4 Tips and Tricks to Getting the Most Affordable Home Insurance Policy

affordable insuranceAs a homeowner, it always seems like there is something new to learn. But one thing is for sure, and that is the need for home insurance to protect all your valuable assets. But understanding this type of insurance can be confusing and if you don’t sign up for the right policy, you may come to regret it down the road. So, here are some top tips to getting the most affordable property insurance possible.

  1. Know the value of your home
    While this may seem obvious, some homeowners only choose their plans based on what they can afford, not what they actually need. Getting an appraisal will let you know how much your home is worth and how much it will cost for specific repairs. Never estimate, just call a professional to get an accurate value.
  2. Know that there are ways to make your policy cheaper
    The goal is to get the most affordable insurance policy, so consider implementing some changes before you apply for a quote. While the exact price differs per insurance company, you can most likely expect that a home alarm system, having deadbolts on your doors, installing updated fire alarms, and living near a police or fire department will discount your rate.
  3. Know exactly what the policy includes
    It is never a good thing to make assumptions when you are purchasing homeowner insurance. Generally, most insurance policies cover storms including hail, tornado, and wind damage. However, it is important to know that flooding and earthquakes require additional coverage, so make sure to plan accordingly based on your environment.
  4. Know what’s in your home
    When you first sign up for your policy, you will want to make a list of your home’s inventory and keep it in a safe place. This is so you can always refer back to the value of your possessions if your home is ever ruined by fire or a natural disaster and you need to file a claim.

Looking for affordable insurance for your home or have any additional questions? Contact our professionals today and we will make sure you are covered!

A Few Important Reasons for Small Businesses to Have Property Insurance

property insuranceOwning a small business can be extremely rewarding, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. If you’re not careful, your business could take a steep turn for the worse, and you need to be prepared for that.

Insurance is just one of the many ways that small business owners can prepare in the event that the worst should happen. And while there are many different types of insurance, property insurance is one of the most important. Here are just a few reasons why every small business needs to invest in good property insurance.

Natural Disasters
You can’t predict when a disaster is going to happen, but you can predict how much coverage you’ll have if one does. You need to be prepared to repair and even replace entire sections of your business in the aftermath of a tornado, flood, or even a hurricane. This is one of the most important measures you can take to ensure you don’t lose everything.

Theft
Theft happens, and while it’s not your fault, it is your responsibility to have the proper insurance to cover it. Property insurance can help cover replacement items in the event of a major theft. Regardless of the criminal, theft is costly to a business.

Lost Income
Income can be lost for a number of reasons, which is why it’s imperative to have insurance services backing you up. Make sure you’re shopping around at insurance companies to find the best possible policy for you. Issues in your area may be different than those in another area, so be sure to work with your insurance company towards a specific policy.

Accidents
Accidents happen, and while they may not necessarily be your fault, you’ll always be the one cleaning up the mess afterwards because you’re a business owner. Private insurers pay up to 50% of all vehicle accident costs, and protecting your property should be equally as simple.

Affordable insurance for small business owners is crucial especially property insurance. If you’re concerned about your business and want that extra security, don’t forget about the importance of property insurance.

HR Rep’s Guide to Life Insurance Policies

life insuranceIf you’re in the complicated field of HR, you probably understand how difficult it can be to choose employee benefits when it comes to finding affordable insurance policies. Most benefits packages come with some sort of health insurance, but what about life insurance? Is life insurance something you should be offering your employees? Here’s what you should know about offering life insurance to employees.

When it comes to life insurance, it’s important to understand every term and condition. One benefit of offering life insurance to a large group of people is that it can save money on premiums. If you’re only looking to provide insurance to a select group of people, you won’t be eligible for premium savings unless you meet specific guidelines, referred to as nondiscrimination requirements. These are designed to discourage employers from offering benefits to only the highest ranking employees or limit the participation of lower ranking employees due to the price. The best way to offer benefits to limited groups of people is to base the distinctions on job duties, compensation, marital status, seniority, participation in pension, or other factors related to employment.

Group-term life insurance is a common plan for employers. This is a policy that provides life insurance for the employee, but not their spouse or their children. It generally stays in effect for the full term of employment. To take advantage of the tax deductions this provides, you must have at least ten full-time employees. The only exception to this is if every full-time employee will be enrolled for coverage. The percentage of coverage is usually a set percentage based on the employee’s compensation. Additionally, no medical exams need to be completed before being accepted for coverage.

