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How Insurers Determine Your Premium: An Interview with Dave Thurau of Hartland Insurance Agency, Inc.

By Dave Thurau

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

HIA Highland Insurance Agency is a branch of Hartland Insurance Agency, established in 1978, Livingston County's largest Independent insurance agency, which is located in Hartland, Michigan. Our clients will see documents, advertising or mailings bearing the Hartland Insurance Agency name and logo. Being a branch of HIA gives us numerous advantages which benefit our clients.

What are some of the services your company provides?

First, we represent a collection of some of the finest insurance companies in Michigan directly and have access to a wide array of companies through a network of brokers. This gives us many choices when tailoring a program that fits the client's specific needs. It allows us to find insurance for most any client, regardless of the unique risk characteristics. No other local agency has the company resources available to us through HIA.

Second, we use the service structure of HIA to provide first class customer service to our personal and commercial clients. Our Customer Service Representatives are all licensed agents and all have attained their Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR) professional designation. Our clients know that they will get professional answers to their service questions and always have someone available to assist them. We also provide 24/7 emergency service to our clients.

Third, we use a sophisticated management system (Applied Systems) which is customer based. This allows us to provide service in a timely manner using the best available resources in the insurance market.

Finally, we use the best in technology available to insurance firms today. We are a paperless environment that is excited by change. We embrace the technological changes and will continue to push the envelope to provide the best service available to our valued clients.

First off, what is the definition of an insurance premium?

When insured parties experience a loss for a specified peril, the coverage entitles the policyholder to make a claim against the insurer for the covered amount of loss as specified by the policy. The fee paid by the insured to the insurer for assuming the risk is called the premium.

What factors do insurance companies use to determine your premium?

A number of factors go into premium determination and they vary by the "line" of insurance be applied for; i.e. Home Insurance, Auto Insurance, etc. For Auto Insurance, some of the major factors in determining the Premium are; Age of the Driver, Driving record of the Driver, Age of the automobile, Type of Vehicle,; Car, Van or Pick up Truck, how the vehicle is used; i.e. Pleasure or the distance driven to and from work, Business use. The location the vehicle is garaged. Discounts are available for multiple cars on one policy, Being a member of a group like an Alumni Association, retirement Association, Chamber of Commerce and many others, and Multiple policies, having a home insured with the same company, etc. One of the main factors in Premium Determination for Auto and Home Insurance is the "Insurance Score" which is a factor promulgated from Past Claim history and Credit Score. Another factor is maintaining Insurance. A lapse in your Auto Insurance can cause the premium to increase substantially.

Factors affecting Home Insurance are the Age and construction (Frame or Brick) type of the home, Location, Size of the home; Square Footage, Age of the Roof and past claim history. If the policy holder has a Trampoline, there are many companies that will decline the policy due to the liability exposure of having a Trampoline on the premises.

Why is my income not a factor in this process? Isn't my income level important?

Income is important and considered a factor in auto Insurance as it can affect how much Income Replacement coverage available under the policy in the case of an injury where the insured person can not return to work. The Michigan State No-Fault law limits the amount of Income Replacement coverage. Your Agent should be aware of the income to make sure you are properly protected in the event of an accident.

Why do insurance companies make it nearly impossible to qualify for the lowest premium?

Not unlike Credit Companies, The lowest rates are given to those that have proven a good financial record, Claim History and Driving Record.

Is there any way to receive a reasonable premium with a low credit score?

It is possible, All companies use different criteria in determining the individual "Insurance Score" It helps to "shop" your insurance or contact an Independent Trusted Choice Insurance Agent to shop it with Multiple companies to find the best policy and cost.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

Our website is www.hiahighland.com where you can request that we contact you by phone or email.

1631 S. Milford Rd
Highland, MI 48357

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