Michigan Car Insurance Changes Would Limit Injury Payments

October 13th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs No Comments »

Michigan lawmakers are considering changes to the current car insurance requirements in the state. To reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road, they would like to reduce the minimum requirements for personal injury coverage. The changes being considered would also regulate health-related claims more closely so that the insurance would be responsible for paying fewer medical fees than it is currently set up to pay. While lower income drivers would benefit directly from the changes, most Michigan residents are wary of the proposal.

Current Personal Injury Minimum Requirements

Right now, Michigan requires that all drivers carry enough personal injury protection to cover all of the injuries caused by a car accident. The high minimum is expensive, but it has reduced the number of personal injury claims being processed through the courts. As the current insurance requirements stand, the brunt of the expense of recovery from an injury caused by an accident lies with the driver who is held responsible for the accident. Since the coverage is high enough to protect drivers in the most serious injury cases, there are very few incidents of drivers or injured parties needing to resort to personal funds to cover medical costs.

Changes Would Make Insurance More Affordable

Lawmakers and insurance companies point out that requiring every driver to carry the maximum personal injury protection can put car insurance out of the reach of many drivers, especially in the current economic downturn. Michigan cities like Detroit have seen some of the worst economic problems in the nation over the last few years, with high unemployment across the state. Many residents are faced with the choice of driving uninsured or not driving at all because they can’t afford insurance. The proposed changes would provide more options for drivers who can’t afford the current system.

Concerns about Drivers Being Underinsured

The trouble with allowing people to reduce their insurance coverage is that they have a much higher risk of driving without enough coverage. Lower personal injury requirements could potentially shift the burden of medical payments from the at-fault driver to the victim of the accident. Once the driver’s insurance coverage is maxed out, the injured party would have to resort to paying their medical bills on their own or taking the driver to court for the remainder of the medical bills. Opponents of the changes worry that underinsured drivers are just as dangerous as uninsured drivers.

Polls Show Majority of Residents Oppose the Change

Several polls of Michigan residents show that they are not in favor of the changes. Even though the new insurance laws would save some residents money on their car insurance, they would eventually cost more for everyone involved because insurance would cover less. As the law stands today, Michigan residents can feel confident that their medical bills would be covered for life if they were injured in a car accident. They seem to be reticent to trade in that security for the opportunity to pay less for their car insurance coverage. According to the polls, Michigan residents feel that the proposed changes would only benefit the insurance companies and create a higher burden on drivers.

New Wisconsin Car Insurance Law Facing Growing Pains

October 6th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs No Comments »

In some states, drivers who do not continually pay their car insurance premiums face automatic cancellation of their policies. However, Wisconsin does not enforce the regulation this way, and the state is finding more and more people are  getting around paying for their car insurance.

Wisconsin’s New Law

Effective as of June 1, 2010, all drivers in the state of Wisconsin were required to have car insurance. No one may drive a car unless the insurance policy has a minimum liability limit of $50,000 for each person, $100,000 for each accident resulting in bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage.

If a driver is pulled over or is involved in a car accident, he is required to have proof of his insurance coverage with him at all times to show the law enforcement officers if necessary. If the policy has been recently renewed and the drive has not received a new insurance card, he is able to print out a document stating that the policy is still active. Those who cannot afford car insurance from major or local companies can still get coverage through the Wisconsin Auto Insurance Plan.

People are Committing Insurance Fraud

While Wisconsin has passed a new insurance law that requires every driver to have valid car insurance, most people are not following through with the process. In fact, without a regulation in place that forces policies to end if the payments are not made, drivers are realizing that they can get away with avoiding car insurance. Hypothetically speaking, a driver could buy a policy for six months or for one year, make only one payment and let the policy lapse, yet still prove that they are covered for the remaining months, even though the policy isn’t active anymore.

Police in Wisconsin are finding it increasingly difficult to tell whether a driver has valid car insurance or not. They cannot pull over a driver simply to check to see if he has insurance; instead, the driver must have committed a traffic or motor vehicle violation that requires proof of insurance. Police sometimes need to contact the insurance company on a case-by-case basis in order to prove if the policy is still in effect or if the policy has ended.

