Risk of buying auto insurance online. Price isn’t everything. Here’s an example.

online shoppingThinking of buying your auto insurance online? Please be careful. We recently had a prospect use one of those “name your price” type of insurance websites. She did get insurance. She did like the payments. She thought she was all set.

What she didn’t realize that she was insured for the state minimum requirements of:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury, per person.
  • $50,000 for bodily injury, if multiple people are injured in an accident

That sounds like a lot, right? But think a bit about it. If there is an accident, and either one person is pretty hurt or multiple people are hurt, what will that cost? Costs can include

  • the ambulance rides to the hospital
  • emergency room fees
  • all the x-ray and other tests
  • the cost of utilizing beds
  • the cost of the each of the physicians who review reports and meets with the patients
  • Costs of any medications
  • or any equipment supplied…

We could go on and on. One resource we found online stated the average cost of EACH injury from a car accident is over $61,000. If that’s true, the coverage of 25,000/50,000 won’t go very far. What happens if the expenses are more than the coverage you have? That could be an expense you could be responsible for out of pocket. Can you afford that?

So, what if you chose that policy because you were very concerned about price? Great question. We recommend you work with an independent agent who can look numerous carriers for you. They can find the carrier who offers the best price for your needs. They can tell you how inexpensive it may be to increase those coverages. They can make sure you are really getting every discount for which you are eligible.

What did our customer do? She switched to us. We found her discounts- including bundling her home and auto policies with one carrier. She was able to get much more substantial coverages for only a few extra dollars a month when we looked at all her insurance needs in totality.

It does pay to be a smart shopper. It can pay to work with an independent agent who can review all this for you, at no charge to you.

If you’d like someone to review your policies so you can see if you really have the right coverages at the right price? Have any additional questions? We are here for you- anytime. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to answer any of your insurance questions. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME

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Are your child’s possessions insured when they go to college?

Aerial of CampusWhen your child goes to college, are their possessions covered by your homeowner’s policy? Like everything else, it depends.  We recommend you discuss this with your insurance agent to make sure that you know the best ways to keep your kid’s items protected.

On campus housing:

Most student personal possessions are covered under their parents’ homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy if the student lives in a dormitory.

  • There may be some limitations on how much it is covered for as “off premise possessions” are handled separately so always check with your agent to make sure it is enough to cover their belongings.
  • Encourage students to leave expensive jewelry and the like at home. Only bring essentials to school.

Off-Campus housing:

Students who live off-campus are most likely not covered under their parents’ homeowner’s insurance policy and need to purchase their own renter’s insurance policy. These policies are typically very inexpensive, often between $15-30/month!

  • Rental policies typically provide coverage for the personal property and liability coverage.
  • Discuss the importance of a “replacement cost policy” vs. an “actual cash value policy” with your agent.
  • Many renter’s policies will pay the extra cost to live somewhere else temporarily if the student needs to move out for a while if the apartment is damaged. This can happen in a building full of students!
  • Note: If the student lives in a rented apartment, house or condominium, the landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover your personal property in the event that it is stolen or damaged as a result of a fire, theft or other unexpected circumstance.
  • If more than one student rents an apartment, house or condo, they each should have their own renter’s policy.
  • If your student is traveling abroad, ask you insurance agent if the renter’s policy includes coverage outside the US.

Compile an inventory of student belongings

In either case, it is good practice to create a list of the items the student is taking to college. This inventory will be helpful if the student’s property is stolen or damaged.

  • It should include the brand, make and model of each item, as well as serial numbers.
  • A photographic record is also helpful, especially if the student has personalized the laptop or tablet with a custom skin.
  • Keep the inventory in a safe place, along with receipts for the most expensive items.
  • The receipts will help establish value if the parents obtain replacement cost coverage.

Have questions? We are here for you- anytime. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to answer any of your insurance questions. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME.

Keslar Insurance Agency Announces new hire, Brendan Jorgensen

brendan jorgensenNewmarket, NH, June 2017. – Keslar Insurance Agency, a leading provider of insurance solutions in NH and ME, announced the appointment of Brendan Jorgensen to the position of Administrator. Mr. Jorgensen comes to Keslar Insurance Agency with over 10 years of professional business and management experience which makes him well suited to continue contribute to Keslar’s focus on customer service.  Concurrently, Mr.Jorgensen is the Senior Pastor of the Newmarket BeFree Church. His work at the church requires him to foster strong community and individual relationships. Prior to this, Mr. Jorgensen worked as a Business Development Manager for Lamprey Networks in Durham, NH, where he was responsible for forming alliances with industry partners. He actively works with numerous non-profits including Friends of Newmarket, Newmarket Education Committee and the Newmarket Business Association. Mr. Jorgensen attended University of New Hampshire, receiving his BA in Psychology.

