What does high risk mean in insurance?

In insurance, risk is everything. Risk is what an insurance company “accepts” in exchange for your monthly, semi-annual, or annual payments – or “premiums,” as they’re referred to in the insurance world. When you’ve been labelled high-risk, you’re someone whose risk is greater than the average. Often, as a result, your premiums will be higher (but that’s not the only impact).

Being high-risk isn’t a good thing, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get affordable insurance. Let’s dig in a little more into what being high-risk might mean for you.

Why was I labelled as high risk?

High-risk usually applies to auto insurance, but it can apply to home insurance as well. To have been labelled as high-risk, it’s likely that you’re someone who:

  • Has been involved in multiple at-fault accidents
  • Has received multiple speeding violations or tickets
  • Has been cancelled previously due to non-payment
  • Has been convicted of insurance fraud
  • Has been convicted of major violations, like DUI
  • Has a rural or non-standard property
  • Has a home that’s 100 years or older

If you’ve ever been told that you’re a high-risk driver or have a high-risk home, odds are it’s because of one or more of the reasons listed above. Sometimes, young drivers or inexperienced drivers (including immigrant drivers, who may not have had their driving history carry over from their country of origin) may see similar rate hikes as high-risk drivers, but may not have the same high-risk label.

What happens if I’ve been labelled high-risk?

Being high-risk means you do not qualify for standard insurance. You’ll probably end up paying more for your insurance, sometimes two or three times as much. You’ll be required to purchase non-standard insurance, otherwise known as “high-risk” insurance.

What happens if you’ve been labelled high-risk? How is it different than ordinary insurance?

  • High-risk insurance always costs more than standard insurance. It can cost a minimum of 20% more, but sometimes up to 2-3x as much. It depends on your insurance company and why you’ve been labelled as high-risk.
  • Your payment options may be significantly limited. The most common reason why drivers are labelled as high-risk is due to non-payment. As a high-risk policyholder you may only be able to pay via certain means, or may be forced to pay for your policy upfront.
  • Your coverage will be limited. You may not be able to customize your policy nearly as much as if you had standard insurance. You’ll usually have capped liability limits, higher deductibles, and your policy may have certain conditions placed on it.

Being high-risk won’t just affect you. If it’s for your auto insurance, every other driver listed on your policy will also be impacted. It may also impact others living in your household.

How long will I be considered high-risk?

It depends on why you were high-risk in the first place.

For homes, it’s a little more difficult. Usually, if you weren’t cancelled due to non-payment in the past, your home is high-risk due to its infrastructure or where it’s located. You may be stuck with your high-risk label, unless you make certain modifications to your home, such as renovating its roof, older features, etc. Ask an agent for ways to save on high-risk home insurance, or discuss your situation with us and we’ll see if we can make some suggestions.

For cars and auto insurance, it boils down to time. Whether you were cancelled due to non-payment or for an at-fault accident, usually your high-risk label will fall off after 3-6 years. During this time, we recommend reviewing defensive driving habits, avoiding impaired driving, setting up automatic withdrawals or being upfront and honest with your broker if you’re ever unsure if you can make your insurance payments on time. If your financial situation is especially tight, you may wish to consider alternative transportation until your rates can come back down with time.

Who are the best insurance companies for high-risk?

Not every company offers high-risk insurance, but it’s important to find one that works for you and your budget if you are ever labelled as high-risk. The right company will offer decent coverage options at low rates (low as far as high-risk goes) and potentially even offer discounts to help you save even more.

Here are some of the best insurance companies if you’ve been labelled high-risk:

  • Progressive
  • State Auto
  • SafeCo
  • American Modern

To discuss more about high-risk insurance, or recommendations on how to save money despite a high-risk label, give us a call at 913-839-1478 today or get a free quote. AHI Group is more than happy to walk you through your new circumstances or connect you with an insurance company who specializes in high-risk insurance policies, saving you money and time.

Auto theft trends in 2024

Auto theft is on the rise. Just 2 years ago, it was estimated that there was 283 auto theft cases for every 100,000 people, which equates to around one motor vehicle theft for every 31 seconds. Unfortunately, as criminals indulge more and more in trends like street racing and the practice of stripping cars for parts and reselling them internationally, more and more vehicles are beginning to vanish off the road.

Part of the reason why theft has increased was due to the pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, but in 2024 the majority of us have returned to office and resumed life “as per usual.” So why should you still be concerned about auto theft in 2024? Why is motor theft still such a huge issue?

Is auto theft on the rise?

While we’re still in the early stages of 2024, it’s tough to say how auto theft will continue to evolve. What we do know is that theft had risen by almost 11% between 2021 to 2022, according to data from the FBI, and that it may continue to do so as manufacturers continue to pump out highly appealing vehicles and car theft cases continue to go unsolved.

Why are so few vehicles recovered in car theft cases?

Unfortunately, solve rates for auto theft have always historically been low, but the spike in auto theft incidents has caused them to drop even more. Public data from New York City shows that police make 14 arrests per every 100 car thefts and in Denver that number’s even lower with 7 arrests for every 100 reported car thefts.

This is for a number of reasons. One is that, typically with property crimes, law enforcement resources are minimal. Budget, staffing, and technology can’t keep up with the rate of auto thefts. Worse still, car theft is often associated with worse crimes. Many thieves will use vehicles to commit worse crimes as they can later ditch the vehicle and law enforcement can’t track them down using a single license plate.

