Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

Harford County Insurance Claims

Top 5 Mistakes People Make When Filing an Insurance Claim

These mistakes can cost you. Whether you’ve suffered damage to your home or business, a loss from storm damage, fire or some other peril can be incredibly stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to think straight. The same goes for an auto accident or vandalism. You want to avoid these mistakes, so that your claim is handled speedily, and you get the insurance payment you deserve.

Here are the top five mistakes clients make when filing insurance claims:

  1. Not contacting your insurance company immediately. Most insurance companies provide a 24/7 hotline for making claims outside of regular business hours. Many people make the mistake of cleaning up the damage before an insurance adjuster visits. This creates confusion about how bad things really were, and you may find that either the labor you did or paid for before this visit can’t be covered.
  2. Making permanent repairs. Take the reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage and be sure to save the receipts. Remember that payments for temporary repairs are part of the total settlement. This includes things like boarding up windows, putting a tarp on the roof, etc. Don’t make extensive, more permanent repairs until our claims adjuster has assessed the damage.
  3. Not documenting the damage. Many times, repairs must begin immediately to prevent additional damage, or equipment must be moved to a new location. If this is the case, make sure you take pictures of the original scene to document how it was before you started your cleanup effort. Also take photos of any repairs you make. Many insurance companies, as part of their online claims process, allow you to upload photos.
  4. Disposing of damaged goods. If your cleanup includes removing items such as water-damaged furniture, flooring or insulation, keep it all, even if it has to pile up in your yard or parking lot. The damaged materials are all evidence in the claims process. However, photos will be enough if exposure to spoiling is a risk, such as food or perishable items.
  5. Not getting statements from witnesses. Depending on the type of claim, look for witnesses. Find as many as you can, and make sure to get their statements and contact information. Witness statements can be invaluable, especially when they’re given by people totally unconnected to the incident.

By avoiding these common mistakes when filing an insurance claim, you can avoid delays and get back to normal in no time.

Looking to update your insurance or get insurance for your new home or car? Dean Insurance is a Bel Air, MD independent Insurance Agency offering auto insurance, homeowners insurance, commercial insurance and more. We’ve been serving the insurance needs of central Maryland since 1973. Call us today at 410-838-3700 for a free quote.

Christmas Safety Tips from Dean Insurance Agency

Christmas Safety Tips from Dean Insurance Agency

The Christmas season is full of joy and cheer, but if you’re not careful, disaster could strike. We already talked about fire safety as it concerns your wood stove, fireplace and space heaters. But with all of the holiday decorations, there are a few more safety tips to keep in mind.

TREE LIGHTS

If your tree lights are more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing them, because safety standards have changed and the technology has improved. Definitely replace lights that flicker or have loose connections, frayed or cracked insulation, or corroded sockets. Do not overload your outlets, and avoid extension cords whenever possible. Unplug all lights when leaving your home or going to bed. Using a timer will accomplish the same thing.  All lights should be UL approved.

 

OUTDOOR LIGHTS

Follow the same tips listed above for your outdoor lights. Another thing to keep in mind with outdoor lights is your own personal safety. Don’t climb a ladder without another person there to assist. Don’t climb up on your roof if you are at all unsteady on your feet. Consider hiring a professional or a handyman to hang lights in high places.

CANDLES

Always put candles in sturdy, tip-resistant candleholders. Keep them away from curtains, drapes, decorations, or anything flammable. Don’t leave them burning unattended or within the reach of small children. Extinguish candles by wetting the wick before you leave a room or go to bed.

TREE

If you use a real Christmas tree, make sure it’s fresh. Trim the trunk two inches before putting it up, and use a large, non-tipping water-holding tree stand. Locate it away from heating ducts, hallways, doorways or any busy area, and keep it watered. A dry tree can go up in flames in seconds. If you are using an artificial tree, be sure it is flame retardant.

KITCHEN

As you prepare for holiday parties and the big gathering, traffic and activity in your kitchen may increase dramatically. But basic kitchen safety rules don’t change at all. In all the fuss, pay extra attention to the little things: keep pot handles turned inward, keep combustibles away from flames, and keep children and pets from out from underfoot while you’re working with the hot stuff!

And of course, if there is a fire or any other emergency, call 911, and when things have calmed down, call your insurance company to report the incident.

Call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 if you have any questions, or to get a free quote on homeowners insurance, auto insurance, life insurance and more. We’ve been serving Bel Air and the Harford County Community since 1973 and we’d love to help you get the insurance coverage you need

Why Work With an Independent Insurance Agency

 

Harford County, Insurance Agency, Baltimore County, Auto Insurance

OK, maybe we’re biased here because Dean Insurance is an independent insurance agency, but we think there are a number of reasons why you should work with a local insurance agency rather than some faceless conglomerate.

