If you have an accident, auto insurance can help protect you against financial loss. Very simply, it is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay a premium and the insurance company agrees to pay for your losses, due to an accident, as defined in your policy.
Auto insurance protects you on three fronts:
Most states require you to buy some vehicle coverage. If you’re financing a car, your lender may also require that you buy car insurance.
The six primary sections of an auto insurance policy
Your auto policy may include these six areas of coverage or a combination of them. Each is priced separately.
Each state requires that you have certain types of coverage combination with minimum liability limits. Talk to your agent about the type of coverage at a premium you can afford.
Footnote: This is a brief overview of how automobile insurance works. You should read a policy thoroughly before purchasing any insurance policy.
What you pay for your car insurance may vary greatly, depending on several factors including:
Here is a list of tips to consider when researching auto insurance that can help you save money on your car insurance costs.
Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs
Don’t be surprised. Know what a car costs to insure before you buy it. In part, insurance premiums are based on:
Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices. For more information on car safety, check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Needless to say, cars that are favorite targets for thieves cost more to insure. For information on car theft, check the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
Request a higher deductible
The deductible is the amount you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 can reduce your collision and comprehensive premium by as much as 15 to 30%, depending on your plan. Typicaly, the greater your deductible the more you save on premium. However, if something happens to your car you will need to have access to money to pay the amount of the deductible.
Re-evaluate coverage for older cars
If you have an older car, think about dropping the collision and/or comprehensive coverage. It may not be cost-effective to insure cars worth less than 10 times the amount you would pay for the coverage. Ask an auto dealer or bank about the value of your car or look it up online at Kelley Blue Book.
Consider buying your homeowners and car insurance from the same company
Many insurers give discounts if you buy two or more types of insurance policies from them, such as auto and home. Also, you may receive a discount if you have more than one vehicle insured with the same company. Some insurers reduce premiums for long-time customers. It’s also worth asking if the insurance company is offering new policy programs.
Most important, shop around; you may still save more money by buying your insurance from a different insurance company even with the multi-policy discount.
Ask for a low-mileage discount
If you drive less than the average number of miles per year, ask if your insurance company will offer you a discount. Low mileage discounts can also apply to drivers who carpool to work. If your insurance company doesn’t offer this discount it might be worthwhile to shop around.
Maintain a good credit rating
Your credit rating can affect your insurance premium, so monitor it carefully. You can check your credit rating with the three major credit-rating agencies Equifax, Experian, Trans Union.
Ask for a safe driver discounts
Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who have not had any accidents or moving violations for several years. You may also qualify for a rate cut if
The addition of a young driver to the policy may increases the premium, but may be eligible for a discount if he or she is a good student, has taken a driver’s education course or is away at a college that is at least 100 miles away from home.
Most importantly, work with a knowledgeable agent to make sure you get the right coverage at the right price.
Although they happen all too often, car crashes always take you by surprise and leave you feeling a bit dazed. That’s why it’s important to know what to do after you’ve been involved in a car accident, even if you’re in a bit of a daze.
You might be new to owning a motorcycle or you might be an enthusiast with years of riding experience. But, one thing that is consistent across the board is the importance of having the right motorcycle policy to meet your needs.
There are a variety of motorcycle policy options to meet your needs. Let your insurance agent explain the different liability limits; comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and medical coverage, in addition to the various deductible options available to you.
Here are some things to look for when choosing a specialized insurance policy for your motorcycle:
Remember, having the right motorcycle insurance coverage benefits you, your bike and others on the road.
There is nothing better than being out in your own boat on the open water. However, practicing safe boating and having the right insurance policy is critical to your well-being, passengers and your craft.
Many states now require boat owners to have boat insurance. If you have a loan on your boat or use a marina, you may also be required to have boat insurance.
Boat insurance is similar to your car insurance and can help protect you in the same way. As with car insurance, this policy protects you against liability and damage in the event of an accident. However, since boats have different features than your car, make sure your insurance company includes the coverage you need. Plus, boat insurance may differ depending on the type of craft you own. Each policy provides detail on what is covered and what is excluded.