Hyundai and Kia motor thefts in the country

If you didn’t read our previous blog on the latest Hyundai and Kia news, here’s the quick rundown: many major insurers, like State Farm (as the biggest example) are no longer insuring Hyundai and Kia model vehicles due to their high “theftability.” This “theftability” comes from a TikTok demonstrating how certain models of Hyundai and Kia cars could be broken into with a USB cord and a screwdriver. As a result, these vehicles were being lifted off the streets left, right, and center, and insurers no longer wished to stay on risk due to the high chance of a theft claim.

This isn’t old news. Tons of vehicles are considered higher theft than others, whether because of their specific luxurious features that are appealing for resell, their prevalence on the roads, or vulnerable points that allow hackers to steal them easier.

OLBG did a good “prediction” list of what will be the most stolen cars in 2024. When purchasing a car, we recommend drivers to be conscious of the cars on this list. Many insurers will hike the rates of vehicles with high theft appeal; to combat that hike, drivers can either consider alternative models or invest in aftermarket security products.

What are the expectations for auto theft in 2024?

It’s very early to see how trends will shape up in 2024, but we’re already starting to see some shifts that could suggest what we’ll see throughout the year.

One trend that may start to increase in frequency is the use of specific electronic locksmith tools, i.e. ProPads, to steal high-performance vehicles. Vehicles with keyless entry features can be stolen through relay attacks via a blank key FOB and tech found on the Internet. This seems to occur the most with high output engine vehicles, like Dodge Chargers, Durangos, and Challengers, as well as Jeep Grand Cherokees. These vehicles are usually stolen for the purpose of being re-tagged and then sold to unsuspecting buyers, or even later wrecked in street races.

Education in 2024 will be as important as it has ever been for decreasing the risk of auto theft. Vehicle thefts for cars that have been left with their key inside was extremely common in 2022 and 2023, and may be no different for the coming year. Even if you feel you live in a “safe” community, you never know. Never leave your vehicle running and unattended (yes – even in the cold!) and always take your keys with you when you leave your vehicle.

As always, regular auto theft methods such as key swaps at dealers following test drives, car-jackings, and vehicles being stolen at service centers by accessing key boxes continue to be an issue. This is likely to continue into 2024 as well.

With all these trends on the rise and new ones continuing to evolve on the horizon, it’s important to stay vigilant, to stay informed, and to keep in mind all the best ways to protect yourself and your vehicle against the risk of auto theft.

How do you protect yourself against auto theft?

Car theft happens even to the most secure vehicles. While you can’t 100% of the time ensure your car is safe from auto theft, there are a few things you can do to hugely decrease your risk.

Here’s our tips:

  • Always lock your car doors and close the windows when leaving your vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit and populated areas, especially at night.
  • Install an anti-theft device such as an alarm system, steering wheel lock, or immobilizer.
  • Don’t leave valuables visible inside the car; store them in the trunk or take them with you.
  • Use a visible deterrent like a “Car Alarm” or “Protected by [Security Company]” sticker.
  • Consider installing a GPS tracking device to help locate your car if it’s stolen.
  • Don’t leave spare keys inside or around your vehicle, even if it’s hidden.
  • Be cautious of where you leave your car keys, and avoid leaving them in obvious or easily accessible places.
  • If possible, use a garage or secure parking facility rather than street parking.
  • Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity or attempted theft to the authorities.

Note that certain aftermarket car security products can qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance. Call AHI Group to discuss insuring a high-theft vehicle or for tips on how to protect your vehicle better – and save at the same time.

Could EV remote control features be a security risk?

There are 2,442,270 electric vehicles, or EVs for short, registered in the United States as of 2024. With the electric vehicle market estimated to sit around $49.1 billion in 2023, it’s no surprise that we’re starting to see more and more of these vehicles on the roads nowadays. EVs are all the rage, but one of the latest advertised features, “remote control,” is starting to raise some questions.

Auto theft is on the rise, and thieves are becoming more successful in leveraging certain aspects of cars as more and more manufacturers start to offer more interesting “perks.” Let’s explore how EV remote control features could be a potential security risk.

How does remote control work?

Many electric vehicles today can be controlled remotely by using mobile applications or web-based systems. This allows the owners of EVs to perform a variety of tasks, from maintenance and assessing battery life to even monitoring the status of a vehicle’s charging, adjusting temperature, and locating the vehicle on a map. These features have greatly improved as newer models roll out, adding on additional hardware and software to improve user experience greatly.

Tesla is one such vehicle that offers remote control. Here’s an overview of what the system entails:

  • Locking and unlocking vehicles
  • Enabling or disabling AC and heating, as well as monitoring cabin climate
  • Checking vehicle’s charging status
  • Viewing vehicle’s estimated driving range
  • Opening the front trunk
  • Opening or closing the charging port
  • Seeing where the vehicle is located
  • View the vehicle’s VIN and current software
  • Flash lights/honk horn to find where car is parked
  • Park and retrieve the vehicle using the “Summon” feature

Electric vehicle safety features

Most electric vehicles, like Tesla, feature numerous security features to prevent or reduce the risk of auto theft. For example, Tesla features a Security tab on its mobile app which enables drivers to:

  • Pair their phones to the vehicle
  • Enable and disable autopilot and autopark modes
  • Enable notifications that trigger when the vehicle’s driving speed is within 5km/h of the maximum selected speed. You can disable or enable this mode as well

Although these modes may help reduce your odds of theft, they don’t prevent your chances altogether. Electric vehicles may be the most at risk due to their luxury appeal and high value. We recommend investigating aftermarket products to buff your security. Some products may even qualify you for a discount on your auto insurance!

