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Archive for the ‘Personal Protection’ Category

Common and Expensive Car Insurance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Important Information

Most people will not argue the need to have car insurance for their cars because they know that how important auto insurance is to cover difficult situations such as theft, natural disasters, and accidents.

However, what most car-owners don’t know is how to avoid certain car insurance challenges. Some of the the most common mistakes range from paying too much, not having adequate coverage for your insurance needs, or signing up for redundant policies.

Here are some other challenges…

Not fully understanding the coverage you’ve purchased

Do not be deceived by the term “full coverage”. You might not be as covered as you think you are. Never make assumptions about the coverage you have or don’t have. Always get clarity on your insurance contract. Your agent should be happy to help you understand. And if they leave you with more questions than answers, we’re here to help!

Not asking about discounts

There are numerous discounts you may be entitled to have, such as price reductions, discounts for seniors, students, safe drivers, and lots more. Also, you could save on your premiums based on how your vehicle is equipped. Never fear of asking your insurance agent for discounts. They add up!

Neglecting to compare rates

While shopping for insurance isn’t really fun, getting multiple quotes is beneficial…  comparing rates benefits your wallet and gives you peace of mind. The good news is that as an independent agency we compare rates between multiple carriers to find the best policies for our clients!

Purchasing only the state-required minimum

Purchasing state minimums for your insurance may keep your insurance premiums low. However, it will always cost you more if and when you need to make a claim. It is advisable to pay a little bit extra just for that peace of mind. That way you will be ready for anything that comes your way with complete coverage.

Avoiding these car insurance mistakes is easy and we’ll gladly help. If you have questions about car insurance, please reach out to us!

Preventing Future Auto Insurance Problems

Choosing the right insurance policy can be an excruciating process for many people, and they try as fast as possible to get through it. When getting auto insurance, most people prefer to go with a company they know or one they often see on TV. Often, folks discover too late via terrible customer service or a complicated claim filling process that their auto insurance is doing more harm than good.

The smarter way to buy auto insurance

Vehicles are not assets, but a liability. They start depreciating the moment you put on your ignition and start to drive home. Right from there, your car will continue to lose value and cost you money. No one wants to lose their vehicle or overspend on the car for repairs after an accident. So it’s wise to take time and choose the right auto insurance policy suitable for you and your needs.

There are several things you can do when choosing an auto insurance plan. The first is to check all details of what is included in the package. A lot of people pay little or no attention to these details until an accident occurs. Of course by then, it’s too late. And some folks also make the mistake of opting for the lowest quote they can get. However, they fail to understand that the coverage is insufficient.

A lot of people will think that by omitting family members who drive the car “occasionally” that they are saving money. However, they may be voiding their insurance altogether. It’s best to really thoroughly discuss your situation and planned car-use to be sure you have adequate insurance coverage.

Prepare for the future

If you go to a little extra effort to protect your vehicle with the right insurance, you  can significantly decrease the potential risks you face.

Always have it in the back of your mind that the cheapest insurance policy isn’t always the best option for you. You will have to consider several factors before choosing an insurance provider. Apart from the price, other factors to consider include customer service, feedback from customers, and financial stability.

Oh, and we offer an extra benefit. We secure quotes between multiple carriers to help you find the most competitive rates. That means we take care of the shopping for you.

And if you’re on the lookout for great information about insurance topics that impact health and your pocketbook, check back here often. And please contact us anytime for all insurance related questions.

Getting the Right Car Insurance Coverage

Each auto insurance policy is a collection of policy options bundled together. The size, configuration, and protection for auto insurance policies will vary by the policyholder.

Here’s how auto insurance policies break down, and what that means for you:

Liability Insurance. Liability insurance is the coverage necessary for driving legally in most states. Auto liability insurance will pay to victims in accidents where the insured is at-fault, within limits. The driver at-fault and any passengers in the at-fault vehicle will not be compensated.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance. If hit by a driver without insurance or inadequate insurance for the damages, uninsured/underinsured coverage can compensate for the difference.

Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (BIL). BIL coverage covers the medical expenses for victims of at-fault accidents. BIL inclusions are often listed as pairs, such as “25/50”. The first number in this ratio is the maximum dollar amount per claimant. The second is the maximum amount of liability insurance covered by the policy.

Collision Insurance. Collision insurance covers repairs to the vehicle following a mishap. Collision insurance is optional coverage and can pay for single-vehicle claims as well.

