Charlie's Blog | Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Thank you to all who supported our team

What a great turnout for our team “Take it in Stride.” at the NAMIWalks at Montgomery County Community College. We had 56 walker to support mental health awareness. Thank all who donated to help us exceed our goal!! Thank you NAMI for all you do for mental health awareness and support.  Here are a few more pictures.

“Why did my car insurance rates go up when I haven’t any accidents or claims?”

Teen Driver Insurance and Resources

 

We hear this question often from our clients.  Car insurance rates for all companies have increased over the last few years and I’d like to address some of the reasons:

  • While technology in cars can make them safer on the road, it also adds to the cost to repair the car. My new Camry has five cameras to help me back up and see what is around my car. It also has lane departure warnings and helps navigate me back into the lane. I also have headlights that move as I turn my car.  All these features are great but to repair a bumper or windshield is now a lot more expensive.
  • There are more cars on the road than ever before and with stable gas prices people are driving more. More driving leads to more accidents.
  • Distracted driving. Do I need to say more?  I was on the road the other day when the driver in the car next to me was holding his cell phone to his ear talking with one hand as he drank his coffee using the other hand.  Not sure how he was driving.  It used to be when one of our clients was rear ended at a traffic light they were hit at about 10 MPH. Now due to distracted driving, drivers don’t even realize the light is red and smash into the car in front of them going 40 or 50 MPH. This leads to much more serious claims and higher payments. Over the last three years our agency has had three claims over $500,000 in liability payments.  Fortunately for two of our clients they purchased an umbrella policy that we recommended.

All these factors contribute to the rise in car insurance rates. Our goal at Spencer Insurance Agency is to make sure you are paying a competitive price for your insurance coverage. We review your renewal policy to make sure it is not out of line.  As independent agents we have several companies to choose from for your auto insurance rates.  If you ever feel your rates are too high let us know. We will check it out.  If another company’s rate seems a lot lower please call to discuss the quote with us to make sure you are getting the same coverage.  The “True Cost of Insurance” is not just the premium but also the additional out of pocket costs you incur because you had the wrong coverage.

Contact Spencer Insurance Agency for a second opinion on your car insurance.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

All of us at Spencer Insurance Agency want to wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day.

If you are not a mom then I hope you can celebrate the day with one.

Happy Mother’s Day  from your Friends at Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc.,

Is Long Term Care Insurance right for you?

Long Term Care - Be Prepared

Is Long Term Care Insurance right for you?  You need to ask that question.

Well tax day, April 15, 2019, is behind us now.  Taxes are paid or you received an extension.  Taxes are bittersweet.  They take money out of our pockets but yet provide much needed services.  I don’t have a problem paying my fair share.

But how much is fair?  We work every day and try to put money aside in 401K plans or IRAs so we can have a secure retirement. Our retirement assets could well be our largest asset.  Do you protect that asset?

The chance of a house fire is 1 in 300 but we would not hesitate to get homeowner’s insurance. The chance of an auto accident is 1 in 30 and it is required in Pennsylvania that we have auto insurance. The chance that you will need long term care is 4 in 10 yet few of us have any insurance to protect our retirement assets from the dangers of expensive long term care.

Genworth’ 2018 cost of care report tells us that the average cost in the Philadelphia area for a home health aide is $54,912 a year. The cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $124,465 a year.  How long would it take to use up your retirement assets to pay these costs?

Long term care policies have only been around since the 1970s.  But they really did not catch on until the 1980s and 90s.  There was very little data to help insurance companies set rates for these products so as a result costs have gone up dramatically over the years.  Some policies had multiple increases of 15% or more.

In the last few years many new options have been introduced by life insurance companies.  These new policies referred to as hybrid policies are life insurance policies that contain long term care riders.  These riders allow you to take out a percentage of your life insurance death benefit early to help pay for long term care costs. If set up properly these payments would be tax free.  For example if you have a $250,000 life insurance policy, one company’s rider would allow you to take out 4% a month ($10,000) to help pay your long term care costs.  When your death benefit is exhausted the policy ends and there would be no life insurance.  However, if you never need long term care or die before using all the benefit then the remainder of the life insurance benefits would be paid to your beneficiary.