“I am delighted to be working with Keslar Insurance Agency, a company with an outstanding reputation in the insurance industry. I am impressed with the dedication of staff at Keslar Insurance to creating long term relationships with their clients by providing exceptional service,” said Jorgensen. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to utilize my relationship skills to help clients address many of their insurance questions and related support activities. Because I have been so fortunate to have to listen carefully to customer’s needs and help address issues in previous positions, I understand firsthand the importance of providing consistent attention to detail in all forms of engagement,” continued Jorgensen.

“Brendan Jorgensen brings to Keslar Insurance Agency relevant experience, people skills and communication capability that will allow him to make substantial contributions to our organization. His hands-on experience working in people support positions, coupled with his years of business experience- will provide our clients exceptional support and care. I am pleased that this position has been filled with such a professional,” said Lisa Keslar, Vice President of Keslar Insurance Agency.

About Keslar Insurance Agency

Keslar Insurance Agency is a full service provider of residential and commercial insurance products in New Hampshire and Maine. Keslar Insurance makes sure clients have the right insurance products to protect the most important things in life-family, possessions and business. Keslar Insurance employees focus on providing the kind of service and value we’d expect for ourselves and our families. Our products which include Homeowners insurance, Auto, Life, Umbrella, Renters, Landlord, Boat, Snowmobile, ATV, Flood, Commercial Auto, Business Owner’s Policies, General Liability, Worker’s compensation, motor home, camper and more. For more information visit: www.keslarinsurace.com.

It may be more costly to go without homeowner’s insurance- for reasons you don’t expect.

A homeowners insurance lapse occurs when you go without coverage for any period of time — even one day. There are a few common ways it can happen, for example:

  • Your insurance company canceled your policy (for reasons like physical changes to your property)
  • You failed to make payments on time (which can lead to suspension or cancellation of coverage)
  • You let your policy expire without securing a new one

What can happen if my homeowners insurance lapses?

Your rates may go up. Even if your policy lapsed 2 days ago, you may face higher rates when you give your insurer a call to get it started back up. That’s because actuaries have found that people who maintain continuous insurance over the years tend to pose less of a financial risk, so letting your coverage lapse — even for a short time — could put you into a higher-risk category when it comes time to determine your new homeowners premium.

Your lender may purchase expensive insurance for you. If you have a mortgage on your home, your lender likely requires continuous homeowners insurance as part of the conditions of your loan. If your policy lapses for any reason, your mortgage company is often notified. The mortgage company typically has the right to purchase a policy on the home and pay for it through your homeowners escrow account — which will, in turn, raise your mortgage payments. Not only is this insurance almost always much more expensive than a typical homeowners policy, but it often entails lower-quality coverage, too. Lender-placed insurance often does not cover home contents, only the building itself and attached structures. Additionally, in some cases, the mortgage company could see this as a violation of the terms of your loan and may take legal action against you to recover the full amount of the money loaned.

You might have trouble getting insured again.  If you let your coverage lapse, there’s a possibility you’ll have a harder time getting a policy for the same financial-risk reasons mentioned above. This means, the companies that may take on your risk are likely to do so for either less coverages or higher premiums- or both.

If something happens while you’re uninsured, you’re out of luck.

Say you let your policy expire and haven’t secured a new one. Just as luck would have it, lightning hits a tree in your yard, causing it to fall on your roof and cause major damage. Or maybe a thief breaks into your place while you’re on vacation and steals some family heirlooms. You are financially responsible for those situations. Even if you secure a home policy right after an incident occurs, home insurers will not cover damage that happened before the policy’s start date.

What can you do? First, call the most current insurance provider to find out whether the company will reinstate the policy. Although this isn’t always possible, it may be the easiest and least costly thing to try first.

If you cannot get the policy reinstated, work with a local independent agent who can work with their various carriers to see who may be willing to take on the risk, at what price point.  After a few months, work with your independent agent to see if it makes sense to consider other carriers if new rates are excessive.  Transitioning to a new carrier is easier when there is already insurance placed on the home. Additionally, rates may be less expensive as you build up a history of continuous coverage.

For any additional questions, reach out to you independent insurance agent. Of course, we are always happy to help too!

Accident advice: do you need the insurance when you are given a rental car?

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Its a bad day. Your car is in an accident. The good news: you are ok and it isn’t your fault. Yup. I was just there this week.

The “other guy’s” insurance company provides you with a rental car. Now the question: Do you take the rental car company’s insurance? Why should you? They are paying for the rental and you didn’t cause the accident.

