With leaves falling and cold temperatures filling the air, it’s time to pay extra attention to the road and to potential animal hazards including deer. A deer popping out from the side of the road is a scary proposition at any time of year and especially hazardous when road conditions are slick with fresh rain or icy because of cold temperatures. Peak accident times include both the early and late hours of the day.
In truth it is important to keep a continuous lookout for all kinds of wildlife near or on the highway. And be sure to understand what kind of animal-related insurance claims are covered in your insurance policy.
Insurance coverage from damages associated with accidents involving deer or other animals may be optional depending on your insurance and carrier. Knowing this is important. If you presently lack protection, find out what it would cost to add the optional coverage. It’s typically a small investment that can save you should you suffer a collision with a deer, elk, or other animal.
At the very same time, be sure to practice good safe driving protocols. Indeed many safe-driving advocates say to brake but never swerve to avoid the animal. (You may swerve into oncoming traffic or lose traction on the road.) Exercise caution while driving through wooded areas. Slow down and be prepared to stop if the deer go into the road if you spot deer or other wildlife. If a deer is struck, call the police and your insurance agent as quickly as safe to do so. Take images of the crash site, automobile damage and any damage to the car. Be sure to include images of the animal as further proof of the cause of the accident. And in the event a claim is submitted, be sure to have your care thoroughly evaluated mechanically.
The late fall and winter months bring an increase in driving activity on roads that may already present challenges. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1.5 million accidents with deer are documented each year. More than 200 of these resulted in fatalities and cost an estimated $1 billion in damages each year… so take care. Be sure you’re protected. Practice safe driving.
And if this causes you some concern, we’re here to help. Be sure to reach out to us if you have questions about your auto insurance.
If you’re a driver in the US, or many countries for that matter, you are required by law to have car insurance. Driving without car insurance is illegal, and for a very good reason. Although a technical US exception is New Hampshire, where drivers don’t have to have insurance per se… they still have to be able to prove that they have enough money put away in order to pay out if a crash happens. For all intents and purposes… you have to have car insurance in the US.
Over 37,000 people die in US car crashes every year, with a further 2.3 million becoming injured or disabled. All of this mounts up to a whopping $230 billion in costs annually, and car insurance is designed to protect drivers (and their four-wheeled assets) in case of unexpected events. Still, if you’re idiotic enough to drive without insurance and get caught, here are some of the consequences you’re likely to face.
If you get caught driving without valid insurance, you’re likely to get a ticket and you will also be fined. Although the fines vary from state to state, some parts of the country charge you thousands of dollars if you’re caught driving without insurance.
The police have the power to remove and suspend your driving license if you’re caught driving without auto insurance, something which no driver wants to deal with! You’ll only be able to get your license back if you pay to have it reinstated (which isn’t cheap) and also provide proof of insurance. It can vary from state to state when it comes to how long you’ll have your license suspended, and repeat offenders can see their license being taken away permanently.
If you’re caught driving without insurance by police, you could be prevented from driving away by them having your car towed. You needn’t be in a crash or serious incident – you might have your car pulled over due minor speeding or a broken taillight, suddenly finding that your car is being towed away and impounded because you’re driving around uninsured.
While you haggle for insurance in the meantime, you’ll also be racking up impound fees too, making any financial struggles greatly exaggerated. In some regions, they begin auctioning your car away if you cannot pay and organize insurance quickly enough! In NYC, your car starts to go through the auction process a mere 72 hours after being impounded!
You could wind up in serious financial trouble
If you have a crash and you’re found to be at fault, you’re very likely to be financially responsible for covering the medical bills and repair expenses of the driver you crashed into, something which would have been made much easier had you possessed auto insurance. If you cannot pay, the victim driver may take you to court, causing you to rack up a fortune on legal fees, damages, and much more.
Police are beginning to get serious
The average uninsured driver rate in the US is around 12%, although some states are trying very hard to crack down on this number even further. For example, in Arizona, the police conduct random tests to see whether vehicles are insured or not. If they aren’t, the police will suspend the car owner’s driving license. Also, in Louisiana, the police are now able to monitor residents’ car insurance status in real time. For example, if pulling someone over at a traffic stop, Louisiana police will be able to check the driver’s insurance status almost instantly.
