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Archive for May, 2010

How To Know Whether You Are A High Risk To Your Auto Insurance Company

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Car insurance is mandatory in every state, but each state regulates what coverage is necessary and which ones are optional. Auto insurance premiums are calculated using a variety of combined factors. Therefore, you may be paying more or less than your brother, parent, spouse, or neighbor down the street. All types of insurance policies are based on risk, meaning that if you pose a higher risk of filing an insurance claim or getting into a motor vehicle accident, then you will be charged higher premiums.

Auto insurance premiums are established through several aspects. First of all, the driver’s record and insurance history are taken into consideration. First time drivers are considered a higher risk because they do not possess adequate driving experience. They are more likely to be involved in an at-fault accident than someone who has been driving for over 20 years. As well, if a person has numerous driving infractions on their record, they are deemed to be high risk and will probably cause more accidents in the future. Having long lapses in insurance coverage can place you in a higher risk category as well. This may show the insurance company that you have been driving without insurance coverage.

You may have to purchase high risk auto insurance if you live in certain cities or areas. Some places have higher crime rates or higher accident rates and so drivers will be charged higher premiums to offset possible theft or vandalism claims. This is a hard factor to change as not everyone can just pack up and move to another area in order to lower their insurance premiums.

The type of vehicle also determines insurance rates. When you call for auto insurance quotes, you will be asked about the make and model of the vehicle you drive. Some vehicles are more expensive to insure because they may cost more to repair, they may be stolen or vandalized more, or they may be involved in more accidents than other types of vehicles. If you normally have to drive long distances to and from work, you are on the road more and thus there is a higher chance of you being involved in an accident.

Sometimes it can be difficult to escape from expensive insurance premiums, but when you obtain auto insurance quotes, your insurance agent can advise you if you qualify for cheap premiums or if you will have to purchase a high risk auto insurance policy. They will also counsel you in different ways you can help to lower your premiums. Automobile insurance is necessary but it doesn’t have to bankrupt you. By being a safe and conscientious driver, you can take the first step towards obtaining lower car insurance rates.

How To Get A Multi-Car Discount On Your Auto Insurance Policy

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Having adequate insurance on your automobile is required in all states, and is also a smart strategy to help reduce your risk of liability in case of an accident. The amount of coverage you carry, among other factors, determines the cost of your policy. In order to guarantee that you aren’t overpaying, you should ask your insurance provider about discounts they offer. One popular discount that applies to many households is a multi-car discount.

When getting auto insurance quotes, you should ask the provider about the discounts they offer. If you are insuring at least two vehicles through one company, you should automatically receive a multi-car discount. If you don’t see this reduction on your premium, be sure to call the insurance company and request this discount. If you are purchasing a second or third vehicle for your household, be sure to ask your company if they offer a multi-car discount, and if so, ask how much it will save you. All companies offer various auto insurance discounts, so while you may save fifty dollars with your current provider, a competitor may offer you a one hundred dollar discount for having more than one vehicle insured with them.

When combining policies with a spouse or domestic partner, a multi-car discount can potentially save you hundreds of dollars over the life of your policy. Be sure to ask your provider for this discount if it is not automatically applied. You can also ask for other auto insurance discounts you may be eligible for, including multi-policy discounts, which applies if you insure your home or other assets with your insurance company.

When adding a new driver to your family, be sure to call your insurance company to add them to your policy. Your new driver could qualify for a student discount, or a safe driving program which can potentially save you money on your insurance bills. Your insurance agent can provide you with more information on these programs and other discounts. If you purchase or lease a vehicle for this new driver, verify with your insurance company that this automobile policy is connected to the other accounts you have on file. Taking a few minutes to speak with your insurance office can help you reduce the cost of your insurance.

Discounts, of any variety, are available from almost all automobile insurance providers. While some, such as multi-policy or multi-vehicle reductions are applied automatically, it is best to take the time to check with your provider. If you still feel that you are overpaying for insurance, taking the time to obtain multiple auto insurance quotes can yield significant saving, since you may be eligible for new discounts.

