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Archive for August, 2009

Selecting Your Auto Insurance Company

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

If you drive or own a vehicle, you need to have auto insurance as well. Now, where do you go looking for such insurance policies? You can take your pick from the various auto insurance companies that are available. Just get the auto insurance policy that meets your budget and is suitable for you.

Choosing the right auto insurance company

There are a number of auto insurance companies present today, so at times it may be difficult for you to choose. If you are the owner of a vehicle, then it would be a good idea to choose an auto insurance company that has good credit worthiness. It is sensible to always opt for a renowned auto insurance company to ensure there are no problems regarding the policy later.

How to go about the selection

You need to do your homework before selecting a reputable auto insurance company. You will find that all the insurance companies share certain aspects, but you will have to look for company specific packages, services, as well as perks.

* Search based on the coverage offered. Do not base your decision on the price of the auto insurance. You may find that Company A offers a certain service which increases the overall price of the insurance, while Company B may not have that service resulting in the price being a bit cheaper. Careful study of the coverage will help you know what is included in the price and what is not.

* Check your state’s website regarding the auto insurance companies listed in your state. You will find complaints that have been received by the company on specific searching. This will help you decide which auto insurance company is reliable.

* When you are selecting an auto insurance company, you should also look for its customer service wing. Speak with the customer service department of the auto insurance company as many times as you have to before opting for the auto insurance company. You need to have a discussion with the company and the personnel and clarify all your doubts.

* Listen to the recommendations made by your friends and family. If your friend is satisfied with an auto insurance company, chances are you will also be satisfied. Also consider the recommendations made by the local body shops or automobile repair shops. Body shops directly work with the insurance companies and know which ones are the best.

* Consider the financial strength of the auto insurance company. Make sure that the company is able to pay well for the claims.

You will be at ease if your vehicle is insured with a good insurance company. You definitely do not want to land in a soup. Follow the aforementioned tips, and the entire procedure will be hassle free.

Why Auto Insurance Rates are Dropping

Friday, August 21st, 2009

According to statistics gathered by Insurance.com’s RateWatch for Car Insurance, auto insurance rates are down across the United States. In some states, the drop is dramatic: average annual premium decreases of nearly 30% have been reported in Vermont, Maine, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Decreases of around 20% have occurred in South Dakota, New England, Illinois, and Tennessee.

Most states are seeing a more modest decrease in auto insurance premiums, between 1 and 5%. So, what accounts for the dramatic decrease in costs being seen nationwide?

With the recession causing hundreds of thousands of workers to lose their jobs in the past two years, many people are cutting expenses wherever they can, and auto insurance is one that can decrease a family’s expenses by hundreds of dollars a month. It is estimated that by 2010, 1 in 6 drivers will be driving without auto insurance.

Insurance companies are responding to this change in the market by decreasing rates in order to retain drivers. More people are shopping around online to find cheaper auto insurance quotes, and insurance companies are hoping that people realize the importance of car insurance and will continue to pay for insurance if they can get a good rate.

In some areas of the country, auto insurance rates have decreased recently as a result of new legislation in addition to economic factors. In California, insurance commissioner John Garamendi passed a statute which requires insurance companies to base premiums on drivers’ records and miles driven rather than on their zip code.

A spokesman for State Farm Insurance has cited yet another reason for the current decrease in rates: claims are down. “Whether it’s because of the aging population, better law enforcement, safer cars or some other reason,” said Bill Sirola, “our projections of what we were going to have to pay in losses are just not coming true.”

Regardless of the reasons for decreasing auto insurance premiums, the situation is good for consumers, and there are several compelling reasons not to drive without insurance. Most notably, uninsured drivers can end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt if they are found at fault in a serious accident resulting in destruction of vehicles and injury.

Even if accidents are avoided altogether, driving without insurance is illegal in all 50 states, and penalties for offenders are steep. A citation for driving without insurance will also result in dramatically increased insurance rates in the future.

Auto insurance rates are dropping due to a number of factors, and it is now easier than ever to shop for an auto insurance quote online. It is worth the trouble to find an affordable rate rather than canceling auto insurance altogether.

