Monthly Archives: September 2018

8 Great Ways to Save on Car Insurance

Car insurance will vary depending on things such as your driving history, your location, the cost of your vehicle, and the gap between your coverages. The right policy is as important to owning a vehicle as regular maintenance. If you happen to get into an accident without an active policy, you are at risk of paying millions in damages. Even a $5,000 penalty could be detrimental to some individuals and families. This is why choosing the right company is crucial for your legal, financial, and personal well-being. Now that we all know why we need car insurance, we need to know what are some important ways to save.

Eight Smart Ways to Save

1. Compare Policy Rates

Prices differ significantly from company to company. Take the time to explore as many options as you can before deciding on one.

2. Choose the Higher Deductible

If you can afford it, choose the higher deductible and pay less each month for coverage. A deductible is the amount you have to pay before your provider will cover the rest of your bill. A higher deductible can significantly lower your monthly bill.

3. Consider Carpooling

The less you drive, the less insurance companies charge you.

4. Buy Only What You Need

What you need for a new model is different than what you need for an older automobile. If your car is an older design, it might warrant you dropping the collision coverage.

5. Combine Your Homeowners/renters Policy

Combining other policies with your car insurance is an effective way to get the most discounts. Car insurance is considered the riskiest investment, but if you combine it with a safer investment, your monthly bill will go down.

6. Get a Tracking Device

It records your driving history-speed, abrupt stops, travel times, distance-and after the first year, you can get reduced rates if you have been a safe driver. You can save as much as 60 percent!

7. Take Care of Your Credit Score

Those with high credit scores may get lower rates as they are considered as less risky choices for providers. Pay all of your bills on time and check your score to stay updated.

8. Take a Defensive Driving Course

By taking this one-time course, your provider might be able to give you a discount.

Of course, low cost should not be your only deciding factor. Simply choosing the cheapest policy on the market is not a smart decision. When comparing different providers, make sure to read about their history, how well they understand the industry, and how much they focus on building relationships with their clients. All of these are important factors in finding the right company. Not only does the policy have to sound good on paper, but you should also be able to personally trust and believe that the car insurance company will be there for you when something unfortunate happens.

After the Road Rage

They’re inevitable really – no matter how much we want to avoid them – accidents are something that shouldn’t happen but instead seem to take place more often than not. The road is a dangerous place and a place which we frequent almost daily. So it could happen to us (let’s hope not) but as they say, hope for the best and prepare for the worst, so if the worst does come to past you know how to handle the situation.

After an accident, depending on the damages you may have to get your car towed and for the purpose of this article, we’re assuming that after the accident, your car needed towing. How will you get your car towed? And who is going to cover the towing expenses? Will it be you or your insurance company? These are some essential questions which will run through your head in a situation like this and the following paragraphs list what you need to know.

Firstly, depending on the accident you cannot immediately ascertain which party will take the blame for the accident (of course sometimes it’s clear enough but mostly people haggle), and hence you won’t know if it’ll be the other party’s insurance company or yours which will be covering the cost of the expenses.

Again we’ll assume that it will be your auto-insurance company which will cover the expenses, and these will be whatever your particular company’s policy covers for towing. In all likelihood – as is the norm with most companies – they will pay reasonable costs within a reasonable towing distance. That is, if you’re within your own state, the insurance company would cover most of the towing expenses but if your car breaks down say a couple of states over (or in any other state) then most of the money would be coming out of your own pocket. It is essential that you talk to your insurance company and their policies on towing, so that you’re informed beforehand. After the accident its best to call your company and ask them their preferred towing company. This will save haggles later on. If you’re in your local area then use a local trusted towing service.

If you don’t mention the towing bit to your insurance company, in this scenario either you’ll get towed by a random tow service (who look out for such incidents on their police scanners) or one that is working with the police. Of course your company might not cover such expenses.

Lastly another point to take note is that some insurance companies also offer the services of optional towing as well as roadside assistance of labor which covers flat tires repair, towing and battery problems. Usually this only incurs a small amount of additional charge.

Classic Car Insurance and More Tidbits

Funny, isn’t it – how an old car is only attractive if it’s considered antique or classic? For the classic auto enthusiast, the interest is more than a simple hobby. For most, it’s a passion that perhaps even supersedes the passion of an ATV, motorcycle, truck or even boat owner. It’s a pastime that involves homeowners, renters, landlords – and the full spectrum of society.

