Questions Policyholders Should Ask Auto Insurers?

Buying an auto insurance policy and forgetting about it is a common occurrence among motorists. It is certainly not one of the most exciting topics and it may not be fun to go through coverage details and requirements. Although it is much easier now online, drivers may prefer things like twitting and creating a Facebook profile instead of shopping for car insurance.

However, these are some of the things that need to be done to have a trouble free driving experience and claims. It is certainly not pleasant to find out after making a claim that part of it is not covered either. Again, finding out a few years later that you have been paying too much premiums all these time cannot be preferred.

The best source of information and advice about your policies is either your insurer or broker. It is not embarrassing not to know something but it is not advisable to keep quiet about it at all. You can quickly clear all the questions you have by asking them and getting answers. Today you can do this in several ways. You can call them or send a quick e-mail. Alternatively, you can browse search engines for appropriate answers.

Can you get lower car insurance rates?

As the time pass a few things changes in your circumstances that affect policy costs. Finally making to the age of 25 may save you considerable amount of money. In time traffic violation citations and points on your licence expire and get removed. This is a good time to have a word with your insurer to see if you could bring down the rates.

Also, further savings can be achieved by rearranging coverage. For example, you may have had a brand new car at the time you arranged the current policy. Looking at the current valuation and making alterations can save you further.  Another good example is when your children leave home to start their own lives. They would have been pushing your premiums up. There is no reason to keep paying these high rates anymore and you can change it by calling your agent.

Sometimes it may take an initiative on your part to get the insurers apply better rates to you. To do that you need to check with alternative companies to see if you can get better deals. Then, you can take it up with your insurer and ask a simple question; “how is it possible that another company is able to offer you a better rate than the company you have been loyal so many years”.

This single question is quite suggestive and your insurer will get the right message. Namely, either they sharpen their pen and give you a good deal or you will leave. It is not hard to see it since you have already told that you have a better deal from somewhere else. If you are forced to change insurers to get the better deal so be it.

What are the discounts I am currently qualifying for?

This is a nice open ended conversation starter. It requires your agent to have a look at your records and particular and see if there is anything they could do about the premium. If this does not bring the desired outcome you could follow this question with “what else”. Saying things like “I was hoping to bring my costs down a bit” would be enough in most cases.

What other questions you may need to ask?

There are many other issues you could discuss with your insurer. As one of the top insurers say “they are on your side”. A good example would be to discuss your claim options. You may be hit by another car while you were stationary and the other side is not responding to your request for payment. Talking to your insurer may result in you making a claim on your own policy and let the carrier take care of at fault third party drivers or their insurers.

It is not in your best interest to be quite about things. You are paying your dues and you should get what you need out of your policies. Or you should know what you can and cannot get. Keep pushing for the best and you will find what the best is for you in no time.

Benefits and Perils of Excluding Drivers from Coverage

Probabilities of insured loss is the key factor in auto insurance quotes. Existence of certain risk around is the main problem for many drivers. Negating the effects of certain risks is possible in several ways. There is always a chance of an accident but this is negated by providing a clear driving history. When this is done driver can get better rates in return.

Some of the risks may be excluded by making special arrangements. And there is not much you can do about some of them.  For example, being young is a risk indicator and those drivers cannot get themselves striped of it. They will have to wait until they grow up to certain age.

Sometimes owners may be penalized because of the existence of high risk around them. One common situation is the existence of a bad driver in a household. This can be dealt with effectively in a way that insurers do not suffer and policyholder is not penalized. One way of doing it is to exclude certain drivers from the policy. This effectively means that should these people take the car with or without permission the insurer will not pay for the damages.

In fact, you can exclude all the drivers and make the policy effective only for the listed drivers. There are such policies and they afford cheap auto insurance for the policyholders. Once you buy such policy you should keep hold of your keys tightly. You will still be responsible for the damages caused by your car regardless of you driving it or not. People will be able to sue you for their injuries when the driver had your permission or is your relative (assumed permission).

However, certain states would not allow ultimate exclusion. The exclusion may mean that they are only covered up to the minimum legally required third party liabilities. In other words, regardless of exclusions or they would at least get minimum coverage should they get injured while driving your car. What exclusions would mean in those states is that they would not be able to claim further than the lowest limits even you have a provision in your policy.

