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I’m not a millionaire, therefore there’s no point for me to have an umbrella policy.
It’s against the law to drive without car insurance of some sort, so there can’t be that many uninsured drivers with a car.
Why should I have to pay the extra price if I am in fact hit by someone with state minimum/no insurance? It’s not my fault they don’t follow the law.
Sound familiar to you? Perhaps these thoughts have crossed your mind (or are even said!) whenever your insurance agent has suggested higher liability limits, or an umbrella policy be added to your home and auto coverage. Many carry the dangerous mentality of “this won’t happen to me.” The unfortunate truth is catastrophic accidents do happen, whether vehicular or otherwise. Moreover, there is a 1 in 7 chance you can be involved in a car accident with a person who has little to no insurance. Probably a much higher possibility than you thought, right?
Devastatingly, these types of accidents have occurred in our own small community (some of which result in tragic deaths), too often to the point where we thought it was time to explain the benefits of an umbrella policy. So what’s a person to do if you are caught in a run-in with an uninsured/underinsured driver? More importantly, why can having higher liability limits be the element that has your insurance company paying the high costs (instead of your wallet)?
Personal Catastrophe Liability (otherwise known as an Umbrella Policy)
What exactly is an umbrella policy, and how does it come into play if involved in an accident with an uninsured driver? According to Erie insurance blogger Amanda Prischak, “An umbrella policy provides an extra layer of liability protection over and above both your auto and homeowners policies. It covers you if you’re sued because of an accident.” For the purposes of this article, however, it is important to note that an umbrella policy can also provide protection if you are ever hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver. When you have an umbrella policy, you have the ability to add two things: underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury protection and property damage protection. According to Erie blogger Abby Badach, underinsured/uninsured motorist bodily injury protection “covers damages that you and the passengers in your vehicle sustain when an uninsured (or a hit-and-run) driver is at fault.” Underinsured/uninsured property damage protection “pays for your vehicle repairs or a replacement car if you’re hit by someone without any or enough insurance coverage.”
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario:
What if you were involved in an accident with someone who only had state minimum or no insurance, and you were left with $18,000 in car damages and $50,000 in medical bills? The underinsured driver at fault certainly would not have enough insurance deductibles to cover you in the event of an accident. Consequently, your regular auto policy deductibles would only be able to pay so much of those expenses before you would be asked to pay the rest of the hefty bills. That’s where your uninsured/underinsured bodily injury protection and property damage protection come into play. With that extra protection, you wouldn’t have to worry about being stuck with a huge stack of bills for an accident that was not your fault to begin with.
Don’t think that this extra protection means the law breaker gets off the hook.
Though your umbrella policy is the one to pay whatever damages remain, these uninsured/underinsured drivers certainly don’t get away with what they’ve done. They can face penalties such as the suspension of their license, points on their license, traffic tickets, and large fines. Trust us; they will feel the backlash from their careless decision of having little to no insurance.
Aren’t sure how much coverage you do need to be properly protected in the event of a terrible event such as this?
Not to worry! Leland Smith insurance agents are happy to take a look at your overall assets and already existing coverage to make sure you get proper protection that is both affordable and crucial if something like this were to ever happen to you. Also, here is a very short video explaining this type of coverage:
Next up on our agent spotlight is Kyle Strawn, insurance agent in our Delphos branch at Hickey-Morris. We hope you enjoy getting to know him!
Tell us a little about yourself, family and hobbies
KS: I am originally from Van Wert. My parents, myself and two siblings moved to Lima when I was in 7th grade, which then led to me graduating from Shawnee High School. From there, I went onto go to college at Adrian College, where I received my degree in business management and played baseball for four years. In August 2017 I married my now wife, Lindsay Wicker, who is also from Van Wert. We are expecting a little baby girl summer of 2018! Most of my hobbies include involvement in sports. I grew up with sports in my life and I love being around them. Whether it’s coaching youth/high school baseball, or it’s a pick-up basketball game, sports are one of my favorite things to do. My wife and I are very family oriented. We spend a lot of our free time with our families.
How long have you been in the insurance business?
KS: I have been in the insurance industry for five and a half years. I started right out of college in 2012 with Auto-Owners insurance. I started in commercial lines underwriting and then took a transfer to the home office in Lansing MI, and then took a job as a marketing rep in Toledo. I joined Hickey-Morris Insurance and the Leland Smith group in September of 2016, and have been here ever since.At Hickey Morris Ins. I handle personal lines, commercial lines, life, and flood insurance.
