Insurance 101

/Insurance 101
Insurance 101 2017-07-20T14:23:04+00:00

College graduation is an exciting time in Georgia and elsewhere for students and their parents alike. And, while it’s easy to be immersed in graduation parties and focused on first-job jitters, it’s a time of major transitions and big decisions, and it’s essential to prepare graduates for what comes next.

One area new college graduates need to address is insurance. As insurance professionals at ACHS Insurance, we know insurance can be a confusing topic. We also know that seemingly small missed details can result in very large losses. We want to ensure your college graduate is protected before heading out into the real world, so we have compiled the following pointers.

  • Review your family’s current insurance. The first step when considering insurance for your new graduate is evaluating the coverage you currently have. Make an appointment with us. We can advise on whether it’s appropriate given the pending changes, and whether it will cover your son or daughter.
  • Know the law. Most states require drivers to have auto insurance, and most of those have minimum policy limit requirements. Research the law in your son or daughter’s state, or consult with us to make sure they are covered adequately.
  • Read your lease. Many apartment, condominium and home rental properties require tenants to maintain a certain level of renter’s insurance, which covers the contents of the home in the event of a robbery, fire, or other loss. Make sure you know the terms of your son or daughter’s new lease, and insure them accordingly.
  • Don’t end up liable. Any home renter or owner is exposed to liability risk. To ensure there is adequate coverage in the event someone gets injured on your son or daughter’s property, speak with us about liability insurance.
  • Don’t gamble! Never go without. It’s simple: your son or daughter should always have insurance in place. Be sure to discuss with us what types they need.
  • Know your company benefits. Many college graduates move straight into the workforce, and most companies have benefits. Make sure your new graduate studies the company’s human resources handbook to learn what benefits are available, when they go into effect, and what their limitations are.

We at ACHS Insurance congratulate you on your child’s graduation! Please contact us with any questions, or to request a review of your family’s insurance portfolio by calling (706) 860-6787 or send email to sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

You’ve probably heard the horror stories before – someone loses a home due to a flood and learns after the fact that standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage.

At ACHS Insurance, we want you to be educated about all of the risks you may face – before a loss occurs – so you can determine what insurance coverage is appropriate. Spring may be a historically prime season for flooding and severe storms, but now is always a good time to review your options.

Because very few companies offer flood insurance, the U.S. government created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968. Available to homeowners, renters and business owners, this insurance often is required to obtain a mortgage in areas at high risk of flooding.

But you might want to look into a policy just for peace of mind, even if you don’t live in a traditionally flood-prone area. According to the NFIP, nearly 25 percent of the program’s claims occur in moderate- to low-risk areas. Check out the questions and answers below to help determine if flood insurance is right for you.

Is flood insurance available in my area?

To participate in the NFIP, a community must adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance with rules regarding construction in certain flood-prone areas. In exchange, the government makes flood insurance available within that community. We’re happy to help you find out if you’re eligible for flood insurance. Just give us a call at (706) 860-6787. You can also visit www.fema.gov/fema/csb.shtm.

What does it cover?

The NFIP provides coverage for both the structure and its contents. Coverage for contents is optional in some cases, so you may want to give us a call to discuss other coverage for your personal property.

Keep in mind that you typically can’t purchase flood insurance and have it take effect the next day. There is usually a 30-day waiting period. (Exceptions to this rule apply, however, particularly when the insurance is required by a lender and is purchased during the process of securing a mortgage.) If you think you need flood insurance, don’t wait to buy a policy!

What doesn’t it cover?

Generally, government-issued flood insurance will not cover the following: Buildings entirely over water or principally below ground, gas and liquid storage tanks, animals, aircraft, wharves, piers, bulkheads, growing crops, shrubbery, land, roads, machinery or equipment in the open and most motor vehicles.

How much does it cost?

As with all insurance policies, the cost of flood insurance varies depending on your situation. If your home or business is in a high-risk area, such as a “special flood hazard area,” your premium naturally will be higher than those in low- or moderate-risk zones. Premiums are based on how old the building is, how many floors it has, the location of its contents, your deductible and more. Renters insurance is typically less expensive, as renters generally insure their belongings and not the building.

Where can I find more information?

As always, we are happy to help you determine your insurance needs. Stop by our office, email us at sales@nullachsinsurance.com, or give us a call at (706) 860-6787. The NFIP website, at www.fema.gov, has plenty of answers as well.

There’s nothing quite like driving a speedy, shiny classic car that turns heads and starts conversations. In fact, the beauty and elegance of old collectibles – like the 1964 Aston Martin DB5, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and the 1969 Dodge Charger – can be downright captivating.

If you don’t happen to own one of these timeless beauties, it may not mean you will never own a classic. In fact, there are many automobile aficionados and industry experts that predict we can expect a whole new generation of cars that will one day be bestowed the same level of prestige as, say, the 1969 Chevy Camaro.

If your curiosity is getting the better of you, here is a peek at the 10 models predicted by CNET’s Car Tech editors as being the vintage cars of the future. Who knows, you just may own a classic after all.

  1. Toyota Prius (first generation): Built from 1997 to 2003, sold in the U.S. from 2001 to 2003
  2. Honda Insight (first generation): Sold in the U.S. from 1999 to 2006
  3. Toyota MR2 Spyder: Built from 1999 to 2007
  4. Honda S2000: Built from 2000 to 2009
  5. Scion xB: Offered from 2004 to 2006
  6. Infiniti G35: Built from 2003 to 2006
  7. BMW 335i/N54 3-series: Built from 2006 to 2010
  8. Pontiac G8: Built from early 2008 to mid-2009
  9. Dodge Magnum: Built 2004 to 2008
  10. Chrysler 300C: Built 2005 to 2011

If any of the above-named vehicles is sitting in your garage, congratulations may be in order. And if not, it’s not too late to start checking the classified and used car lots.

