6 Questions to Ask an Insurance Agent in your 20's and 30's
1. We’re getting married. Should we wed our auto insurance as well?
If one of you has a Mad Max-like driving history, then auto insurance might be one of those things you don’t merge once married. But if you and your spouse both have good driving records and no recent gaps in insurance coverage, you might save money by combining policies.
For a few more dollars a month, you can add ERIE Auto Plus, which includes features such as additional days of transportation expense coverage1 and waived deductible in certain situations that make ERIE’s great auto coverage even better.
2. We’re hunting for our first house – should homeowners insurance weigh into what we buy?
In the excitement of finding that first home, some buyers forget to consider the cost of homeowners insurance, and how different locations and types of homes might impact it. According to Realtor.com, the average annual cost for homeowners insurance is $952. However, factors such as distance from a fire department, proximity to storm-prone coastal areas, age of the home and your claims history can play a role in what it ultimately costs to insure a particular house.
A conversation with your ERIE agent as you start your search can give you a better perspective on potential costs and how they may impact what you can afford.
3. We’re having a baby. Should we get life insurance?
A new baby brings new responsibilities – and new expenses. Life insurance can help make sure that if an untimely death occurs, the surviving spouse can handle those responsibilities and costs without interruption.
Life insurance pays money to a chosen beneficiary — a spouse or co-parent, for example — when the insured person dies. In the short term, you can use the life insurance proceeds to pay for funeral expenses. Over time, it can help pay the mortgage and fund your child’s education.
These 8 tips for first-time life insurance buyers provide useful information to get you started.
4. Term or whole life?
So you’ve resolved to get life insurance. Now you face a new question: What kind?
- Term life: Term life insurance provides coverage for a specific number of years (such as a 30-year policy to sync up with your new 30-year mortgage). For young people starting out, term is often the easiest, most affordable option.
- Whole life: If you’re looking for lifelong coverage, then consider a whole life policy, sometimes called a permanent life plan. A smart approach is to get term insurance and make sure you’re covered now. During your policy term, you may often have the option to renew it or convert it into a permanent life plan.
A local ERIE agent can explain your options and help you decide what’s best for you.
5. What do you offer beyond the basics for homeowners insurance?
We get it: Your home is often the biggest investment you’ll make. It’s worth it to add on some extra protection to protect what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
Ask your local agent about ERIE Secure Home Bundles, which allow you to expand your protection beyond our standard homeowner’s policy with coverage available for underground service lines, appliances and more.
6. We’re digital natives… why do we need a human insurance agent?
It makes sense to buy a lot of products online. Buying online is often easier – and sometimes more cost effective. But when it comes to insurance, a DIY online policy isn’t always the best choice. Because insurance protects the things you care about most, there are benefits to working with an insurance agent.
As an experienced local pro, an ERIE agent can answer your questions, help you understand what you really do (and don’t) need and talk you through things if you ever need to file a claim.
Still curious? See what made our list of 6 reasons why customers love working with a local ERIE agent.
Getting Married? Get a Quote with ERIE
At Erie Insurance, we’ve been working side-by-side with the best local agents in the business since 1925. Today, more than 5 million customers trust us to protect what matters most to them.
So you’ve tied the knot – or at least are starting to prepare for the big day. This major life step often leads to plans to buy a house or upgrade your apartment so there’s enough room for the two of you… and perhaps some future bundles of joy.
Amid the whirlwind of excitement and change, insurance may not be top of mind as you’re mapping out your new life together. But making some smart decisions now can help ensure sure you are well protected and positioned to thrive into the future.
Here are six smart questions to discuss with your insurance agent.
Posted on 4 May 2021 | 9:00 pm
Questions To Ask an Insurance Agent When You’re In Your 40’s
1. What is guaranteed replacement cost?
Losing your home to a fire or other catastrophe is a terrible experience. Yet, it can get even worse if, in the aftermath, you learn that you don’t have enough coverage to rebuild your house back to the way it was before tragedy struck – or increased costs of labor and materials make construction more expensive than what your policy is set up to cover. This is why it’s vital to consider getting guaranteed replacement cost on your homeowners insurance policy. ERIE’s guaranteed replacement cost coverage can pay for the full cost of rebuilding your house back to its previous size and specifications after a covered loss.1 (Keep in mind that guaranteed replacement cost isn’t available in all states. In North Carolina, ask about Enhanced Replacement Cost.)
