Uninsured Drivers on the rise..... premium reductions needed

Posted By Tom Sawyer In Auto Insurance | Permalink | print this article

With our nations current economic struggles, it has been reported that more and more families are reducing costs, with auto insurance being one of the first items removed from the budget. Based on an article on MSN.com they project one in six drivers will be uninsured by years end. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30093235

I have personally spoke to many of our loyal clients and have found this data slowly becoming true. It is time, as independent insurance professionals ,that we proactively review our books of business and offer support and guidance to struggling clients. I cannot stress enough, that we are here to help and can 99% of the time, offer a quality solution to reduce premium, yet not compromise on liability coverages. If you or someone you know is considering dropping your auto insurance, please call us first....we understand the current situation and look forward to helping anyone with insurance needs work through these tough times.

 

Delivering Pizzas? You may need Drive Commercial Auto

Posted By Andy Kosick In Auto Insurance | 2 Comments | Permalink | print this article

Do you or your teenager earn a little extra spending money using your car - maybe delivering pizzas or other products? Many people don't realize that their Personal Auto policy won't cover vehicles when they're used to earn money, including making deliveries.

Be sure to check with your agent or broker to see whether you need a
Commercial Auto policy to get the protection you need.

 - Article taken from Progressive Newsletter - Winter 2006

Starbucks and Insurance - What's the Difference

Posted By Andy Kosick In Auto Insurance | 4 Comments | Permalink | print this article

Talking to a friend in the local Starbuck’s the other day, the topic of insurance came up. The question she asked me was, “When it comes to insurance what’s the difference anyway?” Surprisingly enough I get asked that question all the time. And thinking back to when I myself was new to insurance, it’s one of the first questions I asked. I tried to think of a way to answer her question in the simplest of terms, and being in a Starbuck’s the first thing I thought of was coffee. If you live anywhere near Seattle you understand all about coffee. There are a thousand choices and options when it comes to your morning cup of joe. Mocha or latte? Non-fat or Whole? With Whip or Without? Syrup Flavor? Temperature? Tall or Venti? All coffee is not the same, and most of us have a particular establishment that we visit each morning on our way to work. It just doesn’t taste the same anywhere else. The same is true of insurance. Most people are surprised to find that there are many tiers and layers to insurance.

Take for example auto insurance. There are several coverage options you can add to your auto insurance policy that will provide you with a much deeper level of coverage. The first is Personal Injury Protection or PIP. This is an endorsement that costs very little, but will give you a huge level of coverage. Personal Injury Protection covers you in any type of road accident, if you get in a car accident, if you get hit as a pedestrian in a crosswalk, if you get hit on your bike. The beauty of PIP is that you are covered no matter who was at fault in an accident, and your coverage is immediate. It will pay for ambulance rides, the jaws of life, hospital expenses, rehabilitation therapy, as well as reimburse you for pay checks you missed by being unable to work during your recovery. PIP not only covers you, but everyone in the car with you.

The second coverage option is Uninsured Motorist Coverage. This coverage protects you if you get in an accident in which the at fault driver is not covered. Uninsured Motorist Coverage will cover all personal injury and property damage, up to your coverage limits, caused by the at fault driver if they are underinsured, or have no coverage at all. If the other driver is not insured, you could be paying the bill, unless your policy has Uninsured Motorist Coverage, at which point your insurance policy will cover it for you. These are two examples of endorsements that do not cost very much to add to your policy, but could save you a world of hurt in the future.

All insurance policies are not the same. There are different types and levels of coverage, as well as many extra endorsements that are optional as well. If you are new to insurance, or find it a bit confusing it is easy to think that all insurance is the same. If that is you’re line of thinking, then the first thing you would look for when choosing an insurance policy is the price. But it’s just not the case. When it comes to coffee the last thing we think of is the price, and the first thing we think of is the flavor. With insurance you want to make sure that you choose the plan that best fits your life-style. And if you find a good local independent insurance agent that will help you through the insurance process you’ll find that insurance just doesn’t “taste the same” anywhere else. Why use an agent who treats you like another number, puts you on hold, and doesn’t remember who you are. Things like that can leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s important to use an agent you can trust who will be there to help you when those unexpected emergencies occur, who knows your name and your individual situation and will sit down and explain your policy options in detail, who will help you find the plan that best fits your lifestyle, and who most importantly doesn’t care about selling you an insurance plan, but instead cares about making sure you are protected and taken care of for the future.