To this type of auto fan, it becomes an obsession that should flood his or her free moments – especially weekend time. So, for all of you that insurance companies write policies for – this is for you and your wonderful craze!

Exceptional Fun Facts for the Antique and Classic Car Lover

• Do you know the difference between the automobile term, horseless carriage, and the term vintage car? A horseless carriage is in reference to the antique cars that went public from 1896 to 1915 and a vintage car refers to cars made between the years 1916 and 1925.

• See if you can guess this one! How many Barracuda convertible cars were produced in all? The grand total will set you reeling: there were seven in all!

• If you managed to come up with the answer to the above, see how well you do on this one. How many 1940 Dual-Cowl Phaetons did the manufacturing auto company produce in all? The modest answer is six!

• The great and oftentimes revered Mustang car was initially presented by its manufacturer in the year 1964.

• Though car fans usually are associated with the color red, the very first Camaro car was actually bathed in the color black. (Black is beautiful, right?)

• Ever wonder where the English dictionary came up with that great word we reference to the car? Automobile is actually two words that are blended together. Auto means oneself and mobile means the ability to move. Hence, an automobile is that wonderful invention that allows an individual to travel via driving maneuvers!

• The renowned auto company began mass production of its reasonably priced Model T automobile in the year 1913.

• If you view movies about Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, you will be led to believe that the natives only drive classic cars. The reason for the large amount of older cars on the streets of this Latin American country is due to the infamous US Trade Embargo of 1960 that resulted in no new trade of automobiles between the nations.

• Want to know about cheap auto insurance for your classic vehicle? Talk to an experienced independent insurance agent. He will demonstrate how to choose the appropriate policy according to your driving needs and mile accumulation as well as other factors.

PRIME Insurance is an A++-rated agency that has wide recognition for its excellence. Winner of numerous industry awards and appointed to do direct business with over 40 of the leading companies, PRIME shops its broad network to bring customers tailored coverage at competitively lowest quotes.

How To Shop for Use-Based Car Insurance

In recent years, nine of 10 top U.S. auto insurance companies have started selling policies based on how motorists drive. At least a handful of pay-as-you-drive policies are offered in every state, covering as many as 3 million U.S. vehicles, according to industry estimates. Switching to use-based insurance (UBI) could help you save a little or a lot over what car owners spend on premiums associated with a more traditional policy.

If you’re considering changing to a UBI plan, it pays to understand what you’re getting.

Carriers set UBI rates by collecting mileage or other information directly from your car, but similarities among policies end there. Some insurers use a small, meterlike electronic device that plugs into a car’s onboard diagnostics port to store or transmit information. Newer versions gather driving data through an app and a smartphone connected to a car’s infotainment or telematics system.

Drivers may happily trade access to their driving habits for lower insurance rates. But privacy advocates worry that insurance companies aren’t always 100 percent transparent about what data they collect, what they do with it and with whom they share it.

“Privacy is a real question,” says J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Consumer Federation of America. “What do insurance companies do with that information? If I park at the corner of Main and 14th and on one corner is a bar and another is a gym, will you raise or lower my rate?”

Here are steps to take if you’re shopping for car insurance and considering a use-based policy:

Find out what’s available: Look on the Web site of your state insurance commission or consumer advocacy agency to see which insurance carriers are licensed to operate in your area. Here’s a list of all 50 state insurance departments. Alternatively, visit auto insurers’ Web sites and type in your ZIP code to see if they sell UBI plans where you live.

Understand what types of data insurers collect: Some states restrict the information insurers can collect, which limits the types of UBI policies they offer. In California, for example, insurance companies can track mileage but are barred from monitoring where or when you drive. They also can’t track such behaviors as how fast you drive or how often you slam on the brakes, the activity known in insurance lingo as “hard-braking events.” Visit state insurance regulators’ Web sites for their explanations of the UBI plans they authorize, such as this pay-as-you-go auto insurance pamphlet from the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. You can also read the fine print on UBI policies on insurers’ Web sites to determine what driving data an insurer collects, and how it is gathered.

Try before you buy: Certain insurers give potential customers a chance to take a UBI policy for a test-drive before committing to a policy. In such cases, you may be asked to plug an electronic monitor into your car’s diagnostics port for a month or so, which allows the insurer to collect enough data to set a rate. Other insurers offer UBI policies only to existing customers.

