Personal Insurance

January 18, 2021

Higher Deductibles on Your Home and Auto Insurance Can Help You Save

It’s an unfortunate fact that as Americans we are getting used to managing higher deductibles on our health care. While these large limits help keep premiums down, they also require some financial planning to help ensure you can pay for your yearly medical needs. Home and auto insurance is a bit different in that claims are not as prevalent – we have insurance in case of an unexpected issue, not as a form of maintenance. Increasing the deductible on these policies might make a lot of sense. This tactic can save you money on your premiums while still providing the coverage you need for the rare catastrophe. Below are some examples of how much money could be saved by increasing a home and auto insurance deductible AUTO INSURANCE COVERAGE DEDUCTIBLE YEARLY PREMIUM Comprehensive with Glass $500 $1963 Collision $500 Comprehensive with Glass $1000 $1807.20 Collision $1000 ($156 Savings) Comprehensive with Glass $2000 $1603.20 Collision $2000 ($360 Savings) HOME INSURANCE COVERAGE DEDUCTIBLE YEARLY PREMIUM $478,800 home value $1000 $2,842.00 $478,800 home value $5000 $2,372.00($470 savings) Health insurance deductibles are tapped into each year – home and auto insurance deductibles are rarely applied. Think about it – many of us have had a minor car accident where we choose not to put the claim in. And when was the last time you had a claim on your homeowner’s insurance? It may make sense to take on a higher deductible to save money on your premiums for these coverages you rarely use but are necessary to have. If you are interested in seeing how this change can affect your home and auto premiums, reach out to us for a quote. Send us an email or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
July 24, 2020
insurance costs

Young or Wizened: Different Stages of Life Mean Different Insurance Costs

While as a society we celebrate the energy of our youth and the wisdom of our seniors, the insurance world takes a different approach. Underwriters deem these age groups to be high risk, which translates to higher insurance costs. And, if someone in those age brackets has an accident, they are more likely to be dropped or have their premiums skyrocket.   We had a situation come up recently that exemplifies this problem. Our client is an 80-yr old widow with homes in both Carmel and Naples, Florida and a newer Mercedes. As she was pulling into a grocery store parking lot, she ran over a curb and heard a horrible screech. Like many of us would do, she backed up, which then tore the bumper off her car. No one was hurt, but insurance companies still consider this an at-fault accident. Damage to the car was $6,400 of which our client paid $1,000, with insurance paying the rest. Her coverage came up for renewal in April, and her premiums doubled! The good news is, the insurance company did not drop her entirely. Our client was of course appalled at the increase and asked us to look for another carrier. However, with her age, the value of the car and her claim history, there were not a lot of options. Fortunately, as an independent insurance broker, we were able to help. Insurance-in-a box agents are limited by the one company they represent when finding options for their clients. If that company refuses coverage or work with the situation, the customer must find another agent. At Wharton & Power Insurance, we can tap into multiple providers, finding the best option for each client. In this case, it turned out that the renewal was still the cheapest option. We were able to talk to multiple other underwriters to gauge their coverage and premiums, but no one could come close to her current provider. Our research helped reassure her that she was getting the best price. We know that when many of our clients reach retirement age, they want to take advantage of their success. They want a nice house (or two), nice cars, and lots of toys. We agree! But we have to let them know that insurance could be expensive. The best thing retirees can do is work with an independent broker who can shop around for an appropriate policy. Aging tends to get expensive, with higher costs for life, medical and personal insurance. It can be frustrating, especially when some insurance companies avoid covering older adults. The Wharton & Power Insurance Team is not daunted by the challenges of finding good insurance coverage for ALL our clients. If you are in the market for a new policy, reach out to us. Send us an email or give us a call at 317-663-4138.
June 17, 2020
independent insurance broker

Storm Damage? We Hope You Work With An Independent Insurance Broker!