Price is important when looking for insurance, but it is not the first thing you should look at. The most important thing is to find the insurance coverage that will best protect you, and then from there find the best deal you can.

Independent Agents: Local Heroes

Posted By Andy Kosick In Auto Insurance | 4 Comments | Permalink | print this article

INDEPENDENT AGENTS: LOCAL HEROES

As an independent insurance agent, you wear two hats: Knowledgeable professional and member of your local community.

'THAT LYING LIZARD' "Why would you want to buy insurance from a lizard - especially a lizard with a British accent?
"Don't get me wrong. I like the telephone and the Internet as much as the next guy. I'm really glad that Alexander Graham Bell and Al Gore teamed up to invent those devices; they're such helpful tools. But there are some things I just don't do over a fiber optic line.
"First and foremost, I don't believe anything I hear from telemarketers or anything I read on the Internet. These nameless, faceless little people with their hidden agendas sit in their dark little rooms with Little Debbie crumbs on their Guns & Roses t-shirts and happily blast away at America.

"Second, I don't shop over the telephone or the Internet. Before I purchase anything, I want to look at it, touch it, smell it, try it on, kick its tires, and make sure that it doesn't clash with my freckles - which brings me back to that stupid lizard.

OF LOCALS AND LIZARDS
"We've got some outstanding insurance companies and many award-winning agents right here at home. They live here, raise their families here, buy their groceries and vehicles here, send their kids to school here, pay their taxes.

"The last time I checked, that smart-butt lizard has never paid a penny in local taxes. He doesn't have an office and a secretary down the street, doesn't sit beside you in church, doesn't belong to the Lions or Rotary clubs, and doesn't bring you a colorful new calendar every December.

THAT IMPERSONAL TOUCH
"Besides that, if you happen to get run over by a large van or have a tree fall on your house do you honestly think you can call that lizard and he's going to rush over and help you? If so, you're dumber than the lizard. He's going to give you a number to call that leads to a never-ending series of automated messages. You'll spend the rest of your life on the telephone and never get to talk to a single human being - not even the lizard's sister-in-law, who is probably the company receptionist

POWER TO THE MIDDLE MAN
"I've heard the claim that telephone and Internet commerce saves consumers money by eliminating the 'middleman.' But if we keep eliminating all the middlemen, pretty soon we'll all be in the soup line. One by one, we're actually eliminating ourselves from our own marketplace. And that's true, not only for insurance-selling reptiles, but also for many other goods and services.

CAST YOUR BREAD
"Remember this: The investment you make by supporting your friends and neighbors here at home will return to you many times over. It will strengthen our economy. And even if it's a couple of dollars higher up front, consider that a great investment in your family's future. So next time that Lizard tells you that you can spend less on your car insurance if you'll just mail him a check to New Jersey or Los Angeles, ask him if he's going to sponsor your son's Little League baseball team next year. Or buy an ad in the school yearbook. Or even help you drag the limbs off your roof.
"And let me know what the little green idiot says."

THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
As an independent agent, you're a local hero who can provide protection for the assets of your clients and prospect. You can meet those needs through real-time online access to a worldwide array of products and services.

Surprising new report-the nation's most stolen cars

Posted By Andy Kosick In Auto Insurance | 3 Comments | Permalink | print this article

Usually you don't find small cars on the list of the most stolen vehicles in the nation. CCC Information Services of Chicago tracks car thefts around the country and they say smaller cars that can be chopped into parts and sold for use by street racers dominated this year's list.

