Auto Insurance For Your Teenager

May 11th, 2012 Chadwick Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Your teenager is about to get their driving permit. The fact that they are a teenager alone probably causes you enough trouble, but the idea of them being more mobile is not comforting. How can you make the best of the situation? What sort of car will they drive? What sort of insurance should they have?

What’s the safest way to insure them? How will you keep them alive long enough to safely graduate high school? Some of these are more easily addressed than others; perhaps it’s best to discuss those things which you can control.

Don’t wait. Let your insurance company know as soon as your teenager is ready to get his or her permit. Some states will allow carriers to require you to notify them when you have a teen with a drivers permit. Most of the time, the carrier won’t charge you for the additional driver until they graduate from their permit to a license.

If you forget to tell them, and your child is involved in an accident, the insurance company will usually cover them. However, if this does happen, it can retroactively bump up your rates or even revoke your coverage. Also, if you don’t tell them once your teen moves from permit to license, they can retroactively charge you for the extra driver, or may even deny coverage if they get in an accident.

Safety should be first. Make sure that you teach by example. Show your teen how to be a good driver, make sure they take safety courses, and are aware of all of the rules of the road in your state.

Encourage your child to get good grades. Many companies will offer discounts for students who maintain a B average in high school or in college. Some carriers will also offer discounts for community involvement: scouts, 4-H, civic or community organizations are all great for your teen to be involved in.

Choose a safe car. Make sure their car is equipped with airbags, safety belts, and anti-lock brakes.

Don’t let your teen persuade you to get them a flashy car. Encourage them to get a used car. Older cars, which are usually heavier than newer, sleeker models, are not as easy to drive recklessly because they tend to hug the road. These are safer and less expensive to insure.

When you buy an older car, you may decide to drop the optional collision and comprehensive insurance and purchase only liability. Insurance companies normally do not pay out well for older cars, and this will save you money on what you pay each month. Also, older cars usually have a lower blue book value, and that keeps costs down too.

Check into multiple vehicle policies with your carrier. Often insurance carriers will offer a discount for the insuring of multiple vehicles with one company. Keep the additional car in your name. The parents usually have better assets and therefore are a safer investment to insure.

You may not be able to control your teenager, and knowing that they are out there on the road will probably not bring you peace of mind. However, being safe about the way you insure them, the car that you put them in, and the example you make in your own driving will increase the likelihood that your teen driver will be in better hands. This lets you focus on the tougher issues like getting them to follow your rules.

For more information on comparing auto insurance quotes for your teenager, we recommend visiting: http://generalinsuranceagency.com/ – you’ll be able to compare rates in seconds with a few clicks of your mouse.




How to Save on Honda Fit Insurance

January 10th, 2012 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

You have taken the plunge and bought a new Honda Fit. Congratulations! You are going to enjoy this car which gets great gas mileage and comes with Honda’s reputation for excellence in construction. The low maintenance and great mileage you get will bring you years of enjoyment.

family in carHowever, you may now be concerned about insuring your Honda Fit. Because it is a relatively new car, insurance rates are still being determined on many of the models. How do you know if your insurer is giving you a good price on your Honda Fit automobile insurance?

Overall, prices for the Honda Fit are going to be a little higher than for some other models. There is a very simple reason for this: the Honda fit is an unknown quantity. Because it is so new, insurance companies do not really know how much it will cost, in the long run, to repair and replace Honda Fit models which are damaged or totaled in accidents.

Insurance companies do not like unknown risks; therefore, they will tend to err on the side of caution and charge slightly more for the Honda Fit than for similar models which have been in existence longer. Once data is obtained on the Honda Fit over the course of several years, the prices will likely stabilize.

This is not to say, however, that insurance costs for the Honda Fit should be wildly higher than for similar makes and models. Insurance companies can predict with a fair amount of accuracy what costs will be to repair or replace new models of cars; you might expect to see a 5% higher premium than that of a similar car for the first few years on the Honda Fit. Anything more than that is excessive and you should find another company for your insurance needs.

