Most homeowners have little to no idea what their insurance policies cover and many of those homeowners base their decision on what policy to cover their home based on price, without knowing the implication of using price as the deciding factor on what policy will be used to protect their home.

Nothing brings the education of policy language and the importance of coverage than a claim.  By that time, it is too late, and “well that wasn’t explained to me” or “I didn’t know that” won’t afford coverage.  This is why having an agent focused on clients over their insurance company is critical.

 

About one in 50 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year.              – Insurance Information Institute

 

Water damage is the second most common homeowners claim.  While many forms of water are not or have limited coverage by homeowners policies (flood, or seepage, for example). Since water backup is an optional coverage agent often do not educate their clients on its benefits because they know clients shop price over value.

68% of water back up claims cost more than $5,000.00

35% of water back up claims cost over $10,000.00

Facts + statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance, Insurance Information Institute

 

So how much is enough?  

Here are a few questions to help answer the question of how much coverage do you need?

  • Finished or unfinished basement
    • Imagine the cost to remove sewer water and replace the basement and contents.
      • Do you have a secondary garage or a massive entertainment suite?
    • Include flooring such as carpet, vinyl, hardwood.
    • Cabinets, bathrooms, and kitchen, how much would it cost to replace them.
    • Where is the HVAC and water heater?

Every client with TWG has at least $5,000.00 in the water back up coverage, no matter the home.  Should a basement come into play, we will often inspect or inquire with the above questions to get a better understand of how much coverage is enough.

Why TWG?

We believe insurance is a modern day miracle.  We also believe that no single insurance carrier is the best fit for everyone.  The choice of carriers allows us to place the right client with the right carrier.  It also allows us to step away from these carriers and put our clients first.

While we are located out of Marietta, Georgia, we are licensed throughout the state of Georgia!  Our mission is to help as many people as possible.  Sometimes that is by partnering with TWG and our carriers; sometimes it is with education.  With over a decades worth of on the ground claims adjusting, placing our selves independent of our carriers, and placing a strong emphasis on technology, education, we are changing the way people think about insurance!

One of the benefits of having an Agent who has extensive claims experience is the context and knowledge of knowing how the policy actually works.

Pipe Bursts- an all too common scenario!

Water losses of the most frequent and costly claims insurance companies have to pay for.  While you are covered from bursting pipes, no matter how good the claims department is, it is not something people tend to enjoy.

Imagine- it is November, and the weather has finally let up.  That night, you hear a large snap.  As you investigate- you hear water, and suddenly, feel water at your feet.  Panic sets in, where is the water coming from, how do I turn it off?  15 minutes go by, and after googling how to the shut-off the water, you finally get it to stop.  Silence sets in, complemented by the sound of dripping water, and moisture in the air….How do I get this water out of my home?  How much damage was the cause?  What about mold?  How will I get the kids ready for school in the morning, or cook meals?

At this time- calling the claims department will get an emergency water mitigation company to your door.  They will extract the water, and start removing wet carpet, hardwood floors, and cabinetry.  Hours later, they leave your home with these giant noisy fans and dehumidifiers.  Your part- $1000+ deductible, and a massive interruption to your already busy life.  This won’t include the restoration time and disruption.

Prevention- How about we not spend our weekend listening to fans drying out your home.

What happened?  Copper pipes can suffer blockages from the cold weather- causing the pipe to swell and burst under pressure.  This is why it is recommended that you leave the sinks dripping during the cold months, moving water is less likely to freeze.

You can also make sure that the pipes are wrapped in high-risk areas.  Kitchens that face an exterior wall are the main culprits and bathrooms that tend to be cold in the winter months.

Safeco and Flo by Moen

As a former claims adjuster, I am tickled pink when I see insurance companies try to help clients before a loss!

Safeco has partnered with Moen and its product- Flo.

 

 

Flo is a water monitoring device with an automatic shut off valve!  The device is professionally installed into your pipes and monitors activity.  They claim they can even detect small drips.

In the event of a pipe burst, the device will detect the burst and that green knob will turn- ending the crisis and alerting the user on their phone of a potential pipe burst!

For users who enjoyed products like the Nest- this is right up their ally!

On top of that, for $5.00/month they will pay your deductible up to $2500 should the device fail to prevent a claim!

Safeco is offering to pay for $125.00 of the installation cost for its clients if you purchase it through your agent!

While education is powerful, actively helping their clients BEFORE a claim is a thing of beauty.  Before the skeptic in your mind goes to- well then they have to pay fewer claims!  Let me tell you, the fewer claims they pay, the lower your premium gets.   Premiums increase due to losses and the costs associated with them.  Fewer claims, lower premiums!

Though we are located off the Marietta Square, give us a call any time!

If you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be.

Owning a rental property can be troublesome, and end up costly! So you’re probably thinking, “Well Ken, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property.

Having handled claims for ten years, and insuring these homes for the TWG clientele I’ve had a first-hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

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I was recently asked this question by one of our The Weikum Group clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At The Weikum Group, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?

None.

How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.