Property Damage Liability Insurance. Oftentimes, property damages are included in a vehicle mishap. Looking at BIL coverage, there may be a third number listed. For example, property damage limits of 25,000 on a 25/50 BIL policy will be included last, listed as 25/50/25.

Comprehensive Auto Insurance. Loss can occur without there being an accident. For vehicles stolen or damaged in a way uncovered by other policy inclusions, comprehensive coverage can cover repairs or replacement.

Personal Injury Protection. Regardless of fault, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance can cover medical expenses for both driver and passengers. Policies may also include compensation for lost wages during recovery.

Auto insurance is more than a protective measure, it’s a legal requirement just about everywhere. For more on the minimum auto insurance requirements for your state, contact a local auto insurance agent. The consequences for uninsured driving can be costly.

The legal minimum is a guide for ensuring drivers on the road are able to fulfill potential responsibilities. In cases where the claim exceeds coverage limits, the burden falls on the driver at-fault. To help avoid paying costs out-of-pocket, ask about increasing insurance coverage limits. As assets may be seized for repair costs, matching insurance coverage limits to total personal asset value is recommended.

Getting the Right Amount of Insurance

There’s more to getting the right amount of insurance. Many people are paying more than necessary for protection. Insurance protection can overlap depending on policy options, employer benefits, and other insurance coverage. Get the best savings by speaking with an agent. A review of insurance protection can help get the best protection while saving money.

Personal means for procuring insurance will affect how much coverage is possible, yet through discounts and bundling options, there may be more options available than at first glance. Deductible amounts vary by person and will affect insurance rates. Selecting the highest-affordable deductible helps deliver the lowest rates. This means paying more in case of a claim, yet oftentimes can be cheaper than paying higher monthly rates.

In FL, HI, KS, MA, MI, MN, NJ, NY, ND, PA, UT, and Puerto Rico, drivers are required to carry N0-Fault Insurance. This insurance pays out regardless of fault and limits litigation options. These policies tend to be pricey and shopping for the best rates can lead to big savings.

Shopping for Car Insurance

With personal coverage limits in mind, it’s time to begin comparing rates and policy options. Auto policies and rates vary depending on driver history, the vehicle, location and more. Speak to an independent insurance agent for help finding the best auto insurance policy match.

Independent insurance agents return quotes for multiple insurance carriers. This places the power to choose in the hands of the buyer. With multiple quotes, it’s simple to compare rates and coverage. An independent agent can help tailor a policy to fit your lifestyle and financial profile. Incredibly more in-depth than an anonymous online quote quotes from independent insurance agents are far more accurate, tailored by someone invested in your policy.

Rather than working directly with a single major carrier, independent insurance agents are free to work for the customer, making carriers compete. Agents working directly for carriers are limited to their policies and rules, severely limiting their means to personalize a policy.

Negotiating for Discounts on Insurance

Ask about insurance discounts. Many insurance discounts are available and can change depending on carrier. Bundling discounts, safety discounts, student discounts and many others are available. An independent agent is your insurance representative. Their goal is your satisfaction. Contact an independent agent for a list of auto insurance quotes today.

6 Steps to Take Following a Vehicle Collision

Vehicle collisions happen each day to drivers of all ages. They are part of life in big cities and small towns. Knowing the correct actions to take following an auto collision can have a lasting impact on insurance premiums and possible legal repercussions. Take the correct measures to stay protected. Here are 6 steps to take following a vehicle collision:

1. Get to Safety

The action to take following an auto collision is getting to safety. Depending on the situation, this could mean moving a vehicle safely to the shoulder or exiting the automobile immediately. Always place safety as the top priority above all else. Create distance from moving traffic and other hazards before moving ahead.

2. Evaluate for Injury

A vehicle collision sends the adrenaline response into overdrive. Shock can distract from injuries. Check for personal injuries and encourage all others involved to do the same. If any back or neck injuries are suspected, immobilization is recommended. Any medically trained personnel can perform first aid if the situation allows.

3. Contact First Responders

After moving to safety and applying immediate first aid, call 911 and request aid. This is recommended any time there’s a vehicle collision, regardless of severity. Injuries may take days or longer to appear. Additionally, insurance carriers may reference official records following a vehicle collision.

