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!

 

 

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Why Are Claims Such a Hassle?

Why are claims such a hassle?  That’s a very valid question, especially considering that is the reason you purchase insurance protection….in case of a claim.

I will attempt to address a couple of issues very briefly.   As companies have suffered extreme losses these past few years, adjustors are being required to provide more and more documentation as to why certain payments are justified.  The majority of the time you as the policyholder are the only one that can provide the information the adjustor needs.

Right or wrong, companies are scrutinizing claims in more detail than I’ve seen in the past 25 years.  We can fight it, or do our best to provide them with information they request, as long as the request is part of the insurance contract.

Let’s take an example.  You have hail damage to your roof.  You believe you’re entitled to a new roof.  You have replacement cost coverage.  What does that mean?  Let’s assume the damage is from the recent storm.  Your roofing contractor and the adjustor agree on the scope of the work and the price.  At that time the adjustor should request a check for a depreciated amount, not replacement cost.

You then replace the roof.  You will then need to provide the company with paid receipts and possibly pictures of the new roof.  The company may request the adjustor come back to the home and do an inspection.  At that time the Replacement Cost Recovery should be paid.  If you were able to complete the repairs/replacement for less than the amount agreed upon, you will only receive up to the amount you paid.  That’s all the insurance company is obligated to pay.

Conversely, if you (or your contractor) went over the agreed amount, the company is not obligated to pay the amount over the agreed amount.  What if you or your contractor discover additional damage that wasn’t included in the initial estimate or scope?  You need to contact the adjustor to get that amount approved before proceeding with the work.

Take the same type of loss, but let’s assume the company is aware you had a loss three years ago and were paid substantial money to replace the roof of your Oklahoma commercial property.  The hail damage on the roof appears to have not only new damage, but old damage as well.  They may very well want proof (in the form of receipts etc.) that you actually replaced the roof 3 years ago.  Companies are not in the business to pay multiple times for the same repair or replacement.

I recently received a question from a client.  He wanted to know why the company was asking for proof (receipts) he had replaced his roof 3 years ago.  Not only are companies examining claims closer, they are also underwriting the policies a lot stricter.

In order to provide “replacement cost” on your roof, the company at the time they issue the policy may want to make sure your roof is the age you say it is.  Different companies have different guidelines.  Without proof, you may only qualify for “ACV” (Actual Cash Value) or depreciated value on your roof.

Believe me when I tell you we don’t like the current insurance environment any better than you do.  We may even dislike these challenges more than you, since we fight with underwriters daily on your behalf.  If it seems we’re asking more questions and requiring more information, it is simply because the companies are asking more and more questions.

Ultimately, the more detailed information we can provide to our underwriters the better your premium and coverage will be.

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.

Do you have an Oklahoma Renter’s Policy?

A survey taken by Allstate found that less than fifty percent of renters have a renter’s insurance policy. First let me start by informing you what a typical Oklahoma Renter’s Insurance policy covers. Most importantly it covers your personal possessions for common causes of loss; this would be loss due to fire, smoke, theft, vandalism and water damage. Examples of typical personal possessions are but not limited to: electronics, clothes, furniture all of the assets that you have worked so hard for. A renter’s policy would also cover additional living expresses related to making other living arrangements, medical expenses for treating people injured on your premises as well as unfortunate lawsuits.

The most common mistake made by renters is assuming that their landlords home insurance will cover their assets in the case of a loss. The landlord’s policy will only cover the physical structure of the rental property. It is up to the renter to insure their  belongings. Here at RCI Insurance we have many carriers who will bundle your auto policy with a renters policy at very low rates making insurning your belongings easy and affordable. For a FREE QUOTE please visit our website:

http://www.rci-ins.com/insurance-solutions/personal-insurance/renters-insurance/

 

PS- We suggest renter’s and homeowner’s alike, either take pictures or video all their possessions. Store the pictures or film in a fire and water proof location. This will be very helpful in the case of a crisis. You’ll be able to show the insurance company what you had without trying to remember it on your own.

