is the difference between Independent Insurance Agents and other types
There is a
difference where you buy your protection. Many people don't realize
there are four sources for insurance:
Agents, who can sell you the insurance of only one company.
Representatives, who can offer you the insurance of one company,
and only on the telephone.
sites where you can fill out an application online and get an
insurance quote without any help or direction from a qualified
Insurance Agents, who represent an average of eight insurance
companies, and research with these firms to find you the best
combination of price, coverage, and service.
are the benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent?
Independent Insurance Agent:
a licensed professional with strong customer and community ties.
you excellent service and competitive prices because your agent
can access the insurance coverage from more than one company.
other agents, is not beholden to any one company; thus, you don't
need to change agencies as your insurance and service needs
you when you have a claim, ensuring that you receive a prompt and
fair settlement, whether it is your own insurance or a third
your consultant, working with you as you determine your needs.
you a choice of insurance plans and programs.
a value-hunter who looks after your pocketbook in finding the best
combination of price, coverage, and service.
one-stop shopping for a full range of products - home, renters,
auto, business, and life.
periodically review your coverage to keep up with your changing
you like a person, not just another number.
satisfaction is the key to an independent agent's livelihood. So,
serving you is your independent agent's most important concern.
Sears & Associates?
don't always happen during business hours. That's why you will never
get a recording telling you the office is closed. You can always
contact us, anytime, for assistance.
we represent so many companies, you are able to take advantage of the
collective purchasing power of Sears & Associates.
& Associates are brokers for all lines of commercial and
personal insurance. Because we're independent and locally owned, we
work for you, not for the corporate headquarters of some insurance
company located somewhere else. We are a part of this community, our
customers are also our neighbors and friends.
are some of your current clients?
is only a small listing of the types of businesses we insure:
is the process of buying insurance?
The customer meets
with an insurance agent or member of the agency staff and
discusses their needs and responsibilities. The agent will help
the customer decide on the most appropriate policy for their
insurance agent or member of the agency staff completes an
application containing information on the insured, which is then
submitted to an insurance company for approval.
company, in turn, issues a quotation, which lists what is covered by
insurance and what is not covered (exclusions), provided the
insured complies with certain conditions outlined in the policy.
insurance agent is responsible for the collection of the premium,
except when the premium is billed directly by the insurance
company (this is called direct billing). The insurance agent
receives a percentage of the premium (commission) as pay for his
or her services. When the insurance agent is responsible for
collecting the premium, the agent is responsible for forwarding the remaining premium
to the insurance company.
How much auto insurance is enough?
Auto insurance blends several types of
coverage into one policy. Typically, your policy will include some
combination of comprehensive, collision, medical, liability and
uninsured motorist coverage.
How much coverage you need depends on
your specific situation. Liability pays for the bodily injury
and property damage you
cause to others if your car is involved in an accident. It also
protects you from being wiped out financially if you are sued
following an accident. The greater your assets, the more you stand to
lose. If you have substantial financial resources, you may need
liability coverage that exceeds the coverage that you'll get from an
auto insurance policy. In that case, a Personal Umbrella can
provide the extra liability protection you need.
covers damage to your car from an accident. We can help you decide
whether or not to carry collision coverage by balancing the cost of
collision insurance with the value of your car. It might not be worth
paying $200 a year for collision insurance on a car that's worth only
$1,000. But if the car is worth $10,000, you probably want this
coverage pays for your car if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged in
some way other than in a collision. Medical coverage provides
for medical expenses to you and your passengers that are the result of
an accident. The way you use your car may make a difference in the
amount of medical coverage you need. For example, we might suggest
more coverage for a parent who regularly takes a carload of kids to
soccer practice than for a driver who expects to drive mostly alone.
Keep in mind that many states require
certain minimum levels of coverage. We'd be happy to talk with you
about these and other factors.
How much homeowner's insurance is
The cost to rebuild your home is its
replacement value. This can be very different from the estimated
market value or actual purchase price. In most cases, it costs more to
rebuild the home you own than to buy a new one. This is an important
insight into why your Dwelling (Coverage A) limit is so important.
