Your State’s Minimum Requirements And What They Mean

minimum-insurance-requirements1These days, automobile insurance has become not just a necessity, but a requirement. All states have different requirements and you need to understand what you’re looking at before you can make an informed decision on the insurance company you wish to contract with.

The first number is the maximum amount of coverage your insurance company is giving you for bodily injury for one person injured in an accident (these are all in thousands). The second number is the maximum coverage for bodily injury for one accident. The third number is the maximum amount of property damage inflicted in one accident.

For example, in the state of California, required insurance coverage is 15/30/5, this means $15,000.00 bodily injury per person, $30,000.00 total bodily injury and $5,000.00 total property damage.

You’ll also want to make sure that you are covered for uninsured motorists, some policies automatically have it and some don’t.

Alaska 50/100/25
Alabama 20/40/10
Arkansas 25/50/15
Arizona 15/30/10
California 15/30/5
Colorado 25/50/15
Colorado 25/50/15
Connecticut 20/40/10
Delaware 15/30/5
Florida 10/20/10
Georgia 15/30/10
Hawaii 20/40/10
Idaho 20/50/15
Illinois 20/40/15
Indiana 25/50/10
Iowa 20/40/15
Kansas 25/50/10
Kentucky 25/50/10
Louisiana 10/20/10
Maine 50/100/25
Maryland 20/40/10
Massachusetts 20/40/5
Michigan 20/40/10
Minnesota 30/60/10
Mississippi 25/50/25
Missouri 25/50/10
Montana 25/50/10
Nebraska 25/50/25
New Hampshire 25/50/25
New Jersey 15/30/5
New Mexico 25/50/10
Nevada 15/30/10
New York 25/50/10
North Carolina 30/60/25
North Dakota 25/50/25
Ohio 12.5/25/7.5
Oklahoma 10/20/10
Oregon 25/50/10
Pennsylvania 15/30/5
Rhode Island 25/50/25
South Carolina 15/30/10
South Dakota 25/50/25
Tennessee 25/50/10
Texas 20/40/15
Utah 25/65/15
Virginia 25/50/20
Vermont 25/50/10
Washington 25/50/10
Wisconsin 25/50/10
West Virginia 20/40/10
Wyoming 25/50/20

The Idea Behind Good Student Discounts

good-student-discountsA very popular and well appreciated discount is the ‘Good-Student Discount’. These discounts generally apply to high school and college students ranking in the top 20% of their class. These students will have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. These insurance discounts are highly sought after as they can supply between a five and twenty-five percent discount on the student driver’s insurance.

Depending on the insurer, there are variations on the parameters of the discount plans. Nearly every state implemented a ‘graduated licensing’ program that goes through three stages; a learner’s stage (no driving without a licensed driver present), an intermediate phase of approximately three months (no driving at night without a license driver, etc.) and phase three is a requirement of the former two phases being the driver must be free of certain violations during the former phases.

The premise behind the ‘good student discounts’ is the belief that good students are showing more responsibility by their actions, making them a better insurance risk than non-qualifying students. This discount is also targeted at giving students a reason to do well in school and parents a reason to monitor their children’s progress better. This coupled with the stage system where parents are encouraged to work with their children, teach them the law and how to handle a vehicle in real life situations is geared to save the auto insurance industry innumerable amounts of money on claims, which they pass a portion of the savings to the qualifying clients.

Which States Are Best To Drive In?

states-driveDriving enthusiasts all have opinions concerning the best and worst parts of the country in which to drive. Based on a few subjective criteria, here is what people are saying about the best places in the U.S. To hit the road.

As far as actual drivers, Oregon seems to be ranked as having the most courteous and law-abiding drivers, while Florida pulls up at the rear as being the most aggressive and impolite. This could be due to the high population of elderly and college-aged residents who either aren’t as aware of their surroundings or who just don’t care if they are cutting off a fellow highway traveler.

Terrain definitely plays a role, and if you like hills then Colorado is your state. Mountainous roads are frequent and climbs can be steep, so carry extra oil and watch for overheating in the summer months. Louisiana is the flattest geographically, so if a flat drone is more your style, you’ll love driving through the bayous and quaint cities.

