Car Insurance

6 Things to Consider When Choosing Car Insurance

Buying car insurance is one of those tasks in life which is absolutely necessary, yet so incredibly dull that many of us wish we could simply not bother. The following guide will help to take some of the stings out of it by preparing you for the kind of considerations that go into determining the terms you can secure.

Car Insurance

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What Sort of Car Do You Have?

Potential insurers will want to know what sort of car you are driving. Is it a small family car, a car for a single person, or even an off-road vehicle that will be going over some difficult terrain? Your chances of getting a competitive premium rise significantly if your car is a family car or small car of a common make and model.

What Colour is it?

You might laugh but the colour of your vehicle can affect the amount that you have to pay for your insurance. This is because some paintjobs are significantly more expensive to fix than others, making you a riskier bet for the insurer. For example, black vehicles regularly cost more to insure than their white counterparts. Research also suggests that white cars are safer on the road.

Do You Plan on Modifying it?

The urge to modify your car and take its performance to new heights is an understandable one. However, you shouldn’t undertake any modifications without first checking how they will affect your insurance premiums. Modifying your car, especially in a way that significantly alters its performance, is much more likely to increase your insurance premium. It will also make your vehicle a much more attractive prospect for potential thieves.

Who Will be the Primary Driver?

The age of the car’s primary driver is another significant factor in determining the terms that insurers will offer you. Younger drivers are more expensive to insure, simply because they are so much more likely to get into car accidents. You will find that this is the case even with the best car insurance offers.

Do You Need Roadside Assistance?

Some insurance packages will also entitle you to free roadside assistance. If this is a deal breaker for you, save yourself some time by eliminating any insurance providers who do not offer this service. If you are purchasing car insurance on behalf of a young adult, or if your children will also be driving the vehicle, opting for roadside assistance can put your mind at ease when they are driving.

How Much do You Drive?

The amount that you plan to drive the vehicle, as well as the expected pattern of usage, will both play a significant part in determining the offer you receive from the insurance company. A vehicle which isn’t going to be out on the road much is obviously much less likely to be involved in an accident. If the vehicle is on the road every day, it is unlikely you will be able to receive any discounts.


Weighing Up The Cost Of Supplying Company Cars

Having the best employees is the key to business success. Without a good team to handle the day to day running of the company, you’re never going to get anywhere. That’s why it’s important to attract the best talent and keep them at the company by treating them right and offering them good benefits and incentives. Good health insurance and a healthy salary are the two main things that people look for but a company car can be a big draw as well. A lot of employers are unsure about supplying a company car to their employees because they’re worried about the cost. But the thing is, the price of supplying the car is often outweighed by the benefits it brings. To help you decide, we’ve added up some of the cost and the relative benefits.

vehicles you buy

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The Car Itself

Obviously, buying the car itself is going to be the biggest outlay. You can’t really get away with giving your employees a second-hand rust bucket so you’ll have to spend money on brand new cars. That can get pretty expensive depending on how many people you’re supplying cars for. You could just choose a few select employees and offer them company cars but there’s always the chance that will create resentment amongst the other employees, causing a drop in productivity and some may even leave the company.

Insurance

It’s up to you to take care of all of the costs of running and maintaining the company cars that you’re supplying your employees with. That means you’ll have to get car insurance on all of the vehicles you buy. That can get pretty expensive but if you use a good comparison site, you should be able to find some cheap deals. If any of your employees are in an accident, you’ll have to pay the excess and the increased insurance costs afterwards so it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s always the chance that insurance will go up in the future.

Tax

You’re also going to have to pay tax on all of those cars which can add up to quite a bit of money. Cars that get bad mileage and put out more CO2 emissions are going to cost you a lot more in tax as well so when you’re choosing cars, you can save money in the long run if you invest a bit of money in a better car.

Cash Instead Of A Car

A lot of companies are trying to strike a balance and avoid some of those costs by offering cash instead of providing the car itself. That way, the employee buys their own car and handles the tax themselves. You can supply enough for basic insurance coverage but if they have to make a claim, they’ll cover the excess and increased costs afterwards. Your employees still have a reliable vehicle to get to and from work but you’ll save quite a bit of cash.


