Why Does Dave Ramsey Recommend an Independent Insurance Agent?

If you haven’t noticed we are big fans of Dave Ramsey. We are a Dave Ramsey “Endorsed Local Provider” and not only have we used his advice but are constantly recommending him to our clients. We truly believe that taking a conservative approach to your finances, spending less than you make, and avoiding debt are sound decisions. What about Dave’s recommendation that you use a trusted independent insurance agent? Is this a good recommendation and a critical part of making the best  financial decisions?

We certainly agree with Dave that an independent insurance agent is often the best place to not only purchase your insurance but also to make sure your coverages are meeting your needs. We believe there are 3 distinctions of an independent agent that can be of the most value to you.

- We simply do not work for the insurance company

It sounds so simple but day in and day out we see examples of how this plays out. We represent the insurance company but we are not employees of that company. Ultimately we represent the interest of you, the client. Insurance can at times be a complex matter. There is sometimes confusion and miscommunication, whether over a claim or even your billing. When these situations arise an independent agent can look at the matter from your perspective and represent your interest to the company.

No one is perfect and sometimes insurance companies are wrong. Having an independent voice to represent you versus an employee of the insurance company insures that you will be treated fairly and efficiently.

- Representing Multiple Companies Offers you the Best Deal with the Least Hassle

Let’s be honest, even with those companies offering your huge savings in 15 minutes, getting an insurance quote is not exactly pleasant. Gathering your documents, remembering the details of a small claim 3-years ago, and trying to choose the right level of coverage is just not fun. We can certainly think of funner things to do.

An independent agent can offer a multitude of companies and make the best use of your time while shopping for insurance. Our quotes compare a minimum of 4 companies with multiple coverage options.

-Building a Long-Term Relationship With an Independent Agent is Easier

As much as we wish it wasn’t so insurance companies often change their rates. What was fantastic for you this year may not be so fantastic 5 years down the road. Back to our 2nd point is it isn’t fun having to shop for insurance. Starting over every couple of years with a new agent is a headache.

By representing multiple companies we can keep our relationship intact and may be able to offer a new company at a better rate. There is no need to start from scratch.

We have had clients that have been with our agency for over 50-years. That simply is awesome! A relationship like that is invaluable for both us and the client.

Why we chose to be the Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider for Bakersfield Insurance…

We believe Dave’s principles work. We enjoy working with people that have embraced his philosophy. Whether you are on baby step #1 or have already done the “we’re debt free” scream… we want to grow together with our clients. Responsible clients that are in control of their finances are fun to work with! Hard working independent insurance agents that are watching out for your interest and building the dream together are fun to work with!

We would love to talk to you about your insurance needs. Give us a call at 661-327-5531 or stop by our office at 111 “H” Street. You can complete an on-line quote comparison here.

 

Driving in Mexico? New Laws Require Liability Coverage on Mexico Highways.

Are you planning a winter getaway to Mexico? If you are driving you should be aware of the new law requiring drivers to carry liability insurance. Although many of our companies do offer coverage extensions into Mexico, the Mexican authorities will not recognize United State’s insurers.

Purchasing coverage for your vehicle while in Mexico is easy and can be purchased for only the days you will spend in Mexico.

Give us a call today, 661-327-5531 and we can make sure you have the proper coverage in place.

Its Graduation Time for Bakersfield Students! Here Are Some Teen Driving Tips to Keep Graduation Safe

High school is full of defining moments for Bakersfield teens and two of the highlights for most are prom and graduation.

However, this time of year often sees other, more tragic defining moments – serious car accidents involving teens who are distracted or even under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

At Crosby and Crosby, we want to help make this season one to celebrate for you and your teen. So, with the help of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, here are some tips that can keep your teen safe.