How A Tort Lawsuit Can Affect Your Future Auto Insurance Quotes

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Every driver wants to avoid the types of events that can cause auto insurance rates to jump. Things like traffic citations and accidents can make a major difference, and can make driving nearly impossible to afford, even if you’re driving a very safe vehicle and if your record’s otherwise decent. Because of the way that insurance prices are set, many drivers are confused as to what actually affects auto insurance quotes, and may be especially confused about the nature of insurance law–if you’re sued in a tort case (which determines the fault of a driver in an accident), for instance, will your rates necessarily rise, or are lawsuits unrelated to insurance prices?

The answer to this question can be a bit complex. An auto insurance tort lawsuit itself will not cause your auto insurance quotes to increase, as the lawsuit is simply a legal argument as to the fault of an accident–it’s an accusation, but not proof of a circumstance. Therefore, it’d be unfair for an insurance company to raise your rates simply because you’re involved in an auto insurance tort lawsuit. However, your rates will certainly rise if you’re proven to be at fault in the accident, even if the lawsuit arises months after the actual incident. This is because your driving record will be affected, and your driving record is one of the most important determinants of your auto insurance rates.

To avoid a rise in your insurance rates due to a lawsuit, you should be careful not to admit fault immediately after an accident. Don’t apologize, and simply collect insurance information from the other driver. Speak to an insurance representative first by calling your insurance company as quickly as possible. Don’t try to hide the accident from your insurer; they’ll certainly find out about it anyways. Ask your insurance agent for advice, and give them all of the information that you have. If you know that you’re going to be sued (perhaps if the other driver made an obvious statement to this effect), you should tell the agent. Allow your insurance company to prepare, and be sure to prepare yourself. Get the facts of the accident right so that the court can make a fair judgement.

Nobody likes the prospect of a lawsuit, but sometimes it’s the only way to accurately determine the fault of an accident. By staying prepared and knowing your rights, you’ll increase the chances of a judgement in your favor. You’ll also avoid an unpleasant rise in your auto insurance rates, and you’ll keep your motor vehicle record clean and clear.

Finding The Best Auto Insurance Quotes For A Fully Financed Vehicle

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

There are two ways to buy a new vehicle. The first is to pay for it yourself, outright, be it with cash or on a credit card. For many consumers, however, having that much cash on hand or dealing with interest rates and other credit card charges just are not feasible. The second way to purchase new vehicle is to have it financed, either through a bank or a credit organization run by the car dealership itself. This can yield more options than an out-and-out purchase, such as cash back, discounts, or a zero percent interest rate over the term of the payments. What is important to bear in mind, however, is that financed vehicle auto insurance is subject to different rules than typical auto insurance – because the financing company essentially “owns” the vehicle, they are able to insist that some types of coverage are always present on the vehicle.

Typically, a financing company will require any vehicle they have paid for to have physical insurance on it, which is a combination of collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance is just that – it covers damages sustained as a result of a collision. Comprehensive auto insurance takes care of any other damage to the vehicle including theft, fire, or vandalism. It can often be difficult to find the best financed vehicle auto insurance quotes, as more coverage is required and often at a greater price than a typical car. One way to help ensure that the best coverage options for your vehicle are purchased is to do a survey of online auto insurance quotes to see what choices are available based on your year, make, model and insurance history.

While premiums for financed vehicle auto insurance can be costly, having the right kind and amount of insurance is essential, as the financing company is able to force insurance onto a vehicle if their conditions for the coverage amounts are not being met. In this case, the premiums for the insurance and the company supplying it will be out of the owner’s hands, and the cost can be astronomical. Once physical coverage is in line with what the financing company wants has been obtained, the forced coverage can be removed.

When looking for auto insurance for a financed vehicle, be sure to keep in mind the fact that it must meet all requirements laid out by the financing company. The typical requirements are for physical damage insurance, but a company can impose whatever requirements they choose in order to loan out money for a vehicle purchase. So long as care is taken when searching for quotes online, finding a reasonable rate for a financed vehicle should be possible.