The Honda Fit has several things going for it in terms of insurance prices. First, it gets great mileage and is easy to maintain. While this does not directly affect the price of your insurance, it does have an indirect effect as many more people will be likely to buy such a car, and this will eventually help to lower insurance costs across the board.

Because it is compact, replacement parts and costs will be slightly less than for larger vehicles. Even the types of people who drive Honda Fits—upwardly-mobile, environmentally-conscious younger and older drivers—can have an impact on the overall cost of car insurance for a single owner.

The Honda Fit also has some disadvantages when it comes to insurance costs. Because of its small size, the chance of injury if involved in an accident with a larger vehicle is higher, resulting in higher premiums. Further, if you drive many more miles, which you are likely to do with good gas mileage, your premiums can jump as well.

However, overall average prices for Honda Fit insurance are basically in line with other cars of its size and construction. The average cost to ensure a Honda fit is $1,220 per year. Bear in mind that this figure is an average and may in no way be reflective of an actual quote. A 32-year-old female in Ohio may pay only $400 per year, while a 20-year-old male in California may pay $1,800.

It helps to compare averages against other vehicles, rather than take averages as an indication of what you will pay; for example, the Ford Focus average is $1,120 per year, or about $100 less per year than the Honda Fit.

This number is far more indicative of what you are likely to see than the premium quote itself; you can expect to pay about $10 more per month for insurance for a Honda Fit than for a Ford Focus.

Of course, your driving record, location, and other demographics will have the biggest impact on what you pay for insurance. Be sure to get multiple quotes to find the best rates for insuring your new Honda Fit.




Who Carries the Best New Car Replacement Coverage?

November 10th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

New car replacement coverage protects you from the instant depreciation that happens when you drive your brand new car off the dealer’s lot for the first time. Without new car replacement coverage, you could be left hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in the hole if your new car is totaled within the first year or two after you purchase it. With a standard insurance policy that doesn’t include new car replacement, your insurance company will pay you the depreciated price of your new car, no matter how much it cost you just a few months before. New car replacement coverage means that you don’t have to settle for an older car or a less expensive model if your car is damaged beyond repair within a certain time frame. The following car insurance companies offer some of the best new car replacement coverage.

AARP

Working through The Hartford car insurance company, AARP offers a new car replacement coverage-option as part of its standard insurance policy. It is automatically included in your regular premium. If your car’s damage after an accident would cost more to repair than the car is worth, you would be able to purchase a new car that is the same make and model with the same equipment package as your previous car. The damaged car must be less than 15 months old, or it must have fewer than 15,000 miles on it in order to qualify.

Allstate

Alllstate offers new car replacement coverage as part of its comprehensive auto insurance policy. The replacement policy is one of the best because it will replace your new car for up to 3 years after you purchase it. Most replacement coverage is available for only a little more than a year. Allstate’s generous coverage allows you to skip the depreciation for an entire three model years after the car was manufactured.

MetLife

New car replacement coverage is an addition you can choose for your car insurance policy through MetLife. The qualifying period for a new car replacement is only one year or 15,000 miles, so it is a bit more limited than other comparable insurance policies. MetLife will also apply your deductible to the payout toward the new car, which is something to keep in mind if you carry a very high deductible. MetLife doesn’t have any stipulations about what kind of make or model car you buy through this program, though, which allows you to purchase any replacement car that fits the price range of the car you lost.

Liberty Mutual

Another good new car replacement coverage-plan is from Liberty Mutual. The period is more restrictive, but the replacement options are more flexible. With Liberty Mutual, you qualify for the replacement coverage plan if your car is less than a year old or has fewer than 15,000 miles on it when it is totaled. The coverage does not apply to cars previously owned cars or leased cars. Your standard deductible will apply.

New car replacement coverage is not available in every area, so check with your agent to find out if it is offered in your state. It’s an interesting option that could save you a substantial amount of money.




Car Insurance Rates on the Rise – How to Fight It

October 20th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

Some of the hippest commercials on television today are slick, entertaining ads from the largest car insurance companies. Geico’s Caveman campaign even developed a life of its own when the main character was featured in a short-lived comedy show in prime time. All of these commercials have the same message: Car insurance is less expensive with their company. The truth, however, is that as these TV characters have become more popular with customers  than the actual savings consumers get. Insurance rates have gone up almost 30% since 2000, and  there’s no guarantee that rates won’t continue to rise over the next few years.

