coveringyourassets

Helping you protect what you've worked so hard to obtain.

Even Mom and Pop Businesses Need Commercial Auto Insurance

Are you a Phoenix small business owner who uses your personal vehicle for business with only personal auto coverage?  Did you know your personal auto carrier will most likely deny a claim if you were doing anything business-related at the time of the accident?  Believe me, they’ll find out – especially if you have any signage on your car.  Even one claim could wipe out your Arizona business and destroy everything you’ve built.

Many business owners think commercial auto insurance is expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case.  It all depends upon what type of business you do, how many miles you drive, the types of vehicles you’ve got and, of course, your driving record.  I even offer liability-only commercial car insurance for those with older vehicles that aren’t really worth getting full coverage on.  I’m a broker and have programs specific for all types of small businesses, artisans, and light commercial usage.

I’m a Phoenix business owner, too, and I know how irritating it can be to have businesses soliciting me all day long.  It’s disruptive and annoying.  If you’re interested in getting a quote for commercial auto insurance, I’ll make you this promise:  No annoying phone calls.  No high pressure sales pitch .. not ever.  To get started, you’ll need to fill out a form with your business information, then within 24 hours or so I’ll send you an email quote.  If you like what you see and it fits with your business budget, you call me and we’ll go from there.

Click Here for a Commercial Auto Quote

Tavisha
Go Time Insurance
(602) 938-1515

Leave a comment »

Do What You Love and Delegate What You Don’t

Let’s face it … we’re all too busy.  Most of us are trying to figure out ways to take things off our plate.  But, how do you determine which things to do yourself and which things to delegate?  I think the answer lies in figuring out what you love doing and what you dread doing.

The internet has brought about a social change that may or may not be good – depending on your personality type.  I’ve been a travel agent for years and I’ve seen firsthand how the internet significantly changed the way consumers purchased products.  For years, the world of travel was a closed world with information only available to travel agents.  Consumers had to go through a travel agent to gain access to information about most travel products.

The advent of the internet changed all that.  People were excited to be able to plan their own trips now and avoid using a travel agent altogether.  But, was it really better for consumers?  My thinking is no, it’s not.  I don’t say that merely as an agent, but as someone who’s seen the ramifications of internet travel purchases.

The travel suppliers have effectively tricked the public into doing all the work for themselves, cutting out the commissions for travel agents by doing so, yet not lowering the price.  Many people don’t understand that going through a travel agent is the exact same price as purchasing directly from the supplier.

So, the question you have to ask yourself is do you enjoy spending time researching something that you could easily delegate to someone else FOR FREE?  Now, for some people the answer will be yes.  They enjoy getting online and checking out all the cruise ship review sites and talking to other cruisers about the various ships.  It’s very fun for them.  But, for others, it’s not much fun and really feels more like work than anything else.

Think of the things in your life that you don’t enjoy doing that could be farmed out to others who are significantly more experienced than you are.

Obviously, since I’m an insurance agent, I see the value in using an agent.  Few things are more boring to the average person than shopping for insurance – any kind of insurance.  Plus, most people don’t really understand how to determine the amount of coverage they need – so most are either under-insured or over-insured.  So, why not find an agent who represents various companies and let them do all the work?  They understand insurance better than you probably do and are willing to put in some time on your behalf in hopes of finding you the right coverage and making a sale.  They’ll do all the research for free – saving you hours of time getting quotes.

Obviously, you can’t delegate everything for free that presses on your time.  But, make a list of things you really dislike doing and figure out how much it would cost you to get someone else to do it for you.  Then, spend that time doing something you really do love.  It will refresh and re-energize your soul.

When my son was a toddler, I only had a minimum amount of time to spend with him since I worked full-time.  For me, it was worth it to have all of our laundry done at the fluff and fold – saving my weekends for fun time with him, as opposed to chasing him around the laundry room at our apartment complex.  The trade-off was more than worth it to me.  Those precious hours are forever emblazoned in my mind – whereas the hours spent doing that laundry would not have been.  The price I paid was negligible compared to the benefits.