Regardless what you’re driving or what automobile you might have stored away, we at ACHS Insurance are here to make sure you have it covered! Contact us today.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Now that summer’s over and the weather is cooling down, it’s time to think about pulling your boat out the water and putting it away until next year.

But before you do, it’s also time to make sure your boat is ready for the winter – and still has the right insurance protection. After all, we here at ACHS Insurance want to make sure you’re ready for the next boating season! (And maybe, just maybe, you’ll also be ready to invite your favorite insurance agent out for a day on the lake. Just a thought.)

First things first: Insurance

If you have a small boat with limited power, you may have some coverage under your homeowners or renters insurance policy – but if you aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to check with us. Of course, larger and faster boats, along with personal watercraft, require their own policies. And we can help with those, too!

But do you even need boat insurance during the off season? When your boat won’t even be in the water? Well, that depends. Keep in mind that your boat can still be damaged no matter where it is. Often, damage from fire, theft, etc., isn’t covered unless you have a watercraft policy. And what if we get a great streak of weather in November and you decide to take the boat out for a day or two? There are plenty of reasons to keep year-round coverage, but if you have questions about seasonal policies, give us a call: (706) 860-6787.

And while you’re thinking about insurance, consider your current watercraft coverage. Is your boat older? It might be time to move to cash-value coverage instead of agreed value. Do you have a lot of expensive fishing equipment? Make sure you have enough optional coverage so your gear isn’t at risk. You might also want to consider uninsured boater coverage and a personal umbrella policy, which provides more liability protection than a standard watercraft policy.

Don’t forget, you might be able to save money on your insurance by taking a boating-safety course, increasing your deductible or by bundling your policies with one company.

Now, on to the exciting part!

Well, not really. But now that you’ve squared away your insurance options, it’s time to think about protecting your boat in a more literal sense – by properly preparing it for winter. Below are some general tips to follow, but, of course, you should check your owner’s manuals for manufacturer recommendations.

Your engine

Follow manufacturer instructions when winterizing your engine, but you’ll want to flush the engine with fresh water and make sure to drain fuel from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate cylinder walls and pistons.

Stern drive

Do a thorough inspection and remove plant life or barnacles from the lower unit. Drain the gear case and clean the lower unit with soap and water.

Fuel tanks

Fill your fuel tanks to avoid a buildup of condensation, and add fuel stabilizer, following the product instructions.

Fresh water system

Drain the fresh water tank and water heater, and pump a nontoxic antifreeze into the system. Then, turn on all faucets until you see the antifreeze coming out.

Interior

Remove all valuables from the boat. Clean drawers thoroughly, and turn cushions on their edges to allow air to circulate. Clean the refrigerator and freezer.

Cover it up!

A cover will keep your boat clean, and also protect it from water and UV rays, which can break down hoses and fade upholstery.

Now, with your boat safely stowed, you can focus on your other toys this winter. Snowmobiles, anyone?

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

It’s an exciting time when your child is heading off to ‘college’. Whether they’re headed to school in Georgia or all the way across the country, there are a ton of things to get done – and a ton of things to pack! But one of the most important things…

But one of the most important things they’ll need at school is something that doesn’t have to be packed at all – the right insurance coverage.

Of course, that’s what we at ACHS Insurance are here for! We’re ready to answer your questions and make sure both you and your young student are well protected. Check out the general information below, and then give us a call at (706) 860-6787 to discuss your specific needs.

Homeowners Policies

  • Coverage of personal property: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of Coverage C (Personal Property) for your property while it is at a residence other than your residence. That means if the contents of your home are insured for $100,000, your student’s property up to $10,000 generally would be covered if they are living in a dormitory. The damage must be caused by an event covered in the policy, however.
  • Special items: Be aware that certain items, such as jewelry or expensive electronics and computers, may require special coverage.
  • Off-campus living: If your student lives in off-campus housing, such as an apartment, we strongly advise you to consider renters insurance, as your homeowners insurance generally would not apply in this instance. Check with us at ACHS Insurance to be sure. Keep in mind that renters insurance cannot be shared between roommates, so your child will need their own policy.
  • Create an inventory: It’s a good idea to keep an inventory of expensive items your child is taking to school, as well as keeping photos and receipts for the items. In the event of a loss, this can make the claims process much easier.

Auto Policies

  • Coverage without a car at school: If your student will continue to drive while at home on school breaks – or if there’s a chance they could drive a friend’s car at school – it is vital that you keep them on your auto policy. They may even qualify for a distant-student or good-student discount. Check with us sales@nullachsinsurance.com to see if we can save you some money on your insurance.
  • Coverage with a car at school: In most instances, a car registered to you and listed on your policy will be covered if used by your student away at school, provided they are listed on your policy. Be sure to call us at (706) 860-6787 and make sure your insurance company writes coverage in the college’s state and location, however. And please let us know if your child is taking a car to school, because the location of the vehicle can result in a change in premium.

Not having the right insurance can be a costly mistake – and college is expensive enough as it is. So give us a call today. Your child may be going away, but we’ll be right here when you need us! (And we won’t call you to ask for pizza money, either.)

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

You’ve probably been at the rental-car counter, listening to the representative ask if you want to purchase the company’s insurance. And the thoughts start racing through your head. “Do I really need this? Doesn’t my regular auto policy cover me? What about my credit card? Why didn’t I figure this out before I left on my trip?”

At ACHS Insurance, we are here to help. And while not every situation is the same, we’ve got some general tips that will help you make an informed decision the next time you take a trip to or from Georgia and are standing at that counter. Please check with us at (706) 860-6787 to verify whether you’re adequately covered.

