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Why Use An Independent Agent?

There are two kinds of insurance agents, Captive Agents and Non-Captive, or Independent Insurance Agents.

There is a big difference!

Captive Agents are committed to one insurance carrier, like AllState or State Farm, and are restricted to selling that one company’s product line. They cannot shop around for other opportunities that may better suit consumer needs. To a captive agent, the parent company comes first.

On the other hand, Independent Insurance Agents are open to offering their customers multiple product lines, which may include The Hartford, Safeco, or Travelers. This broader selection offers more resources to find coverage that best suits your personal situation. To an independent agent, the customer comes first.

The insurance agent is actually your legal representative – your agent – to the insurance company.  The agent is licensed by your state and carries with them the fiduciary responsibility to be your advocate. They must put your interests first over and above their own, or the insurance company.  Even though the agent is paid by the insurance company, they work for you.

An independent agent can do important things for you:

  • Agents have at their disposal the ability to quickly check prices and coverages with dozens – if not hundreds – of different insurance companies.  Since rates vary widely an independent agent can very likely get you a better deal than you can get for yourself. They can even get you insurance from a ‘direct writer’ like you could get for yourself.
  • Independent agents are a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance needs. An agent typically doesn’t sell just auto insurance. They also sell homeowners, renters, health and life insurance, business insurance etc. Use them – at no cost to yourself – to handle all of your insurance in one place.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject.  Its an agent’s business to understand it, and communicate it to you so you understand it as well.  In almost all cases an ordinary consumer will benefit from having someone who deals with this subject for a living advise them on a 50+ page contract.  If there are any hidden surprises, a licensed agent is the one equipped to know where they are.  Even if you understand insurance thoroughly you can get tripped up:  The industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis.  Move from one state to another and you’ll find that the coverages may look the same at first glance, but on closer examination things work a bit differently (very differently, in some states).
  • Coverages don’t just vary from state to state … they vary from company to company within the same state.  Many companies use what are known as ‘manuscript’ policy forms (form = contract in insurance jargon).  These forms don’t necessarily use industry-standard wording and may contain altered provisions that materially affect you in some way… some unknown way if you don’t have an expert advisor who is already familiar with a particular policy’s quirks.

The above is the good news with regard to what an agent can do for you.  What about the bad news?  Even the bad news has some good news inside of it for the consumer:   If an agent makes a mistake (such as selling you an insurance policy that is supposed to meet your needs but doesn’t), that agent may well be liable to you for malpractice; something known in the industry as Errors & Omissions.  Your insurance agent has an Errors & Omissions insurance policy, just like a surgeon has a malpractice insurance policy.  Your lawyer can file suit against the agent – and their malpractice insurance – to recover damages you suffer as a result of a failure to act properly in your interests.  Its no fun to think about for the agent or the consumer, but as unpleasant as it is for all concerned, this is a layer of protection that a consumer enjoys when working with an agent.

Don’t chat while driving.

Posted by on 10:39 am in SlideImages | Comments Off on Don’t chat while driving.

Don’t chat while driving.

BOISE — Taylor Sauer posted on Facebook that she had to stop writing because she was driving. Moments later, the Utah State University student crashed into a semitrailer near Mountain Home, Idaho, and was killed instantly.

Now her parents, Clay and Shana Sauer, want to ban texting and driving in their state. The family recently testified before the Idaho Legislature, which is considering a bill to ban texting while driving.

Taylor Sauer, 18, from Caldwell, Idaho, was returning home after dropping a friend off at the USU campus in Logan on Jan. 14. Investigators say in the final minutes of her life, Sauer was chatting on Facebook. She had posted on her wall, “I can’t discuss this matter now. Driving and Facebooking is not safe. ha ha.”

Investigators say she was traveling 88 mph when she crashed into a slow-moving semitrailer on I-84 in Idaho. They also say she was sending one text about every minute during her long drive home.
Her parents want to make sure that their daughter’s last words are not forgotten. Idaho is one of 13 states that does not have a complete ban on texting. Clay Sauer, Taylor’s father, said on the “Today” Show that every state should do it.

“Part of this law is it might not make changes right now,” he said. “But for the younger generations it will be an educational tool, just like the seat belts. We all fought the seat belts, but now all kids wear their seat belts, everybody wears a seat belt. The kids will be trained and learn from a young age they can’t text and drive.”