Other types of life insurance employees can offer include Accidental Death and Dismemberment (pays benefits to employee’s beneficiary in the case of accidental death or loss of limb), business travel accident insurance (death of employee while traveling for business), and split-dollar life insurance (benefits paid to beneficiary, premiums returned to employer). These are less common due to their low likelihood.

Selecting the right insurance policy can certainly be confusing and overwhelming, even if you work in HR. Even auto insurance policies can be complicated — in fact, every speeding ticket you get will increase your auto insurance rates. That’s why it’s important to take the time, do the research, and get the input you need. If you have any questions about how to get insurance, life insurance quotes, or general insurance services, don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Your employees will definitely enjoy the peace of mind that having life insurance provides them.

Report: Florida Still Has Nation’s Highest Home Insurance Costs

insurance servicesFile this under bad-but-not-at-all-unexpected news: according to the latest The Palm Beach Post’s Property Insurance Guide, Florida once again leads the nation in the cost of home insurance.

According to the report:

The state’s average annual premium of $2,055 soars above the national average of $1,132, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners January 2017 report. Texas checks in at $1,947 and Louisiana averages $1,847 for a standard homeowner policy known as an HO-3.

Florida enjoyed an 11-year hiatus from hurricanes until 2016, but insurance industry officials say the state’s risk of catastrophic damage remains high, with 80% of the population living in coastal counties.

Hurricane Hermine made landfall last year, but the overall risk for hurricane’s and flooding remains higher than other state’s around the country, thus the higher rates from Florida home insurance companies. In fact, the Sunshine State is the only place in the country with average premiums surpassing the $2,000 mark.

How To Find Affordable Home Insurance in Florida
If Florida home insurance costs seems high, it’s nothing compared to the costs of not having insurance. According to 2012 data, about 7.2% of insured homes had at least one claim, which means that over a 10-year period, the chances are very, very high that you too will have to file a claim (especially if you live here in Florida).

Fortunately, almost all homeowners have insurance. The 2014 Insurance Information Institute poll revealed that fully 95% of homeowners had home insurance, compared to just 37% of renters (it helps when you’re required to purchase home insurance).

But just because home insurance premiums in Florida lead the nation in costs, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options for affordable home insurance policies. So how do you find affordable insurance policies?

One popular choice is to bundle insurance services by purchasing car insurance and home insurance from the same provider; however, the best way to get affordable home insurance is to work with the right company.

Emerald Coast Insurance takes pride in offering homeowners in Panama City insurance services they can afford. If you’re looking for affordable insurance quotes, contact us today to find a policy that works for your budget.

4 Tips on How to Get the Most Affordable Home Insurance Policy

affordable home insuranceAs a homeowner, it is a guarantee that you will have to handle your property insurance at one point or another. However, since homeowner insurance is often overlooked until you need it the most, not many homeowners understand what they are getting into when they’re signing up for a policy. Because of this, they may be taken advantage of by home insurance companies without even realizing it. To ensure you get the most affordable home insurance possible, follow these tips and tricks.

Know exactly what you need

While this may seem obvious, the first rule you need to follow is to understand exactly how much insurance you need. This can be done by speaking to an assessment company in order to figure out the actual value of your home. Once you have this figure in mind, you will be able to start the hunt for the most affordable plan for your budget.

Make sure there are no risks involved

The price of your homeowner’s insurance is based around how much risk the company is taking by providing you with a loan. So if you are a high-risk borrower due to your credit history, or if you live in an environment with a lot of weather issues, your policy may go up. Additional risk factors include the crime rate in your neighborhood, where your home is located on the street, how close you are to busy traffic areas, and if there is a school located nearby.

Invest in additional storm protection

While it may seem more expensive at first, buying more storm protection will go a long way in the long run. This is because most homeowner’s insurance policies cover storms including hail, tornado, and wind damage. But they don’t cover floods and earthquakes, so if your home is damaged this way, you will have to pay for any structural damage out of your own pocket.

Look into different details that can lower your premium from the start

Some things in your home that can already give you a discount include:

  • A security system
  • Fire alarms
  • Energy efficient HVAC system
  • A home located near a police department or a fire department
  • Updated electrical wiring

If you follow these tips, affordable home insurance is just a few steps away!

