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So far Ins-Card has created 35 blog entries.
Jul 12, 2018

Storms Cause Neighborhood Storms

2020-02-25T14:53:20-05:00Tags: |

Once again mother nature caused some issues recently in Northern Michigan with storms and high winds that brought trees down on buildings as well as vehicles.

When a tree, regardless where it comes from, damages your insured buildings or home, your homeowner’s insurance policy will respond because wind is a covered ‘peril’. (a peril is an exposure to loss – fire – lightening etc.).  You will still have to pay your policy deductible, but you […]

May 30, 2018

Divorce & Division of Property

2020-02-25T16:05:50-05:00Tags: |

It happens. Relationships sometimes simply don’t work out, and you find yourself moving out of a home and dividing up assets. The insurance in these situations can be complicated for everyone including your insurance agent.

We get the calls often. We are getting a divorce and he/she has moved out, so delete them.

It’s not that simple. We will never knowingly leave a client without coverage or remove them without their permission.

In these situations, we will take […]

May 21, 2018

What’s in A Name?

2020-02-25T15:59:22-05:00Tags: |

Seems to not really have much importance, the way you are named in an insurance policy; until you are told that you are not covered!
We get requests all the time for people or entities to be added to an insurance policy as an ‘insured’. The only ‘insured’ however would be automatic insureds.

When you are ‘added’ to an insurance policy, you are either going to be a ‘Named Insured’ or an ‘Additional Insured’.
What is the […]

May 15, 2018

What does ‘Named Peril’ Mean?

2020-02-25T15:37:56-05:00Tags: |

I don’t think anyone would argue that insurance jargon is, at times, very confusing. Even after being in this industry writing insurance policies for over 30 years, I at times must re-read policy forms (yes, I’m a true insurance geek that reads entire policies). It takes several readings at times to understand where the company is giving coverage back and when they are taking it away. We know that many times when an insured and […]

Apr 27, 2018

Michigan Ranked #6 for Dog Bite Claims

2020-02-25T15:12:16-05:00Tags: |

Yes, we know that Fido is an adorable pet that ‘wouldn’t hurt anyone’. However, we also know that insurance companies pay millions of dollars each year for dog bite medical, surgical and liability lawsuit settlements.

There are reportedly close to 90 million dogs living in homes in the U.S, and while we realize that many never bite, the ones that do have caused some insurance companies to surcharge certain breeds.

This blog won’t get into which breeds […]

Apr 19, 2018

Factors YOU Control That Impact Your Auto Insurance Costs

2020-02-25T15:04:29-05:00Tags: |

Auto insurance rates in Michigan continue to rise due to increasing medical costs. We are the only State with UNLIMITED medical coverage on our auto policies, and as medical costs continue to increase and as hospitals and rehabilitation clinics and doctors continue to be able to charge whatever they want for auto related accidents, costs don’t look to be going down.

I’ve written previously about the ‘schedule of mandated fee’s that would help limit auto accident […]

Apr 14, 2018

Shipt Drivers in Michigan

2020-02-28T15:04:45-05:00Tags: |

So, I took the plunge! About 3 months ago I decided to give Shipt a whirl and see if it was all the hype that my busy professional mom girlfriends were claiming. And oh, my goodness were they right!

The fact that I can now do my weekly grocery shopping while sipping an iced chai at airports all over the US as I travel for classes and conferences, has me hooked!

We say all the time, that […]

Mar 23, 2018

Spring Toys can bring Financial Woes

2020-02-14T15:38:40-05:00Tags: |

As the snow leaves us here in Northern Michigan, the trails and mud seem to call riders from all over to get out their ATVs and hit the dirt, sand and hills.

Michigan is in fact 4th in the Nation for ATV sales and registrations, and in 2014 we had over 206,000 registered ATVs. Unfortunately, Michigan is also 4th highest in the Nation for ATV crashes and deaths.

It is not surprising either to read that in […]

Jan 8, 2018

Claims on Vacant Homes Denied

2020-02-25T13:53:31-05:00Tags: |

You and your siblings deal with the excruciating decision to place your mother into a long-term care facility as she can no longer take care of herself due to either physical, medical or mental capacity issues.

