Nashville insurance insight: Errors and Omissions Insurance, and why you might need it

Nashville insurance insight: Errors and Omissions Insurance, and why you might need it

Across every business and every industry, all entrepreneurs have something in common: We’re human. We err. We err personally, and we err professionally.

The former is complicated enough; the latter brings the possibility of a lawsuit.

As diligent a professional as we all might be, we have to accept that oversights and unintended mistakes can happen, and that we need to protect ourselves against that possibility. That means Errors and Omissions Insurance.

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Nashville insurance insight: small business insurance shaped for your needs

Nashville insurance insight: small business insurance shaped for your needs

A useful entrepreneurship tidbit to know: Across the United States, independent business growth is in a good place. From the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity:

“In 2013 the Startup Activity Index was at its lowest point in the last 20 years. Today it has gone up three years in a row, reaching close to the peak before the Great Recession drop.”

As an independent insurance agent/small businessperson, that’s a factoid I’m happy to see. Unfortunately, here at home in Nashville, figures are a little less sunny.

Nashville, disappointingly, was on a downswing in Kauffman’s Metro Rankings, dropping from from a city rank of 16 in 2016 to 29 in 2017. We were one of the biggest drops among the cities cited.

I certainly can’t pinpoint what’s making the startup rate in Nashville stall, but I do know one thing: Starting a business is difficult, and complicated, with a grab bag of different pieces that need to be in place for things to start, stabilize, grow and thrive.

Having the right small business insurance in place is, to me, one of the most important parts of entrepreneurial housekeeping.

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Nashville insurance insight: You’re wrong about life insurance

Nashville insurance insight: You’re wrong about life insurance

I like to read insurance-industry studies — in part out of curiosity, but more so I can understand what my insurance clients in Nashville do and don’t understand, where their assumptions lie, and what they want from an independent insurance agent like me.

A few I read recently really opened my eyes. Largely to the fact that insurance brokers like me, in Nashville and everywhere else, need to do more to dispel false assumptions about life insurance.

Life insurance is valuable, and if you have a family, a business or considerable assets, I’d call it a must. But a lot of Americans are apparently skipping it, based on assumptions that are out of date, off-base or simply not true.

So I’d like to clarify a few things, and hopefully make getting life insurance in Nashville seem more approachable. 

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Nashville insurance insight: updating your home insurance policy

Nashville insurance insight: updating your home insurance policy

If there are two key things I want to try and drill into my Nashville neighbors’ minds, it’s this:

— It’s worth it to shop for and compare insurance policies.

— Don’t just set and forget your insurance — you need to keep things updated.

On the latter point: Let’s talk about home insurance.

I can’t tell you how many homeowners I’ve met in Nashville who find a home insurance policy when they purchase their home, then ignore it forever, unless they have to make a claim.

There are a bunch of reasons that’s not the best idea. First, you could be missing out on better rates by not shopping around. But more importantly, you could be leaving yourself with inadequate coverage that doesn’t reflect your home or your situation anymore.

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Nashville insurance insight: insuring your old car

Nashville insurance insight: insuring your old car

This week, I read a story from Nashville’s NewsChannel 5: “Why a fender bender can total your old car.” It’s a car-insurance story I’ve heard plenty of times before, and I know I’ll hear again and again.

The crux, in case you don’t feel like reading the whole story: A Nashville driver with an older car gets in a wreck, and has his dented-but-functional vehicle totaled. Which leaves him with a problem: The blue-book value payout isn’t enough for a reasonable replacement, but getting a “salvage” title and repairing the old car isn’t financially ideal either.

I really feel for the guy. The biggest bummer with all this: There’s no perfect solution, insurance-wise.

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Nashville insurance insight: storm damage and your homeowners policy

Nashville insurance insight: storm damage and your homeowners policy

Although spring tends to be the peak season for major storms here in Tennessee, we’re still getting a healthy share in Nashville now that summer’s rolling in. And the steady parade of downed trees in my neighborhood keeps that in the front of my mind.

 

Also at the front of my mind when winds are howling and thunder’s rolling: how these major storms affect my clients.

 

There’s good reason for someone in my line of work to be thinking about that, since weather leads to the bulk of homeowners insurance claims — 51 percent of all losses are traced to weather-related damage.

 

Are you clear on what is/isn’t covered at your place, and with your policy? Just in case, here’s a quick rundown of the most common stuff.

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Nashville insurance insight: What musicians, photographers and other creatives should know

Nashville insurance insight: What musicians, photographers and other creatives should know

Nashville is a unique place to live for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being our healthy congregation of professional musicians, songwriters, photographers and other creatives.

Even those of us with straight-laced jobs know how hard of a slog it is to stabilize a creative career, and I have immense respect for neighbors who make it happen, and appreciation for a city that supports the hustle.

