How often should you shop for home and auto insurance? Maybe more or less than you think.

questionWe hear this all the time: “I’ve been with my current insurance company for years. I’m just too busy to shop it. But all insurance is the same.”  This makes me cringe. There are four very good reasons to review your insurance options at least every 3-5 years if not more frequently.

  1. Your life changes. As time passes, many things change- you get older, your home gets older, you may do updates to your home, your family gets older so you may now have new teen drivers, or drivers who have left the household. You may have claims during this time that impact your rates. You may purchase different cars, obtain toys like boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and more. All of these things can impact your needs and your rates.  That said, it may impact them more with one insurance company than another.
  2. Insurance rates change. Every couple of years insurance companies submit new rates to the states for approval. When they do this, they have considered certain factors about the types of clients that they have an appetite for. This can change over time. This means, you may be getting offered the best rates by some companies at one time and not the best rates from the same company at another time. This isn’t a reflection on you, just a reflection on what the company wants to focus their growth on. Same happens in reverse, they may decide that they’d like more customers just like you- so they will offer better rates the next go around to you and those who are like you.
  3. Insurance products change. Insurance companies are always looking for ways to be more competitive and grow their business. This means they are always adding new features and products to attract customers. Many of these can be pretty interesting and may be perfect for your needs. This means what were options for minimizing risks a few years ago may not have been as robust as they are now!
  4. Not all insurance companies are the same. Home and auto insurance from different companies can be very different. Yes, in general they cover many of the same things- your property, your liability etc. But that’s where the similarities can stop. Some will offer broader coverages- like replacement cost, others may not, some may include towing or more, others may not. It is a tough thing to navigate unless you have a lot of hours- or an agent who can help you. But I promise, they aren’t all exactly the same. Some may be a better fit for you than others.

Benefits to you to review your coverages regularly:

  1. Saving Money on premium. Recently, we’ve been able to save three families between $1,500-2000/year on their home and auto insurance premiums. This doesn’t always happen, but it can!
  2. Making sure your coverages match what you really need. You want to make sure you are only paying for things you are likely to use and are covered for things that are likely risks.
  3. You can take advantage of new features or insurance products. Related to #2, the new features for some products can be very appealing and appropriate for your unique needs.

But don’t shop too much. Some carriers do reward for loyalty. If you prove that you do stay with a company for a few years, new carriers may be more likely to offer you better rates as they know you will come and stay with them for some period of time too. The reverse can be true too, if you jump companies every single year, they may not offer you the best rates, as they know you aren’t likely to stay with them for long. So, you may want to think twice for before jumping company to company to company every single year for a few dollars savings. It is likely to catch up with you.

How do you know what to do? Consider working with an independent agent. Independent agents typically offer many products from leading carriers giving you “one stop shopping”. These agents are licensed, experienced and educated in the products from a number of companies. They can review your coverage needs for any changes or new products that are now available. They can share with you several different options with carriers, they can work with you to see which carriers can save you money or they can recommend that you stay where you are for another year and review again next year. They typically do all this for you, at no additional charge. Good agents will review this with you yearly so you’ll know you are in the best place for you for the next year. They can also help you with the entire transition over process if you do change insurance carriers, again making your life easier.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have on reviewing your insurance. We are an independent agency covering NH and ME with a wide range of products from leading National and Regional carriers. We can be reached at http://www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

 

 

 

Business insurance: Certificate Holder v. Additional Insured – What is the Difference?

certificates-of-insuranceWe get asked all the time to provide certificates of insurance. There are two types: a certificate holder and an additional insured.  It is clear that most of the requests, people often think a certificate holder and an additional insured are the same thing. There is a clear, and measurable difference between these two Certificate of Insurance functions and you should know the differences.

Certificate Holder:  This is simply a proof of insurance. This simply shows that the insured does in fact maintain insurance.

Additional Insured: This is more involved.  This actually provides rights under insured policy in the event of a future claim. Some carriers will charge the insured  a premium for this privilege because they are actually conferring coverage.

Bottom line: Certificate Holder is simply proof of insurance, where as Additional Insured status gives the main contractor coverage and rights under their sub-contractor’s or vendor’s, the “Name Insured” policy.