First, encourage your teen to follow these general safe-driving rules:

Absolutely no alcohol

Always use seat belts

No cell phone use (including texting) while driving

Special circumstances

Of course, special events such as prom and graduation often present special circumstances. There may be dinner with dates before the dance, and parties before or after either event. It’s a good idea to discuss your expectations well before each event, putting some guidelines into place before your teen heads out for the night. Here are some ideas:

Make sure you know the itinerary of the evening, as well as who else will be with your teen. You should have contact information for everyone.

Have a way to contact your teen at all times. You may want to require them to check in with you once or twice over the course of the evening.

Set a curfew, whether they are coming back to your home or staying with a friend. If they are staying elsewhere, make sure the curfew will be enforced by a responsible adult.

Discuss with your teen how to handle difficult situations, such as facing pressure to drink, or accepting a ride with someone who shouldn’t be driving. It’s a good idea to provide your child with money for a taxi just in case.

Offer a “no-questions-asked” ride home, should they need one during the evening.

If you’re worried about your teen driving, consider alternate transportation. A car service or limousine will provide a responsible, experienced adult driver. You also will be able to limit changes to the itinerary and contact the driver.

Prom and graduation in Bakersfield are special times in a teen’s life. And just a little common sense will go a long way toward making sure your young adult is around to enjoy the other milestones that are sure to come.

 Safeco Insurance Teen Safety Rewards™

Safeco Insurance  Teen Safety Rewards can provide you a collection of tools, benefits and discounts to help your teen become a safer driver — as well as manage the cost of adding them to your policy. There are several discounts available, including the Good Student Discount, Driver Training Discount and more. Call Crosby and Crosby Insurance Services, 661-327-5531 or send us an email, agent@crosbyandcrosby.com for more information!

5 Tips on Getting the Best Deal on Your Bakersfield Home and Auto Insurance

Bakersfield has changed quite a bit since Crosby and Crosby first started writing insurance in 1963. Insurance has changed just as drastically. In the old days, we used a rate wheel to manually provide an insurance premium. Today, we can instantly compare our many different companies and compare side by side coverage and deductible options. To help our clients chose the right coverage options at the absolutely best value, we recommend these 5 Tips on getting the best deal for your insurance.

 

- Combine, Combine, Combine

We have all heard that combining your home and auto can help you to save money on your insurance. The discounts don’t stop there. Have you considered combining other policies such as boat, motorcycle, umbrella and even life insurance? By combining all of your policies, you can save even more through additional multi-policy discounts.

- Compare company specific discounts

Did you know that some companies provide a discount for living in a gated community? Companies have many different discounts available. An independent agent can help you to make sure the applicable discounts are being applied.

 - Compare Deductible Options

Statistically, a homeowner will have a claim every 7 years. How would raising your deductible to $1,000 or even $2,500 impact your annual insurance premium? If you can take the extra risk, a higher deductible option can payoff. Many of our clients are deciding that raising deductibles on the auto up to $1,000 is a smart move that can help to reduce your insurance premium.

- Verify Your Annual Miles

In California, your usage is a primary rating factor on your auto insurance. Annual mileage can vary tremendously from one driver to another. Do you have a short commute? A vehicle provided by your company? Are you retired? These are all factors that impact the usage of your vehicle. Make sure you are talking with your company about how many miles your are driving annually and not overpaying for your insurance.

- Shop With an Independent Agent

An independent agency represents different insurance companies.  An “agent” vs a “broker” does not charge extra fees to write a policy. An independent agent is able to present several quote options and give you a good comparison of different options. By letting an agent compare your quote options, you can make sure you are getting the best insurance value.

Let Crosby and Crosby Compare Options and Provide you with an Insurance Quote

It is easier than ever to see rates from our great companies. You can call us, 661-327-5531, email us agent@crosbyandcrosby.com, or quote live online. We provide a great comparison quote with companies like Safeco, Metlife, Kemper Preferred and Travelers.

Insuring High Value Homes in High Fire Areas – Protection Class 9 – 10

If there are two home insurance markets that are having a hard time finding reasonable insurance policies it is: high value homes and homes located in high fire areas. We have written in-depth on previous blogs about homes that are located in high fire and brush areas. Our blog topic, “Tips on How to Insure High-Risk and Brush Area Homes”, is one of our most visited pages.

