Obvious Ways to Keep your Insurance Clean from a Good Insurance Broker

Semi Obvious Ways to Keep your Insurance Clean from a Good Insurance Broker.

There is lots of noise out there about insurance.  Much of it is dedicated to purchasing Auto or Home Insurance.  Not enough seems dedicated to protecting you – the consumer.  How best to protect myself and my family?   How can I customize my home, auto, and even umbrella insurance?  What does a independent agent or broker think?

Started as a tail to a previous post about Six Secrets of Keeping your Insurance Clean, I thought I would jot down a few notes for readers about ways to keep your personal insurance working for you.  These are more obvious ways.   Certainty not secrets, however, just as useful.

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Building Ordinance and Law:

Building Ordinance and Law coverage covers  you for a small amount of coverage when your home needs additional repairs to be up to code while correcting a covered peril.  Some towns (read most of Marin County) have a higher than average need for this coverage.  All else being equal, an older home can use  more of this.  A very old home could potentially use a ton of this.  All else also being equal towns with more regulations, perhaps can cause owners to want more as well.  Often the amount of this coverage can be left up to the insurance agent.  However, you as the owner of your abode you ask question and confirm that the proper coverages are in place.  This coverage can usually be increased via endorsement.

Preparing for Demand Surge Needs:

Imagine the cost to rebuild your home after it burns down (sadly.) Now imagine if, the cost if the whole block burns down from a wildfire.  What do you think will happen with the cost for labor as contractors are no longer available to come from your local county and increasingly are commuting in, daily, from 100 miles away?   The answer is that the costs will go up higher.  Perhaps dramatically higher.   Be prepared for this by having ample Extended Rebuild coverage on your home.  Some insurers limit options for this coverage at 25%, others go as high as 100%.  Know what you have and consider asking for more.  Don’t understand Demand Surge, consider this blog post.


Adding the Correct Home Endorsements:

This is probably the one category where the average consumer would likely have the most trouble completing themselves.  However, just know that various coverage options are available for almost all home insurance.  This is why speaking with your agent about your career, lifestyle, avocations, etc is highly important.   Many home policies excludes some type of animals.   Almost all insurance carriers exclude coverage for diamonds (or any jewelry) worth more than a rather low amount.  The level of insurance for physical cash is pretty close to zero.  People that live in towns that have older sewer systems need to consider endorsing their home policy.  Sell home grown vegetables on the weekends as a really small side business?   Yep there’s an endorsement for that!   Drive a golf cart in your community?   Guess what?   Some clients have asked me how people go about getting the proper endorsements when dealing with an online insurance company- I tell them I do not know how they do it.  Consider reading the Most Popular Home Endorsements for more information.  The options for endorsements may seem endless, but its really not.  There are indeed a finite amount of options.

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Shopping Your Insurance Every Three Years:

Obvious, very obvious, I know.  Shop your insurance portfolio every couple of years.  You may save money in the long run and even find a better insurance broker.   Or you may find that you are perfect right where you are.   Shopping your portfolio of insurance should be pretty simple.  Send over your declarations for your home/auto/and umbrella to a Good Insurance Broker via email.  Answer their follow up questions.    Contact me for a quote today.


Keeping your Business Needs Separate:

Your business is likely not covered by your personal home insurance.  If it is, generally its only a tiny amount of coverage.  Do not rely on your home insurance for business coverage, period.  If someone sues you for business you will not be covered.  Therefore you need to cover your small business with a tiny business policy.  These are very simple to procure typically.   Call an independent broker or independent agent and ask them for help.  There is nothing wrong with saying that you own a business, don’t have insurance, and don’t know what type you need.   From a liability standpoint, you need home insurance possibly to protect your business and you also need business insurance to protect your personal life.   I realize that this sounds backwards but its true.  Imagine a scenario where your business is sued and not properly insured (with business insurance) requiring you to sell your home to pay the resulting settlement.  Or the reverse.   Your home is sued and not being properly covered (with home insurance) you need to sell your business to pay off that judgement.   As you become wealthier and your business grows consider topping both off liberally with separate umbrella policies.

“Do not rely on your home insurance for business coverage…”

Reassess the Need for Earthquake and Umbrella Insurance:

As you become wealthier and pay down your mortgage more of your money gets tied up in your home.  In an odd way of thinking about it, this may mean that you need to insure yourself and your home more.  I am not a financial planner nor an attorney.  But common logic dictates that it likely more of a financial day of wrecking for an older couple with no mortgage to lose their home to an earthquake than a younger couple that only has 20% down.  Avoid Earthquake Insurance at your own peril.

Umbrella Insurance is quickly becoming a slam dunk requirements for newly married families in Marin and surrounding counties.  Umbrella Insurance will provide excess liability coverage for personal exposures on top of their underlying policies.  For example if your auto insurance is maxed out at $500K, it would theoretically pick up after the $500K ran out for a covered liability claim.   Insurance claims costs just keep going up.  What was once a simple solution with two neighbors shaking hands has increasingly involved litigious actions.  Typically the cost for umbrella insurance is pretty low.  Umbrellas are typically offered in one million dollar increments.

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Double Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage:

This may sound like a bold increase, however in my opinion, its not really.  For a family of four in a wealthy county – $500K is the minimum amount of Uninsured motorist coverage I would suggest. For some insurance companies the max that they will offer is $250K/$500K.   It is possible that the future accident that you have will be with a rich person that has lots and lots of insurance coverage.  However the odds are not in your favor.  It is far more likely that the person will be driving the California State mandated minimum of $15k/$30k in coverage.  Or, worse yet, they will drive off.  Likely you will speak with agents that tell you this is too much coverage since you have medical insurance.  However, when was the last time that your medical coverage fully took care of you?

The Follow Through:

Reading about these ideas is not enough.  Consider contacting your insurance agent today and have a discussion with them.  She or he may disagree, but at least you will be better off for the conversation.  They may discover that you have an uninsured trampoline in your yard that needs coverage.   You may discover your insurance agent was not aware of your three children.   Or you may want to try out a new independent broker to assist you. You should develop a relationship with a good insurance broker.

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Independent Insurance in Marin

About Marindependent Insurance Services LLC:

Marindependent is an independent insurance brokerage based in Marin County California.   California License 0K10734.   Auto. Home. Umbrella. Harder to Place Homes. Term Life. Small Business.  Affluent.   Marindependent Insurance Services LLC is a California Certified Green Business.


About the Author:

Scott W Johnson lives and works in Marin County and enjoys working in the world of independent insurance.  California License 0H11625.  He believes in recommending insurance that he himself uses and believes in.

About the post Obvious Ways to Keep your Insurance Clean from a Good Insurance Broker:

This article / post was immediately started as response the previous post Secrets of Clean Insurance.  For every idea of a secret I had, I had several that really weren’t secrets.   I wanted to make those simple ideas available as well.


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