Auto Insurance For Your Kids When You Are Divorced

February 14th, 2012 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

Divorces may be amicable, but the financial settlements are often complicated. When children are involved, there are many questions of financial responsibility to be answered.

Who will carry the children’s automobile insurance? How will their cars be titled? Who has the responsibility for enforcing rules about driving? These questions can make insuring kids from a divorce very challenging.

divorced car insuranceHowever, by careful planning and attention to detail, you can successfully insure your children even in a divorce situation.

It requires communication between the divorcing parents and cooperation on the part of the kids, but it can be done with a bit of work.

First, the most important question facing the divorcing couple is this: who will the children primarily reside with? It is important to answer this question first, because even if the non-custodial parent insures the children, the fact that they live with the other parent may have an impact on that parent’s insurance rates.

For example, if the father only has the children on weekends, but agrees to insure their vehicles under his policy, the mother may find that her rates correspondingly increase as well due to the fact that the teens are considered drivers in her home.

Another question which must be answered is how the cars will be titled.

The person whose name is on the car carries the primary responsibility for insuring the vehicle, whether the child lives with that parent or not. It is never a good idea to agree to pay for insurance for a vehicle over which you have little to no control.

A third factor you must consider is if the ex-spouse will ever drive the car for any reason. If that parent is not covered under your policy and is in an accident in the car, you could have problems with your insurance company about coverage.

So, what is the best way to handle this situation? First, mom and dad should talk about their expectations for themselves and their children regarding the use of vehicles, driving privileges, and insurance coverage.

While it may take a bit of diplomacy in a divorce situation, communication can prevent the majority of problems from occurring in the first place.

Next, the parent with whom the children spend the majority of their time should really be the one to have the cars titled in his or her name and to carry the insurance on the vehicles.

This makes sound economic sense because the parents are not, in this way, paying for two separate insurance policies for the same children.

Of course, the non-custodial parent should agree not to drive the cars of the children so as to minimize liability problems, unless his or her own liability carrier will agree to cover any damages caused.

If the custodial parent is going to carry the insurance and the responsibility for the cars, it is a good idea to figure up exactly what those costs will be, and in the divorce settlement agree to a stipend to be paid by the other parent to defray those costs.

For example, if the mother is the custodial parent and her insurance costs will total $2,000 per year for two children, the father could agree to pay $1,000 per year of this insurance coverage.

The parents could also agree to a fifty-fifty split in maintenance and repair costs for the children’s vehicles. If a claim must be filed by one parent or another, the parents must be able to negotiate the new cost of insurance, which is likely to be higher.

All of this may seem optimistic to expect from parents who are divorcing, but it is for the good of the children. Putting these agreements in writing will help to prevent future arguments or misunderstandings, as well.




6 Tips for Driving in the Ice and Snow

January 26th, 2012 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

Driving in ice and snow can be very hazardous. Each year, thousands of insurance claims are filed for drivers who have skidded into other cars or stationary objects while driving in icy conditions.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the roads safely when winter weather comes to town.

ice and snow driving1) Don’t go out. It seems simple enough to say, but many people do not realize just how important it is to stay in when the roads are hazardous.

If you simply have to get to the store for that quart of milk, you might want to think about better planning—lay in supplies of food and do your errands in batches while the weather is good.

If you are going to be driving no matter what, get snow tires. Check your state’s laws about studded tires or chains; some states do not allow them between certain periods. Have your snow tires put on early in the season; make sure they are well-maintained and checked periodically.

2) Decrease your speed. Most accidents on icy roads can be contributed to driving too fast for conditions. This does not mean the posted speed limit; it means driving at a speed which allows you time to correct for possible hazards. You will need at least three times the stopping distance on ice as on dry pavement, so slow down and give yourself plenty of time to negotiate corners and intersections.

When you are driving in ice, you should also brake gently. You should not ever slam on brakes while on ice; this is a recipe for disaster. Instead, slowly brake in increments, giving yourself time to stop safely. Stop well before a stop sign or traffic light; better to be a few feet back than in the middle of an intersection.

3) Use your lights. Even in broad daylight, your lights will help you stay visible to other motorists. Use your windshield wipers to keep your screen free of snow and debris. De-ice your windshield before you begin driving by starting the car, letting it run for a few minutes, and scraping the ice from your windshield.