If you have a combination of a high value home and a home that is listed as a brush fire area you are dealing with 2 issues that may limit your options. First we will tackle what exactly is considered a high value home. Secondly, we will discuss what criteria is used to determine a high fire risk. Lastly we will give you the best options for securing the best insurance for your home.

What is considered a high-value home?

Most companies consider a high-value home to be a home with a replacement cost of $750,000 or more. This is generally what your coverage A or dwelling coverage would be listed as on your policy.

Because a high value home exposes an insurance company to a large amount of risk on an individual location most companies will re-insure risks over a certain coverage amount. You, the client, are insured by the primary company. The insurance company purchases “reinsurance” from a company to help reduce their total exposure.

The “reinsurance” is the particular problem that has caused many high value homes, especially those homes with replacement cost over $1,750,000, to become both expensive and difficult to insure. The cost of reinsurance has gone up as investment (bonds) returns have fallen with low interest rates. Primary insurance companies have in turn had to raise rates or limit coverages for high value homes.

How and who decides what areas are considered high brush? 

ISO Protection Class:

First off you may hear your homes protection class as a number, such as a Protection Class 5 or a Protection Class 10. With these numbers a “1″ is the least hazardous and a “10″ would be the most hazardous. These numbers are put together by the Insurance Services Office, “ISO”, and are a rating of the fire departments coverage and response time to your location. Generally a protection class 9 or 10 would be considered to have a structure fully engulfed in fire by the time the fire deparment is able to respond.

Brush Mapping Services:

Companies now use a host of brush mapping services to help them determine if a home can be insured with their program or not. Some companies would simply determine an “elgible” or “inelgible” determination. Some companies would use a tiered structure to charge higher premiums in higher risk areas. Brush mapping systems use a combination of distance to brush, fuel load and previous fire history in their determination.

The Crosby and Crosby Solution

We talk to clients each day that have spent hours on the phones with different agents trying to find home insurance. This is often a frustrating process as companies are unfamiliar with different areas or are unfamiliar with insuring high-value homes.

By specializing in helping our clients find suitable coverage for their high fire risk and high value homes we can effeciently get your a quote from one of our great companies.

We write home insurance throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Wisconsin.

You can now complete an online live quote, give us a call at 661-327-5531 or send us an agent@crosbyandcrosby.com.

Home Insurance Getting Cancelled Because of Claims? 3 Tips to Get Your Insurance Back on Track

At the very core insurance is meant to protect you from the unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected events can add up and even the best insurance clients can end up with multiple claims over a short period of time. In today’s insurance market many customers are finding themselves in the position of being cancelled from their current homeowners companies for 1 or more losses in the previous 5-years. Often, these are customers that have been with the same company for a decade or more and may have gone without claims for years. If you find yourselve in this situation rest assured that you do have options to get your insurance back on track.

- Shop Around with an Independent Insurance Agent

An independent insurance agent represents several homeowners insurance companies. By offering a broad array of companies with different criteria an independent agent can match each client with the best company available. Companies all have different underwriting requirements. Some companies will not consider new policies with any prior claims and others may be willing to write new policies with multiple claims. Companies may classify losses diferently. Many companies will not count wind related claims, such as a blown down fence.

- Make your Case

If you are facing cancellation of your home insurance for previous claims, don’t give up. Making your case to your current carrier or a new provider can make the difference. What have you done to mitigate the potential for future losses? If you had a loss because of a burglary and installed a central alarm system to prevent future losses companies are interested in hearing that. Your proactive response to protect your home against future losses can make a difference. A few examples would be:

- Water Damage Caused by Ruptured Water Pipe – Updating or Replacing Plumbing

- Damage Caused By Leak in Roof – Roof Replaced

- Loss Due to Wind Damaged Wood Fence – Mitigated by replacing fence with a cement block wall

- Consider a Higher Deductible Option

A higher deductible option on your insurance can help a company consider writing your insurance with past losses. Especially if you have had losses in the smaller range. Many customers are finding that they can save a considerable amount of money and also prevent future small losses by chosing a higher deductible option such as $1500, $2,500 or even $5,000.

