Choosing your insurance is a lot like choose a gym: Lessons this fitness obsessed agent has learned about the crazy world of insurance
Hear me out: choosing your insurance is like choosing a gym. I love working out. I am obsessed with it. I love it all, running, aerobics, free weights, spin, cross training, boxing, old school gym workouts, kettlebells, burpees, medicine balls. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than hitting the gym and giving it everything you’ve got. When I have worked out so hard that I feel like I need to call a designated driver for the ride home, THAT to me is success!!
When I learn something new, to understand it better I have to relate it to something that I am already familiar with. It’s like my brain auto defaults to simile/analogy mode. So how did I come to understand the different insurance agency types in a way that makes sense in the chaotic mess that is my brain?? I relate it to the gym of course! Here’s how choosing your insurance is a lot like choosing a gym.
Carriers are to Insurance as Gyms are to Fitness
(Check out that analogy. Ms. Harper would be so proud. I really was paying attention!)
There are 3 main types of insurance agencies; direct, captive and independent. You need the right type of agency to fit your specific insurance needs, just like the right type of gyms fits your specific fitness needs. Steve covered a lot more on this in his blog, The Best Way To Purchase Insurance. I learned a lot reading it. He’s no Agent Alice of course, but he gets the job done…baaaaahhhahahahhaa
Direct — It’s like the at home DVD workout. They are led by a person you will never actually meet. Just like you will likely never meet your direct agent. You also would likely not speak to the same person if you were to call back again.
A direct insurance provider is generally a 1-800 number company. No local office, no familiar face, no set agent for you to call when you have a question. No one you can see face to face to answer your question.
For me, I need a face I know to hold me accountable. I like to know who I am talking to. Someone to make sure I am actually doing what I need to be doing and doing it well, rather than just watching people workout on tv while I grab a snack or paying for coverage that doesn’t fit my personal needs.
Captive — To me, it’s like running. Just running. There is nothing wrong with running. I loved running. I still love running. In the same aspect, captive agents are great. Much better than direct. They are real live humans that you interact with in your community BUT they only provide services from their specific carrier.
With me and running, it was great, until it wasn’t. I don’t enjoy super cold, humidity, rainy or windy days. Here in Virginia, we can experience 35 different weather occurrences within a one-week span. It was hard being a good wife, obnoxiously obsessive mom, working full time all while managing our household and trying to plan workouts around our ever-changing weather.
What if there is a better fit? How do I even know what other options might be available for me? What might I be missing out on? Only having one option for your insurance carrier doesn’t give you a wide variety in premiums or coverages. It’s kind of the “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit” coverage. Although I loved that phrase 18 years ago when raising an obnoxious toddler (mommy loves you Kodabear!) as an adult buying insurance, I like to have options. I want to know what all is out there for me. That’s where an independent agent comes in handy.
Independent — FOREWARNING —I am an independent agent. Although I am ridiculously biased, I really do think we are better. Independent agencies are like the full access gyms. You have access to everything from your basic gym equipment, free weights and basketball courts to swimming, group fitness classes and personal training sessions.
There are options that allow you to find the workout that best fits your lifestyle and fitness needs. An independent agency can give you options from multiple carriers so you can find the perfect fit for your unique situation. If your situation changes and your current insurance carrier just isn’t what you need, you can change carriers all the while keeping the same team of friendly faces to help you with your service needs. Seriously, read Steve’s article. He really does know his stuff!
Policies are to insurance as exercise routines are to a workout
Just like there are so many varieties of exercises, there are so many varieties of insurance. Just like the great trainer Christy Plough would yell/shout/scream at me while working out/torturing/trying to kill me, “YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE!!!!!!”. The same holds true for insurance.
Don’t sell yourself short by jumping on the cheapest plan. We all want to save a dollar. Believe me, I so get that. Just be sure that you aren’t settling for a lack of coverage. Is it really saving money when it doesn’t cover you in an emergency? Isn’t that what insurance is all about anyways??
It’s kind of like a certain agent’s mom who back in the day would buy numerous editions of “Sweating to the Oldies” VHS tapes (children, google VHS if you don’t understand my old lady lingo) and would end up just sitting on the couch and watching them. Ummmmm, mom, that isn’t really exercising…
My mom’s version of MTV—don’t y’all dare show her this!!
How do you know what you need? Allow me go over a few of the essentials.
Auto Insurance is the 5k of Insurance
If you drive a car, you need auto insurance. More than need, you have to have it. It’s kind of the law, so yeah, don’t drive without it. Since it is required, it’s a pretty common type of insurance, just like a 5k is a pretty common athletic event.
If you are new to running and decide to run a 5k, you need a training plan. Like a good training plan will get you ready for those 3.1 miles on race day, a good auto policy will get you ready in the case of an accident.
Here at Holley Insurance, we train champions. Every employee in our organization is a licensed agent, so whether you are dealing with our service team or our sales team, you will get someone who knows their stuff. We aren’t going to train you to be ready for a 1 mile run, we are going to train you for a 5 mile run. This way that 3.1 miles you need will be a breeze.
We talk about what coverage is important to you. We will explain your split limits vs combined single limit, uninsured motorist, collision, other than collision, deductibles, towing and rental coverages. We will talk about your current as well as your future needs. We will evaluate our various carriers to see which fits you best. The best part, is that we are here for you for any hiccups along the way. Having a familiar voice on the line to help you with any claims, policy changes or revisions is such a reassuring feel.
Homeowner’s is like your Rehabilitation Personal Trainer
A good rehab trainer is going to restore you to the way you were before you were hurt. They help you treat your injuries and get you back to tip top condition.