You should also use lower gears. Many cars and trucks come equipped with four-wheel drive. This has actually increased the problem with driving in snow, because many four-wheel drive owners mistakenly believe they can navigate roads with four wheels they would not tackle with two. Instead of relying on four-wheel drive, engage your low gear to keep traction.

4) Be careful on bridges. Bridges often form icy patches well before the regular roadbed, so use extreme caution when crossing them, even if the temperature is above freezing.

5) Know how to handle a skid. If you begin to skid, take your foot off the accelerator, and steer “into” the skid. What this means is that you turn your front wheels in the direction you want to go, opposite what the rear wheels are doing. If you have front-wheel drive, do not steer but put the vehicle in neutral while you regain traction.

6) Keep sand or litter in your trunk. Not only will this help weight your vehicle down, giving you more traction, but it is very useful if you get stuck. Do not spin your wheels if you are stuck—this only makes the problem worse. Instead, “rock” the vehicle gently by shifting from forward to reverse and back again.

Besides sand, you should also keep an emergency kit in your car. Road flares and a jack can be lifesavers in dangerous conditions. If you are stranded, do not leave your car unless help is within sight.

Instead, turn on your flashers, put out flares if needed, and call for help. Keep blankets and hard candy, as well as water, in your car at all times in case you are stuck for some time.




Who Offers the Cheapest RV Insurance?

January 12th, 2012 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

If you have a recreational vehicle, or RV, it is important to maintain a separate insurance policy on this vehicle. Do not assume that your automobile or homeowner’s insurance will cover damage to your RV! In most cases, you need a separate RV policy to protect your investment.

cheapest rv insuranceRV insurance combines the best of both automobile and homeowner’s policies, covering items which would not be covered under either single policy.

Where can you find the cheapest RV policies which will still meet your coverage needs? Many companies specialize in RV insurance and offer a variety of perks for your RV travel needs.

Good Sam, the trusted name in RV parks, offers RV insurance at greatly discounted rates. Good Sam advertises that customers who switched from other companies saved an average of $345 per year on their RV insurance. While this type of discount will not apply to every customer, a quote will give you a quick impression of how much you can save on RV insurance with Good Sam.

Good Sam offers discounts for park membership, a paid-in-full policy, membership in the GMAC Homeowner’s Program, safe driver, safety features on your RV, and multi-vehicle discounts. Good Sam also gives you up to 53% off your RV insurance for the time it is in storage—an important consideration for the seasonal traveler.

Progressive is another company which offers great discounts for RV insurance. Progressive customers save with discounts on RV insurance for claims-free renewal of policy, original owner, paid in full policies and paid promptly policies, and being a responsible driver.

Progressive has many varieties of “specialty” insurance such as motorcycles and RVs, and is one of the larger companies insuring RVs across the nation.

USAA also specializes in good RV rates. You can get discounts to include a $0 deductible with a safe driving record and year-round coverage for a seasonal price. Unfortunately, while USAA has some of the best pricing structures in the industry, it is only available to military personnel and veterans and their families, meaning that some people will not be able to take advantage of these discounts.

GEICO also offers substantial discounts on motor home and RV insurance. If you have a commercial license, complete a defensive driver course, or insure more than one vehicle with GEICO, you may be eligible for better discounts on your RV insurance premiums.

Allstate offers an Allstate Motor Club in addition to its RV insurance policies. The Allstate Motor Club can give you a variety of services unrelated to insurance, such as roadside assistance and discounts at restaurants and other places while you travel. Allstate offers discounts for RV insurance similar to those it offers for automobiles, including safe driver discounts and loyalty discounts.

Some companies have subsidiaries which handle their RV insurance business. For example, Farmers’ subsidiary, Foremost Insurance, specializes in handling policies for motor homes, luxury coaches, and other forms of RVs. Backed by the larger Farmers Group, Foremost is able to keep prices reasonable and competitive with larger companies, while relieving Farmers from the necessity for an infrastructure for RV insurance coverage.

Some companies operate as independent agents to get you the best RV insurance prices. RV America Insurance is such a company. The company will assemble quotes from five of the lowest-priced RV insurers for you, and you can purchase directly through their website.

Shopping for discounts is obviously the way to save the most money on your RV insurance. By talking to several agents or an independent agent who can give you quotes from several companies, you can easily compare prices among several insurers to determine which is the best company for your RV needs.




What Is the Best Time of Year To Buy Car Insurance?

