How Umbrella Policies Protect You and Your Family

Your home is a valuable asset to you and your family. That is why you protect it with quality homeowners’ insurance. With a homeowners’ policy, you also benefit from a measure of liability coverage should anyone be injured on the property. The same holds true for your automobile insurance. Your coverage protects you and your assets in the event of an accident where you are deemed liable. These types of standard liability coverage have its limits though. What would happen if someone is injured and their medical expenses exceed what is covered in your home or auto policies? Additionally, if they decide to sue you based on your negligence, the legal fees can quickly exceed what Is covered by your home or auto policy. This is where umbrella insurance comes into play. It provides an additional level of liability coverage. It is not used until the coverage of all other policies have been exhausted. It’s a tool that is there when you need it most. The agents at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance work with homeowners’ in the Peoria, AZ area every day. They understand your concerns that your assets are adequately protected.  

When considering adding the additional protection of an umbrella policy, you will have many questions. You may even feel reticent to add another policy. The agents at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance help Peoria, AZ area homeowners see the benefits of an additional umbrella insurance policy. By adding a low-cost umbrella policy, the amount of liability coverage and asset protection increases significantly. Your agent will be able to answer any questions that you have and demonstrate how an umbrella policy can be a good financial investment for you and your family. Why put your most important assets at risk? Call your agent today!

Will Home Insurance Cover My Expensive Personal Items?

One of the most important factors to consider when you are buying a new home is the purchase of a new home insurance policy. While a home insurance policy will be able to provide you with coverage for your property if it is damaged, it can also provide you with coverage for your personal belongings. However, the coverage that you have for some expensive items including jewelry, art, and expensive electronics may not be covered by your base policy. There are several factors that should be considered when determining whether or not your expensive personal items are covered by your home insurance policy.  

Base Coverage Policy

The first factor to consider when determining if your personal items are covered by your insurance policy is what your base coverage policy is.  Your base home insurance policy will provide you with a fixed amount of coverage for all of your personal items. This amount of coverage is typically around $10,000 or less, which means some more expensive items may not be covered.

Rider to Policy

If your expensive personal items are not covered by the standard policy limit, the next factor to consider is whether or not you have a rider to your policy. A rider to your home insurance policy will provide you with coverage for a specific item. Having a rider will provide coverage for theft, loss, or damage to the item.  

If you have expensive personal items that you want to have insured, contacting Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance would be a good place to start. Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance can provide those in the Peoria, AZ area a full understanding of their home insurance needs to make sure their jewelry, art, and other expensive belongings are covered by either the full policy or a rider.  

Do You Need to Tell Your Insurance If a Teen With a Drivers Permit is Driving the Car?

There is a lot of confusion as to when you need to add a teenager to your auto insurance policy or let your auto insurance company know that your teenager is driving. Here at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, this is a question that we are often asked. Here is the answer that we provide to parents who have a teen who has just received their permit. 

Do You Need to Notify Your Auto Insurance Company?

In most cases, the auto insurance company does not require you to notify them that your teenager is driving until your teenage is a licensed driver. This means that, in most cases, you do not have to notify your auto insurance company when your teenager receives their permit and begins to drive. 

Should You Notify Your Auto Insurance Company?

While you are not required to notify the auto insurance company in most cases, it is still a good idea to reach out to your specific auto insurance company and let them know that you do have a teenager who received their permit. Some companies do require you to notify them of all drivers, including only those with permits. Reaching out to your insurance company allows you to add your teenager if it is required. 

Once your teenager is licensed to drive, your auto insurance needs may change. At Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, we can help you determine how much coverage you need and help you find the best plan for both your needs and your teenager’s needs. Contact us today to get started. 

What Does an Umbrella Insurance Cover?

An umbrella insurance policy is an extra liability coverage. To understand what the policy does and doesn’t cover, you have to know all the underlying insurance plans. This policy is designed to offer protection from major lawsuits and claims, hence protecting your assets and finances. This is accomplished in two ways:

  • It offers extra liability coverage above your auto, homeowner’s, boat, motorcycle, and RV policy limits.
  • It gives protection for the claims excluded by other liability plans such as slander, false arrest, libel, as well as liability coverage on any owned rental units.

This coverage will provide an expanded protection over the policies you currently have and is given by insurance providers like Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance in Peoria, AZ. So, in case you are involved in a car accident and the expenses exceed your policy limits, the umbrella plan kicks in to pick up the extra difference. However, if you are involved in an accident because of doing something unlawful, the illegal action will void both your auto and umbrella policy.