How Do Customizations and Accessories Affect Your Car Insurance Rates ?

affordable insuranceFinding affordable insurance can be challenging, especially when it comes to car insurance quotes. After all, a number of factors can affect your car insurance rates, including every speeding ticket you get and your decision to put your children on your policy; young people between the ages of 16 and 25 have some of the highest auto insurance rates. But did you know that customizing your vehicle with different accessories can raise your rates as well? Read on to learn how you can ensure your changes will be covered, and how your customizations might affect your rates — information that may help you maintain affordable insurance.

When it comes to affordable auto insurance, one of the most important things to remember is that your rates are based on the market value of your vehicle, as well as its risk of being involved in an accident or other problem for which your insurance services may be financially liable. As a result, a high-quality automobile in an area with a lot of car thefts likely won’t have affordable insurance premiums. But while this can seem stressful, insurance can be extremely helpful if you are involved in an accident and will also help protect you against depreciation. However, if you want your insurance to cover the full value of your car, you will need to submit a detailed report outlining any changes you make or accessories you add to your vehicle.

Typically, car insurance companies will cover:

  • High performance wheels and tires
  • Magnesium alloyed wheels, aluminum wheels and spoke wheels
  • Permanently installed TV and DVD players
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Chrome engine accessories
  • Certain paints
  • Roof treatments, like up hood ventilation and racks
  • Customized leather seats and coverings
  • Updated global positioning systems

However, most providers will not cover:

  • Radars
  • CDs, DVDs, and pen drives used in the car

All of the customizations you report, however, will increase your insurance premiums. To understand how much your rates will change, it is important to understand how they will impact your vehicle’s market rate. While the change might not seem pleasant, if you don’t report the customizations, you won’t be able to regain the full value of your car in the event of an accident or theft.

Fortunately, it is still possible to maintain fairly affordable insurance rates even with great accessories. For example, a great driving record can go a long way, and many insurance companies offer discounts for a variety of reasons. You may even be able to obtain great insurance prices from the beginning with a few smart choices; for example, some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers with hybrid vehicles because research shows they are less likely to be involved in an accident. Meanwhile, carefully researching different insurance companies can also uncover some great deals. Check out some auto insurance quotes today!

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Google Announces New Feature to Compare Car Insurance Prices

car insurance companiesWhile affordable insurance is a common goal for people across the United States, maintaining low home and auto insurance premiums can be difficult. This is especially true for car insurance rates. For example, if you get a speeding ticket, you will see your rates rise. However, you don’t even have to make a mistake to increase your premiums: adding your children to your car insurance plan will result in significantly higher expenses, as drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 have some of the highest auto insurance rates. Even worse, it can be difficult to leave car insurance companies in your dust, because any gaps in your coverage can make you look like a risk to other providers. Fortunately, drivers may soon have access to a helpful and familiar resource: Google is reportedly planning to help sell consumers auto insurance by helping users compare rates from different car insurance companies.

Currently, the popular search engine provides auto and travel insurance quotes, mortgage quotes in the U.K., and credit card comparisons in the U.S. under a service called “Google Compare.” In recent years, the company has hinted that they were looking to expand these services to different areas and add new specialties. Now, the company has announced that they will be launching a new featured called “Google Compare for Auto Insurance.” Consumers who search for “car insurance” will see a small, gray box requesting their zip code and other information about their car. They will then be directed to a comparison unit listing insurance premiums from participating car insurance companies. Users can also go directly to the comparison site at www.google.com/compare to get car insurance quotes.

According to Google, the service will initially be made available in California and expanded to other states later this year. Using in-house technology, the company says that the comparisons will be based on a flexible cost-per-acquisition (CPA) model, which will also allow car insurance companies to mention differentiating features and highlights that separate them from their competitors. However, even after it is fully implemented, Google Compare might not be the best place to compare auto insurance quotes: State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate and other major insurance providers have reportedly declined to work with Google on this venture. Experts say that after evaluating how the search giant ranked companies in its U.K. mortgage comparison, many car insurance companies are concerned that they would be judged solely on price, not their features. And because Google is relying already on comparison sites like CoverHound and CompareNow to compile its information, this refusal could be an annoying roadblock as the service tries to expand.

