Talking to a friend in the local Starbuck’s the other day, the topic of insurance came up. The question she asked me was, “When it comes to insurance what’s the difference anyway?” Surprisingly enough I get asked that question all the time. And thinking back to when I myself was new to insurance, it’s one of the first questions I asked. I tried to think of a way to answer her question in the simplest of terms, and being in a Starbuck’s the first thing I thought of was coffee. If you live anywhere near Seattle you understand all about coffee. There are a thousand choices and options when it comes to your morning cup of joe. Mocha or latte? Non-fat or Whole? With Whip or Without? Syrup Flavor? Temperature? Tall or Venti? All coffee is not the same, and most of us have a particular establishment that we visit each morning on our way to work. It just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. The same is true of insurance. Most people are surprised to find that there are many tiers and layers to insurance.

Take for example auto insurance. There are several coverage options you can add to your auto insurance policy that will provide you with a much deeper level of coverage. The first is Personal Injury Protection or PIP. This is an endorsement that costs very little, but will give you a huge level of coverage. Personal Injury Protection covers you in any type of road accident, if you get in a car accident, if you get hit as a pedestrian in a crosswalk, if you get hit on your bike. The beauty of PIP is that you are covered no matter who was at fault in an accident, and your coverage is immediate. It will pay for ambulance rides, the jaws of life, hospital expenses, rehabilitation therapy, as well as reimburse you for pay checks you missed by being unable to work during your recovery. PIP not only covers you, but everyone in the car with you.

The second coverage option is Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage protects you if you get in an accident in which the at fault driver is not covered. Uninsured Motorist Coverage will cover all personal injury and property damage, up to your coverage limits, caused by the at fault driver if they are underinsured, or have no coverage at all. If the other driver is not insured, you could be paying the bill, unless your policy has Uninsured Motorist Coverage, at which point your insurance policy will cover it for you. These are two examples of endorsements that do not cost very much to add to your policy, but could save you a world of hurt in the future.

All insurance policies are not the same. There are different types and levels of coverage, as well as many extra endorsements that are optional as well. If you are new to insurance, or find it a bit confusing it is easy to think that all insurance is the same. If that is you’re line of thinking, then the first thing you would look for when choosing an insurance policy is the price. But it’s just not the case. When it comes to coffee the last thing we think of is the price, and the first thing we think of is the flavor. With insurance you want to make sure that you choose the plan that best fits your life-style. And if you find a good local independent insurance agent that will help you through the insurance process you’ll find that insurance just doesn’t “taste the same” anywhere else. Why use an agent who treats you like another number, puts you on hold, and doesn’t remember who you are. Things like that can leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s important to use an agent you can trust who will be there to help you when those unexpected emergencies occur, who knows your name and your individual situation and will sit down and explain your policy options in detail, who will help you find the plan that best fits your lifestyle, and who most importantly doesn’t care about selling you an insurance plan, but instead cares about making sure you are protected and taken care of for the future.

Price is important when looking for insurance, but it is not the first thing you should look at. The most important thing is to find the insurance coverage that will best protect you, and then from there find the best deal you can.