Early summer begins severe storm season here in Central Indiana as we were reminded recently. Some foul weather arrived during the mid-point of the COVID stay-at-home order and caused damage to many homes. The Wharton & Power Insurance Team has been handling clients’ claims but we have also been contacted by people who are unfortunately now figuring out that their insurance-in-a-box policies are not serving them well. We see two starting points for insurance claims: either a homeowner notices that a neighbor is having their roof inspected, decides to do theirs too, and finds they have damage or a week after a large storm interior issues pop from roof leaks. Either way, after the roofing company makes an assessment, an insurance adjuster will visit the property to determine coverage. However, some people are finding out that just because their neighbor’s roof was deemed a loss does not mean theirs will – the result depends upon the adjuster’s determination. Many adjusters work directly for particular insurance companies, creating a conflict of interest. Fortunately for our clients, they have chosen to work with us – an independent insurance broker who partners with organizations that use independent claim adjusters. Another issue many homeowners face is separate deductibles. We received a call from a person who found out he had a different deductible for hail claims; rather than the $1,000 he usually pays, the hail deductible was half percent of his dwelling coverage. So, his $800,000 house meant he had a $4000 deductible! His insurance-in-a-box policy did not serve him well. His broker was limited by one company’s offerings so his best interests were not included in the decision-making process. Needless to say, he has now become a client of Wharton & Power Insurance. When homeowners work with an independent insurance broker like us, they get the power of choice. We work to understand the specifics for each client and find the best option for their situation. We then help them understand what they are purchasing so there are no nasty surprises. Our options may not be the lowest premium per month, but when a claim occurs, they end up being far cheaper than the one-size-fits-all options. We pride ourselves on the long-term relationships we have created with our clients over the last 30 years. One reason they stay with us is that when they need to use their policies, we and the companies we represent are there to help, not hinder. If you have had a bad experience with an insurance claim, reach out to us. We can help you find the right coverage with the right provider. Send us an email or give us a call at 317-663-4138.
April 29, 2020
umbrella Insurance

Umbrella Insurance: Protection When Accidents Happen

Perhaps the best way to underline the importance of umbrella insurance in protecting your assets is by sharing an example: “Over 15 years ago, my daughter was in middle school and my wife volunteered there. The school was just few miles away off a two-lane road. One rainy day my wife was driving to the school and came across deep water in the road. She had to make a left turn across the puddle, and while navigating the hazard she drifted into the oncoming lane. Another woman came barreling over the hill in a minivan and hit my wife’s car. Both women are injured and my wife was clearly at fault. Fast forward 9 months after the accident, the Sherriff comes to our front door and served litigation papers. We went through 2 years of back and forth, going through an investigation and hiring a personal injury attorney. My wife ended up being sued for everything – pain and suffering, lack of consortium, etc. The women ended up having three surgeries for a broken ankle she had sustained in the accident. We had a $500,000 limit of liability through our auto insurance, so if we received a judgement beyond that figure the rest would have come out of our own pocket. Fortunately, we also had a $2 million umbrella policy. The lawsuit almost ended up going to a jury trial. At the last minute the insurance company offered to settle for $750,000, $500,000 of which came from our auto policy and the rest from our umbrella policy. Turns out our insurance company passed our case to four different attorneys over the two years and was tired of fighting it, otherwise who knows how large the award would have been? Volunteering three minutes from home turned into a $750,000 mistake! If we had not had the umbrella policy, we would have been in dire straits.” The cost of umbrella insurance is very small compared to the risks associated with accidents. Do any of these situations sound familiar? • Your family owns a lake or ski house with “dangerous” toys (jet skis, snowmobiles, boats, etc.) and visitors who use them. • Your 16 year-old son or daughter is now driving and has a new car. • You throw parties out by your pool that include alcohol. • You have a dog. Frankly, there is always the potential for an accident either caused by you or a family member or happens on your property. While umbrella policies are rarely used, when they are needed they are immensely helpful, saving people hundreds of thousands of dollars for a minimal premium. The key is to make sure that you have enough coverage to suit your life – your homes, your toys, your hobbies and your family. Deep pockets are particularly at risk; if you are a business owner, an attorney could go after it too. The fact is, the larger your life the more someone can take from you. Medical coverage can be millions of […]
March 26, 2020
auto insurance

Expecting New Driver? Review Your Auto Insurance Before They Start

Getting a driver’s license is a rite-of-passage for both your teen and you. After all the potentially harrowing lessons and practicing, the day arrives that your baby is now out on the road by his/herself. While this time can be exciting, it can also be expensive, especially if you haven’t done any research on the implications of having a new driver – or a new car – on your auto insurance costs. At Wharton & Power Insurance, we feel it is best for our clients to reach out to us before the big day. That way, we can help them weigh the effects on their insurance premiums once they have a youthful driver. Most of our clients purchase a car for their child. However, the car they choose can make a huge difference in the cost of insurance. The value of the car will affect the insurance rate – so waiting to reach out to us until after the car purchase means it’s too late to include that factor in their choice. Insurance companies typically require that the youngest driver be placed on the highest rated car in a family fleet, or on the car they drive. If parents purchase a new car for their child, there is little wiggle room since that new car is often also the highest valued car. Once the driver turns 23 or 24, insurance companies assume he or she is entering young adulthood with a job and independent responsibilities, so insurance rates start to go down. The bubble from 16-22/23 is the most expensive time, and if you add accidents or tickets on, it gets even more so. Below we cover some strategies that can help keep youthful driver auto insurance costs down: 1) Purchase a Used Car In the insurance world, a new car is anything 2-3-year-old and under. These vehicles cost more to insure because they cost more to repair or replace. Also, each car has an insurance industry symbol; the higher the symbol the more expensive the car will be for the insurer. Underwriters look at financial risk – putting a youthful driver on an expensive car means a greater risk of shelling out more money. The higher the risk, the higher the insurance cost. 2) Pay Cash If you are in a situation where you are able to pay cash for an older vehicle, then you can save money by only insuring it for Liability. Collision and Comprehensive are the most expensive coverages. Collision helps when your car is involved in a crash, so removing that coverage means you will have to pay out of pocket for repairs. However, rather than pay money to the insurance company for a potential occurrence, you will be paying a repair person for an actual situation. Comprehensive covers you if someone breaks into your car and steals something or if a tree falls on it, etc. If you are willing to cover the cost of the stolen item or the cost of repair, then […]
February 28, 2020
personal insurance