When it comes to homeowner’s insurance policy, liability insurance can have some exclusions like failing to provide coverage if you keep a breed of dogs that are considered dangerous. In case you purchase the plan, and then your dog bites someone, you’ll not get compensation. What’s more, your umbrella policy won’t help you either, just like the homeowner’s policy.

Although most umbrella plans also exclude items excluded on your underlying coverages, there may be some exceptions. For instance, if you have a home business, you may not know that your business coverage isn’t part of the homeowner’s insurance plan. If a customer comes to your home and gets injured, you won’t get the required protection. But, your umbrella insurance carrier may extend the additional business protection options to you.

How to qualify

To qualify for an umbrella policy, you need to have the required insurance plan limits for liability on all the underlying policies. You also need to meet the limit requirements as set by the insurance carriers.

It’s important to get umbrella insurance, so consider contacting Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance that serves the Peoria, AZ area for more information.



Factors affecting vehicle sales, insurance and repairs

By Patricia L. Harman

March 7, 2018


Artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and changing consumer expectations are just some of the issues impacting auto sales, insurance and repairs according to the 2018 Crash Course study from CCC Information Services, Inc.

With 17.25 million vehicles sold in 2017, slightly down from 2016, the 2% increase in average vehicle prices to $36,113 meant it was still a strong year for manufacturers. Higher vehicle costs also means increased insurance premiums, leading insureds to opt for higher deductibles should they be involved in an accident. According to the CCC report, 19% of all collision claims had a deductible of $500 or more, although the average repair generally costs significantly more than the deductible.

Auto technology improves

Manufacturers are working towards greater “vehicle connectivity, vehicle autonomy and vehicle electrification, powered by advancements in computer power, machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Susanna Gotsch, Crash Course author and lead analyst for CCC. “Our industry has never moved faster or been so exciting. Advances in digitization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and sensor and camera technology are driving dramatic changes and improvements in automotive technology.”

Connected vehicles are enabling vast amounts of information about a vehicle’s health, driving data (the vehicle and driver’s), performance, as well as vehicle-to-vehicle data to be collected by manufacturers, insurers and other parties. Some of the information can help insurers with more accurate policy underwriting.

SMA research anticipates that 70% of all auto insurers will be using telematics by 2020. The benefits include a shorter delay in filing the first notice of loss with an insurer, since crash data could conceivably be sent to the insurer, first responders (in the event of bodily injuries) and to the repairer.

Technology usage in other areas has affected policyholders’ expectations for the insurance industry. Like online retailers who provide constant updates when packages have been dispatched, are en-route and will be delivered, insurers and repairers are expected to provide similar information to policyholders about their claims. Recognizing the importance regular communication has on customer satisfaction ratings, multiple insurers are utilizing programs to provide policyholders with regular updates on their claims status.

The ups and downs of ride-sharing

As the use of ride-sharing increases, so does the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven. The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis studied ride-hailing in seven U.S. cities and found a 6% drop in the use of public bus transportation and a 3% drop in light rail use.

In New York City, increased ride-sharing usage accounted for declines in the use of taxi and private car services. For business travelers, ride-sharing now accounts for 65% of the ground transportation costs according to the Center for Automotive Research, while taxis only account for 7% and car rentals for 28%. Even airports are reporting a major drop in fees from parking, car rental companies and taxis.

Auto repair costs climb while collision severity drops

The increased use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as front crash prevention, blind spot detection, lane departure warnings, park assist, obstacle detection and back-over prevention is having a positive impact. While these technologies are not mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and NHTSA announced in 2016 that 20 major auto manufacturers had voluntarily committed to making front crash prevention systems standard on most models (approximately 99%) by 2020.

Studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and IIHS have found that vehicles equipped with forward collision warning systems have reduced rear-end collisions by 23%, and accidents involving vehicles with automatic emergency braking dropped by 40%. The CCC report finds that in addition to fewer accidents, these systems may also help reduce the number of incidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

While these technologies have shown promise in reducing the number and severity of accidents, the cost to repair vehicles continues to rise. CCC said the average cost for a repair increased 2% in 2017 to $2927. Repair costs for non-comprehensive losses ran 2.3% higher in 2017 than the previous year, with costs for current model vehicles running slightly higher at 3.7%. Costs to repair vehicles that were one to three years old increased 3%.