Many clients we talk to are not aware of these options.  Since these policies are life insurance you need to be healthy to get the coverage.  Also, the younger you are the less the cost.  Contact Spencer Insurance agency to learn your options.  Don’t assume these policies are not affordable for you.

Let us help you protect those retirement assets you spent years accumulating.

Join Spencer Insurance on the NAMIWalks

It’s not too late to join us!

 

Join Spencer Insurance on the NAMIWalks . . .

Spencer Insurance will once again support team “Take it in Stride” for the 2019 NAMIWalks. As the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website states “Every journey begins with that first step. Through NAMIWalks Greater Philadelphia’s public, active display of support for people impacted by mental illness, we are changing our community and ensuring that help and hope are available for those in need.  The walk is a great day to promote mental health awareness and celebrate recovery!”

Many of us with loved ones who suffer through mental illness know about Nami’s commitment to educate and support.  We want to give back to NAMI for all the support services they have provided our family by our participation in the walk.

Spencer Insurance Agency will provide a “Take it in Stride” team T-Shirts to all walkers.

Go to our team page to sign up to walk with our team or if you can’t make the walk but would like to support our team go to my fundraising page. We appreciate anything you can do to make the walk a success.

Here are the details:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Montgomery County Community College

Registration Opens: 8am | Walk Begins: 10am

 

Hope to see you there!!!

Spring is here at last.

   

Finally, Spring is here!

What a strange winter.  Hope it is over and we don’t get any surprise March/April snowstorms.

Spring brings the Spencer Insurance Spring tips.  This time of year we focus on a few things:

As always please contact us at 215-885-2200 if you have any questions.  We are here for you!

Do you have a drone?

Did you get a drone for Christmas?  I imagine they are a lot of fun.

I know the first thing you did when you purchased the drone was to call your insurance agent to see if you have property or liability coverage for your drone, right?  Well, the funny thing is that I have not received one call from a client asking if their new drone is covered.  I imagine at least one of my clients owns a drone.

The big question: “Is my drone covered under my homeowner’s insurance coverage?”  And the answer is “Maybe.”  What if you crash the drone into a person and hurt them? What happens if you crash your drone into a car and cause an accident?  If your drone is used for recreational purposes only, then you may have some coverage.  It depends on the language in your policy.  Different companies have different language.  Some limit the size of the drone to under 10 pounds.  Others companies’ policies state “we do cover model airplanes not used or designed for transporting cargo or persons.”

Did you know that all drones over .55 pounds (yes, that is only half a pound) need to be registered with the FAA (the Federal Aviation Administration)?  If you operate an unregistered drone you are subject to fines.  You may also lose your liability coverage since you are operating the drone illegally. Go to the FAA website (https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/) and make sure you know what is required.

The best thing to do is call us at 215-885-2200 and discuss your drone with us.

Why does my homeowner’s insurance premium increase every year?

We hear this question from clients so I thought some of you are probably not asking us this question but are thinking about it.  So let me answer the question.

There are many factors that will affect your homeowner’s insurance premium including making a claim and increases in replacement value coverage on your home. Weather related catastrophic losses also affect your rates even if you do not make a claim.   Also, each year the insurance company will increase your dwelling coverage to keep pace with inflation.  So you may see a 2%, 3%, or 5% increase depending on the cost of living increases for building materials in your area.  All of us know it will take more money to replace our home today than it did 20 years ago.

But these factors are not why homeowner’s insurance premiums can vary from carrier to carrier.  That is why I always ask our clients to send me a copy of any quotes they receive for a lower premium than they are paying now so I can make sure they are not losing any valuable coverage.

