When it Comes to Insurance, Think Value Not Price

Recently I was a panelist for the Women Leaders Forum’s seminar on financial issues. They asked each of us to contribute a page to a book of “financial wisdom” as a takeaway gift for attendees. If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know my general advice is to think value not price, get a good agent and sweat the big stuff.

Would you choose a doctor in a clown suit offering 15% off? Insurance companies spend millions of dollars per year on funny ads claiming they are cheapest. But sophisticated consumers, those with something significant to lose, view risk management as a service like a doctor or lawyer, not a commodity product like gasoline. Insurance issues are complicated and contracts and carriers are different. You need good advice and the right insurance. If you simply want the cheapest insurance, someone will find a bad way to get you what you want.

Would you leave your seat belt off to keep your dress from getting wrinkled? If you have money your biggest risk is being sued; it’s not the cost to fix some minor fender bender. So “sweat the big stuff” by maintaining high limits for liability, home replacement value and uninsured motorists. Don’t make small claims: insurance companies hate those and will punish you with higher rates or cancellations. And if you’re not going to make small claims, don’t pay for that right with a low deductible. Raise your deductible and use the savings to raise your limits: sweat the big stuff!

Would you shop at a department store offering only one brand? Sophisticated consumers don’t, they use independent agents that access multiple carriers on their behalf. Also, independent agents are generally more experienced. A good way to find an independent agent is to go to the website of a high net worth carrier like Chubb or Pure, put in your zip code and see what agents they have endorsed to represent them in your area.

With the right agent you can partner up to achieve effective risk management regardless of how much you know or want to know about insurance. Have you met your agent? Was your selection of your agent thoughtful or the result of history? Do you like your agent; do you feel comfortable sharing? Your agent should know what’s going on in your life to effectively protect you.

Change your agent if necessary. Insurance is too important to worry about hurting feelings. This is California, lawsuit capital of the country. Don’t risk everything you have worked so hard to build.

This site is informational and not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.