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance

Although an investigation may be needed, if a driver is caught without insurance, he can expect to receive a fine of $10 if he can later provide proof of insurance. On the other hand, if no insurance is shown, the driver will receive a $500 fine. If a driver tries to fake having insurance or provides false proof of coverage, the state patrol will slap him with a fine of at least $5,000. The reason for such a high fine is simple: to entice drivers to pay their premiums as required by law. The rates that a driver would pay for car insurance would be significantly less than if he was to get caught faking insurance coverage.

The ultimate penalty for driving without insurance is finding yourself in court for injuring someone in a car accident and having no insurance company to defend you or pay damages.

Auto Insurance Rates For Dentists

September 10th, 2011 Chad Posted in Costs No Comments »

Shopping for the best car insurance rates is a daily chore for the average driver. Most people are looking for the best rates from an economical standpoint, while others are more interested in benefits that fit their driving habits. In the quest for finding the best auto insurance rate, one question is always prevalently asked by the agent; that is, “What is your occupation?”

Independent research has been conducted with the use of this information to adjust the auto insurance rates of those in certain occupations. Dentists are one of those occupations where rates are set slightly higher than that of other occupations due to their higher income bracket. Dentists, as well as doctors are prone to driving more extravagant vehicles, such as luxury cars, SUVs and sports cars. For these reasons the insurance industry sets an increased rate.

Along with these increased rates are a host of car insurance companies that offer not only the best rates for dentists, but the greatest benefits for the money. These companies are considered giants in the industry and are often seen in advertisements. Below are the top four auto insurance companies that offer some of the best rates, impressive features and quality customer service for dentists:

1. The 21st Century Car Insurance Company

The 21st Century Car Insurance Company is affiliated with several underwriting auto insurance companies in a variety of states throughout the country. One of their main affiliations is with AIG, known as the “insurance giant.” Even though 21st Century Car Insurance is nationally available, some states offer purchase of a policy only online.

When an auto insurance policy is purchased through 21st Century Car insurance, as a dentist you will enjoy the benefit of emergency travel, medical assistance and 24-hour emergency roadside assistance. You will appreciate the fact that the 21st Century prices are quite comparable to some of the other discounted auto insurance policies. In order to get quotes, their website is user-friendly and suggests the appropriate coverage for your vehicle.

It is evident that every person’s insurance need is different and some will require a higher level of service than others. It is recommended that prior to choosing any auto insurance company focus should be placed on the details of the policy, rather than on the rate. It is wise to be sure that your policy covers all that you’ve intended it to cover.

2. AAA Car Insurance Company

The AAA Car Insurance Company exhibits a hefty presence in the U.S. This is due to the familiarity with its roadside service plans. AAA auto companies are found throughout the country by geographic region.

The AAA Car Insurance Company is proud to offer benefits to dentists that allow for a 12-month policy, while other auto insurance companies offer 6-month policies. You are privileged to enjoy a 5% savings for paying your policy in full, with other flexible payment options.

Upgrades can also be purchased with your AAA auto insurance policy that allows you to have a rental car for the duration of repairing your vehicle after an accident. The usual limit on the use of a rental car after an accident is about 30 days.

An exclusive upgrade allows for replacement of your vehicle should damages be considered a total loss during your first year of coverage. When you purchase the optional gap coverage, AAA will issue a check to your financing company for your loan balance if you owe more than your car is worth.

3. The ACE Car Insurance Company

This Zurich, Switzerland based auto insurance company specializes in high-risk commercial insurance. Upon request, ACE offers several beneficial discounts for dentists. When you insure more than one vehicle you can take advantage of multiple vehicle discounts. A safety discount is applied if your car has features like, anti-lock brakes, airbags or automatic seat belts. A great discount is offered if you insure your home and cars on the same policy. More money can be saved if your car is equipped with an alarm or any other anti-theft device.

An extra coverage option offered by ACE includes medical payments coverage. In case you or your passengers are injured or killed in an accident that occurred in your car, this coverage will pay both the medical and funeral expenses even if you’re found at-fault. This coverage is also significant if an accident occurs when you are in someone else’s vehicle or if you are hit while walking.