We'll work with you to estimate the
replacement cost for your home and to adjust your policy limits from
time to time as needed.
It is critical that you provide us with
accurate, updated information about your home and contents. If your
dwelling limit accurately reflects your home's true replacement cost,
some companies will pay more than the limit if a covered loss is
greater than the limit on your policy. Ask us if Home Replacement
Guarantee or Extended Dwelling Coverage, is available in
Once a review of your home and
possessions indicates you are properly insured, it's a good idea to
reexamine your coverages and limits from time to time, especially
whenever you make additions or improvements.
How can I be sure I have enough
Here are some steps you can take to
reduce the danger of being seriously underinsured:
If you have questions or concerns about the limits in your policy,
ask us to show you how those amounts were calculated. This will
also give you an opportunity to make us aware of any overlooked
Read your policy.
Certain property, such as jewelry, and certain perils, such as
earthquake or flood, is better insured separately. Knowing what is
covered and for how much will help you insure properly. If there
is anything in your policy you don't understand, contact your
agent and ask for an explanation.
At each annual renewal of your
policy, you receive a new Policy Declarations page showing
limits of coverage and optional coverages. Review this
information. If you do any significant remodeling or add a family
room, extra bedroom or bathroom, etc., tell us about these changes
so your coverage limits can be adjusted to cover the improvement.
Consider carefully whether
your policy provides all the protection you need.
Does it provide coverage for extra costs resulting from building
code changes? Does it automatically increase coverage limits
annually to keep pace with inflation? Does it provide additional
funds if the cost of rebuilding your home exceeds the policy
Find out whether your insurance
company will stand behind agreed upon repairs after a claim. Some
companies are willing to put this guarantee in writing.
Does your policy include replacement
cost coverage for contents (clothing, furniture, appliances, and
other personal property inside your home)? If not, you can add it
by endorsement. The cost is small, the protection valuable. Replacement
Cost Coverage pays for losses to your possessions at the cost
of brand new items. Without this option, a covered loss to your
personal possessions would be depreciated by their age and
condition, reducing the size of your claim settlement.
If you have an art collection,
antique furniture, jewelry, or other valuable possessions, talk to
your agent about supplemental coverages, such as fine arts
or scheduled property endorsements, to adequately protect your
investment in these items. The cost is modest for the extra
protection, and often the deductible is waived.
Consider whether you should have
more coverage for personal property (contents) than your
policy provides. Personal property coverage is usually 70% of the
coverage limit for the structure. Your limit may be lower than
70%. Supplemental protection is available for a small additional
Prepare an inventory
of personal property items, update it periodically, and keep it in
a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at your
bank. It will save you hours of time trying to list everything
damaged or destroyed if you need to make a claim. It will also
help ensure you don't forget some items. We can advise you on ways
to simplify the job of preparing a personal property inventory
such as videotaping each room with descriptive information on the
Besides making sure you have enough
protection to cover possible damage to your own home and contents,
you should also evaluate your exposure to liability risks. These
result from damage to the property of another, or injury to a
person, not a member of your household, for which you can be
responsible. In recent years it's become common for homeowners to
be sued for injuries or damages to others, even when there is no
evidence of negligence by the homeowner. The reality today is if
you have any appreciable assets, you are exposed to the risk of
being sued. Even if you ultimately prevail in court, your legal
fees and the months or years of worry and uncertainty can be a
terrible burden on you and your family.
The Personal Liability coverage
provided by your Homeowners Policy usually provides a limit of
$100,000 or $300,000. We recommend increasing this protection with
a personal umbrella policy. Not only will it increase your
personal liability, but also your auto liability. Limits are
available from $1 million to $10 million and beyond. The cost of
this coverage is usually very reasonable.
Are there discounts available for
For auto insurance, there are several
possible ways in which to save money on your annual premium:
- Being a good driver
- Being a good student
- Driving a safe car
- Having a homeowner's policy with the
For homeowner's insurance, there are
also several discounts:
- Having a burglar alarm
- Owning a newer home
- Being claim-free in the past
- Also insuring your vehicles with the