I’ve had it.
I can’t take it anymore.
My ears are bleeding, even.
Everyday people (yeah, I’m looking at you) are using insurance terms that mean absolutely nothing and are tossed around like a hacky sack on a spring day.
Think about this- what if you’re at a dinner party some day and need to have an intelligent discussion about insurance? (just go with me on this one). You simply won’t be able to. You’ll look like an idiot. Because I do care about you and want to protect your future reputation, I’m going to educate you on 3 of the most common insurance terms, all of which are complete nonsense. Remember, I’m doing this for you 🙂
Added bonus: your agent or a potential agent (if you’re looking for quotes) will be impressed, grateful and even more excited to work with you!
(Note: This post is available as an audio version too. You’re welcome to scroll down and take a listen if you just don’t feel like reading today 😉
Common Insurance Term #1- I need Full coverage
When I hear this term, you know what I think of INSTEAD of insurance? Underwear. Yep. Bikini vs. briefs kind of thing. Please don’t tell me you want “full coverage” on your car. Because I’ll probably retort, “Oh does your car shop at Victoria’s Secret too?” Seriously folks, this term means nothing. My industry has somehow developed this word and let it run rampant. And it’s pure nonsense. What I think you’re trying to say is you have a loan on the car, so you need comprehensive and collision so the bank gets paid if you damage your car. If you can’t remember comprehensive & collision, all you have to say is something to this effect- “I have a loan on my car, so I need coverage if it gets damaged.” That’s all. We’ll understand what you mean. So, I beg of you, please eliminate the words “full coverage” from your insurance vocabulary. Because every time you say it, a kitten dies.
Common Insurance Term #2- I want an “apples-to-apples” comparison
Well, good luck with that….. I will say in all fairness that the basic definitions of certain terms are the same regardless of the insurance company. HOWEVER, all insurance companies choose from a handful of standard insurance contracts and alter them to their needs. Even if they choose the same contract, it is never the same- stuff is added, removed, swapped out and has its own touches. And if you get into the specialty policies, they often write these from scratch. So, although we understand what you mean when you say you want it “exactly” like what you’ve got now, we can show you something close, but it will never be exact. The contract is what allows each insurance company to remain competitive- they can throw in features that no one else offers. So maybe what you’ll end up with is a “Gala apple vs. Red Delicious apple” comparison. A tip: a competent insurance professional will use your existing policies as starting points for analysis and then make recommendations. In other words, let the pros do their job and you’ll be better off than you were before 🙂
Common Insurance Term #3- Just give me a ballpark
Complete crap. Personal Insurance (and to a lesser extent, business insurance) has evolved to a point of super-individualization. Here’s what I mean: your premium is based on YOU. Not your neighbor, not your friend. Completely on YOU. We collect all your pertinent details, plug it in and what comes back is yours and yours alone. It’s virtually impossible to make a guess as to premium. There are complex variables built into quoting models that far exceed any agent’s analytical ability. Long gone are the days of pulling out the rate book and being done in 5 minutes. Now it’s fancy algorithms and behind the scenes configuring. You can get a better idea of the process required to get a personal auto quote by reading my Guide to Getting the Most Accurate Insurance Quote.
So if you tell me to “ballpark it”, I’ll either give you some wildly crazy, horribly inaccurate answer OR if I’m feeling particularly salty, a suggestion to take in a baseball game.