Driverless Cars Will Save You Money

You might think that the idea of driverless cars saving you money is a little nonsensical. After all, there’s currently a rather hefty premium on the technology. Going autonomous is estimated to add around $10,000 to the price of a vehicle. But it’s worth considering for a moment what has happened in practically every other area of the economy that has been touched by digital technology. Take the first mobile phones, for instance. To buy a cell phone in the 1980s, you had to be incredibly wealthy (and strong enough to lift them), but today you can pick up a phone for 100 times less money. The same trend will occur in driverless cars. They’ll start off expensive, and then they will get cheaper and cheaper as companies begin mass-producing all the autonomous components.

Driverless Cars

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But there’s an argument to suggest that people will save on more than just the price of a new vehicle by going driverless. In fact, it could help bring the cost of motoring way down and make driving safer, preventing injury and death. Take a look at some of the ways driverless cars could boost your finances.

Your Family Will Only Need One Car

Because humans have to be behind the wheel of today’s cars, families often find themselves forced to pay for multiple vehicles. When one person leaves the home with one car, it denies everybody else access to transport.

However, with autonomous vehicles, it doesn’t have to be like this. The family car could quite easily take one person to work, then taxi the next person to school and then return itself to the family driveway until it is needed again.

This isn’t just a moot point. The effect that driverless cars will have on the number of cars the average family owns has been studied by the University of Michigan transportation division. They estimate that average family car ownership will plummet from 2.1 today to just 1.2 after self-driving cars are fully adopted. That’s bad news for the car industry, but incredibly good news for consumers who want to slash the cost of transport. The University of Michigan also predicts that smart apps will allow the real number of cars owned per family to fall even further. Rather than just having to rely on their own car, it’s more likely that people will rent out cars from a fleet of driverless vehicles on the road designed to serve everybody. Ride hailing may replace ownership altogether for people who aren’t particularly concerned about owning their own car.

You Won’t Get Injured

Today, the chances that you’ll get injured on the road is unacceptably high. At the moment, the best recourse is to find a personal injury lawyer, but what about in the future? Because driverless cars will result in a 90 percent drop in accidents, there will be less chance of injury, especially for people traveling inside autonomous vehicles. Improve safety functionality will mean that society and individuals will no longer have to bear the incredibly high costs of accidents and won’t suffer debilitating illnesses at the same rate.

MetroMile, an insurance company, has estimated that driverless cars could save the average motoring over $1,000 on their car insurance every year. That might sound like bad news for the insurance industry, but what insurers care about isn’t the total amount of money they can charge for car insurance, but the difference between what they get in and what they get out. For driverless cars, insurance premiums will be much lower, but so too will the number of accidents. In other words, if driverless cars really can avoid collisions (which seems entirely feasible given the evidence we have so far) then the cost of insurance will come down too, and motoring expenses will plummet.

You Won’t Have To Pay Out For Tickets

Every year, the authorities grab hundreds of millions of dollars in fines from transgressing motorists. The cover story is that it is about safety, but for the majority of drivers, speeding or sitting in a box junction for too long is a complete accident. We’re all human, after all. However, robots are not human, and unlike their fleshy counterparts, they never get tired or lose their concentration. This means that people who buy driverless vehicles could potentially protect themselves from road violation fines of all varieties because the car is programmed to avoid these hazards. It is likely that the maker of the software will be fined if a car does something it shouldn’t, meaning that companies, not customers, will pay for highway violations.


How Much Should You Pay for Car Dependability?

car breakdown

There is nothing worse than having your car break down while you are on the way to someplace you need to be. Perhaps it’s happened to you in the rain, or on your way to a wedding, or at night when you’re in a sketchy part of town. For some, driving an older vehicle is a source of constant anxiety because of the threat of breakdowns and high repair costs.

But not all of us can afford a brand new car. If you need a car to live your life, it’s important to know how to get the most dependable vehicle at your price point, and to consider paying a little more if your needs can’t be met at your current budget. Used cars from dealerships like J.D. Byrider will undergo a lot more scrutiny than the car you see on Craigslist. If dependability is a priority, that may be an important consideration.