One of every 200 cars stolen in the U.S. last year was the 2001 BMW M-Series Roadster and it tops the lost. Six of the top 10 were different varieties of the Acura Integra. Street racers love to stick the Acura engine in the smaller, lighter Honda Civic. Small and speedy is picking up steam when it comes to stolen vehicles but SUVs still rank number one as a group.

Here is the most stolen list according to CCC:

1.2001 BMW M-Series Roadster
2.1998 Acura Integra
3.2004 Mercury Marauder
4.1999 Acura Integra
5.1995 Acura Integra
6.2002 Audi S4
7.1996 Acura Integra
8.1997 Acura Integra
9.2001 Acura Integra
10.2000 Jaguar XJR
11.1994 Acura Integra
12.2005 Suzuki Aerio
13.2004 Suzuki Aerio
14.1998 Land Rover Range Rover
15.1998 Jaguar XJR
16.2003 Mercury Marauder
17.2000 Acura Integra
18.2002 Cadillac Escalade
19.2000 Audi A8
20.2000 Audi S4
21.1993 Mercedes-Benz 600
22.1995 Land Rover Range Rover
23.2005 Cadillac Escalade
24.2000 Honda Civic
25.2001 Audi S4

Consumer Auto Insurance Information

Posted By Andy Kosick In Auto Insurance | 9 Comments | Permalink | print this article

Auto insurance is one of the most frequently used types of personal insurance. In fact, states require that you purchase some kind of insurance coverage in order to drive legally.

There are two basic components to auto insurance coverage: liability and property damage.

Liability Coverage

Most auto insurance policies cover your liability for bodily injury, property damage and uninsured/under-insured motorists.

Bodily injury liability insurance protects you against the claims of other people who are injured in an accident for which you were at fault. Their claims for bodily injury may include medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Property damage liability insurance pays for any damage you cause to the property of others. This includes not only damages to other vehicles, but also other property, such as walls, fences and equipment.

Uninsured motorists coverage protects you, the policyholder, in the event that you are injured by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto insurance.

Property Damage Coverage

Property damage coverage may include both collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage pays for physical damage to your car as the result of your auto colliding with an object, such as a tree or another car. This coverage is optional and not required by law. However, collision insurance may be required by your lending institution or lessor.

In the case of an accident involving an older car, the cost of repairing the car can quickly exceed the worth of the car. In this case, insurers will "total" the car and pay you what the car was worth based on its current book value rather than fix it.

Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your auto from almost all other causes, including fire, severe weather, vandalism, floods and theft. You are not required by law to carry comprehensive coverage.

Your auto insurance premiums are affected by a number of factors:

  • For starters, they're linked to the type of vehicle driven. If you're buying or leasing a new car, check the insurance rates before you make your final choice. For example, SUVs, convertibles and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure than some cars.
  • Safety devices on your car can help reduce your premiums. If you're buying or leasing a new car, consider getting one with anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts and daytime running lights.
  • Anti-theft devices on your car, such as an alarm system and global positioning system - so that your car can be located if stolen - can help reduce your premiums.
  • Where you park your car can also impact premiums. If you have access to an indoor garage or locked parking lot - places that decrease the likelihood that your car will be stolen - you may qualify for lower premiums.
  • The geographic region in which you live may impact your premiums. For example, areas prone to extreme weather - hail, wind storms, hurricanes, etc. - higher traffic patterns or higher risk of theft may have higher insurance rates. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, check whether your policy includes comprehensive coverage on your car to cover potential damage from storms. Your driving record - tickets, accidents, DWIs/DUIs (driving while intoxicated/driving under the influence citations) - directly affect your premiums.
  • The number of claims you have previously filed impacts your insurance costs. You may want to consider not filing claims for smaller events to avoid premium increases.

Finally, the cost of your insurance is directly linked to your policy's deductible amount. The deductible is the amount of money that you agree to pay as part of a claim, before your insurer pays the remaining amount toward that claim. For example, if your vehicle incurred $1,000 of damage in an accident and your deductible was $250, you would pay the first $250 and your insurer would pay the remaining $750. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.

1990 - 2006 National Association of Insurance Commissioners