Why Auto Insurance Personal Injury Claims are on the Rise

Friday, August 21st, 2009

Risk can take on a new meaning under challenging circumstances. Under a weakened economy, fraud and abuse become more acceptable to the general problem. States may decide to crack down and implement laws that are already on the books. In an effort to offset the increase in lawsuits, no fault products are introduced to new and existing clients. All of these are possible factors in the increase of personal injury auto insurance claims.

Consumers take inventory of everything in their lives when times are tough. Luxury items can be postponed while necessities are scaled down to their bare minimum. Auto premiums are considered a necessary expense for most, but studies have shown that the number of consumers who submit fraudulent personal injury claims increases in the midst of an economic downturn. Many contact companies for auto insurance quotes and decide they are entitled to some retribution, rationalizing fraud. Ironically, the increase in fraudulent claims makes auto insurance rates higher for everyone.

While the industry watches fraud and abuse in the insurance industry, the states determine liability. Currently, 13 states require PIP or Personal Injury Protection. As health insurance rates rise, consumers may find a more attractive auto insurance quote that includes PIP. This allows the consumer to not have to rely on traditional health insurance in the event of personal injury after an accident. As PIP becomes more popular, the number of personal injury claims is on the rise.

The states continue to involve themselves in the behavior of insurance companies and consumers in the insurance industry. One pivotal way is requiring drivers to maintain some level of insurance coverage. This requirement exists in all but two states—Wisconsin and New Hampshire. These states, however, require drivers to prove that they can cover the cost of potential damages related to a car accident including personal injury. In order to protect all drivers on the road, states are now implementing strict fines and even jail time for drivers who choose to be uninsured. The increase in numbers of auto insurance policies, as a result of measures enforcing insurance laws, has led to an increase in personal injury claims.

Auto insurance and the ability to manage the cost of auto insurance premiums are constantly on the mind of consumers. During times when the entire country is experiencing economic hardships, auto insurance rates and specifically personal injury claims are subject to rise. States begin to focus on the needs of all drivers by ensuring coverage will be there when needed. At the risk of increasing auto insurance rates, insurance companies attempt to manage the fraud and abuse associated with personal injury claims.

Hurricane Ike Causes Ohio Auto Insurance Rates to Increase

Monday, August 10th, 2009

For most of the U.S., fall is a welcome season, full of vibrant colors and cooler weather. However, in some parts of the world, this season brings hurricanes and destruction.

For Galveston Texas, 2008 was that kind of year. It was much more than just rain and thunder. Last September, residents were assaulted by Hurricane Ike. In fact, Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to invade land in the United States and the most intense of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

It started as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa in August 2008 and aggressively arrived in Texas as a Category 2 Hurricane on September 13, 2008. Southern Ohio (Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus) was recorded as the highest hit area.

Ike has been held responsible for 195 deaths and an estimated $24 billion in damages in the United States alone. Of those who died, 112 who were Americans (72 in Ohio); and 25 people are still reported missing.

But this fall, it is not just Hurricane Ike that the homeowners are bracing for; they will soon be hit with homeowners and auto insurance rates that will hike as much as 8.5 percent, according to the announcement by State Farm. Allstate claims that average rate hikes will be 5.5 percent with more increases along the coastal areas.

The Ohio Department of Insurance stated that while homeowners’ coverage rose 6.9 percent last year, the auto insurance industry followed suit with a .8 percent increase. Insurance analysts project that homeowners’ premiums and Ohio auto insurance rates will continue to rise throughout 2009.

Residents and victims of the destruction have no recourse but to use the policies they paid for to recover their losses, and now they have to pay for it with higher premiums. Insurers continue to argue that the rate hikes are determined with projections of future losses. What is the difference?

Sources estimate that the insurance payments from Hurricane Ike’s vicious blow will reach $9.8 billion. $553.1 million of those payments will be to cover the devastating damage in Ohio alone, stated a trade group.

It is agreed that the insurance industry must protect itself from risk. Storms, hurricanes, and other acts of God deplete the insurance industry’s capital and limit future financing of contracts. Many suspect that things could get worse, especially if a relative of Ike returns to strike for a second time. The residents and their insurers both need protection from the storms that bring winds, rain, policies, and claims.

