Why should you choose an independent insurance agent over online insurance?

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Did you know?

Online insurance companies cannot provide you with the personalized attention and answers that you will receive from an independent agent who is working in your best interest to help you find the best coverage at the best price for what you need.

What coverage is best for your house? What about those special additions or situations that need extra attention? What can you do to decrease the rate of your homeowner’s insurance?

The situation is the same for your car. Are you sure that you are getting all the discounts to which you are entitled? What can be added or what can you do to reduce your premium?

What you get with an independent agent

Answers to these questions are all readily available and easily accessible through your independent insurance agent via phone, fax, email or even a visit to their office where a real person can help you. They are working in your best interest to help you find the best coverage at the best price for what you need.

What you miss with online insurance

With online insurance, everything is up to you, what you know, and how much time you have to search for answers. Sure, all your options may be available right in front of you on the screen, but which is the best for you and your situation? How do you know if you chose the correct or enough coverage? With online insurance, there is a good chance that you may not know for sure.

Getting answers from a live person who is working for you

If you want answers to your questions, you still have to contact someone. With online insurance, many times you have to use their online services (contact form, online, etc.). They may have a phone number to call, but it’s a rather impersonal process, and you do not know that they have your best interests at heart. The person you get may simply be working from a computer screen and not actually have the depth of knowledge to help you make the best decision.

With an independent agent, you can get quick, reliable answers from a person you know is working in your best interest. They are knowledgable and can help you make the best decision possible.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that, with an independent insurance agent, you get face-to-face, personalized service from an experienced agent you know you can trust.

Can we help you?

We would love to answer any questions you may have or to provide a quote for you. For questions, please give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here and fill out our contact form. One of our experienced agents will contact you as quickly as possible.  If you prefer, you can click any of the links under “Quotes and Information” to receive a free quote.

What You Need to Know About Auto Insurance of College Students Away From Home

Coverage without a car at school

If the student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks, they should continue to be listed on an insured’s auto policy.  If they are attending school more than 100 miles from home and are not taking a vehicle with them, the policy may qualify for a  distant-student discount.

Coverage with a car at school

In most instances, a car registered to the parent and listed on their policy will be covered if used by a listed student away at school.  However, insureds should make sure that their insurance carrier writes coverage in the college’s state and location.  It’s important for agents to know if the insured’s child is taking a car, because the principal location of the vehicle could result in a change in premium.

Driving a friend’s car a school

Students generally would be covered while driving a friend’s car if they are listed on their parents’ policy and do not have regular use of the vehicle.  The coverage would likely be secondary in this case, as the carrier for the friend’s vehicle likely would be the primary coverage.

Coverage discounts

In addition to the possible distant-student discount mentioned above, students may qualify for a good-student discount.  To qualify, a student must be enrolled in at least four courses per term as a full-time student at an accredited college or university and meet certain academic qualifications.  Also, drivers under the age of 21 who complete a driver education course my be eligible for a policy discount.

The Benefits of an Independant Insurance Agent

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Did You Know?

Unlike captive agents, independent agents and brokers can offer products from many insurance companies. This helps them better serve your interests, as they can review multiple options to find a policy and rate that’s right for you. Keep reading to learn more.

Are All Insurance Agents The Same?

To get the best deal on insurance, many people consult an insurance agent or broker. But did you know that there are different kinds of insurance agents and brokers — and the one you choose can make a big difference in the type of service you get and the choices you’re offered?

The difference lies in whether you have a Captive Agent/Broker or an Independant Agent/Broker.

Captive agents and brokers.

Captive agents work with a specific insurance company, and as part of their business agreement with that company, they can offer only that company’s insurance products. They may also be required to sell other products from that company, such as annuities and investment plans.

Independent agents and brokers.

Independent agents and brokers can offer products from many insurance companies. This helps them better serve your interests, as they can review multiple options to find a policy and rate that’s right for you. Insurance rates vary from company to company. Independent agents can put together a customized insurance plan.

If you’re ready to contact an independent agent to talk about saving money on car insurance, here are a few things to consider:

Has your life situation changed recently?

Many factors determine auto insurance rates, not just vehicle year, make, model, body type and engine size. If you’ve recently moved, gotten married, had a birthday or experienced a similar life milestone, mention this to an independent agent or broker. You may be eligible to save money on your car insurance.

Is your car getting older?

You don’t always need the same level of physical damage coverage on older cars as on newer ones. If you drive an older car, an independent agent or broker can advise you on what level of cover-age makes the most sense. Raising your deductible could save you money each year, too.

Do you have another type of vehicle that also needs coverage?

If you have a motorcycle, boat, RV or other “toy,” you might save money by having it covered by the same company that insures your car. Talk to an independent agent or broker about it.

Would you like a plan custom tailored to your needs?

