Most of us are hardworking honest people, who are building strong families and are productive members of our community. Unfortunately, there are a few people who try to take advantage of us and we need to be educated on what to watch for. Fraud, including insurance scams, is the second-most burdensome financial crime in the United States. Tax evasion is number one.
Your personal insurance company and agent can be a great resource to you before, during, and after an accident.
Here are a few of the most common scams:
1.Forced Rear-ending – Typically, the scammer will slow down or come to a stop in busy traffic, or swoop in front of the victim at an intersection or an on-ramp, causing the driver to crash into them from behind. In most states, the person who rear-ended the other driver is the liable party, thus the scam begins. At this point, the scammer will claim high medical bills and unusual property damage, (loss of IPhone, damage to other personal property, etc).
2.Counterfeit Air Bags - Each year, about 1.6 million air bags inflate during crashes, saving thousands of lives. But, during the repair process, at least a small percentage of those deployed air bags will be replaced with counterfeits, which can be life-threatening. Make sure you use a reputable repair shop and ask to have factory airbags installed.
3.Windshield Replacement Rip-Offs - Don’t fall for the person in a van who stops you to say he can offer to fix your windshield. The scammer takes your insurance information and files a false claim. Only use well known repair shops.
Phantom Victims - Often after an accident, you are not fully aware of everyone and everything around you. The scam is the injured party will say there was another passenger in the vehicle and make a false claim. When gathering information after an accident, such as the other driver's license number and contact information, also count the number of passengers in the other car (if any) and take photos of the other car, its passengers, and the general scene.
As always, all of us at Schmidt Insurance Agency thank you for your continued business, and hope you are enjoying your summer!
An Auto Insurance Update
Are you a high-risk driver? Incurring too many accidents or violations on your driving record can have a negative impact on your auto insurance coverage rates. High-risk drivers do have options, and we certainly do not want you to go without insurance. Find the right auto insurance company
Insurance companies differ in what they are willing to insure. It is important to shop your insurance with us to make sure you find the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. Some insurers will charge much higher rates if you have a record of accidents or violations. We know the insurers that are willing to take high risk drivers.
Make sure you have the basic auto coverage
We can design a policy for you to help you minimize the high cost of insurance. We recommend auto liability and physical damage coverage. Whatever you do, do not go without auto insurance as that can create many more problems for you.
An Insurance Update
Most people have some gaps in their personal insurance coverage. We do our best to help our clients understand where these are and provide solutions so that these gaps don’t exist. Having an independent agent help, you find the right kind of personal insurance for you can go a long way in providing you with peace of mind.
Personal insurance is complex, and we are here to help you understand the complex, so you have made an informed and educated decision.
What are Insurance gaps?
Insurance gaps can be areas where you thought there was coverage, but in reality, there is not. It may be that the coverage is not available or is too expensive or you just did not know about it. Gaps can occur if you have more than one agent handling your personal insurance. Between your home, auto, RV or personal umbrella there might be times when one agent thought the other was taking care of the issue. Insurance gaps can include:
• Flood insurance
• Identity theft
• Sewer back-up
• Auto insurance limit issues
• Your home is undervalued
• Lack of a personal umbrella
• Limited coverage for other drivers on your auto policy.
These are just a few of the personal insurance issues that can create real problems for you. Call our office for a free review.
Are you one of the people who think you don’t need life insurance? Please think again. Life insurance provides real security for those you care about. Life insurance benefits can provide financial security and resources for your family or loved ones after you are gone. Let’s look at a few of the reasons to consider life insurance:
• Payment on Debt– If you have any outstanding debt (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) at the time of your death, it does not go away. Your estate will still be responsible to settle all accounts. Life insurance can provide the financial resources to cover debt.
• Continuation of Income- Life insurance can provide the funds to replace your income upon your passing. Family income will certainly diminish with the loss of an income earner, which means your family will experience a lower standard of living. The death benefits of a life insurance policy can prevent this from happening, or at least keep the impact to a minimum, by replacing income lost with the demise of the breadwinner.
• Unpaid Medical Expenses- It is highly likely that you will incur medical expenses prior to your death. Some of which may not be covered by health insurance. Adequate life insurance proceeds ensure that these final expenses are covered.
• Funeral Expenses- Most people don’t plan for, or fund, funeral expenses. Again life insurance is there to help.
The good news is that life insurance rates are low and there are many different kinds of products to select from. One question we often get is, “How much life insurance do I need”? The answer to that depends on your individual situation, but the general guideline is, a life insurance limit of at least ten times your annual gross income is a start. For example, if you earn $50,000 per year, your family would need to replace somewhere close to that amount. A $500,000 life policy could return $45,000 to $50,000 annually, depending on interest rates.
The most cost effective type of policy is term insurance. Term insurance provides protection for a specific, limited amount of time, usually in five-year segments, such as for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. Typically you pay annually and the premium is locked in for that period of time.
Schmidt Insurance Agency has some excellent affordable plans available, so please email or call us at 320-356-9440 so we can help you plan for the future.
Recently we have seen streets filled with vehicles damaged from rioters. Damage can be a simple scratch, windshield damage, or even a fire. The question is, “Are these kinds of losses covered under a standard auto policy?”
It is normal for people to be worried about their cars if they live in an area with ongoing riots. Insurance coverage that covers acts of vandalism is not part of the auto liability insurance.
According to the industry-backed Insurance Information Institute, this type of damage typically is covered under optional comprehensive insurance plans. This coverage provides reimbursement for damage to the vehicle and its contents caused by fire, falling objects, vandalism, or rioting.
Approximately two-thirds of policyholders have this coverage. However, each policy is different, so the actual coverage will depend on your individual auto policy terms and conditions.
A Few Things to Remember
If the damage is covered, it will be subject to your policy deductible.
You should report the claim as soon as possible, especially if someone were injured.
Windshield or glass claims are often covered on a first-dollar basis with no deductible. However, they can also contribute to increased rates.
Collision coverage may apply if the vehicle was moving during the time of the damage.
Schmidt Insurance Agency is committed to providing clients with the highest quality insurance plans available combined with some of the lowest possible rates. Whether you are shopping for auto insurance, home insurance, life or business insurance, we can help you obtain the best coverage available with the lowest rate possible.
All of us at Schmidt Insurance Agency truly value the long term relationship with our clients, and are proud to give families, individuals and businesses the personal attention required when it matters most. When claims arise, we realize that it can be very stressful and will do everything possible to assure timely and complete recovery.