Erie Insurance ranked highest in renters insurance segment on J.D. Power’s Household Insurance Study

 

Erie, Pa. (Sept. 24, 2015) – Erie Insurance received top honors in the renters insurance segment on the J.D. Power Household Insurance Study, which evaluates customer satisfaction in the homeowners and renters product lines. Erie Insurance scored 817. The industry average was 808 on a 1,000-point scale. 

“Consumers’ needs are constantly evolving, and it’s our job to evolve with them to ensure we can offer protection that fits those needs,” said Terry Cavanaugh, president and CEO of Erie Insurance. “We are proud to receive the highest rating in the renters’ insurance segment.”

The 2015 Household Insurance Study measured five factors to determine overall satisfaction. Those factors included interaction, policy offerings, price, billing/payment, and claims.

 

Erie Insurance ranked highest on J.D. Power’s Small Business Commercial Insurance Study three years in a row

 

Erie, Pa. (Aug. 31, 2015) – For the third year in a row, Erie Insurance received top honors on the J.D. Power Small Business Commercial Insurance Study, which evaluates small business owners’ satisfaction with commercial insurance policies. Erie Insurance scored 827 in 2015, up from 813 in 2014. The industry average was 793 in 2015, up from 783 in 2014.  

“As small business owners themselves, our independent insurance agents understand the needs of their commercial customers. Ranking highest for the third year in a row on this study is an honor, and a demonstration that we strive to meet those needs with coverage our customers need and at a cost they can afford,” said Terry Cavanaugh, president and CEO of Erie Insurance.

The 2015 Small Business Commercial Insurance Study measured five factors to determine overall satisfaction. Those factors included price, payment/billing, policy offerings, claims and interaction.

Tips for Buying Long-Term Care Insurance

By Casey Dowd

Published September 11, 2014

Health-care costs are impossible to accurately predict when it comes to creating a retirement savings plan, but there are steps boomers can take to help ease the impact of medical expenses.

Requiring long-term care for a disability, chronic illness or any other condition over an extended period of time can become extremely costly and devastate a nest egg without proper planning. Often, employer-based health plans do not pay for extended-care services and Medicare doesn’t cover long stints in nursing homes or at-home care. To help cover potential continuing care expenses, many experts advise boomers to purchase long-term care insurance.

Jennifer Tucker, vice president of Homewatch CareGivers, which offers home health care for people with chronic illnesses, disabilities and other medical conditions, provided the following basics for boomers considering long-term care coverage:

Boomer: What is long-term care insurance and who should consider purchasing this type of policy?

Tucker:  Long-term care insurance policies cover the costs of assistance, over a long period of time, with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and cooking. Most policies cover personal care in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in the home.

Anyone who is younger than 60 years old should consider buying long-term care insurance. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor predict that by 2050, approximately 27 million people will be using paid long-term care services in any setting—double from 13 million in 2000. Additionally, more than 70% of people who are turning 65 years old this year can expect to use some form of long-term care in their lives; and, since most will not qualify for Medicaid, the security of purchasing these policies as early as possible is greatly beneficial to lower the overall financial burden.

Surprisingly, at Homewatch CareGivers, we have seen that only a small percentage of home care clients use long-term care insurance to pay for home care services. What we hear most often is that either people were unaware their spouse or parents ever had a policy or that they never bought one. Often, people who fall into the latter category were unaware a policy could cover the costs of in-home care and prolong the amount of time they or a loved one could stay in their home as they aged.

Boomer: How is the cost of long-term care insurance determined and how do you calculate how much coverage you should buy?

Tucker: Similar to other types of insurance, the cost of long-term care insurance is determined by the age of the person buying the policy, the amount of coverage the policy offers per day and the maximum number of days per year that the policy will cover. Basically, the rates are lower the younger you are when you purchase the insurance.

The average age at which people purchase long-term care insurance is 55 years old, with a typical enacting age of late 60s to early 80s. However, people can be diagnosed with chronic illnesses—such as multiple sclerosis, early onset Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease at any age. We do care for some clients who had to enact their long-term care policies in their 50s due to unexpected illnesses.

While it is recommended to consider factors like family medical history prior to purchasing a policy, the best approach to ensure you are adequately covered is to speak with your insurance agent or a long-term care insurance specialist. 

Boomer: What coverage should be included in a long-term care policy?

Tucker: There are several factors to consider when choosing which coverage you want in your policy. While an insurance broker can help sort out the particulars, the most important decision is about the kind of care you hope to receive.

The options for long-term care span various settings, including adult day care, nursing homes and group living facilities, as well as in the home. However, recent research has shown that more than 90% of older adults would rather live in their homes as they age than move to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

This is where home care can greatly impact a person’s life. Consider that the cost of “doing nothing” or having a family member provide care in the home poses a staggering average lifetime cost of $300,000 annually to that family member, according to a recent MetLife study. Home care services, which are covered by long term care insurance, average a cost of $45,000 per year. Also consider that 80% of claimants use home care as their first type of care, and only 25% of those ever progress to facility-based care.

Boomer: What health issues trigger the policy to kick in and how long will the policy pay?

Tucker: Some of the most common chronic illnesses in home care are also among those that will trigger a policy to kick in. These include Alzheimer’s and dementia, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and Parkinson’s disease.

Policies may also be activated when an older adult can no longer perform two “Activities of Daily Living” (ADLs), such as safely bathing, dressing or preparing food.

Boomer: What are the most important questions to ask when buying a long-term care policy?