January 5th, 2012 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

Trying to find ways to lower your auto insurance premiums can become a full-time hobby. If you want to save money and get the best discounts, you may try tweaking your policy’s deductibles, limits, and coverage types. You may also decide to pay in advance and take advantage of good driver and good student discounts.

couple sitting in back of carSome people even believe that by buying their car insurance at a certain time of the year, they will receive the best discounts.

There may be some slight truth to that last statement. Winter tends to bring ice, snow, and sleet to many parts of the country, and there are simply more accidents at this time of year. On the other hand, summer is a time when most people travel by car, so there are statistically more accidents during the summer on the major highways.

No matter which season you examine, the number of accidents involving your particular age group, location, and type of vehicle will have an impact on your premium prices.

It would seem, then, that spring or fall would be the best time to buy your insurance—and it could indeed save you some money on your premiums. However, you can take advantage of far greater savings by controlling some things in your life which will have a direct impact on your premium, rather than relying on uncontrollable factors such as how many accidents take place in a given period of the year.

First, your driving record is still one of the most important factors in figuring your insurance premium, and it is within your direct control. Keep speed down to avoid tickets, and drive defensively; by avoiding accidents, even small “fender benders,” you will keep your premiums at their lowest.

Another factor within your control is your credit score, a factor which is becoming ever more important than others in figuring your automobile insurance costs. While it may not seem fair to some people, the fact is that people with good credit scores tend to have superior driving records when compared to people with low credit scores.

This could be due to a variety of factors, including the fact that people with better credit tend to have better-maintained vehicles, which leads to less frequent mishaps. Whatever the cause, insurance companies have been quick to recognize and capitalize on the credit score factor when figuring premium costs, and few states have laws disallowing this practice.

If you buy automobile insurance in the spring or fall of the year, with high deductibles and low limits, and with a good credit score and good driving record, you are probably doing the best you can to lower your premiums. The difference, at this point, between buying in the spring or fall and buying in the winter or summer will probably be negligible, but it does not hurt to get quotes and make comparisons.

Many companies, such as GEICO, Allstate, State Farm, and Progressive, have online quote generators. You can try getting a quote in the winter, then another in the spring, and compare the two prices. It is likely there will be a slight difference, although whether the difference is seasonal, due to an anomalous shift in accident patterns, or due to the economic fluctuations of the industry will be impossible to say.

Most importantly, get several quotes before you buy automobile insurance from anyone. Do not assume that the company you have always used is giving you the very best discounts; talk to your agent with other quotes in hand. Many times, agents have the power to reduce your premium to match other company’s offers; if they do not, you can always change your insurance to another company and save money.




Does Regular Car Maintenance Lower My Auto Insurance Premiums?

December 22nd, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

You want your car to be in top condition, so you take care of it with routine maintenance: checking pressure in your tires, having your oil changed regularly, immediately servicing any problems.

This means your car will be far more reliable and will give you many years of good service. But what about your insurance premiums? You get a break on your price for being a good driver; what about for being a good car owner?

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not look directly at how well you maintain your vehicle. After all, it would be almost impossible for them to monitor this type of behavior with any efficiency.

In order to monitor how often you change your oil or have your car serviced, an insurance company would need a much larger infrastructure—resulting in higher prices for everyone.

For this reason, insurance companies tend to assume that you are taking care of your own investment, and do not check on your maintenance habits unless there is some direct reason for them to do so.

However, maintaining your vehicle can have an indirect affect on your car insurance premium, because good maintenance means fewer accidents or problems—things auto insurance companies do look at.

For example, think about your tires. Many people neglect to routinely check the pressure and tread of their tires—with serious consequences.

If you do not check your tire pressure and tread, the chances of a flat or even a blowout increase significantly.

If you suffer a blowout and it causes an accident, your insurance company is definitely going to be interested in why the accident happened. You may find yourself with a higher premium simply because you neglected this routine maintenance.

Another indirect way maintenance affects your insurance rates is when your car is out of commission.

Even if you are having your car repaired, the insurance company still charges you the same premium, although you are not driving the car. If you have to have an engine or a transmission replaced due to poor maintenance habits, your car will be inoperable for some time; however, you will be paying your insurance premiums all the same.

This means you are paying for coverage on a car you cannot drive, and that is not good business.

If you have an accident or a breakdown resulting from poor maintenance, your insurance company will find this out, and it can affect how your payout is handled. If you deliberately neglect a vehicle, the insurance company can often refuse to pay your claim; this depends on the circumstances of the accident or problem.

