An Independent Advantage
We are Independent Agents, free to choose the best carrier for your insurance needs. We do not work for an insurance company; we work for you. We work on your side when you have a loss and follow through to see that you get fair, prompt payment and service. We represent a carefully selected group of financially strong, reputable insurance companies, therefore, we are able to offer you the best coverage at the most competitive price.
What is an Independent Insurance Agent?
When you decide to buy a car, you wouldn’t purchase the first one you see. What if one day the automobile industry decided to make only one type of car, one make and one model. You wouldn’t have a choice!
The same situation holds true for insurance. You need insurance to drive a car, to purchase a house, to protect your family’s financial future and to run a small business. But if there was only one insurance company that offered only one type of insurance, car insurance, home insurance or businessowner policy — you wouldn’t have a choice. The only solution would be going to that one company.
With an independent insurance agent, you have choices. Independent agents are not tied to any one insurance company. One of the advantages of using an independent agent is that he or she works to satisfy your needs. You are using an expert for an important financial decision.
An independent agent has several companies that he or she can approach to get you the best coverage at the best price. And your independent agent will know the companies with the most efficient claims departments to recover your losses as quickly as possible.
When you buy insurance, whether it’s for your home, your car or your life, you want an advocate who will properly assess the risks you face and give you an objective analysis of the marketplace, it’s up to you to make the final choice.
Auto insurance includes three broad coverage categories designed to protect you from financial loss if you have an accident:
- Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
- Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
- Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
Within the three broad coverage categories listed above, an auto insurance policy is comprised of six different kinds of coverage. Most states require you to buy some, but not all, of these coverages. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also have requirements.
- Medical payments
- Uninsured motorist/Underinsured motorist
- Damage to your auto
- Personal injury protection (No Fault)
- Additional, optional coverages
In order for your insurance coverage to take effect, all drivers and cars must be specifically listed on your policy. You should also refer to your insurance policy for the specific terms and conditions of the coverage.
If you have an auto accident, the legal costs could be devastating. Liability coverage offers protection against claims, property damage or bodily injury to a third party that you or a member of your household accidentally caused while driving your car. This coverage applies only if the driver is considered legally responsible for the damage.
In addition, typical liability coverage offers:
- up to $250 for the cost of bail bonds required because of the accident
- premiums on appeal bonds
- interest accrued after a judgment is entered in any suit the carrier defends
- up to $50 each day for loss of earnings because the carrier requested that you attend a hearing or trial
- other reasonable expenses which may be incurred at the carriers request.
The medical payments portion of your policy assures that you, your family members and passengers in your car will receive necessary medical and dental services resulting from an auto accident…regardless of who caused the accident.
Uninsured motorist/Underinsured motorist
Uninsured motorist coverage will pay for injury expenses incurred should you, your family members or passengers be involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. This coverage also provides protection for a hit-and-run accident or an accident with a driver who has less insurance than required by law.
Underinsured motorist provides coverage when the other driver is found legally responsible for an accident and has coverage, but not enough to cover your injuries. If your coverage limits are higher than those of the at-fault driver, this coverage will absorb the additional expenses.
Un/Underinsured coverage is not identical in all states since each state has its own uninsured motorist laws. In most states this coverage applies to bodily injury only. However, property damage coverage is available in some states.
Damage to your auto
There are two types of physical damage coverages: Collision and Comprehensive.
Collision coverage pays for any damage to your car caused by accidental impact with another vehicle or object…or if your vehicle overturns. The maximum amount to be paid is limited to the actual cash value of your vehicle, which is often referred to as the “local market value,” minus the collision deductible of your policy. Please remember that the local market value is only a starting point. The actual cost of the car may be more or less depending on the actual condition of the car.
Comprehensive coverage pays for most types of damage to your car resulting from a situation other than a collision. Typical examples include breakage of glass, falling objects, fire, theft, windstorm, hail, water, flood, malicious mischief, vandalism, or impact with a bird or animal. The maximum amount paid is limited to the actual cash value of your vehicle minus the “other than collision” or comprehensive deductible.
Situations where damage is not covered. Please be aware that your policy will not pay for damages due to normal wear and tear such as mechanical or electrical breakdowns and flat tires.
Personal injury protection (No-Fault)
Your policy will provide no-fault insurance for residents of states where it is required. This means that you, your family and any passengers are covered under your policy regardless of who is responsible for the accident. This coverage includes medical, surgical, dental, hospital, work loss and certain other related expenses. This same coverage extends to you or your family member in an accident as a pedestrian.
Additional, optional coverages
Some coverages are not included as part of the basic auto policy. However, with some carriers you can customize your policy to your needs by adding the following additional coverages: Towing and labor, Rental reimbursement, Tapes/ Records/CD coverage, CB radio/car phone and customization coverage.
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What is Life Insurance?
A life insurance policy is a contract with an insurance company. In exchange for premium payments, the insurance company provides a lump-sum payment, known as a death benefit, to beneficiaries upon the insured's death.
Typically, life insurance is chosen based on the needs and goals of the owner. Term life insurance generally provides protection for a set period of time, while permanent insurance, such as whole and universal life, provides lifetime coverage. It's important to note that death benefits from all types of life insurance are generally income tax-free.1
There are many varieties of life insurance. Some of the more common types are discussed below.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is designed to provide financial protection for a specific period of time, such as 10 or 20 years. With traditional term insurance, the premium payment amount stays the same for the coverage period you select. After that period, policies may offer continued coverage, usually at a substantially higher premium payment rate. Term life insurance is generally less expensive than permanent life insurance.
Needs it helps meet: Term life insurance proceeds can be used to replace lost potential income during working years. This can provide a safety net for your beneficiaries and can also help ensure the family's financial goals will still be met—goals like paying off a mortgage, keeping a business running, and paying for college.
It's important to note that, although term life can be used to replace lost potential income, life insurance benefits are paid at one time in a lump sum, not in regular payments like paychecks.
Universal life insurance
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Unlike whole life insurance, universal life insurance policies are flexible and may allow you to raise or lower your premium payment or coverage amounts throughout your lifetime. Additionally, due to its lifetime coverage, universal life typically has higher premium payments than term.
Needs it helps meet: Universal life insurance is most often used as part of a flexible estate planning strategy to help preserve wealth to be transferred to beneficiaries. Another common use is long term income replacement, where the need extends beyond working years. Some universal life insurance product designs focus on providing both death benefit coverage and building cash value while others focus on providing guaranteed death benefit coverage.
Whole life insurance
Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Because of the lifetime coverage period, whole life usually has higher premium payments than term life. Policy premium payments are typically fixed, and, unlike term, whole life has a cash value, which functions as a savings component and may accumulate tax-deferred over time.
Needs it helps meet: Whole life can be used as an estate planning tool to help preserve the wealth you plan to transfer to your beneficiaries.