If you are still unclear when you are asked for a “Certificate of insurance” discuss this with your licensed insurance agent who should be able to clear up any questions. We’d be happy to help too. We offer a wide variety of commercial insurance products including general liability, Business Owner’s policies, Commercial autos, and worker’s compensation. We offer a wide range of carriers for these solutions so we can give you options. We cover all NH and ME. We can be reached at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Offering Liberty Mutual Commercial Products!

liberty-mutual-logoWe are happy to announce that Keslar Insurance Agency continues to broaden our offerings to our commercial insurance clients!  Now offering Liberty Mutual Commercial insurance products to our portfolio.

About Liberty Mutual: Your insurance needs are as unique as your business. Whether you’re in manufacturing, hospitality, retail, or any other industry, Liberty Mutual have the right solutions to help protect your business. From startups to family-owned businesses and Fortune 500 corporations, Liberty Mutual’s coverages can help protect your people, property, and reputation no matter your size. Over the past 100 years, Liberty Mutual Insurance has been committed to helping people preserve and protect what they earn, build, own and cherish.

If you are interested in learning more about Liberty Mutual Commercial offerings or discussing  other business insurance coverages please contact us. We offer a large number of solutions for general liability, Business owner’s policy  (BOP), commercial auto, worker’s compensation and more. We have partnered with the leading providers of insurance in the area.  We’d love to help you! www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

Car Insurance Tips for your New College Student

auto insurance college driving.jpgIs your child off in college? In the chaos of it all did you consider telling your auto insurance agent to see if any changes need to be made? Once your child leaves home, their car insurance may need to change.

Child that is not bringing their car to college:

If your child is going away to college and they are not bringing their car with them, make sure they are still listed on your policy as long as they are household members, especially as they are likely to drive the vehicles when they are home from school. Additionally, removing your child from your policy can have negative effects on your child’s policy of their own later in life.

Tip: Some carriers offer reduced premiums if the child is going away to school over 100 miles away and leave their car at home.

Child is bringing their car:

If your child is bringing their car to school with them, make sure to check to see if the school allows cars on campus. Some schools only allow certain grades to have their cars due to limited parking availability. For insurance purposes, it could make a difference if your child is living on campus or way from campus. Also, it may make a difference if they are there during the school year only or year around. Note too, if you child goes to a school out of state, they may not need a separate policy in that state. Ask you agent for details on your particular situation.

Tip: Rural areas tend to have lower rates than cities; if their school is in a rural area you could potentially have a reduced premium.

Child is commuting:

If your child is commuting each day, alert your insurance carrier about the amount of driving they will be doing. It is important to check your policy and make sure that you have adequate liability coverage for your child. Additionally, many carriers offer a “Good Student Discount,” offered to students that maintain a “B” average or better during their time in school.

Tip: Make sure to review details of your policy with your child and encourage them to drive safe and understand the potential risks involved.

Always review your insurance policies with your insurance agent whenever there is a life change including new drivers, new vehicles, updates to your home, marriage and more.

Now offering Travelers Commercial Products

travelers-logo

We are happy to announce that Keslar Insurance Agency continues to broaden our offerings to our commercial insurance clients!  Now offering Traveler’s Commercial insurance products to our portfolio.

Risk is a common factor in everyday business. That’s why Travelers offers a wide range of business insurance options to help mitigate risk and protect your company.
Options include:

  • Property Insurance: Provides coverage for buildings, business personal property, and even loss of business income and extra expense.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance: Covers damages and provides defense against lawsuits for many common types of business liabilities.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance: Help you protect your most valuable asset – your employees– with workers compensation coverage, and risk control guidance, that can keep your business running smoothly.

Whether you have a small, mid-sized, large or even highly specialized business, Travelers’ dedicated underwriting, claims and risk control services can match your unique coverage and compliance needs.

If you are interested in learning more about Travelers Commercial offerings or discussing  other business insurance coverages please contact us.  We’d love to help you! www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.

 

Do you need Comp and Collision insurance coverage on your car?

untitled-designThere is so much to know about auto insurance it can be overwhelming to know what you need a when you need it. Often you only worry about your coverage when it is too late, and something has happened.

