Working With an Insurance Agency Versus Online Shopping

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Shopping online can seem very appealing to people who want to get the job done quickly and without having to talk one on one to a sales person. The online shoppers can allow the consumer to quickly choose coverage and get it bound without ever having to talk to an actual person. The biggest problem with this is that you are not getting the benefit of talking over your choices with someone who is trained and knowledgeable in the coverage offered and needed. It can be very similar to trying to diagnose yourself online with WebMD. While on paper it looks like it matches perfectly with your symptoms or what you need but without having someone who is an expert in the field, you can make a small mistake that can make a big difference in the big picture. Below are some of the top reasons that working with an independent agent can be beneficial.

  1. They will work with you to determine your specific needs by getting to know you as a person and not just a generic policy number.
  2. They will review your coverage’s annually to ensure that your policy still fits your needs
  3. Find you the best premium and make sure that you are getting all the applicable discounts and credits
  4. They can provide coverage for all your different insurance needs with only one contact person.
  5. They can assist you with any questions or claims issues.
  6. There is an office that you can go and talk to someone in person when you need to.

Call us today at 630-617-9960 and we can discuss this in more detail.

What Should You Know About an Umbrella policy?

One of the few things that you can always be certain about is that you can’t always choose when something bad happens. You can’t choose when you slide on ice and get into a car accident or when someone falls going down the stairs of your front porch. The thing that you can control is how much insurance you have. For instance, your mother in law who is a nurse comes over to your house and slips on the ice-covered stairs while leaving. You are now responsible for her medical bills as well as her lost wages for while she is out of work. The good news is that you have insurance that will help you with those costs. The bad news is that your insurance policy will only cover up to $300,000 of those damages but her total bills come out to $500,000. This situation would leave you with $200,000 out of packet. This additional money can come from your bank account, inheritance, future assets, or even your home.

This is where an umbrella policy can come into play. Umbrella policies can be written for various amounts with the most common being from $1 million to $5 million.  The umbrella policy would be the secondary policy that kicks in once your primary home or auto policy has been maxed out. The sole purpose of the umbrella policy is to provide you with excess insurance on top of what your primary policy provides.

An umbrella policy does not only provide additional coverage for your home and auto but it would also expand over your motorcycle, boat, RV, snowmobile, etc. policies. With that being said, they do require that your primary policies meet certain criteria of minimum limits to obtain an umbrella policy. These limits can range depending on the company but are typically either $100,000 per person/ $300,000 per accident or $250,000 per person/ $500,000 per accident.

If you would like to discuss this cover further or get a better idea on if it is something you should have, please give us a call at 800-801-1823.

Road Trip Checklist

roadtripWith the spring coming up quickly and we know everyone is eager to get out of the house after this long frigid winter, road trips are on the mind. We have come up with our own road trip check list to ensure that you have the best road trip possible. Now we already know that you have found the best people possible to enlist on this journey with so we can skip right past that point and move on to the rest.

  1. Set up your trip itinerary. One of the best parts about a road trip is that you are not on anybody else’s schedule. You can come and go as you please without having to worry about missing your flight or train. With that, it is a good idea to have a loose plan about where you want to go and when to keep you on track.
  2. Check your cars features. It is extremely important that you check all fluids such as oil, windshield wiper fluid, and gas. You should also check all lights, tires, and horns to make sure that they are currently working.
  3. Pack your first aid kit and tools- just in case!
  4. Pack your travel essentials. This includes your GPS, maps (for areas that don’t have cell service), cash for tolls, driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance, and lastly emergency money or credit cards.
  5. Food and drinks. Always make sure that you have plenty of snacks and drinks so that you are not left with a car full of hungry and cranky passengers.
  6. Music. Probably one of the most important things about any great road trip. It will make it so that every time you hear that one Coldplay song it brings you right back to when you were driving through the Smokey mountains.
  7. Budget shopping tools. The best way to stay on a budget while on your road trip is to use all the best budget shopping tools in the area. If you are looking for a place to stop for dinner or a hotel room for the night, make sure to check out Groupon, Gilt, Travelzoo, Expedia, etc. for the best deals on everything. No need to pay full price when there is a deal out there! Each of these sites have mobile apps making it even easier to utilize them.

Hopefully these tips will help you and your family enjoy a great trip together. If you have any questions about whether your insurance policy is ready for this journey, give us a call at 800-801-1823.

New Year = New Laws

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Every year there are new laws that are put into place. Sometimes they are highly talked about and other times they are put into place without many people even realizing. Here is a list of some of the new driving laws in IL for 2017.

  1. Move Over Law- For quite a while it has been a law that when you see an emergency vehicle with its lights on by the side of the road that you must slow down or switch lanes. They have since changed the law so that if ANY car is on the side of the road with their hazard lights on that you must switch lanes or slow down.
  2. New Speeding Laws- While speeding has always been taken seriously in Illinois, they are have recently changed the severity of it. Speeding between 26 mph and 35 mph over the posted limit is a Class B misdemeanor. Speeding over 35 mph is now considered a Class A misdemeanor.
  3. Driving without insurance- If you are caught twice within 1 year of driving without insurance your vehicle can be impounded.
  4. Train station Laws- drivers who disregard activated gates and warning lights at railroad crossings will face a fine of $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for subsequent offenses

Please keep in mind that these are not all the new laws for 2017 so be sure to check out the rest. Give us a call today at 800-801-1823 to make sure that you are properly insured so you do not run into any problems with #3.

