Elf on the Shelf hits RCI Insurance

I hope everyone was safe in the winter weather that has covered most of the U.S. this past week! Everyone here weathered the storm just fine, until they came back to work on Monday.

I’m not sure Santa just thought that there was not production coming out of the office, or maybe not enough holiday cheer going on, but he sent in the “Elf on the Shelf.”  This was the scene we walked into Monday morning.

Elf Day 1

According to the note we found his name is Auto (how fitting) and he will be keeping an eye on things through the Holiday season.  On Tuesday the Elf was no longer dangling from the garland, but from the tape dispenser on Julie’s desk.  The jury is still out on what exactly he was trying to tape.

Elf Day 2

Not everyone in the office had heard about the Elf until Wednesday when Chet came into work to this.

photo 3                             elf day 3

And Chet was clearly confused over our Elfs behavior. Chet Elf

I guess Auto was worried he may have taken it a little to far with Chet, so the next few days he took it easy on us. I am pretty sure Karen helped him clean up this mess. This morning I do believe he was just trying to help us get some work done!

skittles                          elf day 5

It is debatable if he actually sold any insurance, but we will give him an A for effort!

 

 

Warnings for Flood Damaged Vehicles

As Storm Sandy makes its way across the Midwest states, I’m in awe of the devastation left in its wake. This storm has left many East coast states buried in several feet of water. It’s crazy how much water came from that storm alone.  The pictures show buildings with severe flooding and too many vehicles almost completely covered in water.

People with water damaged vehicles will begin trying to sell their vehicles. If you’re going to be buying a new car or potentially buying a new vehicle, please be sure to check vehicle for water damage. It’s more than just spotting a waterline. According to an article for MSN Autos, Jim Jacobson, a 30-year veteran of the car sales business and owner of Jacobson Auto Sales, “…Instead of declaring the car totaled by flooding, the insurance companies just paid to have it cleaned out, or the owner never made a claim. But if there’s been floodwater inside the car, it’s almost certain that there will be problems down the road, from corrosion on electrical connections and ABS and airbag sensors to failed transmissions. Or it will just smell bad.”

If a vehicle has been totaled for flood damage, there is a marked title given to that vehicle. Most insurance companies will be very hesitant, if not totally against, writing an Auto Insurance Policy for a marked titled vehicle. At RCI Insurance, most of our companies will not want to write an Oklahoma Auto Policy for vehicles that have either a salvaged title or a flood damaged vehicle. However, people have found that if they move their vehicle from state to state and retitle their car in several different states, the marked title gets removed and a new title is given to the vehicle (also depends on the state’s laws about titling a vehicle and marked titles).

Since you can’t always trust the title of the vehicle to be truthful, here are a few ways to check and see if a vehicle has had water damage. If it has, walk away and don’t purchase it. Many experts say there will almost ways be problems later on with a vehicle that has had water damage. Even if you’re buying from a Car Dealership or a private owner, check these areas in the car.

  1. Buy a title history. The Justice Department database has made these reports a little easier to read. You still want to look them over carefully, especially if the vehicle has been titled in other states.
  2. When you sit inside the car, smell it. Does it smell moldy or rusty or musty? Sniff the upholstery. The only way a moldy smelly can be taken completely out of upholstery is if the cleaners use bleach. Since bleach can’t be used on the upholstery without damaging it, chances are if there’s been water damage, you’ll smell it.
  3. Most auto carpet has plastic backing. Check it out. If it’s damp, smells wet, or muddy, or even has an odd odor chances are it’s had water damage.
  4. Check the bolts of the seats, if they’re rusty or loosened that could be a sign of flood damage. The seats have to be removed for the carpet to be cleaned.
  5. Look for a scum line or silt in out-of-the-way locations. Be sure to check the glove box and under the dashboard. These areas can be easily overlooked when the car is being detailed. And be sure to check the trunk as well. Look for waterlines, moisture, check under the spare tire, and the floor mat. You want to find any signs of flooding.
  6. Check out the turn signals and headlights. These are expensive to replace and many times aren’t when there’s been flooding. See if there is any mud, silt, or water in the lights.
  7. Look for rust or corrosion. If you can’t or don’t know how, have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic. You want to know if there is any rust on the chassis and suspension.

These are just a few suggestions when car shopping after flooding has taken place recently. Remember that some dealerships are obligated by law to inform potential buyers of a flooded or salvaged vehicle. You can’t guarantee that they will tell you everything about the car. So be prepared and find out everything you can about a vehicle before you buy it.