A funny, frustrating thing about creative jobs like these, though: It’s necessary to amass loads of expensive equipment, and usually just as necessary to haul it around to less-than-locked-down locations, like dark rock clubs, open parks and Motel 6 parking lots.

The kicker:

Creative professionals tend to be chronically under-insured, and people in my industry don’t reach out to musicians and artists enough to change that.

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Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about condo insurance

Nashville insurance insight: What you should know about condo insurance

Whether you buy a single-family home or a condo in Nashville, you’re a homeowner, pure and simple. But that doesn’t mean your experiences and needs are the same.

As a single-family homeowner, your responsibilities run from the roof to the foundation, so your insurance coverage needs to be just as broad.

Condo owners are a little different. Everything inside your unit is yours to maintain and repair, but the shared parts of the property — anything from the lobby to the plumbing that runs from the street — fall under the HOA’s purview.

That means you need a more specific home-insurance option, tailored to what a condo owner needs to protect. 

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Nashville insurance insight: The future of car insurance

Nashville insurance insight: The future of car insurance

If I could see into the future… well, I’d probably be in pretty high demand in the insurance industry. Since I can’t, I rely on studies and data to try and understand trends, and pass information along to my clients.

One thing I get asked a lot lately: “Why does it seem like car insurance rates keep going up?” The short answer: Because car insurance rates keep going up.

From Forbes: “Since about 2012, rates to insure vehicles have gone up in all states and for all drivers, even including those with spotless driving records and no claims.”

I know that’s not fun and/or reassuring, but I think it’s worth at least knowing why things are trending in that direction, how we can work with it, and what we can expect from the future.

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Nashville insurance insight: Quick renters insurance facts

Nashville insurance insight: Quick renters insurance facts

Earlier this year, I wrote a little about renters insurance in Nashville — what it covers, what it usually costs. I think the post is well worth a read if you rent a home or apartment in Nashville, whether you’re a young professional just getting your footing or a retiree feeling out whether or not you’d like to buy a home here.

 

While I covered the “what” and the “how” about renters insurance pretty thoroughly there, the “why” could probably use a little more explanation. Because “why” might be the most important part of renters insurance, and I don’t think people in the insurance industry are getting it across effectively.

 

Stats that lead me to that conclusion: While 95 percent of homeowners in the U.S. had homeowners insurance, according to a 2016 poll, only 41 percent of renters had renters insurance.

 

Mortgage requirements notwithstanding, that 59 percent of uninsured renters is disheartening to me, considering how cheap and simple renters insurance is and how much protection it provides.

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Nashville insurance insight: Are you a ‘preferred risk’? You might be due drastically lower rates

Nashville insurance insight: Are you a ‘preferred risk’? You might be due drastically lower rates

People I meet from out of town often ask me, “What are the car insurance rates like in Nashville?” “How do home insurance rates in Tennessee compare?”

 

They’re funny questions, honestly, because I can’t answer them. At least not accurately.

 

If you want numbers that mean anything, we’d need to get a little deeper, and talk about insurance rates based on risk levels. Which is something worth talking about, if you’re shopping for insurance in Nashville. A lot of people don’t realize it, but if you’re considered a “preferred risk,” you have a serious bargaining chip that you can and should be making smart use of.   

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Nashville insurance insight: What’s an umbrella policy, and why would I need it?

Nashville insurance insight: What’s an umbrella policy, and why would I need it?

There are lots of insurance options most of us have no need to learn about. Prize indemnity insurance. Political risk insurance. Equine Liability Insurance.

 

But if you’re shopping for insurance in Nashville, and you don’t already know the ins and outs of umbrella policies, I’d definitely encourage you to brush up a little (and I’m glad to help you do so).

 

It’s not complicated, just lesser-known to many Nashvillians (many Americans, really). And it can be significantly valuable, while not being significantly expensive.

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Nashville insurance insight: Your basic life insurance questions, answered

Nashville insurance insight: Your basic life insurance questions, answered

No one ever really wants to talk about life insurance, which is understandable. But no one talking about life insurance is also why there tends to be a steep learning curve related to it.

When I talk to someone who’s shopping for life insurance in Nashville, more often than not, they’re coming into the process confused by premiums and options, and a little intimidated.

Here’s the good news: Getting your head around the best life insurance options for you and your family isn’t that hard, with some basic information and a little guidance. I’m glad to provide both (just call/email me).

If you’d like to skim the surface before you talk to an independent insurance agent in Nashville, I’m happy to help there too.

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Nashville insurance insight: the most common insurance mistakes

Nashville insurance insight: the most common insurance mistakes

I do a lot of different things, as an independent Nashville insurance agent. I give advice. I research coverage options. And often enough, I fix insurance mistakes.