Still, reliable cars can be found from many sellers. As a buyer, you just have to know what you need, as well as how to evaluate specific possibilities. Start by researching cars that will fit your purposes. Think about what you need in terms of storage, fuel efficiency, power, and every other characteristic which will have an effect on your life. Choose five or six cars that meet these needs, which are more or less in your price range depending on the seller.

Car Dependability

Some people stop here and immediately start looking for bargains. Pump the breaks! You’re not done. Now you need to start to research the details hidden under the hood of the used cars in your short list. Get on forums and research common problems associated with these vehicles. You might discover that that minivan you wanted was manufactured with a transmission that almost always conks out at 90,000 miles. Or, you might discover that the Jeep you’re interested in will get to 300,000 miles routinely, with only regular maintenance.

Once you’ve found a car that meets your needs as a driver, and sounds like it can be maintained with your income and experience, start looking for deals. Start with a quick search among all area dealerships to find out how many of vehicles of the make and model you are interested in are available in your region. You can just choose the car at the lowest price if you want to have the assurance that results from getting a car from a reputable dealership.

If you want to dig even further, look at internet and print classifieds for listings of the car you’re looking for. Expand your search to 150 miles around your home, or more if you’re willing to travel long and hard for a deal. You’ll find cars this way that aren’t well marketed and have few prospective buyers. You can negotiate a much better price in these circumstances. Just make sure to get the car inspected before you buy it!

Look hard for the car you want, and make sure that the car you choose will meet your needs and be within your ability to maintain. This way you’ll save money and get exactly what you’re looking for.


How to Make Sure Your Car Accident Claim Has a High Success Rate

Car accidents can be a frustrating, scary, and time-consuming problem It’s important to remain calm during the entire process and keep your mind sharp. Making an accident claim can be a strenuous task, but it’s vital to help pay for repair costs, damages, and medical fees that might occur as a result. To prepare yourself in case it happens to you, here are some tips you should follow.

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Stop and Remain Calm

If the accident has left you dazed, then stop immediately. If you can feel pain, then make sure to remain calm and don’t make any sudden movements that could increase the pain or make the injury worse. It’s an offense to move your car after an accident no matter how minor you might think it is. Never drive off and stay put where you are. Turn off the engine, switch on the hazard lights, and set up a warning triangle some distance away from your car. If someone has been injured, then you need to make sure you phone emergency services and call for an ambulance.

Collect Information

It’s vital that you collection the registration numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident. If anyone tries to escape and drive off, then make sure you take down their license plate numbers first. If the other drivers are cooperative, then take down their phone numbers and addresses as well. If they refuse to give information, then that fact can be used in your claim as well. You’ll also want to take down any car insurance details of other drivers.

Contact Your Insurer

To make your claim stand out, you’ll need to tell your insurer several important pieces of information. Give them everything that you collected during the accident, such as details of the other drivers. If another driver didn’t have insurance, then you can contact the police because it’s required by law for all drivers to have insurance. Make sure your insurer knows every detail that you can give: the time and date, the location, what the weather was like, what happened, and any witnesses that were willing to give a statement.

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Additional Tips

The majority of a claim involves collecting information, however, there are some more pointers that you can follow to make sure that your claim is successful.

Never admit to the accident, especially if you’re unsure what happened. Law firms can assist with even the harshest DUI, DWI, or other similar accidents. Never lie about what happened—especially to your insurer or lawyer, but never admit to anything without proof.

Take plenty of photos. Make sure to include the location as best as you can, and don’t focus just on the damage of your car or your injuries. Take pictures of the surrounding area with the cars in view, photos of license plates, and snap a few shots of the drivers and witnesses that are willing to make a statement.

If your claim is successful, then don’t expect a huge sum of cash as compensation. Wait for your insurer to contact you about what you’ll be awarded. Most of the time, it’ll just be enough to carry out repairs, but in some rare circumstances, they’ll agree to replace your car if it’s suffered a lot of damage. They will also cover medical expenses in case you’re injured.


Car Insurance: What Should Your Policy Offer You?

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There are some factors that you will want your car insurance policy to cover. But that doesn’t always happen. You don’t always get what you think you might get from a policy. Some of them only give you minimal levels of cover. And that’s why you should always read the small print and be aware of how much cover you’re getting.