4. Collect Information

With safety and first aid under control, it’s time to collect pertinent information from the people involved. More than driver name and car insurance carrier, thoroughly record the scene. Take photographs of the vehicles, damage, and the scene. Speak to the first responders to gather any relevant information. Trauma can affect short-term memory. Record responses for simple reference and accuracy.

5. Be Cooperative 

Following a vehicle collision, you may be in a heightened state of emotional response. This can make it challenging to be cooperative with other drivers and first responders. Other drivers are likely energized as well and may be challenging to communicate with. Be part of the solution.

6. Exercise Neutrality

One of the first gut responses following a vehicle collision or other trauma is talk it out. It’s perfectly natural yet following a vehicle collision a casual remark may cause trouble. After a vehicle collision, stay neutral with other drivers, witnesses, and responders. This includes remaining silent on social media channels. Inadvertently admitting fault may lead to increased insurance premiums and more.

Afterward, contact an insurance agent to report the collision and begin a claim. Agents are ready to help overcome vehicle collisions so you can get back on the road. Auto collisions are equal-opportunists and can happen anywhere. Prepare with comprehensive auto insurance and drive protected.

Update Home Insurance & Cover Natural Disasters

Homeowners are taking too many risks with insurance coverage. According to a recent study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), only a small percentage of homeowners plan for natural disasters when updating insurance plans. Approximately 4/5 homeowners are lacking sufficient insurance protection. Saving a couple of bucks today may cost a lot tomorrow. The Commission encourages all homeowners to consider updating insurance plans to include adequate coverage for natural disasters.

This past year, the nation watched as Houston and the Gulf states were struck by catastrophic flooding. In the Southwest, Northern Nevada was subject to catastrophic flooding as well. Many of the local homeowners found only too late their homeowners’ insurance policies lacked coverage for floods. In California, wildfires have ravaged the landscape leaving the door open for mudslides and erosion.

For most damages caused by natural disasters, additional insurance protection is required. The Commission’s survey found over half of homeowners were unfamiliar with their insurance policy. Between 2005 and 2015, natural disasters led to $24 billion in insurance claims. For those with protection, that’s a lot of savings.

Speak to an agent to review and update your homeowners’ insurance policy. In some cases, insurance coverage will have a mandatory waiting period before taking effect. Before disaster strikes, ask an agent about extra insurance protection for:

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Flooding
  • Wildfires

A local agent will be familiar with other potential hazards specific to the area.

Additional questions to think about when updating a homeowners insurance policy include:

  • Were any changes or upgrades made to the home?
  • Has the number of home occupants changed?
  • Have any valuables been added to the home?

Matching homeowners insurance protection with the property protected will ensure compensation is swift and appropriate in case of a natural disaster.

Take steps to help keep home and property safe during a natural disaster. Always stay aware of local emergency warnings and follow official instructions for evacuation and disaster response.

Misleading Insurance Carriers Can Cost You

Drivers may be leaving some details out on their insurance policies. A lot of drivers it would seem, as a recent poll found over 80% of drivers fudge the details when obtaining a car insurance policy. There are a number of ways to save on car insurance from safe-driver discounts to policy bundling. Falsifying details to save money will likely cost more in the long run.

According to the survey, the top 5 ways drivers try to mislead insurance carriers are:

1. Misrepresenting annual mileage
2. Listing an incorrect primary driver
3. Falsifying the purpose of the vehicle (personal, commercial, etc)
4. Submitting misleading information about vehicle location
5. Omitting previous insurance claims history

For most people submitting false information, the primary motivation is financial gain. This is a risky gamble with potentially costly consequences.

Insurance carriers are on the lookout for this. Insurers are likely to void policies with intentional omissions or misrepresentations. This can be particularly risky in case of a claim as falsified policies may be dropped right when you need coverage most. That means that in case of a car accident, drivers can find themselves on the hook for extensive medical and property damages.

Falsifying insurance documents can have long-term impacts on insurance policy availability and the prices for premiums. Insurance carriers may be unwilling to carry policies for a driver with a history of telling “white lies”. Beyond higher future premiums, there is more than continuous auto insurance coverage at stake. Call it what you may, a “white lie” is an intentional omission. In the eyes of the law, this is considered insurance fraud, punishable by both fines and incarceration.

On the brighter side, it’s still possible to get great rates on comprehensive auto insurance plans. Our agents can help find the maximum number of discounts for honest coverage at affordable rates.

