Skip the Hassle: Get Automated Surety Bonds

Skip the Hassle: Get Automated Surety Bonds

Long gone are the days of undergoing a lengthy application process to buy or sell surety bonds thanks to our new partnership with Propeller Bonds—a new automated service offering no-touch market access. 

This is a game-changer for small and large businesses alike. 

 

What are surety bonds?

 

Think of a surety bond as a “100% Satisfaction or Your Money Back” guarantee. This three-party contract is put in place to protect one party from the debt, default, or failure of another. The surety acts somewhat as a buffer between the two by providing the money-back guarantee. 

There are two types of surety bonds:

1. Contract surety bonds are written for construction projects. In this instance, a project manager would seek a contractor to complete the work. A surety bond is then purchased by the contractor prior to beginning the construction project. Should the contractor default, the surety bond is either used to employ another contractor or reimburse the project manager for any financial losses incurred. There are four types of contract bonds—bid, performance, payment, and warranty (also referred to as maintenance bonds).

 

2. Commercial surety bonds are written for a broad range of services. They guarantee a company or individual’s work and are required on the federal, state, and local levels. There are five types of commercial surety bonds—license and permit, court (also referred to as judicial bonds), fiduciary (probate), public official, and miscellaneous. 

Surety bonds are mandatory whether you’re operating your business as a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). It’s a way to offer clients financial peace of mind. 

 

 

How does a surety bond impact the bottom line?

 

Offering an additional layer of coverage that guarantees your work is gold to consumers. It’ll reassure them that they are in good hands and could lead to future referrals. The surety bond starts a chain reaction and you soon become part of their daily dialogue. This is the most effective way to sustainably grow your business—word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing).  

WOM marketing is, in essence, free advertising triggered by a consumer’s experience with a business’ services and/or products. More referrals lead to more clients. More clients equal more revenue.

purchasing surety bonds process powered by Propeller Bonds

When can I buy or sell a surety bond?

The better question is: When can’t you buy or sell a surety bond? Downey Insurance Group’s partnership with Propeller Bonds allows you to exchange surety bonds at your convenience.

The process is as simple as 1-2-3 and:

  • Grants full market access to top surety insurance carriers.
  • Eliminates tedious tasks like paper forms and long approval procedures.
  • Provides instant gratification with surety bonds issued within seconds.

Propeller Bonds bring surety bonds to your fingertips, making it easy to start new projects and sign new clients without delay.

Does your work no longer require that you hold a surety bond? No problem. You can now easily sell an existing surety bond in an instant and receive confirmation all without leaving the comfort of your own home or office. You’re in complete control of your business timeline. What’s more, you can shop for all of your business needs in one place. 

At Downey Insurance Group, we offer an extensive product line of commercial insurance plans. Protect your clients with a surety bond and then protect your business with excess liability insurance

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your business.

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Auto Insurance

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Auto Insurance

If you own a vehicle or occasionally drive one, chances are your state has minimum auto insurance requirements you need to meet before hitting the open road. These requirements are set in place to protect motorists from being solely responsible financially in the case of an accident. 

Nearly every state, excluding New Hampshire, has laws in place that dictate the minimum auto insurance each driver must carry to operate a motor vehicle. Failure to do so can lead to fines, suspension of your driver’s license or registration, and possible federal prosecution. This often makes the process of obtaining the appropriate amount of coverage an overwhelming task for many drivers. With so much on the line, it’s best to first take a look at your state’s requirements.

Auto insurance coverage in Massachusetts and New England

The lowest level of auto insurance required by most states is liability insurance which covers only the damages caused to the other party in an at-fault accident. In the state of Massachusetts, this includes four types of coverage, each with a required minimum coverage limit.

 

The four types of MA auto insurance required include:

  1. Bodily Injury to Others — $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
  2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — $8,000 per person/accident
  3. Bodily Injury Caused by an Uninsured Auto — $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident
  4. Damage to Someone Else’s Property — $5,000 per accident

 

Drivers are required to purchase the minimum coverage, specified above, in order to register and operate a vehicle in MA and New England. If there is more than one licensed driver in a household, motorists should include them as customary operators within their auto insurance policy.