Her home sits until the family can agree on a course of action regarding it. Whether they decide to rent it out, have a family member move into it as their primary residence, or you decide to divide and then […]

Jan 1, 2018

Why Do Insurance Costs Vary So Much?

2020-02-14T15:39:03-05:00Tags: |

“Imagine the shock of hearing a quote $3,000.00 less than what you are paying for your insurance!” We just received a testimonial from this client who was floored at how much she had been overpaying for her home and auto insurance every year! How can that happen? And no, we did not lower her coverage, but did just the opposite by increasing her limits of liability as well as discounts and adding coverage endorsements that […]

Dec 25, 2017

Should I Have High Deductibles?

2020-02-14T15:39:10-05:00Tags: |

Your home insurance renewal arrives and like most people, you toss it in a drawer or cabinet once you have paid the bill, but you really don’t pay much attention to that stack of paperwork that comes in the envelope.

I get it. Most people don’t enjoy reading insurance policies. Therefore, it may surprise you to know that Michigan courts have determined that it is the client’s responsibility to know the coverage in their policy, and […]

Dec 18, 2017

Forms of Auto Collision Coverage in Michigan

2020-02-14T15:39:19-05:00Tags: |

Michigan is somewhat unique when it comes to auto insurance in more ways than our Unlimited Medical benefits.

When purchasing collision physical damage protection for your vehicles, you have 3 options that some agents may not discuss with you, at least we often hear from new clients that no-one ever told them of the choices.

Broad form collision is what we write the most of. Broad form states that if you are ‘less than 50%’ at fault […]

Dec 11, 2017

Michigan’s Auto Insurance Reform Defeated

2020-02-14T15:39:27-05:00Tags: |

Once again, the attempt to control costs of Michigan Auto Insurance has failed by a 45-63 vote earlier this month.

Michigan having the highest auto insurance costs in the nation will NOT change unless congress is able to move a bill successfully.

As an agent with nearly 30 years in this industry, I’ve seen bills come and go without any resolution. The only successful bill to make it out of both the House and […]

Dec 6, 2017

Does my roommate need Renters Insurance too?

2020-02-14T15:39:37-05:00Tags: |

In this day of un-related individuals all living together in a home that just one of them owns, or in an apartment or condo that is leased, renters’ insurance seems to be something they all just seem to assume someone is going to cover them for.

Here’s a good rule of thumb. If you aren’t buying your own insurance policy, and have no ownership in the residence you call ‘home’, you’re leaving yourself open to not […]

Nov 27, 2017

How Much Do I Insure My Home For?

2020-02-14T15:39:56-05:00Tags: |

You paid $165,000 for your home, but your agent here in Michigan thinks your ‘bargain purchase’ for a seasonal residence should be insured for $208,000. How can that be?

We get this question constantly being that our agency writes a lot of homes for newcomers to the Grand Traverse County area, so I thought an explanation might help our clients, future clients, and those who just want to understand how the evaluation of home insurance […]

Nov 20, 2017

Replacement Cost vs Market Value Issues

2020-02-14T15:40:05-05:00Tags: |

You find a major bargain for a rental property in Detroit Michigan and only pay $65,000 for a home, but then after phone calls to 5 different insurance agencies in the area, you can’t secure any insurance on it, or the single agent who agreed to insure it, wants to charge you a ridiculous premium because they want to insure the home for three times what you paid for it!! – What?? How frustrating […]

Nov 13, 2017

Claims Reporting – When to Contact Your Agent

2020-02-14T15:40:14-05:00Tags: |

You find water in the basement level of your home, or you back your vehicle into your own basketball pole in the driveway; fortunately, your insurance agent is just a phone call away. But WAIT!!

Do you realize that turning in a claim on your insurance; even if the amount paid is zero or ends up being less than $500, can STILL increase your premiums for the next 3 to 5 years???

Once a claim has […]

Oct 30, 2017

Reverse Trick or Treat

2020-02-14T15:40:25-05:00Tags: |

Whether you believe in the tradition of Halloween or not, there is something to be said for the delight of children everywhere who get dressed up in their favorite superhero, cartoon character or Disney pal outfit and go house to house asking for goodies that Dentists everywhere cringe seeing and hearing about.