What is the most rewarding aspect of working in this field?
KS: The thing I enjoy the most in this business is helping people become whole again. Insurance is something that everybody pays for, in hopes that we never have to use it. In the event that we do have to use it, I like the fact, that we as agents, with the backing of the companies, are able to put people back together in a time they need it the most. In the time of a loss, agents are the first phone call that is made. Whether it’s an auto accident, house fire, etc., we are going to be the ones to get the call for help. When someone needs us most, we are there to help.
Is there one thing you wish others could understand about insurance?
KS: I wish that people would understand the true value of using an independent agent. In a quickly changing world, there are a lot of avenues to receive your insurance. Many think the best option is to jump online, find the cheapest policy out there, and go with that. The cheapest option is not always the best. As an independent agent, we can offer expertise in the field. We can make sure you have the correct coverage at the right price. In the event of a loss, we are able to understand what should be covered and what shouldn’t, and also intervene when needed. That service is not provided through some of the other sources.
What do you enjoy most about working at LSI?
KS: The thing I like the most about being a part of this agency is the family atmosphere. It’s a small town, family-run agency that treats its employees like family. I love the involvement in the community. It’s great to walk around town and see how much our agency is able to give back.
Thanks for all you do for us at LSI, Kyle. We are so glad to have you on our team!
With the holiday season upon us, it is also the time of the year with a number of parties to attend. In fact, New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. Sometimes you end up drinking more than you normally would at these events—it is the time known for being merry and bright, after all! While it may be okay to consume more alcohol than you intended, it is NEVER okay to drive after doing so. With many options quite literally at your fingertips, there is no excuse for drunk driving. We’ve compiled a list of options to consider as you prepare to celebrate (and arrive home afterward) safely:
- Schedule an Uber or a Lyft ride. Seriously, it can’t get any easier than this. All you have to do is download the app before heading out, and with the touch of your finger, your ride for the evening is paid for.
- Hail (or in our case, call) a cab. Yes, those yellow cars still do exist. Van Wert also has a local taxi available. Be sure to give them a call!
- Ask a friend or family member to serve as DD for the evening. Not everyone is interested in drinking to ring in the New Year. All you have to do is ask a pal to be on hand when you are ready to call it a night. You can always return the favor and offer to be DD next time!
- If celebrating at a family or friend’s house, ask to stay! If you are celebrating in the home of a family or friend, you can always ask to stay over. Even if not ideal, your family or friend would much rather you crash at their place than risk being a danger to others and yourself while driving drunk.
- Check National Directory of Designated Drivers. Not sure who to contact or what resources are available in your area? Check out this website and also AAA for a list of information.
There truly is no excuse to drive under the influence of alcohol. Though this is a time of year to celebrate, there are easy ways to do so safely, not recklessly.
For more, check out Erie Insurance’s blog: “5 Ways to Get a Designated Driver on New Year’s Eve,” December 21st, 2017, https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/designated-driver-for-new-years.
Just a friendly reminder that Leland Smith Insurance offices will be closed next Monday, December 25th and Tuesday, December 26th. We will also be closed on Monday, January 1st.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and healthy New Year!
We are officially back in action on the blog! For our latest agent spotlight, we thought we’d feature Lisa Horstman, one of the newest members of LSI. We hope you enjoy getting to know her just as much as we enjoy having her as part of the LSI family.
Tell us a little about yourself, your family, and any hobbies outside of insurance.
LH: I have been married to Terry (Fuzz) for 25 years. Together we have 3 children, Stephanie age 21, Alena age 19, and Trevor age 15. I enjoy spending time with my family and attending their many sporting activities. They keep me busy cheering them on at soccer, softball, bowling and track.
How did you get started in insurance and what lines do you handle?
LH: I graduated from International Business College on a Friday and started my first insurance job on a Monday. I’ve been in insurance for 28 years now, mainly working with personal lines.
What do you like most about working in the insurance field?
LH: I enjoy finding the customers the best coverage for the best price. I can understand the struggle of affordable insurance, as I have young drivers in the household.
What has been one of your favorite parts about working at LSI so far?
LH: I experienced my first golf outing in September while working here. I was nervous about trying something new, but the LSI family sang me Happy Birthday before heading out to the course. It turns out you can teach an “old dog” new tricks! I had a great time and am looking forward to next year’s golf outing.
Thanks for all you do for us, Lisa! You rock!