Owner operators are individuals who own their own trucking business. They may operate under their own authority under their own MC number or they may lease on to another motor carrier. We will discuss owner operator insurance coverage types.
If you want your own authority, you will need to apply for this through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You will need to prove that you have the minimum liability limits as required by FMCSA and pay a $300 filing fee. You can go to their website at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate to see the steps to apply for your own authority.
If you do haul under your own authority, then you will need to have these required limits of auto liability, (in some cases) cargo liability, and an active MC number. The proof of insurance, as sent to the FMCSA by your insurance company, are referred to as filings. These filings are delivered to the FMCSA as proof that you have the minimum liability limits.
For those not hauling under their own motor carrier authority, we want to discuss several coverage options.
NON-TRUCKING LIABILITY and BOBTAIL LIABILITY
If you decide to lease on to another motor carrier and haul under their authority, then they will carry the primary liability insurance. If this is the case, you still need to have a non-trucking liability insurance policy. This covers you when you are not under dispatch for that motor carrier. Non-trucking liability is also commonly referred to as bobtail liability. This is not accurate. We will discuss the difference later in this article.
The cost is typically much less for this coverage type then truckers liability insurance due to the limited time that coverage come in to play. You do not want to be without this coverage in the event that you are in accident when you are not driving under another carrier’s authority.
PHYSICAL DAMAGE COVERAGE
If you are financing your truck then the lienholder or bank will require you to have physical damage coverage to cover the damage to the vehicle in the event of a claim. This comprehensive and collision coverage will cover those losses.
Even if you are not financing the vehicle, you want to seriously consider this coverage to put you back to where you were before the accident occurred.
Cargo insurance covers the load you are hauling. Depending on several factors, the FMCSA may require you to have a certain amount of cargo insurance. Even if this isn’t required by the FMCSA then you may be required to have it by the contract you are in with the motor carrier. There are various coverage and deductible options for cargo insurance. You will need to explore these options versus the requirements you may have along with what suits your needs.
TRUCKER’S GENERAL LIABILITY
Trucker’s general liability or motor truck general liability covers losses to property damage or bodily injury due to your negligence, not related to operating your truck. This is the least common coverage type of those discussed but you may have a contract requirement that would cause you to purchase this insurance.
The expense of this policy is generally much cheaper than the other coverage types so you should consider purchasing this policy even if it is not required, to protect yourself from any coverage gaps.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NON-TRUCKING LIABILITY AND BOBTAIL LIABILITY
Non-trucking liability typically comes into play when you are using your truck for any personal use whatsoever. If you are involved in a large accident then it will be up to the insurance carriers, and in some cases, the courts to determine who is responsible for paying for the damages. The motor carrier you are hauling for would be responsible for the liability while you are driving under their authority. It is also in the opinion of the court in many instances that they would also be responsible for liability losses during your drive home.
Bobtail liability will cover you when you not hauling a load or trailer. If you drop off a load for one carrier and you are on your way to pick up a load for another carrier, this is when your bobtail liability would come into play.
The FMCSA will not require you to have non-trucking liability or bobtail liability since you are not under motor trucking authority. Many contracts will also not require this coverage from you since they are only responsible when you are hauling for them. This leaves the choice up to you. Since you own your truck, when there is a loss you will be responsible. When a loss occurs while driving a large truck, the loss amount can be significant and could cripple you and your business financially. Don’t wait until after the loss to consider this very important coverage.
Trucking can be a very lucrative career and the need for this industry doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. The start-up of a trucking company can be a daunting task. The insurance part of that start-up is probably one of the most common areas of confusion to new businesses and trucking veterans alike. We realize this and have therefore put a trained staff in place to help you with any questions. Please contact us at 704-494-9495 for any help with these topics.
Bars and night clubs have various insurance coverage needs that are exclusive from those of many other kinds of businesses. We will talk about many of those different coverage options that will protect your business from various types of insurance claims.