But what if your child couldn’t go out and partake in that ritual because they were hospitalized during that usually cold and rainy night? […]

Oct 28, 2017

Uber & Lyft have arrived in Traverse City

2020-02-14T15:40:33-05:00Tags: |

So, to answer the big insurance question – it’s a flat NO – your standard Michigan auto insurance policy does NOT cover you while you are being a local taxi driver regardless what name you slap on the app for people to contact you!!

The news reports that Lyft and Uber are now available in Traverse City has created a lot of buzz. It makes us feel like big city folk. Not sure why they started […]

Oct 11, 2017

Michigan Auto – Medical Order of Priority

2020-02-14T15:40:41-05:00Tags: |

Michigan is often in the news about our auto insurance being the highest in the Nation. Truth!

Why? – Because Michigan is the ONLY State that provides UNLIMITED medical coverage for its residents (whether insured or not! – which is a separate blog topic and therapy session).
That doesn’t mean much for the average person paying somewhere between $300 and $500 per year, PER VEHICLE, JUST for that unlimited medical benefit as well as loss of wages […]

Oct 6, 2017

Salvage Autos – Hurricanes, Floods, Collisions

2020-02-14T15:40:50-05:00Tags: |

We realize that Northern Michigan isn’t home to many floods or hurricanes, but we find when major storms occur like Hurricane Harvey, Michiganders end up with vehicles that come from devastated areas.

Unlike home insurance; where flood is excluded, auto insurance policies do provide coverage for flood if comprehensive is purchased. When vehicles are in a flood, and are totaled by an insurance company, the owner has the option to purchase the vehicle back from the […]

Sep 29, 2017

What Michiganders can learn from Hurricane Harvey

2020-02-14T15:41:00-05:00Tags: |

Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey, especially knowing that 85% of them have no flood insurance. These people face a crushing blow to their personal finances and a major upheaval of their lives. It’s devastating enough to endure such a major tragedy of losing your home and belongings, but then to have no financial assistance in putting it all back together again must be unbearable to many suffering there.

We get it […]

Sep 12, 2017

You wrecked “Brad” and you want a new “Brad”

2020-02-14T15:41:09-05:00Tags: |

Yes, we realize that the Liberty Mutual television ad about wrecking a just purchased vehicle (she calls Brad), and not being able to purchase another one with the insurance proceeds, is done with humor and with purpose to draw attention to their company.

Our agency is licensed with Safeco Insurance which is owned by Liberty Mutual, so we are very familiar with their advertising. It’s cute and we like it too.

Unfortunately, some ads can be misleading, […]

Sep 7, 2017

College Kids – To Be… or Not to Be… On Their Own

2020-02-14T15:41:18-05:00Tags: |

Your 19-year-old son is away at college, is listed as a ‘driver’ on your auto policy and is using a vehicle that you; their parent – owns and insures. You have called your insurance agent and advised them of the change of address for the vehicle, so if something were to happen, your agent and the company are aware of the location and usage of that vehicle. Everything is fine.

However, the above scenario isn’t how […]

Aug 30, 2017

Teen Driver Safety Tips

2020-02-14T15:41:27-05:00Tags: |

Drivers education courses provide our teens with enough knowledge and hands on experience to get their license, but that’s about it.  I realized this as I watched my 16-year-old taking his drivers training test last November.  The very same 16-year-old, who by the way, totaled his first vehicle within 3 months of driving on ice in winter.  Yay! – Insurance Agency owner’s kid totals vehicle.  Yeah – I know – Awesome!

So being an agency that […]

Aug 24, 2017

Renters Insurance – Worth the cost of 2 Ristretto Venti Chocolate Brownie Iced Drinks?

2020-02-14T15:41:38-05:00Tags: |

Not only are kids moving back into their parents’ homes, now they are bringing their significant other and many times, other unrelated minor children with them.