Finding Out Whether Leased Or Financed Vehicles Get Lower Auto Insurance Quotes

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Many consumers are looking for low cost auto insurance. Since auto insurance is a basic requirement of owning or leasing a car, and is required in every state in order to maintain legal driving status, auto insurance is something no driver can do without. But how can consumers find the best coverage, especially coverage they can afford? It is important for consumers to educate themselves and to know what kind of coverage they need in their state. Consumers should also be aware of what kind of variables go into calculating auto insurance quotes. The more educated and aware a consumer is, the more likely they are to receive low cost auto insurance quotes.

Changes to car ownership and the kinds of car ownership available to people in the last decade have produced many questions, especially for drivers who are leasing their vehicles or financing them over the long term. Due to the economic climate and value of vehicles, many consumers are choosing either to lease vehicles or finance them over a longer period of time. Either way, certain questions arise concerning the value of the car versus the time remaining on the lease or the financing agreement. Those questions may affect consumers’ auto insurance quotes.

Consumers who lease vehicles are essentially paying for the vehicle for the length of time that they use it. In other words, instead of buying the “entire” car, a person who leases a car is only buying the car for the amount of time indicated in the lease. At the end of the lease, the buyer is often given the option of returning the car to the dealer or purchasing the car outright. Consumers who purchase vehicles often do so these days with longer term financing; this means that the loan on the car is spread out for a longer period of time.

All drivers and vehicles are obligated to carry auto insurance. Coverage requirements vary from state to state. But even for leased vehicles or long term financed vehicles, coverage is required. But, because many of those vehicles end up “upside down” in terms of equity (the car is worth less than the amount left on the lease or finance agreement), more and more insurance companies are offering GAP coverage. GAP coverage protects drivers against having to owe large amounts of money in case the vehicle is destroyed or damaged in an accident.

It is important to find out from an insurance carrier if a leased or financed car can lower your auto insurance quotes. Also be sure to ask about GAP coverage and if it could save you money.

Earned Premiums and What Happens If You Cancel Your Policy

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

The time may come when your car insurance policy needs to be cancelled. This could be for any number of reasons – a switch to another provider, a change in address, or an environmentally-friendly choice to make due without a vehicle. Regardless of the reason, almost everyone will need to leave a provider at some point during their term and many wonder what will happen to any auto insurance premiums paid in advance. Some companies offer month-by-month options, ensuring that policyholders only pay for the coverage they are currently using, but some require an entire year of payments upfront. This can be due to a client’s claim history or driving risk, but it may also be at the request of a customer that does not want to deal with auto insurance premiums being deducted from their account every month. No matter the cause, there are certain rules in place that insurance companies must follow when dealing with pre-paid premiums.

In essence, the company is only entitled to the amount of premium paid that covers the length of time the term has been in effect. These amounts are known as earned premiums, because the company has earned them by exposing themselves to risk during this period. Risk, in this case, is the chance that the policy will need to be paid out, in part or in full. A year-long policy that has been pre-paid in full that has just finished its second month of coverage would be considered to have only two months of earned premiums, as the company has only been exposed to loss during that time. According to statutory account practices in the US, a company must maintain a reserve of money for the unearned premiums paid to it by consumers, in the event they need to be repaid.

Logic would dictate that if a policy were cancelled early or voided, the reserve premiums would be paid back to the client. Although this should be the case, it will vary with each individual auto insurance policy. Some may have clauses that state an early cancellation of the coverage, or a termination due to fraud or other misuse of the policy will void the return of any unearned premiums. Since this can be a substantial amount, it is worth carefully checking policy details before paying out a year’s worth of auto insurance premiums.

The concept of earned premiums and reserve money helps to keep insurance companies honest and from speculating with money that they have not yet earned. This is good for consumers, but they must still be watchful and keep up-to-date on the details of their policy so they do not lose money they have already paid.