As far as traffic is concerned, it might be best to know the worst cities to drive in. The most traffic-congested cities seem to be Los Angeles, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Dallas, and San Francisco. If horn-honking and crawling speeds are not your thing, avoiding these cities would be wise. Otherwise, enjoy the Sunday jaunt of your choice and remember to afford other drivers the same courtesies you would like them to extend to you as you conquer America’s highways!

BioDiesel And Insurance

biodiesel-insuranceAlternative forms of energy are a major concern in this energy-consuming society in which we live. Biodiesel energy has been researched and developed for may years, with high hopes of an inexpensive and easily producible form of fuel on the horizon. How will the availability of biodiesel fuel affect auto insurance rates, or will it affect them at all?

It seems that everything affects auto insurance rates nowadays, from your credit history to your driving record, even the color of car you drive and the area of the country in which you reside. Now the question arises as to whether those who support the environment by using biodiesel fuel deserve a reduction in their insurance rates as a sort of reward for being ecologically responsible.

The fact is, the data is inconclusive as to what can be expected as environmental impact of vehicles converting to biodiesel fuel. It is not clear whether there will be a discernible difference in pollution or fossil fuel conservation by switching a limited number of vehicles to the use of biodiesel fuel. It is unlikely that all vehicles will convert to biodiesel any time soon, so the actual impact will likely be minimal. With this being the case, insurance companies are also not likely to offer rate reductions just yet based solely on a vehicle using biodiesel fuel, though undoubtedly this could become a factor in coming years as more vehicles make the switch…IF more vehicles make the switch.

10 Most Expensive Auto Insurance States

expensive-auto-insurance-statesAutomobile insurance has become a major expense in most American households, with rates dependent on everything from an individual’s driving history, their credit score, to their geographic location. Though it may be expensive, it is the law that every driver on the road have a minimum of liability insurance. So where is it the most expensive to obtain auto insurance?

Well, for the years 2004-2006 insurance expense remained consistently the highest in the same ten states. Most recently, Washington D.C. And New Jersey have traded off in first place as the most expensive, and Connecticut and Nevada took turns in ninth and tenth places. In between, in third through eighth places, were Louisiana, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Delaware. In 2004, Michigan brought up the rear as the tenth most expensive, but otherwise Michigan does not appear in the top ten.

What does this mean for the average consumer? Drivers are certainly not going to choose their state of residence based solely on auto insurance rates, but if you live on the borderline and don’t mind moving, there could be benefits for you. Will consumers be willing to relocate in order to save a few hundred dollars on their insurance rates every year? Probably not. But if you do NOT currently reside in one of the higher cost states, you might want to check your insurance budget before moving to one!

Future Of Gas Milage

gas-mileageIn the current economy, gas mileage ratings not only help to sell automobiles but also play a key role in environmental issues and consumer responsibility. Considering the Ford Mustang in particular, regulations may force automakers to resolve gas mileage issues for some of their most popular vehicles.

The Energy Independence and Security Act, signed by President Bush in 2007, calls for a gas mileage standard for all vehicles of 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020. The Ford Mustang GT averages 15 to 23 miles per gallon, which may be largely responsible for the 19.2% decline in sales of all Mustangs during the year 2007. At the same time, the Ford Focus increased in sales consistently throughout the year. This may due to its gas mileage of 23mpg in the city and 33mpg on the highway. This still does not meet the standard set by the Energy Independence and Security Act, but is much closer than the Ford Mustang to achieving fuel conservation goals.

What does this mean for the Mustang and other less fuel-efficient vehicles? Will we see a rash of used auto sales as consumers ditch their gas-guzzlers for more efficient vehicles? What about those vehicles still on the road when 2002 arrives…will those vehicle owners be sanctioned in some way for non-compliance with the new fuel mileage standards? Only time will tell what the fallout will be and whether these regulations will actually be beneficial to consumers or just one more annoying rule to follow.

States With Tough Cellphone Laws

cellphone-lawsThink twice before answering that cell phone if it rings while you’re driving! Many states now enforce restrictions on cell phone use while you are operating a motor vehicle. You should know the laws in your state in order to avoid being sanctioned for unlawfully using your cell phone, or worse yet, causing an accident during a moment of inattentiveness while chatting on the phone.