How is remote connectivity a security risk?

For any vehicle that has remote connectivity and a computer chip, there’s a vulnerable point. In today’s tech-powered world, car thieves need to think beyond the old-school “bash in the window” in order to steal cars, and that’s just what they’ve done. Modern hackers have found EVs to be particularly vulnerable.

Connectivity features using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular networks are the number one way hackers access electric vehicles. Even having a remote starter can serve as an entryway for hackers to gain access to your vehicle (and this applies to gas-powered vehicles, too!)

Another prominent vulnerability for EV security is public charging stations. The United States alone is home to well over 60,000 public charging stations, a majority of which are connected devices. These devices are, unfortunately, prone to being hacked as well and can be an entryway for thieves to steal away with electric vehicles – especially those that are left unattended by the owner. Public charging stations are also a vulnerability when it comes to identity theft, as to use these stations you’ll need to use an app or frequency ID card which houses IP addresses, network info, and location data. Hackers can manipulate this data and use it for personal gain.

Most vulnerable vehicles

The list of most commonly stolen vehicles changes each year based on statistics and trends. However, statistics aside, these vehicle manufacturers were found to house the most vulnerabilities:

  • Hyundai
  • Acura
  • BMW
  • Ford
  • Ferrari
  • Genesis
  • Infiniti
  • Kia
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Porsche
  • Rolls Royce
  • Toyota
  • Nissan

How do you protect your electric vehicle?

There’s still a ton of work for manufacturers to do in order to protect electric vehicles against thieves. Remote control features are a great addition to have and enjoy for ease of access and convenience, but they do pose a serious risk as of where they’re at right now. Here are some ways you can reduce the risk of your EV (or any vehicle) getting stolen or hacked:

  • Consider using an at-home charging station as opposed to a public one. If you need to use a public station, choose a busier location where your car is more in the “public eye.”
  • Install a traditional anti-theft device that locks to your steering wheel. As old-school as these might be, they’re still a true and tried means of deterring thieves.
  • Avoid or limit the use of third-party apps that connect to your vehicle.
  • Always install the latest patch or software update from your vehicle’s manufacturer.
  • Park your car in a secure location, such as in a garage or private driveway.

For additional questions about protecting EVs or to talk about insuring an EV, give AHI Group a call.

What do I do if I’ve been hit in a parking lot?

When you think “car crash,” you might think Highway 50 side-swipe or getting T-boned turning left after someone runs a red light, but not all crashes are as dramatic as that. You might be surprised to learn that many collisions happen in public (and private) parking lots.

Busy parking lot, people backing out without looking, rushing to turn left before oncoming traffic—the hustle-and-bustle nature and close confinement in parking lots can lead to some unfortunate scenarios. As careful as we try to be, we can’t control the behaviour of others. So, what do you do if you’ve been in a parking lot crash?

Things you need to know about getting hit in a parking lot

Getting hit in a parking lot is more common than you might think, but you’d be surprised at the potential severity of injuries and property damage, even with the low speeds. If you’re in your car at the time of the incident and there are injuries, the first thing you’ll need to do is call 911. If no one’s injured, then you’re safe to exchange information with the other driver. Make sure to get their registration, auto insurance, and driver’s license information on the scene.

Preparing to file a claim for a parking lot accident is no different than filing a claim for an accident that took place on a major highway. You’ll want to document the accident, take as many photos as possible, and possibly even call the police if there are injuries or the estimated damages exceed $2,000. If there are witnesses around, you’ll want to get their statements. If the parking lot where you were hit was outside a store, ask the store owner for any possible security footage they may be able to produce.

What if I don’t know who hit me?

Imagine you ducked inside a store to do a little post-work shopping and you came back outside to find the front of your car had been backed into. No other car in sight, and no one nearby seems to know who hit you. In this unfortunate scenario, sometimes known as a “hit-and-run accident,” an incident where a driver who is unidentified or even a driver who is identified but has insufficient insurance hits your car may be covered under collision insurance.

In the even more unfortunate scenario where you or even a passenger were still inside the car when it was hit and the driver is unable to be identified, you may have some coverage for their or your injuries under a section of auto insurance known as uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.

Still, before you go through insurance, it’s important that you take a few steps to ensure you and your passengers are safe and your car isn’t in any further risk of being damaged:

  • Move your car to the side of the road, if possible
  • Turn on your hazard lights and try to mark out the area to avoid further accidents.
  • Once everyone’s safe, get in touch with law enforcement. If your car is OK to drive or the damage was only minor, you can drive to the nearest station to file a report.
  • You may also consider asking nearby shop owners if there are any security cameras overlooking the parking lot. This can help to identify the driver who hit you.

If you don’t have collision car insurance, the odds are you may have to pay out of pocket for the incident. If you do have collision coverage, you’ll need to pay your deductible before insurance covers the rest.