Insurance Costs Rise with Medical Costs

One of the main reasons insurance rates are rising so quickly is that medical costs are rising quickly. Insurance companies have to be prepared to cover medical bills for people who are injured in car accidents. That means that they have to charge more up-front from all of their customers so that they will be ready when the claims begin to come in. Insurers also have to cover repair and replacement of the vehicles that are damaged in accidents, which can be far more expensive in these days of computerized engines and hybrid battery systems.

Gain More Cost Control with Pay-as-you-Drive Policies

One way drivers can play a more active part in determining how much they pay for car insurance is through a pay-as-you-drive insurance policy. The way it works is the car insurance company sends you a small electronic device that tracks how many miles you drive. Unlike a traditional policy that charges you based on an average number of miles driven annually, you are only charged for the number of miles that are actually recorded through your tracking device. How often and how far you drive is entirely up to you, but the less you drive the less you will pay for car insurance.

Look for Special Discounts

Every car insurance company offers special discounts for customers who qualify. Be sure to check with your agent to find out if there are any discounts you could use to cut your insurance bill down to size. Typical discounts include savings for attending driving school, being a homeowner, installing safety equipment on your vehicle, installing anti-theft equipment, or carrying more than one type of insurance policy through the same carrier. Each insurance company has different restrictions and offers different discounts, however, so you might need to shop around to find the best policy to fit your situation.

Take Advantage of Online Quote Comparisons

Another way to fight rising car insurance rates is to do your own rate comparisons through an online quote site. These sites allow you to enter your personal information into a single form that is then distributed to the insurance companies you would like to know more about. You receive a report from each of the companies you selected, which allows you to compare their prices and policies side by side on your computer screen. Online quotes give you a good overview of the rates you should expect based on your particular demographics. Once you have done the research, you can approach an insurance company as an informed consumer.




How to Use Car Insurance Quote Sites

October 18th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

The convenience of the internet has made it easier than ever to research car insurance policies so that you can be sure you are paying the best price for the best coverage. All you need to do is enter some simple information into a single form, and choose how many companies you want to compare. Once the comparisons come in, it is time for you to do the legwork to figure out which company has the best policy for your needs. The nice thing is that you can make your comparisons any time of the day or night from a computer where you feel comfortable.

Understand the Terminology

Car insurance policies can use some terms that you might not be familiar with unless you are involved in the industry. Fortunately, we have a handy explanation of car insurance terms reference for you to use. Take a few minutes to read through it and keep it bookmarked while you look over your online quote results. It is important to know what each policy really covers before you make a commitment to a particular insurance company.

Read Quote Results Thoroughly

Don’t grab the cheapest quote and sign up right away. Sometimes the lowest quotes are so inexpensive because they offer very little real coverage. Read the policy results entirely from beginning to end. Use a pen and paper to take notes about things like deductibles, minimums and maximums, and exceptions. There is nothing worse than discovering exactly what a cheap policy will not cover when you are standing on the side of the road after an accident. It is worth paying a little bit more for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will have the protection you need if you ever have to file a claim.

Compare Discount Offers

Many of the quote comparisons you receive from individual insurance companies will include lists of discounts that are available to qualified drivers. These discounts are a great way to directly compare one policy against another. Note the discounts you believe you would qualify for and see which company offers the largest number of possible discounts. Keep the best two or three companies and contact them directly to find out more about the discounts they offer. Selecting three or more insurance quotes will give you a wider range of options.

Compare Quotes Periodically

Once you have finished comparing your quotes, don’t sign up with the company you like best and then never look at your insurance policy again. Loyalty discounts are nice, but they are rarely enough to enough to make up for the savings you can get by switching companies. It is important to compare quotes at least once a year and preferably every 6 months. Changes in your life, such as marriage or credit rating shifts, can change how much you pay for insurance. If the crime rate or accident rate in your zip code goes down, your insurance costs will probably go down too. If you don’t compare rates regularly, you may never realize how much you could be saving.