Think about the last time you bought a new car.  I just recently purchase a Toyota Camry.  I could have just gotten the base model but I wanted the hybrid.  I also wanted some safety features.  The one I really like is that my headlights turn when I am making a turn.  Pretty cool.  I also chose some other features that cost me extra money (a navigation system and Apple Car play for example).  I could have just gotten the basic model for less money and that would have been okay, but I wanted more features so I knew I would be paying more. So I paid the extra money and got the car I wanted.  Homeowner’s Insurance is very similar.

What I see when clients send me their quotes is that they are being quoted a basic homeowner’s policy.  Of course the premium is less because they no longer have the coverages we discussed that were important to them. If they want a basic homeowner’s policy I will sell them one IF that is all the coverage they want. But I will make sure they will know what coverage is now missing. Just like my Camry if you want more features you should expect to pay more.

As you know Spencer Insurance Agency represents several quality homeowner’s insurance companies. It seems that all our companies are coming out with new versions of their homeowner’s policy and/or new coverages. Should you switch?  Should you update to the new version? Should you add additional coverages that were not offered before?  One thing I know for sure is that you SHOULD talk to us about your policy.  Our agency tries our best to be as proactive as possible and reach out to our clients if we feel you should make changes. In a perfect world we would talk to all our clients about these updates but we are not perfect and this is not a perfect world.  We can’t get to everyone right away so feel free to call us at any time for a review.

Here are some new coverages being offered by our companies just recently:

  • Service line coverage – Now you can get the coverage you may be paying your water company for to replace a broken pipe from your house to the curb.
  • Mechanical Breakdown – Coverage for appliances, heating/air conditioning systems when they break down
  • Loss forgiveness/decreasing deductible
  • Hidden seepage coverage
  • Roof and siding matching in event of claim

Of course if you add some coverage you will be paying more premium.  You have to decide if it is worth the additional cost to have the coverage.  Just like my Camry I will pay more if I add more features/coverage. Price is important but remember the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the cost you pay out of pocket when you don’t have the proper coverage. If you want a basic homeowner’s insurance policy great, you can have it.  But if you want some better coverage you should expect to pay additional premium.  It is very hard from the policy pages to know all the coverages that are included or missing.  Let us help you.  If we can’t determine whether the quote you received or policy you have with have another agent has a certain coverage , we will tell you what to ask the other agent to make sure you do have that coverage.  Call us today for a review of any policy.

As the holidays decorating season approaches, some safety tips. . .

 

Candles, fires (indoors in your fireplace and outdoors in your fire pit), strands of lights and Christmas Trees can make your home look beautiful for the holiday season. Be extra careful during this time of year. Remember most home fires occur during the winter months so we want to share some safety tips.

  • If you use a live Christmas tree make sure it is properly watered. Check out this video which shows dramatically the fire danger for a dry tree and one that is properly watered.
  • FEMA Video sharing winter fire prevention tips.
  • Check out the Spencer Insurance Winter Tips for some tips for:
    • Driving in winter conditions
    • Preparing an emergency kit for car and home
    • Preparing your teen driver to drive in winter conditions
    • Taking time during the winter when you are inside more to review your finances

The severity of our winters change each year.  Even the Farmer’s Almanac can’t get it right all the time.  So take some time now to prepare so you are ready for that blizzard or ice storm.  Hope I didn’t jinx us.

Contact us with any questions or if you would like a review of your insurance.

Have a wonderful winter.

Did you return the Annual Review Checklist?

To quote Heraclitus “The Only Thing That is Constant is Change.”

Things change in your life every year. That is why Spencer Insurance sends an Annual Review Checklist to our clients once per year.  You should have received one in the mail recently.

Spencer Insurance Agency makes coverage recommendations based on your lifestyle. Life changes and we need to know about
these changes to make sure your insurance is up to date. Our goal is to provide you with the proper coverage at a competitive price.
We understand that price is important to you however the “True Cost of Insurance” includes the out of pocket costs you incur when you do not have the proper protection.

We suggest you complete and return the Annual Review Checklist to us at your earliest convenience. Feel free to call us to discuss the checklist.

Don’t be caught short with coverage come claim time.  Contact us now!

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