Many companies shy away from offering coverage for certain types of risks like night clubs, restaurants, wine bars, topless clubs, cigar bars, lounges, hookahs, sports bars, dance halls, comedy clubs, and pool bars just to name a few. You will want to make sure that you do your research and find a company that will not only give you a reasonable premium, but will also offer the coverages you need.
You never know when you will have a claim and you don’t want to be at risk for having certain exclusions on your policy when it is too late. You should at least understand the many different coverages that are available. Once you educate yourself on what these coverages are, you can determine what chance you think that you will incur any of these claims.
Some of the more popular coverage options for bars and nightclubs are:
General Liability Insurance:
Insurance for bodily injury or property damage on your premises.
Liquor Liability Insurance:
Provides liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage by intoxicated patrons of your establishment. General liability insurance will not cover you for losses pertaining to intoxicated guests.
Bouncer Liability Insurance:
Covers physical harm by employed bouncers to your patrons. Also covers injury to your employed bouncers.
Assault and Battery Liability Insurance:
Provides liability if fights occur while on the premises and patrons are injured. This coverage must be in place if you want coverage for these types of losses as a general liability policy will exclude these losses as well.
Workers Compensation Insurance:
Covers injuries to your employees while on the job. Working in a fast paced environment with food and beverages can greatly increase the likelihood of an injury to your employees.
Insurance coverage on things like the misuse of data or illegally obtained client data. Don’t expose yourself to a claim scenario like your clients credit data being illegally obtained and used.
These are just some of the coverage options that you could choose from. Understand that, as is the case in many commercial policies, there are many endorsements that can be added to your policy that can cover losses like employee dishonesty, damage to outdoor signs or windows, employee discrimination complaints, and many, many others.
Rates can vary greatly depending on several factors.
Some of these factors include:
Hours of operation
Types of entertainment
Capacity of patrons
Location of your establishment
Types of coverage chosen
Years experience or years in business
Every establishment is different and you want to make sure that you discuss your needs with an agent that specializes in these forms of coverages and policy types to make sure that you minimize your losses. Whether you have a quiet lounge or a tavern with a mechanical bull, bad things can happen that can put you out of business unless you are properly insured.
Call and talk with an agent today to see what coverages would be recommended for your establishment. Our agents can be reached at 704-494-9495.
Commercial auto insurance has several coverage options that you should familiarize yourself with and determine if they are right for your business. We will discuss several of these below.
Gives Liability coverage for a non-owned or unlisted vehicle that is leased, rented, hired, or borrowed by the insured for incidental operation of the business.
Owned Auto Coverage
Provides Liability coverage for vehicles owned by the named insured and any owned vehicles acquired during the policy period.
Non Owned Auto
Extends Liability coverage to any non-owned vehicle that is used by an employee in the operations of the business.
Any Auto Coverage
Extends Liability coverage to any vehicles acquired or bought during the policy term until the end of the policy term.
Covers bodily injury or property damage coverage due to the discharge of pollutants that are being transported or towed.
Trucker’s General Liability
This coverage gives bodily injury or property damage coverage sustained in the course of business while using products or services on premises.
Drive Other Car Coverage
Excess coverage for an executive of a corporation or partnership when driving a non-owned vehicle.
Step Down Liability Coverage
This coverage reduces the liability limits to state minimum requirements for drivers not listed on the policy.
Non-Trucking Liability or Bobtail Liability
This is liability coverage for policyholders who are under lease to a motor carrier which provides the primary liability coverage.
Provides coverage for the vehicle or vehicles being towed or hauled.
Provides Physical Damage coverage for a customer’s vehicle left in the care, custody, and control of the insured while at a covered location or in transit between covered locations.
Provides Liability coverage for the covered property in the care and control of the insured and being transported by the insured’s covered vehicle.
Trailer Interchange covers physical damage to any non-owned trailer while in the care, custody, or control of the insured.