- Crosby and Crosby Can Help

If you are confused on which way to proceed and are facing a cancellation notice because of claims we can help. We represent 11 of the best homeowners companies and have many great options to choose from. Our consultive approach and comparative rating can compare many different companies and coverage options in one easy step. Give us a call today, 661-327-5531, send us an email at agent@crosbyandcrosby.com or complete a live comparative quote below.

Crosby and Crosby is Now A Dave Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider For Home and Auto Insurance

We have long been fans of Dave Ramsey. His sound financial advice has helped us personally. We are now very proud to announce that we are Dave Ramsey “Endorsed Local Providers” for home and auto insurance.

Dave, has been a big advocate for local independent agents. We agree that an independent agent, with several great companies to chose from, is the best option for purchasing your home and auto insurance.

Crosby and Crosby Insurance serves insureds in California, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Give us a call if we can help. 661-327-5531 or complete a free no-obligation quote here.

California will not be extending date for cancelled health insurance

Please see the attached press release from Covered California. The Covered California board voted unanimously yesterday to uphold the December 31st deadline for non-ACA health insurance plans. The cancel notices that have gone out will not be reversed. Have questions about what this means to you? Call us at 661-327-5531.

COVERED CALIFORNIA UPHOLDS ORIGINAL DEADLINE FOR ENDING HEALTH PLANS THAT DON’T MEET LAW’S STANDARDS
Strong Enrollment in New Health
Insurance Marketplace a Factor in Decision
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As consumer enrollment continues to grow, the Covered California™ Board unanimously voted today to uphold its Dec. 31, 2013, deadline for health insurance companies to discontinue plans that don’t meet basic standards. The board cited that extending the deadline offers no benefit to the consumer and may create confusion about accessing affordable health care coverage through Covered California.
The board, consistent with President Barack Obama’s recommendations, also urged Covered California staff to implement helpful tools for consumers currently enrolled in affected plans, to better understand their options.
The decision to maintain the original deadline also confirms the state exchange’s commitment to transitioning Californians into plans that are compliant with the reforms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, protecting consumers from double deductibles and stabilizing the risk pool to control costs for consumers beginning in 2014.
Additionally, Covered California is implementing five key strategies to sustain, if not increase, its enrollment momentum and help affected consumers:
• Extending the deadline for enrollment for coverage taking effect on Jan. 1, 2014, from Dec. 15, 2013, to Dec. 23, 2013, and extending the deadline for payments due from Dec. 26, 2013, to Jan. 5, 2014.
• Establishing a telephone hotline for consumers to resolve enrollment questions. The hotline, (855) 857-0445, will be available beginning Monday, Nov. 25.
• Sending information directly to nearly 1.13 million affected individuals that provides clear options for coverage. The information will be sent from Covered California and the individual’s current insurance provider.
• Collecting and reporting data, on a regular basis, showing the impacts of conversion for individuals.
• Engaging consumers in their communities through the thousands of Certified Insurance Agents, Certified Enrollment Counselors and Certified Educators now deployed statewide.
“The consumer is front and foremost in Covered California’s policy decision process. These new strategies will provide consumers a better enrollment experience, more flexibility in the selection of a plan and, most importantly, increased knowledge with which to make the best health coverage choice possible,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.
The board and Covered California staff discussed options for maintaining or extending the deadline after President Obama last week gave state insurance exchanges flexibility on when policies that were not grandfathered and are not compliant with the Affordable Care Act could be ended.
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. With coverage starting in 2014, Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information on Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.