4. The AIS Car Insurance Company

As a key player in the Northeastern auto insurance market, AIS Car Insurance Company issues policies to individuals and businesses in the Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey areas. An AIS Standard California auto insurance policy is filled with several impressive features for dentists:

-Liability for bodily injury

-Liability for property damage

-Payments for medical expenses

-Coverage for uninsured motorists

-Coverage for collision

-Coverage for physical damage

-Customer Service of the AIS Quality

Your AIS car insurance policy can be adjusted online by submission of the proper forms. Claims reporting and payments may also be addressed online and you can speak to a real customer service rep every day of the week, if necessary. AIS allows access to a representative by message request and other useful information regarding insurance is available on the AIS blog.

In addition, AIS offers mechanical breakdown coverage that gets your vehicle repaired during a mechanical malfunction. Roadside assistance coverage is available and crucial, especially for those nighttime mishaps. The Mexico Vehicle coverage allows for by-the-day policies for lengthy trips.

Should You Pay Car Insurance by the Month?

September 6th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs No Comments »

Having a car is essential to functioning in today’s world. Unfortunately, a number of expenses come with owning a vehicle. One of the biggest of these is car insurance. Many people pay for their insurance every year, forking over the entire amount to their insurance provider in exchange for coverage until the next payment. It’s a smart move because it can save the $50 or so charged by car insurance companies for installment payments. However, this can be extremely hard on the pocketbooks of many car owners. For them, paying by the month seems like a better financial option. Before you decide to go the monthly route, make sure you know the downside.

Why Companies Charge Monthly Payment Fees

Monthly payments can be more expensive in the end because a customer who pays by the month multiplies the burden he or she places on the accounting staff 12-fold. Instead of processing a single payment, the staff must now process 12. A large number of incoming monthly premiums dramatically increases the labor required by the accounting department, which means the company must hire more workers. Those extra salaries are paid, in the end, by the customer.

Monthly payments also create reduced cash flow for car insurance companies, which hurts their investments. For example, instead of having $1,200 to invest for an entire 12 months, a provider receiving monthly payments will only have one hundred dollars to invest during the first month, two hundred the next, and so on. Companies compensate for lower investment returns by increasing premiums.

Why People Pay Monthly

The reason that many people opt to pay their insurance premiums only a month at a time is usually financial. Most drivers simply do not have enough extra money in the bank to pay a full year in advance, so they need to spread it out. Unfortunately, this means that unless their company accepts direct deposit monthly payments in exchange for waiving the fee, customers are paying a monthly installment fee, adding to the cost of their insurance.

Escape the Trap of Monthly Payments

Although it will be difficult, it’s best to tough it out, give up some wants and stick with your needs to save up enough money to pay your car insurance premium in full. You should be able to save enough to pay the full policy period premium…after all; it’s cheaper than paying monthly. If you can afford the more expensive monthly payments, you can afford the cheaper one-year payment.

Another option is to choose a six-month policy, instead, cutting the lump sum needed in half. Once you get ahead of your car insurance payment, you’ll enjoy better cash flow and a little extra pocket money. Eventually, you should be able to save enough money so you can pay the policy in full every year. Don’t forget to shop around for car insurance quotes every six months, whether you are paid in full or not. It’s the best way to be certain you’re always getting the best rate, making it even easier to keep up with car insurance payments.

Cheap Auto Insurance for Self Employed Workers

September 4th, 2011 Chad Posted in Costs No Comments »

There are so many considerations to keep in mind when you are self-employed. One that many people overlook initially is the impact your employment status will have on your auto insurance. As a self-employed person, you can get cheap rates for your car insurance, provided you are willing to shop around and ask questions. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for your auto insurance as a self-employed person.

Tools and Gear

When you’re the boss, you get to set your own hours and you only answer to yourself and your customers. With this freedom comes a great deal of responsibility. For one thing, if there are expensive tools used in your trade you will need to buy them and transport them. It’s common for the insurance companies to bump rates slightly to allow for the cost of these tools should they be involved in a claim.


For better or worse, companies are viewed as having deep pockets. Putting your company name on your car and then driving around in it provides an excellent amount of free advertising. But if you are in an accident with that car, it can also result in a frivolous lawsuit. You will want to protect yourself from so-called ambulance chasers and people looking for a quick buck by carrying higher coverage for liability. Your insurance company may also want to protect themselves by charging you a little more for that coverage.


Be honest with your company when reporting how many miles you drive. If you tell them the car is only driven 1,000 miles a year and they prove that is has been driven 20,000 miles a year, then they can deny your claim. Calculate the miles that it will be driven and report that number honestly. Expect your premium to rise slightly if you drive a lot of miles, but the small price is worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are covered.