Getting future insurance
The irony here is that all of these consequences will be noted down and recorded in official documents, making it even more difficult and expensive for you to get insurance in the future. Having had your license suspended, for example, is likely to raise your insurance premiums when you DO look to organize insurance. Lying for your car insurance policy is insurance fraud, something which would also increase your premiums. The moral of the story is to simply follow the law, be honest, and choose adequate coverage. Otherwise, you could find yourself in both legal and financial trouble.
Looking for affordable car insurance which is tailored to your individual needs and circumstances? Get in touch with a member of our expert team today, who can consult with you and offer you top-tier advice.
We’ve all been there at some point – you’ve just passed your test, you’re excited to finally have some freedom, and then you realize that you’re going to have to pay car insurance. Car insurance, like all insurance, features premiums which are calculated according to risk. Unfortunately, the younger and the more inexperienced you are at driving, the higher the risk is that you’re going to crash. The result? Largely unaffordable car insurance premiums for young drivers.
You see, drivers aged between 15-20 make up only 6.7% of all drivers in the country, yet they’re involved in 20% of all the crashes. The numbers just aren’t in the favour of young drivers and college students! Nonetheless, finding affordable car insurance for college students is still a possibility. Here are some ways to find an affordable car insurance plan if you’re a college student.
Get good grades
Certain insurers, such as Allstate and Geico, will offer car insurance discounts to college students who can demonstrate that they achieve good grades, the thinking being that straight-A students are less likely to be reckless drivers. State Farm even offers a 25% discount for students with high grades! To qualify for such discounts, you usually have to be 25 or younger, enrolled in a school/college/university full time, maintaining a 3.0 GPA (or be on the honor roll/ dean’s list), and be able to provide proof of your grades via a report card, school letter, or another means of proof.
Look into pay-as-you-go coverage
If your car is mainly used for social and recreational use, such as going to visit friends or going to the grocery store, it may be worth considering pay-as-you-go car insurance which costs less if you driver fewer miles. Officially known as usage-based insurance (UBI), this type of insurance uses data about your driving to determine your premiums, meaning that it will be lower if you drive safely and less often. However, if you’re prone to long late-night trips and heavy acceleration, this may not be the best thing for you.
Choose an adequate amount of coverage
The state you’re in will have a minimum coverage requirement, so you should be sure to comply with this if you think that you’re going to need a more traditional driver-based car insurance plan. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a map which can tell you the insurers in your university’s state, ensuring that you’re adequately protected. For example, Nevada state laws stipulate that you must have a car insurance liability policy which covers $55,000, while in Texas, you need to have at least $115,000 in liability coverage.
After meeting the minimum state requirements, decide whether or not you need extra coverage. For example, if you drive an expensive car or you’re moving to an area which is known for car theft and crime, you may want to consider additional coverage. On the other hand, if you’re a very safe driver who is unlikely to crash, increasing your deductible could dramatically reduce the cost of your premiums.
Think about staying on your family’s plan
Surveys show that around 52% of college students leave their car at home when they leave for college. Even if you’re one of those people, it may be a good idea to stay on your family’s multicar insurance plan. You can be named as an “occasional” driver on the policy, keeping you protected when you drive at home, while still reducing your premiums. This is sometimes called a “resident student discount” or “student away at school discount”, and usually applies to students attending college more than 100 miles away from their parental home.
All things considered, you should consider your budget and your existing expenses when deciding what car insurance you can afford. Are there existing expenses, such as textbooks and groceries, which you may be able to cut down on? Whatever you do, avoid being underinsured, as getting into a crash without adequate insurance could see your claim being rejected, meaning you’ll pay enormous sums of money – often more than you would’ve saved by having too-low premiums in the first place.
If you’re a college student looking for advice of affordable car insurance, why not get in touch with a member of our knowledgeable insurance team today?
If you’re looking to buy a new car, there’s an awful lot of factors to consider in addition to the purchase price, and ensuring that you can afford them all is an essential part of the car-buying process. Here we list some factors to consider when buying a new car!
Financing vs Purchasing
If you can purchase a car in full, this is always the better option financially, as you won’t be paying any interest on the price. However, if you’re looking to finance your car, you need to assess the deal carefully and look into the loan term, interest rate, and more. If you must finance, try to put down a large down payment, as this will reduce your interest rate and reduce your monthly payments overall.