Let’s first review the terminology. Collision coverage will help pay for repairs to your car (as well as replacement costs, in the event your car is totaled) after:

  • Crashing into another car.
  • Crashing into an object.
  • Rolling over.

Comprehensive coverage will help pay for repairs to your car or replacement of your car after it’s been damaged by events that aren’t accident-related.Typically, with comprehensive coverage you’ll be covered for damage from the following:

  • Fire.
  • Theft.
  • Vandalism.
  • Falling (missile) objects.
  • Hitting or being hit by an animal including deer, cows, bears, moose and birds.
  • Natural disasters.

Note that not all policies are the same. Before purchasing comprehensive coverage, make sure you know what your comprehensive policy will cover.

You may find these coverages packaged together as “physical damage coverage.

When you’re shopping for car insurance remember it typically consists of two components:

  • Physical damage coverage (comp and collision) refers to coverage that pays your own costs.
  • Liability coverage refers to coverage that pays others’ costs.
  • Determining Necessity

    Because comprehensive and collision are optional types of car insurance coverage, you should consider some factors before determining whether or not you need to purchase these coverages.

    Your Car’s Value

    The value of your car is an important consideration when determining whether you need collision and comprehensive coverage. If you car is:

    • Older and/or low-value, it may not be worth purchasing these coverages, since they will only pay up to the estimated fair market value of your car. We will often ask our clients- if your car were to be totaled, could you afford to replace the car outright? If not, you may want to consider keeping some comp and/or collision on the vehicle.
    • Newer and/or high-value, having these coverages can save you from paying out significant costs to repair or replace your car (if totaled)*.

    * IMPORTANT: If your car is totaled, your collision and comprehensive insurance will only pay you the estimated fair market value of the vehicle. THE INSURANCE COMPANY DETERMINES THIS AMOUNT. If you have a loan or lease, consider gap coverage, which will pay the difference between your how much you owe and the car’s cash value.

  • Your Driving Habits. You should also consider what you put your car through on a daily basis. For example, if you drive a lot of miles, or if you park your car in a location that is especially susceptible to theft or vandalism, you might want to have comprehensive coverage.
  • NOTE: While these coverages are not mandatory in any state, they are generally required as part of a car loan or lease agreement.

Still uncertain what the right coverages are for you? Talk to a licensed insurance agent. They can discuss options with you so you can end up with the right coverages for your situation. We’d be happy to review your options for your given situation. We can be reached at 603-273-0953 or www.keslarinsurance.com. We are an independent insurance agency providing home, auto, business and life insurance in NH and Maine.

Own a cleaning business? Know your insurance risks

Types of insurance needed for Cleaning businesses

cleaning blog postLike other business owners, owners of cleaning services face risks that can be mitigated with insurance policies.

Common types of incidents include:

  • art gets knocked off a shelf when dusting
  • your cleaning equipment stolen or damaged
  • an employee gets injured during work
  • your vehicle gets in an accident while you are working

These things do happen. When they do, you want to make sure you have adequate protection to make yourself whole again. Here are the types of insurance you need to keep you, your employees and your related assets protected:

General liability insurance is a key component of needed insurance. It could protect against lawsuits and other financial liabilities from accidents or other mishaps that you may cause. Property insurance protects your business property if it is lost or damaged due to things like fire, theft, vandalism or windstorms. These two insurances are often bundled together into one product called a business owner’s policy or BOP.

Worker’s compensation insurance: if you have employees, you need this to cover the medical costs and portion of lost wages if your employee becomes ill or injured during work. This a requirement in most states. An example of a time when worker’s compensation insurance may be used is when an employee slips on a wet floor during work and requires physical therapy and lost replacement wages.

Commercial auto: if you have a vehicle used for work, especially if it has your business information on the vehicle, it may likely have to be insured as a commercial vehicle. This covers the vehicle when it is involved in an accident. If you don’t have this insured correctly, any potential claims may not be covered.

Umbrella policy: this is an optional additional liability insurance product that will help cover you if you are in a lawsuit that costs more than your current policy or policies will cover. Ask your agent for details.

For more information regarding insurance coverages for cleaning services, contact us today at www.keslarinsurance.com or 603-273-0953.