By Beth Holland
Your local independent insurance agent is prepared to create a personalized coverage plan tailored to meet your and your family’s insurance needs.
However, it’s important to be prepared with the information they need so they can offer you the right coverages to suit you.
For each auto you will want to know:
- Make, model and year
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- Roughly how many miles it will be driven annually
If you have an upscale or collector auto, you may want insurance these on an agreed value basis. In this type of coverage, you and the insurance company agree in advance that in the event of a covered total loss, the agreed value is the amount you will receive for the vehicle. It would be important know current market value for your auto.
Another matter to discuss with your agent is whether your insurer will pay for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts if you have a loss and need to replace parts.
ABOUT THE DRIVERS
Drivers in your household will impact the auto premium. For each driver, know the following:
- Driver’s license number
- Driving history – accidents/violations
- Safe driving courses completed
- Good grades that may qualify a student for a discount
Your agent will want to know what your current insurance program looks like. It’s helpful if you bring in a copy of your current declaration pages so your agent can assess if it’s adequate or where there might be room for improvement. The declaration pages are usually near the front of the policy and summarize all the types and amounts of coverage, as well as any deductible that you would pay in the event of a loss.
Depending on the value of your home, most insurers will want to complete an exterior or interior inspection. Helping your agent understand the quality of your home and any unique features, like a pool or if your garage is attached or detached from your home, can help them target the appropriate amount of coverage for your dwelling and additional structures.
Other household items to mention:
- Home address and location of any secondary properties
- Number of drivers in your household
- Parking accommodations
- The total value of your personal property – to help the agent choose a limit that will adequately protect you
- Deductible options. Be mindful of how much “out of pocket” per claim you’re willing to absorb so the agent can set affordable deductibles and premiums. Higher deductibles will save you money on premiums, but you also want to make sure they are not so high as to put you in a bind.
It’s important to discuss if you have a vacation home or rental property, or additional autos and motorcycles, even if you do not want to move a particular policy from one insurer to another. This analysis will help your agent ensure there are no gaps or duplications in your coverage.
Once you have established your business with an agent, it’s also vital to let them know of changes throughout the year to make sure your insurance stays up to date:
- Sold/purchased autos or homes
- Renovations to your home that could increase the value
- Newly licensed drivers
- Drivers who are no longer members of your household or a college student who no longer has access to a family auto
- Newly purchased items of high value such as fine arts, jewelry, musical instruments or collectibles
Whenever your policies renew, look them over to make sure they are accurate and that you didn’t miss notifying your agent of changes. Keep your agent up to date with any lifestyle changes – promotions, children leaving home or retirement – that may affect your insurance situation.
Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact Landmark Risk Management & Insurance.