Travelers, one of AHI’s partners, has some good information on car insurance and covering hit-and-runs.

Getting in touch with your insurance provider

Call your insurance provider as soon as you’re done dealing with the police (if applicable) after an accident. Even if you’re not at fault, it’s important to let your insurer know to avoid delaying your coverage and/or repairs. Remember, you are not responsible for contacting the other party’s insurer, whether you’re at fault or not! In an accident where you’ll need to file a third-party car claim (such as where the other driver was at fault) you may need to file a claim with them, but you can do so virtually or by simply reaching out to your own provider to consult about next steps.

Calling your own insurance company is recommended because of these reasons:

  • It can help expedite the claims process
  • It can assist in providing coverage ASAP for injuries or damages (especially for families and individuals who are struggling financially)
  • You may end up having out-of-pocket costs if you fail to report the accident right away
  • The other driver involved in the accident could allege damages or injuries later, which could cause the story to not correlate with what you said initially at the scene

You should always inform your car insurance company, even if there’s minimal damage/no injuries at a collision or accident. We recommend doing so even if you’re not technically obligated to do so, as it’ll ensure that they have a record if you need to file a claim later or even if the other driver ends up filing a claim against you.

If you’re confused about what to do following a parking lot crash, not to worry. AHI Group is here to help answer any questions that you may have and help alleviate your concerns or worries. At some point, the majority of us will have been involved in a car accident. It can be stressful, but knowing what to do can be a huge aid. Give us a call today.

Identifying home insurance savings opportunities

A storm of different market trends has caused property insurance prices to skyrocket. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans countrywide who have seen what appears to be an unprecedented difference in your rates, know that you’re not the only one who might be confused.

Multiple factors, including a shortage of skilled labour, low housing inventory, and historic demand for housing, has caused the cost of insuring homes for repairs and replacements to skyrocket. In this article with data from SafeCo, we’ll go over why this is all happening and how to identify savings opportunities despite the hard market conditions.

Why are home insurance prices so high?

With only around 980,000 unsold homes on the market in 2023 (down from 34% based on the past 3 years) the price of homes that have been sold in the United States has risen 42% since 2019.

*Source: National Association of Realtors, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The price of homes, combined with a shortage of skilled labour to build (and repair or restore) homes, plus high material costs due to shortages not having fully returned to pre-pandemic levels, are all reasons for home insurance prices increasing. Homes simply cost more to replace and repair than they once did, making for a greater need for higher coverage limits and therefore costlier premiums.

Opting not to select coverage limits that would fully cover the cost of your home were it to be destroyed in a total loss is one “solution” many policyholders may feel drawn to, but doing so may leave your home vulnerable in the event of an unexpected loss and could cost you more out-of-pocket than you would otherwise spend on your premiums. Raising your coverage limits may not cost as much additional per month as you might think, and it’s worth having full coverage in the long run.

Savings opportunities

With current rate inflation, many homeowners may be pushed to focus on savings opportunities where possible. Allow us to help – with our partnerships with insurers like SafeCo, we can help you find excellent discount opportunities that may help to combat or fully nullify the rate increases many policyholders across the United States are experiencing. We may suggest:

Home and auto bundling

One of the more popular insurance discounts, bundling your home and auto through the same provider can save you between 5% and 20%, depending on the insurer. With SafeCo, for example, you can save up to 15% on premiums, and tacking on other polices (like RV, renters, boat, etc.) can help the savings add up even more. Ask an agent to see what policies qualify.

New or renovated home

Have a newer home, or a home that’s been substantially renovated recently? You can win big on tremendous savings. Ask your agent about what age of home or standard of renos qualifies for new/renovated home discounts.

Roof payment schedule

Companies like SafeCo offer coverage for roof damage which depreciates payout based on roof age/type, which can save customers up to 4% on average, but even higher savings with severe storm states and homes that have older, unrenovated roofs.

Protective device discount

If your home features an approved protective device, such as a sprinkler system or a burglar alarm (and said devices are properly maintained and charged/have up-to-date batteries) you could receive a substantial discount.

Extra protection for at-risk customers

Although adding endorsements to your policy can increase your rates, there’s value in considering additional coverages if you’re at-risk of certain losses, such as sewer backup, groundwater flooding, and more. Adding these coverages could, in the long run, actually help you to save more money, and with today’s unpredictable (and oftentimes severe) climate, it can be greatly beneficial to preserving your peace-of-mind and the sanctuary of your household.

Consider these endorsements, or discuss with an agent:

Water backup or sewer backup

This endorsement, added to your home policy, offers coverage when water escapes or discharges from a sump or sump pump/similar system and enters your home. Sewage is filthy and can seriously hurt the health of your household, but a mop won’t do the trick. This coverage covers the cost of cleanup and can help to pay off the cost of repairs to your home.

Personal property ACV

Should you experience a covered loss, this endorsement guarantees actual cash value for your belongings at the time of a loss, and then up to the full amount of what it would cost to replace with today’s market.

In unprecedented times, AHI is here to help

All things considered, between the hard market and COVID-19 ripples, it’s tough to be a policyholder. When you feel as if your rates have risen for “no reason,” you might feel tempted to even cancel your policy. We advise you give us a call to discuss your options. While cancelling your insurance might seem like the “right” decision, it can leave you massively exposed – and for many, could void the conditions of their mortgage agreement.