1. Know your personal auto policy.

Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea to give us a call – beforeyou rent a car – to make sure you have the coverage you need. In many instances, your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car – but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting. Of course, if you don’t have a personal auto policy, you’ll need to purchase coverage from the rental company.

And keep in mind that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge you because the value of the car has decreased. Not all insurance policies cover these fees.

2. Also know your homeowners or renters policy.

If you’re traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you probably want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy and/or credit card coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario.

3. Check your credit card protection.

Most credit cards will also provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible (after that policy pays for repairs). Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their policies. And while some cards may offer additional protection for a fee, usually coverage is limited to damage to the car, not liability for any injuries to others. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental.

4. Consider any unique circumstances.

Are you renting a car in a foreign country, or for more than a week? You’ll definitely want to get confirmation of coverage from both your insurance carrier and credit card company because different rules might apply. Also, no matter where you are, vehicles such as trucks, RVs or exotic sports cars often aren’t covered under standard agreements. And if you’re using a car for business purposes, your personal coverage might not apply. Finally, if multiple people will be driving the car during your trip, make sure your coverages will apply to them.

5. Learn about the insurance offered by the rental car company.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, rental companies offer four main types of coverage.

  • A Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) relieves you of responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. This may also provide coverage for loss of use.
  • Liability Protection provides protection from lawsuits if you are sued after an accident.
  • Personal Accident Insurance covers you and passengers for medical bills after an accident. You may not need this if you have adequate health and auto coverage.
  • Personal Effects Coverage protects you if items are stolen from your car. You generally are covered for this under your homeowners or renters policy, but keep in mind that the loss must exceed your deductible for you to receive payment. If you have a high deductible, it may make sense to purchase this coverage from the rental company.

Contact Us!

When you go on vacation, you don’t want to stress out about insurance. So give us a call before you leave at (706) 860-6787, or send us an email at sales@nullachsinsurance.com. Then, when you head over to the rental-car counter, you can stop worrying about your coverage – and start enjoying your trip!

Your furniture and appliances, clothing, sports or hobby equipment, and electronic goods are all regarded as personal property. Like many people in Georgia, you may own much more than you realize.

Comparing the value of your belongings to the “contents” limit listed in your policy helps you make sure you have enough insurance to replace them if they are lost, stolen or destroyed as a result of a covered loss.

If that’s not enough to make you consider doing an inventory, having one also makes filing a claim easier.

What’s the best way to create my inventory?

The easiest way is to create a video inventory. Using a video camera, record and describe items as you walk through your house. Or, you can use a regular camera to take pictures and create a home inventory checklist.

Here are a few tips for completing and storing your inventory:

  • Add brand names and descriptions where you can, especially on large-ticket items.
  • Keep any receipts you have with the list to make the claims process easier.
  • Store your video or photo inventory offsite so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.
  • Update your personal property records when you purchase new furnishings and valuables.

There are a number of online services and software options you can use as well to help you organize and store your inventory remotely.

How much insurance do I need?

Talk to us at ACHS Insurance to assist you in analyzing your insurance needs and help you decide how to most effectively protect your personal property.

Ask us about full value coverage, which will pay for the replacement value of your personal belongings. A standard policy typically covers personal property only up to its actual cash value, determined by taking the replacement cost and deducting depreciation, which can be substantial.

Remember, your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry, art and antiques, only up to set dollar amounts. If the cost of replacing them exceeds these limits, you may want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Ah, Valentine’s Day is near, and love is in the air. Well, love and a few other things, such as chocolates, romantic dinners, candy hearts that say “Be Mine” – and, of course, jewelry.

It’s exciting to receive jewelry from a loved one – or to give it as a gift. Not to mention romantic. But if you’re lucky enough to have some new jewelry in your Georgia home this Valentine’s Day, you should take a few minutes to think about something you probably don’t find exciting or romantic: insurance.

Don’t know where to turn? Don’t worry. At ACHS Insurance, we think it is exciting to help our customers protect what’s most important to them – so we’re ready to help and can answer all of your questions.

Things to consider when insuring jewelry:

  • You may need to purchase additional coverage. Your homeowners policy covers valuable items such as jewelry only up to set amounts. If the cost of replacing your jewelry exceeds that limit, you will want to purchase scheduled personal property coverage. You can check your policy or give us a call at (706) 860-6787.
  • You might want to reconsider your deductible amounts. As always, this impacts your policy premium. It’s a good idea to take a look at your deductibles whenever you make a change to your policy.
  • Do you need an appraisal? You may need to have an independent appraisal if the insurance company requires it or if you don’t know the value of your jewelry. Each item should be listed with a description and value on paper.
  • What kind of coverage is offered? You’ll want to determine if items are covered no matter where they are, whether they’re in Augusta, or on an international trip, and if the policy offers full replacement cost. You also should ask if you will be required to replace your jewelry if lost or stolen, or if you can simply keep the cash settlement.
  • Pictures can be helpful. Lost or stolen pieces of jewelry sometimes can be recreated if the jeweler has a good photograph to work from.
  • Should I go with a company that specializes in jewelry insurance? There are companies that specialize in jewelry insurance. Whether you choose one of these, or a company that we represent, you’ll want to make sure they are reputable and stable.
  • Is the value of your jewelry mainly sentimental? Is an item irreplaceable? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you might consider foregoing insurance. But please, talk to us at (706) 860-6787 before making that decision. That’s what we’re here for.

Of course, it’s important to store your jewelry securely when it’s not in use; a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box is best. We want your jewelry to be replaced if it’s lost or stolen, but we’d rather your sentimental and valuable pieces stay with you and your family for years to come.

Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day is full of fun and romance. And if there’s no jewelry involved, well, there’s always next year!

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

When choosing auto insurance, you want complete coverage for the best price.