Do you love doing:

  • Yard work
  • Housework
  • Your own taxes
  • Personal or small business bookkeeping
  • Washing your car
  • Pool maintenance

Life is too short to spend much of it doing thing you really hate to do.  Of course, we’ll probably never be able to completely eliminate all unpleasant tasks.  However, figuring out what you can dish off to someone else and then … actually doing it … will free up much-needed time to do the things you really love.

So, get out there and hike, take that painting or ceramics class you’ve been talking about for years, write that book that’s been percolating inside your brain, or whatever it is that will make you really happy.  You only live once, so make every minute count!

Until next time …

Tavisha, Go Time Insurance

(602) 938-1515

 

Leave a comment »

5 Myths About Phoenix Renters Insurance

According to a recent study, two-thirds of all Phoenix apartment and condo renters do not carry renters insurance – which is surprising when you consider that renters are 50% more likely to be victims of burglary than homeowners according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

I began asking people I knew in the Phoenix area and surrounding Valley cities if they carried it and if they didn’t, why not.  Here are the predominant answers I received:

  1. It’s Too Expensive.  According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average renters policy only costs $169 per year.   That’s a lot cheaper than paying to replace all of your things at one time.  When I tell people that the average policy I sell in my office in Phoenix is about $75 down and under $20 per month, they can’t believe it.  This is a little higher than the NAIC statistic listed above, but I always offer “replacement cost” policies rather than “actual cash value” (or depreciated value) policies – and these cost a little bit more.  But, I think they’re worth it to my clients and they always know they’ll be able to replace their items at the current value – not pennies on the dollar with a depreciated-value policy.
  2. I’m Covered Under My Landlord’s Policy.  This is a common misconception.  Yes, your landlord carries insurance on the property.  But, that only covers what they own – which is the actual property.  They also most likely have coverage for liability that would be their responsibility – such as someone tripping over an uneven walkway or something like that.  However, their policy will not cover your belongings, nor will it cover any liability that would be yours – such as someone tripping over a cord in your living room and breaking their arm.
  3. I Don’t Need Liability Coverage.  Again, as stated in the previous myth, you actually do need it.  If someone gets hurt while visiting you and it’s not something that’s clearly caused by a defect to the property, then you’re responsible.  This could range from a dog bite to someone tripping.
  4. I Don’t Own Enough Stuff to Warrant Paying for Coverage.  You’d be surprised how much all your stuff would cost to replace if you lost everything.  We offer a free home inventory worksheet in pdf format.  Print it out and do a thorough inventory of all your belongings.  You’ll be surprised how much it would cost to replace everything.  It would certainly be much more than the cost of a rental insurance policy.
  5. I Live in a Great New Complex and I’m Not Worried About Security.  While that may be true, many people don’t know that their renter’s insurance policy will cover their items when they’re not at home.  For instance, if your camera is stolen while you’re on vacation, your policy will likely cover it.  Also, if someone breaks into your car and steals your new briefcase or a laptop you locked in the car, it’s going to be your renters insurance policy that would likely cover it – not your auto insurance policy.

Being in the insurance business, people tell me stories all the time about how insurance affected their lives.  I’ve had numerous people tell me about making small claims on their homeowners or renters policies for things that were stolen while on vacation.  But, I’ve also had a few people tell me about more serious incidents – like fire – where they were so grateful they had taken the time to purchase renter’s insurance.  Going through the trauma of losing everything was bad, but knowing they had coverage to replace their belongings made the sting less painful.

If you’ve never done a home inventory before, take a few minutes to download our free Home Inventory Worksheet to see exactly what it would cost you to replace everything in your home.  You’ll be surprised at the total.