These are just some of the various coverage options for commercial auto insurance. Some of these may or not be available for your business type and some may or may not be required. It is important that you speak with your agent on what would be suitable for you. You can also call us at 704-494-9495 with any questions.
The wait is over. Uber insurance is available in NC! Uber and Lyft drivers in Charlotte and other surrounding cities in NC have waited patiently for a solution to the coverage gap for ridesharing insurance, also referred to as transportation network insurance.
As of 12/19/2016, we can now offer a personal insurance policy with an endorsement that can be added to it that will cover drivers who sometimes use their own personal vehicles to drive for Uber or Lyft. Insurance carriers on all personal lines auto insurance policies exclude coverage while driving for a transportation network. If you were driving for one of these companies up to this point, you were likely driving around without insurance for part of your trip.
Uber has taken the stance where they would cover a claim only while you had a passenger that you were transporting or when the Uber app matched you with your passenger you were to pick up. Your personal lines insurance policy would cover you only while you were using the vehicle for personal use. This left a gap in coverage while you were sitting with the app on waiting for a fare.
*The app is turned on and you are waiting to be matched with a passenger.
*Match is made and you are on the way to pick up the passenger.
*Passenger is in your vehicle.
No coverage Gaps on endorsed policies. Uber still covers you during the times stated above. Your endorsed policy will cover you while the app is on and you are waiting to be matched with the passenger.
Transportation networks are brand new, and we will without a doubt see changes in the future as the industry grows and changes. This sort of hybrid policy is a step in the right direction. Up to this point, drivers only had 2 choices.
- Purchase a true livery or taxi cab policy that was rated much higher than a personal auto policy due to a much higher exposure. You would also need to find a company that would allow you to add an endorsement to your policy that would allow you to use the policy for personal use as well.
- Take a chance and drive uninsured.
With a more affordable policy available in NC, there is no excuse for transportation network drivers driving for Uber, Lyft, or various other companies to drive without the proper coverage.
Anyone who has ridden in a vehicle for one of these ridesourcing companies cannot deny the ease of use of the app and, in most cases, the low fare cost. With so many users opting for Uber and Lyft over taxi cabs these days, we know that this form of transportation is here to stay.
If you have any questions or would like a quote on Uber insurance or Lyft insurance, please give us a call at 704-494-9495. There is no reason to have a gap in insurance coverage any longer. YOU MUST PURCHASE A POLICY WITH THIS ENDORSEMENT ADDED TO BE COVERED.
We will continue to update you on this exciting change with future articles regarding this subject.
If you are a contractor that does not have any employees and you have a contract that requires you to have a workers compensation policy, then you have likely heard of a ghost policy. What does this term mean though? A ghost policy is an industry term that typically refers to a workers compensation policy that is issued in the residual market through the North Carolina Rate Bureau. The term ghost policy is used as a reference to a workers compensation policy that has no employees. With an increasing number of contractors requiring their independent subcontractors to have a worker compensation policy, there needed to be a policy that these subs could get even if they didn’t have employees themselves. These policies were created to give these independent subs a way to get the needed certificate of insurance.
Why do contractors need you to have a workers compensation policy if you have no employees?
The reason you are being asked to have this policy is because it transfers the liability to you if you are hurt while you are on a job. If you have your own workers compensation policy in place, then it would be your policy to pay out if you are hurt. The main reason you are being asked to have this policy though is because it keeps the general contractor’s workers comp rate down. If they pay you as a 1099 independent sub contractor then your pay from them will not figured into their audited workers comp premium.
What is vital to know with ghost policies?
Do your audit. When asked for information from your workers compensation company it is very important that you respond in a timely manner. The insurance company can increase your rate, withhold a refund, or mark you as non-compliant which hinders your ability to get a policy in the future.