There’s a lot to think about when choosing auto insurance. In some states, to license your car you must carry liability coverage for damages incurred by others if you cause an accident, or no-fault coverage to pay for medical and related expenses for you and your passengers caused by injuries from a car accident, regardless of fault; or carry both. Check with ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com to see what’s required.

If you don’t have car insurance, you risk paying the full cost of:

  • Medical costs due to injury to yourself or others.
  • Repairing or replacing your car if it’s damaged or stolen.
  • Damage or injury from an auto accident with an uninsured driver.
  • Damage to your vehicle when it’s parked at your home or a public place.

So, how can you tell what amount of coverage is best for you? Consider your driving profile.

  • What kind of car do you drive? Coverage on your vehicle depends on its value. The less expensive the car, the lower the insurance premium you generally pay.
  • How much do you drive? Drivers who use their car for business and long-distance commuting normally pay more than those who drive less.
  • What’s your age, gender, and marital status? Statistics show accident rates are impacted by a driver’s age, gender, and marital status. If there are multiple drivers in your household, that can also affect your price. Parents can lower risk by keeping teens safer on the road.
  • Where do you live? Your location, and whether you’re a homeowner or renter, will affect your car insurance payment.
  • What is your driving record? Drivers with a history of accidents or chargeable motor vehicle violations (e.g. speeding ticket) generally pay more than those who are accident-free for several years.
  • What is your credit history? Many insurance companies consider credit history when determining an individual’s rate.

For more details, give ACHS Insurance a call at (706) 860-6787.

Ask ACHS Insurance

ACHS Insurance can help you find insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you call (706) 860-6787:

  • How much can I afford to pay if my car is in an accident, damaged, or stolen?
  • What would my cost savings be if I raised my deductible?
  • Can I get discounts for taking safety classes or having multiple policies?
  • Will I save money if my car is stored in a garage, or if I belong to an auto association?
  • How much medical and liability coverage should I have?

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

We love it here in Georgia, but summertime is the time for getting away! And whether your escape is by air, land or sea, ACHS Insurance can help ensure you are covered. Just because you’re on vacation, though, doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about safety. These tips will help you and your family get the most out of your trip – and help you get back home safe and sound.

Does my insurance come on vacation with me?

This is a common question here at ACHS Insurance. Here are some brief answers. Call us at (706) 860-6787 if you have more specific questions.

AUTO: In most instances, your personal auto policy coverages will extend to your rental car. However, give us a call at (706) 860-6787 so we can discuss your specific situation. Be sure to mention if you’re traveling out of state or internationally, as that could impact your coverage.

HOME: If you rent a vacation property, your homeowners coverage may apply in certain situations. Personal items you take on vacation generally are covered, but again, give us a call at (706) 860-6787 so we can discuss your specific policy and coverage.

Before You Leave Home

  • Secure your home, and don’t leave a house key hidden outside. Ask a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail and newspaper and help with yard maintenance. This, along with timers for some household lights, will make it look like your house is occupied.
  • Tell a friend or neighbor about your itinerary and how to reach you in case of emergency.
  • The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) recommends using caution when posting on Facebook or other social media websites. You don’t want everyone to know you’re on vacation!

What To – Or Not To – Pack

  • Keep a first-aid kit handy when traveling. And bring copies of any prescriptions, along with enough medication to last through your trip. Be sure all important medications are with you in your carry-on luggage.
  • Don’t bring unnecessary credit cards or documents that could compromise your identity if lost or stolen.

Staying Safe On Your Trip

  • Heading outdoors? Use sunglasses and plenty of sunblock. Don’t forget that you can get burned even on a cloudy day, especially in tropical locations. It’s far easier to prevent a sunburn than to treat one.
  • If you’re going to be in or around the water, use extreme caution. Always wear a life jacket when boating, and don’t swim or dive alone, or if you’ve been drinking. You can go ahead and swim immediately after you eat, if you like because that doesn’t lead to cramping, according to the American Council on Science and Health.
  • Prevent heat-related injuries by staying hydrated, scheduling activities for cooler times and dressing in light, loose-fitting clothing. Remember, never leave children or pets inside a car, even if the windows are open.
  • Going to an amusement park or fair with your kids? Take a picture of them at the start of each day. Then, if you are separated, you can easily show people what they look like – and exactly what they’re wearing.

Remember, just a little extra emphasis on safety can make a big difference in how memorable your vacation will be.

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Whether you own a Jet Ski, a small ski boat, fishing boat, or a 26-foot cruiser, knowing that you’re covered by the right insurance should give you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy every minute on the water.

What We Insure

We represent insurance companies that insure a full range of recreational boats including:

  • Bass boats
  • Fish and ski
  • Cabin cuisers
  • Sailboats
  • Pontoons
  • Jet boats
  • Ski boats
  • Runabouts
  • Jon boats
  • Personal watercraft

Why Insure Your Boat or Personal Watercraft?

In tough economic times some boaters are tempted to let their insurance coverages lapse. Should you ever need to use your watercraft insurance, however, it is one of the best investments you could make. Here are some things to consider:

  • If you’re in an accident or your watercraft is stolen, it costs money, often a lot, to fix or replace it.
  • If you or any passengers are hurt in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
  • If your watercraft is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you’re worth.
  • If you are injured by an uninsured boater, uninsured watercraft coverage will provide coverage for you.

Your Watercraft Insurance Coverage Options

Your watercraft needs protection on the water, and on land, with coverage for you, your guests, and your boat. Thinking of buying a boat in Georgia? Check with us at ACHS Insurance to see what it will cost to insure it.

Get Started

Contact us at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com. We’ll help identify the best combination of coverage, value, and price for you. And we here at ACHS Insurance can help make sure your insurance continually meets your changing needs.

