Good day all. As I sometimes do I am writing about something personal and my perspective on the topic. You can see my other pieces on Stray Rescue of St Louis, The Southside Indian Ball Club, Social Media, Ziplining and many more for point of reference if you are not familiar with me and my writing style.
As this is my blog, the content posted here is 100% mine and not subject to any third party approvals. Thus you can feel like I am being on the level when I give my opinions and honest assessments of various things. Many of you in the U.S. and even abroad are familiar with life and auto insurance. A funny, catchy commercial for TV and radio in the insurance genre featured a guy that we will call Jake from State Farm. Jake’s appearance was brought into question, prompting him to disclose that he was wearing a type of pants. What were those particular pants called? Parachute? Yoga? Capris? Oh wait! Oh yeah, they were khakis!
Aside from the amusing work put in by their marketing team (State Farm Insurance), the bottom line for every company is the product(s) they offer to their customers. In the insurance industry the providers are nearly endless. If you watch late night local TV you will probably see advertisements for small local insurance companies (auto) offering coverage for cheap to cover your basic needs where state mandated coverage is required. If you do a generic Google search for insurance coverage, get comfortable because you will get thousands of links to scroll through. So how to decide what makes sense for you?
Yesterday I switched my coverage for my car and renters coverage to State Farm. I had previously been with Esurance.com for my auto and renters coverage. Before them I was with Progressive. After comparing Progressive’s rates to Esurance.com for essentially the same coverage, I was able to save about $45 per month. In switching from Esurance.com to State Farm, I was able to save about $1 per month.
Why would I switch my policies for a measly dollar difference? Simple. For the dollar less in premium, State Farm was able to add additional coverages not in my Esurance.com policy plus reduce one of my deductibles from $250 to $0. That’s a no-brainer right there for me. When it comes to auto insurance, no one really likes having to pay for their coverage but it’s a very necessary thing. Every state in the US requires auto insurance coverage. The coverage amounts required vary greatly but it is against the law not to have coverage. Obviously there are some people out there still running around without it and rolling the dice. But having myself covered gives me piece of mind that if my path literally crosses with one of these un-insured drivers or another under-insured (state minimum) driver, I will most likely be OK.
I can hear some of your eyes glazing over. Insurance, ugh. Could there be a less sexy topic? OK how about death? Have your attention back? What about your death? Imagine you are driving around minding your own business, listening to your tunes when suddenly a driver coming the other way loses control and collides with you…fatally. To add insult to your injury (death), that other driver has no insurance. Sure your family could take that person to court and get a judgement for damages and expenses. But let me ask you this; if the person chose to not spend the $60-$100 per month for liability coverage, what are the chances they are sitting on enough money to cover your court judgement or have any assets that could be liquidated to pay you? Slim and none come on down.
Now what does your family do for your funeral expenses? What about their loss of income (assuming you were at least partly responsible for supporting your family)? Besides the loss of their loved one (you), will they be forced out of their home and lifestyle too? So life insurance is important too. Again it’s not something people like to spend money on but usually the monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual rates are less than what you would think for a pretty decent payout if the worst case scenario happens. For most people, the premiums could be paid for about the cost of one night out at dinner. It’s at least worth checking into.
Back in another life time, I was in the auto insurance game with GMAC Insurance as an agent (see 2001). I took all the tests required to be licensed as an agent so I got a pretty good understanding of the practicality of insurance: home, life and auto. There are subsets of other insurance as well, but these were the big three. You can also get boat, motorcycle, RV, pet and physical gifts insurance (see professional athletes). But for this piece I am primarily talking about life, auto and to a lesser extent home/renters.
I live in the state of Missouri and in order to register my car, I have to provide proof of (auto) insurance. If I were to be stopped by a police officer, I would need to provide proof of my vehicle’s coverage with an ID card or declarations page. If I was purchasing my home through a mortgage company, I would need to carry homeowner’s insurance to cover the property and make sure the lien holder was indemnified in case the home caught fire or sustained some sort of value altering damage. As a person renting from someone else (landlord), the renter’s coverage is similar to the homeowner’s policy. Most apartment complexes require a renter’s policy in case something happened to their property while you were living there. A renter’s policy is also a good idea when living or sub-leasing where you may not have a legal binding contract in place. It protects you against theft of your personal property (TV, gaming system, musical instruments, etc) or fire or something that would otherwise cause the homeowner to file a claim. And now the one that isn’t required but that probably is the most critical: life insurance.
In scrolling through my Facebook feed of a few thousand friends, I see here and there where someone has passed away. Sometimes it is after a long battle with illness but often times there is something that occurs completely without warning. Nothing in life is certain except at the end of it, you die. I know that is blunt and harsh but it is very true. When that end will happen, most of us do not know. So it only makes sense to protect yourself and by yourself, I mean your family. Because let’s be honest, the policy is for you, but unless you accumulate a cash value (see different types of life insurance policies) your premiums are going towards a payout that your loved ones will see. Policies range anywhere from $1000 to millions of dollars, it just depends on what your needs are and what you can afford.
OK so let me take this opportunity to thank the three people who collaborated from State Farm to help me out: Kevin Wingenbach, Shelbey Almond and Nicole Bizzle. After giving them some initial information about myself, my car and my current policy which took about five minutes, they came up with a quote that made sense for my needs (auto and renter’s). I presently have life insurance through my employer and a secondary policy I opened years ago through another company. But I did discuss with the team at State Farm the possibility of opening a new life insurance policy in the future if my work situation changed. They also have other programs and resources. For example, they talked about the possibility of refinancing my car note through State Farm which I had no idea they did and found very interesting.
Deep breaths. Stay with me just a bit longer here. I know this post has way too much ‘adulting’ in it but let’s be transparent here, sometimes you just have to buck up and do it. If you are in the St Louis area I would recommend for you to stop in and talk to them. Their office is located in the South County area at 4530 Lemay Ferry Road. My sit down and talk through took about 45 minutes total. It could have been a little shorter but it took a little longer partially because I showed up an hour early for my appointment and spent a few minutes catching up with my friend (Miss Bizzle). In any partnership or relationship, being comfortable is very important. I didn’t feel rushed or pushed to take coverage I didn’t want or need. The staff was very pleasant, professional and even offered me a beverage. Check out the link below to their website for questions or to get a quote.
This may come off sounding like a testimonial and it kind of is. Like I said this is my blog and I talk about what I see fit. I think this local office is doing a good job and like The Stray Rescue of St Louis – it’s a good thing to recognize people doing good work. Word of mouth probably isn’t going to reach a bazillion people but it might just reach the right people.
Hope your Friday is just what the doctor ordered.