Will New Massachusetts Car Insurance Rate Regulations Backfire?

September 27th, 2011 jess Posted in Discounts, Insurance Rates No Comments »

In many states, your car insurance rates are partially based on your profession, education and credit score. Statistically, engineers are less prone to car accident than say, bar hops, so it makes sense to charge a lower insurance rate to the former. Those with a college degree have fewer accidents than the less educated, and those with better credit scores are more likely to pay the car insurance bill in the first place.

Massachusetts Car Insurance Rate Regulations

Massachusetts outlawed socioeconomic rating long ago, allowing insurers to charge based on driving history only. In April 2008, facing pressures from insurance companies that said the rates were squeezing them out of the state, Massachusetts changed to a competition based system in which insurers set their own rates within the Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner’s guidelines. So far, commissioners have stuck to the socioeconomic rating ban. But should a commissioner with sympathies towards insurance companies take office; that could change.

Legislation Seeks to Ban Socioeconomic Rating Practices

The Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents wants to prevent that with a recently proposed 2012 ballot referendum and a legislative measure that ban socioeconomic factors when calculating car insurance rates. The association tried for legislation last year but failed, so it’s trying again and adding a ballot initiative this time. To be successful, the association needs nearly 69,000 signatures before December 8.

Insurance Companies Balk

Insurance companies believe the measure goes too far. Not only does it ban practices not allowed under current rules, but it’s also vague about what factors can be used for discounts. Such language could be interpreted to eliminate good student discounts or special group discounts. That would certainly backfire for residents, eliminating helpful discounts in place today.

Consumer Interest Groups Support the Legislation

Deirdre Cummings is the legislative director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MassPIRG). The group fights special interest groups on behalf of Massachusetts residents. Cummings often finds himself stuck in the middle when it comes to car insurance rate hikes. Consumers don’t believe insurance companies have any business in their personal lives. Some say it’s unfair that a high school graduate who decides to enter the workforce right away gets no shot at a good student discount. A laid-off worker whose credit score suffers would suddenly have to pay more for insurance at a time he can afford it least.

“Sometimes people feel a little violated that somebody’s looking into what they feel is a personal financial matter,” Cummings said. “We’re the middle person that has to explain to them why they’re being penalized. It’s not exactly the kind of news you want to share with somebody.”[1]

It’s likely that such a law would help consumers overall, even if it eliminates certain discounts. The combination of open competition, underscored by certain legislative restrictions would allow Massachusetts drivers to pay rates that stem from their personal driving histories rather than rates based on arbitrary life situations over which one has little control. Some would pay more, but some, especially those facing the toughest economic times, would pay less.

 


[1] http://www.wbjournal.com/news49874.html




What Does a DUI Do To Your Auto Insurance Rates?

September 4th, 2011 Chad Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

A conviction for DUI, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, is a very serious offense, even if it your first conviction. In general, DUI will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run, and may jeopardize your ability to drive your car over a period of time.

In most states, drivers agree to submit to DUI testing voluntarily when they receive their driver’s licenses. As a driver’s license is a privilege, and not a right, states have the power to demand that drivers who apply for a license agree to these terms. If your state has a law in place that requires you to submit to DUI testing, you must do so if you are pulled over or face losing your license altogether.

When you are tested for DUI, a blood alcohol content, or BAC, reading will be taken by testing your breath, your blood, or both. If your BAC is over the legal limit, you will be charged with DUI. You may have to hire a lawyer to represent you in court; if you plead guilty, you will face several consequences.

Most states have a stiff fine and penalty system for punishing DUI offenders. On average, it will cost you several hundred dollars just for the DUI fine for a first offense, and many states also require you to attend, and pay for, driver education courses dealing with alcohol and motor vehicles. You may also have to pay reinstatement fees to recover your license, as well as court fees.

The real cost, however, is not just in immediate fines and fees. Over time, your insurance rates will probably skyrocket when your insurance company learns of your DUI. This happens because insurance companies usually scan the public records just before issuing renewal notices. If the company happens upon your DUI record, you can expect a fee increase or outright cancellation. Many companies simply will not insure someone who has a DUI conviction, so you may be forced to search for other automobile insurance.

