How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

Should you pass away, life insurance helps to protect your loved ones and continue to provide for them after your death by offering a lump sum payment to any beneficiaries. While it is hard to estimate how much life insurance you need to the exact penny, a relatively accurate estimate can be achieved. When it comes to determining how much life insurance you should purchase, there are three main methods that we’ll outline below:

  1. Multiply Your Income By 10: With this method, you take your current salary – say $100,000 – and multiply it by 10 to reach the figure of life insurance that you need to purchase, which, in this case, is $1,000.000. While this method is fast and convenient, it fails to take into account potential raises in current debt obligations and future financial needs such as college funds for your kids. 
  2. Multiply Your Income By 10 AND Add $100,000 Per Child: Since the first method does not consider college costs, the second option does and allows for extra flexibility should the need arise. However, like the first method, it does not consider any other life insurance policies or your current financial situation.
  3. Use the DIME Method: The DIME method stands for Debt, Income, Mortgage, and Education. Start by adding all your debts outside of your mortgage, multiply your current income by how many years of financial support are needed, calculate the amount needed to pay off your mortgage, and estimate the cost of school for your children. The sum of the DIME method provides a holistic figure pointing toward how much life insurance is needed.

At Elliot and Associates Insurance in Opelika, AL, we’ll walk you through your life insurance options and help you choose a term or whole life policy that best meets your needs. 

How Much Flood Insurance Do I Need?

Flood insurance is a must-have investment if you own a business or home in Opelika, AL. Given that floods can strike anywhere and that typical insurance plans don’t cover flood damage, investing in flood insurance from Elliott & Associates Insurance is a no-brainer. But how much flood insurance do you need? Here is a comprehensive guide.

Meet the lender requirements

While flood insurance isn’t mandatory in Alabama, mortgage lenders may require you to invest in flood insurance, especially if you live in a high-risk flood zone. Your lender will dictate the amount of flood insurance you should invest in. Usually, the amount required by lenders is equivalent to the outstanding loan liability.

Adhering to the lender’s requirement is superb, but that doesn’t mean you stop there. Remember, your lender wants to safeguard their interests that usually don’t align with yours. So, stick your neck out to increase your flood insurance coverage to cover your current financial needs.

How much flood insurance coverage is sufficient?

Flood insurance covers your dwelling and the contents inside. As a rule of thumb, invest in flood insurance to replace your assets in the worst-case scenario. When purchasing insurance, consider the "replacement cost value" to ensure your house and contents are replaced to the last cent when the unthinkable occurs.

Pro-tip: When you purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the dwelling coverage is limited to $250,000, while the limit for the contents is $100,000. If you need higher coverage than this, private flood insurance is the best way to go. Private carriers provide higher coverage and even offer "additional living expenses" coverage when floods render your dwelling unlivable.

Need to purchase flood insurance in Opelika, AL? Don’t hesitate to contact Elliott & Associates Insurance for a competitive quote.

 

What is a BOP and why would you want one?

What is a BOP and why would you want one?

 When you approach Elliott & Associates Insurance serving Opelika, AL about commercial insurance policies, you’ll hear about the most essential coverage first. Most businesses require four basic policies to start with and the insurance industry bundled those into a package called the business owners’ policy (BOP).

A BOP bundles the four most common types of business insurance – perils, liability, property damage, and business interruption – for a reduced premium cost. You can add to it, letting you create a custom commercial policy that uses the BOP as its foundation. This saves your business money.

You can add any type of coverage to your BOP, including commercial auto, boiler, errors and omissions, malpractice, etc. You can add any type of commercial insurance to a BOP. Because the BOP premium always costs less than purchasing the four foundation policies separately, even when you add the other policies, your commercial coverage costs less than it would have if you had bought the other four separately.

A BOP policy works for any type of business – retail, home, entrepreneur, solopreneur, manufacturing, etc. While some types of commercial policy like malpractice can only be purchased by a lawyer or doctor, every business needs perils, liability, property damage, and business interruption.