This can also work in your favor if you work strictly from home and do not have to drive for the business. In this case, you might see the premiums drop to a more attractive level.

Commercial Insurance

If you use your car primarily for business and will be visiting accounts and moving company goods in it, then you might want to consider commercial insurance. Designed for businesses and the extra liability that they face, this coverage will provide better protection. It’s also a business expense and can provide you with another tax deduction at the end of the year.

Factors Affecting Premiums

Ultimately, the amount you pay for premiums will depend on several factors. Your credit report may be taken into account in some states, and the company will certainly look at your driving record and claims history. Other factors include your age and family status, as well as the type of car you are driving.

Finding the Lowest Rates

Getting the best rates for your needs involves several steps. You must first consider your required coverage levels. If you will be driving for the company then you must have higher liability levels. Add comprehensive if you want theft of materials or damage to the car covered should something happen while you are out and about. Make a list of what you want and have it with you when you start shopping around.

Next, you should write down the mileage you expect to drive each year. You should also make a list of your car’s safety features and any anti-theft features that it has. These can help you get a discount. If you’ve taken a safe driver’s course you should have that information handy, along with your driver’s license number. You should also consider the deductibles you are interested in. Higher deductibles lower premiums and can help offset the overall cost.

The next step is to visit comparison websites where you can enter your information and receive a list of quotes from different companies. Choose the three or four quotes that are the most appealing and then move on to the next step.

Research is important when you are choosing a cheap insurance company. You want low rates but you also want a company that will stand behind you and actually pay claims. Try to choose companies that are nationally recognized like Geico, Allstate or Farmer’s. Check out the ratings on the companies you like from agencies like JD Power, A.M. Best and S&P. Review customer information online to see who has the highest ratings, and then make a decision. You may wind up paying a little more on the premiums, but you will enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are truly protected by a solid company.

Should You Raise Your Car Insurance Deductible?

August 24th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs No Comments »

Your car insurance deductible is the amount of money you have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company will begin to pay toward a claim. When you purchase your car insurance policy, you will have several options for deductible rates. Opting for a policy with a higher deductible will usually save you money on the premiums you pay, but it means that you will have to pay out a higher amount if you are in an accident or need to file a damage claim. Safe drivers who don’t expect to file claims can pay less by lowering deductibles, but the lower deductibles could be more expensive in the end.

Raising Deductibles Can Save Money in the Short Term

It is a fact that insurance policies with higher deductibles are less expensive. You might think that the rates are cut because you are covering more of the costs of a claim, but the truth is the insurance company charges you less because they believe you will be less likely to file a claim if you carry a higher deductible. Your insurance rates are based on the probability of you filing a claim. If your deductible is high, you will probably skip an insurance claim on any repairs that would cost as much as or less than the deductible. Reducing your claims volume saves the insurance company tons of cash every year.

Deductibles that are Too High can be Risky

Before you consider raising your deductible, you need to examine exactly how much money you can afford to pay out after an accident. If the deductible is more than you have in your savings account, you could be left without a car while you try to raise the money to pay for the deductible before the insurance company will begin to provide benefits. The additional cost of losing your transportation can be far more expensive than choosing a deductible that you can really afford.

Savings May not be Worth the Potential Cost

In many cases, the difference between deductible levels does not make a big difference in the price of your premiums. Depending on the type of coverage you carry and the insurance company that carries your policy, you could be looking at a savings of less than $30 if you increase your deductible by a few hundred dollars. The small return on your deductible switch is not always worth the large increase in the risk of having to pay out a substantial amount of money toward your deductible.

Look for Other Ways to Cut Insurance Rates First

Insurance companies offer several discounts that you might not be taking advantage of. Look through your policy carefully to see if you qualify for lower rates on your existing coverage. Many insurance companies offer special discounts for vehicle safety equipment, including airbags and anti-lock brakes. They also offer discounts for theft deterrent and tracking systems. Read the fine print of your policy and make sure that you are being given all of the discounts that you really qualify for. It is also a good idea to compare quotes from several different companies to see if you might save money by switching to a different insurance carrier.

Monthly Auto Insurance – Is That an Option?