Understand how insurers determine discounts: Insurers may offer an introductory discount of 5 or 10 percent during a try-out period, and adjust the rate as needed after monitoring mileage or driving behaviors for a set time period. Progressive Insurance bases rates for its Snapshot policy on six months of driving data. State Farm customers with Drive Safe & Save policies keep electronic monitors plugged into their cars all the time, so, theoretically, their rates could change at renewal time, if they’ve driven substantially more or less than in the previous period.

Consider a UBI bundle: Some insurers offer UBI as part of a bundle of services tied to a car’s built-in entertainment, safety or maintenance systems. State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save with In-Drive Connect policy, a joint venture with Verizon Wireless, offers mileage-based insurance along with stolen vehicle assistance and hands-free mobile phone service. After a one-year free trial, charges for In-Drive Connect jump to $6.99 a month or more based on what other features a customer chooses.

See how you’re doing: If you sign up, use the Web portal associated with your UBI policy to monitor your driving. Some insurers’ dashboards give customers a grade based on their driving habits. For example, customers of Allstate’s Drivewise UBI policies can download an iPhone or Android app to look up mileage, speed, hard stops and what times of day they drive.

Purchasing the Best Car Insurance

In the past, car insurance was not a necessity, as some people went for it and some did not. However, today an auto coverage policy is one of the crucial things in your life, if you own a car. People need proper coverage, no matter how luxurious or modest their car is.

The way people buy insurance has also changed. In the past, buying a car insurance just meant to meet your neighborhood agent and ask him for it. But now, it is somewhat different, as you have got lots of other options at your disposal from where you can get your vehicle insured, with some entirely new coverage choices.

Buying car insurance: Which method to choose?

When you want insurance for your car, you might be puzzled as from where you should get it. Should you deal with an insurance agent or should you go online? You can choose among different options for getting your car insurance. This includes:

  1. Buying from captive agents
  2. Buying from independent agents
  3. Buying online

People, who prefer personal services and like to form face-to-face relationships, should certainly purchase their policy from an agent. But, since there are different agents, they need to decide which one is the best for them.

Among these, some are called ‘independent agents,’ who sell insurance for numerous companies and some are ‘captive agents,’ who sell insurance for just one firm. Let us see the different features of these agents, so that you can decide easily and quickly the right agent for yourself.

1. Buying from captive agents

You should buy your coverage from a captive agent, if you are dedicated to a specific insurance firm. Since captive agents deal with only one company, they will know all the different insurance options offered by that company. And, thus they can assist you to build the right package based on your needs. However, captive agents may take more time to respond to your questions and to know your needs as compared to independent agents who work for commission.

2. Buying from independent agents

You should buy a policy from an independent agent, if you want to check out the different insurances provided by different companies, as independent agents deal with several companies and not just one particular insurance firm. This way you can get a better rate.

And, since independent agents are not directly employed by any one firm, they would not push one specific product and will tell you the right things about all the insurances. Thus, independent agents can aid you to find inexpensive coverage for your car. However, since they work for commission, they are under more pressure to grab a deal as soon as possible.

3. Buying online

The third option is to skip insurance agents completely and to work directly with the company online. However, for this you have to do most of the work yourself. You have to conduct a thorough research on different coverage providers, what they offer, the rates of their insurance, and what all their policies covers. Then, you can talk to the company, that best fits your needs to procure the coverage itself.

Among these, some insurance companies that employ agents do not necessitate you to work with them and a few of them do not employ agents at all. Buying auto insurance online is one of the best options for you if you do not have much time and want to get inexpensive car insurance, as it saves you from paying commission to an insurance agent. If you are not sure about your car insurance needs, then buying car insurance online, without an insurance agent can cause you to buy the wrong, too little, or too much insurance.

Select your type of coverage

Besides deciding which company to go with, you must also consider which policy you want. There are three main types of policies, including traditional, usage-based, and per-mile car insurance. So, have a look at these three car insurance coverage programs before you settle for one particular car insurance.

1. Traditional auto insurance

In this type of auto insurance, the insurers determine the quotes for the policy with the help of various personal factors, such as your age, driving history, gender, credit score, etc. Generally, the more risk you have as a driver as per these factors, the more high your insurance rates will be. In this, you can opt for a minimum coverage amount as per the state law or else you can select from a long list of different types of auto insurance coverage.