Other areas that were hit by Hurricane Ike were Cuba, the Bahamas, and Haiti; a reported total of $32 billion in damages.

Can You Get Auto Insurance and Motorcycle Insurance on the Same Policy?

Monday, August 10th, 2009

While there are some companies that will provide auto insurance and motorcycle insurance on the same policy, that is normally not something you want to do because of higher auto insurance rates.

Most companies do not provide auto insurance and motorcycle insurance on the same policy because they simply can’t do it. These companies write motorcycle insurance for one year, while their auto insurance rates are for six months. So a combined policy with these companies is not even possible because the auto insurance rates and motorcycle rates are figured differently.

There is also the issue of coverage being different for auto insurance and motorcycle insurance in various states. In Pennsylvania, for example, motorists have limited and full tort options for coverage while motorcyclists do not.

While some companies combine coverage for auto insurance and motorcycle insurance, the primary reason for not putting both on the same policy is that your motorcycle would then be rated as getting as much use as a car. For most people, their motorcycle is used far less than a car and so they would wind up paying auto insurance rates for their motorcycle coverage when they only need to pay for motorcycle insurance coverage.

By writing the auto insurance and motorcycle insurance policies separately, you don’t pay auto insurance rates for your motorcycle. You pay motorcycle rates.

Auto insurance and motorcycle insurance are important to provide coverage for damage and medical expenses in the event of an accident. It gives you the peace of mind to know you and your family are covered should the unexpected happen. Auto insurance and motorcycle coverage also provide replacement of a vehicle in the event that it is stolen.

Most companies will provide a discount if you have more than one policy with their company. So not putting both vehicles on one policy will likely save you money in the long run, avoiding paying auto insurance rates for both vehicles.

Because of the risk associated with motorcycle riding, one of the most important coverage types to have is medical coverage. Traveling the same roadways with cars, pick-up trucks, and SUVs, you are at a distinct size disadvantage. Make sure that if an accident occurs you and your passenger are covered for a trip to the emergency room, hospital stays, and dental work.

In some states, insurance companies also offer personal injury protection coverage. While this sounds like medical coverage, it also provides coverage for lost income due to a motorcycle accident. Additionally, it covers services you would normally do yourself during your recuperation time.

And like auto insurance coverage, motorcycle coverage is normally broken down by collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured driver.

Californians Experience Reduced Auto Insurance Rates from 21st Century

Monday, August 10th, 2009

As reported on California’s Department of Insurance webpage (www.insurance.ca.gov), Insurance Commissioner Steve Poinzer announced, together with the 21st Century Senior VP of the Western Region, Shannon Kelly, that there will be an auto rate reduction of $34 million dollars for policyholders in California.

This means that 21st Century auto policy holders in California will see their insurance rates decrease an average of 3.4%, or $50 per year, as noted by the Department of Insurance; some cities may even find that their auto rates decrease even more. For example, 21st Century policy holders in Los Angeles will save up to $80 per year; Sacramento $62 per year. The decreased auto insurance rates will come into effect for policies purchased or renewed after June 21, 2009.

Since taking office, Commissioner Poinzer has reduced auto insurance rates across the state, as well as insurance rates in other lines such as renters and homeowners. In all, he has made $2 billion worth of rate reductions. According to state law, the Commissioner must approve any rate adjustments to the insurer before the company can decrease their rates.

21st Century is once of the state’s top ten auto insurers, offering coverage to more than a million vehicles; this number equates to 5% of all drivers in California. Their auto insurance rate reduction will have a large impact on their California clients.

In the Department of Insurance article, President and CEO of 21st Century Insurance Anthony J. DeSantis is quoted as saying, “For over 50 years, 21st Century Insurance has delivered great value and service to California drivers. That’s why we are pleased to be able to pass these savings onto our customers in the form of these lower rates – especially during this tough period in our economy.”

21st Century is able to pass along these auto insurance rate reductions to their customers due to a decrease in the number and severity of automobile accidents. Safer driving means that it costs less for the insurance company to cover the driver, which then means that the cost to the driver decreases.

In California especially, where the budget crisis is still in full swing and unemployment continues to rise, these savings are very important to auto insurance holders.