Ask Us

Here are a few things to discuss when we talk:

  • Is my boat or watercraft covered for year-round use?
  • Can I get discounts for things such as taking safety classes, having multiple policies, and diesel power?
  • Do I have coverage if I need to have my boat towed in an emergency?

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Buying, selling or insuring a boat in Georgia? First you’ll need to know how much your boat and/or motor is worth. Here are a few popular pricing guides as references.

Also, you can check out the prices on boats similar to yours using these sites:

Boat Valuation and Insurance Coverage Tips

Any permanently attached equipment is included in the boat’s value, so make sure your insurance coverage amount takes that into account. Contact ACHS Insurance for a quote: (706) 860-6787. Examples of permanently attached equipment include:

  • Ship-to-shore radios
  • Depth finders
  • Loran and GPS systems
  • Fish finders
  • Radar and sonar systems
  • Electric trolling motors

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Insuring a condominium in Georgia is different than insuring a home. And the biggest difference is knowing where your responsibilities begin and end. That’s why it really pays to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent like ACHS Insurance.

Your Condo Insurance Coverage Options

Your condo association buys insurance for the building and common areas. In choosing your condo policy, you should consider the areas of the building that you own, your personal belongings, and any safety systems you have in place. ACHS Insurance can assist in finding a policy that is right for you if your condominium.

Ask Your Agent at ACHS Insurance

Your independent agent at ACHS Insurance can help you find insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you speak with us:

  • Which areas of the structure am I responsible for?
  • Can you talk me through my condo’s interior features and the things I own, so I can make an informed decision about coverage?
  • Are discounts available to me if I carry multiple policies, or have a security system and fire resistance?

Contact Us!

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Your home may be worth as much or more than your retirement account. As a result, it makes sense to track your home insurance as carefully as you do your 401k.

Getting Started with ACHS Insurance

If you haven’t checked in recently, you might consider contacting ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com to schedule an annual review of your home’s value and contents.

We want you to be relieved, knowing you’ve made informed decisions about the amount of home insurance needed to help you recover in the event of a loss. Check out the tips provided below, to make sure you are prepared for the worst case scenario.

Know Your Limits

With home improvement being a national pastime and construction costs rising, it’s a good idea to check your policy limits once a year with ACHS Insurance. Planning to remodel your home? Just finished adding a new deck, fence or garage in your front yard? It is time to review your limits with ACHS Insurance.

Rebuilding Is Different Than Buying

When you review your policy with ACHS Insurance, remember that the cost to buy and the cost to rebuild are different. Consequently, you can’t rely on your home’s market value to set your insurance limits. An appropriate amount of insurance coverage will permit you to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. That replacement value depends on the physical characteristics of your home, as well as the price of labor and materials in your area. In most areas, these costs increase with time.

ACHS Insurance Can Ballpark Your Coverage Needs

ACHS Insurance can estimate the typical cost of rebuilding your home based on the average costs of materials and labor. However, this number won’t reflect major upgrades made to your home or the cost of replacing your home’s unique features, unless you specifically inform ACHS Insurance or a customer care professional about major upgrades.

Be Proactive in Selecting Your Coverage Limits with ACHS Insurance

If your home is truly unique or custom built, or if you’d simply like additional peace of mind, knowing that you’ve selected the right amount of insurance, consider asking an expert like ACHS Insurance. For a modest fee, you can hire a building contractor to give you a more precise estimate of the cost of rebuilding your home.

Don’t Forget to Do a Home Inventory

ACHS Insurance recommends doing a thorough inventory of your home’s contents. Compare the value of your belongings to the “contents,” or personal property limit listed in your policy, and make sure these match up.

Using a video camera is the easiest way to do inventory of your home. That way, you can record and describe items as you walk through your house. A regular camera and a home inventory checklist works well, too. Share the completed list with ACHS Insurance to review and make sure your belongings are fully covered. Store your video or photo inventory off-site, so you won’t lose it if your house is damaged.

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

What’s the secret to selecting the right amount of insurance coverage? Simple – the more information you provide, the easier ACHS Insurance can create a homeowner’s policy that’s right for you…

Homeowners Insurance From ACHS Insurance Is Here to Protect You

Consider these scenarios:

  • If your home was destroyed by fire or damaged by a natural disaster, you’d need money to repair or replace it.
  • If a guest in your home is injured, liability protection and medical coverage help pay expenses.
  • If you are a victim of theft and vandalism, insurance can reimburse you for your loss or pay for repairs.
  • If you are still paying for your home, your lender will require insurance.

The amount you pay for your homeowners insurance depends on many factors. Think of your personal housing situation, and the assets you want to protect.

Are you a home or condo owner, a renter, or a landlord? As a home or condo owner, whether you live in Georgia or elsewhere, you want to make sure you’re protecting your home, your possessions, and yourself, family and guests in the event of damage or injury. Renters will want to protect their possessions, which will not be covered by a landlord’s insurance. And landlords want to protect their properties, while protecting themselves from liability. Note: Liability coverage is not included in our standard landlord policy, but is available as an add-on coverage.

Do you have collections of art or other valuables? Your homeowners insurance generally covers the contents of your house. However, there are often limits on items like jewelry, paintings, or other collectibles. Adding a scheduled personal property endorsement can provide coverage for your special belongings, with no deductible. Creating an inventory of your home or property’s contents is a good idea.

Are you concerned about out-of-pocket expenses if your home or property becomes unlivable? You may find yourself with extra, unforeseen expenses, for repairs, replacements, or living costs. Your policy can help cover those.

For more details, give ACHS Insurance a call at (706) 860-6787 or email us at sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Ask ACHS Insurance

ACHS Insurance can help you find homeowners, renters, condo, or landlord insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to discuss when you call us at (706) 860-6787:

How much will it cost to rebuild my house and replace my belongings if they are damaged or destroyed?