Boat Insurance Coverage You Will Want:
It’s likely that your boat is docked some place other than your backyard. Regardless of where you store your boat, make sure your policy covers you from damage caused by;
Also, make sure your boat policy covers physical damage to:
Make sure your boat insurance coverage travels with you
Some insurance companies limit where you can go with your watercraft and still be covered, or they charge you extra if you travel. Confirm that your policy provides coverage in and out of the US, regardless of the body of water. If the policy does not provide the necessary coverage, make sure to add it for your trip out of the country.
It’s your home and you want to protect it with the right homeowner’s insurance policy. To do this it’s important to understand what a standard homeowner’s insurance policy includes. There are four key components consisting of:
This part of your policy generally pays to repair or rebuild your home if it is damaged or destroyed by fire, hurricane, hail, lightning or other disaster listed in your policy. It generally does not pay for damage caused by a flood, earthquake or just wear and tear. When purchasing coverage for the structure of your home, make sure to buy enough to rebuild your home. Also, review this coverage on an annual basis to make sure you have sufficient coverage.
Your furniture, clothes and other personal belongings are usually covered if they are stolen or destroyed by fire, hurricane or other insured disaster. Most companies provide coverage between 50% to 70% (this is just an average, every policy is different) of the amount of insurance you have on the structure of your home. The best way to determine if this is sufficient is to conduct a home inventory, in case you need to increase your coverage. If you have questions about what is covered by a specific policy, contact us.
This part of your policy may also include off-premises coverage, which means that your belongings are covered anywhere in the world, unless you have decided against this coverage.
Expensive items such as jewelry, furs and silverware are covered, but there are usually dollar limits if they are stolen. To insure these special items to their full value, consider purchasing a special personal property endorsement or floater and insure these items for their appraised value.
Trees, plants and shrubs are also covered under standard homeowners insurance. They are protected against theft, fire, lightning, explosion, vandalism, riot and even falling aircraft. They are not covered against damage by wind or disease.
Liability protects you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to someone else. It also pays for damage caused by your pets. So, if your child or dog accidentally breaks something in your neighbor’s yard, you are covered. The liability portion of your policy also pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy.
Liability limits generally start at about $100,000. Many recommend that you have up to $300,000 in coverage. Some people feel more comfortable with more coverage. You can also purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, including claims against you for libel and slander, as well as higher liability limits.
Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. If a friend or neighbor breaks an ankle playing basketball in your back yard, he or she can simply submit medical bills to your insurance company. Expenses are paid without a liability claim being filed against you. You can generally get $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage.
If your home is damaged because of a fire, storm or other insured disaster and you can’t live in it, this coverage pays the costs of living someplace else while your home is repaired or you find another place to live. While your home is being rebuilt, hotel bills, restaurant meals and other living expenses are covered. Coverage for additional living expenses differs from company to company.
Footnote: This is a brief overview of the coverage that can be included in a Homeowner’s Insurance policy. You should read a policy thoroughly before purchasing any insurance policy.
When buying a home you think about the mortgage and the bills associated with owning a home. But, just as important is to figure out what your homeowners insurance will cost.
It’s especially to figure out the cost of homeowners insurance to get an accurate budget your living expenses.
What is the right amount?
The simple answer is that it depends. There are several factors that can determine how much you will pay for your homeowners insurance.
Choose a Deductible That’s Right for You
Just like with a car, your deductible will impact the cost of your homeowners insurance. If you pick a plan with a high deductible, the annual fee for your insurance coverage most likely will be lower. However, if you have to make a claim for repairs to your home, your out-of-pocket cost will be higher. On the other hand, a low deductible will probably cost you more up front, but you will pay a smaller amount if you have a claim.
Determine the Value of Your Home and Property
If you’re buying an insurance policy to cover a home that’s worth $250,000, you’re going to pay more than someone whose home is worth half that amount. A solid assessment of what your home is worth will help determine the right amount of coverage you need.