2. Usage-based auto insurance

As opposed to the traditional car insurance, where insurers presume your driving skills depending on a list of different risk factors and your accident history, usage-based car insurance providers offer you car insurance by seeing you in action in real. In this type of car insurance, like Allstate’s Drivewise or Progressive’s Snapshot, you get a telematic device, which you have to plug-in your car. This device records how you drive and your driving behavior, especially your bad driving habits like accelerating or hard braking.

So, if the device records that you are a low-risk driver, then you can save your money with usage-based car insurance. However, if it records that you frequently drive late at night or you drive fast, then it would not help you save money with your car insurance. Additionally, many usage-based car insurance programs are not available in each state. Therefore, if you are devoted to one insurance company, then you may have to switch your company, in case you move to a different state.

3. Per-mile auto insurance

Per-mile auto insurance providers also use a telematic device, but they focus on just one thing, that is how little or how much you use your car. However, this car insurance type is still new and is not available in every state. Among others, Metromile is the best provider of per-mile car insurance and is available in seven states until now, which are California, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, and Virginia.

Additionally, per-mile providers use the same elements as traditional insurers in determining your car insurance rates, but you can save some money through its telematic device. If you do not use your car much and use it only for emergencies, then your premium may be cut significantly. However, if you normally drive your car, then there are fewer chances of you saving money from it.

Shop around

No matter how you purchase your insurance, whether you go for a dedicated agent or you directly sign up with a car insurance provider, you must shop around in order to get the best rates. Do some homework and do not just settle for the first deal that comes your way. This is because rates for the same policy can differ from one company to the other by thousands of dollars. Therefore, comparing different car insurance offers is the best possible way to land up a good deal.

Theory of Selecting Car Insurance

Selecting the right car insurance requires the similar effort as selecting the car itself. While selecting a car the market research starts months prior and one test drives almost all the cars falling in one’s budget range. But the enthusiasm drops significantly when buying insurance for that priced possession. Many people in India still consider car insurance as a statutory obligation and settle for any run in the mill insurance policy or go for popular insurance company names rather than understanding what all things their policy covers.

The process to compare cars plans is very significant from saving upon premium as well as getting better plan features perspectives. In case of car insurance it is said that one must compare plans of at least three insurance companies. The more the merrier philosophy holds true in this case. Inviting quotes from a big number of companies always works in favor of the buyer as it helps plucking out the cheapest plan in the market.

A comprehensive car insurance policy covers the owner’s damages as well as the damages of the third parties who suffer loss due to collision. If your car is new then never commit the mistake of getting only third party insurance done, which is mandatory to have by the Indian law, as repair costs in case of accidents can be steep. Also, there are many add-ons over the regular OD (own damage) section of comprehensive car insurance policy that one should consider while selecting a plan. Important add-ons are:

• Depreciation Reimbursement: The depreciation on parts that have to be replaced because of damage is waived off under this add-on.

• Return to Invoice: The insurance company pays the difference between the claim admissible and the sale invoice price of the vehicle or new replacement value of the same make and model, whichever is less.

• No Claim Bonus Protection: NCB of over 25% is earned on a new vehicle or by no claims in previous two years. This NCB is protected under this add on provided there are up to 1 claim in a year and the policy is renewed on or before 90 days of the expiry of the policy.

• Repair of Glass, Rubber, Fiber & Plastic Parts: NCB is not affected when claim is filed to repair the glass, rubber, fiber & plastic parts instead of replacing them.

• Emergency Transport and Hotel Expenses: In events when the vehicle becomes UN-usable the cost of hotel accommodation at nearest place and return to home expenses are allowed up to 50% of the sum insured or Rs. 50,000, whichever is less under this add-on.

• Loss of Personal Belongings: Loss of personal belongings lying in the insured vehicle following an accident is covered.

• Key Replacement: Cost of replacement of lost vehicle keys is allowed.

• Daily Allowance: Cases where the damage takes place due to insured peril and the vehicle takes more than 3 days to get repaired, the insurer would pay allowance for hired transport up to 10 days for normal damages and up to 15 days for total loss. Per day allowance ranges from Rs.600 to Rs.2000 depending on the category of the vehicle.

