Insurance is a confusing subject, which is why it’s important to work with an insurance agent who can explain what we need to know. When choosing a company, read online customer reviews, suggests Lisa Radant, agency owner of Shelter Insurance, 7445 Newburg Road, Rockford.
“Find out how long an agent has been in business and read the reviews to learn how accessible they are and how well a company stands by you when claims are filed,” says Radant. “You have to take reviews with a grain of salt, but you can read between the lines and learn a lot.”
People are naturally suspicious about being sold more insurance than they need.
“And sometimes there’s good reason for that. But there’s also a danger of buying less coverage than you need and learning this the hard way. As insurance agents, we have a responsibility to inform customers about the minimum coverages they’re required to have, but we should also explain the consequences of having too little insurance.”
For example, should your auto liability coverage fail to cover the cost of another party’s vehicle, you could find yourself with garnished wages or a lien placed on your property, she says.
“And bumping up your liability coverage doesn’t cost that much more.”
A good agent not only helps you find the best fit for your situation, but also offers advice on how to avoid making claims that could raise rates. In her 30-year insurance career, Radant has seen people make some expensive mistakes.
“This time of year, we see a lot of claims related to water damage that could have been avoided,” says Radant. “I always tell my customers to be sure the pipes in outside walls are not in danger of freezing, which can cause flood damage. Something as simple as leaving cabinet doors open underneath a sink can prevent a big headache.” Make sure hoses are unhooked from outside spigots in cold weather and turn off the water in your home if you go on vacation, she adds.
“And make sure your heat is on, even when you’re away from home. It shouldn’t be lower than 50 degrees.”
Radant sells insurance for home, farm, business, life, auto, health, boat, ATV, motorcycle, RV and personal articles.
Learn more by calling her at (815) 332-9312. ❚