Make sure to 1099 any subcontractors under you AND make sure you get a certificate of insurance for them in order to keep your overall workers compensation rate down. If you have W-2 employees then their pay will count towards your workers comp premium. If you don’t get a certificate of insurance for your independent 1099 subs then their pay will also count towards your workers compensation premiums.
The workers compensation policy will not cover you and your injuries as the owner if you don’t elect coverage for yourself. In an effort to keep the rate down, most owners exclude coverage for themselves. You must remember this if you are ever hurt though as there will be no coverage at all for your injuries if you reject coverage for yourself.
The NC Rate Bureau will assign your policy to a specific company. If you have had a policy in the past then it will likely be the same carrier since they have your policy history.
Workers comp policies are always estimated premiums. We never know what our true payroll will be unless we have 0 employees. It is for this reason that your policy premium is estimated. The true cost of the premium will be settled after the audit.
Why are workers compensation policies so expensive?
These premiums can be expensive depending on what your class code is. Typically exposures such as office work are very inexpensive because the risk value is so low. This is not true for classifications such as carpentry and roofing risks. The reason for the hefty premiums is due to the risk level and the fact that it will not only payout for their medical bills if they are injured, but also to their loss of time at work. When there is a claim, these total payouts can be very significant.
What kind of items are needed for an audit?
Below are a list of some of the more common items that are requested when you are completing a workers compensation audit. It is important that you keep accurate records leading up to the audit.
941 payroll reports
Schedule C of your income tax return for the business
Ledgers and journals for the business
Business check books
List of independent 1099 subcontractors
North Carolina Rate Bureau residual policies, known as ghost polices, can be a very important part of your business requirements in getting work from other contractors. It is important that you take them seriously and that you arm yourself with all of the information needed to ensure that you don’t see extremely high rates. You also want to protect yourself as an employer from very expensive lawsuits. You should have a lengthy discussion with your agent to see if this policy type is something that will be beneficial to you.
Independent insurance agencies represent multiple companies and sell multiple products. By being able to present various options for their clients, they are usually able to save their clients money on policies such as auto, home, business, motorcycle, and boat insurance.
What is a captive agency?
A captive insurance agency is typically an agency that sells almost exclusively through one company. Think State Farm, Nationwide, Geico, or Allstate. These companies can have very competitive rates provided you meet their criteria for their target market.
What are some reasons to go through an independent insurance agency?
More Insurance Companies to Shop
By representing numerous companies, they can typically quote them all and give you better pricing. Most independent insurance agents have some form of comparative rating software that allows them to shop various insurance carriers at the same time without having to quote each one individually. This saves time and money during the shopping process. The law of numbers proves that if you get quotes through 12 different insurance companies then you will likely find a better rate with one of the 12 rather than just calling 1 company.
What are some of the companies that independent agencies sell through?
People ask a lot what companies we write through since we market our individual agency name.
Some of the more common ones that we write through are shown below. These companies are commonly used in other independent agencies as well
- National General (GMAC)
- The Hartford
- Liberty Mutual
- Universal Insurance
- Met Life
Less Stringent Underwriting Guidelines
Whereas captive insurance companies can be very particular about their target market, going through an independent insurance agent gives you various companies and policy options. Some examples of situations where your rates might be negatively impacted by certain captive agencies are shown below.
- Poor credit
- Tickets or accidents
- A suspended drivers license in the last 5 years
- A recent home claim
- Inexperienced operator
- No prior insurance
- Insurance on older home
- Business insurance on certain business types
You Need an Expert
Insurance is complicated and you need an expert to help explain coverages and give advice. Just like you would hire a medical doctor for health problems or an attorney for legal concerns, you should put your trust in an insurance professional to help explain terms you may not understand or be familiar with.
One Stop Shop
Your typical independent insurance agency can offer you most or all of your insurance needs under one roof. This way when you have questions on your various policies you won’t have to call around to multiple agencies to get answers. Your independent agent can shop your rates for all of your insurance policies giving you several options.
