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Questions to carriers and small claims can cost you big

Questions and small claims can cost you.
Questions and small claims can cost you.

What most people don’t know is that with many insurance carriers, actually talking to them about small claims or even potential claims can cost you. Why?

It’s all about the risk.
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to manage risk. They actively look at profiles of their customers to help determine who is more likely to be a higher risk to them for claims. If they consider you a higher risk, that may mean higher premiums, getting dropped or even being unable to get coverage from certain carriers. So what does that have to do with asking questions of my carrier?

Questions can be harmful.
Here’s a scenario: you have windstorm and it causes a little issue at your home. You call your carrier directly and discuss if that type of thing is covered. With some carriers, this may be recorded and treated the same as actually filing a claim. “Ask questions carefully, and try not to call the company. If you need to call your insurance company, don’t talk about any damage to your property unless you are going to file a claim. In some states, calling your insurance company to ask about making a claim may be treated the same as a property loss. Know what your homeowners insurance policy covers and the deductible. Remember, do not call your insurance company unless you plan to file a claim and know your losses will be covered.”

Small Claims- Are they worth it?
You have insurance- so why not use it? Well, there may be more more to that story. First, if you file a lot of smaller claims, the insurer could consider you “higher risk” and may charge you higher premiums on renewal. In some cases, the increased premium amounts over time can be of greater cost to you than simply paying the claim directly. Second, some carriers could actually drop you for too many claims, if they determine the risk to be too high that you are likely to continue to file more claims. Additionally, some carriers may not be willing to insure you at all if they determine you’ve had too many claims, even if they are small.

What do you do?
Know your insurance policy. Know your insurance coverages and deductibles.
Work with an agent who can help educate and support you. They can advise you on the best ways to manage risks.
Consider using the highest deductibles that you can afford. This will reduce your premiums. Set aside this savings to pay for small incidents if they occur.
Speak to your insurance agent to learn more. Or reach out to us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have at www.keslarinsurance.com.

Some Sources:
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB106380332733463200
http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentid=2136
http://www.uphelp.org/pubs/claim-or-not-claim%E2%80%A6that-question-david-shaffer

Why violating the hands-free driving law is more expensive than you think

Your auto insurance is likely to be impacted by violating the hands-free law
Your auto insurance is likely to be impacted by violating the hands-free law

Today is the first day that NH’s new hands-free driving law takes effect. As most of you have heard, there are stiff penalties for violations. Penalties for violations during a two year span: 

  • 1st Offense $100 fine
  • 2nd offense $250 fine
  • 3rd Offense within 2 years $500 fine
  • Penalty assessments will be added to the fines

AND violating the law will likely increase your auto insurance. Violating the hands free law will also result in an increase in what is paid in premiums for car insurance as many insurance companies will consider it a moving violation, similar to a speeding ticket.  The duration of impact for an increased premium may vary by car insurance company as some auto carriers review a three year driving history, while others use five years.

What does the law cover? Given how expensive a violation really can be, here’s what you need to know. 

  • No use of hand held electronic devices capable of providing voice or data communication while driving or temporarily halted in traffic for a stop sign or traffic signal or other momentary delays This includes cell phones, GPS, tablets, iPods, iPads or other devices that require data entry
  • Emergency calls to 911 or other public safety agencies will be allowed Bluetooth or other hands-free electronic devices will be allowed
  • One hand non-cellular 2-way radio use will be allowed
  • Teen drivers under the age of 18 will not be allowed to use any electronic devices except to report an emergency
  • If your vehicle is not equipped with Bluetooth functionality, auto service centers can install after-market systems or over the ear devices can be purchased at retailers such as Staples, Best Buy or your cell phone carrier.

Why is this law important?

  • During the past 4 years, 116 fatal crashes in New Hampshire were caused by distraction
  • The increasing use of electronic devices is fast becoming the primary distraction
  • While texting a driver is 23 times more likely to crash
  • Sending or receiving a text, distracts the driver for almost 5 seconds
  • At 50 miles per hour, we travel longer than the length of a football field during that 5 seconds

Ask your agent for more information on how this law can impact your auto insurance. We are happy to help you as well at www.keslarinsurance.com. 

Why your jewelry may not be as protected as you think

Jewelry coverage on standard homeowners policies may not be what you think.
Jewelry coverage on standard homeowners policies may not be what you think.

If you have a typical homeowners insurance policy, you may not have the proper coverage for your jewelry.  Most standard home policies offer between $1,500 and $5,000 for a loss limit Even more important to know is that this is not a per piece limit, but a per loss limit.

So, here’s the example, If someone were to break into your home and steal every piece of jewelry you own, you’d get between $1,500 and $5,000. Would this be enough for everything you own? Here’s another thing to know: If your diamond falls out of your engagement ring or you lose one precious earring- your regular homeowners policy isn’t likely to cover it.

So, what do you do? There’s good news. Scheduling jewelry on the home policy provides broader coverage. Not only would your limits change for those scheduled items, but a scheduled piece of jewelry likely would be covered in both of these instances. You should be having these discussions with your agent. If not, we are happy to have them with you to make sure you are protected at www.keslarinsurance.com.

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