Covered CA Q&A

We get questions daily on Covered CA and try to answer them as quickly as possible. Here are some questions and answers recently posted by Health Care Shopper you may find interesting:

Covered California Q&A

________________________________________
• Why Are Rates Higher in Northern CA?
• Why are Networks Restricted?
• Who Sets Prices?
• Continuation of Non-ACA Policies
Why Are Rates Higher in Northern CA?
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 04:50 PM PST
**Question**: Rates are considerably higher in the northern part of the state than in SoCal. What’s up with that? I understand San Francisco being higher because everything is costlier there, but even the rural areas of the north counties are pricier than LA and Orange County. Can you make sense of it? **Answer**: In a nutshell, it’s about population and competition. More population means more hospitals, large medical groups and other providers. That means more competition with more providers willing to contract at lower rates to get a leg up. That translates to a 48% difference in premium rates between San Francisco and Los Angeles for a 40 year old buying the 2nd lowest priced Silver Plan – $373 vs $252.
Why are Networks Restricted?
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 03:07 PM PST
**Question**: There has been much talk about restricted provider networks in the Covered California plans. If the plans have to be the same as those offered outside the marketplace, how are they restricted? Or all all individual plans restricted in comparison to group plans? Can you shed some light on this subject? **Answer**: Individual plan provider networks have been “narrowed” for 2014 as a way of controlling costs. That’s because a smaller number of medical providers are willing to agree to lower contract rates. Carriers who offer qualified health plans in the exchange must “mirror” those plans (including networks) outside of the exchange, so the individual plan networks are identical in the exchange and off the exchange. Group plans will generally have broader networks than individual plans, if not the same as pre-2014.
Who Sets Prices?
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 02:06 PM PST
**Question**: Does the ACA set prices for procedures etc or are insurance companies allowed to charge anything? Also, which insurance company has the best record for not overcharging for procedures? **Answer**: The ACA does not set prices for medical services, nor for that matter does the law set health insurance rates. Insurance companies negotiate with health care providers – doctors, hospitals, etc.- to set a contract rate for each medical procedure or service. There is considerable variance in medical costs between insurance companies for the same service or procedure and also between providers within the same insurance company network, because negotiated contract rates are lower with some providers than others. There is no transparency for the consumer in this system so there is no way to compare the contract rates among carriers.
Continuation of Non-ACA Policies
Posted: 19 Nov 2013 02:37 PM PST
**Question**: I got a letter from Blue Shield that my existing policy would be terminated Dec 31st 2013, and I would be switched over to some new bronze ACA plan for the next year. A few weeks ago I received another letter and that states my current policy can continue until March 31, 2014. What is the significance of March 31st deadline? Has this something to do with the administrative directive Obama administration issued regarding individual mandate? The above letter was before the more recent development of the administration allowing non-ACA policies to continue till the end of the year. In light of that, should I expect yet another letter from BlueShield extending the current policy until Dec 31, 2014? **Answer**: It is possible that Blue Shield will extend current non-grandfathered plans for another year. If so that would be a result of the recent mea culpa announcement by President Obama. The initial Blue Shield extension was ordered by the Department of Insurance because Blue Shield allegedly did not give policyholders sufficient notice of cancellation.

Medicare Advantage Plans Discontinuation & Open Enrollment

Earlier this month notices began going out to Medicare Advantage customers who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that is being discontinued in their area. An example of this is in Kern County where the Anthem Blue Cross Senior Secure Plan I is no longer available. If you receive one of these notices and need help in obtaining a new plan please contact us. We are a local, independent, family owned agency in Kern County and have been doing business since 1963. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and to help you get enrolled in an available plan. We work with great health insurance carriers like Anthem Blue Cross, BlueShield, Kaiser and HealthNet. We offer all lines of insurance including Medicare Advantage Plans, Medicare Part D, and Medicare Supplements. You can contact our health insurance agent directly at jenni@crosbyandcrosby.com, 661-327-5531 or by visiting our office at 111 H Street. We hope to hear fromy you soon.

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