2. Should I do a home inventory?
Short answer, yes. You’ve spent your hard-earned money on furnishings, electronics, jewelry, clothes, collectibles and toys large and small. In the event of a fire, theft or other loss to your home and belongings, the best way to make sure you are fully covered is to conduct a home inventory that creates a video record of your belongings and the condition of your home.
This has many benefits – the biggest, of course, is to help you estimate the value of your stuff so you can work with your insurance agent to get enough coverage. But your home inventory can also help you file claims faster and potentially apply for certain tax breaks or disaster assistance in the event of a major loss.
Read our related explainer on how to start your home inventory.
3. Have my life insurance needs changed?
Probably. If you have put off getting life insurance, now is the time to stop procrastinating and make sure your family is covered if something happens to you. Further, if you bought life insurance coverage when you were starting out, now is a good time to revisit your policy to make sure what you have meets your current and future needs.
Now may be a good time to consider extending the years on a term insurance policy or discuss the benefits of converting it to a whole life policy. A local insurance professional like an ERIE agent can help talk you through your options and help you decide what’s right for you.
4. But I have life insurance through work – shouldn’t that cover it?
Many employers provide life insurance as one of the benefits they offer employees. That’s great! But, unfortunately, many people falsely assume that gives them all the life insurance coverage they need.
For instance, your employer might provide group insurance that pays out two times your annual salary in the event you die. If you make $50,000 a year, that $100,000 payout will certainly help your family in the short term. Over time, however, it will likely fall short to cover expenses such as college tuition or healthcare needs. It’s best to talk to your ERIE agent about to make sure you have enough coverage to leave a legacy that keeps your family secure for the long haul.
Read more in our related explainer: I Have Life Insurance Through Work. Isn’t That Enough?
5. Should I be thinking about writing or updating my will?
You’re at the age you should definitely create a will if you haven’t already. Life just gets more financially complex when you own a home or have kids. And if it’s been several years since you initially wrote your will, now is a good time to update it. When you do, make sure your beneficiaries are updated if needed on your life insurance policies and investments.
Not sure where to start? Read our tips for how to choose a life insurance beneficiary.
6. Do I need a home warranty, or are my appliances covered in my homeowners policy?
Home appliances don’t last forever – and when they break down, you can face costly repairs. Sure you can purchase extra warranties, but those aren’t cheap either and they are often limited in coverage. Fortunately, ERIE customers ErieSecure Home®who also purchased Select bundle endorsement with Sewer and Drain Backup Coverage2 get an extra cushion of protection for major appliances and home systems right in a homeowners insurance policy with our Equipment Breakdown Coverage. Check with your ERIE agent to make sure you’re covered.
7. I’m on a tight budget. How can I avoid unexpected auto insurance rate hikes?
We all love a good deal. First: Check in with your local ERIE agent to make sure you’re getting all the insurance discounts you qualify for. (For example: With a multi-policy discount, you could save 16% to 25% if you insure multiple cars with us, or one car plus a home or life policy.)
Next: Ask your insurance agent to get you a quote that includes the ERIE Rate Lock® feature3. With ERIE Rate Lock, you will pay the same premium year after year – even if you have a claim. Your rates won’t change until you make certain changes to your auto insurance policy, such as adding or removing a vehicle or a driver from your policy, changing your address or where you usually park your car.
Is Your Insurance Keeping Up With Your Life?
Insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. As your life changes, your insurance policies often need to change, too. That’s why it helps to have a local ERIE agent – a real person who’s there to answer questions and have a conversation about your future.
1 *Guaranteed Replacement Cost applies to dwelling and requires home improvements over $5,000 to be reported within 90 days - not available with all policies and in all states. Coverage of costs to comply with laws or ordinances is subject to limits. Depreciation will be deducted until repair or replacement is made. Talk to an ERIE agent for more information.
2 Coverage is not available if the Select bundle does not include sewer and drain backup. Coverage is capped at $50,000 per occurrence and the policy deductible applies. Claims are subject to ERIE’s surcharge program. Details are contained in the policy. Subject to terms, conditions and exclusions. Not available in all states. Talk to an ERIE agent for policy details and state-specific policy information and refer to our disclaimer for additional information.
