There are many ways to purchase an insurance policy these days, whether it be online, over the phone, or in person. Ultimately, you will obtain insurance directly from an insurance company or through a licensed insurance agent.
Let's look at the benefits of using an independent agent vs. a captive agent.
In this day and age, it's all about CHOICES and OPTIONS. This is where the value of an independent agent comes to light. Put simply, independent agents have the ability to offer more choices than a captive agent.
Independent agents represent dozens of insurance companies. This means they can look at your personal situation and shop your needs with multiple insurers to make the best recommendation for you.
In contrast, a captive agent by nature only sells insurance for a single (1) company. An example of a captive agent would be State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, etc. They only have one insurer/company to offer, so therefore they only have one quote to offer you as well.
If you are insured with a captive agent, you would be led to believe that your premium is the best rate available, because within their company - it is. They have no other options or choices for you. Now, I have seen a captive agent reduce coverage amounts as a means to lower the premium - making the client think that they had "shopped" their insurance. I am not saying this is a typical practice but just something to potentially be aware of. FYI... You should never reduce your insurance coverage solely as a means to lower your premium unless you are out of other options.
Independent agents also have a "leg up" on the renewal process as well. When a policy renews with an Independent agency, they have the ability to re-shop your rate with any of the insurers they represent and move your policy if necessary. An independent agent can ensure you're getting the best rates available year after year.
On another note, occasionally consumers can be unsure of going with an independent agent simply because they don't recognize some of the insurance companies that the agent represents. Don't let anyone convince you that if you don't go with one of the well-known "brands" of insurance that you're taking a risk... This is simply not true! Every insurer/company is governed by an associated State Department of Insurance to ensure their best business practice. Additionally, you can research the insurer's financial strength (rating) to gain more knowledge and understanding. A multi-million dollar national advertising campaign should not be a guide for your insurance decisions (after all, who do you think is paying for that advertisement... hmmm).
What are you waiting for... Get to know your local independent agent today!
It's one of the most important things associated with owning a boat, but insurance policies can be confusing. Here's what you need to know before you sign on the dotted line.
1. What should a boat insurance policy include?
Coverage for the boat, engine, boating equipment, dinghies, and trailer. Medical payments coverage for onboard injuries and liability coverage for any property damage or bodily injury you are legally responsible for.
2. What does "Actual Cash Value" or "Agreed Value" mean?
Policies are written as either "Actual Cash Value" or "Agreed Value."
Actual cash value:
For total losses, your payout is based on the current market value of your boat. For partial losses, you receive the value of the loss less depreciation and the deductible.
Benefit: You pay less up front.
Downside: You pay more to get back on the water after a loss.
For a total loss, you are paid an agreed policy value, which means you know how much you'll get in the event you lose your boat. Partial losses are subject to the deductible and some items will also be adjusted for depreciation. All losses on boating equipment are replaced "new for old" after the deductible. For example, if your 5-year-old GPS is stolen, it will be replaced with a brand new one (of like kind and quality).
Benefit: You pay less out of pocket in the event of a partial loss and you know exactly how much you would receive in the event of a total loss.
3. Is the trailer covered?
If your boat has a trailer, don't assume it will automatically be covered under your boat policy. Physical damage to the trailer is covered under the policy; however, third-party property damage or bodily injury that happens while trailering is not. This is usually covered under your auto policy — check with your auto carrier.
4. What happens if the owner isn't driving and there's an accident?
If the boat is being operated by a family member or other person using the boat with your permission, and without compensation, they are covered under the conditions of the policy. If you "rent" or "lease" your boat to others, then coverage does not apply. Also, liability coverage is not provided for a paid captain or crew.
5. Additional options are available:
Personal effects coverage:
For non-boating equipment such as personal computers or clothing, and for boat-related items not considered boating equipment such as fishing or watersports equipment.
For boats less than 10 years old, you can eliminate any depreciation that otherwise would have been applied to a claim.
Ice and freeze damage:
Where freezing is a common occurrence, this endorsement protects boats against damages that may occur if the boat is not properly winterized.
Guide coverage for boats under 27 feet:
For those operating a fishing guide service, make sure you are protecting your business and clients with the proper coverage.
The following is a brief guide on protecting yourself and your family in the event of a tornado.
Remember that a watch means that weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes and a warning means one has been spotted in your area.
Learn the warning signals used in your community. If a siren sounds, that means stay inside and take cover.
Consider setting up a neighborhood information program through a club, church group or community group. Hold briefings on safety procedures as tornado season approaches. Set up a system to make sure senior citizens and shut-ins are alerted if there is a tornado warning.
Do NOT try to outrun a tornado. Instead, stay calm and seek shelter.
At home or work, seek shelter in the central part of the building, away from windows. Basements are the best havens. If this is not an option, take cover in the bathroom, closet, interior hallway or under a heavy piece of furniture.
If you are in your car, abandon your vehicle and seek shelter in the nearest ditch if no other facility is available.
People living in mobile homes should vacate the premises and seek shelter elsewhere.
Protecting Your Property
If a tornado watch has been issued, move cars inside a garage or carport to avoid damage from hail that often accompanies tornadoes. Keep your car keys and house keys with you.
If time permits, move lawn furniture and yard equipment such as lawnmowers inside. Otherwise they could become damaged or act as dangerous projectiles causing serious injury or damage.
Make an inventory of your possessions and store it off the premises. If your belongings are damaged, this list will help facilitate the claim filing process.
From our offices in Weatherford, Texas, we serve clients anywhere in the State of Texas, though the following areas are geographically closest to us: the counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Johnson, Parker and Hood and the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Brock, Burleson, Cleburne, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Decatur, Euless, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, Millsap, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, and White Settlement.