For example, you may have heard stories of how someone left their keys in the car and the car running while they ran in somewhere “just for a minute.” When they came out, their car had been stolen, and the insurance company gave the person a hard time about paying for the car.

While this is not always true, and insurance companies rarely refuse to pay a claim at all, it means much more problem for the driver than if the car had been broken into.

This same logic applies with maintenance on your vehicle. If you fail to maintain your brakes, for example, letting them run down to the point that they barely function, and then you lose control of your car and hit someone, the insurance company is going to have some questions before paying out a claim.

It is even possible that they could refuse to pay the claim, based on the fact that you knew that your brakes were not working but drove anyway.

The best course is to maintain your car. You will have a better-running vehicle, you will have peace of mind, and your insurance company can safely insure you against true accidents.




If I Miss A Payment Will My Auto Insurance Be Cancelled?

December 20th, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

If you miss a monthly, quarterly, or bi-annual payment on your car insurance, what happens to your policy? Are you covered during the time the policy was unpaid? If you make the payment quickly, is your coverage reinstated? These are all questions people ask from time to time, if they have missed a car insurance payment by accident or due to unforeseen circumstances.

The answers will depend on the state in which you live, but generally speaking you do not lose your car insurance the day you miss a payment. Most states have laws which require insurance companies to offer a minimum “grace period” for your payment to arrive. An average grace period is ten days, although your grace period may be longer or shorter. If your payment does not arrive by midnight on the due date, you are considered to be in the grace period on your policy.

Once you enter the grace period, if you make your payment, everything goes back to normal, just as if you had made your payment on time. Most states will not allow insurance companies to punish customers for being a day or two late on their payments; in fact, you may have even longer than the grace period to get your payment in, depending on your state.

After the grace period expires, many states send out a “delinquent notice.” This still does not mean that your insurance in cancelled; rather, it means that you have a deadline to get your payment in. Some companies and some states do not have delinquent periods following the grace period; be sure to check with your insurer to find out. Delinquent periods can be as long as thirty days, but may be as short as five. In any case, once the delinquent period ends, your coverage will most likely be cancelled. This leaves you liable for any injuries or damage caused while you are uninsured.

While being uninsured is a terrible worry, you also have other problems if your insurance coverage is cancelled. When you obtain a policy, you are not the only one bound by the terms of the agreement; the company is also “on the hook.” Even if you speed or have an accident, your company must continue to insure you for the full coverage period agreed upon. If your insurance is cancelled, however, the company is not obligated to take you back. If you have a spotty driving record, this can present a problem in finding other insurance at a reasonable rate.

Even if you have a clean record, your company does not have to take you back if you miss payments. If the company feels that they will always be chasing you to pay them, it is very possible they will refuse to reinstate your policy after a cancellation. This means that you will have to search for new coverage, and will lose any customer loyalty or long-term discounts you may have had with your old company.

If the company chooses to reinstate you, they can, in many states, insist on a more structured payment plan.
For example, if you miss a bi-annual payment, your company may insist on quarterly or monthly payments. In many cases, this causes you to lose discounts associated with a “paid in full” policy. You may end up paying more in processing and handling fees with monthly payments, as well.

It is always wise to make your payments on time whenever possible. Even if you can only pay half of the premium, the company will often give you thirty days to get the other half; many companies offer this service to their regular customers, and do not consider it to be a “non-payment.” Talk to your agent or your company to find out options if you are having trouble making your payments.




Great Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance

October 20th, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

Inflation hits all areas of your life, even the cost of insuring your car. While changing providers can help you save money on your auto coverage. Here are some tips to help you lower that bill, without sacrificing too much on the protection you need.

Deductible

Choose a higher deductible and watch your monthly premium fall. Increasing the level to one thousand dollars could result in a bill that drops by forty percent or more. There is a trick to following this advice, however. Take the money that is being saved each month and set is aside in a separate account.

Continue doing this until you have reached that $1000 threshold. The funds will be there if you ever need to cover the deductible and you will continue enjoying the lower price every month after that.

Drop Collision and Comprehensive on Older Cars

These coverages are designed to get your auto fixed in the event of an accident or vandalism. They are required on vehicles that are financed. Once the note is paid off, however, that protection can be dropped. Keep in mind that the deductible will have to be paid when the damages are to your own property. If your car is only worth two thousand dollars and you will have to pay a thousand of that, then it may be well worth it to just drop these options completely.