Taxes and Fees
Bear in mind that you’ll have to pay sales tax when purchasing a car, and this is calculated differently depending on which state you’re in, so be sure to check the local sales tax regulations. In addition, some states charge your car with an annual tax which is variable according to the vehicle you own. All of this is also combined with registration, license plate, and title fees, which could easily set you back up to $800 per year depending on your car’s make and model.
Insurance companies use a magical formula of never-ending criteria in order to ascertain the monthly premiums on your car insurance, and the power of modern data analytics is helping them to scrutinize drivers more than ever before. Although quotes will inevitably vary from carrier to carrier, younger and more inexperienced drivers will always be charged substantially more for their premiums, and people who have been involved in accidents will have higher monthly premiums too. Some vehicles are cheaper to insure than others due to a range of factors, so be sure to look into which vehicles within your price range are cheap to insure for you. There are also other ways of potentially lowering your auto insurance premiums, such as volunteering to pay a higher excess in the event that you do have to put in a claim.
If you’re looking to buy a huge gas-guzzling SUV, prepare to pay a lot in gasoline every month. Of course, your gas spending will vary widely on your type of vehicle and how often you drive, as well as the type of fuel that your vehicle uses. Buying a smaller car with an efficient engine and driving it rarely will obviously bring your gas budget down compared to driving around in a large SUV for many hours a week.
There are many other things to consider when buying a car, such as maintenance costs when things go awry. If you’re looking to lower the cost of your auto insurance, speak to a member of our dedicated team today!
It’s hard to know when to shop around for your home insurance, as there are no set guidelines in place unless you’re moving or getting married. Because of this mysteriousness surrounding home insurance, here we have ascertained some guidelines to help you decide that it’s time to look into your home insurance.
Buying a house
This is, of course, the most obvious one, as it’s critical to insure your new investment. You should take out a home insurance policy before you close on the home, although bear in mind that you may not know everything you need to know about the property if you don’t live there yet.
When your home’s value changes
The most obvious time that your home’s value changes is when you have extension work or restoration work done. Whether you’re building a large storage shed or you’re remodeling your bathroom, any major changes which affect your home’s value need to be accounted for in your home insurance policy or you’ll risk being underinsured.
After you buy expensive items
Your personal property is covered by your home insurance, so you should consider adjusting your policy or shopping around if you decide to bring home a 50-inch 4K TV or a priceless set of golf clubs one day. Sometimes your current insurer may raise your premiums substantially if you buy a bunch of high-value items and put them in your home, so it may be a good idea to shop around at this point if necessary.
When your premium goes up for no apparent reason
Home insurance premiums are inevitably affected by factors outside of your control such as burglaries and floods in your local area. Most homeowners will realize these changes when it comes time to renew their policies, and this may be a good time to shop around. It may turn out that your premium is low when compared to other insurers who have also adjusted their rates according to new data, or you may find that your insurer is taking advantage of you. Whatever happens, there’s no harm in heading to your laptop and finding out whether other insurers would also charge you similar premiums for forces out of your control.
When switching auto insurance
Many companies offer combined bundles for home and auto insurance, meaning that you could be entitled to generous discounts if switching your policies in one fell swoop. However, entangling your insurance policies in this way can make things complicated if you want to switch or amend things in the future. For example, if you get a new car or move, you might find that your rates are adversely affected.
When you’re not satisfied with your current insurer
We’ve all heard horror stories of insurers not paying out when the time comes, and this is an obvious alarm bell if you’ve had a bad customer experience with an insurance company. In an ideal world, your insurer should be customer-oriented, knowledgeable, and they should fill you with confidence. There are many polls and surveys available which detail the best companies for customer service and satisfaction – insurance providers are no exception and you should look to switch if you’re unhappy with how you’re being treated.
If you are dropped as a customer
Insurers are indeed able to drop you as a customer, although it obviously depends on the circumstances and their reasons for doing so. If your insurer does drop you, try to find out the exact reason(s) why and take note, as this information could help you to negotiate a deal which covers you when looking for alternative insurance providers down the line. Take note of the dates and amounts paid, as this information is important, and be sure to maintain a record of your claims and any relevant details. You could also order a CLUE report in order to help you with your insurance shopping process.