Assuming that your company keeps your policy in force, you can count on higher premiums. While the cost will vary from individual to individual and company to company, you can expect a minimum of a 20% increase in your premiums, and many people see an increase of 40%. This means that if you were paying $1000 per year prior to your DUI, you can expect to pay $1200 to $1400 per year afterwards. This rate increase will stay in effect as long as the DUI is on your record.

In some states, DUIs stay active in your file for three years; in others, the DUI stays in your record permanently. The rate you are charged also depends on the rest of your driving record; a speeding ticket six months before your DUI can have a great impact on your new rate, and an accident can send your prices soaring.

Some states also require the filing of a document called an SR-22 after a DUI conviction. An SR-22 is a paper which your insurance company provides which states that you are insured for a certain period of time. Many major companies will not issue SR-22’s; if this is the case, you will have to seek other insurance.

Some companies that specialize in SR-22 insurance are The General and Progressive. However, some companies such as State Farm may require you to move your insurance to a different division of the company which carries high-risk policies. No matter how your SR-22 insurance is handled, one sure bet is that it will cost you more money than someone without this requirement.




Four Signs of the Times Seen in Car Insurance Trends

August 25th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

The tough economy of the past few years has led to shifts in the way many consumers approach their car insurance coverage. People are looking to cut down on their personal costs until the economy turns around, and quite a few of the choices they are making have a direct impact on their insurance costs. The life changes that come along with a poor economy are related to the factors that insurance companies use to determine a person’s premium. Changing jobs, moving to a different home, driving an older car, or enduring a drop in your credit rating are all things that could change your insurance rates.

Drivers are Keeping Cars Longer and Buying Used

Research shows that many drivers are keeping their new cars longer than they would have before the recession. Others are choosing to purchase cars that are a few years old instead of brand new cars. Driving an older car can cut your insurance costs because the car’s value is lower than the value of a new car. The repair and replacement value of a car that is a few years old is far less expensive than the repair and replacement of a brand new car, which means that even a full comprehensive coverage policy would cost less for the older car.

More People Downgrading Insurance Coverage

Another trend in car insurance is people dropping some of the more expensive coverage. Some drivers are saving money by switching from full comprehensive policies to simple liability and personal injury policies. In some cases, the switch away from comprehensive coverage is practical, especially if the insured is driving an older car. When the value of the car is less than the potential cost of repairs, there is no reason to continue carrying comprehensive policies.

Poor Credit Making Insurance More Expensive for Some

Larger numbers of Americans are having trouble keeping their credit ratings solid during this economic downturn. A poor credit rating can cause car insurance rates to rise. It may seem odd for insurance companies to charge more when a person is obviously having financial troubles, but the insurance companies rely on credit ratings to determine the potential risks of a person filing a claim. Statistics show that people with poor credit ratings have a higher accident rate than those with good credit ratings. One reason for the difference in risk may be that drivers who have trouble paying their bills might also have trouble paying for regular maintenance on their vehicles.

Smart Drivers Increasing Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage

Of course, some drivers are choosing to drop their car insurance altogether in order to save money. All of these trends toward reducing car insurance coverage or dropping it completely put insured drivers at a higher risk of being involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured. It is a good move in this economic climate to increase the amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your car insurance policy to protect yourself from the high costs of being in a collision with someone who is not carrying enough car insurance. The slight increase in your premiums will be less expensive than the bills that would follow such a collision.




High Safety Ratings on Your Car? You Might Get a Better Car Insurance Quote

August 18th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

There are many ways you can get safety discounts on your car insurance: you can drive the safest car, live in a neighborhood with almost no crime, and drive more carefully than any driver in your state. These credentials, however, are often more difficult to realize than they are worth. Another, more reasonable, method of lowering your insurance rate is to ensure your car has the best safety features available.

Vehicle Safety Equipment

Various types of safety features are available, whether they come standard with the car at the time of purchase or you upgrade your vehicle later. Here are some of the most commonly installed pieces of safety equipment on the market today:

Airbags

You can now install airbags all around your vehicle to protect you from every direction. Some are even designed to sense each occupant’s weight, size, and bodily position within the vehicle.