However, there is a significant difference in repair costs depending on the age of a vehicle. Average repair costs for new vehicles compared to older ones increased from 47% to 69% over the last five years. “Dollars for replaced parts as a share of total repair costs and the average number of replaced parts per claim have increased — particularly for newer vehicles,” said Gotsch in her report.

The increased use of driver assistance technologies can help mitigate or even prevent accidents, but like cell phones and other technology, they will also change driver behaviors. For insurers, this could also mean changes in liability and the types of insurance coverage required for a vehicle. The actual repair costs, while higher, could be offset by fewer overall accidents, which would have a long-term impact on parts suppliers and repair shops as well. The changes for all are probably coming more quickly than anyone expects.

What is Umbrella Insurance?

In the insurance world, an umbrella policy is an added layer of personal liability protection. Without a boring insurance lesson that will leave you falling asleep at your desk, here is a simple breakdown. You’ve seen personal liability on your home and auto insurance; it is the coverage that protects you financially and covers third party injuries.  An umbrella policy is an additional limit that kicks in once those primary limits are exhausted.

How Does an Umbrella Policy Work?

On a homeowners policy, liability provides coverage if someone were in your home, tripped and fell down your stairs. It’s the bucket of money that would cover the injured party’s medical expenses and so on. Now if you have a pool in your backyard, you have a greater risk.  Let’s say you were hosting a birthday party for your son. During the party, your neighbors’ daughter fell into the pool, drown and had to be airlifted to the hospital. Your underlying liability coverages of $100,000, $300,000 or even $500,000 would not be enough to cover the exorbitant medical costs associated with this accident. You would have to make up the difference out of your pocket, and possibly in a lawsuit.

However, if you were carrying a one million dollar personal umbrella, once those underlying limits were exhausted the umbrella limits would kick in and cover the costs you may be liable for up to the limit of the policy.

In a car accident scenario, the umbrella policy would work the same. Most auto limits you see are in increments similar to $50,000/$100,000/$50,000. The first number represents the amount of liability per person per accident, the second represents the limit of liability paid total per accident, and the last number represents the amount paid towards property damage.

Let’s say you were driving down the highway, and an unfortunate sneezing attack started that caused you to veer over into oncoming traffic, causing a multi-car accident, if you only had the above limits on your auto policy, it most likely would not cover everyone that claimed damages. This means you would be held financially responsible for the remaining balances and could be on the wrong end of a lawsuit. However, if you purchased an umbrella policy, you would have another bucket of money to grab from and cover those additional injuries.

If you think you want to discuss your options for an umbrella policy in Peoria, AZ the knowledgeable agents at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance are here to help.  Call or email us today.

What Is The Difference Between Whole Life And Term Insurance?

What is whole life insurance? What about term insurance? What is the difference between these two plans for residents of Peoria, AZ? The Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance has provided an analysis of the difference between whole life and term insurance.

Difference Between Whole Life and Term Life

Deciding to purchase a life insurance plan (whether whole life or term life) is a personal decision. Life insurance is powerful and highly flexible financial conveyance mechanism that can meet a variety of financial objectives, including providing financial security to creating financial assets. Below are some factors that will differentiate these two plans:

Features of Whole Life

  • Covers you for life.
  • You must be qualified via a health examination.
  • Offers death benefits and cash value accumulation during the duration of the policy.
  • Can be acquired without a medical examination, although at a higher cost.
  • An excellent option for estate planning.
  • Takes from 12 to 15 years to set up a reasonable cash value.
  • Part of cash value can be borrowed or withdrawn in the duration of the policy.
  • Cash value is typically based on the worth of return on investment.
  • Has more expensive premiums at the initial stage, but can save you money long term (if it’s active for a considerable period).

Features of Term Life

  • Only provides death benefits.
  • Only pays benefits if you die when the policy is in effect.
  • Can be purchased for a specific time frame (5, 10, or 15 years).
  • The most affordable policy to purchase and the easiest to navigate.
  • Becomes more expensive as you grow older (particularly after 50 years of age).
  • Has to be renewed if you require that the coverage is extended beyond the length of the term.
  • Is a good temporary additional coverage that can be paired with a permanent life plan.
  • Can be altered to whole life coverage.

For more information about life insurance coverage in Peoria, AZ contact Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance agency.


