Bryan Vogt: Welcome back to Ready, Set, Sold. I’m your host, Bryan Vogt, and I’m really excited. We’ve had this guest on before. Yes, he is a good personal friend. I’ve known him forever, but besides that, he’s also one heck of an agent that knows his stuff. He’s an independent agent and that’s also a big plus, at least I believe. I’ve used him, again, since I was 19 years old. That’s been what, 10-15 years ago. Right, Joe?
Joe Harnist: Yeah. Yeah, it’s close to that.
Bryan Vogt: Yeah. It’s our story, right? So we got to tell it, right?
Joe Harnist: That’s right.
Bryan Vogt: Anyway, on the line with me is Joe Harnist, and he’s the President of Harnist Insurance. Joe, welcome to the show.
Joe Harnist: Thanks, Bryan. How are you doing? How’s the real estate business?
Bryan Vogt: Real estate is booming. Things are going very, very well. Thank you.
Joe Harnist: Great.
Bryan Vogt: We haven’t seen this type of, basically, sales in years, so that’s been fantastic. One of the reasons why I wanted to get you onto the show is we’ve talked about realtors before, how to choose one. That’s important, but this segment I want to dedicate to how to choose an insurance agent.
No one, like you, with the years of experience, you’ve seen it all, you’ve seen online companies. I’m not saying they’re always good or always bad, but what we’ve found is that when we’re dealing with buyers or sellers, that one of the important factors is trust. Is do you like the agent that you’re talking to? I’m sure that comes up to you all the time, right?
Joe Harnist: Yeah, it’s huge, Bryan. I think it’s so important that somebody can feel comfortable with the agent they’re with. I think they need to be local, because then you’re talking to the same person all the time in reference to all your coverages. Insurance can be very complex even on the personal side when you start combining home, and auto, and all the coverages that are involved in home owner’s. You don’t necessarily want to just go out and buy what the bank requires. You need to buy what you need to protect yourself.
Bryan Vogt: That can be a huge difference it sounds like?
Joe Harnist: It can, because all the bank is concerned about is the amount of the loan. The coverage to cover the amount of the loan and they require flood insurance, if you’re in a flood hazard zone. Then basically fire and wind, but there’s so many other coverages. Mine subsidence, earthquake, personal injury liability. If you have other residences that you rent. If you have a condo down at the lake. If you own a boat. There’s so many things that can be involved in a home owner’s purchase that you really need somebody that you can trust, and sit down, and work with, and educate you.
Bryan Vogt: Well, that’s a great point you made there, because most home and … We talk about this because if you’re selling, 95% of the time you’re going to be buying another home. It’s good to know that the bank may have a minimum requirement, but that’s just for them to get their money back.
Joe Harnist: Right.
Bryan Vogt: I think that’s really what we’re talking about, right? Just to get their money back. .
Joe Harnist: They’re covering their loan is basically what they’re doing. Yeah.
Bryan Vogt: Right. That’s not going to cover you if something, god forbid, happens on the other side so that’s a great point that you made. I really like that. I think something else that you said that goes hand in hand is the availability not only of the local connection; yes, you can go online and what have you and I get that. I know a lot of our sellers really like the personal attention that they can get from talking to someone. Yes, even sitting down with them and taking the time to make sure, like you said, insurance can be complex. I think that’s so important, don’t you? What you said about just taking the time, working out some half an hour, an hour, whatever it takes, to make sure that they know what they’re buying.
Joe Harnist: Yeah. There’s so many coverages in a home owner’s policy and people don’t get their policy, take it home, and sit down and read it. That’s what we’re here for and that’s what we try to do is educate our clients on the coverages that are in the policy. How they apply to them, how it applies in the event of a claim, those type of things.
That’s where we’re talking to them on a one-on-one basis, face-to-face; whereas, if you’re doing it online with somebody, you never end up talking to the same person every time you call. You’re always talking to somebody different. You may get different answers from different people that you talk to; whereas; with us being local and independent, we work with multiple companies. We’re here to counsel you and educate you on the world of insurance.
Bryan Vogt: Well, yeah. Like I said, it’s like anything else. People get insurance, they don’t think a whole lot of it, but you know what? Until something happens and that’s really the badge of, I think, any business. I think insurance is just the same that all of a sudden something goes wrong, it’s a lot different than sitting there, as you said, trying to get online. Again, it’s not saying that all online companies are bad, are good.
Joe Harnist: Right.
Bryan Vogt: There’s some great ones out there, but having that personal conversation is so huge. We found it with people that we work with that really enjoy that. The other aspect of it, I think is really important, is once you have that communication line, once you have that trust built in, that you know that the agent isn’t going to oversell you. They’re going to meet your needs. I think that’s always kind of a fear that people have. Maybe you run up against that sometimes, Joe?
Joe Harnist: Yeah. We do. We see homes that are over insured. They’re carrying more coverage than what they actually need. We look for those things. We always like to get a copy of people’s current coverage so that we can analyze what they’ve got now. What they need, what they may not need, so that’s part of our job too is to analyze what they have now and then make recommendations as to what we can change, what we can lower, maybe go to a higher deductible. Maybe they’re carrying a very low deductible, which tends to keep the premium higher; whereas they could maybe go to a higher deductible and save a few dollars.
Bryan Vogt: Well, a few dollars or even a few thousand dollars. I’ve heard stories, and I know you have stories too, that it can be significant. We’re going to be talking in another segment coming up more about that.
Joe Harnist: Okay.
Bryan Vogt: The one thing that I really love that you talked about, that you hit upon, and that was the fact of maybe you have a good policy, okay, and that I know, knowing you, but I think it’s important for our listeners that your agent … If you have a better deal, stay with it. You don’t have to change. I think just a review of the policy and having that trust factor is huge. I know that’s one of the things that you talk about a lot. You’re not out there to just get the business.
Joe Harnist: No. If I look at somebody’s policy and I think they’ve got good coverage and they’ve got a good price, I’ll tell them, “You’re fine.” That’s just what I’m here for, to counsel. If I can give them better coverage at a better price or give them better coverage and it may cost them a little bit more, but I look at the coverage side a lot to make sure that their needs are met. If they’ve got a good policy, I’ve turned business away. If you’ve got a good policy, stay where you’re at.
Bryan Vogt: Awesome. Yeah. That’s good to know. Hey, we’re running out of time in this segment. Just a friendly reminder, the book is available, it’s free to people listening to the program. It’s had great success with it. A lot of people have already ordered it. Go to readysetsold.org, not .com. Readysetsold.org, not .com. Get the book during the break and when we come back we’re going to talk about why, when selling your house, it’s the best time to start shopping for insurance.
Ready Set Sold with Bryan Vogt #24-02: Joe Harnist of Harnist Insurance and Pat Vecchio of The Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois: How to choose an insurance agent
November 4, 2017