credit-vs-bad-creditdealing with the stress and heart ache of losing you.  Don’t leave them with the more burdensome task of figuring out how to pay your debts!  Have enough life insurance to pay off the mortgage and all of your other obligations.
  5. The Power to Replace your Income! What a blessing it would be for your family to be able to continue at their same lifestyle even without your income.  In my own family I have seen the devastation left behind by someone passing away without life insurance, as households were torn apart and financial futures wrecked.  While no person is ever replaceable, you can replace your income to help lessen the financial effect your death has on your family.

When Optimisim is a Negative

“It won’t happen to me is not a good insurance program”

It’s quite amazing how many optimistsglass-half-full-233x300 that I run into on a daily basis. I too am a “glass half full” person, so I truly understand the optimistic mindset. While I consider myself to be a positive person I cannot hold a candle to some of the idealistic thinkers that cross my path. Recently I’ve been putting these Utopian-minded folks into 3 categories.

The Immortals – This group is the most sanguine. They are a confident group that thinks that they cannot die. They are usually young and believe that their youth and positive buoyant attitude will keep death at bay. They go about their day to day activities on cloud nine ignoring pessimistic thoughts such as death, and responsibilities.

Unfortunately “The Immortals” do die, and many times way too young. Sometimes they leave behind a family with both emotional and financial voids. They leave behind mortgages, motorcycle payments, car payments, children, spouses, and extra expenses related to their funeral.

The Conscientious Optimist – This group of optimists are so meticulous that an accident could never happen to them. They are superb drivers, their homes are danger free zones and they never take risks –Never! When they drive they are able to look 3 and 4 moves ahead of everyone else and they can actually read the minds of other drivers. These clairvoyant powers keep them out of the path of drunk drivers and they are able to spot deer before they look into the headlights.

Unfortunately just as Superman’s weakness was kryptonite, even The Conscientious Optimist is susceptible to accidents. A car sometimes appears out of nowhere, someone hits their vehicle when it’s parked in a parking lot, or they only looked away for a second and that’s when the accident happened.

The Optimistic Procrastinator – Normally procrastination is associated as a negative word, but I’ve come to realize that Procrastinators are actually very positive people. They believe beat_procrastinationthat they can wait until the very last minute to take care of a duty or a task. Some of their most often used words are, “I meant to”, or “I was just getting ready to do that”, or “there’s plenty of time to do that later”

Unfortunately for the procrastinator his optimistic view of time often times runs out. His “meant to” turns into never did, and his “I was just getting ready to do that” turns into never got it done. The thing the optimistic procrastinator doesn’t realize is that when time runs out, his good intentions aren’t worth a hill of beans. He was derelict in his duties and responsibilities in spite of his good intentions.

pic-lhb-familyWe optimists are funny people. We really do see the glass as half full. But we also need to be aware of a balancing truth. We are not immortal, we do not have a magic force field around us protecting us from accidents, and we are not promised tomorrow.

So why not rather be an optimist that is prepared for the future? Live life to the fullest, but be prepared in case it’s your last day. Be a conscientious person that avoids all accidents, but have a plan in case the unexpected happens. Today, stop putting off those “meant to do” items and get them done today.

Brian Bragg owns and operates Bragg Insurance Agency and can be emailed at brian@bragginsurance.com

2014 Insurance Planning

Greeting the New Year is one of my favorite events. Beautiful-Happy-New-Year-2014-HD-Wallpapers-by-techblogstop-1It’s a time when I can reflect back at what has transpired over the past 12 months, and set goals and plans for what I hope to accomplish over the year. It’s a time when I can free myself of the past year’s failures and shortcomings, while I celebrate my accomplishments and prepare to be my best in the New Year.

Some people will resolve to lose weight or quit smoking in the New Year. I would imagine that a lot will sit down at the kitchen table with pen and paper in hand to do some financial goal planning. You’re planning to pay off that pesky credit card, or maybe you’re planning on putting in that swimming pool that you’ve always wanted.

Insurance AgentWith this in mind, let me suggest that the New Year is also an excellent time to review all of your insurance needs with your insurance agent. Insurance is not a “set it and forget it” financial product. It’s a financial product that needs to be continually maintained. As our lives change so do our insurance needs.

As you probably know, there are many changes imagesMAO8Q7F8taking place in insurance right now, and not just in health insurance, but also in home and auto. Premium rates are increasing and coverages are decreasing. You’ve probably noticed the increasing premiums, but did you know that your coverages may not be as good as they once were?

I thought that I was covered is not an insurance program. Make an annual insurance review part of your new year’s financial strategy. You will be glad that you did.