Well, gosh-forbid, what if your rental car is in an accident. Ok, I’ll admit that is really, really bad luck and maybe you should stay away from driving for a bit…

But seriously, this stuff happens. If you are in an accident with the rental car- your own car insurance would cover the repairs to the rental car but NOT the “loss of use.” What does this mean? This means, for the amount of time that rental car is getting repaired, the rental car company is unable to rent it to others so they are losing money. They may expect you to pay that!

How do you remedy that? You purchase the rental car company’s insurance policy which does typically cover loss of use.

Who would have thought? Hopefully your insurance agent. If you are every in an accident, your insurance agent should work closely with you to make sure you understand the claims process and the trade-offs on every detail, including items like “loss of use.”

Have questions? We are here for you- anytime. Don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to answer any of your insurance questions. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.  Keslar Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency offering business, home, auto and life insurance in NH and in ME.

Gunstock Season Pass Holders Qualify for Home and Auto Discounts

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Concord Group Insurance has created a special Affinity program that provides savings and special benefits to its member policyholders. Gunstock Season Pass Holders qualify as a member of Concord Group Affinity Program, and can receive a 5% discount on  auto and home insurance as well as complimentary roadside assistance coverage and/or identity theft protection. These top quality auto and homeowners’ insurance policies provide robust standard and optional coverage to satisfy most needs. And the competitive rates result in peace of mind knowing you are getting the coverage you need at a great value.

Concord Group is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Concord Group is a mutual insurance company which means the policy holders are members of the Company. This means they have no stockholders- they are there for their policyholders!

These products are further supported by Keslar Insurance Agency. Contact Keslar Insurance today to learn more, take advantage of the affinity discount program and become a member of the Concord Group Insurance Company. www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

It’s deer season. What happens if your car hits one? It isn’t handled the same as a traditional auto accident.

deer car accidents insuranceAbout 1.5 million deer, elk and moose are struck each year, causing more than $1 billion in insured losses and affecting about one in 169 drivers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. From October through December, drivers’ chances of hitting a deer increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). In fact, the organization says more deer crashes occur in November because it’s the height of mating season. Additionally, be extra cautious if you’re driving at dusk or dawn, as the III says these are the highest-risk times for deer crashes. Of course, those are times when cars are normally on the road, too.

Hitting a deer can be costly: According to the III, the average cost of deer-crash insurance claims was $4,135 in 2015. To help protect your vehicle (and your wallet), talk to a local agent to make sure you have the proper car insurance coverage on your policy.

As many an unlucky motorist will attest, you don’t necessarily have to run into a deer to be involved in a deer-related crash. A lot of times, you may not hit the deer; the deer may hit you or leap onto your car. Startled drivers who have run-ins with deer are often equally surprised by how their auto insurance treats their claims.

Logic might suggest that such animal crashes would fall under the collision portion of your policy, which pays for damage to your vehicle if you hit (or are hit) by another vehicle or object. Instead, animal-related damage is typically treated as an “other than collision” claim under your comprehensive coverage, or “comp,” which covers so-called acts of God such as wind, hail and flood, as well as fire, vandalism and theft.

Comprehensive coverage is strongly recommended for all drivers, unless your car has very low value. Collision coverage (which generally is sold as a package with comprehensive) won’t pay for damage caused by hitting an animal. However, collision could apply if you swerve to miss an animal and hit something else instead, such as a fence.

 Improve your safety with these tips:

  • Be extra careful when driving in areas known to have many deer.
  • Deer often move in groups, so if you see one animal, slow down and look for others.
  • Use high beams at night unless there is oncoming traffic.
  • Do not swerve if you see a deer.  Doing so could send you off the road or into oncoming traffic.

If the worst happens

Sometimes an accident is inevitable no matter how careful you are. Deer can dash out from cover with no warning, giving you no chance to stop.

If you hit a deer:

  • Move your vehicle off the road and turn on your hazard lights. Call the police. If possible, take pictures of the scene and any injuries to passengers or damage to the vehicle, for insurance purposes.
  • If the animal runs away after the accident, get a picture of hair or blood on the car to show that a deer was involved. Use this evidence to have the accident processed under comprehensive coverage.
  • Get contact information from any witnesses, especially if the animal runs off. If witnesses are able to wait, ask them to report what they saw to the police.
  • Even if you think the damage is minimal, check to be sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Look for tire damage, broken lights, fluid leaks or loose parts. You may need to call a tow truck.
  • Do not approach the deer, even if you think it’s dead. A wounded animal could injure you.

How to know you are protected.

All of us are at some risk for hitting deer because they can be found just about anywhere.  The right insurance policy plus defensive driving skills can greatly reduce your chances of injury and uncompensated expense. To learn more about if you have the right insurance policy, check with your local agent or reach out to us- we’d be happy to help www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.