These exclusions can be used very effectively to get cheap car insurance coverage. For example, parents of a teen at driving age would need to disclose this fact. Then they would see a considerable increase in their premiums because of the assumed addition of this young person. This would be the case even though the youngster is not listed as the driver in the policy.

If the teen driver above has his own car and policy why should the parent keep paying high rates? They can exclude the child and save money. If the indeed it is unlikely for him/her to drive parents automobile it is only sensible to mark this down in the policy. Then of course you need to stick to the rule you agreed with the insurer and do not allow access to your car.

For policyholders living with high risk drivers this can be a good solution. However, you need to check the rules and regulations in your state and what terms imposed onto you by the insurer.

Moving Neighborhoods Can Reduce Car Insurance

Relocation may be necessary for many reasons. Some of those are work, schools, desire to live in a nice neighborhood or not being able to afford the big house in a posh zip code. These changes can affect the car insurance premiums considerably. Therefore, it may be a wise decision to take auto policy costs into account when you are thinking about moving.

How does location influence your premiums?

There are 50 states in America and the cost of insuring vehicles can vary considerably among them. When you are in a position to choose between states it can make even more of a difference. For example, moving out of busy, high risk New York City and into a small and safe neighborhood in New Jersey can reduce the premiums considerably.

Quite a few families have at least two automobiles these days. When you take this into account over thousand dollars savings can be achieved by families each year. Although it is a big enough number for most families some people may think that it is not enough to be bothered. That may be because they do not realize that insurance is a repetitive cost. In ten years your savings reaches over ten thousand. This number is high enough to buy a brand new car.

Understandably you will not move just so that you can get cheap car insurance. It is not what is suggested here. All you are encouraged to do is to check the costs of insurance in the possible locations you are considering. You can easily do that by getting auto insurance quotes for different zip codes in question. As long as you provide exactly the same details you should be able to see the difference pretty quickly. It is quick, free and the most importantly you are not wasting anyone’s time (except yours) in the process.

Also, you will probably save on your other insurance policies as well. The same logic applies to home and motorcycle coverage. The safer the area you live in the lower the premiums go. The total savings can be in the thousands for an average family.

Why the difference in the costs?

Companies calculate premiums based on the probabilities of a loss or claim. They determine the likelihood by checking the previous data in the area. Densely populated areas are more likely to have more accidents, vandalism and auto theft. When this is the case it is normal to expect that the residence pay much higher premiums to insure their possessions.

The opposite is true for the nicer locations where crime rates are very low. When FBI’s auto theft records are compared it is easy to see why the difference in rates. A highly populated city may have thousands of cars stolen every year while there would be one or two stolen in a small town. You would probably say that the number of automobiles in larger places is much more. But proportional comparison of number of cars owned and number of cars stolen will reveal similarly stark differences in crime numbers.

Circumstances and Consequences of Drinking and Driving

Plenty of places to get a few drink down these days from social occasions to events. There are tens of social occasions to enjoy a beer or two including football and basketball games. Drinks in the restaurants, functions and at home are also available. Even petrol stations sell alcohol now. If you are tempted it is hard to avoid them.

Of course there is no problem if you are not driving. You can have several drinks as long as you hold it together. The problem is when you get back to the steering wheel as if nothing happened. One drink during a two hour meal may be alright. But do we stop there normally? We get a bottle of wine between two people. That is a lot more than the legal limit even with a meal.

There are solutions like getting a taxi. Also, there are companies in cities that come and drive your car for you. They come with a scooter that can hold and go to the boot. With a little prearrangement you can avoid being scared of the police who will catch you while you are drunk.

There are a few consequences of drunk driving. One of them is losing your driving license. Driving license suspensions is the common penalties for drivers caught behind the steering wheel. Once you are suspended you become a child again needing someone to give you a lift all the time. In addition you will need to keep explaining to people why you cannot drive. It would be annoying and embarrassing all round.

If you end up in an accident while you are drunk your insurer may refuse to pay for your damages. They are unlikely to refuse the liabilities claims but they are highly likely to decline to pay your own losses.