3 Rates subject to change if you add or remove a vehicle, add or remove a driver, or change your address or the place you usually park your car. ERIE Rate Lock® does not guarantee continued insurance coverage. Not available in all states. Limited to three years in Virginia. Insured must meet applicable underwriting guidelines. Premium may change if you make a policy change. Refer to our disclaimer for more information.
The ages 35 to 45 are kind of the tweener years for grownups. You’re no longer just starting out – but you don’t really feel ‘middle-aged,’ either.
Conversely, as Bruce Springsteen would say, perhaps ‘you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore.’
With a growing family and responsibilities, you’re at the stage in your life that making the right insurance decisions is key. Doing so helps make sure you are prepared for whatever life throws at you, while also laying the foundation for a financially secure future.
Here are seven questions you should be asking now to help make sure you’re making smart decisions.
Posted on 3 May 2021 | 9:00 pm
Questions to Ask an Insurance Agent in Your 40’s and 50’s
1. We’re on a collision course with college tuition and expenses. What can we do to ease the pain?
No doubt, expenses can be tight when you’re parenting teens and a “send money” request is just a push notification away. It pays to find ways to reduce costs any way you can.
Your ERIE agent can talk you through a range of potential insurance discounts, from multi-policy discounts and first accident forgiveness to a diminishing deductible option. Make sure to ask about the ERIE Rate Lock® feature1, which assures your auto rates won’t change until you add or remove a vehicle or a driver, change your address, or where you usually park your car. This policy endorsement freezes your auto premium year after year, even if you file a claim. Cha-ching.
2. How should we prepare for having more drivers in the family?
Sweet 16 can be a bit bittersweet for parents of a prospective driver. It can be nerve-wracking but there are steps to take to make sure your teen drivers are as safe as possible on the road. One great option is YourTurn®, ERIE’s driving safety app that measures certain criteria such as speeding, hard braking and phone usage, helping to make drivers of all ages more aware of their driving behaviors and identifying areas for improvement2. ERIE also offers several insurance discounts for youthful drivers, from 5 percent to 20 percent, which could apply to your family if you have new drivers.
3. Are we covered if we – or our teens – lend our car to a friend?
Whether you are willing to hand the keys to your car over to a friend or family member is a personal choice. But know that doing so does carry some risk.
Read more in our related blog on whose insurance pays when you lend your car to friends or family.
For instance, in the event of an accident, it’s your auto insurance policy that typically would have to pay. Depending on the situation – and the specifics of your policy – you might get stuck paying a surcharge on your auto insurance premium for an at-fault accident, even if you weren’t the one driving at the time. (Every policy is different, so ask your ERIE agent if this applies to you.)
4. We’re driving some nicer vehicles these days; should we get nicer insurance?
It’s worth exploring. ERIE’s standard auto policies offer great coverage, but there are some affordable ways to get extra layers of protection in the event of a crash or damage to your vehicles.
For instance, say you bought a shiny new car 18 months ago, and it ends up getting totaled. Typically, your insurance will cover the current value of the vehicle… but with depreciation, that policy might not get you back in a ride that has the same quality and features of the one now destined for the junkyard.
But by adding the ERIE Auto Security endorsement3, if you total a new car4 that’s less than two years old, ERIE will pay for the cost for you to replace it with the newest model year. In short, your car will depreciate, but your insurance doesn’t.
Also worth checking out is ERIE Auto Plus. For an additional $35 per year, this endorsement provides added benefits and protection such as diminishing deductible5 and additional transportation expense coverage6.
5. Our roof doesn’t seem to be aging as well as we are. Do we have the right coverage?
Replacing a roof is often one of the biggest investments you make as a homeowner. And it’s important to remember that your insurance policy covers sudden, unexpected damage… not routine wear and tear. Roofing insurance claims can be complicated – and each insurance company covers roof damage differently – which is why it’s so important to have the right coverage.
Learn more in our related explainer on what homeowners should know about insurance and roofs.
You also should be thinking about all the stuff that roof protects. Taking a home inventory creates a video record of your belongings and the condition of your home. This can help you choose the just-right coverage for what you own. And if you have a loss, having an inventory can expedite claims filings and applying for certain tax breaks or disaster assistance in the event of a major loss. Read more in our guide to starting your home inventory.
6. Are there life insurance moves we can make now to help us plan for a better retirement?
Short answer, most likely. As you age, your life insurance needs change. In your younger years, you may have gotten a term life policy. That’s typically the most affordable option, but does not offer the same benefits as a whole life policy that can become part of your investment/nest egg planning.
