Some things in our life feel like they are necessary evils, insurance is probably one that comes to mind first; in most cases the law requires that we all have to have it but nobody particularly likes spending their money on it. As an insurance professional nearly the entirety of my career, I can understand the sentiment; however, if you’re going to spend money on it, we should at least talk about what is most important and how to ensure that you have what you need when it matters most.
- Buying the “cheapest” coverage. The mortal sin of every insurance buyer. What makes it the most frustrating as an agent, most of our clients know it, but they can’t help it; they would rather spend less and assume nothing bad will happen. You truly do not want to take the least expensive way out when buying insurance, however, that doesn’t mean you want to spend unnecessary amounts of money for coverage you will likely never use. The truth is, in most cases for a modest increase in price you can exponentially increase the limits of your coverage. Don’t be the person that wants the least expensive insurance possible but always buys the newest iPhone every year. Here is a rule of thumb, if your cell phone bill each month is higher than your insurance premium bill then your coverage might be inadequate. I promise you this, if (and most likely when) the day comes that you have to confront an insurance claim, you will not ask yourself “how much did my insurance cost”; I guarantee you will say to yourself “I hope my insurance covers this”. Make the right decisions when you buy your insurance and you won’t have to hope.
- Letting your agent choose. No, no, NO! It’s your insurance, you should always make the final buying decision anytime you spend your hard earned money. You definitely want advice, you definitely want to understand what you are buying; that is why you have an agent. However, once you are given the information, you need to make the decision so you understand what you are buying and why. It’s not uncommon for clients to not understand their insurance, but it’s unfortunately also uncommon where a client feels comfortable enough to ask for further explanation. If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions to your agent, then you probably have the wrong agent; which leads me to my next point…
- Buying insurance online. I completely understand the desire to be able to have an online option to handle your business on your cell phone or computer; I’m a millennial and that is definitely my own preference. I do my banking online, pay my bills on line, and I use Amazon just like the rest of you. That said, there is a distinct difference between being able to service your account (pay bills, file a claim, look at your ID card, etc.) online, and actually making the buying decision on your own without having a good conversation with somebody that you feel you can trust. If you like the option to do things online then you should choose an insurance company that offers that service remotely over an app or website or both; but make the buying decision with the help of a professional licensed insurance agent. In the course of your adult life the average person will spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars on insurance; yes, even you! Spending that much money on something with no professional that you feel can guide you in the right direction, knows you well, and can answer questions without making you feel uncomfortable to ask seems like an obviously huge mistake. You should think of your insurance agent as you do your doctor or dentist; they are someone who has a long term relationship with you, keeps checking on you regularly, and someone you are comfortable sharing information about life changes with. If you are unsure if you have the right person to work with here is a good measurement: if they talk to you using professional terms you don’t understand and abbreviations you don’t know the meaning of and they don’t seem willing to explain, then you should go find someone who doesn’t speak a language you don’t know and is willing to spend the time to answer all of your questions. That’s how you build trust.
In the end, everyone of you reading this has insurance, and will continue to buy insurance the rest of your life; you should always make sure that you have the best product at the best price, and work with someone who you feel confident will help you do that. Let technology aid you but not replace the human elements we need to trust those we do our personal business with. Lastly, spend your dollars confidently, I hope you never need your insurance, but if and when you do that it is everything you wanted, and needed, it to be.
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Haylor, Freyer & Coon, Inc.
Providing Personal Risk Management Since 1928.
Personal Risk Management: 315-451-1500 / www.haylor.com