Auto Insurance

What's Covered by Insurance When Your Car is Stolen?

Pop quiz: What is the most popular vehicle in the United States? If you answered the Ford F-150 pickup, you know the auto industry. What about the most popular vehicle among car thieves? If you said the 1996 Honda Civic, you know the insurance industry. So what happens if your vehicle disappears from your driveway, parking garage or wherever you last parked it? From an insurance standpoint, it all depends on the type of policy you purchased to cover the vehicle. If you’re driving a ’96 Civic, chances are you’re carrying only liability and/or collision insurance. That’s a wise decision for a 22-year-old ride. Unfortunately, you’d be out of luck as far as recouping the value of that car. However, if you have a comprehensive policy, you can expect a check for whatever your stolen make and model is worth, minus the deductible. Simple enough, right? Yes and no. It…

In the Driver’s Seat: Understanding Auto Insurance For Business

For many companies, business depends on cars. This is true whether the business is a sole proprietorship or a corporation with hundreds of employees. When it comes to insurance needs, the type of policy can vary widely. It all depends on the type of business, who owns the vehicles, who’s driving them, and how often. Coverage Needs In most states, business vehicles require liability insurance for both bodily injury and property damage  that may result from an accident involving someone from the company. Many states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and/or personal injury protection (PIP). If the business owns or leases the vehicle, physical damage coverage is also often purchased. The typical insurance policy that covers your business operations—a Business Owners Policy (BOP)—does not cover vehicles. A separate policy is needed for autos. In most cases, it will be a Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF). The BACF doesn’t require the same…

What Impacts the Price You Pay For Auto Insurance?

Many factors can affect how much you pay for auto insurance. Most insurers start with demographics, but personal behavior matters too. What matters most to insurers? It is a variety of reasons but some things are out of your control. The Gender Gap While it might sound discriminatory or unfair, how you identify might increase your premiums. Statistics show women are more likely to avoid accidents, less likely be cited for moving violations, such as driving while impaired or speeding, and tend to buy cars that cost less to insure. Women also don’t drive as much as the typical male. Auto insurers consider these factors when calculating premiums. Experience Behind the Wheel Counts Inexperienced teenagers, not surprisingly, are the priciest group to insure because they have more accidents. Once a person turns 25, premiums typically start to drop — but they start to rise again once you turn 60. To Have…

How Much Car Insurance Is Enough?

Accidents happen. In the blink of an eye. In a left-hand turn. Life can throw you a curveball. That’s what happened to Maggie. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. Her daughter was home from college. The two were out having a great morning catching up. Then, as Maggie turned out of a shopping center, her SUV hit an oncoming minivan and flipped it onto its side. The accident happened so fast. Maggie and her daughter are still unclear how it happened. Luckily, no serious injuries occurred. However, the passengers in the other vehicle sued for musculoskeletal and emotional damages. Years of court hearings followed. Thankfully, Margaret had adequate car insurance. Her provider took care of all the legal proceedings and settlements. Insurance also covered the damages sustained to her SUV. Margaret’s story goes to show that accidents happen when you least expect them. They can happen to anyone. Without…

Renting Cars Through an App and How It Impacts Insurance

Most cars stay parked more than they roam the road throughout most of their lifetimes. Seems like a waste. What if, simply by using an app, you could not only get additional use from your car, but also make a little money on the side? Perhaps to help finance the payments or insurance, take a trip or just to save some extra cash? Copying business models similar to those of Uber and Airbnb, peer-to-peer car-sharing services use apps to make this happen for folks across North America and the world. What do you need to know about any rules, regulations and insurance before trying to turn your extra vehicles into cash cows? Why Peer-to-Peer Sharing Appeals to Users Peer-to-peer car-sharing companies such as Turo and Getaround appeal to customers for reasons of convenience, value, variety and location. Peer-to-peer renters can bypass busy airport counters and all of the paperwork processing…

Questions to Ask When Financing a New Car

If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have $36,270 (the average new car price) saved up and burning a hole in your pocket. However much or little you have saved toward the purchase price, you’ll need to finance the rest. Once you reach a deal, it’s time to talk financing. Knowing what to ask will determine how much or how little will be added to that purchase price. Where Will You Get Your Financing: Bank or Dealer? There are pros and cons to either option, and lots of exceptions. You can’t beat dealer financing for convenience. But sometimes a bank or credit union can beat a dealer’s interest rate, especially if you’re an existing customer. Check your bank’s auto loan rates before you visit the dealer. How Much Will You Put Down? This is another question to ask yourself before you start car shopping. Dealers prey on the unprepared. Put…

Before You Buckle Up: Insurance Tips for New Drivers

For new drivers, earning that license may seem like the biggest challenge when it comes to driving. However, obtaining the right car insurance is another obstacle many drivers don’t consider. These tips will help you keep in mind all you need to know about car insurance as a new driver. Consider Your Car Insurance Coverage If you are driving a car that is registered in your name, you likely need car insurance. It is the law in most states. However, there are several different types of coverage. Understanding all of the coverage types is the first step in determining the type or types of insurance that will best meet your needs. Liability insurance is the most frequently discussed type of insurance because it is required in most states. It covers the cost of both injuries to other parties and property damage in the event of an accident. Personal injury protection…

High-Tech Car Options: Splurge or Save

If it’s been a few years since you last shopped for a new car, brace yourself. Some of today’s vehicles have high-tech options that are straight out of the Jetsons. Cars aren’t flying yet, but some can drive and park themselves. And dashboards that used to house a radio and a few knobs now have digital touch screens the size of your first TV.   Like just about everything in the world of cars, some new features are must-haves and others are may-as-well-avoids. Remote Start At roughly $250-$400 dealer price, this is largely a personal call. If cold winter nights are a problem, starting the engine from your office or a restaurant and allowing the car to heat up in January is priceless. Aftermarket remote starters can be bought and installed for about half the dealer price, but having the same remote for the door locks, trunk and ignition is…

How to Deal With an Uninsured Motorist After an Accident

You’re driving to the grocery store and stopped at a red light. Just as the light turns green, you put your foot on the gas pedal and — WHAM! — you get rear-ended by another automobile. You’re startled, but not obviously injured. Time to quickly survey the scene. Groceries will have to wait. Uh-oh. The other driver doesn’t seem to be carrying auto insurance. Things just got more complicated. What do you do now? Here are a few key tips to help you deal with an accident where the other driver is uninsured. Call the Police Most states require a minimum amount of liability to be carried on auto insurance policies. Calling police after a crash involving an uninsured motorist is recommended, not necessarily for civic duty or even supplemental law enforcement, but because the authorities add another level of protection for you. If the other driver is uncooperative or…

10 Keys to Saving Money on Vehicle Maintenance

The average age of a vehicle on America’s roadways today is approaching 12 years. Twenty years ago that number was 8.4; 40 years ago it was only 5.5 years. Whether it is a testament to improved manufacturing, higher car prices, or maybe Americans have figured out that life is pretty good without a monthly car payment, one thing is clear: Vehicles are lasting longer and proper maintenance can push life expectancy to unprecedented levels. But we can’t forget all that care and feeding can still present some sticker shock. Here are 10 tips for keeping your ride and your wallet in good shape. Change Your Own Oil Even if you ignore every other scheduled maintenance item, don’t forget to change the oil. Nothing will ruin an engine more quickly than expired motor oil. But a typical oil change can run between $40 and $100, an average of three times per…

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