Downsizing? Don’t Forget About Changing Your Insurance Coverage Too

Each cycle of life brings its own considerations when it comes to protecting your assets. If you are considering downsizing, you will want to talk to your insurance broker about what that change will mean to your insurance coverage. Whether you are buying a smaller home or renting, or selling valuables or gifting them to family, this new phase also brings new situations to consider. Renting vs Buying a Smaller Home If you are like our typical clients, you are selling a large family home to move into smaller, more manageable space. If you choose to buy one of the new homes popping up in this area, you are most likely spending 85% of the value of the home you sold. So, there is little savings when it comes to homeowner’s insurance. Renting is also an option for many downsizers, and in this situation, significant savings can be found. Renter’s insurance covers the contents of the home only – wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor. Most landlords require renter’s and liability insurance, which will still be less than insuring a large home. Fun Yet Expensive Toys The toys you once enjoyed with your kids and friends – wave runners, boats, motorcycles – are now sitting idle in the garage or storage. It may not make sense to keep these items around since they increase your overall liability and therefore your costs. And, if those toys are older, you may end up paying premiums higher than their value. You may want to consider selling rarely used items. You can always rent them for that annual family event. Jewelry Schedule Most likely you have a jewelry schedule attached to your homeowner’s insurance that has not been looked at for a long time. Perhaps you have given pieces away and no longer need to insure them. Or, as prices of gems and precious metals have changed, it may be that your special pieces are over- or under-insured. This time of change offers a good opportunity to reevaluate, ensuring you are appropriately covering what you still own. Antiques, Collections and Other Valuables Downsizing tends to lead to getting rid of things, some of which may be of value. If you are selling or gifting things like antiques, art pieces, silverware, or place settings, you no longer have to insure them! And, just like jewelry, you may be holding on to an article whose value has changed, leaving you over- or under-insured. Life Insurance Coverage The kids are no longer depending upon you, college is paid for, and the balance of your large mortgage has been significantly reduced. Do you still need a $1.5 million term-life policy? It may make sense to reduce that insurance coverage and therefore your premium. That way, you are still leaving wealth behind for your beneficiaries, but saving a bit more for enjoying your life right now. The downsizing phase of life is a significant moment of change, making it a good time to reevaluate if your insurance dollars are providing accurate […]
December 4, 2019
personal insurance

Personal Insurance Coverage: Why Boutique is Better

You have probably experienced this phenomenon – the small start-up that once provided you with personalized products and services has grown to the point where you don’t hear from them anymore. Or, your point of contact changes every time you reach out. The fact is, many organizations are in business to get as big as they can. While growth is a good thing, doing it at the expense of your current customers is not. Wharton & Power Insurance started as a small shop and has purposely stayed one. Our business model is based on steady, healthy growth to ensure that the reason why we are successful – customer satisfaction – continues. Over the years we have added employees to match our growth while focusing on efficiencies to help us work smarter. That’s great for us, but more importantly, it serves our customers well. Sustaining a boutique agency focused on highly-personalized insurance products and service suits our clients and our philosophy. Once someone becomes a client of Wharton & Power Insurance, our relationship does not stop at signing them up. We are in personal contact throughout the year, checking in to see how our clients are faring, and making sure the products we have provided are still appropriate for their situations. When a claim is necessary, we are relentless advocates for our clients, working with our providers to cover claims quickly and at the maximum benefit. We are proud to say that we have retained 92% of our clients over our 30 years in the insurance industry. Our employees stay as well; turns out they value the relationships they create with our clients too. You may be thinking, “That’s what every personal insurance company says.” However, all you have to do is ask one of our clients and they will tell you – we really do what we say we will do. We are proud of the long-standing relationship we have with our clients, and they continue to send their friends and family our way as well – the ultimate compliment. Rest assured, Wharton & Power Insurance is a healthy, vibrant company. However, our business model is not about growth, rather we are focused on providing our clients with high-quality, customized products and continuous service they can count on. If this approach fits your expectations, reach out to us for your personal insurance needs.
October 23, 2019
home/auto insurance

