Insurance Explained

Sherry Hoffman of State Farm Insurance led a discussion about home and auto insurance on February 26th. We sat down with her afterwards for a brief Q & A for those who missed it!

1)      Why do you do what you do?

I am a people person so I like to talk with individuals and in the process, I find out a lot of information. If I can help someone either by educating, protecting one of their risks or connecting with someone, then I feel like I’ve succeeded.

2)      If I’m in a car accident should I call my insurance agent or the other person’s insurance agent first?

I would recommend calling your own insurance agent first. That way we can subrogate on your behalf. If you’re not at fault it means that we can take care of finding you a rental car more quickly than the other person’s insurance. If you call the other person’s insurance first, you will have to wait until their insurance company has reached them before anything happens.

3)      I heard that if I submit more than one claim to my homeowner’s insurance in one year that they could drop me. Is that true?

It is very difficult to answer that question. Homeowner’s claims are very different from auto claims and each company has different underwriting guidelines. There is no maximum number of claims for a one year period. The type of claim will make a difference, for example, a weather related claim may not be a ratable claim. You can check out our web page for ideas to mitigate your homeowner’s losses.

4)      What is the biggest misconception about renter’s insurance?

So many people think that they don’t need renter’s insurance. And while some landlords require it, some don’t and that is often where we see people choose to not have renter’s insurance to save money. The thing with renter’s insurance is that it protects you in a worst case scenario. So if a fire starts in your apartment and you are not at fault, renter’s insurance will help you replace your belongings. Many people don’t get renter’s insurance when a family member or friend is letting them live somewhere for free and I would say that is a big mistake. In that situation you are not a homeowner and if something happens while you are living there you are liable.

5)      What are some tips to mitigate insurance costs?

My best tip for people trying to mitigate insurance costs begins in the world of car insurance. I recommend taking a defensive driving course. It generally costs $25 and within a few months of taking it you will have saved that $25 on your insurance bill. Obviously don’t text and drive and don’t tailgate. Follow the rules of the road. State Farm Insurance supplies a list of tips at this link which is where I send my clients when they ask about ways to mitigate insurance costs.

We host a speaker each month to help people plan and prepare for the future. Click here to see what Christine Smith had to share with us about budgeting to buy a car and click here to learn some organizing tips from Jean Hayes of Jean Hayes Organizing.

We hope you can join us for our next event on April 16th at 6:30 pm. Erin Santspree of Merrill Lynch will be talking with us about impact investing! Click here to learn more!

Megan Harris-Pero