Also, don’t assume that life insurance provided by your employer fully protects you and your family. While these plans are a great benefit, they often fall short in covering longer term expenses, such as college tuition and ongoing mortgage payments. Learn more in our explainer on why it matters to have your own life insurance policy (outside of work). Your ERIE agent can talk through all of your options.
Is Your Insurance Keeping Up With Your Life?
Insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. As your life changes, your insurance policies often need to change, too. That’s why it helps to have a local ERIE agent – a real person who’s there to answer questions and have a conversation about your financial future.
1 Rates subject to change if you add or remove a vehicle, add or remove a driver, or change your address or the place you usually park your car. ERIE Rate Lock® does not guarantee continued insurance coverage. Not available in all states. Limited to three years in Virginia. Insured must meet applicable underwriting guidelines. Premium may change if you make a policy change. Refer to our disclaimerfor more information.
2 YourTurn not available in all states. As of 04/2021, program available to policyholders in IL, IN, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, and WV. Ages 16-23 can earn rewards up to $10 every two weeks, ages 24+ can earn rewards up to $5 every two weeks. Rewards are based on the participating driver’s score during the scoring period while driving 50 tracked miles. Indiana participants can earn up to $5 every two weeks. Rewards are distributed through the YourTurn app via electronic gift cards Driving improvement statistics provided by Cambridge Mobile Telematics. The YourTurn app requires participants to be a licensed driver on the ERIE auto policy and have a valid email address, smartphone number and data plan to download and activate the YourTurn app. Users must agree to the Terms and Conditions of the YourTurn® app.
3 Coverage is not available in all states. Eligible vehicles must carry both comprehensive and collision coverage and replacement must be made with a comparable model. See individual policies for specific coverage details.
4 Vehicle is considered new when less than two years old. The endorsement is sold on a per-vehicle basis, not per policy, and contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions.
5 Diminishing deductible up to a maximum reduction of $500. In New York, comprehensive deductible cannot be reduced to less than $50 and collision deductible cannot be reduced to less than $100.
6 Additional Transportation Expenses not available in Kentucky.
There’s a lot of hype and advice out there for empty nesters. But what about those among us whose nest remains at full capacity?
That’s what life is like in your late 40’s and early 50’s: plenty busy with work, kids and preparing for a not-so-distant future when they fly off to college, the military or to start a career.
Sound like you? This can be a pivotal life stage when it comes to insurance-related decisions. Choices you make now can help assure that your family, home and finances are properly protected – while also laying the foundation for the second career or retirement you’ve always dreamed of. With that in mind, here are some questions worth discussing with your insurance agent.
Posted on 2 May 2021 | 9:00 pm
Q: Is my home covered if a tornado strikes?
A: Tornado damage typically falls into two categories: wind damage and water damage.
Most standard homeowners insurance policies will cover wind damage caused by a tornado, since wind is considered a covered peril. That means wind damage to your roof, windows and siding will generally be taken care of by your insurance company. (Learn more about homeowners insurance.)
Water-related damage, however, is a different story.
Flooding or Surface Water Damage
Damage from flooding or surface water is excluded in your homeowners policy. So, for example, if you live near a creek and a severe thunderstorm causes it to overflow into your basement – that’s a flood, so cleanup and damage isn’t covered under a standard homeowners policy.
However, if the water damage directly results from the covered peril – in this instance, wind – then it might be covered, depending on your policy. For example: Let’s say a wind gust during the tornado shatters your front window and the rain pours in all over your living room damaging the drywall and carpet. Unlike the overflowing creek example, the water damage in this example could be covered since the original source of the damage was the tornado itself (a covered peril).
Every situation is different, so check with your ERIE agent to understand how this applies to you.
Flood damage has to be purchased separately – and there’s a 30-day waiting period before your policy will go into effect. That’s because flood insurance is federally regulated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program. ERIE offers flood coverage through a partnership with American Bankers Insurance Company, a federally funded flood carrier. (Learn more about flood insurance.)
Always check your policy or ask your agent if you have specific questions about what’s covered in your home.
Q: Is my vehicle covered from tornado damage?
A: During a tornado, flying debris can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Your auto insurance may cover the damage, but it depends on how it happens.