An independent insurance agency is a valuable source for all of your insurance needs. Too often people feel safe by going with one of the 4-6 insurance companies that you see advertisements for almost daily. Those ads are expensive and that typically means you could be paying for them to find their future clients. I currently have all of my personal and business policies through 7 different insurance companies and this saves me the more money on my premiums versus bundling it with one company that may charge me a lot more on certain policies. If you are worried about your bottom line than you should consider getting a quote through a local independent agent.
We work directly with a lot of captive insurance agencies and when we feel like our clients are better served by placing their policy or policies with one of those companies, than we refer them. Many captive companies return the favor and refer clients to us when they may not be able to offer them the most competitive rates.
It is up to you to make that choice because you cannot rely on others to provide you what is best for you. I recommend at least putting an independent insurance agency on your list the next time you are shopping for insurance.
There are many types of discounts that can be offered on various insurance policies. We will discuss some of them and the things you may be able to do to qualify in further lowering your overall rates. Most agents will ask you questions to see if these discounts apply.
Not all insurance companies will offer the same discounts. NC does regulate discounts that can be applied in some situations due to insurance rate regulations. Over the years the number of discounts allowed has significantly increased. You should take advantage of each and every one that applies as it will not only effect your overall premium in the current term you are in, but in future terms as well.
Homeowners discount- This is a discount given on your policy for simply being a homeowner.
Incident-free discount- This one provides a discount for not having any driving incidents at all, including non-chargeable violations and not-at-fault accidents. It is true these days that a lot of companies charge a higher rate even if you were hit from behind due to this discount being removed.
Proof of prior insurance- If you have had prior insurance for at least 6 months you will likely pay less with most companies. There are higher discounts for being with your prior carrier for 3 or 5 years.
Multiple policies discount- This discount can be applied to all of your insurance policies for carrying your different policies with the same insurance company or insurance agency.
Automatic payment deduction discount- Most carriers these days will give you a relatively large discount if your policy is deducted automatically from your checking account.
Paid in full discount- This discount is even higher in most cases and applies to your overall premium if you pay the policy in full. In addition, you will avoid payment service charges each month on your insurance.
Security system discount- This applies to your home insurance policy and will provide a credit to your premium if you can provide an alarm certificate from your security company showing the home alarm is monitored by a central station alarm.
Claim free discount- Applies when you have not had any claims for a specified period of time, usually 3 or 5 years.
Paperless discount- Most companies that are set-up to deliver bills and other documents through e-mail instead of through the US Post Office will provide a discount for choosing this method of delivery.
Good student discount- This discount is provided by insurance companies through various criteria giving a reduction in your premium for drivers that are good students.
Air bag and various safety equipment discounts- Auto policies will provide discounts for certain safety features on your automobile. These are usually automatically generated once your VIN is provided.
Claim free renewal discount- Certain companies will give a discount for each renewal that you are claim-free and in some cases they may offer a diminshing deductible.
Rider association discount- Motorcycle policies will often give a credit if you belong to a rider association.
Safety course discount- Certain safety courses that you have completed will lower your rates such as a motorcycle safety course.
Pleasure use discount- If you use your vehicle for pleasure use then you will likely get a reduced rate.
New home discount- The age of your home can play a factor in your overall rate. Newer homes receive better rates in most cases.
Good credit discount- NC does allow reduced rates depending on your overall credit score. The credit score that is run is a soft hit on your credit and will usually not effect your credit score in any way. If you have excellent credit then you will see a large decrease in your overall rate and this is typically one of the largest discounts of the ones we have discussed.
These are just some of the more common discounts that can be applied on all types of insurance policies. If you stack these discounts then it can make a significant difference in your overall rate. It is good practice to ask what discounts can be applied on each of your insurance policies when you are getting an insurance quote.
If you are looking for a commercial auto quote, one of the first items that will need to be determined is the limit of liability that you will need to have.