AHI Group is happy to discuss your insurance with you and go over your options. While we understand current rate fluctuations can be confusing and even upsetting, we’re here to provide you with ways to save and can help you comparison shop to find the best rates. Give us a call.

Understanding flood coverage in renters insurance

You may already know what an “endorsement” in insurance is. You may already know that a standard home policy won’t cover flooding, and that in order to have flooding coverage in your policy you’ll need to purchase an endorsement to modify your existing coverage. This makes sense with home insurance. Water damage can be detrimental to someone’s property.

What you may not know is that renters are eligible for flood insurance as well, even while renters insurance doesn’t insure the physical unit where you live it does insure your belongings, which could be at risk if your unit were to flood. Flooding occurs in every U.S. state and just a few inches of standing water can cause irreparable damage to your belongings. Here’s what you need to know about flood coverage in renters insurance.

An overview of renters insurance

Renters insurance, also referred to as tenant insurance, is a crucial financial safeguard for individuals and families who are residing in rental properties. It offers protection for personal belongings, liability coverage, and additional living expenses in the event of covered perils such as fire or theft. However, there’s a notable gap in standard coverage regarding floods, a peril that can cause significant damage to property and possessions – especially in some areas of the U.S., and especially for those residing in “at risk” homes or units, such as those on the ground floor or below-ground, and those near lakes, rivers, and in low-lying regions or valleys.

Mending the gap: Adding flood coverage to renters insurance

Floods, though not always top of mind for renters, can pose a substantial risk, especially in certain geographical areas. Many standard renters insurance policies don’t automatically include coverage for flood-related damages. To bridge this gap, renters have the option to add specific flood coverage to their policies. This additional protection ensures that the financial impact of flood-related losses, such as damage to personal property and the cost of temporary living arrangements, is mitigated.

Flood insurance, when added to a renters policy, typically insures against:

  • Overflow of tidal or inland waters, including flooding due to prolonged rain, overflow of rivers, lakes, or other freshwater bodies, and storm surges.
  • Flash floods, which can include sudden and intense floods (known as flash floods) which occur with little to no warning.
  • Mudflows and landslides due to heavy rainfall, although this isn’t true of every policy.
  • Storm-related flooding due to tropical storms, hurricanes, and other severe weather events.

Flood insurance will almost never cover tsunamis or saltwater flooding. Flood insurance will also not cover water damage due to poorly maintained piping or appliances which break and cause damage over time.

Flood insurance may insure you for the repair or replacement cost for your personal belongings damaged by flooding as well as the cost to temporary relocate elsewhere while your home/unit is being restored following a flooding event.

Quick Questions about Flood Insurance as a Renter:

How much does flood insurance cost to add to renters insurance?

The cost of adding flood insurance to renters insurance can vary based on several factors. These may include the location of the rental property, the level of flood risk in that area, the chosen coverage limits, and the insurer’s specific pricing policies. Generally, the cost can range from a relatively modest annual fee to a more significant amount, depending on the perceived risk of flooding in the region. Renters can enlist an agency like AHI to obtain an accurate quote tailored to their specific circumstances and see for themselves how much the endorsement will cost to add. Keep in mind that renters insurance on its own tends to be relatively inexpensive, and even the addition of flood insurance may still be far from “breaking the bank.”

How do I know if I need flood insurance as a renter?

Determining the need for flood insurance as a renter involves assessing what kind of risks flooding poses to you and your home. Factors to consider include the property’s location, proximity to bodies of water, historical flood data for the area, and local floodplain maps. Areas designated as high-risk flood zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are more likely to experience flooding, and obtaining flood insurance is often strongly recommended in these regions. Additionally, renters should consider the potential consequences of flood-related damages to their personal belongings and the cost of temporary relocation. If the rental property is in a moderate-to-high-risk flood area, or if there’s a history of flooding incidents, it’s not a bad idea for renters to seriously consider adding flood insurance to their renters insurance policy. We recommend reaching out to an expert agency, like AHI, to review your flood risk and provide you with valuable insights to help you make a more informed decision!

Is flood insurance something you should add to your renters policy?

As a renter, assessing your flood risk and considering the addition of flood insurance keeps you well-prepared for the potential damages to your personal property and living space that flooding could bring. At AHI Group, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of renters insurance. Take a moment to review your policy with us, ensuring that you have the right coverage to safeguard your belongings and provide peace of mind in the face of unexpected challenges. Your protection is our priority, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way.

Weathering the storm: What to do after a major snowfall

Kansas recently experienced an unexpected snowstorm, burying the bulk of the metro area in 6 inches of snow. As the snow settles, the real work begins to ensure a smooth recovery process. While this particular storm may not have been “world-shattering” for many residents, it’s a fair reminder of our need to be prepared in the event of unexpected disasters. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps to take after a major weather event, offering valuable insights on how to restore normalcy to your living or working space.

And, for those seeking professional assistance in the cleanup after a snowstorm (even our most recent one), we’ve partnered with Sage Restoration, experts in emergency services such as water extraction, fire, and smoke cleanup. If you need to make a claim, we highly advise enlisting their services to get yourself back to normal ASAP.