This might surprise you since home insurance provides liability coverage. It does not apply to doing regular business at your home though. When you begin storing products at home or holding meetings there regularly, you need commercial insurance to cover you.

The same is true of driving your personal vehicle. As soon as you begin using it with regularity for business purposes, such as delivering cakes or picking up items to emboss or engrave, you no longer can apply your personal auto insurance to an accident. Your vehicle needs a commercial auto policy. This, too, you can add to your BOP.

Contact Elliott & Associates Insurance serving Opelika, AL for more information on commercial insurance policies. Let us help you protect your business investment.

What Kind of Life Insurance Do You Need?

Life insurance falls into two main categories: term life insurance and whole life insurance. Both have their value, but they are separated for a reason. This primer from us at Elliott & Associates Insurance serving Opelika, AL will help you narrow down your coverage needs.

When Should You Consider Life Insurance?

Generally, life insurance is a vital part of a financial plan once you have a family. Without one, you only tend to leave behind expenses like funeral costs. If you’re supporting other people, there is suddenly a deficit that can take time to fill, especially when factoring in the emotional costs.

When Should You Select Term Life Insurance?

Term life insurance has a set duration and few benefits, but that makes it easier to get and lowers the premiums. If you’re worried about qualifying for the insurance, don’t want to spend much, or are going to experience a higher risk for a shorter period of time, term life insurance allows you to get coverage in case of the worst.

When Should You Select Whole Life Insurance?

Whole life insurance is usually more expensive, but it can be used in a variety of ways that aren’t available with a term life policy. First, you can lock in your premiums while you’re healthy and younger, and the whole life policy will stay in effect at your agreed rate increases until you cancel it or stop paying your premiums. Most will have a feature called actual cash value which collects a portion of every premium you pay. Some providers will provide you with interest for that cash value, invest it to increase that return, and take out loans against its value.

Every Situation Is Different

This general advice will hold true in most cases, but everybody’s life and insurance needs will vary. Contact us at Elliott & Associates Insurance to go over the details and figure out which plans work for you.

Alabama Auto Insurance: You Can Still Get Car Insurance After a Collision

Insurance companies know that accidents happen and that most drivers will be in an accident at some point in their life. They plan insurance policies around that, and that is to protect you financially in the event of an accident.

When you have been in a car crash, it is easy to feel like you won’t ever be able to get car insurance again. That isn’t necessarily the case and is rarely the case. Even after a DUI, there are insurance solutions. 

At Elliott & Associates Insurance, we can help all Opelika, AL drivers get the auto insurance they need after a collision. Here are some things to keep in mind.

Factors That Determine Car Insurance After a Crash

When you have been in a car crash and are renewing or updating your insurance policy, the insurance company will need to know the details of the crash in order to give you the best quote.

You might be considered a high-risk driver and see an increase in rates, that can go as high as 25 to 30 percent. It will depend on the accident.

These factors will determine your car insurance rates after a crash:

•    Who is at-fault
•    Your driving record
•    The size of your claim

For example, if you have a minor accident you don’t make a claim, you may see an increase because your driving record changes, but it may not be that bad. If you have a major crash and aren’t at fault, you still may not see that many changes. 

Every driver’s insurance policy is unique to them.

How to Save on Alabama Auto Insurance After a Crash

If you do see your insurance rates hike after an accident, there are ways to bring that number down. You can drop some of your coverage that you don’t expect to use. Taking off your collision or comprehensive insurance can help your costs.

You can also increase your deductible. 

The only way to find out exactly how your insurance is impacted after an accident is to talk to an expert that can help you to get the best deal.