With a DUI in your record it will not be easy to get reasonable car insurance rates either. First of all you are unlikely to find acceptable offers from main stream insurers. You may need to look for specialist high risk insurers. A seasoned broker may be highly helpful as they would have experience in finding insurers for such drivers. You would be in the high risk category of drivers and you would be looking for companies willing to take a chance with you.

The rates can shoot up as much as seventy percent after DUI. This would mean as much as thousand dollars extra in premiums for an average middle age male driver. If you are already finding it expensive to insure an auto think how much extra financial burden you would be facing. This would probably keep affecting your rates for at least three years with most insurers.

Social, financial and personal implications of getting caught behind the wheel while you are drunk will be quite heavy for most people. Once you are stopped by a police officer the wheel of shame will start turning. You will need to do whatever you can to stop this happening. Otherwise, you can only blame yourself for the consequences.

Joint Car Insurance Policies and Accidents by Listed Drivers

Every policyholder looks for a way of lowering auto insurance rates. One of these ways is to have a joint policy. This can be with a relative, friends or a business partner. There are other people who also add drivers in their policy. This is especially done when the owner knows that the car will sometimes be with another person.

Mostly, married couples are considered as the best drivers since they cannot risk losing a family member. This is one of the reasons why they are given lower rates. With this, many married couples are having their cars insured together so as to get further discounts.

There are benefits and savings to be gained by having a joint policy and sometimes that is how it has to be. Then, it is worth talking about what could happen. Some people may want to avoid this kind of a policy a it can turn out to be problematic. If any of the drivers happen to cause an accident it will affect everyone who is registered under it. This is a loss that you will end up paying as policyholders.

Another thing that may happen to any driver who is under joint policy is having a driver whose driving history is poor. Companies will have to consider the driving history and personal circumstances of all the drivers to be covered by the policy. When there is a driver with a terrible claim record it will influence the other drivers as well even though they have great records. In some cases it becomes more expensive than having separate policies. If the good driver notices that he is covering for the others and there may arise discontent.

To solve the whole issue the drivers should not risk causing accidents. If they are careful the rates will remain low for the rest of their lives. This is because the problem enters when one of the drivers’ causes an accident. That is why it is important to find out how the driver’s history is before having them on your policy. Otherwise you will be embarrassed to know how reckless he is and how much it can cost you.

If it is a business which has several vehicles and you happen to have a driver who takes risks on the road you can have him insured with a separate policy. This is because it will affect the rest since many companies would think that being a driver he can be given any of the vehicles to drive. This will help you lower the premiums oo the rest of vehicles.

Finding a perfect solution for this other than having drivers who have clear insurance policy is not an easy thing. Nevertheless, you can get into contact with a seasoned agent or a broker who can help you settle the problem. Also know that companies weigh their options differently and the rates are different too. With this you can choose to look for an alternative somewhere else. This is by shopping for better rates from other companies. Get more information from their websites or calling them. This will save you trouble and lot of dollars per year.

Bringing Cost of Insuring SUVs Down

Maybe you have heard it said,’ the safer the vehicle and the driver the lower the rates’. This is very true. All the insurance companies go with the results of statistics regarding drivers, cars, mileage and the location in which the owner stays. If the test or survey taken shows that sports cars are prone to causing accident in the highways or in the local roads that is taken into the account and any such car owner who approaches insurance companies will get higher rates.

This makes many people avoid buying such cars counting the price, insurance and maintenance. The insurers see the risk first before thinking on what they will gain from insuring any car. SUVs are in this category of vehicle expensive to insure. There are people who buy cars without this knowledge and they think the cost of insuring all cars is the same.

Some say that the cost may differ if only you are insuring a commercial vehicle but if it is any private automobile the cost will not be much different. This is not so, that is why it is important to get advice from your insurer before you make any decision of purchasing SUVs. This is to avoid the shock after the purchase that your premium has gone up. It would be too late to change since you have already bought the vehicle.

Nevertheless, not all SUVs attract such high rates. The insurers differ and some would be comfortable with certain things while other would be totally cautious when it comes to insuring certain drivers, autos or avoid some zip codes.

