Insurance, we all need it and likely have questions about it. We recently asked Brad Carpenter, owner of Brad Carpenter State Farm, to answer your insurance questions. He provided insight on the common questions families have about life, auto and home insurance.
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are from an agent and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position from State Farm®.
Is there anything I can do to lower my premiums?
The best practice is to sit down with an agent to discuss coverage, deductibles and eligible discounts. You may have heard this before but the reason I mention it is because insurance is all about risk. If you increase your deductible (i.e. take on more risk) then your premiums will decrease. Logically if you prefer a lower deductible (i.e. insurance company takes on more risk) then your premiums will be higher.
Can we switch insurance companies at any time?
Absolutely…you should receive any unused premiums less any fees.
Are there discounts available for purchasing multiple insurance policies (Auto, Home, Life) from the same insurance company?
Discounts should be available. At Brad Carpenter State Farm when you have more than one auto policy we give you a multi-car discount and when you combine with another line of insurance such as homeowners, we also give you a multi-line discount.
Do I need to purchase additional insurance if I have a trampoline in my backyard? What about a swimming pool?
“Additional” may not be the best word to use; I would rather say you need the proper liability limits on your policy if you have a trampoline or pool. You have worked hard for your home and want to protect against the unforeseen such as a child’s friend, for example, who may fall from your trampoline.
At Brad Carpenter State Farm we would discuss asset protection, liability insurance. The best protection would be a personal umbrella policy which not only protects your home but also your autos by extending liability coverage over both no matter if you are home or travelling abroad.
What if my child’s friend gets injured while playing at our house?
Having a personal umbrella policy is something I would recommend in this instance in addition to ensuring you have adequate medical payments coverage on your homeowners policy. Medical payments coverage covers “others” on your property.
Is my backyard shed covered in my homeowners policy?
Let’s begin by defining what is your dwelling. An easy way to think of your dwelling is by taking your roof off and tipping your house upside down. Anything that falls out is considered your personal property and the “shell” is your dwelling.
A shed would be covered under your dwelling extension coverage on your homeowners policy but you need to make sure you have enough coverage. Typically dwelling extension coverage is 10% of your dwelling; however this may not be enough so it is a good talking point should you have a detached structure such as a garage.
How can I make sure that I have coverage for my valuables?
The best way to protect your valuables is to have a Personal Articles Policy. Under your homeowners you have included coverage for items such as jewelry, furs, guns, etc; however what you must keep in mind these items are only covered under the perils (i.e. fire) in your policy. They will also be subject to your homeowners deductible and be a claim whereas a Personal Articles Policy is different and covers you wherever you are without the restrictions of named perils.
Is my jewelry covered by my homeowners policy? What do I need to do if I purchase or receive additional jewelry?
Having a Personal Articles Policy is important when you have valuable jewelry; additional items can sometimes be added to an existing policy under blanket coverage but you are best to consult myself or an agent for details.
If my employer provides life insurance, should I purchase more?
Excellent question and absolutely. Why? Jobs change, we move, and companies close, sometime without any reason or warning. Most of the time I see benefits such as life insurance not being portable which means they do not follow you without the job thus you have lost your life insurance coverage. After many years with a company, you are older and your insurability has changed. The sooner you get something in place the better. At Brad Carpenter State Farm I am very passionate about life insurance and appreciate discussing your long and short-term needs in order to come up with the best solution specific to your situation.
Do families need to get life insurance for a stay at home mom or dad? How much is recommended?
The short answer is yes because I have heard the stay at home parent equates to over $100,000 annually when you add up someone else coming in and doing all the tasks they were doing in their absence such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, taxi, etc.
What type of life insurance is best for new parents?
This answer really depends upon the needs of the individual as well as who they want to protect. I would recommend sitting down and discussing this in person because I would develop a plan for your family.
Should I purchase life insurance for my kids? If so, at what age?
There are two schools of thought behind this question: first is to not purchase insurance because kids are not producing any income. The second thought is to purchase insurance to cover burial expenses and also have something of value to pass along to them at an older age. My view is to purchase a policy on a child directly after birth. Without spending too much time on this my reason is the ongoing threat of children’s diabetes and other health issues that come on later which can make it more difficult and/or expensive to insure.
When do I need to add my teenager to my insurance policy – when they get a learner's permit, or a driver's license?
This may vary from company to company but when someone in the household reaches driving age we will include them and list them as “unlicensed” until they get their driver’s license.
Is it less expensive to purchase an individual policy for my teen or to add them to the family policy?
In my opinion you do NOT want to title the vehicle in the child’s name because they will have to get their own policy and be rated accordingly. This then comes with them having to get their own license plates, etc. I would recommend keeping the vehicle in one of the parent’s or legal guardian’s names and have the teen listed as a driver.
How can I minimize the insurance costs of a teen driver?
Fun topic at our agency. There are many discounts available at Brad Carpenter State Farm and combine everything discussed thus far. Discounts available to help with teen drivers are Good Student, Steer Clear, Drive Safe & Save, Multi-Line, and Multi-Car. Additionally when a family has any accident free discounts, these will also apply to the vehicle the teen is assigned to which is another reason not to have the car titled in their name. This is a great topic at Brad Carpenter State Farm. I believe I am just as much as your teen driver’s agent as I am yours which is why I enjoy speaking directly to them to reinforce the importance of being a good, safe driver.
Do You Still Have Insurance Questions?
Many thanks to everyone who submitted questions. There are a wide range of questions about insurance and the best way to get answers that match your families needs is to talk to an agent in person.
If you still have insurance questions for Brad, he and his team are happy to help. Please call today to schedule your appointment: 330-477-8529.
About the Expert: Brad Carpenter State Farm
Insurance coverage from State Farm® helps protect your most valuable assets: your family, home, life, auto, and health.
How did you go about selecting your coverage? Majority of individuals I speak with do not know if they are adequately covered in the event of an accident. What if someone falls or a child’s friend gets hurt on your property? What if you do not make it home tonight? We want to ensure you have a complete understanding of the “what if” situations.
My team values each and every customer and truly wants to help and know how you are doing when we ask. We will be available when you need us; please call today to schedule your appointment.
Brad Carpenter State Farm
4422 22nd St NW Canton, OH 44708
Testimonial: “An agent who wants to build a relationship with you so he can help protect what is important and help prepare for the future.”