Fire and Theft

Are you covered if your car gets damaged by fire and theft that’s the fault of someone else? If you’re not, then you don’t have much cover. Many people assume that their car insurance policy will cover them in the event of their car getting stolen. But that’s not always the case. Fire and theft cover is not something that all policies have. And getting this level of cover will usually cost you a little extra money. But that’s definitely worth paying for in most instances. You should compare prices and find the best deal out there.

Flexibility Over the Repairer

Some policies will demand that you have your car repaired at a certain garage. Insurance companies do this because they have an agreement with certain garages. It’s a mutually beneficial deal because the garage will also point their customers in the direction of the insurer. But this isn’t always a good thing for people with insurance policies. It means that you can’t shop around and look for deals because you have to use the repairer that the insurance company tells you to. Ideally, you should find a policy that provides you with the flexibility to make your own decision. No one wants to be told where they have to get their car repaired.

Cover for Medical Bills

Some insurance policies will cover the cost of your medical bills if you get injured in a crash. These injuries can be very severe, and the cost of the medical bills can be huge. So, you should definitely find out if you get this level of cover from a policy before you sign it. Not all policies will give you this cover, but it’s worth finding one that does if you possibly can. Then, you’ll be able to get the very best treatment and get back to driving as usual in no time. If you search through all the options, you’ll be able to find at least one suitable policy that covers potential medical bills.

Courtesy Car Provision

When your car breaks down, you can be left in a tricky situation. Even if the insurance provider is covering the costs of the repairs, you’ll still need to find a way to get around. So, find a policy that provides you with an adequate courtesy car in the event of your car being out of action. It’s one of those details that might not seem that important. But when you don’t have a car, and you need to get to work on time and take the kids to school, a courtesy car can seem like a real saviour. So, ensure this is part of your next policy.


How to Cover Life and Long-Term Care Needs with One Single Policy

For years, insurance companies have offered long-term care policies to consumers that provide various benefits for nursing home expenses, as well as coverage for care that can be received in an assisted care facility, at home, and from a variety of other sources. Typically, though, these benefits have been provided via a stand-alone long-term care insurance policy.

Over time, however, new products have been developed in order to meet the changing needs and desires of consumers. Now, in addition to stand-alone long-term care insurance policies, there are also combination product designs. Such products can often involve a qualified long-term care rider that is attached to either a life insurance policy or to an annuity.

One of the biggest benefits to these combination products is that the policy holder (or their named beneficiary) will obtain at least some amount of benefit from their premium payments – regardless of whether or not they need long-term care services.

This can actually be viewed as a win-win situation in that an insured will either use some or all of the long-term care coverage and / or a named beneficiary will receive life insurance death benefit proceeds.

Combining Life and Long-Term Care Insurance Protection

A combination life and long-term care insurance plan allows an insured to obtain two forms of protection – all within just one single plan – and there are actually two ways in which this can be accomplished.

With one option, a policy holder can deposit a single lump sum premium. Here, the insured is able to receive a set amount of long-term care benefits if he or she needs covered care. However, if long-term care benefits aren’t used – or if funds are leftover – a named beneficiary will receive the remaining death benefit proceeds from the policy.3333533137_b94b6f10d7

In this case, the long-term care benefit is typically set as a percentage of the amount of dollars in the policy. For instance, if the policy contains $200,000 and the benefit for long-term care is 2% of that, then the insured will have $4,000 per month to use for their care.

The other combination life and long-term care insurance coverage entails placing an optional rider for long-term care coverage on to a base life insurance policy. Unlike the single premium deposit, these policies will generally require ongoing premiums.

These plans work as a regular life insurance policy that pays out a death benefit should the insured pass away. However, the long-term care rider provides “living benefits” to the insured should he or she qualify for a long-term care need.

Is Combining Coverage Right for You?

If you’ve been holding off on purchasing long-term care insurance because you’re afraid that you may pay out thousands in premium dollars, but never make use of the benefits – a combination policy could just be the ideal way to ensure that you or a loved one obtains a return from your paid-in capital.