 

If you’d like to read more information about this, visit the website, MSN Autos, here.

 

The Law of Oklahoma….

Did you know that Oklahoma has some very obscure laws? They’re quite weird if you ask me. It makes me wonder, what was the reasoning behind some of these laws that we have now?  Lawmakers now days, have many hoops to go through before a law is passed. The people get a vote and we make the decision to allow a law to be passed or not.

Did you know that in Oklahoma, there is a law that says the state of Oklahoma will NOT tolerate anyone taking a bite out of another’s hamburger? What?!?!  Now, as someone who does not like to share food, this law works in my favor. It makes me wonder what is the story behind this law.

Another law in Ada, Oklahoma states that if a person wears New York Jets clothing, they may be put in jail! That seems a bit extreme for not wanting someone to wear a particular team’s clothing. Don’t people like to wear their favorite team’s clothing? How will we announce who our favorite team is if we can’t wear the clothing?! Again, I wonder what happened that people needed to make this law a law.

And finally, there is a law in this great state of Oklahoma that says cars must be tethered outside of public buildings. Huh?! Not sure how my insurance agent would feel about that, if he knew that my car was tethered to two or more other vehicles. I bet our auto insurance would be even more expensive than it already is. Oklahoma Auto Insurance would probably have to have some minor changes to the policies. Once again, I’m left scratching my head and wondering, “What in the world were these law makers thinking?!?!”

 

Do you know of any weird and/or strange laws that Oklahoma has in place?

Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability

In Oklahoma, businesses sometimes need additional business insurance to go with their policies. One of those coverages, would be hired and non-owned auto liability. Hired and non-owned auto liability coverage provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for rented and non-owned vehicles and commercial vehicles used by employees for use in the business.

For example, Jane rents or borrows a car to go visit a client and causes a wreck on the way to her client’s home or office. The people she hit are going to try to get Jane’s company to pay for the damages because she was doing business related activities at the time of the accident.

Bob the Builder owns a construction company and hires Larry the contractor to come in and install windows in the home that Bob is building. While backing into the driveway to unload the windows, Larry backs into the client’s new Mercedes. On impact, one of the windows falls out of the back of the truck and knocks the client in the head. When the client wakes up, he is going to sue and Bob the Builder’s hired and non-owned auto coverage would kick in and protect his company.

Sue owns a restaurant and has an employee run to Walmart to pick up lettuce because they ran out. On the way to Walmart, the employee causes an accident. Because the employee was performing work related duties, the people who were hit can look to the restaurant for payment for the damages. Sue’s hired and non-owned liability would cover at this point.

Little White Lies in Insurance

Deceitful Words for Cheaper Rates:

A common misconception that insured’s have is that they can lie to the insurance company or their agent and get away with it while paying a lower premium for their insurance. Most people will “forget” the number of tickets, accidents and claims they have had within the last five years. This is why, at RCI Insurance Group, we pull everyone’s Motor Vehicle Report (M.V.R.) and Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report. The M.V.R. report shows the insurance company any tickets or accidents, even those accidents that are not at fault. The C.L.U.E. report shows claims that have been made on your auto policy and on your home. This report shows such claims as hail damage to your roof or your car, hot water tank burst causing water damage, an auto collision with another object or person, and anything that has happened to your home or cars that your insurance has paid to fix or replace. When you misrepresent information on your insurance policy and you have a claim, the claim can be denied when the company finds out about the wrong information and you will not get paid for your loss.

When it comes to your life insurance application, insurance companies have access to the following: paramedical exam records, doctor’s records, pharmaceutical database searches, credit reports, motor vehicle reports, and autopsy reports. So misrepresenting your annual income, current health, family health history, tobacco and drug use, or even the fact that you have depression could result in the cancellation of your policy.

In conclusion, just remember that an insurance policy is a contract of Utmost Good Faith: Each party is entitled to rely upon the representations of the other.

  • The insured tells the truth regarding material facts expecting the insurer to fulfill promise to pay any covered loss.

Remember: Deceitful Words for Cheaper Rates up front will lead to MUCH higher costs in the long run.

Should Price Be The Deciding Factor?

How many times have we gone to the purchase something and we’ve bought solely on price? I’m a big offender in that area. However, I’m learning that not everything that is the cheapest is the best deal.  This certainly applies in insurance as well.

