Tag Archives: auto insurance

Traveling? Renting a Car? Should You Buy the Insurance? So Many Questions!

Car_Rental_Insurance_JusRenting a car can be a confusing process. The additional fees and services offered by car rental companies are often tacked on the bill followed by paragraphs of legalese. Supplemental liability insurance is one of these extra fees. While the name implies importance, it may be an unnecessary fee when renting a car. To determine whether you need supplemental liability insurance on your next car rental, start by assessing your current coverage.

What is Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLP)? 

Most states require that rental car companies provide drivers with minimum levels of liability insurance during the rental period. Supplemental insurance provides additional coverage above the state minimums, up to $1 million in liability protection.

For some drivers, this additional coverage is a great deal that can cover additional costs associated with an accident. For other drivers, this coverage is already included in other areas and duplicating this service through the rental company is a waste of money.

Using a Credit Card? 

Many credit card companies offer bonuses that customers are not using. Charge backs and reward points are often scrutinized and compared when searching for a new credit card but many cards also offer secondary rental insurance which consumers fail to use.

The best way to determine whether your credit cards offer rental insurance is to read the terms of use or speak to customer service. Determine how long after an accident you have to file the claim. Most credit card companies offer drivers a 45 day window. If your credit card offers SLP, buying coverage from the rental car company is unnecessary.

Did You Call Your Insurer? 

Most drivers do not need supplemental liability insurance for the simple reason that they already have coverage under their current auto insurance. In addition to covering the driver while driving other people’s cars, rental cars are covered by basic auto insurance for the same deductible.

Don’t Want to File a Claim?

Even drivers who have primary automobile insurance may opt to use SLP to prevent their insurance rates from rising in the event of a rental car accident. Rental cars are notorious for being driven recklessly and drivers with a lead foot or those that are particularly harsh on rentals may not want rising rates over a couple of scratches. In this case, SLP is a good way to prevent extravagant bills for car damage without effecting insurance rates.

Don’t Own a Car? 

While insured drivers may already carry supplemental liability insurance, drivers who do not own a car may find value in getting additional coverage during their rental period. Without the secondary coverage available from auto insurance, customers with expensive rental cars or valuable assets can protect their money by accepting the nominal daily charge for supplemental liability insurance.

If you’re a non-car owner that travels frequently, the fees associated with SLP can add up fast. Consider contacting an auto insurance company to ask about liability coverage for drivers who do not own a car. Most policies cost less than $300 a year and will provide adequate coverage in case of accident without the additional cost of supplemental liability insurance.

Supplemental liability insurance may not be a great deal, but for drivers with the right prerequisites, it can be a valuable addition to rental insurance. Being underinsured in an accident can have serious consequences. Make sure you understand your coverage before turning down supplemental insurance while renting a car.

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How Long Do I Have to Purchase Car Insurance After Buying a Car?

Car insurance can be complicated if a person does not have a good agent to help them through the process. How much do you need?  When do you need to buy it?   Can it be added to an existing policy? This article won’t answer all your questions.  It will, however, help answer the question of how soon you need to buy insurance after you purchase a car.  The answer can depend on where you purchase your car, your state laws and the existence of any other car insurance policies you may have.

Driving off the lot
Many car lots will not even allow you to drive off the lot with a car until you have insurance.  This is more to protect them than protect you. They want to make sure the car is covered until it is paid in full. There is also likely to be a requirement as to how much insurance you need.

From a private owner
A private owner will most likely not care whether you have insurance or not since you will be taking title of the car right away.  In this case, you may have two weeks or so, depending on when the temporary tags expire.  It is then likely that you will be required to show proof of insurance before you will be issued permanent tags. This is definitely the case in states that require all drivers be covered under some kind of car insurance.

Existing policies
Car owners who have existing insurance policies will need to talk to their insurance agent. Some policies have a grace period during which the new car is covered under the existing policy. These grace periods vary in terms of their duration, so it is important to carefully review your policy. Other policies do not allow this at all. Your insurance agent can help you determine whether you are covered or not and how long you have before you need to get the additional car covered.

State laws
Most states have some type of car insurance regulations in place and they may differ from the requirements of the dealer where you purchase your car. In all cases, it is better to check in advance with your state Department of Motor Vehicles to find out their requirements. Once you know the State’s requirements, you will be in a better position to comply with them. Unless the dealer requires insurance before allowing you to take possession, state law is the standard, and that will likely mean you need to secure car insurance before you can be issued permanent tags for your car.