Benefits of Commercial Insurance Coverage

Setting up and running a business requires a lot of time and capital. Losing all that investment overnight is a nightmare nobody would wish to experience. Luckily, commercial insurance helps you protect your business from losses and damages caused by risks to your business property and income. The coverage ensures that if things go wrong, you will not go through financial frustrations and stress trying to get your business back on its feet. Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance is here to help all the residents of Peoria, AZ to acquire best insurance coverage to protect their business adequately and ensure that the coverage provided fulfills the requirements of the state of Arizona.

Why do you need commercial insurance?

Having this coverage is beneficial in numerous cases which include;

If a worker gets sick at the workplace – Slips and falls occur from time to time while the workers are carrying out their daily production activities. Moreover, if you own a restaurant, for example, things could go wrong where a worker suffers burns. Having workers’ compensation coverage helps you in paying the employee the lost wage during the recovery period and helps in clearing their medical bills.

If a client or guest is injured in your premises – You will get people coming in, and out of your premises time to time and unfortunately, they may get hurt probably from a slip, fall or consuming your products. In such unpleasant event, you will need to pay their medical bills. Also, you will need liability coverage in case the injured decides to solve the issue in a court of law to help you pay the legal fee.

In case of theft, vandalism, and fire –The coverage helps you protect your business from financial losses resulting from theft or vandalism. In cases of theft and fire, you will suffer the cost of repair and replacement of lost and damaged assets, and having a commercial coverage helps you in the payment of such expenses.

Understand more about the benefits of having commercial insurance coverage in Peoria, AZ by contacting or visiting Schaller & Thomas family insurance today and let us provide you with coverage that exceeds your expectations.

Can My Girlfriend or Boyfriend Take Out Life Insurance On Me?

Here at Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, one of the questions that we are most often asked in regards to life insurance is whether a boyfriend or girlfriend can take out life insurance on their boyfriend or girlfriend. If this is a question you have, here is some information you will want to know. 

Can a Boyfriend or Girlfriend Take Out Life Insurance on the Other Person?

A boyfriend or girlfriend can take out life insurance on their boyfriend or girlfriend if they have a financial reason to do so. For example, if the parties are living together, the girlfriend may be significantly impacted without the help of her boyfriend to pay bills. Likewise, if a girlfriend is paying daycare costs for her boyfriends child so he can work, even if it isn’t her child, he has a financial reason to insure her life. As long as there is a financial reason to do so, non-married couples can take out policies on each other. 

Does the Partner Need to Authorize the Other Person To Take Out Life Insurance on Them?

If you are looking to take out a life insurance policy on your boyfriend or girlfriend, you will need them to sign off on a paper acknowledging that they are taking out a life insurance policy on you and you are allowing it. If your partner does not agree to you having a lie insurance policy on them, you will be unable to get one. 

If you are looking to take out a life insurance policy on yourself or your boyfriend or girlfriend, let Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance, serving the greater Peoria, AZ area, help you. Call us today to get an estimate. 

Not All Commercial Insurance Policies Are the Same

You likely know just how important it is to have commercial insurance for your company. However, did you realize that there can be many differences between policies from various insurance providers? This is ideal since each industry requires different types of coverage and you will want to find something that is custom-fit to your unique needs. 

Getting Commercial Insurance from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance Is an Easy Process

It is necessary to learn as much as you can before signing on for a policy you are considering. This will save you from undergoing headaches and stress at a later time. Talk to a qualified insurance agent serving Peoria, AZ first, like a professional from Schaller & Thomas Family Insurance. 

Coverage often includes the following: liability, workers’ compensation cases, and property damage. Each of these categories can have glaring differences that you should be aware of prior to taking any big steps. 

Liability Insurance 

This type of insurance deals with injuries or property damage that has happened to third parties. It serves to protect yourself and your business if a client becomes injured on your business property. It also applies if an employee causes damage to a client’s personal property, as well as an instance of your company getting sued by a third party. It includes automobile insurance, malpractice, and insurance of errors and omission. 

Property Insurance 

This is similar in many ways to homeowner’s insurance, as it is meant to provide a safeguard for the personal or real property after vandalism or a fire in your warehouse or another space where you conduct business. There are types of property insurance that exist for certain needs, such as the following: glass, builder’s risk, boil and machinery, crime, and tenant’s insurance. 

Workers’ Compensation 

You may not want to think about it, but there is a possibility of your employees getting into accidents in the workplace. Besides the emotional side, it also presents a financial burden to the company. When you have workers’ compensation, it will almost always keep your injured employee from being sued for work-related injuries. 

Different levels of commercial insurance are required in each state. If you would like to speak to an agent to find out more about what your Peoria, AZ company needs, reach out to us today.