As always, until next time …

Tavisha, Go Time Insurance

(602) 938-1515

 

Leave a comment »

5 Exclusions Your Phoenix Homeowners Insurance Probably Doesn’t Cover

This list includes five common risks you may think you’re covered for – but really aren’t.  Most of these are excluded from standard homeowners insurance policies here in Phoenix (and the rest of the country) and will only be covered if you purchase optional coverage for an additional fee, if available.  They are:

  1. Trampolines:  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission 92,159 people received emergency room treatment for injuries caused on trampolines in 2010.  This fact has not escaped the attention of insurance companies.  Most Arizona homeowners policies specifically exclude coverage for trampolines, and some companies won’t sell you coverage at all (even excluding the trampoline) if you own one.  Not telling them won’t change anything, as many policies include language that states they can deny coverage or cancel your policy if you fail to disclose that you purchase one.
  2. Owning a “Bad Dog:”  There are 11 canine breeds that regularly make the “bad dog” list of many Phoenix home insurers – and may be excluded from animal liability coverage on your policy.  These breeds are:  Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Pit Bull, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and any wolf hybrid.  Insurers claim when they identify and exclude breeds that are more likely to bite, this helps lower insurance premiums for everyone in Arizona.  However, some people feel animals should be judged individually, not as a group through breed profiling.  Even the AKC has voiced their opinion, saying that these breeds actually end up saving money by deterring break-ins.  But, until this policy is changed, you could be sitting on a HUGE potential lawsuit if you own a dog of this breed and it ends up biting anyone.  Your homeowners will likely not cover the claim and you’ll be left to defend yourself against any liability.
  3. Jewelry, Fine Art & Collectibles:  Most standard policies include a small amount of coverage for these types of things (up to, say, $2,500 maximum).  However, if you’ve got any of these items (or a combination of them) that is valued at more than that, you’ll need to purchase a rider to your policy that increases your coverage for these items.  Expect to have your items appraised, photographed, etc.  so the insurance company will agree to a coverage amount in the event of a covered loss.
  4. Mold or Fungus:  Insurance companies used to cover mold or fungus if it was the direct result of a covered risk.  That made sense, right?  If your home is flooded because a water pipe breaks inside the wall and mold develops, your insurance would cover mold treatment and removal.  However, recent litigation has changed the way Arizona insurers deal with mold and fungus.  Many of them have excluded coverage altogether – even when caused by a covered risk.  So, make sure to read your policy carefully so you know if you’re covered or not – as mold and fungus can be a very expensive fix if you have to come out of pocket on it.
  5. Pool Diving Boards and Slides:  Here in Phoenix, pools are common.  If you have an older pool, it wouldn’t be unusual to have either a diving board or slide.  Just keep in mind that some companies will charge a surcharge for either of these items or exclude them from coverage, while some companies won’t issue you insurance at all.

The worst thing is having something terrible happen, only to realize you’re not covered for it.  Not only are you dealing with the emotional aftermath of the situation, but now you’re left holding the bag as far as liability or replacement goes.

My advice is the same as always … pull out your policy and read through it carefully to see what’s covered — as well as what’s excluded.  As the old saying goes … the devil is in the details.

Until next time …

Tavisha, Go Time Insurance

(602) 938-1515

Leave a comment »

5 Reasons Why Shopping Locally is Important for Phoenix

Many consumers in Phoenix and throughout the Valley are struggling to make ends meet, while also wanting to support local businesses rather than buying online or through “big box” stores.  Today, I wanted to address several important reasons for making a choice to support Phoenix’s local businesses.

  1. MULTIPLIER EFFECT:  Many Valley communities are beginning to feel the impact of losing their local business base.  In addition to creating unique character for a community, local businesses also provide very tangible financial benefits.  Local businesses utilize local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, contractors, designers, attorneys, ad agencies, etc.  When the local business base deteriorates, these supporting businesses also diminish.  Local businesses create an economic multiplier effect that is 3 – 3 1/2 times that of a chain outlet.
  2. KEEPING MONEY IN THE COMMUNITY:  According to the Sustainable Business Network of New York City, when you spend $100 locally you are keeping $73 in your local economy.  However, when you spend $100 with a non-locally owned business, only $43 stays in your local economy.  The rest is exported to a corporate headquarters – and out of the Phoenix economy.  That’s a 30% difference – which will obviously, over time, have a significant impact in our local economy.
  3. GREATER SUPPORT FOR NON-PROFITS:  While corporations here in Phoenix do a great deal of charity work, anyone who works in the non-profit sector will tell you that the bread and butter for most non-profits comes from local business support.  Statistically, non-profits receive an average of 250% more support from small business owners than they do from large businesses.
  4. TYPICALLY BETTER SERVICE:  Local business owners often hire people who have a better understanding of the products they are selling, and they take the time to train their employees properly.  Obviously, we know this isn’t always the case, as we’ve all had bad experiences with local Valley businesses.  But, generally, employees for local businesses are better trained and offer better service.
  5. IT INVESTS IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP:  The American economy is founded on the principles of creativity and entrepreneurship.  Preserving and nurturing these skills will insure a strong local economy here in Phoenix for years to come.