There have been numerous times, we’ve had potential clients come into our office and say they want a quote on their Oklahoma Home Insurance or their Oklahoma General Liability policy. When our agents get to talking with the client about why they’re looking for a new quote or agent, we hear all too often that their premium is just too high. I understand that we’re in a bit of a business slump right now and things may be starting to look up in certain areas, but as a whole, most people are still struggling. Price does matter, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Example, we had a client that had a homeowner’s policy with us for many years. Their premium went up $100 for the year. This averages out to less than ten dollars a month in additional premium. If your agent is providing a great policy, is it really worth it to move your established policy to another company and agent with less coverage? Usually, it’s not.

Another example, we had a client that had been with our agency again for numerous years.  He was a great client that loved our agency and what we had to offer. He knew he had several great policies and he was well covered. His premium increased several $1000 in one year. Unfortunately, we were not able to find another company in our agency that was comparable to what he had originally. He did find another agent and company elsewhere and had to move. He was said to leave our agency and told our agents how much he loved being with RCI Insurance but he just couldn’t afford that much of an increase. He still refers potential clients to our office.

Maybe when we’ve developed an agent/client relationship that makes a difference in if you decide to stay or go over $100 premium increase. I don’t know.  What I do know, is that most companies are taking large rate increases due to the crazy last few years we’ve had in Oklahoma. Claims have been through the roof.  If you’re company hasn’t raised your premium, that’s great! Just be aware that at some point, ALL companies take some form of a rate increase.

Find an agent that works for you. Make sure they understand what they’re selling. Make sure you understand what coverages you have and what coverages you do not have. Sometimes, it’s the little extra coverages that can really save you in a time of need. Take into consideration the agency’s customer service. If they have horrible customer service, but they have the cheapest rate, are you really going to be willing to deal with customer service agents in the future. Chances are, you won’t. Again, should price really be the deciding factor?

Oklahoma Auto Coverage: Need vs Want

You are driving down the road and a dog runs out in front of you. Your first instinct is to swerve to avoid hitting the cute little puppy. So, you swerve – right into a semi-truck hauling a mobile home. The mobile home overturns and the home is completely destroyed. It takes out a couple of mailboxes and a couple more cars. Four people are injured and need medical attention.

Let’s see what kind of damage we have done:

Mobile Home – $50,000
Mailboxes – $200
Mutilated Vehicles – $35,000
Medical Expenses – $100,000
Having Enough Oklahoma Auto Liability Coverage – PRICELESS

The biggest question you should consider when shopping for auto insurance is, “When this happens to you, how much of the damages do you want your insurance to pay for?” I have only ever heard one answer – “I want my insurance to pay for all of it!”

Guess what? If you are carrying Oklahoma’s state required minimum auto insurance coverage, your insurance company is only going to pay for $50,000 of the medical expenses and $25,000 for property damage. You will personally owe an additional $60,200 to cover what insurance did not pay to replace the mobile home, mailboxes, and damaged vehicles. And you owe another $50,000 for the medical expenses that were not covered. So, you now need to write a check for a grand total of $110,200.

If you have the money in your savings account, it is no problem. Of course, your child may not be able to go to college or you may not be able to buy the lake house you have been saving for. If you own a home or business or other assets, the lawyers will be glad to put a lien on your home or take your motorcycles and boats. Of course, you could always sell your business to cover the expenses, but then you have no way to support your family. If you do not own anything, the lawyers will go to court to get a judge to agree to garnish your check until the damages are paid for – which should only take about 50 years.

Wouldn’t it have been so much easier if you had an Oklahoma risk manager who explained the coverage in detail so that you knew what was at stake and understood the importance of purchasing the higher coverage limits (sometimes only costing as little as $5 or $10 a month for all the vehicles on the policy!). You need more than an insurance agent trying to make a fast buck off of you – you need a personal risk manager who will spend time to understand the risks you personally need to cover. Contrary to popular opinion, insurance is not a “one size fits all!”

Oh, and my last word of advice? Never swerve to miss hitting animals. No matter how cute and cuddly Fido may be and how sad it is to injure an animal – if you hit an animal, the claim is considered a comprehensive claim on your Oklahoma auto insurance policy. If you dodge the animal and hit other vehicles or trees or run in a ditch, etc., the claim is considered an at fault accident and will cost you a lot more than a comprehensive claim.