For more information on how a combination policy can work for you, contact us. We work with more than 40 insurance companies, and we can help you in finding the plan that works best for your specific coverage needs and goals.

Brad Cummins is an independent life insurance agent and owner of Local Life Agents, one of the nation’s leading independent insurance agencies, offering life insurance products in all 50 states. Learn more about Local Life Agents at www.locallifeagents.com. Follow Local Life Agents on Twitter @LocalLifeAgent.


How to Reduce Your Insurance on Your Van

As your insurance is likely to be one of the biggest expenses incurred when you own a van? it makes sense to try and cut the cost down however you can. This is particularly important when it is used in conjunction with your business as the costs can easily mount and eat into your profits. Here are some tips on how you can cut down on your insurance costs: –

Improve your driving

Improving your driving will not only reduce the risk of you being involved in accidents but will also reduce the chances of you having to make claims which are sure to bump up your insurance premiums. Another option is to take an advanced driving course. This will help to show insurances companies that you are a ‘safe’ driver and should help to lower your premiums.

Named Driversfleet

Although having named drivers may be necessary for your work? it could be costly when it comes to your insurance. You can try to keep this to a minimum by ensuring that you keep you add as few a named drivers to a minimum and by thoroughly vetting those that you do add.

Security

Another simple way of reducing the cost of your insurance, and which you might like to do anyway, is to secure your vehicle. This can be done by adding an alarm, extra locks or even an immobilizer. This will not only help to keep your vehicle and any tools that you are likely to keep in it safe but will also reduce the risk your insurance companies perceive your van to be in.

Type of Cover

The type of cover that you choose could also reduce the amount of your insurance premiums. Although it is important that you have sufficient insurance coverage to protect yourself and others it is also worth considering, realistically, how much cover you actually need. After all if you have a really old van that is worth very little you may not feel that you need the same coverage as if you have a brand new van. In either circumstance you will need at least third party or third party with fire and theft coverage but you may not feel that you need fully comprehensive cover.

Voluntary excess

You may also be able to reduce your voluntary excess by agreeing to a higher voluntary excess than they initially offer you.

Ask the Experts

One final way you could save money on your car insurance is to get a company such as A­Plan to do the leg work for you. Insurance brokers will look at all of the different policies for you and come up with cover that is tailored to you.


Seeking A Car Insurance Cover? Its Better To Work With A Local Agent

Insurance can be one of the most confusing subjects for car owners and drivers to deal with. There’s so many options and types of insurance policies because there’s so many unique situations for each type of coverage.

That’s why a local agent can help you best. Finding one will make it easier for someone to help you choose the right policy that covers some of the more common dangers that people in your area face when it comes to your car.

3333533137_b94b6f10d7Doing so can net you a large amount of savings while ensuring that your car is protected from any accidents that might occur. This makes working with a local agent in Dallas a win-win situation for both your car and your wallet.

To better understand why you should work with a local agent, let’s examine some of the benefits of going this route.

The chief advantage is that a local insurance agent better understands the risk associated with your car than a corporate agent might. For example, there may be a higher risk for having accidents with an uninsured driver in your area. This means an agent can recommend you uninsured motorist protection, which in turn helps to save you money in the event of an accident.

The second benefit of using a local agent is that they’ll know when you can save money by opting for certain types of insurance or by opting out for certain options. Your agent may be able to save you money, for example, by recommending a policy that insures you based on how many miles you travel in your car each year or how you use it.

The last major advantage that a local insurance agent has is that they can offer face-to-face meetings with you. Speaking with someone over the phone who works at a call center can be frustrating due to heightened wait times and the fact that reconnecting with the same agent can be nearly impossible at times.

With a local agent, you can schedule an appointment to meet in person. This allows you to pick a time that’s convenient for you without having to be put on hold or worrying about random disconnects forcing you to restart the entire process anew.

Are you interested in taking advantage of these benefits? Find your local insurance agent today.


Is Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible Option Something You Should Consider?

auto Insurance

Car insurance innovations are possibly the greatest example of follow-the-herd mentality in the financial services industries. Whenever a leading car insurance company launches a national campaign to tout a new coverage option or feature, it’s not long before competitors are close behind like drivers drafting behind a leader in a stock car race. One of the more recent features goes by many names accident forgiveness, diminishing deductible, safe driving deductible rewards, etc. but they all essentially offer the same promise. Go for an extended period of time without a claimable accident and the insurer will reduce the deductible on select coverage options carrying one.