August 22nd, 2011 Chad Posted in Costs No Comments »

If you are currently in a financial struggle and have difficulty paying the full amount of your premiums up-front, perhaps you are wondering if you are able to choose a monthly payment plan instead. While this is a possibility, the downside is that it does require more research and effort to find such a policy and you are more likely to pay a higher rate for the convenience of flexible options.

Because car insurance is required for almost every driver, most insurance companies must do anything they can to make sure that car insurance is available to whoever needs it. This includes offering flexible payment options that are within the budgets of their customers. However, just like with any product, some companies excel more in terms of providing affordable monthly car insurance plans than others.

Why Don’t Companies Charge Equally?

Because car insurance companies are not required to offer a particular monthly plan at a certain cost, companies consider a number of factors when they offer these options to their customers. The main reason is why the driver requires a monthly payment instead of a traditional premium plan.

Statistics show that drivers who have a lower credit score are more likely to have accidents or traffic violations. Therefore, most people assume that those who are of lower class are the ones who are in need of a monthly payment plan, and thus pose a larger risk to the insurance company. On the other hand, drivers who pay the full amount of their premiums up-front are thought of as being higher on the economic scale and less of a risk, allowing them to get the best rates offered.

A car insurance company must consider what happens when they accept a monthly payment plan. Monthly payments means the company has less money to invest in the form of protection against a potential claim by the driver. Because the car insurance company is at a higher risk of losing money, that higher risk takes the form of higher payments for the customer.

An increase of payments also means that the insurance company must acquire more staff for their accounts receivable department, as well as more collection services to process and administer the more frequent monthly payments. The cost of labor and wages is transferred to the consumer.

Are There Insurance Companies Who Specialize in Monthly Plans?

Most car insurance companies in major cities specialize in or offer monthly plans. These companies are generally smaller agencies instead of underwriters who make their profit by selling policies for larger insurance companies.

Smaller insurance companies typically specialize in drivers who are at a higher risk for accidents, which makes obtaining a monthly plan almost inevitable. However, rates for these payment plans can be much higher than a traditional policy.
On the other hand, these companies do not require a large down payment except in rare situations. If you can scrape $100 together, you should be able to insure your car.

Larger companies such as State Farm, Progressive and The General offer monthly plans to their customers, with rates varying depending on the driver and the vehicle:

State Farm offers a payment plan that divides your insurance premium into monthly payments on one bill. For “recurring monthly” plans, State Farm automatically withdraws your monthly premium from a registered bank account, eliminating the need for postage and check writing, as well as avoiding the risk of mail delay.

Progressive has six-month policies which allow customers to either pay the entire premium in advance, or split the payment in semi-equal payments across six months. Depending on the state you are in, Progressive may make the driver prepay a couple cents more on the first installment, with four equal installments followed by the last installment, which is usually a few cents less. They may also require you to sign up for automatic withdrawals if you would like the monthly payment option.

While The General offers six- and 12-month plans, customers do receive a discount if they pay the premium in full. The company prides itself on its flexibility regarding their payment plan offers, and allows the customer to choose a monthly payment plan after a down payment is made.

What Monthly Payment Plans are Best?

Much like any product, depending on the type and the level of service, there will always be companies that some deem better than others. It is up to the customer to know what he is looking for in a policy and determine what would make a beneficial payment plan for his circumstances and budget. It is best to think of monthly car insurance payments as a temporary solution because the sooner you solve your financial issues, the sooner you can receive lower premiums and discounts once you are able to pay your premium in full and up-front.

Toyota Corolla Car Insurance – Shop Around for Great Rates

August 17th, 2011 Chad Posted in Costs No Comments »

Finding the best Toyota Corolla car insurance can seem like a daunting task. Thanks to the internet it’s a lot easier to find today than it has ever been before. This article is going to show you what to consider and what to look for when shopping for car insurance online.

The Benefits of Owning a Toyota Corolla

The Corolla has outdone the Camry in terms of safety ratings which makes it looked at as one of the safest cars on the market. It’s also one of the most affordable sedans in the industry which assures insurance companies that replacing parts or the car won’t be as expensive as other vehicle of its type. However, the most remarkable thing about this particular model is that it has a 4 cylinder engine making it the only car of its type to use this engine.

These three things alone provide Toyota Corolla owners with the opportunity to pay a lot less on their car insurance premiums than those who own other types of vehicles.