In certain businesses in NC, you are required to have commercial auto coverage and on those policies, there are certain minimum limits of liability that are required. To register a personal auto, you are required to have certain limits of liability on your insurance policy. These limits are $30,000 bodily injury each person, $60,000 bodily injury each accident, and $25,000 property damage each accident. This is commonly referred to as 30/60/25.
These minimum limits are quite low and it doesn’t take a large accident to go over these minimum limit requirements. I strongly urge insureds to choose higher limits than the minimum required. Every carrier offers higher limits and the change in premium is relatively low compared to the coverages offered. Just remember, where your limits of liability stop, you are responsible for the remainder. You can, and in most cases, will be sued by the other party if your limits are not sufficient to the actual damage done.
The NC Reinsurance Facility (NCRF) has other minimum requirements for certain businesses. NCRF
Taxi Cabs: Cabs carry the same minimum 30/60/25 requirements as do personal autos.
Uber: Uber drivers are currently under the same restrictions as the cab companies with 30/60/25 requirements. Uber, as a corporation, provides a $1,000,000 limit of liability for their drivers while passengers are being transported.
Other Livery: Livery means simply, the transportation of passengers. The NCRF requirement for livery businesses with vehicles that can transport 15 or more passengers have a combined single limit (CSL) of $750,000.
Charter and Sightseeng Buses: The NCRF limit for buses is $1,500,000 due to the weight of the vehicle.
Limousines and Airport Shuttles: Passenger capacities up to 15 persons will require a $1,500,000 limit of liability for limousines and airport shuttles. This limit is increased to $5,000,000 if the passenger capacity is over 15.
Weighted Vehicles: Vehicles over certain weights that are not used to transport passengers have the following minimum required coverages: The gross vehicle weight of the vehicle and trailer combined has a minimum requirement of $750,000 if said weight is over 26,000 pounds.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has their own requirements for certain vehicles. Federal guidelines take over on certain risks. If vehicles cross state lines, then they are held to certain minimum standards. FMCSA
Tractor Trailers: Unless transporting hazardous material, the minimum requirements for tractor trailers crossing state lines is $750,000.
Depending on your business and the vehicle you are driving, you will be required to have certain limits of liability either by NCRF guidelines or FMCSA guidelines. Your agent should know what limit are required if you are able to give the details of the vehicle, business type, gross vehicle weight, and radius you are driving. Keep in mind that higher limits are often available and you may want higher limits than the minimum requirements to protect you.
If you are purchasing a motorcycle then you will likely be looking into purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy as well.
Spring is here which means you may have the fever to go out and explore the open road. We will discuss some important factors in motorcycle insurance before you buy one. There are several things that you should be aware of when you take out one of these policies. These policies are very similar to your auto insurance policy and cover many of the same things but there are some differences.
Motorcycle policies are written on annual basis in NC whereas auto policies can be written 6 months at a time, a full year, or both depending on the company. The reason for this is because the state of NC requires you to have liability insurance on a bike just as you are required to have one on an auto.
Many people might forget to renew their motorcycle policy if it is off-season and you aren’t riding at the time. You still must keep liability insurance on the bike unless you turn in your tags. If you are financing the bike then the bank will require you to keep comprehensive and collision coverage on the bike as well until you pay off the loan regardless of the season. In NC and SC, our seasons are longer anyways and the weather can be warm enough in any month to warrant a ride
The liability limits you choose are required to be at a minimum 30/60/25 limits as required by NC law.
These split limits stand for $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury total for each accident and $25,000 property damage for each accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage or Under-insured Motorist Coverage
We typically recommend higher liability limits on motorcycle policies not because you are likely to do more damage while on your bike versus a car, but due to the un/underinsured motorist coverage also being higher. We are more focused here on bodily injury claims than property damage. Unfortunately when you have an accident on your bike and have bodily injury, the expenses are oftentimes very high.