Can you talk me through my home’s features and the things I own, so I can make an informed decision about coverage?

Are discounts available to me if I carry multiple policies, or have a security system and fire resistance?

For further questions and assistance, please contact ACHS Insurance at (706) 860-6787 or sales@nullachsinsurance.com.

Why do insurers use credit?

Insurance companies use financial history along with other factors (such as, in the case of auto insurance, years of driving experience) to properly classify an insured according to his/her potential risk. Studies have shown a correlation between a consumer’s financial history and his/her future insurance loss potential. Thus, some insurance companies believe the use of credit helps to underwrite an applicant at a cost that reflects their specific risk.


What information is in a credit report?

  • Identifying Information- Name, Current and Previous Addresses, Social Security Number, Telephone Number, Date of Birth
  • Credit History- History of satisfying obligations to retail stores, banks, finance companies and mortgage companies
  • Public Records- Judgments, Foreclosures, Bankruptcies, Collections, Tax Liens, Garnishments
  • Inquiries- Identifies credit grantors or other authorized parties that have received a copy of the consumer’s credit report, typically during the past 2 years. Also, lists companies who received consumer information for the purpose of offering credit or other promotions.

Why do insurance companies use scored credit reports?

Scores provide an objective and consistent tool that some insurers use along with other applicant information to better predict the likelihood of a consumer filing future claims. Scores also help streamline the decision process, so policies can be issued more efficiently. By predicting the likelihood of future claims, insurers can control risk, thereby enabling them to offer insurance coverage to more consumers at a fair cost.


What is an insurance score? How does it differ from a financial credit score?

An insurance score is a credit-based statistical analysis of a consumer’s likelihood of filing an insurance claim within a given period of time in the future. This data can help underwriters better assess risk exposure prior to granting insurance coverage.

A financial credit score is a credit-based statistical analysis of a consumer’s likelihood of paying an installment loan (mortgage, auto loan, etc.) or revolving debt (credit card, etc.) when due. Creditors use the score to help determine whether to grant credit.

Using statistical programs, a consumer’s credit information is compared to the performance of consumers with profiles similar to the subject consumer. A credit scoring system awards or subtracts points for various factors or variables in the credit report to determine the score. The score predicts the likelihood of certain events occurring.

Most scoring systems generate “reason codes” in addition to the numeric score. The reason codes will identify up to four principal factors that influenced the score.


What variables (data elements in a credit report) are used in calculating an insurance score?

Some credit variables that are used include: outstanding debt, length of credit history, late payments, new applications for credit, types of credit used, payment patterns, available credit, public records, and past due amounts. A credit report can contain both positive and negative information. Different scoring models may use different credit variables. All variables in a model are considered together to produce the best prediction.


What variables are NOT used in calculating an insurance score?

Race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, address, salary, disability, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history are not used for scoring purposes. Inquiries made for account reviews, promotions or insurance purposes are not used in calculating an insurance score. Also, other variables that, by law, may not be considered are disregarded.


What are the different types of scores delivered by ChoicePoint for insurance purposes?

Insurance companies use a variety of score models. Some companies use generic insurance scores that have been developed by ChoicePoint or other third parties. A growing number of insurance carriers use custom scores that have been developed to meet that company’s specific underwriting criteria.

There are different types of insurance scores. Some are used for auto insurance purposes, and others are used for homeowner’s insurance purposes.

The scores usually incorporate credit data, but some models also consider other data, such as claims history.

Different insurance score models will/may calculate a different numeric score and reason codes.


What is ChoicePoint’s role in supplying the credit report and/or insurance score to the insurance company?

ChoicePoint is a reseller of credit information. ChoicePoint provides a system for the carrier’s home office or insurance agent to access credit bureaus in order to receive an individual’s credit report. Once the report is obtained by ChoicePoint, a score may be systematically calculated and returned to the insurance company to assess the risk and assist in making an underwriting decision.

The data returned to the insurance company or agent can include the full credit report, a subset of the credit report, an insurance score, reason codes, a customized message based on the credit data and the carrier’s underwriting guidelines, or a combination of these information products.

ChoicePoint is considered a Consumer Reporting Agency under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act and its state analogues (“FCRA”), but ChoicePoint is not a credit bureau or insurance company. ChoicePoint does not make credit decisions or determine insurance underwriting guidelines. ChoicePoint’s role is to supply information to the insurance carriers, which the carriers can review in order to assist them in making an underwriting decision.


Who makes the decision to grant or deny insurance coverage or to charge a particular rate or premium?

Decisions about insurance coverage and/or rates are made by the insurance companies.

Each insurer develops underwriting decisions based on their own business requirements. Insurance companies evaluate credit reports and/or insurance scores according to their own proprietary strategies. Other information, such as application data, prior claims/loss data or motor vehicle records, may also be evaluated as part of the insurance underwriting process.

Many insurance companies have automated the evaluation process. The decision may be delivered to an agent via a ChoicePoint system, but the guidelines used to make that decision are determined by the insurance company.


What is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law designed to promote the accuracy, fairness, and permissible use of information contained in the files of Consumer Reporting Agencies. In general, the FCRA requires that:

  • Access to a consumer’s file is limited to those with a permissible purpose.
  • Generally, adverse information that is more than seven years old may not be reported, except in certain circumstances.
  • A consumer must be told if information in a credit report has had an adverse impact on him/her.
  • A consumer can find out what is in his/her consumer reporting file.
  • A consumer can dispute inaccurate items with the source of the information. (In the case of credit information, this is the credit bureau, not ChoicePoint.)
  • Inaccurate information must be corrected.