Three Common Exclusions in Auto Insurance Policies

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Auto insurance policies are designed to protect vehicle owners from financial loss due to an accident or claim. Without auto insurance, we would be forced to pay out of pocket and would have a hard time recovering costs if someone else was to blame for an accident. Auto insurance can cover just the basic liability coverage, which includes damage to a third party’s vehicle or property and injuries, or it can cover a multitude of additional and optional coverage. Some of these coverages include collision, which covers damage to your vehicle due to a collision or upset; comprehensive, which covers damage to your vehicle from fire, theft, vandalism, and animal collision; or under/uninsured motorist coverage, which covers expenses if you are involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t carry adequate insurance.

Auto insurance policies also list exclusions; these are events or coverage that they will not pay for in the event of a claim. Following are three common auto insurance exclusions.

Named Driver Exclusion: In many cases, there is more than one driver living in a household. You are required to list every driver on the policy. Not every driver may have a good driving record and this can cause your premiums to skyrocket. One solution is to exclude a driver from your policy. This will help to lower your insurance premiums, but keep in mind that if this excluded driver happens to drive your vehicle and you file a claim, your insurance company may not pay for certain coverage.

Hail Damage: If you add comprehensive coverage to your insurance policy, you are covered for damages to your vehicle caused by events or acts other than a collision. This includes theft or attempted theft, animal collision, fire, or hail. However, if your vehicle sustained hail damage in the past, your insurance company will add this auto insurance exclusion onto your policy. This means that any existing damage will not be covered. If you do get the damage fixed, you can bring the invoice from the repair shop to your agent and they will remove the exclusion.

Glass Coverage: This specifically applies to the windshield. It is usually more beneficial for you to replace your windshield yourself rather than paying the deductible and possible premium increase. This may also be added if your windshield has existing damage to it. Again, if you have it replaced, you can notify your insurance company and they will remove the exclusion.

Always review your auto insurance policy with your insurance agent so that you are aware of all coverage, limitations, amounts, deductibles, and auto insurance exclusions. This way, you will not run into any surprises should you need to file a claim.

Four Important Facts about the Function of a Field Adjuster in the Claims Process

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Insurance adjusters typically attain licensing determined by the state they work. An auto insurance field adjuster is an important part of the claims process. It is important to understand their function in the claims process and the possible impact they could have on your auto insurance rate. Here are four important facts about the auto insurance field adjuster’s role in the claims process.

The auto insurance field adjuster investigates the accident. Once an insurance claim is filed, the adjuster travels to the site where the accident happened to conduct research. The field adjuster will collect information about the accident, such as photos and police reports from the incident. After reviewing the information, the auto field adjuster verifies that the policy covers the damages. If the damage to the property falls under a certain threshold, the field adjuster will approve the claim. If the incident requires additional investigation, the insurance company will work with an appraiser to verify the amount of property damage.

The insurance field adjuster works with the appraiser to assess the amount of property damage. When the amount of a claim is over a certain amount, or when there are questionable elements to the claim, the appraiser becomes involved. Appraisers are responsible for providing an approximate cost for repairs. The adjuster works with the appraiser to accurately assess the dollar amount of damage to the claimant’s property.

The auto insurance field adjuster negotiates the payout with the claimant on behalf of the insurance company. The adjuster attempts to use the findings of the investigation and the terms in the policy to arrive at an offer. When the insurance adjuster attempts to negotiate with the claimant, the claimant’s role in the accident is often factored in. This is done for the purpose of lowering the payout, which can affect your auto insurance rate in the long term should their findings assign fault to the claimant in any way. Once both parties agree on the dollar amount, the settlement process begins.

The auto field adjuster is responsible for administering a settlement agreement. This is the step that concludes the claim process. At this point an individual can expect to receive an agreement within the allotted statute of limitations. The auto insurance adjuster is responsible for finalizing the agreement and issuing payment to cover the claim.

The four things that all should know about insurance adjusters is that their responsibilities are to investigate, evaluate, negotiate, and settle claims as agents of the insurance companies they work for. These highly trained professionals are often required to undergo specialized training and licensing to work in this field. These requirements make adjusters experts in their field.