While it may not be prudent to try to buy everything locally, transitioning a majority of your purchases to local Phoenix businesses benefits everyone within our community, giving the local economy the much-needed boost it needs to thrive.

Until next time,

Tavisha, Go Time Insurance

Leave a comment »

How is My Arizona Car Insurance Premium Determined?

ImageThat’s a great question and one that can save you a lot of money if you take the time to understand the factors used by insurance companies to derive your rate.

  • Your Driving Profile.  The items of information that comprise your driving profile include your MVR record of accidents and tickets, as well as how many miles you drive annually.  If you drive five miles per day to work, your premium will likely be less than someone who commutes 50 miles per day.  And, obviously, if you’ve had several at-fault accidents or speeding tickets within the past 36 months or a DUI within the past five years, your rates will be higher – as the insurance company considers you a higher claims risk.
  • Your Personal Information as it Relates to Actuarial Tables.  The insurance companies spend a lot of time and money evaluating data and compiling it into actuarial tables.  They have a pretty good idea of the claims likelihood of someone in your age rage, with your occupation, living in your area.  They have created detailed statistics regarding trends for accidents and auto thefts in your area, as well as the average costs for car repair and healthcare for your city.
  • Your Credit Score.  According to the Insurance Information Institute, how a person handles their finances is an accurate reflection of the frequency and size of their insurance claim history.  With the economy the way it is right now, many people who once had great credit are being turned down or surcharged for standard insurance because their credit rating has taken a hit.  Go Time Insurance specializes in offering nonstandard insurance (click the link to read our article explaining the difference).  Most of the carriers we use don’t use credit scoring, but rather use “insurance scoring,” which evaluates your insurance history and stability when determining your rate.  We even have a few carriers we offer who don’t look at either credit or insurance scoring.  These are a great match for our clients who have issues with both credit and insurance history (like previous cancellation for non-payment, or cancellation and reinstatement with lapses).
  • The Car You Drive.  While it’s pretty obvious that a high-end sports car would probably cost more to insure than a modest four-door compact, there are other factors that are not so obvious that go into determining the cost to insure your car.  I recommend you give us a call and tell us the make and model for any cars you’re considering purchasing.  Knowing the insurance rate can be a deciding factor in helping you determine which car would be the best choice for you.
  • Amount of Coverage.  It’s important to have an adequate amount of coverage to protect your assets, but it’s equally important that you don’t purchase more coverage than you actually need.  If you own a home with a lot of equity in it (don’t laugh – it’s just an example), you would want to make sure that your coverage limits are at least equal to the amount of equity in your home.  Otherwise, if someone makes a claim against you for an at-fault accident and your auto policy limits are inadequate to cover the claim, your personal assets could be exposed.  Of course, your homeowners policy would be next in line for any claims.  So, it’s important to reduce liability exposure by coordinating your auto and homeowners policies to insure adequate coverage.
  • The Deductible You Select.  Regarding deductibles, the higher your deductible is, the lower your premium will be.  Keep in mind that you should always select a deductible amount that you can live with.  If it would be difficult for you to come up with $1,000 to make up your part of any physical damage repair to your car, then perhaps drop it down to $500 or even $250.  However, if you could live with a $1,000 deductible, you’d be looking at as much as 40% reduction in the comprehensive and collision portion of your premium.
  • To “Full Coverage” or Not to “Full Coverage.”  Removing the comprehensive and collision portion of your coverage sometimes makes sense when you’re driving an older car.  The statistics on comp and collision claims are that those who carry it make a claim an average of once every 11 years.  And, even so, a total loss only occurs about once every 50 years.  If you multiply your premium for comp and collision by 10 and arrive at a number that is more than what your car is worth, you might consider dropping the comp and collision portion of your coverage and putting that amount into savings instead.  It all depends on your comfort level for doing so, though.  Everyone involved – you and your carrier – are both making calculated decisions regarding risk, and everyone is hoping to come out financially ahead regarding their decision.