Keep in Mind That Toyota Corollas Are One of the Most Stolen Vehicles

It’s been proven that this particular car is stolen more than others. This is why you should think about whether or not you want to have full coverage insurance that will cover your losses if your Corolla ever does get stolen. If the cost of buying a new car in the event of a theft isn’t important to you then this may not be something that you need to opt for.

Know What Coverage You Need

Think about what you want your car insurance to cover. While laws do require a minimum amount of coverage this doesn’t mean that it’s enough to compensate you efficiently. Here are a few questions to ask yourself in order to determine what kind of Toyota Corolla car insurance you need.

– Do I want the repairs covered when the accident is my fault?
– Do I want to only compensate the other parties in an accident that I cause?
– Do I want my car covered in the case of a theft?

While there are many other factors these are the ones that matter the most. It helps you determine whether you want full coverage or liability. It also ensures that you opt for theft insurance if that’s something that you’ve decided to be a car insurance necessity.

Understand What You’re Getting Into

Before you finalize the paperwork on any car insurance policy you need to understand what it covers and what it doesn’t cover. There are many policies that will slip in certain things that aren’t covered in an effort to help the insurance company make more money off of those that they insure. By following this simple step you’ll be protecting your best interests by being completely educated about your new insurance policy.

Check into the Reputation of Your Prospective Insurance Company

This is one of the most important things that you can do when you’re looking into getting insurance on your Toyota Corolla. You want to be sure that the insurance company you choose is going to be there for years to come, not one that’s going to end up going bankrupt. After all, you don’t want them to be unable to fulfill their obligations when you file an insurance claim.

Compare Insurance Quotes Online

The internet has made the world a better place for many consumers. It shows them all of their options available and the best prices on certain things. There are many great car insurance comparison websites out there that provide you with the opportunity to compare the rates of many insurance providers.

It’s as simple as entering in the required information and receiving a quote. Write down each quote and provider so that you have a reference to look at when it comes time to compare your options. Once you have your options documented you’ll be able to see who provides the best coverage and the best rates.

As you can see, finding the best Toyota Corolla car insurance is a lot easier these days thanks to the invention of the World Wide Web. Now use it to your advantage and find the policy that suits your needs at the best price!

Cheap Car Insurance for High School Students

August 9th, 2011 Chad Posted in Costs No Comments »

When your darling son or daughter starts driving, your auto insurance rates may rise even higher than your stress level. After years of playing taxi, relish the fact that the can kids drive themselves somewhere for a change. Don’t let skyrocketing auto insurance costs put a damper on your joy, either — try these tips to review your insurance coverage and make changes that will get you lower auto insurance rates.

Combine Coverage

Combining coverage is an easy way to keep insurance premiums low. Combine your teen’s car and any other family cars all on one insurance policy. Purchase homeowners, renters or any other required insurance from the same company to get a multi-policy discount. Also consider buying an umbrella policy — this coverage will make up the difference if your high school driver has an accident that exceeds the limits of your liability policy.

Car Choice

The car your teen drives is one of the factors that affects insurance rates. State Farm has a tool that evaluates different car models based on indexes for collision damage (comprehensive premiums), damage and theft (collision premiums), and liability insurance premiums. Each car receives letter grades according to how their premiums compare. For example, a Honda CRV scores an A, B and A. This means insurance companies charge significantly lower-than-standard premiums for comprehensive insurance, somewhat-lower-than-standard for collision, and significantly-lower-than-standard premiums for liability coverage. Another way to find cheap-to-insure cars is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s list of top safety picks. Published each year, this list contains the top 60-or-so cars in various categories that have the best crash-test scores and consequently, the lowest insurance premiums.

Policy Changes and Discounts

Change your auto insurance deductibles to at least $1,000. This can lower rates substantially while also keeping you from submitting smaller claims that might cause you to lose your discounted rates from a claims-free history. Keep a little bit more cash in savings in case anyone has a traffic mishap.

Encourage your high school driver to get good grades to take advantage of the good student discount. Many insurance companies offer sizable discounts for kids who keep their grades at or above a “B” average. The discount also applies to any children in college, as long as they maintain 12 or more class units.

Ask your insurance company about other available discounts for your high school-age drivers. Some insurance companies offer programs teaching driver safety and will give you a discounted rate if your child participates. Other insurers may give discounts for third-party driver safety or defensive driving programs your child completes.

