In this hot real estate market in Knoxville, TN and surrounding counties of East Tennessee, we receive numerous calls from new home buyers wanting a quote on homeowners insurance. These perspective clients are calling mostly because their loan officer has told them they need to acquire homeowners insurance for their new home. I’m always surprised how many of these home buyers don’t fully understand the process. Now, I’m not judging because before I secured my insurance license, I couldn’t spell insurance! Anyway, I digress…. Continue reading →
If you watch television at all, you are bombarded with auto insurance advertisements. One theme of these commercials is the “bundling” concept for the insurance companies. Bundling usually means combining one or more insurance products with the same insurance company—typically, your auto and home. Why is this a great idea for you? Some companies give huge discounts for each policy. This means, the more you buy, the less it costs. Continue reading →
The weather is hot, and I’m ready to hit the water. I have many clients and friends with boats. Boating is great fun, but also very dangerous, so you need to be properly protected. I’m always sad when I hear about an accident on one of our beautiful lakes. My first thought after “Are they ok?” is always, “I hope they had enough liability coverage.” You can easily keep yourself and your loved ones safe while boating by following these important tips.
My first piece of advice is to take a boater safety course. I’ve taken these courses, and they are filled with excellent knowledge and tips. No one should be on the water without knowing the rules for inland boating. It is critical for the boater. One important rule I see violated again and again is safe speed. As a boat operator you are required to maintain a safe speed. According to the Coast Guard, safe speed means you can “take proper and effective action to avoid a collision and be stopped within an appropriate distance to the prevailing conditions and circumstances.” Safe speed is not predetermined. Boaters must constantly evaluate the current conditions and make a determination of what safe speed is for the situation. Continue reading →
Being an insurance agent reminds me of coaching basketball. Yesterday I wrote auto and homeowners insurance for one of my former basketball players. I coached her 20 years ago at Roane State Community College; what a player she was! She scored 40 points in the state championship game in 1989 (yes, a long time ago) which seeded the team #1 in the regional tournament. Her performance on the basketball court was one of the best I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a LOT of basketball). On that special night, her teammates realized she was on fire. I think she could have shot the ball with her eyes closed, and she would have made the basket. Every teammate wanted to pass the ball to her to get an assist. They were in it with her and excited for her success. Her individual success made it easier for the team to win that night. On a side note, we qualified for the National Tournament and finished 8th in the nation that year.
I wish insurance was more like coaching. As a basketball coach, you are a trusted leader, and you help people do more than they ever thought they could. You push people to prepare for performances that count the most. You help them achieve individual performances, but the greatest satisfaction comes when the team wins. On a team you do whatever is needed to help the team and your teammates win. The trust among teammates is hard to explain. If you have ever had the pleasure of being on a truly great team with good team chemistry, you know what I am talking about. It’s a special feeling. Continue reading →
Lately social media has me pondering General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance education. This week on the Facebook group, “I Know a Place in Knoxville” someone asked a great question about hiring contractors who are not insured. She wanted to know the risks associated with hiring a house painter without liability insurance. Contractors, repair people, and anyone who works in your home or on your property should have General Liability and Workers Compensation coverage. Several people (with no insurance experience) offered great comments. Because I am an insurance professional and I’ve witnessed many bad outcomes from this same scenario, I weighed in. I also gave her my personal phone number. Today she called. She had hired this painter previously, and he did a great job. Because his painting skills and work ethic were top notch, she generously thought she might pay half of a General Liability policy for him. She now knows that she should never hire a contractor who doesn’t have proper insurance coverage. Continue reading →
Wow, I’ve been in the insurance business for 20 years! I can still remember how I felt 20 years ago as a young, inexperienced insurance agent, when a client would call to add a youthful driver to their auto insurance. After making the change to their auto policy, I would apologize for the difference in auto premium because it seemed extremely high. The difference in premium when adding a young driver to your policy is always more than the client expects; usually twice as much. After 20 years and many youthful drivers later, I no longer apologize for the increase in auto premiums. As a matter of fact, I am unapologetic. Continue reading →
In my agency we are extremely thorough when discussing coverages and deductibles. I have many discussions with my clients about deductibles for auto and home insurance and especially about the economic impact of higher deductibles. I believe that any time you can assume more risk on either your home or auto insurance, it is a good thing. Not only does it make you more conscious of your behavior, it can help lower your auto and home premiums. So, when is the best time to use higher deductibles? Believe me, insurance companies want you to choose higher deductibles, but many times they don’t reward you significantly for using them. I think the increased risk of higher deductibles should be properly rewarded. Continue reading →
Traffic accidents can happen to anyone. According to Statistica.com, 6.3 million auto accidents occur annually. Auto accidents even happen to insurance agents. A couple of weeks ago as I was driving back to my office from an afternoon meeting, an older gentleman merged into my lane and hit my car. The passenger side of my SUV was damaged by his front fender, but thankfully I wasn’t hurt. We quickly pulled to the side of the road. As he exited his vehicle, the other driver appeared slightly confused. I made sure he was ok, and then we called the police. During the wait for the police officer, he continued to tell me it was his fault and that he didn’t see me. When the officer arrived, the other driver took responsibility and reported that the accident was his fault. He continued to seem somewhat confused about the process. Since we had moved the cars for safety, I gave the officer the details of where and how the accident occurred. It was evident from the car damage that the other driver had merged into me. The other driver and I exchanged personal info, and I left the scene with the accident report number in hand. Getting the accident number was routine for me as I know what to expect.
While he was in his insurance agent’s office later that afternoon, the other driver called me and asked for my insurance policy information. I gave him the information and asked if he had reported the claim. He confirmed he had and gave me a claim number from his current company. Because I had the claim number, I called the assigned adjuster and left a message. I didn’t hear from the adjuster for two days, but that’s not surprising. I assumed she was waiting on the police report to determine liability. Even though her client said he was at fault, the company waited to see what the police report confirmed. Continue reading →
I can hardly believe it, but this year marks my 20th year in the insurance industry. When I entered the insurance industry from the education field, I was always surprised at customer reaction. Every time I introduced myself as an insurance professional, I immediately felt the client’s mistrust and skepticism. That level of mistrust is a sad comment on the insurance industry, but I have made it my mission for over twenty years to change and improve that perception.
I’ve invested hundreds of hours in education and training to become a certified expert in the insurance industry. I am a Certified Personal Risk Manager, a Certified Insurance Counselor, and a Life Underwriting Training Council Fellow. I’ve invested that time, so I can properly serve my clients. I devote many, many hours to education and consultation with my clients helping them to navigate the complexities of insurance coverages to adequately protect their cars, their homes, and their other assets. I want to them to be confident that whatever is most important to them is sufficiently protected.
I’m pretty confident that 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. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!
I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.
So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, 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. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.