The only help that one may get is to have sport utility vehicle or classic insured when there is a high competition by the policy providers. It would be nice to get them insured when there is a special promotion. You are likely to keep the low rates once you got them as long as you remain to be safe driver.

Maybe you have never understood why the cost of covering these vehicles is always high. One thing is that they do not handle roads like other vehicles especially when it comes to corners. They are not easy to maneuver thereby making them riskier to drive. When it comes to accidents, being a powerful vehicle it can cause a lot of damages to any involved vehicles and injuries to people. The more the damages the more expensive it becomes to provide insurance for it.

All of the above mention issues regarding sport utility vehicles should not send you away from buying it. There are different ways of having a cheaper coverage for it and your broker can help you know which way to go. The other option is if the driver or the owner is a young person who has no experience. It is best if they are safe drivers and look for ways of getting discounts now and then so as to lower their rates. These may include taking a defensive course as well as improving the security in the vehicle. This will be a safer way of owning your dream vehicle.

Defensive Driving Classes Reduce Auto Insurance Premiums

Many people are not aware of the advantages of taking defensive driving classes. In fact some are ignorant enough to say that these classes cannot help an experienced driver. Or they say that the best way of learning is on the roads. This is no way true as it sometimes takes someone else to point out your mistakes. And they can help you to correct them.

After the course completion, there are two advantages that come in and affect your policy. The first thing that happens is that you are recognized as a driver who can drive safely. The second one is that you gain discounts for finishing the course. This qualifies you to getting discounts on your auto policy. For a person who is looking forward to saving money on insurance or looking for a way to shrink monthly bills this is a good option.

Many people who take defensive driving courses do it to stay safe on the roads. There are people who take the course because they are ordered by the court. This may happen if the person has been caught driving recklessly, driving under the influence of drugs or having too many traffic tickets. It doesn’t matter who ordered the course, someone maybe willing to take it and in anyway discounts are rewarded. It also shows that you are trying to be safe on the road. The course highlights things that many people have not known though they have been on the roads for decades.

This is a short course that one can take and save thousands of dollars in his lifetime. It can be completed in a day or two in most states. There is usually a charge for attending. It may seem much to spend for some people but it is worth it. You will be able to know how to avoid accidents, assertive driving, speeding, slip recovery, tailgating and passing. This is taught and demonstrated with a video and also exercise. When you approach your insurer with a certificate that shows you can drive safely, they give you discount.

Nevertheless there are some insurance companies which do not give such discounts despite the fact that the state allows it. That is why it is important to consider a company that accepts to give discounts. Always note that you should always try to avoid any accident with or without taking defensive course. Claims are the main reason for the rates to go up.

When a person is caught by the law and is ordered to take defensive class, he or she can choose to do it or get fines plus point deduction of the license. Many students who have taken the course have been able to avoid traffic tickets. After completion of the course the judge checks it and if he is satisfied the premium raise is stopped. If the driver becomes safer by the reduction in the number of accidents and traffic tickets the rates goes lower thereby causing premium reduction. Learn to be a safer driver and increase your auto insurance premium savings day by day.

Vehicle Repair Rip Offs: Be Warned

Everyone in this world is trying surviving but there are some who are using deceitful ways to earn a living. Maybe you have come across such people in business and noticed. Others are very sweet and hard to notice at the moment but you will find out later that they were no good. This applies to most lines of businesses. However, automobile owners may come across them more often. Since most people know very little about vehicle engines, faults and repairs they are easy targets.

When your car needs some repairs you take it to a repair shop. You would expect an honest opinion and estimate of the problems from any mechanic automatically. Why should they be any different, right? It is normal to assume and expect a simple human decency and professional approach to work. However, you need to keep in mind and be on your guard that some mechanics are not as honest as the others.

When you arrive and approach a specialist they might over charge you. Some will actually give a breakdown of the things that need to be done and some are unnecessary. Apart from special effort to deceit customers so may simply be a lot greedier. They may like to be rich quick or overestimate their services’ worth.

What are the common trade tricks to con auto owners?

There are a few tricks known by auto insurers who are dealing with mechanics every day. These are some of the advices offered to their policyholders regardless of they are making a claim or paying for the damages out of the pocket.

