Monthly Archives: May 2014

What Type Of Car Is Most Likely To Be Stolen?

theftI was recently very surprised to learn that today’s thieves have stolen far more smaller family vehicles than the more traditional sporty cars such as Camaros, Corvettes, Jaguars, Aston Martins, Mustangs, Porsches and the like. Such statistics garnered by the National Crime Information Center for the period 2009-2012 further indicate that the Toyota Corolla is a huge favorite with thieves and far surpasses the Honda Civic, Ford Focus and Nissan Sentra. Even subcompacts such as the Toyota Yaris and the Nissan Versa are targeted favorites. Do you suppose the recession is hitting the thieves as hard as the consumer? Is it that the cost of gas is forcing them to be more economical when stealing a vehicle?

As you would expect, the incidence of recovery after a theft is just the opposite: sports cars are not easily recovered, while the compact and subcompact cars tend to be recovered more often than not. So, what we as insurance consultants must be diligent about is recommending the need for comprehensive coverage for our clients, especially those whose vehicles are most likely to be the target of a theft. Furthermore, the highest theft rates for the compact and subcompact vehicles seems to be in California, Texas and Florida, but that doesn’t mean that we in the tri-state area are immune from this crime.

Now more than ever, we need stress the need for physical damage coverage. For sure, this is not an area to look at when trying to cut premium costs.

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

Do You Want To Buy Auto Insurance In The Supermarket?

insurance-grocery-storeNews flash! We hear that Wal-Mart has decided to go into the auto insurance market. Well, I sure hope that they know what they are undertaking. Years ago, Sears had booths in their retail stores in which they, too, tried to sell car insurance. Do these retailers really believe that they can bring the same value and expertise to the insurance buying public as tried and true agents?

Most consumers eventually come to the conclusion that with direct companies there is no personal relationship, no guidance and no assistance in time of trouble. Sometimes it takes a lot of negative experience to make a customer realize just what they give up when they purchase insurance “ on the cheap.”

The fact is that when you deal with your agent, it is he or she that provides a quote, explains the meaning and importance of certain limits and coverages, answers your questions, takes your last minute payment, adds or deletes a vehicle, guides you through the claims process and intervenes with the company when a problem arises. There is no substitute for loyal customer service and personal relationships.

The scuttlebutt is that Wal-Mart has partnered with AutoInsurance.com. My take is that both of them obviously needed a boost in revenue and they undoubtedly believe that auto insurance sales are the answer. However, buying insurance online, via Wal-Mart, doesn’t really consider the needs of the consumer, in my opinion. What about the consumer who recognizes the value that comes from agents/brokers who have made the business of insurance their livelihood? Surely, if you have come to depend on your agent to help you navigate the waters of insurance, now is not the time to abandon ship!

By Karen Skoler, CPCU

Should I Contact A Restoration Company After A House Fire?

resized_college-freshman-meme-generator-learns-how-to-cook-sets-kitchen-on-fire-8ee1daDear Sherri, My son will be going to college in two years so I started to teach him how to cook so he will be able to prepare his own meals. He nearly destroyed my house and totally burned my kitchen. What should I do now? – Heart Burn in NY

Dear Heart Burn, First, teach your son the ancient tradition of take out. It’s faster and obviously, oh so much safer!

I assume the first thing you did was to call your insurance company and file a claim. That’s a good first step. However, what most people forget to do is to contact a reputable restoration company to complete the overwhelming clean up. Attempting to do this yourself can be not only dangerous, but could end up costing you more money. A restoration company will help repair your home by getting the smoke smell out and will prevent additional damages, such as mold from the water used to put out the fire from taking root. Not to mention they will remove the damaged items from your home and try to save items as well. They can help to find important documents and will also help to submit the claim to your insurance company. A good restoration company can help make your home whole again a lot faster than you could. And the best news is that usually, insurance companies will pay for the restoration company because they know that it saves them money in the long run. So, after you put in your claim, contact a reputable restoration company. And most importantly, keep your son out of that new kitchen!

Happy Belated Mother’s Day – a Personal Note from our President

mothers day photo On every Mother’s Day I find myself always feeling blessed that I still have the opportunity to celebrate with my mom on her special day. This mother’s day I share with you a photo of my mom and one of my favorite “kids”, Dobie, singing together this past Christmas. This photo makes my heart smile and glow. I’m sure my mom won’t be happy with me sharing this as she may feel it is not a flattering photo of her. I share it because it reminds me of all the wonderful, kind and loving ways my mom fills my life. I wish my mom a day as beautiful as the memories she has given me.

Whether you love music, flowers or a special day with family and/or pets, I wish all mother’s a wonderful day filled with joy and laughter. For those of you whose mom is an angel in heaven, I hope the memories of her bring you a smile that warms your heart.

– Heidi Petschauer Fox, CIC