Thursday, December 3, 2009

Can you predict your next car accident in Franklin TN?

Please don’t ever decline getting Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy. This coverage helps pay for your medical injuries and your vehicle’s damage if another driver with little or no insurance hits you.  You don't get to choose who crashes into you!

Approximately half of the people driving out there in Middle Tennessee either don’t have enough auto insurance, or don’t have any at all. You can’t choose who crashes into you, and there’s good chance that if someone does, they may not have enough, or any, insurance to pay for yours and your passengers’ medical injuries, plus damage to your vehicle. I’ve seen the benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage first-hand, and you don’t want to be without it, especially while driving in the Cool Springs area during the holidays!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The biggest problem I see on auto insurance policies in Franklin TN is...

When I review prospective customers’ auto policies, perhaps the most common thing I see is this line item:

“Bodily Injury/Bodily Injury Total/Property Damage:”100/300/100”

Is this what your policy says? What does it mean?

It simply means you have liability coverage for the “other guy”. If you cause an accident and injure the other driver and his passengers, your insurance covers up $100,000 max per person (the other guy) up to a total of $300,000 for the medical injuries in an accident. So, you exhaust your coverage if there are three people injured in the other car, and their medical injury costs equal exactly $100,000 each. However, if one person has injuries costing $150,000, $250,000, or more, your liability insurance still only pays up to the $100,000 limit.

The last “100” refers to your insurance coverage limit for property damage. It pays for damage you cause to the “other guy’s” vehicle, plus other vehicles, and things like phone poles, buildings, etc., and maxes out at $100,000.

This “100/300/100” level of liability coverage may be adequate for some, but certainly not all. Just think of what could happen if you caused an accident, resulting in the other driver to Don't let an accident turn into a nightmare! have serious injuries and be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their life. You better believe that person’s medical injuries, lost wages, and rehabilitation will far exceed $100,000, yet that is the per person limit of your insurance. Guess where the rest comes from? A big lawsuit, where your assets are at risk. And what if you hit an expensive Mercedes, which collides with a gas truck, which runs into building? That could easily exceed your $100,000 property damage limit.

So, the rule of thumb is to figure out “how much

you have to lose”, (meaning your assets like your house, car, savings, etc.), and make sure have your auto liability insurance matches that amount. For lots of people here in Franklin and Williamson County, this means they should look at liability limits of $250,000, $500,000, or even $1,000,000. Fortunately, getting higher liability coverage limits is not too expensive.

Also, if you have significant assets to protect, consider umbrella coverage, which can add $1 million, $2 million, and more on top of your existing auto policy limits. Don’t take for granted that you have sufficient auto liability insurance!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is your homeowners insurance ready for the unthinkable? Franklin TN rebuilding cost update.

 

What if your house burned down today? Do you have enough insurance coverage to rebuild it? Here in Franklin Tennessee, rebuilding costs range from $80 per square foot to $200+ per square foot. Look at the latest “declarations” page on your homeowners insurance policy. What’s your “dwelling” coverage amount? Divide it by the square feet of heated and cooled living space and you’ll know how much coverage per square foot you have available. Is it enough? Check to see if you also have “Extended Replacement” coverage, which adds an extra % on top of that “Dwelling” amount, if needed.

An overlooked but important part of this calculation is the cost for removal of debris (the pile of rubble after a fire or tornado, for instance), which is roughly $6-$8 per square foot, so don’t forget to account for that.

Some may think the dwelling amount should be the same as their purchase price or loan amount of their home, but that’s not accurate. For instance, you don’t need to insure your land, because it’s not going anywhere, even after a catastrophe. It’s also not wise to compare the amount of reconstruction money you’ll need to the cost of new construction of similar homes in the area. It usually costs more for a general contractor to build a “onesie” than to take advantage of economies of scale when building many homes in a subdivision.

These days, insurance companies won’t make an ironclad guarantee to rebuild your house, no matter what. You and your agent just need to make sure there’s enough money available to properly do the job, should the unthinkable happens.