Of all the variables that affect your premium, the most important will be replacement cost value. This is the amount of money needed to completely rebuild or replace your home in the aftermath of catastrophe. That number isn’t going to be the same as what you paid for your home (it should account for appreciation), nor the market value (which accounts for the plot of land and location). It’s best to hire an independent appraiser to get this number right and then confirm it with an appraiser from your insurance company. Now, the higher the replacement cost, the higher your premium, but don’t be tempted to underestimate it even if you’re eager to trim policy costs. This value is critical — protection against loss is the whole point of carrying insurance.
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You will find independent insurance agents represent many of the same insurance companies offered by local insurance agents.  The biggest benefit is the time savings individuals and business will find.  Because the selection of insurance companies for personal, commercial and life insurance is so comprehensive you don't have to contact several agents for quotes.  An independent insurance agent may represent 5 to 10 insurance companies. 
A broker can also give you the satisfaction knowing that you are adequately insured against all potential liabilities. Whether you are concerned about your company being sued for selling a defective product or about what would happen if you had a fire at your house, an insurance broker can address each of these issues and can build a comprehensive insurance plan to make sure that each and every one of your liabilities concerns is addressed.

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Umbrella policies offer extra liability coverage on top of what's already covered by your standard homeowners insurance or car insurance policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1 million. Our agents generally recommend an umbrella policy to people who have more than $500,000 in assets since that's typically where your standard homeowners policy will cap coverage. But you should also consider umbrella coverage if you're at risk of multiple lawsuits, like if you have a few teen drivers in the house or you own multiple properties, especially rentals. You can learn more about umbrella insurance here.


We looked to J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Household Insurance Study, which includes scores based on how well “customers rate the claims experience with their current homeowners insurance provider,” and required three or more Power Circles. Consumer Reports also published data from nearly 10,000 survey respondents who filed claims from January 2010 to June of 2016, in which they rated carriers on criteria including agent courtesy and problem-free claims experiences. We looked for a grade of 80 or above.

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Along with State Farm, Liberty Mutual has one of the lowest Consumer Reports reader scores on this list. Those numbers revolve around the company’s claims system: how quickly agents respond, how simple the process is, how timely and fair payments are. And while Liberty Mutual’s score isn’t poor — dubbed “very good” across the board — it doesn’t quite compare to the “excellent” ratings brought home by our other picks. This is worth considering if you live in a disaster-prone area like the East Coast, where the likelihood that you’ll have to file a claim is high and it’s important to choose a provider that makes them as painless as possible.
Nice write up. I personally have been able to save with an independent agent. A big concern of mine was finding an agent that worked with more reputable insurance carriers. There seems to be alot of agents who will use non-standard insurance carriers to provide cheaper coverage. I've heard some horror stories about customer service, sub-par adjustments, and claims services. I'd definitely do alot of research into the insurance companies the independent agent is appointed with.
Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with insurers affiliated with Progressive and with unaffiliated insurers. Each insurer is solely responsible for the claims on its policies and pays PSIA for policies sold. Prices, coverages and privacy policies vary among these insurers, who may share information about you with us. PSIA’s compensation from these insurers may vary between the insurers and based on the policy you buy, sales volume and/or profitability of policies sold. See a list of all the insurers that write Progressive Home Advantage policies, or contact us for more details.

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Dwelling Coverage – Helps protects your home and the structures directly attached to it. This can include coverage for electrical wiring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning as well as larger structures like staircases and walls. Tip: Choose the right amount of coverage – enough to cover the cost to rebuild your house in the case of a total loss.

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Umbrella policies offer extra liability coverage on top of what's already covered by your standard homeowners insurance or car insurance policy. Umbrella coverage starts at $1 million. Our agents generally recommend an umbrella policy to people who have more than $500,000 in assets since that's typically where your standard homeowners policy will cap coverage. But you should also consider umbrella coverage if you're at risk of multiple lawsuits, like if you have a few teen drivers in the house or you own multiple properties, especially rentals. You can learn more about umbrella insurance here.