Get a Quote After an Auto Accident

When you have been in a car crash, it is easy to feel like the worst has happened and you’ll never get insurance again. You can and you will. It will take some time to clear that record, but you can have insurance in the meantime. At Elliott & Associates Insurance, we know there is an auto insurance company for every Opelika, AL driver. Call us for a quote today.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Life Insurance for the First Time

A life insurance policy is becoming a critical financial plan for many people in Opelika, AL. While people buy the policy for different reasons, the purchase process should never be rushed. At Elliott & Associates Insurance, we advise our clients to spend some time researching their options, comparing prices and services before making any purchase. Rushing off to buy the cheapest policy near you could cost you in the long term. That’s just one mistake to avoid when purchasing insurance. Here are three more to avoid.

1.  Choosing the Wrong Type of Life Insurance Policy

When buying life insurance in Opelika, AL, your insurance provider will ask you to choose between term and permanent life insurance.  If you’re looking for a policy that will last a lifetime, it’s not wise to get term life insurance. Similarly, you should not buy permanent life insurance if you have a specific financial situation you want to be fixed, like a mortgage.

2.  Procrastinating Your Purchase

If you have already figured why you need life insurance, start making plans to buy as soon as possible. Procrastinating your purchase is one big mistake that most people overlook. Remember, the unfortunate reality is that we all may not live a long life. Ask yourself what would happen to your family if something happened to you. Additionally, life insurance is the only policy that is less expensive when you buy it while young. Ideally, the older you get, the more expensive it gets.

3.  Hiding Vital Information

When proving your personal information, it’s critical that you give the correct details such as your exact age, health status, and lifestyle choices such as smoking. If something happens to you and your insurance company finds out that you did not give the correct information, your beneficiaries may be denied the death benefit even if the cause of death is not related to the missing information.

Need help buying life insurance? Contact Elliott & Associates Insurance to help take you through the purchase process.

Things You Should Consider When Applying For Classic Car Insurance

It’s possible to save money on auto insurance if you have a car that’s only used occasionally for pleasure drives. Classic Car Insurance is a specialized plan that protects antique, collectible, vintage, and other classic cars from potential risks that impact your lifestyle. Elliott & Associates Insurance helps to determine if this is the right insurance plan for you. We understand your needs and help make the acquisition easy for residents of Opelika, AL.

Things To Consider When Applying For Classic Car Insurance

Classic car owners are enthusiastic and passionate about their rides, so they take impeccable care using classic car insurance policies. The following are things to consider when applying for this type of policy for your car.

Car requirements

The car’s condition matters as car depreciation coverage aren’t applicable. Generally, muscle and exotic cars have to be in good condition and driving shape to qualify for this plan. There is also a mileage limit on this insurance; some policies require proof of an alternative vehicle for daily use. Classic cars should appreciate over time to qualify for this plan. If your car is damaged and in poor mechanical condition, or if it’s meant for off-road use, some carriers may refuse to insure you.

Driver’s requirements

Most insurance carriers examine your safety record as a driver to determine whether you are eligible for a classic car insurance plan. Ideally, you need five to ten years of experience and minimum infractions, preferably one or no at-fault accident. If you have had a moving violation over the past three years, you may not qualify, depending on the state-specific laws. When applying for the policy, drivers of classic cars should be at least 25 years of age or have a cosigner.

Insurance providers have different and varying conditions for eligibility. Contact Elliott & Associates Insurance to guide you as you apply for auto insurance for your classic car in Opelika, AL.

Top Things To Consider When Purchasing A Home Insurance Policy

Buying a home is one of the most exciting times of your life, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. There are many things to consider, and getting the right home insurance policy is a big part of it. At Elliott & Associates Insurance serving Opelika, AL, we’ve compiled a useful guide to help you consider what’s important when purchasing insurance for your home.

1. Know As Much As Possible About Your Policy

A home insurance policy can quickly get confusing if you’re trying to understand everything on your own. Our agents are always available to help you understand your policy and answer anything you need further clarification on. It’s a good idea to print a copy of your policy and place it somewhere where you can refer to it if needed.