The bill passed the Senate in Idaho and will go before the House for a vote Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it would have saved Taylor,” Shauna Sauer said to NBC News while holding back tears, “but I know it will save the younger ones that grow up with it being a law.”

Distracted Driving is Deadly

Posted by on 1:57 am in SlideImages | Comments Off on Distracted Driving is Deadly

Distracted Driving is Deadly

On April 3rd, a college student in Greeley, Colo., Alexander Heit, lost control of his car and plunged over an embankment.

Heit survived the crash, but died later at a nearby hospital.

Before he crashed, Heit had a flawless driving record.

According to witnesses, in the last seconds of his life, Heit had his head down. His car drifted across the road into the left lane, causing an oncoming car to pull over in alarm. At the last moment, Heit saw what had happened and jerked the wheel to correct his mistake. He over-corrected, however, and his car swerved off the road and rolled.

Police found Heit’s cell phone in the wreck. They later determined that he had been texting while driving.

His last words were preserved on his phone:

Texting while driving

Greeley Tribune

Greeley Tribune

Sherrie Peif of the Greeley Tribune reports that Heit’s mother Sharon has released the following statement, which she hopes will persuade others not to make the mistake that tragically killed her son:

“I can’t bear the thought of anyone else having to go through something like this,” Heit wrote in the release. “Please, vow to never, NEVER text and drive. In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/last-words-texting-while-driving-2013-4#ixzz3Vdgin8RE

Why Use An Independent Agent?

Posted by on 5:45 am in Independent Agency, SlideImages | Comments Off on Why Use An Independent Agent?

Why Use An Independent Agent?

There are two kinds of insurance agents, Captive Agents and Non-Captive, or Independent Insurance Agents.
There is a big difference!

Captive Agents are committed to one insurance carrier, like AllState or State Farm, and are restricted to selling that one company’s product line. They cannot shop around for other opportunities that may better suit consumer needs. To a captive agent, the parent company comes first.

On the other hand, Independent Insurance Agents are open to offering their customers multiple product lines, which may include The Hartford, Safeco, or Travelers. This broader selection offers more resources to find coverage that best suits your personal situation. To an independent agent, the customer comes first.

The insurance agent is actually your legal representative – your agent – to the insurance company.  The agent is licensed by your state and carries with them the fiduciary responsibility to be your advocate. They must put your interests first over and above their own, or the insurance company.  Even though the agent is paid by the insurance company, they work for you.

An independent agent can do important things for you:

  • Agents have at their disposal the ability to quickly check prices and coverages with dozens – if not hundreds – of different insurance companies.  Since rates vary widely an independent agent can very likely get you a better deal than you can get for yourself. They can even get you insurance from a ‘direct writer’ like you could get for yourself.
  • Independent agents are a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance needs. An agent typically doesn’t sell just auto insurance. They also sell homeowners, renters, health and life insurance, business insurance etc. Use them – at no cost to yourself – to handle all of your insurance in one place.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject.  Its an agent’s business to understand it, and communicate it to you so you understand it as well.  In almost all cases an ordinary consumer will benefit from having someone who deals with this subject for a living advise them on a 50+ page contract.  If there are any hidden surprises, a licensed agent is the one equipped to know where they are.  Even if you understand insurance thoroughly you can get tripped up:  The industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis.  Move from one state to another and you’ll find that the coverages may look the same at first glance, but on closer examination things work a bit differently (very differently, in some states).
  • Coverages don’t just vary from state to state … they vary from company to company within the same state.  Many companies use what are known as ‘manuscript’ policy forms (form = contract in insurance jargon).  These forms don’t necessarily use industry-standard wording and may contain altered provisions that materially affect you in some way… some unknown way if you don’t have an expert advisor who is already familiar with a particular policy’s quirks.

The above is the good news with regard to what an agent can do for you.  What about the bad news?  Even the bad news has some good news inside of it for the consumer:   If an agent makes a mistake (such as selling you an insurance policy that is supposed to meet your needs but doesn’t), that agent may well be liable to you for malpractice; something known in the industry as Errors & Omissions.  Your insurance agent has an Errors & Omissions insurance policy, just like a surgeon has a malpractice insurance policy.  Your lawyer can file suit against the agent – and their malpractice insurance – to recover damages you suffer as a result of a failure to act properly in your interests.  Its no fun to think about for the agent or the consumer, but as unpleasant as it is for all concerned, this is a layer of protection that a consumer enjoys when working with an agent.