Insurers define customary operators as anyone who may use your vehicle. Drivers with their own auto insurance policies can be added to your policy as deferred operators, often at no additional charge to the policyholder. These precautions help protect you and your assets even if you are not the one driving your registered vehicle at the time of an accident. It allows policyholders to minimize the financial impact if someone in their household is at-fault or involved, whether it’s due to distracted driving or poor judgment while behind the wheel. 

NOTE: Drivers with Learner’s Permits are not required to be listed until they are fully insured.

Recommended auto insurance for liability from Downey

Customize your Massachusetts and New England auto insurance

The amount of auto insurance coverage you need can go beyond the state’s required minimum. Consulting an insurance expert will help you determine what additional coverage is necessary to ensure you and your family have the proper safety net in place. 

 

Ideally, you should carry the highest amount of liability coverage you can afford to avoid unexpected financial hardship. For most drivers, 100/300/100 is the best level of liability coverage—$100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident in bodily injury, and $100,000 per accident in property damage. Drivers should also seek to add the highest level of PIP and uninsured motorist coverage to help further protect their assets and future earnings. 

 

Adding wiggle room to your policy means that the financial burden of an accident will fall on your insurer’s shoulders instead of yours. Optional coverage options include comprehensive and collision.

Contact us today and get the right auto insurance coverage to fit your unique needs.

Everything You Need to Know About Independent Insurance Agents

Everything You Need to Know About Independent Insurance Agents

Independent insurance agent? You’ve probably never heard that title before, and here’s why.

 

Many of the more familiar insurance companies, your State Farms and Giecos, are made up of captive insurance agents. They only have one insurance provider available: theirs. 

 

This leaves customers with limited pricing and all-size-fits-one insurance plans. On the other hand, independent insurance agents have several insurance providers within reach. They are able to offer more coverage options at a more affordable and flexible price point for their customers.

 

Taking a customer-centric approach

Independent insurance agents work with both small and large sales organizations. Each individual agent has the ability to write insurance under a variety of providers. This allows independent insurance agents to take a more mix-and-match approach to accommodate all stages of a client’s life. Additionally, insurance providers enter into a contract when joining an independent insurance agency. 

 

What does this mean for clients? It means that they’ll always receive the best possible insurance deal, negotiated on their behalf with their privacy in mind. The priority is Y-O-U, not the agency.

 

Some independent insurance agents may even double as financial advisors. This means that they’ll be able to not only help you protect your investments, but they’ll also help you invest smartly. You won’t need to bounce between agents and advisors. Working with an independent insurance agent is like a one-stop shop with your own personal shopper for insurance and financial services. They do all the tedious searching and shop-talk necessary to ensure their clients are taken care of. 

 

This includes both before and after the insurance coverage begins. Yep, that’s right. Independent insurance agents even help process insurance claims on their client’s behalf. Talk about coverage.

Is working with an independent agent better?

The short answer: YES. 

 

Although captive agents may have extensive knowledge of their insurer’s products, they are only able to offer their customers coverage under a single carrier. This limits their ability to find the most affordable insurance plan available and will often include additional fees payable to the company.

 

Working with an independent insurance agent opens up the possibilities. Customers are able to shop and compare multiple insurance policies from top carriers, saving time and money in the process. The flexibility offered by an independent agent brings about a sense of clarity not found with captive agents. Not only are independent agents knowledgeable about a multitude of coverage options, but customers are also able to curate an insurance policy to fit their specific needs.

 

No matter your insurance needs, an independent agent will be able to assist you in finding coverage that aligns with your financial health and future goals.

Our commitment to the customer experience

Downey Insurance Group is a family-owned and -operated independent insurance agency. Our company was established back in 1929 with the sole intent to bring affordable insurance coverage to the residents of Marlborough, MA. We’ve since expanded to include the greater New England and Massachusetts area, providing insurance options designed with the individual in mind.

 

Our insurance writing methods and standards of customer care are unsurpassed. We pride ourselves on being great people to know for our customers at large. YOU are always our top priority.

 

Looking for your personal shopper? Contact us today.