Overcharging is the obvious one. They can inflate the bills very quickly particularly when you have not asked for a quote before allowing them to work on your vehicle. So, it is highly important to get a firm quote before you give the go ahead. A reputable company would first start fact finding on your car. Then, they would report back to you with the problems and costs. Especially when you have an older auto you must state that they should not start any works without your approval. Otherwise the repairs can cost more than the car.

Charging new part costs but fitting used parts is a practice many mechanics may think nothing of. If you suspect such going on you can refer to the quotation you received. It is important that these quotations detail every part to be fitted and labor costs separately. Then you can easily confront them and tell them that you will bring another mechanic to confirm the works done and parts fitted. Usually, it is loss adjusters’ job to make sure right parts used when the insurer is paying for the damages.

Charging for an original part replacement but fitting cheaper alternatives is similar to fitting second hand parts. The parts for some high end automobiles can be very expensive. However, there are companies making cheaper parts to fit these cars. If they are charging you an honest price for these parts and you know and agree to what is being done it is a fair game. Otherwise, it is cheating.

Misleading adverts are another serious problems. Common one is for cheap oil replacement. Many people may think that they will have oil replacement the way every other mechanic does. A normal oil replacement does not mean just changing the oil but filters and anything else to go with it. A crook mechanic makes a point of pricing cheap oil (only) replacement and start charging for every washer and filter he has to change in the process. The bill will be two or three times more than advertised.

Normally, motorists would seek recommendation for these services. But you may have just moved to the area and not know many people. In these cases, you should check your car manual to see the authorized garages for your make of car. They can appear to be a little more expensive but at least you are guaranteed an honest work. These authorized garages will have a reputation and authorization to uphold.

Tire Maintenance & Fitting Right Ones

When talking about insurance and what can cut back some cost, rarely do we remember tires. When we try considering it, we only focus on the safety. And for sure tires can contribute a lot when it comes to the safety. If you come across a rough road with weak tires then you will be risking your life or that of others. It will also be costly since you will keep on visiting garage to be fixed.

Winter Tires

If we take the example of winter tires, they are commonly used in places where winter temperatures can go very low. They reduce the flexibility when the temperatures go down. In most cases when you drive on these icy roads without winter tires you will have problems. When you hit a piece of ice your front tires may get grips and the back tires will slide making your car to spin and you can be stuck there.

Nevertheless, you can get all purpose tires though they mostly work on moderate snow temperatures especially if they have enough tread depth. Winter tires are available in different designs and structures. You may find some which have metal post that stick hardly on the tires making it to be stead on the road while some have studs.

Studded winter tires are allowed only in some seasons because of damaging the roads. Another disadvantage that may make them unfavorable is the fact that they do not make much difference from the un-studded though they help vehicle stop earlier on ice. If you visit Washington DC, you cannot be allowed to drive on the roads if your car has studded tires except on March and November. They can actually be banned in many states.

Good Tires

There are some other tires which reduce crash rate on the roads and they are considered best by the insurers thereby cutting off the premium. These are tires which have angled grooves, zigzag tread patterns, micro-pores and stiffened tread blocks.

Another way is by using tire chains. These can as well help during extreme temperatures but drivers are advised to get the right size for their car and to put them before getting out the house so as to reduce the winter vehicle accidents. There are people who would carry the chains and use them when the temperatures go down and they are on the road.

It is why it is important to use weather report so as to know when the right time to carry them is. However, there are some states where these chains are not allowed like in Washington though they improve traction during winter. Always look for the right tires so as to reduce the rate of accidents not only during winter but on other seasons not forgetting premium rates.


Tires are not complicated part of a car. They are easily visible and their pressure levels can be checked quickly. They should be maintained at the manufacturer recommended pressures and worn ones should be replaced in due course. Nearly twenty five percent of automobiles drive around with insufficiently inflated tires. Tire pressures should be checked at least once a month.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cars with underinflated tires were three times more likely to cause tire failure related accidents. Underinflated tires can cause steering problems. They are slower to respond when motorists try to turn and cause more accidents.

Also, underinflated tires heat up a lot quicker that damages tires. When tires heat up over 200 degrees they start breaking down according to the experts. The rubber starts separating and causing puncture which increases accident risk. Also, heated tires lose tread quickly and become warn much earlier than its usual life cycle.

