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Should I File an Insurance Claim?

Should I File an Insurance Claim?

Life happens, that’s why you purchase insurance.  When a loss occurs, is it always best to file a claim with your insurance company?  The answer is, it depends.  Follow these tips from American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin to help you decide when you should file a claim and the times you should not.

When it comes to your vehicle, there are many circumstances when you could file a claim.  These include an accident, your vehicle is stolen, or an animal hit.  How do you determine if you should instantly file a claim when a situation like this occurs?  If you are involved in a bad car accident or there are injuries to either party as a result of an accident, always file a claim right away.  Also, if your vehicle has been towed and is no longer drive-able, file a claim right away in that situation too.  If you are involved in a minor accident, there are no injuries and you are still able to drive your vehicle, we recommend getting an estimate prior to filing a claim. Generally, if the estimated damage is $2,000 or less, we would recommend paying out of pocket.  The average at-fault auto accident will increase an auto policy approximately 20% over the course of three years.  This means, if your auto insurance premium is $1000, you will pay an estimated $600 extra over three years.  This is on top of your deductible, which typically ranges from $500-$1000.  Also, it is important to get an estimate prior to filing to ensure that your deductible does not exceed the cost of the damage.  The best thing you can do in the event of a claim is call your agent.  At that point, they will be able to advise you on what the best course of action is.  When an auto accident occurs, it is also important to take photos.  Take photos of the accident site, the vehicles involved, the damage, the license plate of the other vehicle(s), and most importantly the other party’s driver’s license and insurance ID card.  Once you are in a safe place, call your agent.

For home insurance, we typically recommend carrying a higher deductible.  This is because home insurance is intended for catastrophic losses. If there is a fire or if someone is injured, file the claim right away.  If your home has suffered water or hail damage, we recommend getting an estimate to asses the damage first.  Since most home deductibles are $1,000, you want to make sure the damage exceeds your deductible before filing the claim.  To file a claim, we generally say the  threshold of $2,000 in estimated damage.  Home claims will typically surcharge your insurance approximately 10%.  Again, it is very important to take photos and try to stop or minimize the damage to the best of your ability so the situation does not worsen.  Remember, always call you agent for them to walk you through and advise on how to proceed!

In the end, you purchased your insurance and you have the freedom to file a claim for any amount.  Most important thing to do in the event of a claim or a possible claim is call your agent; you will to get unbiased advice on what to do next.

Why Do I Need an Umbrella Policy?

Why Do I Need an Umbrella Policy?

If you have insurance, you have mostly heard your agent talk about an umbrella policy.  While it may not seem like a “big deal”, an umbrella policy is critical to have.  A personal umbrella policy is a liability insurance policy with high limits of protection starting at $1,000,000.  They are designed to add a layer of protection added above the liability on your auto, home or boat insurance policy.  If you own a business, you can also purchase an umbrella policy to extend over your current liability limits.   An umbrella is meant to protect you should you be deemed legally responsible for injury to persons or property.  This does not just include personal injury, but also includes non-physical injury such as libel or slander.

In today’s society, law suits and court awards can be extremely high.  These judgements include punitive damages and special compensatory judgments for loss of consortium, pain and suffering and other intangible losses. Liability insurance will pay expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitative therapy, and lost wages to other parties due to the negligence of the policy holder. In the case of a large law suit, an umbrella provides the increased liability coverage if the limits on your existing policy are exhausted. It is meant to protect you, your assets and current and future income from such awards.

For the coverage you gain from having an umbrella policy, they are fairly inexpensive.  Most insurance companies umbrella policies range from $125 – $300 a year.

Want to learn more about umbrella policies and why there are so critical to have?  Contact the insurance experts of American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin today!

Why Are My Insurance Rates Increasing?

Why Are My Insurance Rates Increasing?

Another year has passed, you have not gotten in any accidents and you have not filed any home claims. You get your insurance renewal in the mail and your rates have increased? Why is it that without any losses, your rates still seem to be going up? The insurance professionals of American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin explain what causes rates increases:

Shared Risk: The foundation of insurance is that risks are shared among a large group of people. Premiums are distributed among many as well losses. Although, you may not have had a loss, others do. This is a major factor to general rate increases.
Changes in Credit Score: Insurance prices rely heavily on credit score. If there has been a significant decrease in credit score, you will see an increase in your premiums.
Record Storms: Natural disasters and storms are hitting record levels and losses are becoming more and more severe. This leads to insurance companies paying out more in claims, and due to shared risk, premiums increase among all.
Lawsuits: It seems as if you cannot turn the TV on without seeing a personal injury attorney commercial. Lawsuits are becoming more severe and increasing drastically in payout from insurance companies.
Cost of Materials: With how sophisticated vehicles have become with sensors and other features, the cost to replace them have significantly increased. In the past to repair a bumper it cost approximately $1,000, but today it is upwards of $4,000. The rise in the cost of materials is one of the main factors for rising auto insurance rates. The same goes for home building materials.
Age: The age of your roof plays a factor in your insurance premium. If your roof hits 20 years or over, there will be a rise in premium. Also, many people do not realize but once a person reaches 70 years old, there will be an increase in price.

Right now, insurance premiums are trending to increase by 5-10% each year. To keep insurance premiums low, work with an independent insurance agent like those at American Advantage – Petersen Group in New Berlin, Wisconsin. An independent insurance agent works with multiple, reputable insurance companies to find you the best coverage at a competitive price!