Drop Some Coverage

If you have older cars in the family, consider that they may not be worth much more than the insurance deductible. Even if the car is totaled, you will get less money from the insurance company than you will pay in premiums. If this describes your cars, it makes sense to drop comprehensive and collision insurance coverage.

Learner’s Permit

Some insurance companies will allow your teen to drive with her learner’s permit without being added onto your insurance. As long as you drive with her, she should be covered under your current policy, but call your insurance company to verify. Teens need all the driving experience they can get, so it might make sense to have them drive with a permit for a longer period — they become better, safer drivers and you save money.

Change Coverage Limits

Consider boosting your liability insurance limits to protect your family once your teen has been added to your insurance. This does not save money up front but could be the best thing you’ve ever done if your teen should cause an accident. The cost of increasing coverage limits may be much less than you realize — according to “The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance…” by Kimberly Lankford, depending on your circumstances, changing liability limits from, say, 100/300/100 to 250/500/250, could cost you as little as $40 more per year.

How Important is Shopping Around?

Shopping around for auto insurance is a very important part of finding lower rates. The last five years or so have seen many changes in the way insurance companies assess risk, mostly because technology has provided improved methods for analyzing mass quantities of accident data. Insurers are able to fine-tune their quotes based on several characteristics of each driver. However, each insurer uses this complexity differently, and it is not uncommon to get quotes with a difference of $1,000 or more from different companies, using exactly the same driver profile.

Additionally, an insurance company that may be the cheapest for adult drivers might become the most expensive once a teen is added to the policy. Many people overpay for auto insurance each year because they do not make the time or have the desire to get new quotes. The quoting process has also improved with new technology, and many insurers provide online quotes in about 10 minutes at no charge. A 10-minute investment that could reward you with a three-or four-digit reduction in auto insurance costs sounds like a pretty safe bet, don’t you think?

Alcohol Sensors in Every Car?

August 8th, 2011 jess Posted in Costs No Comments »

Drunk driving is still a problem in almost every part of the nation. In 2009 alone, over 10,000 traffic fatalities were linked directly to drivers who had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. Although the consequences of driving while intoxicated are already severe, they don’t seem to be keeping enough people out of the driver’s seat when they’ve had too much to drink. Many organizations have banded together to petition the federal government for more funding to create accurate and practical alcohol sensors that could be installed in every new car.

Several Agencies Backing Research Efforts

Insurance companies, auto manufacturers, and safety advocates support the funding and research into alcohol sensor technology as an appropriate response to alcohol related traffic accidents. They promote the sensor technology as a passive safety feature that would effectively prevent anyone from operating a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit. The groups are asking for more federal money to continue research and development into alcohol sensors that are as sensitive and accurate as possible. The sensors would also need to be acceptable to the public, which might be one of the most daunting prospects to the wider distribution of any alcohol sensor implementation.

Sensors Disable Ignition if Alcohol Levels are Too High

The sensors would lock a car’s ignition system if the driver were too impaired to drive legally. The actual design varies. Some sensors are placed in the steering wheel and measure blood-alcohol content through the oils on a driver’s hands. Other sensors could go in the rear-view mirror and monitor a driver’s eye movements before the car starts. Breath analyzers are also an option as part of the alcohol sensor research.

Some Groups Concerned About Accuracy

Some groups are worried about the effectiveness and fairness of the proposed alcohol sensors. The groups express fear that the sensors will never be able to be fully accurate, which could leave sober drivers unable to start their cars in some situations. These groups propose that alcohol related car accidents would decrease if law enforcement simply did a better job of policing the posted speed limit. A large majority of alcohol related accidents occur because the impaired driver was speeding. These groups believe that more money should be directed toward controlling traffic speed than developing new technology that could malfunction and leave a legal driver unable to operate a motor vehicle.

Alcohol-Related Accidents Expensive for Everyone Involved

An alcohol related accident costs more than a typical accident in several ways. Since most of these accidents occur at high speeds, there are higher medical costs due to more severe injuries. Passengers who are injured face months or years of rehabilitation. The damage to the vehicles is usually more severe as well. Drivers convicted of operating a vehicle while impaired face much higher fines. They could even face manslaughter charges if there is a fatality. Anyone convicted of a DUI faces incredibly high insurance rates for several years. In some states, drivers who have more than one DUI on their record could lose the privilege to drive altogether.