Today’s home can have several individuals living together who are not related by blood, marriage or adoption. We understand the convenience and monetary reasons for this occurring more often in our society, but we also know that it becomes a consideration for gaps in coverage on both […]

Aug 15, 2017

Client Relationships

2020-02-14T15:41:49-05:00Tags: |

Today I got the news that a long term client of mine passed away over the weekend. Every business owner gets these calls, and we empathize over the phone with the family member who is calling to inform us.

However, it occurred to me this morning as I looked online for the funeral details, that unlike 1-800 number agencies, we have a real connection and relationship with our clients. In my 30 […]

Aug 11, 2017

Why is Local Important?

2020-02-14T15:42:01-05:00Tags: |

Yes Amazon is quick, convenient, and all too easy to use. My 16-year-old doesn’t understand why I prefer to purchase what I can here locally in Traverse City. Just today I wanted to purchase some school supplies to do giveaways to families before the school year begins. His exact comment was – “Just Amazon it Mom – it’s the smartest way”.

I do understand that his Generation Z group of young people don’t understand […]

Apr 23, 2017

Cover Yourself with an Umbrella

2020-02-14T15:42:23-05:00Tags: |

An Umbrella Liability policy is a ‘separate’ policy that provides clients with an additional ‘layer’ of liability protection. The policy is placed ‘on top of’ your other insurance policies; hence the name ‘umbrella’.

The minimum limit for an umbrella policy is $1,000,000, and they are sold in increments of $1,000,000, with the additional limits costing approximately 60% of the first million premium.
The ‘average’ annual premium for a $1,000,000 umbrella policy to extend over your home and […]

Apr 23, 2017

My Credit Card Covers My Rental Vehicle

2020-02-14T15:42:33-05:00Tags: |

The purchase of rental car insurance remains one of the most asked questions we get in the insurance industry. We often hear clients say that their credit card covers the physical damage of a vehicle when they rent it using that card. But does it really?

I have reviewed the credit card wording from American Express, Visa, Discover and MasterCard. Have you? Do you know what they cover and more importantly, don’t cover? The best time […]

Dec 29, 2015

Love Them Now

2020-02-14T15:43:01-05:00Tags: |

Recently life has been reminding me, all too frequently; that it needs to be fully appreciated each and every day and we shouldn’t be taking it for granted.

Age 44, seemingly healthy father and husband, suddenly dies of a heart attack. Mother of 4 shot and killed in her own home in front of her own children – by their father. No warning, no time to prepare, no time for family members, peers, coworkers, buddies, girlfriends […]

Dec 22, 2015

My Identity IS Worth Stealing

2020-02-14T15:43:13-05:00Tags: |

I’m not rich or famous or even quasi important in any financial way. Banks aren’t calling to ‘convince’ me they want my banking done with them. The big non-profits in town don’t have me tagged on a prospect list as a key ‘hopeful large dollar contributor’ for their annual fundraising galas. Sure I have worked very hard to get my business where it’s stable, and I’m able to drive around in my […]

Nov 21, 2015

How Blessed are We?

2020-02-14T15:43:35-05:00Tags: |

How Blessed Are We? A have a question for my fellow insurance agency owners to ponder….. How blessed are we? Have you ever stopped and taken the time to ask yourself that question? Well, I have, and of course… as those of you who know me can attest to, …. I, as usual, have MUCH to say on the subject. So grab a cup of coffee, or… Perhaps, my favorite; a mega cup of chai […]

Nov 4, 2015

My Wish… For You

2020-02-14T15:43:25-05:00Tags: |

Most Independent Insurance Agency owners are actively involved in bettering the community in which they live and work. I am proud that our industry has a reputation for such service. I personally have been heavily involved in volunteering with local organizations for over 20 years. I began with a simple wish to work with children as my first and previous Blog mentioned. I had wanted to help counsel abused children, and although I instead chose […]

Nov 4, 2015

How I found passion in – of all things – an insurance career

2020-02-14T15:43:46-05:00Tags: |

In 1988 with just a high school diploma for credentials, I answered a newspaper ad for a receptionist at a local insurance agency. My long term goal: To work with children who were victims of child abuse. Short Term Goal; Find a job to pay for it. My focus? I was an Honors Student with a Double Major in Criminology and Child Psychology.

After 2 years of working 40 hours at the agency, taking 4 night […]

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