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.

 

Be on the Alert for Deer

My favorite time of year is Harvest Season. I love the cooler weather, wonderful colors, fall parties, and watching the farmers in their fields. Fall is also deer season…not just deer hunting season, but also “watch out for that deer” season.White-tailed_deer

As the corn and beans grow during the summer deer can easily move from woods to woods without being detected and with very little human interaction, but when it’s time to cut beans or pick the corn that all changes. Grain farmer will confirm that they lose crops every year from deer who feed on the corn and beans.

When the harvest starts and combines go into the fields, deer sometimes freak out! They run, and sometimes they run right into a car.

To compound the issue bow hunting season starts (this year on October 1st) and then shot gun hunting season (this year on November LargerDrawnBow16th.)  Deer are constantly on the move, trying to avoid tractors, combines, and hunters.

Deer are also nocturnal and with our diminishing daylight hours they are much more active in the fall and winter months. Nearly 50% of all deer related accidents happen between the months of October and December.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about 1 million car accidents each year are a caused by deer / vehicle collisions. These collisions kill about 200 people each year (not to mention a lot of deer). The accidents cause about 10,000 personal injuries and cost about $1 billion in property damage.

If you’re from Indiana, I don’t have to tell you that hitting a deer can cause a lot of damage and even death.   In fact, I will bet you have either hit a deer yourself, or personally know someone who has.

What can you do to protect yourself?deer-and-car_100324859_m

1. Be on Alert! Especially at dawn and dusk, this is when deer are on the move. Also be aware of your surroundings. Are you driving in a rural area where deer are more likely to be seen? Are there farmers in the fields?

2. Watch your speed. If you are in an area and/or at a time where deer are likely to be seen, take your foot off the accelerator and slow down.

3. Use your high beams. Look for deer in the headlights.

4. If you see one deer there are likely to be more and take precautions.

5. Don’t swerve. This may cause you to lose control and hit another vehicle or lose control of your vehicle.

6. Wear your seat belt! Many deaths and injuries are a result of being thrown through the windshield. Seat belts save lives.

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Insurance

1. Match your coverages to your specific needs. Insurance is not one size fits all. Have your agent explain each and every coverage that you are paying for. Use this information to help determine if your coverage fits your circumstances.

2. Insist on Annual Reviews with your Agent. As your life changes from year to year so does your insurance needs. Visiting your insurance agent and reviewing your coverages along with your costs is an excellent way of staying informed and keeping your costs down.Insurance Agent

3. Comparison shop. Each insurance company use different risk models to determine your annual premium. Your risks will change from year to year along with insurance companies risk models. Have your local independent agent shop different carriers for you each year at renewal time.

4. Bundle your coverages. Most insurance companies give big discounts for having all of your insurance with one carrier. Most people know about the home and auto discount, but did you know that some carriers offer extra discounts for having life insurance or an umbrella policy with them?

5. Increase your deductible.  It’s not an uncommon thing for me to see an auto policy where the person has never had a claim but yet has a zero deductible. This is like paying the insurance company a bonus for never filing a claim. Self-insure yourself for as much as you can comfortably afford.good-credit-vs-bad-credit

6. Maintain good credit. I don’t necessarily agree with the practice, but insurance companies today are using your credit score as a way of determining the likelihood of you filing a claim. Keep your credit in good order and this will help to keep your insurance costs down.

7. Safety Safety Safety. Insurance companies give discounts for safety devices and features. Safety features and ratings with vehicles can reduce your auto insurance premium. Smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, and Burglar alarms can help to lower your homeowner’s insurance premiums.

8. Low Mileage Savings. Your auto insurance rates are partially based on the distance that you drive your vehicle each year. Check with your local independent agent to make sure that they have your correct annual driving miles.

going-paperless
9. Go Paperless. Many companies offer a paperless discount. Instead of mailing you mounds of paperwork, they email them to you.

10. Senior Discounts. The older we get the less risks we tend to take which may not be real exciting, but it can lead to savings on our insurance. Most companies offer some type of senior discount, call you agent and find out when you can take advantage of this discount.