Shop Around

Nothing drives prices lower like competition. Comparison websites allow you to put that force to work for you. By entering your information in the system, you will quickly receive quotes from multiple companies. You may find out that the best option for your needs is an agency you wouldn’t have thought to call on your own.

Bundle It

Most insurance providers offer discounts for people who have more than one policy with them. Insure your home and car with the same company to receive attractive discounts on each policy. Look at all the products your provider offers to see which ones you are interested in.

Multiple Cars

If you own a motorcycle, recreational vehicle or equipment like ATV’s and jet-skis, then you might want to find a company that can insure all of these modes of transportation. Having multiple cars insured with the company can also provide you with handsome savings.

Drive Less

Taking steps to put fewer miles on the car is great for your wallet in several ways. The maintenance will be reduced, you’ll spend less money on fuel and you can even get a lower insurance quote. Carefully consider how many miles you actually drive on an annual basis. Talk to your company to be sure that their information accurately reflects that.

Look for Extra Fees

Some providers charge you for the convenience of monthly payments. If this is the case, try to pay the policy in full when it arrives to save money. If you are in the habit of making payments by phone, ask if there are charges associated with that. Late fees can add up, make sure you are mailing the funds early enough to avoid these extra charges.

Safe Driver

Maintain a clean driving record and enjoy a lower cost of insurance. Most companies offer discounts if you go three years or more without a ticket or accident. Check your history and then talk to your company about getting the price break if you are eligible.

Optional Services

There is no reason to pay for towing coverage if you already have AAA protection. Check with your credit cards to see if any of them automatically provide you with roadside assistance or rental car coverage. If you have these services available at a lower price through another channel, then you do not need to buy them from the insurance company.

Anti-Theft

Most cars now come with anti-theft devices, and that information is taken into account when the company determines your premium. However, if you add a security alarm then you will qualify for an additional discount. Talk to your agent to make sure that you receive the proper credit.

Safety

Safer cars cost less to insure. While a really affordable car may look good initially, the cost of insurance for it may actually be quite high if there are no air bags or anti-lock brakes. To get the best insurance rates on a new car, look at the overall safety ratings and available features.

Good Students

Students who get achieve high grades qualify for discounts because it shows they are responsible. When you have a teenager in the house, remind them of this face. Then, call the insurance company to cash in on your kid’s honor roll status.

There are many ways you can reduce the cost of auto insurance. Drive carefully and defensively. Talk to your agent to ensure that you are getting all discounts you qualify for. Consider choosing a higher deductible and eliminating coverage you may no longer need. Most importantly, shop around using comparison tools so you can find the best price available.




Car Insurance Rates for Low Income Families

September 21st, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

When there’s barely enough money for groceries, it can feel like paying the car insurance bill is impossible. Too many low-income families wind up foregoing car insurance because the priorities dictate that the children need to be fed first. However, there are ways to get affordable insurance, no matter how tight the budget is.

Going Uninsured

Many people are faced with the miserable decision of having to skip car insurance. They drive without the insurance, taking care to avoid accidents and praying that they aren’t pulled over. While this is understandable, going without auto insurance leaves the family open to a lawsuit should there be an accident.

You may not have a home or other assets that can be taken, but your income is an asset. In the absence of an ability to pay for an accident, you could wind up having your wages garnished to pay for the damages. Don’t take chances on landing in this unfortunate position.

Solid Record, Top Companies

Auto insurance companies don’t look at your earnings. They glance at your credit report and pay close attention to your driving record. If you have a clean record, you can qualify for affordable insurance with national companies like Geico, State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and Liberty Mutual. Being low-income does not mean that you are an irresponsible driver, so you don’t have to pay the same rates that drivers with excessive tickets or accidents pay. According to the experts at JD Power, the companies with the most attractive pricing plans are the following:

– Ameriprise
– Amica Mutual
– Erie Insurance
– Shelter
– Geico
– Auto-Owners Insurance
– Automobile Club of Southern California

Higher Deductible

You only have to pay the deductible when your vehicle or property is damaged. The deductible does not come into play when your insurance is paying for damages to someone else’s property or their injuries. Choosing a higher deductible is the fastest and most effective way to get the premium lowered. The best part is that it won’t increase your risk of getting into an accident. Choose a deductible of $1000 or higher to keep your costs low.