Section 604(f) of the FCRA prohibits any person or company from obtaining a consumer report from a Consumer Reporting Agency unless the person has certified to the Consumer Reporting Agency (by a general or specific certification, as appropriate) the permissible purpose(s) for which the report is being obtained and certifies that the report will not be used for any other purpose.

Section 607(e) of the FCRA requires any person or company who obtains a consumer report for resale, as ChoicePoint does, to disclose the identity of the end user to the Consumer Reporting Agency (in our case, this is one of the credit bureaus) from which such report is obtained and to identify to such Consumer Reporting Agency each permissible purpose for which the reports are resold.


Are insurance companies authorized to obtain a copy of the consumer’s credit report?

The protection of personal privacy and the responsible use of information are cornerstones of ChoicePoint’s business practices. Only businesses or individuals with a “permissible purpose” can access a consumer’s credit report. ChoicePoint complies with the guidelines of the FCRA which was approved by Congress in 1970 and amended effective 1997.

Per the FCRA, ChoicePoint (as a Consumer Reporting Agency) may furnish a consumer report for the following insurance related purposes:

  • To a person or company which ChoicePoint has reason to believe intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer. This includes situations where the consumer asks for an insurance quote or applies for insurance.
  • To a person or company which ChoicePoint has reason to believe intends to use the information to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account. This may be done periodically by the insurance company where a consumer already has coverage.

In both circumstances, the transaction to ChoicePoint ordering the credit report is initiated by and at the request of the insurance company or agent.


How can I find out what my insurance score is?

Per the FCRA, a Consumer Reporting Agency shall, upon request, clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer all information in the consumer’s file at the time of the request. The federal FCRA does not require a Consumer Reporting Agency to disclose to a consumer any information concerning credit scores or any other risk scores or predictors relating to the consumer.

However, ChoicePoint feels this information is valuable for a consumer to know. Thus, ChoicePoint is currently designing a mechanism to disclose insurance scores to consumers in the near future.


What are the different types of inquiries on my credit report and do they affect my score?

An inquiry is posted to a consumer’s credit report every time an individual or a business reviews or obtains a copy of the credit report.

Inquiry types of “AR” (Account Review) and “PRM” (Promotional) appear only on credit reports received directly by the consumer from the credit bureau itself. These types of inquiries do not appear on credit reports sold to a commercial user (any entity that buys a credit report for a permissible purpose) or on credit reports ordered via the ChoiceTrust web site.

  • Account Review (AR) inquires result from the purchase of a credit report by a company reviewing the credit report of its accountholders.
  • Promotional (PRM) inquiries result from the purchase of a credit report by a company that reviews the consumer’s credit file in order to make firm offers of credit or insurance. In such a case, the company does not view the credit report. Rather, it receives the name and address of the consumer only if such consumer meets the company’s predefined criteria, which has been conveyed from the company to the credit bureau.

Only commercial inquiries initiated at the consumer’s request are used in scoring models. Additionally, certain types of inquiries may not be used in some insurance or financial scoring models (such as inquiries made by insurance agents or companies). Other inquiries (such as auto loan inquiries) may be counted only once if multiple inquiries appear over a given period of time.

The insurance models supported by ChoicePoint do not consider the presence of insurance inquiries as an adverse characteristic. Furthermore, they believe the predominant scoring models in the marketplace also do not consider insurance inquiries to be an adverse characteristic; however, some institutions may.

A consumer may obtain insurance quotes from an agent representing multiple insurance companies, or directly from several insurance companies. In this case, if these companies use credit as part of their underwriting criteria, there may be multiple inquiries posted on the consumer credit file – one for each insurance company.

If a credit report is obtained via ChoicePoint, the name of the ordering entity posted on the inquiry may be shown as ChoicePoint (which orders the report as a reseller), the name of the insurance company on whose behalf ChoicePoint places the order, the name of the insurance agent/agency on whose behalf ChoicePoint places the order, or some combination of these names.


For how long may a Consumer Reporting Agency report adverse information about me?

Generally, no Consumer Reporting Agency may make any consumer report containing any of the following information:

  • Cases under Title 11 or under the Bankruptcy Act that, from the date of the entry of the order for relief or the date of adjudication, as the case may be, pre-date the report by more than 10 years
  • Civil suits, civil judgments, and records of arrest that, from the date of entry, pre-date the report by more than 7 years or until the governing statue of limitations has expired, whichever is longer
  • Paid tax liens which, from date of payment, pre-date the report by more than 7 years
  • Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss which pre-date the report by more than 7 years
  • Any other adverse item of information, other than records of convictions of crimes, which pre-date the report by more than 7 years.

How do I obtain a copy of my credit report?

If adverse action was taken against the consumer, based in whole or in part on the consumer’s credit information, within the 60 days preceding the consumer’s request for disclosure, the FCRA requires credit bureaus to provide a copy of the credit report to the requesting consumer free of charge. For insurance purposes, adverse action can include, among other things, a consumer being denied insurance or being charged a higher premium. It is the responsibility of the insurance company to notify the consumer of the adverse action.

If an Experian or Equifax credit report was obtained via ChoicePoint, the insurance company should include the ChoicePoint Consumer Disclosure Center contact information and NCF Reference Number in this notification. The consumer may contact ChoicePoint, and ChoicePoint will order a copy of the credit report from the credit bureau on the consumer’s behalf. The credit bureau will then send a copy of the credit report directly to the consumer’s address.

If the credit report was obtained from Trans Union via ChoicePoint, the insurance company should include the Trans Union contact information in the notification. The consumer will need to deal directly with Trans Union.

Since ChoicePoint is a reseller for the credit bureaus, ChoicePoint does not have access to the consumer’s credit file and is unable to change any data contained therein. Therefore, once a copy of the credit report is obtained by the consumer, he/she should contact the credit bureaus directly to question or dispute any information contained in the credit file. By law, the credit bureau must investigate and respond to the request within 30 days.