Home insurance ultimately protects what is usually your largest asset – your home. As a result, it is important to speak to a team which is knowledgeable and up-to-date on the latest developments in home insurance policies and premiums. If you need help, contact us today and see how we can assist you in your personal situation.
It’s easy to worry about your home when you’re away on a vacation or a business trip. Did you lock all the doors? Did you leave the stove on? Does it look obvious that the house is empty? These are all legitimate worries when you’re spending time away from your humble abode. Fret not, however, as here we have compiled some ways of securing and protecting your home while you are away on business or pleasure!
First things first, you should start with the basics. For example, put your interior lights on timers if you want your home to appear to be occupied while you are away. Next, you should ensure that your mail and newspaper deliveries are delayed so that mail isn’t piling up on your porch or in your letterbox. Also, make sure to set your thermostat appropriately and ensure that most of your appliances are unplugged or switched off entirely. Don’t forget to set your house alarm!
Water damage and appliance damage
If you want to save energy, turn down your water heater’s temperature and switch off your hot water recirculation pump. You can also suspend your internet with many ISPs, temporarily halting your internet service. It’s also a great idea to unplug appliances which aren’t necessary while you’re away (i.e. don’t unplug the fridge) or plug them into surge protectors and then turn them off.
If you have any leaky faucets or other similar problems, you aren’t going to be around to keep an eye on them. As a result, you should look to get these issues fixed before departure. Also, it may be a good idea to shut off your home’s main water supply while away. Shutting off individual appliance valves and clearing your gutters are also good measures to take.
Although having the appropriate insurance will certainly help to ease your mind, there are ways to prevent burglaries from ever happening in the first place. First of all, secure your windows and doors, even if they are on the higher levels of your house. Burglars are not incapable of accessing your property via trees or ladders. Next, make sure that you use a reliable home alarm system which covers the appropriate areas of your home. Then, make sure that any high-value items such as jewelry or high-end appliances are secured, out of sight, and hidden. You should also consider installing motion-activated lights outside your home.
Never leave a spare key under a doormat or in a similar place – you’re just asking for trouble. If absolutely necessary, install a high-end key lockbox or give a spare key to a trusted friend/family member for emergencies.
Ask people to conduct minor maintenance
It’s worth asking a trusted friend or family member to keep an eye on your house while you’re away, perhaps even allowing them to stay there and housesit while you’re away. Making your home look occupied (or actually having it occupied) is one of the easiest ways to prevent a break-in. Just be sure to arm the helper with any information they may need for their stay in your home. For example, tell them where your shut-off valves and circuit breakers are located, and provide them with the codes to your alarm system too.
Think before you Tweet
Although we all like to make our friends jealous on Facebook and Twitter when we’re jetting off around the world and doing exciting things, it could also leave us vulnerable if done in real-time. During WWII, the British government used to put up posters reading “Careless talk costs lives”, meaning that you shouldn’t say confidential things in public, as you never know who’s listening. The same applies here with social media too! Even if you have your settings set to “private” and “share with friends only”, it only takes one suspicious Facebook friend or Twitter follower to spill the beans that you’re away from home to a potential burglar. Posting that you’re on vacation may seem harmless and fun, but you could essentially be nailing an “I’m not here!” sign to your front door.
Many people worry about keeping their home out of harm’s way when they’re on a trip, but we have information and resources to help calm your mind. Contact us to find out how we can help!
A big part of owning your own home, or even renting a property, is protecting it and your personal belongings inside. If you’re concerned about home protection, then here are six of the best tips that you need to keep your home and belongings safe from harm:
The only way to achieve comprehensive protection is to consider just where your home is the most vulnerable. Instead of going into home protection blind, you need to create a tailored plan that pinpoints the exact liabilities of your property.
Go around your home, look for weaknesses, and take note of where others might be able to see into your home. Then assess your doors, check their strength, and think about how you would break in if you were in the shoes of an intruder.
Doors and windows should be secure, which means that new locks, stronger frames, and better hingers, may be an investment that you need to make. Double check to make sure there are no cracks around your doors or windows, invest in a security door or high-impact glass, and always lock-up when you’re leaving the house.