Classes

Many insurance companies are now offering discounts for drivers who take classes. Learn how to be a safer driver with a defensive driving course and enjoy lower premiums. Here are some examples of the savings and benefits that you could take advantage of.

– Geico customers living in most states only pay $19.95 for the approved class but get up to a 10% discount on applicable coverages.
– Ameriprise offers a 5% discount for senior citizens who take a driving class.
– Statefarm offers the Steer Clear Driver Program through their company. Completing the course can earn you a discount with the company.

Other Discounts

Most insurance companies offer discounts for having a clean driving record. When signing up, clarify if you were given that discount. If you have more than two cars you can get a discount for insuring them on the same policy. Talk to the agent about the different discounts you might qualify for. These include discounts for safety features, anti-theft devices, good credit and more.

Mileage

One benefit of working close to home is that you don’t put a lot of miles on the car. The savings in gas is another benefit. What you may not be aware of is that you will also enjoy lower insurance premiums if you do not put a lot of miles on your car in any given year.

Collision and Comprehensive

The decision to skip these coverages should be weighed carefully. If your car is financed, the finance company may require that you carry both coverages. Collision repairs your car after an accident and comprehensive pays for damage caused by vandals, theft or severe weather.

Opting not to have these coverage plans will save you substantial amounts on your policy. However, you must keep in mind that if you cause an accident your insurance will not pay for any damages to your car unless you have collision. Take into account the value of your car and how likely you are to be able to replace it should something happen to it.

Check Around, Even if you have Insurance

You should regularly check with other companies to see if they can beat the rates you currently have. Loyalty doesn’t always reward the consumer, so be willing to change companies. Before making the plunge and moving to another company, call the one you are with and ask if they can match or beat the price you are being offered.

State Programs

Some states offer low-cost auto insurance programs that are designed specifically for low-income families. California, for example, has the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program. This program provides the insurance coverage that it required by law at discounted prices that most people can afford. You can contact your local department of job and family services to see if there are any programs in your area that might be of assistance.

Comparison Sites

Sites that ask for one application in exchange for several quotes can help you find the most affordable auto insurance options that are available. The information will come back quickly and you will be able to get the insurance you need to protect your family. Remember to ask for every discount you might qualify for and choose the coverage levels that fit within your budget.




How Many Points Are You Allowed On Your Driver’s License?

September 3rd, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

“Points” are demerits added to your driving record when you are convicted of speeding, have an accident, or have some other type of moving violation. Almost every state has a “points” system which accumulates and keeps a tally of the number of points you have earned. Some states have a “positive” points system as well; the longer you go without a traffic ticket or accident, the more positive points you earn, offsetting any negative points earned by traffic violations. On the other hand, some states have only “negative” points, and these remain on your license for a certain number of years.

Many people question how many points it takes to lose your license or cause your insurance premiums to go up. While this may seem a simple question, the answer depends largely on which state you live in and how that state totals points against your license, as well as how the state reports these points to interested parties such as insurance companies.

In order to find out your state’s specific point system, you can visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website. If you are interested in the point system of several states, you can visit www.dmv.org, which is a clearinghouse of information related to the various states and their insurance and driving laws.

States which operate with a point system generally grade points based on the seriousness of the offense. For example, in Alabama, reckless driving earns you six points on your license, while speeding of less than 25 miles per hour over the posted limit earns only two points. In Alabama, once you accumulate 12 points within a two-year period, your license will be suspended for 60 days.

This example is fairly typical of the type of system most states have. In general, if you accumulate a certain number of points within a certain time period, your license will be suspended.

Even more troublesome is how the states report points to your insurance company. If you accumulate any points at all, you are in danger of your insurance company finding out, although many states do not report minimum points unless you accumulate several small charges in a short period of time. Insurance companies can also sweep public records, looking for traffic violations and unreported accidents; if this happens, and your insurance company finds out about your points, your insurance premiums may increase.

Some states also monitor and tally the points you earn while driving in other states. If you are a Kentucky resident, for example, and you earn four points in Georgia while driving through on vacation from a speeding violation, Kentucky can add those points to your Kentucky driver’s license, and the same penalties will apply as if you had earned the points in your home state.