Personal Auto Policy Voided Because of Business Driving

Entrepreneurs utilizing personal vehicles for business may want to consider extra insurance protection. Making deliveries and service calls with personal vehicles may limit insurance coverage. This can be true for accidents while working or while on personal business. A local small business owner learned this the hard way. On the way to visit a friend there was a collision resulting in significant damage to the vehicle. Although her personal policy would generally cover the damages the insurance company denied the claim. Personal auto insurance policies extend to protect many small business owners yet in some cases, vehicles employed for specific commercial purposes may be excluded from coverage.

Most small business owners are protected under personal auto insurance policies. In some cases though, the commercial purpose for the vehicle may limit or forfeit coverage. For cars and trucks performing deliveries, equipped with commercial license plates, carrying passengers and emergency vehicles extra insurance coverage is necessary. In this case, the driver owned a small business selling heaters and a small part of that included deliveries.

The owner recently switched insurance carriers online to save money. Checking the box during the quotation process, they reported 30% of the vehicle mileage related to business purposes. Reviewing the insurance claim and the business services after the collision, the claim and repayment were denied. Shocked, the business owner learned the limits of personal auto insurance protection too late. This leaves the owner with a damaged personal and business vehicle, without compensation from the auto insurer.

Business owners mixing personal and business trips with the same vehicle may want to consider extra insurance protection. For more information on personal and commercial auto insurance policies contact an agent. We’re always keeping up with insurance-related topics that may impact health or wallet. For any questions about insurance, call anytime for answers.

Watch Out for Deer

Watch Out for Deer

Fall is here in full effect. With the red and golden landscapes, hot cider and crisp air comes an increase in car insurance claims due to animal-related crashes, especially from deer. November is the peak month for deer-related crashes nationally and Virginia leads with the highest number of occurrences. Because of this, the State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance encourages all drivers to be careful when driving, especially early or late in the day in areas where deer are present.

Virginia State Insurance Commissioner Jacqueline K. Cunningham reports deer mating season and associated movement patterns are the primary reasons for the increase in deer-related car accidents during the Fall season. She encourages Virginia drivers to watch out for any types of wildlife on or near the highway. Cunningham recommends contacting an insurance agent for specific coverage.

Insurance protection from damages related to accidents involving deer or other animals is optional, commonly grouped with other optional collision protection. This includes situations like flooding, fire, theft, and criminal damage. Bear in mind that basic plans for liability protection will not cover damages to a vehicle or occupants caused by collisions with deer or other animals.

At last half of all accidents involving deer occur during the last quarter of the year; the months of October, November, and December. During this time of year, the beautiful changing seasons draw more traffic to scenic wooded locations. At the same time, deer mating seasons leads to a marked increase in activity, while reduced daylight hours limit roadway visibility. All these lead factors and more lead to an increase of vehicles and deer sharing the same stretch of road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1.5 million collisions with deer are recorded each year. These lead to a shockingly-high 200 deaths per year, and more than 10,000 injuries of varying degree. These collisions cause monetary damages in excess of over $1 billion annually.

During the Fall, deer are going to be on the roadway. To help decrease the chances of hitting deer while driving, exercise caution while driving through wooded areas. If you spot deer, slow down and be prepared to stop if the deer enter the road. If a collision is unavoidable, stay in the proper lane decrease speed as much as safely possible to limit damage to the vehicles and persons involved. If a deer is struck, call the police and your insurance agent as soon as safe to do so. Take pictures of the crash site, vehicle damage and any damage to the vehicle. In the case a claim is submitted, these will likely help. Check for leaks, tire pressure, light function, and inspect for damage. If the car feels unsafe to drive,c call for a tow.

We’re always looking for good information about insurance subjects that may impact your health and wallet. Reach out any time for any insurance-related questions.

What Flood Insurance Covers

This year, hurricane season struck in full force. Homeowner’s in many states are beginning the long process of rebuilding after the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. For many, this is the first time filing a claim for flood insurance. Often, after a flood homeowners are surprised to find they lack sufficient insurance coverage. Flood insurance is separate from home yet in some Gulf states, only 20% of homes have flood insurance protection.

For homeowners protected by flood insurance, there may yet be gaps in coverage. Protection through the FEMA-controlled National Flood Insurance Program is limited, leaving some homeowner’s holding the bill. Under the National Flood Insurance Program homeowner’s balance coverage and gaps.