If you’re constantly losing your keys, having a spare outside may seem like a good idea. However, it’s one of the easiest ways for someone to break into your home.
Try a different approach and opt for a keyless door, or even leave a key with a trusted friend, instead of outdoors.
Wiring is a major vulnerability in the home, and the weak spot of a security system. Make sure all wiring is fully hidden and properly covered.
Anywhere outside that restricts your view from the property can be detrimental to property protection, but so can landscaping that puts your home on full view from the street. Consider a garden makeover and take care of blind spots in your landscaping.
Prevention methods to stop burglaries are vital, but so is protection if the worst happens and your belongings or property are damaged. Getting adequate home insurance is a must to avoid the financial stress and upheaval of having to pay out for expensive repairs and replace belongings in your home.
Talk to us today for information about comprehensive home insurance and plans that are tailored to your needs. For a peace of mind over home protection and the best insurance, don’t delay in giving us a call.
Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions that you’ll make in your life. Not only does it free you from the restraints of having to pay rent, but it’s a valuable long-term investment that makes sense in more than one way when it comes to finances.
One of the biggest things that first-time home buyers have to face, is how to save vital funds when they are trying to purchase a property. This puts home insurance near the top of the priority list, not just because it can protect your belongings and property, but because it’s a key area to start saving money.
First-Time Home Insurance Policies – The Costs
You can expect insurance rates to cost you around an average of $952 a year, according to the statistics from Value Penguin. While this is the average, prices can fluctuate quite severely. There are a number of key factors that can influence home insurance cost, including:
Many homeowners get the benefit of discounts on their home insurance, but this often isn’t the case for first-time buyers. Due to this, it’s important to make sure that you thoroughly investigate all the options open to you and take advantage of all money-saving opportunities.
Top Tips for Saving Money on Home Insurance
Just a few simple tips and tricks may lead to some substantial savings on both the purchase of your first home and your home insurance. Here are our top five ways to make savings:
1.) Plan Ahead
Leaving home insurance as the last item on your to-do list means limiting your options for a good home insurance policy. It will pay in the long-run to research early, know your options, and find the right insurance for your needs. Always bear in mind:
2.) Think About Insurance History
Your insurance history is incredibly important when getting house insurance – the better established your history is, the better discounts you’ll have access to. If you don’t have an established insurance history, then try building a good history by getting renters insurance or even contacting your parent’s insurance and seeing if you can be recognized by them.
3.) Know When Costs Change
Your home insurance will likely not be the same as the insurance that the current owners of the property pay. Personal information is needed to create an insurance plan, so be prepared to pay something different!
4.) Get That Home Inspection
A home inspection may be a big cost, but it could save you so much more in the long-run. Spotting major problems with a property now, could prevent serious financial disasters in the future. You might also get some top tips from your inspector about bringing down insurance costs.
5.) Double-Up and Get Mortgage Insurance
Not all insurance bundles are good, but it doesn’t mean that they are all bad either. Consider mortgage insurance alongside your home insurance, as the price may be substantially cheaper than if you went to a mortgage lender.
Need advice on home insurance, or want to get a head start with renter’s insurance? Give us a call today and we’ll make sure that all your insurance questions are answered!
Car insurance rates can be crippling, especially if you’re young, have been caught up in accidents, or if you’re not able to afford to latest state-of-the-art car with futuristic safety features. Though car insurance premiums can be a pain to pay, here we offer you 8 tips on lowering your car insurance rates in 2018.
1. Car insurance discounts
There are numerous discounts which you may be entitled to with your auto insurance, here are but a few examples!
LOW MILEAGE – Do you drive less than 7,500 miles per year? You may get a 5-15% discount on your car insurance! Some insurance companies even offer discounts if you do some of your travel via public transport such as buses or subways.
MULTI-CAR DEALS – You may see 10-25% discounts on your comprehensive, collision, and liability premiums if you have more than one vehicle on the same insurance policy.
MODERN CAR DISCOUNTS – Does your car have airbags, anti-lock brakes, and automatic seat belts? Perhaps it has tracking systems and anti-theft alarms? You could see discounts from 5-30% depending on how modern and safe or thief-proof your car is.
