Colonial in Harbor Springs, MI with Reviews -
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By: Kelly D.
Insurance By Burley
We used this insurance company for four years, while not every experience was bad, one theme that persisted the entire time was they only returned about 30% of the emails when I wrote asking questions about policy. Even though I was told by the agent when buying the policy that email was a good way to communicate. This review is based on an experience, rather minor, that became a major complaint simply because they refused to even take the time to understand the nature of the complaint. I walked in off the street one day asking for advice on how to obtain a title on a four wheeler I bought off Craig's list without a title, didn't know who I bought it from. I was told you needed to purchase a surety bond for 5% of the value and submit this to the Secretary of State. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps the guy didn't give me the title because there could be a lien on it so I asked the agent if there was a way to find out about the lien status of a vehicle prior to purchasing this non-refundable bond. She stated, confidently, "there is no way to find out about the lein status apart from purchasing the bond, submitting it to the SOS and seeing if one turns up." This sounded odd to me, as I knew home liens were public record that can be searched online, but I trusted that since she was giving me advice in a professional capacity that she knew what she was talking about. I bought the bond which cost $100, submitted it to SOS, it was quickly sent back with the following statement. "We cannot release this title to you it has a lien on it, you should always check first before buying one of these bonds as it is public record and costs only $8 to find out." When I approached them with this info and expected an apology for being given misinformation in a professional setting I was instead met with defensiveness and not wanting to own their mistake. I kept getting, " we are an insurance company, not a private detective and can't be expected to keep up with SOS policy." I couldn't agree more, however the time to make that statement was when I asked the question about first finding out about the lien. I would not have been upset that she didn't know that, I was upset that she made up an incorrect answer rather then just saying " I don't know. " Had she said "I don't know, we are an insurance company, not the SOS," I would have asked her to wait on the bond while I researched it. I would have googled it, seen it to be a cheap and easy process, discovered the lien and never would have purchased the bond. When I went to both her direct supervisor and then the owner finally they both kept responding that "they also agreed that getting a surety bond was the best way to go about getting a title." This was never the complaint, the complaint was that they were permitting their staff to make statements about what SOS policy was when, by their own admission afterwards, this is an area they felt they were 'not well informed in and wasn't part of their job.' It was clear since they thought I was upset about the bond being recommended that they were not even bothering to read my emails. When I wrote the owner back stating I would prefer not to take this online but to protect members of my community from the same thing I would unless he gave me his guarantee that he would tell his staff not to give people any advice or guidance about what SOS policies are, just to stick to insurance, he followed the same company email policy I had experienced in the four years I used them which was not to reply at all. In general I strongly advise anyone using this company to first double check everything they say as they will not stand by their own words should they prove to be wrong. I did eventually get the bond refunded by the bond company as an exception. I sure had to fight for it though and felt it should have come from Burley as the bond company was not the one to provide me with false information leading to the purchase.
Tips & Advices
Insurance agents will often try to "upsell" on various extra products that may be useful for certain people, but are generally excessive for the average consumer. Stick with basic plans that cover as much as you need without any additional costs. For example, if the annual cost of your auto insurance is 10 percent or more of the total value of your car, drop all but the most essential coverage. This is especially applicable if the car you drive is older and could be replaced with savings. Otherwise, you are paying for insurance that will never actually benefit you in the event of a serious crash.
Yes. Even after you've chosen a plan and started paying into it, consider looking around again when it comes time to renew the policy. Consider using an independent agent when searching for a new insurance policy. While traditional agents can still find a good deal, independent agents can choose from a variety of providers and tailor your coverage to your specific needs. The Internet has also made comparison shopping easy. Potential customers can often get free quotes online very quickly.
Send your insurer a claim form for each beneficiary in the plan, as well as a certified copy of the policyholder's death certificate. With the proper information, life insurance claims are generally straightforward. Problems may arise if the policyholder has died within two years of opening the policy. In this case, an attorney may be needed to settle the claim.
In the case of damage, take pictures of the affected area as soon as any safety or health emergencies are resolved. Take note of what happened and all the relevant circumstances and report to your insurer as soon as possible. If any of your possessions were damaged, use an inventory of your important assets and make note of this in the claim. Once an adjuster has made their own report, review it for accuracy.
If you're involved in an accident, you need to call the police right away and have them document the situation. You can file a claim upon obtaining the police report. It's also a good idea, if possible, to take your own notes to record: what happened before the accident, the date and time, traffic signs in the area and road conditions. Also get the other driver's name, address, license plate number, and insurance information. Even photos taken with a cell phone camera can help the claims process. Once you have this documentation, call your insurance company right away.

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