Insurance Coverage Under the National Flood Insurance Plan

  • Life Essentials. Systems such as electrical and plumbing, HVAC, sump pumps and similar. This includes covering water and fuel supplies, and solar energy.
  • Home appliances. Integrated appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers are protected, as well as portable AC and refrigeration.
  • Carpeting and window coverings. Installed carpeting, blinds, and drapes are generally covered.
  • Permanently installed additions. Installed cabinets, bookcases, and wall paneling are covered.
  • Foundation support. Walls which anchor the home in place, and structural staircases.
  • Separate garages. Up to 10% of coverage can be directed toward the garage, leaving 90% for the home.
  • Personal effects. Clothing, furniture, and electronics stored above ground. Additional protection for valuables, up to $2500.

Mudslides and other water damage may be covered, depending on the cause. The program covers above-ground pool leaks and burst pipes, yet neglects other damages such as sewage-backups.

Gaps in the National Flood Insurance Program

Gaps in the program mean some things slip through the insurance safety net. Covered areas on the previous list, when underground, in a crawlspace, or in any other excluded area will be left unprotected. The National Flood Insurance Program caps coverage at $250,000 per house. Prepare for different deductible rates for the home and the possessions within.

Obtaining Flood Insurance

Flood insurance policies take effect 30 days after purchase. The same carries for plans through the government or through an insurance agency. Rates for the FEMA program are set by the government, regardless of location. This means homeowner’s in low-risk areas may be paying geographically above-average rates.

A local flood insurance agent will explain the differences in FEMA and private insurance protection as they apply to your area and home. Home elevation, local weather, proximity to water, home age and more all matter when designing a flood insurance policy.

The Right Comprehensive Flood Insurance

More homeowners are turning to private flood insurance through a local agency. Private flood insurance generally has higher coverage amounts with rates matched to the local area. Often, flood insurance comes as a rider with homeowner’s insurance. Depending on location, private flood insurance may be more affordable than insurance through FEMA. Private plans often cover more than government policies, including damage estimation costs and living expenses, during the claims process.

To learn more about flood insurance protection and the policy options available, contact a local agent. Compare all the options based on your specific needs to find the right flood insurance policy fit. 30-day activation periods mean planning ahead makes all the difference. Protect home and property today with flood insurance.

Have a question about flood insurance, or another insurance topic? Contact an agent for more information. Please send in any article topics you’d like to see featured!

In An Auto Accident? Do This

Car accidents happen to new and old drivers alike. Knowing the steps to take following an accident can ease the insurance process and protect drivers from liability. The correct immediate actions can save insurance and personal worries later. These are the steps to take following an auto accident:

1. Be Safe

Before anything, secure the scene. Safety is the top priority. Exiting vehicles, placing flares or cones, or moving off the roadway may be necessary. Exercise judgment. Remain on the shoulder and away from traffic.

2. Assess for Injuries

Following an auto accident, people may be in shock, unaware of injuries. Check the persons involved. Persons with suspected back injuries should remain in place. For those comfortable doing so, apply first aid where necessary. Any medical staff present may be able to assist.

3. Call 911

As soon as possible, call 911. If performing first aid, direct another person to call emergency services. This is also true for car accidents without any injury, as police records may be important. If alone, call 911 quickly.

4. Gather Information

After completing the preliminary steps, gather information for later insurance purposes later. Collect driver information including insurance carriers. Take photos of the scene, vehicles involved, and license plates. Any information regarding first responders may help. These experiences are harrowing; important details may be lost to memory. Write all information down.

5. Cooperate

Accidents may trigger intense emotional responses. Working together with first responders and other drivers helps accomplish more. Medical personnel train for this.

6: Remain Neutral

Discussing the accident, the time period leading up to it, or personal involvement would be a poor decision. The moments immediately following may be the worst time for discussion. Inform police a statement will be available at a later time. For drivers concerned about involvement, a lawyer may be helpful.

7. Stay Silent on Social Media

The urge for talking about a car accident on social media may be strong, yet this is strongly inadvisable. Detectives and lawyers count on this, scouring social media accounts for incriminating information.

Once things settle, contact an insurance agent. The unexpected happens. Prepare with a plan and comprehensive auto insurance. Always a source for great information about auto insurance and other insurance-related topics, contact an agent for insurance questions.