Now, not every state has the same laws. Only five states ban the use of handheld cell phones altogether while driving, Washington, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Of these, Washington law only allows a patrolman to issue a citation for cell phone use as a secondary offense. This means that they cannot cite you ONLY for using your cell phone, but must have pulled you over for another citable reason first. The other four states can cite cell phone usage as a primary offense, and the tickets are costly.

Many drivers get around the cell phone bans by simply using a hands-free phone device that allows them to talk on the phone while keeping both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, which is the intent of the laws restricting phone use. Of course, this does not allow for text-messaging, but does allow conversations that could otherwise result in a traffic fine. If you are going to use your cell phone while driving, this hands-free option may be the best in regards to both safety and avoiding expensive traffic violations.

Why We Have (And Hate) Speed Limits

speed-limitsLet’s be honest. Most drivers on America’s rods today do not always abide by the posted speed limits, yet most of us consider ourselves to be responsible and safe drivers. So what’s the big deal about speed limits?

First, let’s consider that word, “most” when it comes to responsible drivers. Just because “most” drivers might be responsible, that still leaves room for “some” drivers to be reckless, wherein arises the need for speed limits. Not everyone will slow down to a safe speed to turn a sharp corner, and not everyone would voluntarily drive slowly through a school zone at mid-day. Hence, regulations are needed to encourage those few less-than-responsible drivers to abide by the standards of reasonableness that most drivers ordinarily accept.

Statistically, it is not always high speeds that cause accidents, but low speeds or erratic driving can also lead to crashes and collisions. This is why a driver might be ticketed for driving thirty miles an hour on an interstate highway with a posted speed limit of sixty-five miles per hour. Slower than average driving can be dangerous too, and speed limits set guidelines that address this mater as well. Letting the public know what is the accepted norm for driving speeds on various roads seems to be the most effective way to encourage all drivers to conform to an accepted standard of safety, so don’t expect speed limit signs to disappear any time soon.

What Is An Insurance Commissioner?

insurance-commissionerThe office of the insurance commissioner varies from state to state, but is usually either an office in the executive branch of the state government or a member of the cabinet. In some states, the position of the insurance commissioner must be chosen by popular vote, while in other states the position is filled by appointment by the state governor.

Essentially, the office of the insurance commissioner oversees the activities of insurance agents of various kinds statewide. They regulate and enforce the parameters under which insurance agents operate and maintain their businesses and the guidelines within which they write insurance policies for their clients. The insurance commissioner is also responsible for the licensing of insurance agents within their state, ensuring that anyone or selling insurance policies has the credential and professional license to do so.

In addition, the office of the insurance commissioner is involved in a great deal of public awareness activity, providing updated information to consumers regarding their rights and the laws pertaining to car insurance reform. In this capacity they perform a vital service, as the insurance industry is complicated and consumers need to be informed concerning their rights and benefits when it comes to insurance policies. It is the insurance commissioner who handles complaints lodged against particular agents or brokers, and who helps to mediate in disputes where a consumer has been wronged by an agent or any unscrupulous insurance practice. In the long run, they perform a vital, though often under-appreciated role of public service.

4 Auto Insurance Myths

auto-insurance-mythsEveryone would like to pay less for auto insurance, right? No one wants to pay more for something than they have to. But understanding auto insurance is the key to knowing what you should pay for and what you should not, and there are several myths that should be cleared up for consumers who might be in the dark. Here are just a few.

First, you are responsible for your vehicle no mater who is driving it. If you loan your car to a friend and they have an accident while driving it, your insurance company ill be responsible for damages. Second, credit rating DOES affect your insurance rates. A low credit score translates into a higher risk for the insurance companies, who then charge you more for insurance. It may not be fair, but that’s how it is. Third, The color of your car really doesn’t have anything to do with your insurance rates, though the make and model certainly do. You will pay more to insure a brand-new Corvette than you will to insure a ten-year-old Toyota Corolla. Last, collision insurance covers simply that: collisions and damage resulting from them. Comprehensive coverage is needed to cover any other damage to your vehicle such as storm damage, theft, or blowing to smithereens while you replace a spark plug. Collision coverage only covers collisions, not any other incidental situations.

Knowing the facts should help you to decide on the best auto insurance for you