In order to receive these reduced auto insurance rates, clients simply need to renew their 21st Century Automobile Insurance polices after June 21st, 2009, or purchase a new plan after the same date. This will ensure that these California drivers will benefit from this $34 million rate reduction in auto insurance, in that their auto insurance premiums will be decreased an average of $50 per year.

Common Consumer Auto Insurance Complaints

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Auto insurance is a necessary service for anyone who operates any type of personal or business vehicles on public roads and highways. There are many different types of auto insurance consumer complaints. Many of them are due to misinformation or not completely understanding the details of their insurance policy. Here are a few ways you can avoid problems that may result in consumer complaints.

One common complaint has to do with your personal contact with the auto insurance company. If you call to update a policy or change your billing information, stay on the line until the representative tells you it is completed. At some point in time, almost everyone experiences talking to a representative and there is no record of the conversation. If this conversation is not followed up on, then your auto insurance rates may increase, if there is an accident or incident with the police and your coverage does not reflect your updates.

Requesting an email of any changes that occur on your account is important. Many times the representative can email you the requested or updated information while you are on the phone. If you do not receive any type of confirmation, then always call back, give your account information, and ask if the requested changes were made. Examples of this situation are adding new drivers, different forms of auto insurance coverage, or adding different vehicles.

If the company computer is down, do not depend on the representative to process your request. In the event that you can reach a representative with computer issues, ask if you can fax them your documents. They may be able to receive faxes, and fax you back proof of your information. This strategy may work for time sensitive information that needs to be updated quickly to your policy to keep you out of legal trouble.

For example, if you are currently dealing with legal issues due to not having insurance, part of a reduced fine may be to keep consistent auto insurance. You may need proof that your payment was received on time.

Avoid incorrect billing charges on your statement by paying in advance. Many insurance companies urge you to let them direct debit your checking account, debit card, or credit card. Many times the draft date is not negotiable after the policy has started. If this is not a good time of the month, you eventually may incur a non sufficient funds charge. This can usually be avoided if you contact the company after initially setting up your policy, and requesting the removal of the automatic payment method. Set up bill pay from your bank and pay the bill in advance. If your auto insurance is due on the 29th of each month, send in payment at least two weeks before it is due. Auto insurance rates may be slightly cheaper if you’re paying the policy in one lump sum.

How Consumers are Benefitting from Wisconsin’s Budget Changes on Auto Insurance

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Consumers in Wisconsin should be happy about the recent changes that have been made to the state’s auto insurance laws, as these laws are in place to ensure that everyone gets the coverage that he or she has paid for. Starting in July of 2010, every motorist in Wisconsin will be required by law to have auto insurance. While on the surface this makes it sound like certain people will be paying more, the opposite is actually true because everyone will have full access to the coverage that they are paying for, which could save the consumer a great deal of money if he or she is involved in an accident.

The majority of drivers in the state already have insurance, but they are forced to pay because of a certain number of people who do not. This does not seem fair, as responsible motorists are having their coverage reduced by the few people who do not have their own insurance or are underinsured. Because of this, Wisconsin has also increased the minimum coverage that individuals must have in order to meet up with today’s economic situation. While most people already have these levels of car insurance, these new provisions will ensure that everyone in Wisconsin carries these levels of insurance.

Some consumers might complain about the fact that these new provisions will cause auto insurance rates to increase, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run. This is because these new laws will hold auto insurance companies accountable for paying out the coverage that they have granted people, rather than looking for loopholes that prevent people from getting the money that they are owed. These auto insurance companies are capitalist ventures and, therefore, government intervention is needed in order to ensure that consumers are getting everything that they deserve.

There might be some companies out there that will increase their auto insurance rates because of what these new laws are offering consumers; but remember that you are not tied to one insurance company. There are plenty of places all over the state to buy your auto insurance, so make sure that you go with a company that is truly looking out for your interests. These new laws are in place to help you find the perfect insurance to meet your needs, so you will not have to settle for auto insurance rates that you do not agree with at any time. There has never been a better time to be have Wisconsin auto insurance because insurance companies and motorists are finally being held accountable.

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