2. Complete a traffic course
You can often see a 5-15% discount if you take a traffic course to improve your driving skills. The eligibility for these tests varies from state to state, however. Traffic school courses are usually 4 to 6 hours long, and can be done online, in person, or via a mixture of the two. They often set you back around $25 to $75, though you’ll make that back in discounts quickly. You may remove points from your record for minor traffic violations, though you can’t get this AND a discount. New York, however, is an exception to this rule.
3. Watch your credit report closely
Auto insurance companies take many factors into account when calculating your premiums, and your credit history is one of them. Some states have made this illegal, but in many, it remains a legal and common practice. Pay your bills on time and maintain a decent credit rating; it will help you to seem low-risk and therefore help to keep your car insurance rates down. The difference in auto insurance rates for “good credit” drivers and “poor credit” drivers is a staggering 67%.
4. Be a safe driver
It sounds so obvious, but it’s true. People with no traffic violations or accidents get lower insurance rates (over time) as they are simply presenting themselves as low-risk (i.e. safe) drivers. A single speeding ticket can increase your auto insurances rates 11-13%, so why take the risk with your life and your insurance premiums?
5. Invest in a safer car
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Vehicle Safety Ratings Page (long name) contains a list of all the safety ratings for various cars, taking multiple factors into account. Prioritize safety ratings when you buy a new car, as you’ll likely decrease your insurance rates and better protect your own life!
6. Discounts for paying in full
You can usually see a 5-10% discount if you pay your car insurance premium in full, rather than spreading the payments out over an extended period. Though many people cannot afford to do this straight away, it could save you hundreds of dollars over the year.
7. Evaluate what you really need from your policy
Do you really need comprehensive and collision coverage? Vehicles that are worth less than $3,000 or less than 10 years old simply don’t require these forms of coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, getting rid of comprehensive and collision coverage (assuming you don’t need them) could save you around $660 per year on average.
8. Compare the market
As with any form of insurance, you should be sure to compare the rates, policies, and details of different insurers. Auto insurers have slightly different methods of ascertaining how much you will pay, so one insurer could happen to see you in a much more favorable light than another.
Among the myriad of circumstances used to calculate your auto insurance rates, your insurance could significantly drop (or spike) if you get married, move house, have an accident, buy a new car, or add a young driver to a household policy.
Consider taking the customer service ratings (and customer reviews) of the insurers into account when making your decision, as insurance companies are notorious for wanting to escape paying out whenever they can. Evaluate what is most important to you, what price you’re willing to pay, and what excess you’re willing to pay, assuming it is applicable. It pays to compare competing companies!
Looking for more help with lowering your car insurance rates? Get in touch today and we’ll be able to help you with a personalized plan which aims to lower your auto insurance rates for good.
We love our dogs… the wagging tails… the kisses. And yet dog ownership has challenges. Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people each year. Of those, nearly 900,000 are severe enough to require medical intervention.
In addition, dog bites are costly. The typical cost per canine attack case settled through insurance is over $28,000. It’s a big number. It’s also why home insurance rates go up when you get a new dog…
Thankfully, there are actions you can take to decrease the chances of your dog biting or attacking someone.
First, choose your dog carefully. There are varying viewpoints on whether dogs of certain types are much more hazardous than others are or if home atmosphere has more to do with a pet’s nature. Speak with your veterinarian regarding prospective behavior and also wellness problems connected with details breeds.
Also, talk to our team about potential dog breeds that may be excluded from being protected your insurance coverage representative regarding breeds omitted from protection under your house owner’s insurance plan.
Next, introduce your family pet to your pet early. Well-socialized puppies are more likely to become grown-up pets who feel comfortable around people and other animals. It’s also good to keep exposing your dog to new situations…
Also be sure you you keep your child is older because nearly 50% of all severe dog bites involve youngsters. A good age is at least 4 years old. Kids of this age are better able to understand how to behave around your dog. And NEVER leave your baby or young child alone with a dog, no matter how much you trust the dog.
Finally, be sure to take care of your dog’s health. From spaying or neutering to controlling parasites… your dog’s health impacts their attitude. Be sure your dog also is seen by a vet regularly an is properly vaccinated.
Whether you already own a pet dog or are considering bringing a pooch into your home, give us a call to assess your insurance coverage responsibility coverage for bites and various other pet-related injuries. We’re here to help!