Consumers who wish to receive a copy of his/her credit reports should contact the credit bureaus directly:

Equifax: 800-997-2493
Experian: 888-397-3742
TransUnion: 800-888-4213


How do I get more information?

If the consumer has been affected by a product delivered by ChoicePoint, please visit their web site www.consumerdisclosure.com

For more information about LexisNexis, please visit the web site www.lexisnexis.com

What kinds of questions should I be expected to answer when I am applying for an insurance policy? Why do insurers ask all of these questions?

When you apply for an insurance policy, you will be asked a number of questions. For example, your name, age, sex, address, etc. In addition, you will be asked a number of other questions which will be used to determine what type of risk you are.

For example, when an insurance company is deciding whether or not to supply automobile insurance to a potential policy owner, it will want to know about the person’s previous driving record, whether there have any recent accidents or tickets and what type of car is to be insured.

All of this information will be used for two purposes.

  1. Based upon the responses to these questions, the insurance company will decide whether the profile of the applicant is consistent with the type of risks the insurer is trying to attract. Some insurers specialize in offering insurance to only very safe drivers and therefore will only accept applications from people who fit the profile of a safe driver. While others may base their policies on those who are considered a higher risk, and charge accordingly.
  2. Once the insurer has decided that your risk profile is consistent with the types of risks it accepts, the answers to the questions will be used to determine which rate catagory should be applied. For example, the insurance company will decide whether you should be offered insurance at the high risk driver rate or the low risk driver rate.

Collectively, this entire process is known as the underwriting process and every insurance company has one. The primary function of the underwriting department in an insurance company is to decide whether or not to offer insurance to a person who has completed an application.

If the answer is yes, then the underwriting department seeks to determine the “quality” of that risk so that the proper premium can be charged. That is, high risk people should pay more than low risk people because of the greater possibility of experiencing a loss.


My child is heading off to college this fall. What insurance issues does this raise?

As you send your children off to college, you probably have a lot of things on your mind – whether they’ll eat right and get enough sleep, how to pay the tuition bills, what to do with that empty bedroom, etc. For most people, insurance concerns are pretty low on the priority list. But there are some important issues you should consider.

Issue #1: Health insurance – make sure your child is covered.
Your medical plan probably covers your children until they’re somewhere between 20 and 24 years of age, regardless of whether or not they live at home. But if the plan is an HMO and your child’s college is far from home, accessing an approved provider may prove difficult. As an alternative, consider purchasing health insurance coverage through your child’s college. Many colleges and universities offer low-cost health insurance for students. Cost and level of coverage vary greatly from one school to the next, but school-subsidized health insurance is often less expensive than continuing coverage through your existing health plan. And since health care is typically provided on-campus, it may be easier for the student to access.

Issue #2: Homeowner’s/Renters insurance – make sure your child’s possessions are covered.
If your child lives in a dorm or other university housing, their personal property is typically covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Check your policy for coverage limitations on computers and stereos, if your child can’t live without these. Once a student moves out of the dorms and into an apartment, they are usually no longer covered under your policy. Off-campus students should purchase a renters insurance policy to cover their possessions.

Issue #3: Auto insurance – make sure the car is covered.
If your child will be taking a car to school, make sure the car is properly insured. If the child owns the car, then the insurance policy must be in the child’s name as well. If the child is “borrowing” a car from Mom and Dad, the child must be listed on the insurance policy. Some insurance companies may require the child to be listed as the primary operator, since the car is in the child’s possession and not the parents’.


How often should I check my Social Security earnings record? Is there much of a chance that an error may occur?

You should check your Social Security earnings record at least once every three years. Errors in your earnings record are more likely to occur if you change jobs frequently or have more than one employer.

To check your earnings record, you should complete and return an SSA-7004, Request for Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement. You may complete and transmit the SSA-7004 online. Or, if you prefer, you may download the SSA-7004 from the Social Security Web site server and mail it to them. Within four weeks after submitting the request, you’ll receive a statement from them showing your earnings as reported to Social Security by your employer(s).


What do I give up by not using an agent to purchase insurance?

The disadvantage of not using an agent to purchase insurance is that the policyholder does not receive as much, or often any, personal service. A licensed agent with whom there is direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim. Without an agent to act as your personal advocate during the claims process, you are left to take care of the details on your own… not sure who to contact at the insurance company or who you can really trust to help you during the times in life when you need help the most. Without an agent you are on your own to absorb the frustration and expense of resolving your problems.


Am I at risk if I don’t use a licensed agent?

Many “direct writing” insurance companies/providers fail to tell you that the “call center personnel” who will take your information and issue the policy ARE NOT licensed to sell insurance, therefore lacking the professional knowledge to guide you toward an acceptogglele level of protection. These companies are conducting business using a loophole within the law which allows the company to have 1 license while everyone else works without it. Going this route can place your financial future at risk because unlicensed personnel are trained to simply sell you a policy without being aware of what “real” protection means.

For instance, imagine you own a $150,000 home and your auto insurance policy’s liability limits are $50,000. When you purchased the policy you were told this was plenty of protection considering your state’s minimum requirement for liability is $20,000. Yet if you have an accident and are sued for $200,000 your policy is only going to pay out $50k, leaving you responsible for the remaining $150k. Since your home would cover the difference, a court judgment could force you into selling your home as a way to settle the suit. If your policy’s liability limits had protected you at a minimum of $200,000, the policy would be paying for the total suit.

Because direct writers are typically located hundreds (if not thousands) of miles from where you live, many won’t hesitate to sell you a policy with low liability limits as a way to simply make the policy cheaper while convincing you to buy it. Leaving you extremely vulnerable to financial disaster.