Customer Service Vs. Sales Culture

Insurance, while not often thought of this way, is a very personal matter, it provides you the security and peace of mind to protect your most prized possessions in the case of a claim. You don’t have the advantage of being able to foresee when a crisis will happen and give yourself time to review all your policies to ensure that they are adequate. For this reason, it makes it that much more important that you choose an insurance agent that you trust to help guide you through the insurance buying process.

Social media and the various commercials that are currently on TV are constantly teaching the consumers that saving a few dollars is the most important part of shopping for your insurance. They advertise that in just a few minutes online you can save some money. However, it should not take you just a few minutes to make decisions on that kind of purchase. This is the coverage that will pay for your home to be rebuilt when there is a fire, or will give you and your family a place to live while your home is being rebuilt, or even the coverage that provide someone with the means to pay their medical bills after an accident. When purchasing something that can provide you with this much security and coverage it should be well thought out and should be discussed with someone that you trust and will take the time to understand your family’s personal needs.

An insurance policy should never be generalized or cookie cutter because no two households or people are the exact same. When you are sitting down with your agent to discuss your insurance needs make sure that they are asking questions and getting a full picture of what your household looks like. We have all been so trained that everything is about getting the sale and giving the sale. Unfortunately, when we are so focused on the sale we are neglecting the customer service aspect and giving more thought about how we are going to get the price down versus how we are going to get the best coverage.

Car of the Month August 2015: Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of August, our  Car of the Month features Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse. Read Lynn’s story below and a quick interview about why she loves classic cars.

1990 Cadillac Hearse
Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse

Here’s Lynn’s story:

“You find yourself sitting at a red light unassumingly waiting for it to turn green. You don’t notice the car that stealthily pulls up next to you because your mind is wrapped up in either your destination or time constraints to arrive where you need to be. It is only upon the light turning green do you hear the rumble of a loud exhaust that catches your attention to your right. You hesitate for a moment and glance over to take in the source of the noise as it starts to pull away from you. It is then, that you do a double take at the sight of what appears to be a grandmother in a hot rod pulling away from the green light. As your eyes scan across every inch of the unusual length of the car, you see a beautiful, big blued eyed, blond-haired little girl peering at you from the backseat wearing a huge grin and waving at you. You slowly lift your hand to gesture back and you hesitate realizing this is no ordinary car, nor is it a car with a faulty exhaust. It is as you take in the little girl;s grin that has now turned into a giggle, that you realize she is smiling at you through the back passenger side curtains of a hearse. She is fully aware that the vehicle she is riding in is most definitely unique and she enjoys every minute of others responses to her actions.” This is how my daughter describes my Sunday afternoon drive with my granddaughter. Hearses and cemeteries have always fascinated me so when the opportunity arose, I could not pass up buying it. She began her “life” as a 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with a 350 cubic inch 5.7 litre V* engine that rolled off the assembly line in Arlington, Texas. Her next stop was at the S&S Coach Builders in Lima, Ohio. Abby was one of 17 built Sayers & Sill that year and she was one of 3 built for the Piser-Weinstein Funeral Home in Chicago, Illinois. I often go to car shows and sometimes get shunned by the other “classic” cars. I then explain that the hearse is a true custom car. You can’t go into a dealership and buy one. You go to a coach builder and order it to your specifications from the exterior color, the fabric of the curtains, ect, as well as the normal things such as make and exterior color. I am a member of two hearse clubs, one fairly new and the other is well established with over 500 members worldwide. Hearse owners love to show off their coaches. Last year at our annual hearse show we had about 60 hearses, flower cars, and ambulances on display. Among the many places we have been invited to display them are: Volo Auto Museum, Brookfield Zoo, Haunted Trails, Worth IL Annual Zombie Walk. This year, we participated in Palos Heights 4th of July parade and Berwyn’s Halloween parade. So the next time you are sitting at a light waiting for it to turn green and you glance over and see me and my 13-year-old granddaughter next to you, realize we are just as normal as you. Don’t stereotype us as freaks. We merely appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of owning a funeral coach, and if there is anything to ever be bothered about, remember more people die in ambulances.

Interview with Lynn:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve every owned?
Lynn: 1958 Pontiac Bonneville coupe, 2-tone green

R: When did you get your first collector car?
L: June 2010

R: What cars are in your garage now?
L: Just my 3 hearses

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
B: 
A 1960s Coupe DeFleur (flower car)

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
L: Both of my daughters are car crazy. When I was married back in the late 1960s, we owned a 1955 Orange Chevy that we used to race at Union Grove Drag Stip in Wisconsin. Currently, when we got o a show or a cruise, my eldest daughter drives the Olds hearse and my son-in-law drives the Lincoln hearse. I always drive my first and favorite, “The Beast”

Submit your own story here or Read more classic car stories here

Car of the Month July 2015: Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of July, our  Car of the Month feature’s Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup. Read Bernard’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1953 Ford Pickup
Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup

Here’s Bernard’s story:

Little red started out as a rusted out, beat up junk that was left sitting in an old barn when we decided to buy her. 3 years later and lots and lots of hours of work, she now is a sexy, trophy winning, cool ride that anyone would appreciate.

Interview with Bernard:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Bernard: My first car was a 1968 Firebird 400 4 speed. Loved that car

R: When did you get your first collector car?
B: My first collector car was a 1927 Ford Roadster, had fun with that one.

R: What cars are in your garage now?
B: I just have my 1953 Ford Pickup now.

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
B: I would love to have a heavy Chevy SS package 71 or 72.

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
B: My wife Ginny shares my love and passion for collector cars.

Submit your own story here or Read more classic car stories here