I hope this has helped you to understand a little bit more about how your rate is determined.  If you decide to shop around for auto insurance quotes, make sure you are comparing apples to apples in terms of coverage, deductible, and financial rating for the insurance companies you’re considering.

If you live in the Phoenix area and need any assistance reviewing your coverage, please feel free to contact us anytime for a no-obligation, no pressure review.  We’d love to assist you with any information you need.

Leave a comment »

What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Ordinance or Law Insurance Coverage

As a homeowner, having proper coverage for your home is essential.  Most homeowners believe that having adequate limits will protect them in the case of a catastrophic loss.  They’ve educated themselves regarding the difference between an ACV policy versus a replacement cost policy and they sleep pretty good at night with the belief that if the unthinkable happens they’ll be okay.

Let’s walk that scenario out in real life for a moment…

You bought an older home ten years ago.  You’ve spent your weekends restoring it to pristine condition.  Everyone comments on how gorgeous it looks.  Suddenly, the worst case scenario becomes your reality.  A kitchen fire goes out-of-control and ravages your home – destroying 40% of the living space.

Naturally, you’re devastated, but you take solace in the fact that you have enough insurance to rebuild what’s been lost.

Step One:  You call your insurance company and make a claim.  They send out an adjustor to verify the damage.  “Yep,” they say, “you’ve got damage for a covered risk (fire) and we’ll issue a check for replacement cost” (because you were prudent enough to purchase replacement cost coverage).

Step Two:  Before the rebuilding can commence, the Fire Marshall has to come out to inspect the site and issue a building permit.  That’s when the bomb drops.

Many building codes and ordinances have changed since your home was built.  Your replacement cost insurance policy will replace exactly what was lost; however, without having additional coverage (called “Ordinance or Law Coverage) any additional expense required to bring your home up to current code will not be covered by your policy.

Some code/ordinance changes can be simple and not impact the cost to rebuild too greatly; whereas, other changes can have a significant impact on rebuilding costs.  For instance, in some cases even though your entire home isn’t destroyed by the fire, new building codes won’t permit you to rebuild a home with over 50% damage.  So, if this were to happen – your insurance company would pay for the damaged portion of the debris removal and rebuild – YOU would be responsible for the debris removal and rebuild for the undamaged portion of your home that the city requires to be rebuilt due to code changes.

Having Ordinance or Law Insurance coverage on your homeowner’s policy will cover any additional expenses required to rebuild your home due to any new or changed building codes, ordinances, or requirements since your home was built.

But, be careful with the fine print of this type of coverage, as well.  Some policies are written to cover laws and ordinances that are on the books at the time of loss.  Keep in mind that catastrophes are often the catalyst for code and ordinance changes.  So, let’s say you had a loss on January 1st that was something catastrophic, affecting many other homeowners in your area.  This event may prompt changes in the code that take effect on February 1st.  Let’s say you have Ordinance or Law Coverage that is limited to the codes in effect on the date of loss, you won’t be covered for any changes made subsequent to the event.  So, even though you have Ordinance or Law coverage, it won’t cover changes made after the date of loss if your policy has this type of limitation.

Get your policy out of your file cabinet, dust it off, and check to see if you’ve got this coverage.  It could make a huge difference.

Do you have an insurance agent you can trust to walk you through the maze of various policy subtleties?  If not, we’d love the opportunity to discuss your current coverage with you and offer solutions for any gaps we find.  Give us a call at 602-938-1515 to schedule an appointment.