Step one: Assessing the damage and taking stock of the aftermath

Begin by conducting a thorough assessment of your property, inside and out. Check for visible damages such as roof leaks, broken windows, or structural issues. Pay close attention to the foundation and ensure there are no signs of shifting or cracking. Additionally, inspect electrical systems and appliances for any potential hazards.

As you survey the exterior, be mindful of fallen trees or branches that may pose immediate dangers. Note any downed power lines and keep a safe distance. Take photographs or videos to document the extent of the damage for insurance purposes. This documentation will serve as valuable evidence when filing claims. And, perhaps most importantly, consider your own safety and if you are worried about re-entering your home after a major event, consult with professionals before re-entering.

Step two: emergency measures: Prioritizing safety and mitigation

Once you’ve evaluated the damage, focus on immediate actions to safeguard yourself and prevent further harm to your property. Prioritize safety by turning off gas and electrical utilities if necessary. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, evacuate the premises immediately and contact the utility company.

Mitigate risks by securing vulnerable areas. Cover broken windows with plastic or boards to prevent further exposure to the elements. Use tarps or buckets to collect water from leaks and reduce interior damage. If water has infiltrated your home, place towels or buckets strategically to minimize its spread.

Consider seeking temporary shelter if your home is unsafe. Local authorities often provide emergency shelters during severe weather events.

Step three: Dealing with flood and moisture issues

As the snow begins to melt, one of the primary concerns is water damage. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent long-term structural problems and mold growth. Start by identifying areas affected by flooding or excessive moisture. Remove standing water using pumps or wet vacuums, and open windows and doors to enhance ventilation.

After extracting visible water, focus on thoroughly drying the affected spaces. Use dehumidifiers to reduce humidity levels, aiding in the prevention of mold proliferation. Remove wet or damaged materials such as carpets, insulation, and drywall to minimize potential health risks and accelerate the drying process. Professional water extraction services, like those offered by Sage Restoration, can ensure a comprehensive and efficient restoration of your property.

Step four: Rebuilding and recovery

After mitigating immediate concerns, shift your focus to rebuilding and long-term recovery. Begin by developing a comprehensive recovery plan. This should outline the necessary steps, timeline, and budget for the restoration process. Engage with professionals, such as contractors and restoration experts, to assess the structural integrity of your property and create a detailed plan for reconstruction.

Coordinate with your insurance company to understand the coverage and file necessary claims. Keep all documentation from the initial assessment, as well as receipts and records of expenses incurred during the recovery process.

Partnering with the best

AHI Group is proud to partner with some of the best companies in KS, MO, and NE – like Sage Restoration. The restoration and recovery process is one unspoken part of insurance that often goes underappreciated. Insurance agencies and companies work with top-rated restoration services to ensure their policyholders’ expedited recovery and return to normal.

For further questions about recovering from a major weather event, like a huge snowstorm, give us a call here at AHI Group. We’re more than happy to discuss your needs or give you guidance when you need us most to help you get back to life as you once knew it.

What does it mean to have full car coverage?

When it comes to auto insurance, you have options. Nearly every state in the USA has mandatory auto insurance, and of those states there’s a certain kind of auto insurance you are required to buy. You may be eligible, depending on your record, to purchase insurance add-ons to further customize your coverage, such as comprehensive and collision. Some consumers opt for what’s known as “full car coverage” – but what is that, really?

What is full car coverage?

To break it down briefly, full car coverage doesn’t actually exist. There’s no way to buy auto insurance coverage that fully insures your vehicle against every potential risk out there. Full car coverage generally refers to an automobile owner who drives a vehicle that is insured with collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage. Insurance companies may also offer additional protection, such as coverage for rental cars or even ticket forgiveness.

While it’s not “full car coverage” in the sense that it insures against every possible risk, it’s the fullest available car coverage there is. So, when you see the term “full car coverage,” this is actually referring to the combination of insurance coverages designed to protect a driver financially for damages done to their vehicle, the passengers or occupants of that vehicle, and any other individuals involved in the accident.

*Key takeaway here: there is no definition for full coverage auto insurance. Your best bet is to work with an agent to determine what options give you the fullest, most attainable peace-of-mind.

What are all the coverages included in full car coverage?

While the definition of full coverage may differ from insurer to insurer, here are the coverages you may expect to have included in a “full car coverage” plan:

Liability Insurance

If you are in your vehicle and get into an accident, this coverage helps pay for the damages and injuries. It is required in virtually every state in the USA, with the exception of New Hampshire. Certain states will mandate certain levels of coverage, usually between $200,000 and $1 million. Most insurers offer the option to increase your coverage.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance

In states where it’s mandatory to have insurance, some drivers still opt to go without. If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver, or perhaps a driver who flees the scene, this coverage will protect you from the damages to your vehicle, or even medical expenses you incur in the accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Depending on the state, PIP or personal injury protection may be mandatory to protect you from the cost of medical expenses for you or others in your vehicle. Some types of PIP can include coverage for lost wages and other expenses for injuries in an accident.

Collision Insurance

Collision insurance is optional and may be purchased to increase your coverage to protect against damages done to your vehicle in an accident, even if you were responsible. It may also protect against damage to your vehicle if you hit something stationary or if your vehicle rolls over.

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage is optional as well and insures your vehicle against damages due to things other than accidents, specifically when your vehicle is not moving. An example of this is if a tree falls on your vehicle in a storm or if someone breaks your window attempting to steal something in your car.