• Engine Protector: Covers damages to the internal parts of the engine due to water ingress ion/leakage of lubricating oil and/or damage to gear box as a result of accident.

• Spot Assistance or Road Side Assistance: This cover provides a range of emergency services that the vehicle owner could face in daily use of vehicle. Some of these emergencies do not arise from an accident.

Based upon the category of vehicle and its usage one should decide what all add-ons one must ensure having in one’s car policy.

Study shows that people who compare car plans online save up to 30% on premium. Online car insurance plans are generally cheaper than offline counterparts because online plans eliminate the scope of agent commission. This brings down the premium considerably.

Young Drivers, Marijuana and Car Insurance

Marijuana, young drivers and serious car accidents are on a collision course. Fatal crashes involving drivers whose systems showed evidence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, nearly tripled in 10 years, rising from 4.2 percent in 1999 to 12.2 percent in 2010, according to a study released earlier this year by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. In another four-year study, 43 percent of fatally injured drivers under 24 tested positive for cannabinoids. The percentage was lower for older age groups.

Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington and widely tolerated elsewhere in the U.S., parents may be on their own collision course with pot: They face steep car insurance hikes and even cancellation if young drivers on their policies are convicted of a DUI stemming from marijuana use. Here’s what parents need to know about drugged driving and the effect it can have on insurance coverage.

Drugged Driving: A Growing Concern
Pot use behind the wheel is a subset of a category that law enforcement and the traffic safety community call drugged driving. Every state has laws addressing it. In many, the laws say if a driver is stopped and authorities can prove the individual drove under the influence of any substance that impairs driving ability, he or she could be convicted of a DUI. Nearly one-third of states feature “per se” laws. These more strict laws say that any amount of a controlled substance found in the driver’s body is evidence of impaired driving.

The hazards of drunken driving are well known. A growing concern among researchers, law enforcement and those in the traffic safety community is the destruction wreaked by individuals driving under the influence of drugs including marijuana, cocaine and prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Conservative estimates put the cost of these accidents at 6,700 deaths and nearly $60 billion in costs each year.

The effects of marijuana use on driving vary from one person to the next. In the words of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects.” Concentrations of the drug are “very dependent on patterns of use as well as dose.”

Insurance Follows the Car
Driving while stoned is a serious matter for teen and twenty-something drivers, who risk death, injury, criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. In addition to those outcomes, drugged driving also can have financial impacts on parents, who often own and insure the cars their adult children drive.

“Insurance follows the car, not the driver,” says Loretta Worters, vice president of communications for the Insurance Information Institute, a national insurance trade association. A young person’s drugged-driving conviction is likely to be treated like a drunk driving conviction, whether the recreational use of pot is legal in that state, says Bob Passmore, personal lines policy senior director with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“As with any DUI conviction, your insurance company could cancel your policy, ask you to take the individual off the policy, or keep him or her on at a much higher rate, depending on the rules in the state,” Passmore says. “The individual with the conviction might need to get their own policy.” That would come at a much higher rate than if the driver is on his parents’ policy, he says.

Worters agrees. If a young person is convicted of driving under the influence, “insurance rates will jump astronomically, because driving under the influence is illegal,” she says. “DUI convictions can result in multi-year jail terms. You’re also putting the parents’ assets at risk” if there are civil lawsuits in connection with the accident, she warns.

Not every teen uses pot, of course. In 2012, less than 8 percent of youths ages 12-17 had used marijuana in the past month, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use & Health. And about 80 percent of teens say they disapprove of their friends using pot. Pot use increases markedly for young adults, however. In 2012, 18.7 percent of 18-to-25-year-olds had used marijuana in the past month.

If your child does use pot, you may need to take a tough stance when it comes to his or her use of your cars.

“Parents may want to consider either taking the car privileges away until they’ve cleaned up their act, or taking them off your insurance policy,” Worters says. An insurance company may not be comfortable with a young driver continuing to be on the policy if they’re “living in the same house, having possible access to the keys, even if they aren’t driving,” she says, “because that risk is always there.”

Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Parents should consider contacting their insurance agent to assess their coverage, preferably before a teen drives under their car insurance policy, experts says. Parents also might want to review their liability limits and consider an umbrella liability policy. This will provide protection in case their child causes a serious injury and is sued.

“You want to make sure you and your child are protected,” Passmore says.