Leave a comment »

The Emotional Impact of a Home Burglary

Our home was burglarized last week and I’m having a wide range of emotional reactions to it.  The most prevalent one seems to be distrust.  I look at everyone in my neighborhood now with distrust – wondering if any of them were involved.  I don’t like that feeling, as I’m pretty friendly with the neighbors and I don’t want that to change.

I also feel scared when I go home and initially enter the house.  I wonder if someone’s in there and what would happen if I walked in on another burglary.  I’m not normally a fearful person, so I don’t like this new development at all.

Once the feelings of powerlessness leave, then the waves of anger come in.  Part of me wants to be like a big-city TV detective and start shaking down people until somebody talks.  There’s a hidden thug inside me who wants answers and wants them now!

Once the anger subsides, I find myself just being grateful that no one was hurt.  It could have been so much worse.

Having insurance is, obviously, important and gives you a sense of peace in these types of situations.  But, it certainly doesn’t solve the emotional issues that accompany such a violation.  I guess like most painful things we experience in life — it will take time for things to get back to normal again.

Until next time …

Tavisha, Go Time Insurance

 

2 Comments »

AZ House Voted Down Proposed Legislation to Impound Uninsured Vehicles

Last Thursday, March 22, 2012, the Arizona House Appropriations Committee voted down a bill that would have required police to impound on the spot any vehicles they found to be uninsured during routine traffic stops.

While the bill sounds good at first – the insurance industry did not support it.  Why, you ask?  Wouldn’t it just create more revenue for them?  Well, the Arizona Department of Transportation, which oversees MVD operations, has reported there are as many as 200,000 incorrect entries in their database – often due to the insurance providers entering an incorrect VIN number for vehicles, or due to an MVD employee making a typo.

Do we really want to impound someone’s vehicle (who’s legally insured) due to a clerical error?  Also, who’s going to pay for the towing and impound fees in such a case?

I think we can all agree that the purported 10-14% of Arizona drivers who are driving uninsured is a huge problem that affects us all.  Let’s hope our legislators can come up with a better way of dealing with it that won’t impact people who are following the law but had their information entered incorrectly into the system.

If you have any questions about your car insurance or would like a free quote, please contact us.  We’re well behaved, don’t bite (often), and will always respect your time.

Go Time Insurance, (602) 938-1515

 

2 Comments »

What are Arizona’s Minimum Car Insurance Requirements?

Most Arizona drivers know that the state requires 15/30/10 car insurance – but, do you understand what those terms mean?

Every state mandates its own minimum requirements, and Arizona’s lawmakers made ours 15/30/10. 

The first two numbers indicate the level of bodily injury coverage that’s required.  $15k per person per accident, and $30k total per accident.  So, if you caused an accident injuring three people and, for demonstration purposes, they each had $15k in medical bills, only two of them would be able to collect on the insurance policy.  The first two who submitted claims would have access to the $30k limit for bodily injury.  The third person would have to sue you to try to collect for their medical bills.

The number “10″ refers to the amount of property damage coverage that is available on the policy.  In this case, there would be $10k available to pay for any damage you caused to their vehicle.

As you can see, these minimums truly are minimum.

Will minimum state coverage work for you?  Well, there are several ways you can look at this question.

  1. From a purely legal standpoint, this will satisfy the requirements of the law and you won’t get cited for not having insurance.
  2. However, from a “covering your assets” perspective, it most likely will not be enough coverage.  Keep in mind, that any deficit in your insurance coverage in relation to the injuries/damage you cause will legally be your responsibility to pay for.  If you have other assets (such as a home, business, or investments) that a plaintiff (because at this point, it’s a lawsuit) could go after, trust me — they will.  So, in order to cover your assets adequately, you’ll need to discuss with your insurance agent the level of coverage you’d need to ensure you can keep all the stuff you’ve worked so hard to get.

If you have any questions as to whether you’re adequately covered, please give us a call and we’d be happy to go over your coverage with you.

Go Time Insurance, (602) 938-1515

Leave a comment »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.