Tucker:  Ask about the “benefit triggers”—the conditions required to activate the coverage. These might be the number of ADLs you are unable to perform safely or the conditions that fall under your coverage. It’s imperative to ask about elimination periods, what the insurance covers on a daily basis, and in which states you can use your coverage. Consult with your long term care insurance expert to ensure that you are getting all the right information.

The most important question to ask is how you are going to make sure that you are able to use your insurance when you need it. At Homewatch CareGivers, we have had situations arise where the policyholder is incapacitated and family members are unaware of their loved one’s coverage or benefits. It is absolutely vital to have a plan in place, and to have a conversation with your adult children or other family members to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible.

 

Life Insurance for Student Loans is Worth Considering

By: Amanda Prischak

 

 

 

Seven out of 10 college students graduated with debt in 2012. For those with loans, the average debt load was $29,400. Meanwhile, many other students had loans that reached high into the six figures.

Those numbers are concerning for recent grads. They can also be troublesome for anyone who cosigns on a student loan. If the unthinkable happens–the student or graduate who took out the loan passes away before it’s paid off–the cosigner is responsible for the outstanding debt.

This is especially true for private loans: While many federal student loans let a borrower’s cosigners complete paperwork releasing them and the estate from the debt, many private student loans do not. What’s more, in community property states like Wisconsin, surviving spouses are often held responsible for a deceased spouse’s outstanding loans.

Without adequate protection, the pain of losing a loved one could be intensified by the financial burden of paying for a dream that ended too soon.

To get an idea of what this could mean for you and your family, read the real-life tales of some families dealing with this unfortunate and costly situation.

Life insurance for student loans

A financial hardship will only make the devastation of losing a loved one that much more stressful and difficult. That’s why life insurance for student loans is something cosigners should consider. A life insurance policy can provide the funds needed to eliminate or reduce a student loan debt in the event the student or graduate passes away before the debt is satisfied.

Term life—a type of life insurance that offers coverage for a specific number of years—is a good choice. Term life is typically the most affordable option. (At Erie Insurance, rates can be as low as $11/month.*) Once in place, the affordable rates will not increase for the length of the plan you choose. Young adults can lock their life insurance rate for as long as 30 years.

There are other benefits to a term life policy. For starters, it guarantees the young adult’s insurability in the future. This means he or she can be guaranteed coverage by converting the term policy to a permanent policy later in life — even if a health condition which normally precludes coverage develops later. **

A permanent life policy lets the young adult accumulate cash savings throughout his or her entire lifetime. Plus, the new premium can be guaranteed for life.

To learn more about the protection and peace of mind life insurance for student loans can offer, talk to a local Erie Insurance Agent. He or she can explain some affordable term life options from Erie Family Life. Some do not even require a physical examination.***

*Rate reflects the best underwriting class available and is subject to underwriting approval. Rounded to the nearest whole dollar.
**The term policy and conversion privilege must be in effect at the time of conversion. Subject to age and plan limitations.
***May require answering health-related questions.

Friend and Foe

 

Fire is man’s oldest ally -- and our oldest enemy. We use it for cooking, for warmth, for electricity and light, but sometimes, it can turn on us. More than 3,500 Americans die every year in house fires, and more than 18,000 are injured. Take the time to protect your family and your home from fire damage with a few simple tips:

  • Electrical fires: A little common sense can go a long way in keeping your home safe from electrical fire. Don’t overload circuits, and immediately unplug any device that sputters, sparks or smokes. Don’t run cords under rugs or other flammable items.
  • Kitchen fires: Fire cooks our food, but it can all too easily get out of hand. Make sure to never leave a pot on the stove unattended, and keep towels and other flammable items away from burners. Remember that if you have a grease fire, adding water to the flames will only make the problem worse. Keep an approved chemical fire extinguisher in easy reach.
  • Smoke alarms: Having a working smoke alarm in your house can double your chances of survival in a fire. Test the alarm every month, and make sure it always has fresh batteries. A great way to remember to change the batteries is to change them when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

 

These few simple tips can keep you and your home safe from the ravages of fire. Call us today for more information on fire safety—and how you can receive discounts for being fire wise. We can also talk about bundling in your auto policy, and saving you even more money—and peace of mind.

 

Clipping Coupons

 

Everyone loves saving money. We take the time to clip coupons, comparison shop and wait for sales when it comes to groceries, clothes and electronics. Why not apply your super saving skills to your insurance, too?

 

If you have ERIE’s homeowners insurance, see if you qualify for some sweet, sweet savings:

 

  • Multi-Policy Discount: Buy more, save more. When you bundle your ERIE auto, home, life insurance, or other insurance, you can see substantial savings on your insurance bills.
  • Smoke Alarm Discount: Installing smoke alarms can save your life in case of a fire, but they can also save you cash if you’re an ERIE homeowner.
  • Burglar Alarm Discount: Protecting your possessions and your family with a burglar alarm can give you peace of mind…and a chunk of change.
  • Do you qualify for a discount? Want more information on how you can save on your insurance? Give us a call today, and let us walk you through every step of the process. Beats clipping coupons any day.

New Homeowner Checklist

 

Buying a house is a big decision and can definitely change your life. You get the advantages of living in a place that’s all your own, but there are so many new responsibilities that fall on your plate: mowing the lawn, painting the house, taking care of that washing machine yourself when it starts spraying water, rather than calling a super or a landlord. These new responsibilities often wind up leading to big new bills.

 

Make sure to take care of one important task when you buy a new home: change your auto insurance. Sounds strange, right? But many people don’t like to go to the hassle of changing their car insurance when they buy home insurance. Turns out, it’s not a hassle at all, and bundling your ERIE auto and home policies can save you big money.

 

Give us a call today to find out how easy it is to switch your insurance, and save that cash for your new house.