Coverage in a Box: Not All Home/Auto Insurance is The Same

If you watch TV, listen to the radio or peruse print media, you will see many ads for home/auto insurance. These “insurance-in-a-box” company scare tactics or quick savings messages fail to let you in on a big secret: when you insure your home, autos, watercraft, jewelry, etc. with them, you are getting the coverage THEY offer – that’s it. No room for customization that will provide the most appropriate protection for YOU. At Wharton Power Insurance, our clientele requires more from their insurance policies. Their rich yet complicated lives bring unique considerations when it comes to protecting what they have worked hard to achieve. Hence why we approach personal insurance differently: Independent Insurance Broker One size fits all is not a mentality that suits people that work and play hard. Wharton Power Insurance is an independent insurance broker, meaning we can tailor coverage based on our clients’ needs. We have long-standing relationships with over 10 providers, and pick and choose the best policies for the situation. Unlike our captive agent competitors, we are not limited to what one company offers. This depth and flexibility has allowed us to craft customized insurance coverage for many clients with complex situations. Click here for an example. A Team Approach After 10 years of referring business to each other, Scott Wharton and Dan Power founded Wharton Power Insurance. This team approach allows us to seamlessly serve our clients with all of their insurance needs, from home/auto to business and health insurance. Scott and Dan have supplemented their knowledge-based with a group of experts in their own right, ensuring that the right coverage is being chosen for a client’s particular situation. Again, rather than choosing from a small list of options from one provider, W&P’s team approach allows us to provide cost-effective, comprehensive coverage for almost every situation. Click here to learn more about our team. Providing Full Service for A Complicated Life With success comes many rewards, all of which can lend complexity to your world. Business, family, multiple homes and cars, watercraft, jewelry, collectibles – the more you add the more that needs protecting. Insuring your life in bits and pieces most likely means you end up with holes in your insurance coverage, which are not a problem until you have a problem. As a full-service insurance broker, Wharton & Power can deliver coverage for every aspect of your life. Since we do not represent only one provider, we can tap into policy offerings that address the unique circumstances that come with an affluent lifestyle. Our team takes you through a comprehensive risk management evaluation, noting areas where your coverage might be lacking or not serving you well. We then develop a multi-faceted plan to ensure you have cost-effective, appropriate and seamless coverage. Our customized approach to insurance is not supported by the quota model of national chains. The Wharton & Power Insurance Team looks to create long-term relationships, a philosophy that has allowed Scott and Dan to consistently retain 92% of their […]
September 4, 2019
personal lines insurance

Don’t Wait Until Its Too Late to Discover That Your Jewelry is Underinsured

You are at a time in your life where your family has amassed or inherited a valuable collection of jewelry. However, that special wedding set you bought and insured 20 years ago for $5K is now probably worth $40K. If you lose a piece, the insured value may not even make a dent in replacing it. If it’s been a while since you had your jewelry appraised and reinsured, now is the time. And, Wharton & Power Insurance can help. Theft, fire, or just something slipping off while golfing or enjoying the beach, are just some of the ways we see our clients losing their valuable jewelry. Regular homeowners insurance only goes so far in covering that loss. If your policy does not cover specific jewelry pieces, such as blanket coverage of $1,000, you are quite underinsured. Even if a set value schedule was developed years ago with an agreed upon value, you could lose in a new claim. The U.S. has seen an inflationary period for gold and silver, increasing the value of jewelry and other valuables. For most of our clients, the emotional attachment that comes with jewelry means losing it is a big deal. It is usually replaced with something just as special, which becomes a large expense when the piece is underinsured. This loss is a big deal to insurance providers as well! A big-ticket claim means their investigative process kicks in, with interviews etc. to ensure the loss is valid. Recent appraisals help everyone out by streamlining the process. If you are insured correctly, then you are paying a premium equal to the loss, so the insurance company is more inclined to give you the appropriate value. One the other side of this spectrum, Wharton & Power Insurance has a client who recently took the time to review her large collection of jewelry and its coverage. She realized that many small pieces were on the schedule that could be covered as a whole under her regular homeowners insurance that covered $5K worth of jewelry. Taking those pieces off her separate policy reduced her premium while providing appropriate coverage. Here at Wharton & Power Insurance, most of our clients have valuable jewelry that may not have been appraised in a while. So, to provide better service, we created a partnership with Dana Friedman, owner of Petite G Jeweler in Indianapolis. To get you started on your way to adequate coverage of your special pieces, our firm will cover the appraisal cost of one piece of jewelry at Petite G. Then we can help you decide how best to appropriately insure your valuables while keeping premiums manageable. For more information on this program, send us an email or give us a call at 317.663.4138.
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