You may think you’re saving money on auto insurance or homeowners insurance by dealing directly with the insurance company, but that isn’t always the case.  Our rates are competitive with the direct writers and often lower than those big guys who spend billions to advertise on TV. Working with an independent insurance agent saves you the time of calling dozens of different companies for a quote, and because of our industry knowledge, we can save you time and money in the long run.

Specifically, working with an independent insurance agency has several benefits:

  • Insurance agents have the ability to quickly check prices and coverages with a number of different insurance companies. Not all insurance companies are created equal. One company may have very competitive rates in rural areas but not so great in town.  Another may have great rates for singles or older folks but may be a poor choice for a family with teenage drivers. Rates can vary widely depending upon your individual circumstances and an independent insurance agent will know where to look for the best value and coverage.
  • Independent insurance agencies are a one-stop-shop for all of your insurance needs. We don’t just sell auto insurance.  We also sell homeowners, renters, health and life insurance, business insurance etc. Use us – at no cost to yourself – to handle all of your insurance in one place.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject.  It’s our business to understand it and communicate it to you so you understand it as well.  In almost all cases, you, the consumer will benefit from having a professional who deals with this subject for a living advise you on a 50+ page contract.  We know where to look in your insurance policy for hidden surprises.  The industry is regulated on a state-by-state basis.  Move from one state to another and you’ll find that the coverages may look the same at first glance, but a closer look shows things work a bit differently.
  • Insurance coverages don’t just vary from state to state … they can vary from company to company within the same state. Some companies’ policies may contain provisions that materially affect you in some way… some unknown way if you don’t have an expert advisor who is already familiar with a particular policy’s quirks.

The importance of using an independent agent cannot be over-emphasized.  Insurance contracts and insurance laws are complex and change periodically.  Licensed insurance agents are professionals who must pass a rigorous licensing exam and successfully complete 26 hours of Continuing Education every two years in order to maintain their licenses and keep up with policy, industry and regulatory changes.  Buying insurance without an independent agent is a bit like being your own lawyer without a law degree.  It might be OK if nothing goes wrong but when the unexpected happens, you need the peace of mind that comes from knowing your protection plan was designed by a professional.

Contrast that to buying directly from an insurance company. With no regulated, licensed insurance agent working to protect your interests, you are taking on full responsibility for your coverage decisions and for any mistakes you make. No safety net.  Standing over the smoldering ruins of what was your home or reading over a freshly served law suit is not the time you want to be wondering whether you should’ve used a professional independent insurance agent.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Plenty of people buy insurance online or over the phone from the big direct writers with cute mascots and multi-million dollar advertising budgets.  We just think you get a better policy at a better price, with better service from an independent insurance agency owned and staffed by people who live and work in your community.

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, homeowners insurance, business insurance, life insurance or any other type of insurance coverage, give the independent insurance agents at Dean Insurance Agency a call today at 410-838-3700. We work with homeowners and business people throughout Harford County, Baltimore County and Cecil County Maryland. We work for you, not the insurance company.

The Facts About Long Term Care Insurance

Harford County Long Term Care Insurance

Americans are living longer and longer, and health care costs keep going up and up. Have you given serious thought to how you will pay for your health care as you age? Medicare only covers so much. And there are a lot of things it doesn’t cover, such as:

  • Routine vision exams, eyeglasses or contacts. Medicare will generally cover tests related to glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetes.
  • Dental care, including teeth cleanings, fillings, tooth extractions, crowns bridges or dentures.
  • Hearing aids and exams.
  • Cosmetic surgery unless it is needed as the result of an illness.
  • Long term care in assisted living, dementia care or a nursing home.

That last one is the biggie. If you live long enough that you can no longer care for yourself and need help with daily living, or become mentally or physically incapacitated where you need round the clock care, you may want to consider long term care insurance.

If you are relatively wealthy, you can probably self-insure. But if you are of moderate means and want to protect the assets you do have, long term care insurance can help with that. The alternative is to use up all of your funds – retirement funds, savings, sell your home, etc. to pay for long term care until you become eligible for Medicaid. And not everyone accepts Medicaid.

The time to think about long term care insurance is before you get old. If your only source of income is your Social Security benefits, you should not buy long term care insurance. If you have financial assets you want to protect, then you may want to consider long term care insurance. But you need to be sure you can afford the premium now, and in the future.

Most insurance companies sell long term care insurance policies, but they can vary quite a bit from company to company. That’s why working with an independent insurance agent like Dean Insurance can be of benefit to you. We have the ability to check policy prices and coverages with a number of different companies, to find you the best coverage at the best price.

If you’re interested in learning more about long term care insurance and if it’s right for you and your spouse, call Dean Insurance today at 410-838-3700 to set up a free consultation.