If you carry higher limits of liability then you can also carry the higher matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage. For instance if your limits are $100,000 bodily injury per person and you carry matching uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage up to these limits then you are protecting yourself much more. If you are hit by an uninsured motorist then you will be covered up to your $100,000 limit for your injuries. If that same driver hits you and he has only the minimum $30,000 bodily injury limit required by state laws, then you will still be better covered. Where that $30,000 limit stops, your under-insured motorist coverage kicks in and pays up to your $100,000 under-insured bodily injury limit.
Comprehensive and Collision
This is the same coverage as your auto and covers damage to your bike for accidents, weather, theft, etc. Even if you have your bike paid off you should seriously consider comprehensive coverage in addition to your liability coverage at the very least. Sport bikes especially have a very high theft rate and would be covered under these comprehensive claims.
It is probably important to carry higher limits for medical payments on your cycle policy which will cover you and any passengers on your bike if you are hurt. This is true for obvious reasons.
Many companies allow for coverage for additional after-market equipment and safety equipment. A lot of them give you automatic coverage up to $3,000 under their standard premium. Higher limits are typically allowed to be purchased for an increased premium amount. It is important to keep accurate records and receipts of this additional equipment so you can present it to the company in the settlement of your claim.
Cost of Motorcyle Insurance
We write through many different insurance companies that specialize in motorcycle insurance. The cost of insurance can vary greatly from company to company. It is important that you shop out this insurance to make sure you are getting the best deal. We do this for our customers and we are able to save them a great deal by shopping it out.
Typically insurance on cruisers are cheaper than those of sport bikes due to the loss likelihood so sport bike riders should be even more pro-active when comparison rate shopping.
There are many discounts that can be applied to help lower your rate. A few examples are shown below. Be sure to ask about these when shopping.
*Motorcycle Safety Training
*Prior motorcycle coverage
*Motorcycle endorsement on your drivers license
*Points not being charged if charged already on your existing auto insurance policy
Please contact us at 704-494-9495 if we can answer any questions as to proper coverage on motorcycle insurance. Due to the risk level, this is a very important topic and we don’t want anyone to wait until it is too late before educating themselves.
One of the biggest myths in shopping for insurance is the insurance bundle discount.
A lot of insurance companies use this to entice customers to put all of their insurance policies with them. It is true that a discount is being offered on each policy but the overall rate of each policy might be higher than if you put each policy with a separate company.
There are very few companies that will be competitive across the board on insurance policies for auto, home, life, health, boat, motorcycle and business insurance.
There is exactly zero companies that will offer the best rate for every customer on all of these insurance policies. It is pretty typical for an insurance company to be competitive on either auto or home insurance policies. Whichever policy they carry a higher premium on would be made up by the competitive rate on the other policy.
Customers should look at all of their policies separately to make sure that they are, in fact, getting the best overall rate on all policy types. This is the value of an independent insurance agency. An independent insurance agent can shop out all of your policies with various companies to determine the best company for you. You would still have one agent for all of your policies and only one person to call to ask any questions you may have, but you would allow them to make sure you are getting the best overall rates.
A lot of times your independent agent can offer you discounts on each policy for carrying multiple policies with the agency which is equivalent to a bundle discount but you would not be forced to have all of your policies with the exact same insurance company.
As I write this I currently have my auto insurance with National General(GMAC), my home insurance with Bankers Insurance Group, my business general liability and workers compensation policies with The Hartford, my life insurance with AIG, and my health insurance with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The overall rate along with claims satisfaction and ease of doing business should be the most important factors in deciding where to put your insurance policies.
It is also worth mentioning that you should talk with your agent regularly to make sure that your policies are still with the best companies for you. Insurance companies change rates quite often and what may have been the best for you a couple of years ago may not be the best option for you now.
Don’t get roped into words and phrases that advertisers use to make you feel safe and that you are getting the best value. Shop for yourself and see if they are truly the best options for you. Call your independent agent today and have them work for you.