The value of your personal belongings also has a lot to do with the value of your home. If you’re living in a home worth $150,000, but your belongings that are worth $50,000, you will will want a policy that covers both these amounts. Otherwise, if something happens, you could still be at a loss, even with insurance coverage.
Your Claim History
Unfortunately, the price you pay for homeowners coverage can also be affected by your past insurance history. Homeowners who had fewer claims typically pay less for insurance than those who have more claims. One of the considerations that all insurers have to keep in mind is your level of risk to the insurance company.
There’s so much that goes into determining the cost of homeowners insurance. It’s definitely worth talking to you agent to help determine the coverage that is right for you and within your budget.
Are you renting an apartment? If so, keep in mind that it’s up to you to protect your personal belongings from damage or theft with renters insurance.
Your landlord insures the building in which you live. However, it’s up to you to protect what is inside your apartment? As a renter, you need insurance to cover your personal things, such as clothing, furniture or electronic equipment.
Plus, renter’s insurance protects you if someone gets hurt in your apartment or breaks something. For example, a friend visits your apartment and trips over a rug, breaking an arm. Not only may your renters insurance cover the medical costs (depending on the policy) but also the cell phone your friend broke when tripped.
A renter’s policy protects your things, such as an iPod or computer, from theft in your apartment or anywhere in the world. The coverage may extend to fire damage, weather damage, explosion, smoke, vandalism, and plumbing leakage.
An independent agent can help you if you have questions as to the amount of coverage that’s right for you. Or, you can use an inventory of your possessions to determine the value of your property.
Depending on the extent of your possessions, you may require additional coverage for your individual needs. You can buy additional coverage for the following:
If you are sued, your renter’s personal liability protection helps cover the associated legal costs and related damages. Most renters policies provide $100,000 (minimum) of financial protection against liability claims and/or lawsuits brought by others for accidental bodily injury or damage to their property while
If you must move out of your apartment for a period due to a covered hazard such as fire, the policy might pay you up to 20% of the contents coverage for necessary additional living expenses (hotel, meals, laundry, etc.) while your damaged apartment is being repaired.
Many renters spend considerable time and money on alterations or redecorating. Under a renter’s policy, you may apply for up to 10% of your contents coverage to repair or replace these damaged improvements.
It’s important to inventory your apartment and possessions. It will save you precious time and frustration later. A personal property inventory is important because it:
A complete inventory includes the following information about each item on your inventory list:
No one can ever be prepared for a loss due to theft or damage, but make sure you take the necessary steps to reduce the stress from the aftermath. It’s only after a loss, that many people find out they were not sufficiently covered.
What is peace of mind worth to you? For some, it’s knowing that they are protecting their assets and future with personal umbrella liability insurance.
Umbrella insurance is designed to give you added liability protection above and beyond the limits on your homeowners, auto and other personal insurance policies. With an umbrella policy, depending on the insurance company, you can add between $ 1 to 5 million in liability protection. This protection is designed to take over when the liability on other current policies has been exhausted.
Liability insurance is the portion of a homeowners or auto policy that pays for expenses such as the injured person’s medical bills, lost wages, or damages to a car due to the person at fault. The liability portion of an insurance policy also covers legal expenses if the negligence results in any court proceedings. After adding up all of the medical expenses for the injured and the legal fees, the standard liability in one’s homeowners or auto policy may be sufficient.
Almost every state has financial responsibility laws that hold drivers accountable for bodily injury and property damage due to a car accident for which the at-fault driver could be sued for damages. Consequently, personal assets from the at-fault driver could be seized as a result of a lawsuit. Similar laws are in force for home, watercraft and motorcycle owners.
A personal liability umbrella insurance policy gives you added liability protection without much added cost. Having the added protection of an umbrella policy is coverage you shouldn’t think twice about –especially for the extra peace of mind it provides.
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