With some optional coverages, specifically collision and comprehensive, a deductible will apply. This means that to have a claim paid out, you’ll need to pay your deductible amount towards the repairs before your insurance company pays for the remainder.

Other auto insurance options

Depending on your state and your insurer, you may be eligible for additional insurance options to help further “round out” your policy. Some examples include:

  • Gap Insurance: Aka loan or lease payoff insurance, this insurance helps to pay for the gap left on what you owe for your vehicle if it’s wrecked in an accident.
  • Car Rental Coverage: This insurance option offers car rental reimbursement, as rental shops will often offer insurance, but at a very high price with very minimal coverage.
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance: Some insurers will automatically offer this coverage, where for others it’s an option to include it. Roadside assistance coverage, to cover the costs of towing and changing flat tires, can be a great asset to have.
  • Glass Breakage: Glass damage regularly falls under comprehensive coverage, but if you have a high deductible that could wipe out any glass coverage you’d get. With full coverage, you might have the option to get better protection for glass coverage with no deductible (but a slightly higher premium).

Ask an agent about these coverages for more information, or for more suggestions on what to include to have fuller car insurance.

Should I have full car insurance coverage?

In no situation is full car coverage beyond the state mandatory technically required, although certain coverages may be asked of you if you’re lending or leasing a car. Otherwise, optional coverages are entirely up to your preference.

We would recommend considering additional protections, specifically collision and comprehensive, especially if you don’t have enough money saved to cover yourself in the event of an accident. You are best off purchasing coverage which addresses the biggest likelihoods. Note that having a low deductible may result in high premiums, so if you want to save on your premiums you’ll choose a lower deductible.

Talk with an agent if you aren’t sure. A representative from AHI can help you decide on what options are best suited to your needs, what makes the most sense, and what’s the most affordable. Call us today!

Is life insurance a smart investment for millennials?

Within the landscape of personal finance, millennials may find themselves navigating a score of different options to secure their financial future. They’re a generation known for embracing change and redefining traditional norms – including their approach to investments. One topic that often sparks debate is the role of life insurance in a millennial’s financial portfolio.

A millennial is anyone born between 1981 and 1996. Millennials within this range may be approaching a variety of different milestones in life, but many, if they haven’t already, may be starting to think about their financial future. Life insurance is one of many options, but is it a smart investment?

Why buy life insurance as a millennial?

In 2024, a millennial is anyone ages 28 to 43. Within this age range, millennials may be getting married, having children, buying their first homes, starting businesses, etc. – all milestones worthy of life insurance protection. To put it simply, life insurance isn’t a purchase associated with a specific generation or a specific age. It’s a policy best purchased when the prospective policyholder has something worth protecting, or someone. Sometimes, this is an investment, like a home or business, but most of the time it’s a spouse or dependent(s).

We advise purchasing life insurance younger because life insurance is cheaper the younger you buy it, but in the end it’s something you should get when you need it, not just because you’ve reached a certain age. For example, purchasing life insurance to help pay off their mortgage for their family in the event of their unexpected passing is a no-brainer – and that can happen at 25, 30, 35, or even 40.

What reasons are there to purchase life insurance as a millennial?

The average age for purchasing a home in America in 2022 is 36, where the average age for purchasing a home in 2021 is 33. Millennials, being between 28 to 43, fall just in that range. Protecting your family from having to pay off your mortgage in your absence is just one reason why a millennial might buy life insurance, but it tends to be one of the more common incentives.

*Source from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Here’s some other reasons why a millennial might want to purchase life insurance:

  • To provide financial support for spouses, children, or other dependents.
  • To help cover financial obligations like loans, mortgages, or other debts.
  • To lock in lower premiums at a younger age.
  • To use as a tool for business continuation planning or to fund a buy-sell agreement.
  • To replace lost income, ensuring family members can maintain their standard of living.
  • To cover funeral and burial expenses for family members.
  • To provide liquidity in covering estate taxes or ensuring an inheritance for beneficiaries.
  • To ensure coverage before developing health issues at a later age.
  • For a sense of security – knowing loved ones are financially protected.

Like any individual in any age group, it’s essential for millennials to carefully assess their current needs or even work with an agent to determine if life insurance is a good choice for them.

What type of life insurance should a millennial buy?

It depends on the individual, really. There’s no clearcut answer, and with the range there is between the youngest and oldest millennials, it’s hard to say given that you could be at any one stage of life.

Some considerations for millennials buying life insurance include:

Current Financial Situation

  • Millennials with tight budgets may lean towards term life for cost-effectiveness.

Long-Term Goals

  • Consider whether lifelong coverage and a cash value component align with long-term financial goals.

Financial Responsibilities

  • Assess current and future financial obligations to determine the necessary coverage duration.

Investment Preferences

  • Decide whether the insurance policy should serve purely as protection or also as an investment/savings tool.

Flexibility Needs

  • Evaluate the need for flexibility in adjusting coverage based on life changes.

What’s the difference between term and permanent life insurance? In short, permanent life insurance offers lifelong coverage and usually features a cash value component, which accumulates with time. Permanent life insurance may be the better option for those who want to focus on estate planning and legacy, as well as a permanent solution for dependents who may need long-term care.

