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Can You Save Big Money on Car Insurance?

Ads like these are all over social media: Savings like that would be hard to pass up! The thing is, these savings aren’t magic. Most auto insurance companies have to file their rates with your state. While there are some differences, rates from company to company don’t vary too much. So how can the company illustrated above (and others like it) save you so much money?  The answer may actually be detrimental to your wallet. Lower Limits The quickest and easiest way to save money on your car insurance is to lower your limits. If you currently have $100,000 in coverage, lowering the limit to $50,000 can cut your monthly premium as much as 50%. Lowering to state minimums can save you even more money. This method of saving on your premiums is not recommended. Lower limits mean lower coverage in the event of an accident. Since auto liability insurance limits determine the amount that the other party in an accident gets paid, you could be on the hook for more than you realize. For example, your new “budget” insurance company lowers your limit to state minimums. For this example, if you are in California, the state minimums are $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident of bodily injury and just $5,000 in property damage. (For all state minimums, check out this link.)  Say you’re driving to work when you rear-end a woman in a 2015 Honda Accord who is driving her two children to school. There are multiple injuries in the other vehicle (not to mention your own) and the two cars are totaled. Medical costs being what they are...
State Minimum Auto Insurance

State Minimum Auto Insurance

During every sporting event, there are plenty of ads on TV touting the latest online auto insurance company. Each offers online quoting, low down payments and state minimum auto insurance. Those all sound great, but are they? Remember that old adage that “you get what you pay for”? Let’s talk more about state minimum auto insurance. What is State Minimum Auto Insurance? Nearly every state requires that drivers have insurance or financial responsibility in order to drive a vehicle. Since insurance is mandatory, states have established state minimum auto insurance requirements for drivers. State minimum auto insurance limits are the minimum amount of liability insurance (both bodily injury liability and property damage liability) that the state requires for a driver to be “legal” to drive. These limits vary from state to state. Below are some examples: California $15,000 bodily injury liability per person $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident $5,000 property damage liability per accident Florida $10,000 property damage liability per accident $10,000 personal injury protection Here is a handy guide to the websites and information for state minimum auto insurance requirements by state. What Isn’t Required As State Minimum? State laws require only that drivers have minimum liability insurance limits for bodily injury and property damage. Still others require minimum limits of personal injury protection for insured drivers and their passengers. What usually isn’t required is coverage for comprehensive and collision damage (also known as “full coverage”) or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, towing & labor, or rental reimbursement. Should You Purchase State Minimum Auto Insurance? As a law, you MUST purchase at least the state minimum in order to...
Insurance for College Students

Insurance for College Students

It seems just like yesterday your little pumpkin was born, but now he or she is off to college. You pack up his or her belongings, drive the child off to the dorm (or apartment), drop him or her off, and breath a sigh of relief. Will he get enough sleep? Will she get enough to eat? Will he make the football team? Will she get the grades she needs to get into law school? All of these are normal worries. Something else you should be worrying about: is your kid (and his or her belongings) covered while he or she is at university? Now THAT is a good question. Let’s find out more about insurance for college students. Dorm Life vs. Off-Campus Life While Tommy or Jill is living at the dorm or off-campus in an apartment, are their belongings covered? The answer: it depends. If your student lives in the dorms on campus and is registered as a full- or part-time college student, their belongings may be covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy. Typically the amount of coverage will be 10% of the contents limit on your homeowners’ insurance policy. For example, if your contents limit if $50,000, then the limit for your student will be $5,000. Will this cover all of his belongings? If he has an expensive computer or other electronics equipment, you may want to consider increasing your contents limit at home or talking to your broker about special coverage for these items. There may also be an age limit for this coverage, usually age 25 or 26. If you have a college student...
Contractors: Time for an Insurance Checkup

Contractors: Time for an Insurance Checkup

As Spring begins to bloom, many contractors come out of hibernation. It’s time now for potential customers to start building, trimming, cleaning, mowing, moving, etc. The phone is about to start ringing again. If your business is just starting to gear up again after a long winter’s nap, now is the time to review your business and your insurance coverage. Are you ready for Spring? Has Your Coverage Lapsed? During the lean months of winter, some contractors find their income from the heavy months wasn’t able to sustain times of no work. If you failed to pay your insurance premium, your policy may have lapsed, meaning you have no insurance at this time. Lack of general liability or workers compensation insurance could put you in jeopardy with general contractors, municipalities, and state agencies that require coverage to get, keep and use your business license. Lack of auto liability insurance could risk your driver’s license. Pull out your policies, dust them off, and call your insurance broker to make sure coverage is still in place and valid. When you make that call, go ahead and schedule an appointment for a risk management analysis to review current coverage and see if there is anything else you might need. Check Your Equipment We know you’d never leave for a job site without the proper tools for the job. Have you purchased any new equipment? Are you planning to lease any equipment over the next several months? Review the scheduled equipment on your inland marine policy and compare it to your current tools on hand to be sure they match. If items need...
Car Accidents: An Insurance Survival Guide

Car Accidents: An Insurance Survival Guide

According to statistics at the Association for Safe International Road Travel, just over 2 million people are injured in traffic accidents in the United States each year. Assuming one per accident, that’s nearly 5,500 accidents per day, and that’s just the accidents reported with injuries. How many other are there when you include minor accidents? As the population ages and the numbers of vehicles on the roads increase, your chances of being in an accident also increase. How can you protect yourself, and what should you do if you are involved in an accident? Be Prepared Even if you aren’t a Boy Scout, your motto as a driver should always start with “be prepared.” Before every trip you should try to do the following: Locate your auto insurance ID card. You should try to have two: one for your wallet and one for your glove compartment. Even if you have an electronic copy on your phone, a hard copy should be available in case you need it. Keep a notepad and pen in your glove compartment. These will come in handy should you be involved in an accident. Do a quick visual inspection of your vehicle. Are your tires properly inflated? Is there anything that needs repair or replacement? Adjust your side and interior mirrors before taking off. They may have been properly adjusted last time you checked, but it’s always a good idea to check again. For the safety of you and your passengers, make sure you: Wear seatbelts. This includes everyone in the car, including the driver. Keep your hands off the cell phone. Put your phone...