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‡‡ Some benefits, such as the Disappearing Property Deductible, are only available with the optional Advantage Plus package. A policy without these added benefits is also available. To qualify for the Disappearing Property Deductible, homeowners must have no claims or losses for three consecutive years in most states. The Advantage Plus package option and the Disappearing Property Deductible benefit are not available in all states.
Typically, life insurance is chosen based on the needs and goals of the owner. Term life insurance generally provides protection for a set period of time, while permanent insurance, such as whole and universal life, provides lifetime coverage. It's important to note that death benefits from all types of life insurance are generally income tax-free.1

Services not available to residents of South Dakota. In New York licensed as SelectQuote Insurance Agency. In Minnesota and Oklahoma licensed as SelectQuote Insurance Agency Inc., and in Michigan as SelectQuote Insurance Services Inc. In Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin licensed as Charan J. Singh, Agent. In all other states licensed as SelectQuote Insurance Services.
Insurance agents, often referred to as “captive” agents, typically represent one insurance company. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, represent multiple insurance companies to ensure that you are connected with the right insurance for you. An agent acts as a conduit to provide information to insurance buyers. The insurance buyer then has the option to choose from available policies and contracts from the insurer offered through the agent. These policies and contracts are decided through contractual agreements that the insurance agents have with the insurers to meet certain guidelines.

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There are also a few different ways your claim will be settled depending on your policy. Actual Cash Value will reimburse you for the replacement cost minus any depreciation. Because the cost can vary so much over time when it comes to property, this kind of policy could mean the limit on your coverage ends up coming in significantly below the cost to repair or even rebuild your home.
This life insurance information is provided for general consumer educational purposes and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. Life Insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL; Allstate Assurance Company, Northbrook, IL; Lincoln Benefit Life Company, Lincoln, NE and American Heritage Life Insurance Company, Jacksonville, FL. In New York, life insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, NY. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.
Securities and investment advisory services offered solely through Ameritas Investment Corp. (AIC). Member FINRA/SIPC. AIC and The Business Benefits Group / IFG are not affiliated. Additional products and services may be available through The Business Benefits Group / IFG that are not offered through AIC. Securities products are limited to residents of Virginia. This is not an offer of securities in any jurisdiction, nor is it specifically directed to a resident of any jurisdiction. As with any security, request a prospectus from your Registered Representative. Read it carefully before you invest or send money. A Representative from The Business Benefits Group / IFG will contact you to provide requested information. Representatives of AIC do not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax advisor or attorney regarding your situation.

Life insurance is designed to provide families with financial security in the event of the death of a spouse or parent. Life insurance protection can help pay off mortgages, help provide a college education, help to fund retirement, help provide charitable bequests, and, of course, help in estate planning. In short, if others depend on your income for support, you should strongly consider life insurance.
Life insurance policies often have hidden costs, such as fees and large commissions, that you may not find out about until after you purchase the policy. There are so many different kinds of life insurance, and so many companies that offer these policies, that you should use a fee-only insurance adviser who, for a fixed fee, will research the various policies available to you and recommend the one that best suits your needs. To ensure objectivity, your adviser should not be affiliated with any particular insurance company and should not receive a commission from any policy.
Analysis: You’ll likely get better services from outside specialists, but that’s not the overriding factor here. The real problem is that tying services to insurance products makes it disruptive for you to leave your broker. The products and services should be unbundled so that there’s real competition for the big-ticket item: the insurance itself.
Credit score, location, condition of plumbing and electrical, vulnerability to wind damage/earthquakes/floods, claim history, replacement cost, dog breed, wood-burning stove, home-based business, remodeling, home liability limits, insurance score, marital status, age and construction of home, trampoline or swimming pool or hot tub, roof condition, proximity to fire station, square footage, number of inhabitants, area claim history, security systems and safety features, etc.

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Contingent commissions are controversial. For one thing, brokers represent insurance buyers. Some people contend that brokers shouldn't accept contingent commissions. Moreover, some brokers have collected contingent commissions without the knowledge of their clients. Another problem is that contingent commissions may give brokers (and agents) an incentive to steer insurance buyers into policies that are particularly lucrative for the broker. If agents and brokers accept contingent commissions, they should disclose this fact to policyholders.
On top of traditional price cuts, Amica offers policyholders the chance to actually make money through their house insurance. Because it’s a mutual company, Amica is member-owned, not investor-owned, and pays dividends to policyholders, not stockholders. If you opt for a dividends policy, and the company does exceptionally well financially at the end of any given term, you stand to receive a payback between 5-20% of your annual premium.

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It's difficult to apply a rule of thumb because the amount of life insurance you need depends on factors such as your other sources of income, how many dependents you have, your debts, and your lifestyle. However, a general guideline you may find useful is to obtain a policy that would be worth between five and 10 times your annual salary in the event of your death. Beyond that guideline, you may want to consider consulting a financial planning professional to determine how much coverage to obtain. 

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When building your insurance policy, companies will offer discounts on your premium if you take measures that make you a lower-risk investment. For example, many companies give you a break for taking certain safety measures, like installing deadbolts or a security system. Most will knock their prices even lower if you don’t have a long claims history or if you sign up for auto-pay. We took into account the number and type of discounts offered to help maximize your chance at an affordable policy. 

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