Anti-lock Brakes Did you know most insurance companies will give you a generous discount on your car insurance rate if your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock brake system? Almost all of these systems are factory-installed considered standard equipment.

Daytime Running Lights 

Are these lights necessary? Studies show your running lights increase safety not only by helping you see farther down the road, but also by making it easier for oncoming traffic and pedestrians to see your vehicle.

Anti-theft and Car Recovery Systems

Even if you don’t have the fanciest anti-theft technology, any type system, including a steering wheel bar, shouts safety to a potential insurance company. Stolen recovery vehicle systems help law enforcement personnel locate your vehicle if it has been stolen, while window sketching helps deter thieves and prevents them from altering your vehicle’s identification number.

Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

These systems are standard in cars manufactured in 2008 and later. By making sure your tires remain at the proper pressure, not only will you have a smoother ride, you’ll have a safer trip.

Cameras, Detectors, and Warning Systems

Although some come factory installed in newer cars, insurance companies look favorably on these additions. Rearview cameras limit accidents by showing you what you might not see in your side view and rearview mirrors, while a blind-spot detection system alerts you when there is an object in your blind spot. The lane-departure warning system has a wider range than the blind-spot detection system, and it tells you when it‘s safe to change lanes based on your speed and the distance of vehicles behind you.

Talk with Your Agent or Company

Different types of coverage can offer discounts based on different safety features. For example, anti-theft systems can lower comprehensive coverage, while airbags might help the policyholder save on medical payments and personal injury claims. If you discuss discounts with your insurance company, and your agent or representative hasn’t asked you about a certain feature, don’t assume a discount isn’t offered. Some features may be missed, so remember to mention all that are pertinent to your vehicle.




Battle of the Driving Sexes: Winner Gets the Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes

August 15th, 2011 jess Posted in Insurance Rates No Comments »

For years, women have been battling the stereotype that they are horrible and unsafe drivers. Not only does this stereotype affect women and their driving abilities, but it may also be wrong. More evidence is surfacing that proves that female drivers are no worse than males.

A UK-based insurance company researched the difference and similarities between men and women drivers and concluded that men actually have larger, more serious car crashes, resulting in higher insurance claims. The insurance company focused on 200,000 claims and found that accidents involving men under the age of 25 cost 15 percent more than accidents involving 25-year-old women. A British safety group also pointed out that one in 60 male drivers is involved in an accident that results in either injury or death.

Additionally, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration points out that there are more fatalities annually among men than women. Their data shows that in 2009, 23,726 male drivers died versus 10,070 female drivers.

What Do Insurance Companies See?

Insurance companies have gathered statistics based on car accident claims and have concluded that accidents cause by women typically stem from distracted driving. Men are more likely to be involved in car crashes that are the result of deliberate, risk-taking behaviors like aggressive driving or speeding, resulting in a 27 percent more likely chance that they are at fault.

Under the age of 21, women have significantly lower car insurance rates than men. Accidents caused by women are less severe than those caused by men, so the insurance companies do not have to pay out as much in their claims. Men may also purchase faster, more expensive cars, which ultimately cost more to repair. Women are also more likely to pay their premiums on time and not miss a payment.

Difference between Men and Women?

Driving is skill-based. The vehicle has no idea if a man or a woman is pushing on the gas pedal. Males tend to be riskier when behind the wheel, especially men between the ages of 16 and 25 who are most likely to be in an accident or pulled over for violating traffic rules. Men typically drive faster, tail other cars, drive without seatbelts and operate the vehicle while drinking. Females, on the other hand, are less likely to test their limits and they take instruction better from others. More importantly, women are more likely to admit when they are wrong or when they didn’t know something about the road or their vehicle. Men, conversely, tend to think of themselves as superior and above average in terms of their driving skills. This overconfidence leads to dangerous driving.

As of right now, we cannot conclude if men or women are better drivers; the results simply tell us that both sexes have their own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to driving. We can tell you, however, than women are more likely to get the best rate when they compare car insurance quotes.

Source: http://www.insideline.com/car-news/more-evidence-that-men-arent-better-drivers-than-women.html