Experience Rating and What It Means for Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Finding good auto insurance can be difficult, and finding excellent car insurance can sometimes be an almost insurmountable challenge. Even when consumers find a company with a clean record, great customer service and coverage that gives them the security they need, there is always the matter of the premium. Often, the premium offered in an auto insurance quote seems disproportionate to the vehicle or driver being insured, or may seem to be far too much in relation to the amount of coverage being offered. Insurance companies use a number of methods to determine what each client should pay for premiums, and the most common of these is the concept of risk. The higher the risk of payout, the higher the premium charged. Risk can come from any number of factors, but most importantly from the customer themselves. Consumers are assessed by their auto insurance company individually, and each one is given an experience rating, which determines exactly what they will pay.

Experience rating is a term that many consumers are unaware of when it comes to how their auto insurance premiums are calculated. It is not something that companies advertise or typically mention on a website or during a phone consultation, but it is a quantitative formula that is used to determine what category of payment a client will fall into. The rating is based on a number of factors, including age, sex, driving history and vehicle driven, in addition to a great deal of other factors about how the customer has driven, and how, based on statistics, they will likely drive in the future. The greater the possibility that insuring a driver will result in a claim, the higher the monthly premium will be.

This can be frustrating for consumers as they are often unaware of how their previous driving history, as well as their potential driving future, can affect their insurance. There are several ways that consumers can help to keep their experience rating reasonable, starting with driving in as safe and sensible a manner as possible. Although there are some things that clients cannot control, such as their age or sex, limiting other factors that contribute to an experience rating can go a long way to decreasing their monthly premiums.

Although many states have enacted laws limiting the ways in which auto insurance companies can raise rates without justifiable cause, high premiums are still a common sight on many insurance websites. The two best ways that consumers can combat the drain of high auto insurance premiums on their bank accounts are to drive safely and make sure to shop around for their coverage before committing to any quote. Experience rating influences auto insurance premiums, but is not the final word.

Economic Loss and How It Affects the Amount Paid by Your Auto Insurance Company

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

A collision is not simply the meeting of two vehicles. Aside from the obvious property damage are the injuries to either driver, as well as to any bystanders. Auto insurance coverage is intended to not only take care of the damage and injuries at the scene of an accident, but can also help to pay for lost wages, hospital bills, and even long-term treatments should they become necessary for anyone involved in the collision. The sum-total of all expenses incurred in a collision is known as “economic loss” from an insurer perspective, and can have an effect on exactly how much is paid out to each individual and for what reason.

When an accident occurs and a claim is made, an auto insurance company does several things. First, they get a statement from their insured and also send out an adjuster to look at their vehicle. Next, they liaise with the other party’s insurance company to determine an ultimate payout. Once all of the numbers available have been crunched, the company will begin the process of estimation. Take, for example, a situation in which the passenger of a vehicle suffers a neck injury. The insurance company will factor in the lost wages of that person due to missed work, the cost of their initial hospital stay and treatment, and will then estimate the cost of their continuing treatment, based on recommendations from their doctor. The total number that is arrived at is what will be paid to that individual.

Or at least, it should be. This is where coverage limits on an auto insurance policy come into play. When the total economic loss has been calculated, an insurance company will then examine how much coverage their insured has purchased. Every state has different minimum liability regulations which mandate how much bodily injury and property damage coverage must be purchased. A state with minimums of $10,000 for both means that no less than that can be sold by insurance companies, but they are welcome to sell far more if their customers want the coverage. In the case of an accident payout, an insurance company will only ever pay up to the maximum coverage purchased by their insured. If the client only has $20,000 of bodily injury coverage, but damages to another party are $50,000 in total economic loss, the insured will be responsible for personally paying out the other $30,000.

It is important for every driver to consider the possible consequences of an accident and to understand how quickly bills and other costs can add up. What seems like substantial coverage can quickly be overrun by the total economic loss calculated if an accident involves more than two people or the damage is severe.

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