We know what to do next

Posted by on 5:54 am in Auto, SlideImages, Tips | Comments Off on We know what to do next

We know what to do next

If you are involved in an accident, contact your insurance company, even if you are not at fault. While there was a time when you would have to wrestle with the other driver’s insurance company to pay your bills, that process has changed.

Here’s a typical scenario – a fender-bender accident with no injuries:

  • You are rear-ended while stopped at an intersection and your car is heavily damaged. The police cite the other driver. You are pretty sore from the impact and are taken from the scene to the hospital in an ambulance as a precaution. You spend a couple of hours in the emergency room getting checked out, and are released.
  • You report the accident to your insurance company. Your insurance company immediately issues you a rental car.
  • Your own insurance company sends an adjustor out to the tow yard to assess the vehicle damage. Its not a total loss and the vehicle can be repaired.
  • You get your car into the shop (of your choice, hopefully) for repair
  • Your own insurance company waives your collision deductible since the accident is not your fault.
  • After a few weeks the repair is complete. You take your car home.
  • Your insurance company hands the bill for all of the above to the other driver’s insurance company, who reimburses them directly (this process is known as subrogation).

Make your life easier during a difficult time by simply reporting your accident to your own insurance company and dealing with them directly.

SR-22 when you need it

Posted by on 5:54 am in Services, SlideImages, SR-22 | Comments Off on SR-22 when you need it

SR-22 when you need it

An SR-22 insurance policy is a certificate of insurance that shows the department proof of insurance for the future, as required by law. SR-22 is a motor vehicle liability insurance which requires the insurance company to certify coverage to the Division of Motor Vehicles, and the insurance company must notify DMV any time the policy is canceled, terminated or lapses. You do not need to own a car to buy this kind of insurance. If you do not own a car, ask your insurance company about a non-owner SR-22 policy.

Why Do I Need an SR-22?
The most common reasons people need an SR-22 are because of a DUI or DWI, driving without insurance, or driving with a suspended license. Bottom line: You’ll need an SR-22 if you’re caught breaking the law in certain situations while you’re driving.

If you need an SR-22, don’t fret. Edith Estes Insurance can help you with SR-22 filing and maintenance every step of the way, so you won’t be left wondering what to do next.

Need SR-22? Click here to apply online!

We’ve offered online quotes longer than anyone

Posted by on 5:53 am in Online Quotes, Services, SlideImages | Comments Off on We’ve offered online quotes longer than anyone

We’ve offered online quotes longer than anyone

Edith Estes Insurance has been providing insurance to folks in the Rock Hill and surrounding area since 1955. In 1995 we pushed our company ahead by becoming one of the first to embrace the Internet and all it could offer for our customers, including the convenience of online insurance quotes. Today we continue to look for new ways of helping our customers choose the best policy – one that fits their lifestyle and is affordable.

Click here to access our online quote forms

Keep your coverage up to date!

Posted by on 5:50 am in Home, SlideImages, Tips | Comments Off on Keep your coverage up to date!

Keep your coverage up to date!

Does the amount of your home insurance coverage reflect the value of your property? According to a February 2012 survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), 59 percent of American homeowners have not made a list of their possessions, 48 percent do not have receipts for their property, 27 percent do not have photos, and 28 percent do not have a back-up copy of the inventory safely stored outside the home. The survey also revealed that 59 percent of homeowners with inventories have not updated them in over a year.

Why is this study important? If homeowners don’t have an accurate account of their property, the amount of coverage on their current policy may not be high enough to cover the value of their possessions. If this sounds familiar and you’ve recently acquired expensive items such as antiques, collectibles, jewelry, or art, you want to contact Edith Estes Insurance company right away to make sure it is covered. The valuable item may require its own separate policy rider or may be added as a floater to your existing policy. You also want to ensure you have a receipt or appraisal to verify its value.

In addition to insuring expensive items, it’s always a good idea to have a home inventory to keep a thorough and accurate record of your possessions. Creating a home inventory may be a tedious process, but you will be glad you made it if you experience a loss due to disaster, damage, theft, or other events.

If you haven’t insured your family’s possessions yet or want to know whether a valuable item is covered under your current policy, contact Edith Estes Insurance by calling (803)328-0145.