Good Practice

Tire pressures should regularly be checked and if necessary tires should be inflated according to manufacturer handbooks. These checks should be carried out at least once a month. A driver should always have a quick look at the tires before he gets on his car every morning.

In addition to monitoring tire pressure drivers need to stay aware of worn tires. If the tread is badly warn drivers would have a hard time steering and stopping in bad weather like rain, snow and ice. These worn tires tend to hydroplane on wet roads. Hydroplaning happens when a vehicle lifts off the road surface. This obviously makes it harder to stop or steer since there is no road grip. The tread grooves resist hydroplaning by allowing water to flow through. As they get worn they lose this ability. Even a thin layer of water on highways can cause hydroplaning for automobile with badly worn tire tread. Loss of traction is a bad news in bad weather.

When to Change Tires

According to experts tires have a normal life of 3 – 4 years. Around this time frame they should be checked regularly in a view to replace them. The usage will determine how long they will last.

As the tread wears down, the stopping ability on wet surface decreases. You can measure your tire tread depth by using a penny. Insert the penny into each tire’s tread grooves, with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, the depth of the tread is less than 2/32 inch and the tire should be replaced.

To extend tire life, drivers should rotate them every 5,000 miles, or as directed by the manufacturer. Rotation is the practice of periodically moving tires from one wheel to another to ensure even tread wear. It’s also important to select a tire dealer who is both knowledgeable and reputable.

Knowledgeable dealers can put you in the proper tires for your vehicle, he says. They also will stand behind their products, replacing tires under manufacturers’ warranties if they prove to be faulty. Tire warranties are based on the number of miles the tires are expected to last. If a tire wears out before its estimated mileage limit, it may qualify for replacement.

No matter how well you care for your tires, eventually you will need to replace them. Exposure to air, sunlight, and the elements will cause your tires to gradually wear out, even if you seldom drive. A lot of manufacturers are recommending complete replacement of the tires after six years, whether they look brand new or not.

Valet Parking and Auto Insurance Coverage

There are many places cars can be parked while attending a function or going to a restaurant. In many cases this worry of finding a spot is taken care of by valet services for a small fee. It is highly unlikely for one to think of checking the condition of a car after receiving it from valet parking. Another thing is when you park it to be washed. One thing is that you have trusted the valet and given the key to the person at the desk.

Maybe you have never thought of who would pay for a scrape that could occur on your car while it is being parked somewhere in a hotel or in a valet parking. An item may also get lost in the same manner and since you rarely check whether everything is ok and drive away, you come to notice it later.

In most cases the person who attended your car may deny and say that the car was like that especially if they were told to give compensation. After reporting the case the company might agree that you can claim on their business liabilities coverage. It is advisable to check your car while parking and leaving it and if possible let the valet know its condition. If you have valuable items in your car you should take them with you. The day would be ruined if they get stolen and of course you would have to deal with it. It would not be comfortable to blame all the workers within a company for theft and they would most likely not take the accusation lightly.

There is some good parking where you do not necessarily have to keep watching your car and every move the valet takes. Some keep record so as to know where your car is kept and in case you bring a claim they will look where it was parked and the possibility of it being damaged. For instance it may be parked in a tight spot and there are broken glasses on the floor or the sign of scrape on the wall. If the parking service provider agrees to pay you will not need to make a claim on your policy.

This would be the case as well if a third party caused the damage and they accept responsibility. Similar to other drivers buying liability policies businesses have coverage for the damages while vehicles are in their care. If you have comprehensive coverage your policy would pay for the damages. However, the point is that whoever caused the damage should take responsibility for it.

People leaving their vehicles with similar parking services should note their terms and conditions as well. Most of them would not accept any liability for items left in automobiles. If anything is stolen you will have to make a claim on your home insurance or auto policy if you have coverage. Also, they would not be responsible for mechanical breakdowns.

In a case where you maybe reporting a stolen item, you could find yourself spending much since you will have to contact police while filing a claim and in other ways. Do not forget that you can be asked to provide any document that is showing you own such an item which you are claiming. Such things can be avoided by taking care of your vehicle and its contents.