 

Other Sources:

http://www.ktul.com/story/19191944/survey-finds-less-than-half-of-renters-have-renters-insurance

How much Insurance is too much?

Oklahoma Auto insurance is one of those things that you can never really have too much of. If you don’t have it, or don’t have enough, a significant accident could leave you with thousands of dollars’ worth of bills to pay. That type of calamity could bankrupt just about anyone. Minimum coverage, while satisfying state laws for auto insurance, is a bad idea for many financial reasons.

If you choose to get minimum automobile insurance coverage, you are probably worried about the monthly bill. The problem with minimum coverage however, is that while you may be saving a more money each month, if you get into a major accident and are at fault, the money your insurance company pays will be capped at a certain point, and all costs above that coverage maximum will be your responsibility to pay. If the person you’ve injured has huge medical bills, you’ll be responsible for them after your insurance coverage has been exhausted.

One our agents recently told us this story, I thought it might help explain what I’m talking about a little better.

 A couple of years ago one of my friends had asked me to quote their car insurance.  I did quote their insurance but I raised the coverage and tried to explain that if a serious accident were to occur they would need the insurance company to pay more on their behalf.  My friend decided to save the few extra dollars that it was going to cost.  Just last month my friend’s daughter caused an accident.  There have been two surgeries and a hospital stay to the other party to go along with the vehicle they were driving.  If you know anything about medical bills these days you know that a minimum coverage policy is not going to pay for all that damage.  Now my friends are looking at having to pay the rest of that amount out of their pocket.  The thousands they could end up paying will certainly put a financial hardship on their family.

Minimum coverage is a bad idea not just for financial reasons, but for ethical reasons as well. If you have minimal coverage, and you’re responsible for an accident that costs thousands of dollars to another person and can’t pay for any of it, you’ve burdened another person with huge debt.

To learn more about your insurance coverage and if you have the right amount of coverage not just for your auto insurance, but also for your home, health, and life, visit our Free Protection Report website.

 

Fireworks in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Each year, the Fourth of July rolls around and I look forward to it every year. It’s not just about spending time with family and friends, enjoying the hot weather of July, or grilling out and eating some good American food (or in our case, ordering some pizza), or even watching an amazing fireworks show or two.  It’s a chance to celebrate our nation, the great United States of America, and our freedom.  Every time I hear our national anthem, I get goosebumps. I realize what those before us and those right now have had to sacrifice so we could become “one nation under God.” It’s a humbling moment for me.

This year, we enjoyed several fireworks shows, Rockets Over Rhema in Broken Arrow on Sunday, the Kiefer Fireworks Show in the small town of Kiefer, Oklahoma on Tuesday, and my personal favorite,  2012 ONEOK FreedomFest in Tulsa on Wednesday.  Each show was amazing, but there is something about going to Riverside and watching a spectacular show (minus the awful year they caught fire and there was no show at all). I love it! The grand finale was absolutely breathetaking. If you missed the FreedomFest show or would like to see it for yourself, click here.

Too many times, I think we (myself included) take for granted all the wonderful things and opportunities we have in America.  Yes, our nation is slowing making a comeback from an economy slump, but take into a count what you do have. Be grateful for the little things, the small things that can get over looked. Why focus on what you don’t have, you’ll end up missing out what you do have.

Fires can happen quickly and without notice. However, sometimes lighting some amazing fireworks can help that fire get started just a little bit quicker. There were many fires in our area last night. The Tulsa Fire Department was definitely busy! I’m sure there were people that witnessed fires in their neighborhood, their backyard, or even their home. Tragedy may have struck their home, and I just  hope they had an Oklahoma Homeowner’s policy to help cover their expenses and loss. And God forbid, if someone was injured while shooting off fireworks, my first thought is did they have a Health Insurance policy in place in case of an injury? Maybe other people don’t think those questions; maybe I do because I’ve worked in insurance for many years. Either way, I hope this morning starts the day with people getting restored back to where they were before the loss occurred. And it begins with having the right insurance in place long before an incident happens.