Nationwide has tagged its version of this option with the catchy phrase, Vanishing Deductible, and has even built several memorable television commercials around it.

Here’s a quick overview of how it works and a few things you may want to consider before adding it to your policy.

How it works

One of the first things to know about Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible option is that it isn’t available everywhere. Some states do not allow Nationwide to offer this option to drivers, so be sure you check into what options are available in your state.

If you do have access to the Vanishing Deductible option, Nationwide tries to make it easy to understand and to add. They offer it as a stand-alone option and you are not required

to have a specific coverage package to apply for eligibility. You do have to have a coverage option that calls for a deductible and the two obvious ones are collision and comprehensive. Here again, Nationwide makes it a little easier in that you can choose to add either collision or comprehensive (many car insurance companies force you to have both, even if you want just one.)

If you elect to add Vanishing Deductible to your

Nationwide car insurance plan, you’ll be charged a flat rate (usually around $60-per year for the first car and $10-per year for any additional cars.) Once in place, Nationwide will immediately and automatically reduce a select deductible by $100. For each year you keep the option in place and go without an accident that generates a claim on the option where the deductible is “vanishing”, Nationwide will reduce that deductible another $100. Nationwide caps the total you can have a deductible reduced at $500.

An example

Let’s say you have a Nationwide car insurance plan with comprehensive coverage that comes with a $500 deductible (which is, by the way, the average deductible for a Nationwide comprehensive option.) You add Vanishing Deductible and you go a full year without filing a comprehensive claim. A couple weeks into your second year with Vanishing Deductible, a tree falls on your car requiring $1,800 in repairs. Instead of having to pay $500 out-of-pocket before Nationwide starts reimbursing your expenses, you only have to pay $300 out of-pocket. In this case, the $120 extra you’ve spent to add the option has paid for itself.

If you do have to file a claim while on the Vanishing Deductible option, Nationwide doesn’t make you go all the way back to square one to start earning credits against deductibles. You still get the original $100 reduction in a deductible for having and maintaining the option. In the above example, say a hailstorm wreaks havoc on your car three months after the tree incident, leaving you with $900 in new repair costs. Your out-of-pocket expense on that claim would be $400 (not the full $500 deductible you originally selected for your comprehensive coverage.)

Is this a bargain?

Take a few moments to pencil out whether adding Vanishing Deductible to your Nationwide car insurance plan is a bargain. A good way to go at this is to add up all of what you have to pay to get Vanishing Deductible. First, you will need to have a coverage option in place that comes with a deductible. In most cases this will be a collision or a comprehensive option (or even both) and take some care in determining if you even need any of those options on your car.

A simple rule of thumb for determining if adding collision or comprehensive is a value-added idea is to total the increase in premium you will pay for adding the option over the time you’ll have that car, plus add in the deductible you’ve chosen. If this total exceeds the current market or cash value of the car you’re insuring, it probably isn’t a wise financial move to add that option. In the case of Nationwide, adding either collision or comprehensive options to your policy will add an average of $20-$25 in monthly premium to your bill (for each separate option and depending on the state where you live and other options you have in place.)

One other thing to factor in with the Vanishing Deductible option is that it is capped at $500. If you have a $1,000 deductible, the most the option can offer you is to cut that deductible in half. If you happen to have a $500 deductible, you’ll spend more than you will ultimately save in just over eight years.

Generally speaking, Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible option is a little more flexible and forgiving than many of its competitors, but it’s still an option that you’ll want to carefully consider before adding it to your policy.

(Note: this article is intended solely for informational purposes and is in no way a promotion or a solicitation. The author has no affiliation with Nationwide or with any other car insurance provider.)

Featured images:
  • License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Image courtesy of Nationwide Insurance.

Jeffrey Davidson is a writer and marketing consultant with more than 25 years of experience working with insurance and financial services companies. He currently writes about auto insurance products and services for Reply!. You can find his article on other options to consider for your car insurance plan.


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