It can be extremely dangerous to drive during a tornado warning or on the flooded roads of the aftermath, so please don’t drive unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you get into an accident while driving, collision coverage can take care of the repairs.
When things besides a car accident damage your car – such as flying debris, a falling tree branch or vandalism – that’s when comprehensive coverage would come into play. Comprehensive coverage is optional under your auto insurance policy.
Q: How else should I prepare for tornado season?
A: A tornado can damage more than your house. It can also affect the things inside that make your house a home. To be prepared in the event of a tornado, keep a home inventory, or a list of your possessions. This will help ensure you have the right coverage, and make it easier to quickly file a claim. It’s also a good idea to have a home emergency kit. This can help keep you and your family comfortable if a tornado causes you to lose power or running water.
Speaking of losing power: If you’ve thought about investing in a backup generator, read these 9 essential generator safety tips.
Are you prepared?
Tornado season or not, a little preparation can give you big peace of mind. At ERIE, our goal is to guide you to the right policy and be there for you when disaster strikes. Our claims adjusters do all they can to make sure filing your claim is easy from start to finish.
And with an ERIE agent, every homeowners policy comes with a knowledgeable guide who can walk you through the claims process and answer any questions along the way. Learn more about how to file a claim or find a local ERIE agent to get the peace of mind that you deserve.
Few weather events can cause sudden, widespread damage like a tornado. From broken tree limbs and flying debris to houses lifted from their foundations, these violent storms are sometimes powerful enough to destroy entire neighborhoods in a matter of minutes.
The United States experiences more tornadoes than any other country in the world. And the damage they leave behind accounted for more than one-third of insured catastrophe losses from 1997 to 2016.
In the event a tornado touches down near you, it’s always important to know the best ways to keep your family safe – and how to rebuild after the storm. Here are some questions to ask yourself before a tornado warning goes into effect.
Posted on 29 April 2021 | 9:00 pm
If you’re a homeowner, chances are you have plenty of home improvement projects on your to-do list.
Before you tackle your next DIY project, consider making it a family affair. Getting your children involved can help you create memories together while teaching them important new skills along the way.
So change into some old clothes and grab your tools. Here are six family-friendly DIY projects you can try together:
- Painting. Whether it’s refreshing a room or bringing new life to a piece of furniture, let your kids brush up on their painting skills by adding a splash of color around the house. Knowing they helped with the work will make the transformation even more rewarding. And if they make a mistake, you can easily help them touch it up. Painting a hard-to-reach area? Don’t forget to follow these ladder safety tips.
- Plant a garden. Whether you desire fresh, home-grown produce or are having trouble getting your kids to eat their vegetables, gardening could be the perfect solution. Pick out seeds or seedlings together through a mail-order catalog, local garden center, or community grocery store. Then, let everyone help plant them outside (or in pots) when you get home. Once you harvest your vegetables, they’ll taste even better knowing you grew them together. If you are planning a garden bed, don’t forget to call 811 before you dig.
- Brighten your mailbox. Grab some paint and let your kids use their creativity to decorate that fading mailbox. Just be sure your house number is clearly legible and you’re following the United States Postal Service rules for mailbox installation, as well as any guidance from your homeowners association if you have one.
- Install solar pathway lights. Looking to brighten the outside of your house while staying environmentally friendly? Solar lights are simple to install and can be easily found online or at your local hardware store. Help your kids space them out evenly along the edges of your driveway or sidewalk. Then, watch their reaction as they light up the yard at night. See what else made our list of ideas on how to improve your home lighting.
- Decorate your mantle. Bring some warmth and creativity to the centerpiece of your home. Have your kids help decorate by making a seasonal craft, picture or sign for your mantle. Don’t have a fireplace? Ask for their assistance in hanging up or straightening family photos on your walls. See what made our list of tips to protect and preserve family photos.
- Build a desk. Would your kids benefit from their own place to do homework or make crafts? If so, have them assist in building their very own desk. There’s no shortage of DIY desk ideas online to draw inspiration from. Have your kids help in picking the perfect plan and color for your space, then get to work.
We understand home is more than a place. It’s the feeling you get when you’re together with the ones you love most. At Erie Insurance, our pledge is to help protect the beams and the boards, sure, but also the other things that make your house a home. Contact us to learn more about homeowners insurance from ERIE and find an agent in your neighborhood today.
Posted on 26 April 2021 | 9:00 pm