Owning a home is a big deal, an expensive big deal at that! When my husband and I built our home, it was quite intimidating. There are so many decisions to make. We were young, dumb kids making a purchase that would impact us for the rest of our lives!!
Are you buying your first home? Check out this post for First Time Home Buyers.
Protect your investment! If you finance your home, your loan generally requires that you obtain homeowner’s insurance so that they are covered in case of an accident. You are allowed to choose your insurer. Some banks and Realtors will recommend their in-house agency. Don’t get so overwhelmed with the 2-inch stack of mortgage paperwork, that you do a quick initial on the insurance page not even knowing the company you are dealing with.
Many insurance companies offer multiline discounts. By choosing insurance from the same company for your homeowners’ insurance as you have for your auto insurance, you can save money!
A good trainer will know what needs to be done for your specific injury. A good agent knows what you need for your specific life situation. A trainer isn’t going to address your rehabilitation needs without asking you direct questions regarding your injury. Same goes with your homeowner’s’ insurance agent.
A good agent will ask you numerous and very specific questions about your home. It is important to know your home’s details. If your home is underinsured, it’s like a double whammy if you have a loss. Not only will you have to deal with the stress of the loss, but you will also have to digest that your needs are not going to be covered.
Do you rent your home rather than own??? You need to protect yourself as well. Renter’s insurance is so affordable. Just like homeowner’s, it protects you in the case of a loss. Renter’s insurance isn’t going to cover the dwelling itself. You don’t own it, so you personally aren’t at a financial loss if the roof is damaged by a windstorm or if there is a fire. You are however most definitely impacted if your personal belongings are damaged from that loss. Just like homeowner’s, ask your agent about a potential multiline discount if you add renter’s insurance to your current auto policy.
Me when I am injured and can’t workout
Commercial Insurance Policies are the Burpees of Insurance
I love me some burpees. (The most difficult event my crazy friends and I have ever completed was a burpee long jump 5k. 3.1 miles of burpee long jumps. I ran a full marathon in less time than it took me to complete this 5k!! Oh the memories made with my Tara and my Cheri…)
I also understand that burpees aren’t for everyone, just like commercial insurance isn’t for everyone. Guess what, if you don’t own a business then you aren’t going to need commercial insurance. If you do though—no matter how big or small your company is—you need insurance.
We offer coverages that fit the one-man weekend construction operation (like my husband Stan- who you can call for a free quote of your construction/renovation needs—cheesy advertising alert– lol) all the way to a large, mature business (This will one day be my son when my Radford University investment pays off—no pressure Koda—actually lots of pressure, you are momma’s retirement plan. My retirement beach house and I are depending on you!).
Burpees are a full body workout kind of exercise. So are your commercial insurance packages. Not only do we have packages to cover your basic general liability but also offer services that expand to cover needs such as commercial auto, worker’s compensation, lessors risk the list goes on and on and on…just like burpees seem to do! Hahahaaaa
Umbrella insurance is the body building of insurance.
It gives you extra liability protection beyond what is offered by your policy. The cool thing with umbrella is that it extends protection over your auto and homeowner’s.
It reminds me of a super tough body builder standing there next to ya with his arms crossed (or her arms—I have some pretty beastly body building female friends) protecting you from any harm that may come your way.
Let’s say there was a car accident and you or someone on your policy was at fault. The person you hit had significant medical bills that were more than what your policy covers, that is when your umbrella insurance would kick in to cover the difference.
What if the accident caused a fatality? According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, in 2017 there were 843 people killed in a fatal crash in Virginia (see 2017 Crash Facts). An umbrella insurance policy would protect your assets and future wages by providing higher liability limits in case such a tragedy occurs.
If you host a social gathering at your home and someone slips and falls, or they get burned on your grill reaching for a hot dog, or they get hurt in your pool, or your dog bites the kid who kept pulling his tail, or they left after having one too many drinks and caused an accident on their way home…each situation could lead to a potential lawsuit (because seriously, people sue for basically anything and there are so many potentials for injury!).
While coverage options vary, if you are found negligent, your umbrella policy may respond to give you protection in addition what your homeowner’s insurance provides. Who doesn’t feel safer having their own personal body building level of protection! It isn’t that expensive either. Most million dollar umbrellas can be added to your existing policies for less than $1 a day.
Life Insurance is Like Earning a Place in the Record Books
It is leaving your legacy for the next generation.
I remember the very first time I placed 1st overall in an event. It was the first ever running of the FCHS Eagle Strut 5k. When I found out I was the 1st place female of their 1st ever event, you would have thought I qualified for the Olympic games. It was amazing. I will always and forever be the 1st ever 1st place female finisher of the 1st annual FCHS Eagle Strut 5k—it’s kind of a big deal (well, not really seeing as it was their 1st ever race so it wasn’t that huge of a turnout—but to me it was epic!).
Life insurance leaves the people you love with a bit of your legacy. You don’t even have some crazy huge policy to make a difference. Just enough to keep things functioning. Let’s say you have a home with just under 20 years left on your mortgage. The balance of that loan is around $100,000. Consider a 20-year, $100,000 term life insurance policy. If you were to die during that 20 years, your loved ones would be left with $100,000 that could be used to pay off the mortgage.
Financially this could make a big impact while your family are readjusting to their new normal now that you are gone. Life insurance offers such a wide variety of options that can fit all sorts of lifestyles and budgets.
So, there you go, my gym girl outlook on all that is insurance. Have I convinced you that choosing insurance is a lot like choosing a gym? I know reading this is going to make you run out (or burpee long jump out haha) to my office for a quote! We can set something up today, just click here.