Term life insurance is better for the everyday millennial, or just someone who needs coverage over a set term (such as until kids are adults and financially independent, until mortgage or debts are paid off, and so on) and is often the more inexpensive option.

Financial Planning with AHI Group

As millennials, securing a robust financial future requires a nuanced understanding of the choices available. AHI Group’s expertise in providing comprehensive insurance solutions prompts an exploration into the distinctions between term and permanent life insurance. The focus here is on cost-effective alternatives that resonate with the budget-conscious approach of this generation. Additionally, delving into the integration of life insurance into a broader financial strategy is crucial. AHI Group’s insights into coverage, flexibility, and long-term planning can offer valuable perspectives tailored for millennials. Give us a call today to start the conversation.

What’s Driving Up the Cost of Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance rates are on the rise. Just in the last year alone, auto insurance rates have risen by 18.9%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. For states whose rates were already on the higher end, it seems like there’s no relief in sight. For many vehicle owners, this can be incredibly discouraging. Auto insurance is a must-have purchase, but why is it becoming so expensive?

In previous articles, we’ve covered topics related to rising auto insurance prices like the hard market its relation to insurance rates as well as high auto insurance pricing for teens and new drivers. In this blog post, we dig a little deeper into the issue with data from SafeCo. We aim to take a look at some global events causing significant ramifications to auto insurance pricing, stats, and more to help broaden your understanding of the current issue as a policyholder, and perhaps give you a starting point on how best to manage your premiums.

Ripples from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article was written in 2023, and so while the initial outbreak is long behind us and it isn’t looking like we’re going to be seeing any unexpected closures for some time, COVID-19 has had a ripple effect on the economy. During COVID-19, we saw a tremendous depletion in the supply of both new and used vehicles, and even now we have yet to see those inventories come back to what they were. Since 2020, the price of new cars has risen by 20%, and the price of used cars has increased by 37%. 

*Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Consumer Price Index.

What does this mean when it comes to insurance? Well, it’s not really about the number of used or new cars available on the market – it’s about the same market dynamics impacting the number of car parts available to do repairs. Since the end of 2022, car parts and equipment have been about 22.3% This means that the cost to repair vehicles has increased, resulting in higher claim payouts for insurance companies. As a result? Higher claim payouts = the need to raise rates to ensure an adequate pool of payout money for insured losses. 

*Sources: Consumer Price Index, 2022 TechForce Foundation Technician Supply & Demand Report.

Medical Care Costs on the Rise

During COVID-19, work-from-home and stay-at-home orders had fewer vehicles driving on the road, and therefore the number of fatalities and injuries declined – severely. That spiked when many orders were lifted in 2021, peaking, before somewhat falling again. With the rising cost of medical care, personal injury protection and bodily injury liability claim costs continue to spike. Between 2020 and 2022 alone, the cost of medical care in the U.S. jumped by 6.8%.

*Source: Producer Price Index, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The Higher the Cost of Losses, the Higher the Premiums

Although it might seem unfair, especially if you have not made a claim or been in an accident, the way insurance works is that to afford the high cost of claim payouts, insurers need to raise rates. It’s a hard hit for low-income and otherwise vulnerable drivers, some of which may need to weigh the cost and benefits of car ownership altogether. 

Premiums Vary State-by-State

Although the average change in car insurance premiums between 2022-2023 was around 17% on average across the United States, that number has varied drastically between each state. An infographic from FINN America at the Washington Post gives us the breakdown, the most notable of which we will highlight in a list below:

  • Minnesota: 4% increase
  • Kansas: 11% increase
  • Colorado: 53% increase
  • Florida: 88% increase
  • Texas: 21% increase
  • Nevada: 51% increase
  • California: 16% increase
  • Nebraska: 46% increase
  • Iowa: 29% increase

State-specific increases can be due to a number of reasons, for example: Colorado’s car insurance premiums have seen a tremendous increase of 50%+, largely in part due to the huge number of tornadoes, blizzards, and hailstorms resulting in an increased number of claims. Florida, by the same token, has increased its premiums due to insurers needing to make up for losses resulting from hurricane damages. All states have been impacted by payouts driven by natural disasters, the high cost of replacements and repairs, inflation, the higher cost of luxury vehicles, and more. 

What Do We Do?

To many, it might seem like there’s really no escape from higher premiums, since many of us are dependent on our vehicles to get to work and manage family affairs. Car insurance is required by law, so to drive, you must have it. Getting caught driving without is oftentimes costlier than a year’s average premium, so it’s just not worth the risk. 

In the face of rising auto insurance premiums, it’s good to have a subject-matter expert in your corner. Working with an agent, like any representative from AHI, can help you gain industry insights and arm you with knowledge on how best to save. We’ll recommend different discounts you may be eligible for and offer personalized advice to help you cut costs.

Navigating a Costly Insurance Landscape

The matter of factors influencing auto insurance rates demands a nuanced understanding, and although we hope that our exploration has shed some light on key contributors, the field is ever-changing.

As policyholders try to make sense of the shifting dynamic, AHI Group stands as a steadfast partner committed to providing tailored solutions for residents of Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and beyond. AHI is poised to guide you through the intricacies of your coverage. We encourage you to take an active role in managing your insurance costs by reaching out to our dedicated team. Contact AHI today to discover potential avenues for cost reduction, discount opportunities, and more.