There are some I can’t fix — like not having the coverage you need and trying to address it after you need to make a claim. On the front end, though, if we sit down and go over your total picture, I can point out the places where you’re paying too much for insurance, or you’re under-covered, or putting yourself at unnecessary risk to save a few bucks.

I breathe insurance day in and day out, so whipping your insurance situation into shape is both a job and a joy for me. I legitimately love helping clients find better coverage at better prices.

If you’d like to sit down and chat about your insurance needs, reach out and let me know. In the meantime, if you’re curious about whether your insurance coverage has some hidden mishaps, here are a few of the most common insurance mistakes I see people make. They might give you perspective on where your car insurance, home insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, etc. needs attention.

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Nashville insurance insight: When should you put your kids on their own auto policy?

Nashville insurance insight: When should you put your kids on their own auto policy?

Here on the blog, I’m going to try to tackle a few Nashville insurance questions that I get asked routinely by clients and prospective clients. One of the most common: When should I take my grown kids off my car insurance policy, and push them to get their own?

The answer, in my opinion, is like most answers when it comes to insurance: It depends.

There’s no across-the-board “best” approach, here, but there probably is an approach that’s best for your situation, and your child’s. By and large, you need to weigh out a few key factors to make this decision.

Here’s what I’d think about, and where I’d start a pros/cons list:

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Nashville Insurance Insight: Why the minimum Tennessee auto insurance limits aren’t enough

Nashville Insurance Insight: Why the minimum Tennessee auto insurance limits aren’t enough

A question I’ve been asked from time to time: Do you have to get car insurance in Nashville?

Quick answer: Legally speaking, yes. If you’re driving a car in Tennessee, you’re required, by law, to carry a minimum level of liability insurance, in place to protect other drivers from injuries or damage you might cause.

Those Tennessee minimums, as of March, 2017:

$25,000 for one injury or death

$50,000 for all injuries or deaths

$15,000 for property damage for one accident

(You can read more about the state Minimum Limits of Liability at the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security’s site, if you’re intrigued by the nuts and bolts of state laws.)

The long answer to that question: There are legally required auto insurance minimums in Tennessee, yes, but they’re generally not enough to adequately protect you. 

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Ways to save on insurance rates in Nashville and beyond

Ways to save on insurance rates in Nashville and beyond

Back in February, I shared two long lists of bummers: things that can make your car insurance rates go up, and home insurance rates go up.

Now that we’ve moved into spring and we’re all full of life and vigor, let’s tackle something more positive: things that can make your insurance rates go down.

A funny (and unfortunate) thing that I find a lot when talking to clients: Many of us have become used to just picking an insurance policy and leaving it alone, no matter how many changes happen in our lives, jobs, etc.

The risk there is two-fold: You can leave yourself with inadequate insurance coverage, and/or get stuck paying a bunch of money you don’t really need to pay. It’s why I really encourage shopping for insurance somewhat regularly, even if you’re not going through me.

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Planning a major event in Nashville? Protect your party with special event insurance

Planning a major event in Nashville? Protect your party with special event insurance

In a perfect world, all the time and care you put into planning a luxurious launch party, a spectacular Sweet 16, a wonderful wedding, a delightfully quirky quinceañera, would be paid back in spades, with a celebration that goes off without a hitch, from delicious food to sunny weather.

Unfortunately, as we all know too well, the world is fiercely imperfect.

There’s a certain amount of risk involved with planning an event, particularly when they’re of the higher-cost variety. You’re depending on vendors, on guests of honor, sometimes on nature itself. And to put everything in place, you generally have to commit to expenditures that leave you little wiggle room.

Sure, your big 50th anniversary party venue might grant a refund if a tree takes out the banquet space, but what about the caterers who’ve arranged their schedule around your shindig? What about the photographer, the bartenders? Anything with multiple moving pieces — all of which require deposits and contracts — can get complicated.

This is where special event insurance comes into play.

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Personal articles insurance policies help protect your prized possessions

Personal articles insurance policies help protect your prized possessions

If there’s one word I’d use to describe how I approach insurance coverage in Nashville: individualized. One person’s totally-adequate basic policy is another person’s woefully lacking coverage. To keep you (and your stuff) protected, we have to focus specifically on your needs, your life, and your belongings.

So, on that note, I’ll share something a lot of Nashvillians don’t think about: Your average homeowners insurance or rental insurance policy probably won’t cut it if your assets are, essentially, anything outside of the average. If you’ve got a couple of flat-screen TVs and computers and maybe a few small pieces of jewelry, you’re probably fine. But what if we move into the realm of antique silverware, prized pieces of art, high-end cameras or valuable stamp and coin collections?

Should something like a break-in happen, chances are good that your average policy isn’t going to adequately cover the replacement of those especially valuable — and especially loved — items.

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