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Teen Driving: How to Keep Your Teen Safe Behind the Wheel

Parenting teenagers has never been more challenging. In addition to raising your teen to become a good person and a responsible adult, parents today need to help their teens navigate a variety of risks including drinking and drugs, social media, and the complexities inherent in friendships and romantic relationships. With all of these factors to worry about, it can be easy to forget that the biggest risk facing your teen is parked right outside of your house. Incredibly, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers in America. Teen Driving GraphicAccording to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the cause of 35% of teen deaths every year, and mile for mile, teens are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.

There are a number of factors that contribute to teen driving fatalities:

  • Inexperience and immaturity
  • Excessive speed
  • Drinking and driving
  • Not wearing seat belts
  • Distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.)
  • Drowsy driving
  • Nighttime driving
  • Drug use

Parent Involvement Is Critical

The good news is that many teen driving accidents are preventable, and parents have a key role to play in keeping their teens safe behind the wheel. A recent National Young Driver Survey found that teens with authoritative parents (defined as those who are highly supportive and involved, set rules, and monitor) engaged in fewer risky driving behaviors and had half the crash risk as compared to other teens. In addition teens with involved parents are:

  • Twice as likely to wear seat belts
  • 70% less likely to drink and drive
  • Half as likely to speed
  • 30% less likely to use a cell phone while driving

The takeaway? Make sure you are talking with your teen and setting expectations for their driving.

How You Can Help

There are a number of specific things parents can do to reduce the chances that their teens will be involved in auto accidents:

  1. Set Clear Rules: Make sure to let your teen know what your expectations are and explain the rationale behind them.
  2. Focus on Safety: Let them know that you are setting these rules to keep them safe and not simply to control them.
  3. Reward Good Behavior: If your teen follows your rules and maintains a good driving record, introduce new privileges (such as driving after dark).
  4. Be Supportive: Peer pressure is tough, and your teen may find themself getting pressured to engage in behavior that violates your rules. As a parent, you can make things easier by letting your teen’s friends know what the rules are and then acting as a scapegoat (“I can’t do that, my parents would ground me!”), or by establishing a code word with your teen (if they call and mention the word, come and pick them up right away and with no questions asked).
  5. Communicate: Communication is critical. Talk to your teen and make sure you know where they are going and why, how they plan to get there, and how they will get home. If you (or they) don’t feel confident that they have a plan in place to get safely there and back, offer a ride.
  6. Lead by Example: Even though teens might not admit it, parents really are important role models. Make sure that you practice safe driving. Don’t talk on your cell phone or text while driving, obey the speed limit, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking, and don’t drive aggressively.

One of the best ways to clearly establish and communicate expectations is through the use of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. Use this template provided by the Centers for Disease Control or create your own. Either way, make sure your expectations are set out in writing, and then both you and your teen should sign the agreement. Having a clear set of expectations and communicating often about them are the best ways to keep your teen safe on the road.

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5 Most Common Insurance Claims

Insurance claims are made every day. Looking at the most common claims made just goes to show exactly how much of what’s important to us in our everyday lives can be protected by purchasing insurance.

Wedding Insurance

A majority of wedding insurance claims are made for lost deposits. This can be a hotel closing down, a caterer failing to show or an absentee photographer. All nightmare situations, but thankfully all covered under the policy. After that it’s illness or injury, usually when it results in the wedding having to be rearranged.

Pet Insurance

A recent study has found that in a two-year period, four in ten pet insurance policy holders made a claim against their policy. The majority of these claims, 70%, are for pet illness or accident and injury.

Auto Insurance

There are a number of situations that can result in a claim against your auto insurance, but by far the most common are fender benders. Minor accidents like those that occur in parking lots or at stop signs. Usually damage is minimal and more of an inconvenience, but making a claim rather than paying for the repair yourself is a good way to test the full extent of your policy and become familiar with the claims policy.

Home Insurance

Claims against home insurance can be weather damage, theft or fire however the most popular claim is water damage. Claims for water damage make for almost 69% of claims, mainly as a result of faulty plumbing rather than flooding.

Cell Phones

Many people don’t know that they can protect their phone with a specialized policy, but as technology becomes more advanced phones are becoming more important and so many are opting to purchase insurance. A recent study has revealed an alarmingly high claim rate against these insurance policies – mainly for damage. It’s estimated that 51% of mobile devices given as Christmas presents have been damaged in some way already. In fact the overall majority of claims are made within the first four months of ownership.

So looking at the most common insurance claims, do you have the right protection for these circumstances? You never know, you may have to make one of these claims yourself.

If you have insurance questions, click here to ask an expert

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