Why Homeowners Insurance is Better with an Independent Agent

Why Homeowners Insurance is Better with an Independent Agent

The shifting U.S. housing market has introduced many first-time homebuyers, tasking each with choosing the right homeowners insurance policy. What should be a huge milestone in one’s life becomes an overwhelming decision. Insurer options are ten-fold. The cost of each policy differs. What’s covered and what’s not? These are all factors weighing heavily on the first-time homebuyer’s mind when seeking a homeowners insurance policy that fits their needs.

Which insurer is the best fit?

Determining which insurer is the best fit depends on your financial state and homeowner needs. This is why shopping around during the early stages of homeownership is key. Start by obtaining at least three to five quotes. This should give you at least three different homeowner indications. 

Be sure to stick to one type of policy during your initial inquiry. You’ll get the best possibility of obtaining the best coverage at the most affordable price while comparing each insurer.

How much will a good homeowners insurance policy cost?

The cost of homeowners insurance for a first-time homebuyer depends on the property location, amount of coverage needed, and the homebuyer’s insurance score—this includes prior losses. 

To accurately assess the appropriate coverage for your home, it’s best to talk to your insurance provider. They are the best go-to when figuring out the total cost of replacing your home and what policy would best fit should the issue arise. Although there are several forms of homeowners insurance, the most common is the HO-3 policy which covers damage to your owner-occupied home and belongings. In order to collect 100% of damages, in the event of a loss, your home must be insured to at least 80% of its replacement cost. 

This means that the homeowner will be financially responsible for the rest. To avoid unexpected repair costs, try working with an independent insurance agent. They’ll help determine your new home’s replacement cost and find the right coverage to meet your homeowners insurance needs.

What will homeowners insurance cover?

Like each homeowner, each insurer is different and provides different speculations within their homeowners insurance policies. Be sure to check for any exclusions in policies.

This will give you an idea of the types of damages an insurer won’t cover. Knowing what’s covered and what’s not under your insurance policy is critical for any homeowner. Common types of damages not covered include those resulting from natural disasters. If you’d like any of the listed exclusions included, an insurer will be able to customize your home’s insurance policy by adding additional coverage to meet your needs.

A typical coverage package for MA and New England homeowners insurance includes:

  • Protection for the physical structure of your home and its contents
  • Replacement costs coverage vs actual cash value claim settlements
  • Personal liability and additional living expenses coverage

Additional coverage options can add an extra layer of security and help to offset various unexpected costs. Flood insurance, earthquake insurance, and animal liability are just some of the many add-on insurances available to homeowners.

Takeaway

Compare policy premiums, coverage, and company reviews. Homeowners insurance is not one-size-fits-all and will differ for each homebuyer. At Downey Insurance Group, we aim to create custom, top-quality insurance policies that reflect each homeowner’s distinct needs.

Contact us today and find the homeowners insurance that’s right for you. As a first-time homebuyer navigating the future’s uncertainty, you deserve the best possible coverage.

The Holidays Have Arrived!

When did that happen? It feels like we were just discussing bus safety at the beginning of the school year and yet here we are only a few days before Christmas. You may be scrambling to get everything complete before the big day. If you just popped onto the computer for a few minutes of mindless web browsing, here are a few Christmas-y things to make you chuckle and help you de-stress a bit before you get back into wrapping presents:

• Your tongue really will freeze to a metal pole outside, so don’t try it. However, if you do find yourself stuck to a random pole, have someone pour lukewarm water on your tongue while you slowly pull away. Do not try to pull too quickly or you could find yourself spending your holidays at the doctor’s office.

• The first candy cane was made over 350 years ago.

• According to the Roger Highfield book The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey, Rudolph’s nose was probably red due to a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

• Using stats from boxofficemojo.com, the top three best selling Christmas movies from 1980-present are Elf ($173,398,518), The Polar Express ($183,373,735) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas ($260,044,825)

• If Santa has insurance, it is probably a hefty policy. With all the travel he does (granted, it is usually only one day a year that he takes a trip) he would need to have a good comprehensive policy for his sleigh AND some serious business coverage for all the work his elves do each day.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday and get to enjoy every minute with your loved ones.

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