2. Know When Is A Good Time To Buy Insurance

It’s ideal to consider insurance once you’ve signed a contract to buy a house. Usually, there’s about a 30-day window between the time you buy your house and when you need to have home insurance in place. This time frame gives you a good opportunity to discuss your specific needs with our agents and make informed decisions.

3. Use A Trustworthy Insurance Agency Near Opelika, AL 

Last, but certainly not least, always work with a reputable insurance agency. Our friendly professionals from Elliott & Associates Insurance have a passion for helping our clients get what they need. We understand the importance of protecting yourself and your home.

If you need to get home insurance, we’re the local agency that can help. Give us a call to speak with a friendly member of our team to get a quote or for any questions. 

RV Accident Risks

Getting out on the open road is an exciting adventure. However, with any means of travel, there are some risks you may encounter. RV owners in Opelika, AL need to prepare themselves for their upcoming road trips and ensure they are ready for any accident risk they face. Elliott & Associates Insurance experts understand the risks when operating an RV and can help ensure you have full coverage. 

Uncertain Weather

Unexpected weather can cause a problem when driving an RV. Everything from torrential rains and high winds can make navigating the RV a bit difficult. If driving in uncertain weather becomes difficult, pull over and wait for the storm to pass. 

Rollovers

Due to their high center of gravity, RVs have a higher risk of accidents from rolling over. To prevent rollover accidents, do not overload or unevenly pack your RV. Additionally, to help prevent rollovers, take wider turns at corners and over swing the RV further than you would in a car or truck. 

Blind Spots

RVs have more blind spots than a car, which poses a risk to those traveling in them; before changing lanes or maneuvering, check and double-check all blind spots to reduce the risk of colliding into another vehicle on the road. 

Other Drivers

RVs do not handle like a car or truck does, which makes the poor decisions of other drivers on the road even more dangerous when in an RV. Therefore, be vigilant and use all your defensive driving skills to prevent accidents from inexperienced drivers, overtired drivers, and others who do not have the best driving skills when traveling near an RV. 

RV drivers face many accident risks when on the road traveling. Before heading out from Opelika, AL, get prepared to face these risks and ensure you and your family have safe travels. Call the experts at Elliott & Associates Insurance today to learn more about insurance to protect your RV when facing any of these driving risks. 

Popular Myths About Renters Insurance

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, rented dwellings make up about 36.9 % of all dwelling houses. Despite the increased uptick of rented housing, renters insurance is one of the most forgotten investments by tenants. While the reason for low uptake stems from thinking that renters insurance isn’t a worthwhile investment, another reason could be the popular misconceptions surrounding renters insurance. As a result, Elliott & Associates Insurance of Opelika, AL is here to dispel common myths about this policy.

Myth#1: Renters insurance is expensive

While renters insurance doesn’t come free, its cost is little compared to the losses it cushions you against. Still not convinced? Come to our insurance agent and see how affordable renters insurance can be.

Myth#2: I don’t need renter’s insurance since my landlord has a policy

It’s not uncommon to hear tenants saying that they don’t need renters insurance because they are covered by the landlord’s insurance policy. While your landlord has a policy, it covers the building but not your possessions. For instance, if leaky pipes cause water damage to the house, your landlord’s policy covers the repairs of the interior but not damages to your items such as electronics and furniture.

Myth#3: Renters insurance covers tenant’s assets only

While it’s true renters insurance covers your belongings, that’s not the only coverage it provides. Renters insurance saves the day when you are faced with liability claims from third parties. This policy protects you against bodily injury and property damage costs you cause to other people.

And that’s not all. Renters insurance covers loss of use. Meaning, when a covered risk destroys your rented dwelling, renter’s insurance covers additional living expenses as your house is undergoing repairs.

Get renters insurance today!

As you can see, there is no justifiable reason why any tenant shouldn’t have a renter’s insurance policy. If you are in Opelika, AL and its environs, please contact Elliott & Associates Insurance for an affordable quote.