Moreover, some are questioning how much revenue Google would even generate from this venture, as consumers may not be ready to buy their insurance from an aggregator. And while car insurance companies write an estimated $175 billion in premiums from private passenger auto insurance every year, 10% of which goes to insurance commission, Google would likely have to share these profits with partners like CoverHound. However, some have suggested that this new feature is just a stepping stone for the company’s other ventures, including a purported plan for self-driving cars. Will Google’s new car insurance comparison tool revolutionize the insurance industry, and maybe even the car industry? Only time will tell.

Five Ways to Reduce Your Auto Insurance Premiums

auto insurance quotesAlmost every driver knows that car insurance is a necessary component of owning a vehicle. Unfortunately, finding affordable auto insurance is often easier said than done. However, if all of the auto insurance quotes you are finding are too high, the problem might not be the insurance services. Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your car insurance rates and access more affordable insurance. Read on to learn how a few simple changes might lead to lower auto insurance quotes.

  • Drive Less–Studies show that those who drive less than 7,500 miles a year often receive price breaks from their insurance company. Try taking public transportation or carpooling to get to work if you’re able: at the very least, it will save you a considerable amount in gas money.
  • Be a Good Driver–You have likely heard that every speeding ticket you get will increase your car insurance rates. However, you may not have heard that good driving habits can lead to discounts from your insurance company. To take advantage of both, drive safe.
  • Check Your Discounts and Coverage–The best way to reduce your premium is to conduct thorough research: look for every possible discount, whether it’s for car alarms or good driving, and talk to your insurance company to see how many drivers on the plan these discounts will apply to. Next, read over your policy to make sure you really need all of those components. For example, if you own an older car, you likely won’t benefit much from collision insurance. Likewise, if you have great health insurance, the medical portion of your car insurance may be unnecessary.
  • Be Smart When Car Shopping–Research shows that some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers of hybrid cars, as studies show these drivers are less likely to be involved in an accident. Also keep an eye out for car alarms and other safety features, which can reduce the risk of theft and other things the company may need to pay for; you might be able to get a discount for these as well.
  • Shop Around–If you are really unhappy with your insurance company or unable to afford your coverage, don’t be afraid to check out some auto insurance quotes for other companies. However, make sure to keep insurance on your car at all times: gaps in coverage can suggest that you are a risk, which will lead to higher auto insurance quotes.

Are you looking for new auto insurance quotes? Have you had any luck decreasing your premiums in the past? Tell us about it in the comments!

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Three Reasons Your Car Insurance Premiums May Be High

Affordable auto insurance is a high priority for most American drivers. However, as you are searching out different car insurance quotes, you may notice that you aren’t seeing a wide range of prices. Are the days of affordable insurance behind us, or is there something about your situation that is causing the car insurance rates to follow similar patterns? Unfortunately, it is likely the latter: factors that you have the least control over often have the greatest impact on your premium amounts. Read on to learn about some of the determining factors affecting your insurance, and steps you can take to reduce these rates.

Age and Gender
Young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 have some of the highest auto insurance rates offered by car insurance companies. However, men of this age will pay more than women, as studies show that young male drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. Fortunately, as time goes on, this will change for most men: married men, for example, pay less than single men, as research shows they get into fewer accidents. Some states have forbidden insurance rates based on age and gender, but this often means higher rates for women instead of lower rates for everyone.

Driving Record
Every speeding ticket, moving traffic violation or accident you cause will raise your car insurance rates, as well as any future car insurance quotes you receive. However, if you are a safe driver with a good driving record, you will likely pay the lowest possible rates, giving you even more reason to check your blind spots and follow the speed limit.

Location
Where you live also has an impact on your car insurance quotes and premiums. For example, because urban areas have greater population densities and more traffic, drivers in these areas will pay more than those who live in rural locales. Moreover, insurers often set rates based on zip codes, making major cities even more expensive than nearby suburbs. But you can’t lay all of the blame on your congested morning commute: states like Florida, Massachusetts and New York pay higher premiums due to growing rates of fraud and theft.

If you fall into one of these groups, it is natural to feel discouraged. However, by taking helpful steps, it may be possible to reduce your payments. According to Cars Direct, some insurance companies will offer discounts to drivers with hybrid cars, as research shows they are less likely to get into an accident; why not save some money on your gas and insurance premiums by picking out one of these vehicles next time you need a new car? Likewise, striving to keep your driving record safe will, at the very least, keep your payments from increasing. By taking these and other smart steps, your dream of affordable car insurance may soon become a reality.