Many states also make distinctions between various groups of drivers. For example, drivers under 18 who accumulate points may have their licenses revoked or suspended for fewer points than an adult. In most cases, these teen drivers can reinstate their license when they reach majority; in some cases, however, the license suspension can actually be for a longer period of time than an adult. Commercial drivers often earn more points on their license than other drivers for the same offenses, as well, and may lose their commercial licenses for longer periods of time.

Some infractions in some states carry zero points, although they are still considered traffic violations and are fined accordingly. You can often appear in court to pay your fine and ask the judge to remove the points from your license. If it is your first offense, this request will sometimes be granted.

Generally speaking, if you accumulate points for more than two serious traffic violations within a two-year period, your license will be affected and your insurance will go up. In many states, this is the equivalent of ten to twelve points in a two-year period. However, be reminded that you can also accumulate the same number of points for more numerous small violations, as well.




Towing Coverage and Your Car Insurance Policy

August 23rd, 2011 Chad Posted in Articles No Comments »

Almost all car insurance companies offer towing and labor services as part of their comprehensive or collision policies. Towing expenses can be costly and add up to more than the additional fee on the policy itself. You would have to pay not only the towing company out of pocket, but also the mechanic or garage to fix your car if it breaks down.

Towing costs are not cheap, especially if you are traveling far distances. Towing companies charge their own rates because they know that drivers need them and are willing to pay. Towing companies incur costs from maintaining their vehicles and paying their employees, so they pass that expense to the driver. If you have the option to add towing and labor to your current car insurance policy, take advantage of it to save yourself money.

How is Towing Coverage Used?

Towing coverage is used to cover expenses if a driver is in an accident and his vehicle is no longer operational. Drivers who have towing coverage may also use the coverage to pay for repairs if their car breaks down on the side of the road. You do not have to be in a physical car accident to benefit from this towing coverage.

What Does Towing Coverage Cover?

The most obvious expense, towing services, are covered with this option. However, it can also pay for repairs such as changing or repairing a flat tire, locksmith services if you lock your keys in the car, and other maintenance-related issues. In an emergency, some policies also cover the cost of gas and oil, along with the cost and labor required to replace a dead battery. Make sure you know what your policy covers because you will be responsible for any repairs outside the coverage limits. Some companies will reimburse you for the full amount of your towing costs, while others will pay up to a certain mileage.

Know what is covered and the maximum amount your insurance will cover for towing services. There may also be a limit to how many times per year you can take advantage of these services.

Is Towing and Labor Expensive?

You can purchase towing insurance coverage by itself for a relatively low cost. However, when it is included as part of a roadside assistance plan through an insurance company, it is still relatively affordable, especially if you know you will have peace of mind in the event of an emergency.

Some car companies offer towing services through an extended warranty so make sure your car is not currently covered through this option before you purchase towing coverage. Sometimes these towing services are not thorough and they may not provide the best service or rates to meet your needs.

Do I Need Comprehensive Coverage?

Most car insurance companies include towing and labor coverage as part of the comprehensive plans but not in their collision plans. Comprehensive coverage is the most complete type of coverage you can purchase. It covers vehicle damage, vandalism, and natural disasters, as well as towing costs and services.

Collision coverage, on the other hand, only covers vehicular damage, not any extra expenses that incur as the result of an accident or a breakdown. Sometimes, a car insurance company will let you build a policy around your needs and your budget, but you pay for each piece of the policy separately. You could pay much more than if you were to purchase a set policy in the first place.

How is it Offered?

Depending on the insurance company, towing and labor services can be offered either specifically as “towing and labor coverage” or as an “emergency roadside service plan.” People who have comprehensive or collision coverage policies typically receive towing and labor services automatically with their policy.

Allstate offers a separate towing and labor coverage plan that reimburses drivers for towing expenses and any roadside-assistance costs you might incur in the event of an emergency. Progressive and Geico, on the other hand, offer a complete emergency road service plan that covers lockouts, dead batteries and flat tires. Progressive’s plan also covers emergency fuel and fluid delivery in case you run out of gas or your car overheats. You are only required to pay for the cost of the fluids; both the delivery and service are free of charge.

Safe Auto offers a quality roadside assistance program to its customers at no extra cost. Assistance is offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week and includes lockouts, flat tires, jump-starts, fluid delivery, winching and towing. Additionally, the coverage includes minor roadside repairs, during which the customer must pay for the materials, as well as concierge services such as rental cars and arrangements, overnight accommodations, alternative transportation, phone calls to tourist bureaus for information if not in a local area, and even locations of nearby ATMs.