Another plus to working with an independent agent or broker is their ability to offer guidance for all your insurance needs—auto, home, life, business and more. They can customize a package of policies just for you.

Would you like to know more?

If you would like more information about Bob Johnson Insurance, please click here and use our contact form. We would be happy to answer any questions that you might have about our agency, insurance, or options available to you.

Blowing Away Auto Insurance Myths

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Like a teenager eager to try a new video game, playing before reading the rules, many drivers buy insurance without really understanding what they’re buying. In the rush to feel “covered,” they can skip the details. That can lead to frustration.

Following are five insurance myths heard by some of the more than 13,000 claims people at Progressive, one of the country’s largest auto insurance companies:

Myth: I bought “full coverage” so everything’s paid for.

Reality: There is no such thing as “full coverage.” In most states, only liability insurance is mandatory. There are a lot of other coverage options out there, so select what you need and can afford based on your personal situation.

Myth: I need three estimates before my wrecked vehicle can be repaired.

Reality: Not necessarily. Very few insurers actually require this, although some might. If you decide to use a shop that’s in an insurance company’s “network” of pre-approved shops you may just have to get an estimate from that shop.

Myth: My insurance premium always increases if I’m involved in an accident.

Reality: It depends. Your rate can increase, decrease or stay the same. The information about your accident is combined with other information about you, your car and your driving history to determine your rate.

Myth: If I lend my car to someone and he/she crashes it, I’m covered.

Reality: Not so fast. If you or your friend don’t have optional physical damage coverages, damage to your vehicle generally won’t be covered.

Myth: If I buy a new car, my auto insurance company automatically knows; and my new car is covered.

Reality: No. Most insurance companies require that you notify them or your agent within a specified number of days. Generally, you have 30 days to add the new vehicle to your policy.

“Insurance can be complicated,” says Chuck Crist of Progressive. “It’s not something people deal with every day. So the more informed you are, the better choices you’ll make.”

To learn more, click here to contact Bob Johnson Insurance Inc. or call us at 865-922-3111.

3 Tips to Save Money on a Rental Car

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

With vacation season in full swing, you may be in the process of planning an annual getaway. While most people spend lots of time looking for ways to maximize their budget, one costly decision is often left to the last minute — whether to buy the optional insurance offered by a rental car company.

Your rental car may already be covered.

“Deciding whether to buy ‘damage waivers’ or insurance at the rental car counter can be a confusing experience — especially if you don’t know if you’re already covered by your personal auto insurance policy,” said Rick Crawley of the Progressive Group of Insurance Companies. “Optional rental car insurance can cost between $7 and $25 per day, depending on the rental car company, vehicle make and model and type of waiver. Those daily charges can significantly add to the cost of your rental.”

Follow these three tips, courtesy of  Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc., to help you decide whether or not you should buy the coverage:

Consult with an independent insurance agency…

…like Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. As licensed insurance professionals, independent insurance agents and brokers can review and evaluate your policies to find out if the coverage you have on your personal vehicle provides protection for you in a rental car.

Check with your credit card company.

Some credit card companies provide coverage at no charge if you use their card to charge the cost of the rental. However, some restrictions may apply so be sure to ask for a description of the exact coverages provided.

Take your personal auto insurance policy and details of your coverages with you to the rental car counter.

You may be asked a question that these papers can help answer — or, if you’re in doubt, you’ll have your agent’s name and phone number readily available. “We want people to have the information they need to make more informed decisions about car insurance,” said Crawley.

“Knowing whether you need to buy additional coverage can save you money and give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your vacation. Don’t start off your trip questioning your decisions — take control by talking with your independent agent or broker and knowing the answers to those inevitable questions.”

To learn more about all your independent agency can offer you, contact Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe on the Road

Ben Johnson of Bob Johnson Insurance in TN

Pet owners spend a whopping $40 billion on their furry friends each year. That’s enough to buy a gallon of gas for every man, woman and child in the United States 44 times! Insurance companies haven’t always viewed pets with the same passion as their owners. If you’re in an accident, generally everyone in the car – except your four-legged friend – is covered.

How an Independent Insurance Agent can Help

As an independent insurance company Bob Johnson Insurance is not limited to one company. We can check multiple companies to fit your needs. In this case, The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies can help.

The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies now recognizes Fido and Fifi as family members. A Progressive policy with Collision coverage now extends to cats and dogs. The coverage pays up to $500 if your dog or cat is hurt or dies as a result of a car accident.

And, best of all, the coverage is free.

“We know how much our customers love their dogs and cats. Many of us have pets, too, and we feel the same way,” said Geoff Souser of Progressive. “Progressive has a long history of product and service innovations that prove you can teach an old dog new tricks. Knowing that most people think of their pets as family members, it felt like the right thing to do.”

Progressive’s pet injury coverage is available in most states. To find out more, contact Bob Johnson Insurance, Inc. at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact us.